Dubai: Regardless of what happens in the future, few victories would be met with more elation should Poland’s Marcin Tybura defeat England’s Ben Rothwell in one of the most anticipated fights on Sunday’s main card at UFC Fight Island 5.
A collected, focused and highly motivated Tybura (19-6) has great respect for the talent and experience of Rothwell (38-12-0) but it is one worth remembering that the last time that the Polish heavyweight fought in Abu Dhabi in July, he defeated talented Russian Maxim Grishin (30-8-2).
Speaking to Gulf News from Fight Island, Tybura said that the feels great, is in good shape and that he aims to leave the Octagon with the win.
“I did most of my training in Poland and everything went well,” he said, “We did a lot of sparring with some strong heavyweights which makes me feel good.”
Tybura acknowledges that the move to John Wood’s Syndicate MMA gym in Las Vegas has helped change his perspective on fighting and made him look at the sport from different angles.
“The move was good and I have a great coach,” he said. “We watched some of Rothwell’s fights and that helped us make a plan for our next fight. I have added some new techniques, not changing too much, but just doing enough to make me feel better in the Octagon and it’s working out.
“Ben is a big name a good fighter who has all the moves. It will not be an easy fight but I believe that I have the key to win the fight.”
Tybura, who admits that Rothwell has explosive power and generous experience in MMA having fought over 50 fights, described the Englishman as a tricky opponent.
“It’s a matter of his unusual style, a little bit. He moves in a very specific way,” said Tybura. “He moves forward, and puts on the pressure.
“Of course he can land the big punches, he can knock out most Both people. For sure, he knows how to wrestle and knows how to submit. He’s a huge guy, very strong.”
Both Tybura and Rothwell are on a two-fight win streak. Both are looking to break in to the top 15.
Tybura’s recent wins came against Sergey Spivak and Grishin. However, a win over a big name such as Rothwell will really propel him into the limelight if not an up-and-coming contender.
“That’s something that will bring me back to top 15 or even top 10,” said Tybura. “I think I’ve been in a very good place. Like a couple of months ago, I adjusted everything in my head and in my training camps.”
Tybura enters this fight with a 19-6 record and having won 37 per cent of his fights by knockout. He averages 3.32 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 50 per cent and a 1.69 takedown average with an accuracy percentage of 48 per cent. In his last fight in Abu Dhabi he landed 70 total strikes, 46 per cent of his significant strikes and produced three takedowns.
Tybura is now 6-5 under the UFC banner and is eying a third straight win for the first time since 2016-17.
Tybura is a balanced fighter and while he boast the striking power most heavyweights have, he’s also very effective on the canvas with a sharp ground and pound attack.
A black belt in BJJ, Tybura has six career submission victories and four of those were decided by the rear-naked choke
The one negative is that Tybura has a questionable chin with four of his six career losses coming by knockout.
UFC Fight Island 5 takes place at Flash Forum on Yas Island and will be headlined by a bantamweight match-up between former champion Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen.
Starts at 1am (UAE), Sunday, on UFC Arabia
135lbs: Marlon Moraes v Cory Sandhagen
145lbs: Edson Barboza v Makwan Amirkhani
265lbs: Ben Rothwell v Marcin Tybura
170lbs: Dricus Du Plessis v Markus Perez
265lbs: Tom Aspinall v Alan Baudot
145lbs: Ilia Topuria v Youssef Zalal
185lbs: Tom Breese v K.B. Bhullar
265lbs: Chris Daukaus v Rodrigo Nascimento
185lbs: Joaquin Buckley v Impa Kasanganay
135lbs: Ali Alqaisi v Tony Kelley
145lbs: Giga Chikadze v Omar Morales
135lbs: Tracy Cortez v Stephanie Egger
125lbs: Bruno Silva v Tagir Ulanbekov