Afghanistan’s Abdul Azim Badakhshi and Brazil’s Marcelo came face-to-face ahead of their Matrix Fight Night 7 bout at the Taj Falaknuma Palace here on Thursday.
After holding three editions of India’s biggest MMA competition in the UAE, MFN returns to India and will be hosting its 7th edition on Friday. The event is sanctioned by the All India Mixed Martial Arts Association (AIMMAA).
Speaking on his Featherweight main event fight against Marcelo at the press conference, Abdul, who proudly waved his Afghanistan flag, said that he wants to win to give a reason to cheer to people back home.
“I have trained really hard for this fight. I want to win. People back in Afghanistan have faced hardships in recent times. I have focused all of those emotions on winning this fight. If I could spread happiness in Afghanistan with a win here, I will feel proud,” he told reporters here.
Marcelo, too, admitted that he has a big responsibility on his shoulders to win the bout on Friday for his nation.
“I have a big responsibility. This is why I am training every day. I am never afraid. I was born to do this. MMA is in my blood and I am always ready to fight,” Marcelo said, as he proudly waved the Brazil flag.
Alan Fenandes, Director Operations, went on to describe the main event between Abdul and Marcelo as a “cracker of a contest”. “We needed to infuse some international talents in MFN. It’s good to have all the fighters on the heels that there is a better level of talents coming to you. With these two guys fighting on the card, these guys need to understand that they have a lot of catching up to do. The sky is the limit now,” he said.
Meanwhile, AIMMA commissioner Daniel Isaac spoke on his responsibility of keeping the fighters safe and explained the process that goes with the same, including strict implementation of weight limit guidelines.
“This is the most important job we have as officials. We cannot allow a single lapse. A simple lapse will affect all of our safety and health norms of our athletes. MMA fighters risk their lives every time they enter the cage. We have a responsibility to keep them safe. There is no bigger job for us than this. We take all the procedures to ensure that, and sometimes the fighters do not like our interferences. But we, as parents, have to look out for them,” he said.