Abu Dhabi: Oli ‘The Big Shot’ Thompson made a late but effective entry for the official news conference of the sixth edition of the MMA fight series UAE Warriors, scheduled to take place at Mubadala Arena on Friday.
The UK-based fighter, who has been pitted against Tarek Suleiman from Syria in the high-profile light heavyweight championship bout, in dark shades white T-shirt and black trousers went straight to the championship belt and took it with him to his seat.
“It is mine you see,” he said as his opponent Suleiman kept a close watch from the other end of the dais.
“I have spent my whole career fighting guys bigger than myself. This is not new for me but I still want to get the job done,” added Thomson, who has 19 wins and 10 career loses. “I have trained harder to come here and add value to the fight. My opponent has pretty good jiu-jitsu credentials but I have always faced world champions and he will have to bring his A game otherwise I will floor him.”
Suleiman, who has seven career wins and five losses, on the other hand was calm and composed and chose to use his words wisely saying, “I have a lot of respect for my opponent and everyone here. He can take that belt and keep it by his side but on Friday it will be there for the taking for both and we will see. I’m want to thank in advance for the support I have already received.”
However, the fight of the evening is expected to be between Lebanon’s Ahmad Labban and Amin Ayoub of Turkey in the welterweight championship.
The duo, who were already involved in a war of words over the past one month on social media, were quick to take a dig at each other during the briefing. It all started with Ayoub calling his opponent ‘chicken’ and went on to add that Labban should not take injury as an excuse later and rather pull out straight away.
However, Labban vowed that he will settle the score in the cage saying, “With one fist on your face you will know it. I need not be 100 per cent fit to fight someone of your calibre.”
Philippines favourite and UFC veteran Rolando Dy, with a 11-7 record returns to this edition, to face Road to Abu Dhabi Warriors qualifier Yerzhan Yestanov (16-7) from Kazakhstan in the featherweight title fight.
Dy was keen to draw inspiration from compatriot Anne Ramirez, who won gold at the Abu Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu World Pro Championship gold in the female purple adult 55kg.
“It was a great show from Anne last week and, hopefully, I can follow that and repeat the winning performance when I was here last time round,” said a confident Dy.
India’s Suraj Bahdur will be taking on Dwight Brooks of United States in the lightweight category.
“First time I’m here and, hopefully, I can do well. I was just fought twice outside India and this will great learning curve. A win can kick start my career big time,” said Bahdur.