It hasn’t taken Behrang Yousefi long to make his presence felt in Canadian MMA, and on April 28th the up-and-coming fighter will hope to continue doing so in Grande Prairie, Alberta. After going 4-0 to begin his pro career, Yousefi has been awarded a bout with Josh Machan at King of the Cage’s upcoming “Unified” card, which will determine the promotion’s Canadian bantamweight champion.
“I never thought I would ever be a professional athlete, never mind a champion of my weight class,” said Yousefi, who has won all four of his bouts in the opening round. “I accepted the fight for the belt without knowing who I was fighting; once I knew it was Josh I was stoked! I love being the underdog.”
Perhaps the reason Yousefi refers to himself as an underdog, is due to the fact that Machan has been fighting professionally since 2006, while the Red Dragons fighter is coming off his first year as a pro.
After going 0-3 to begin his pro career, Machan has gone 8-1 since, and the only man to defeat him since 2007 is the UFC veteran Mitch Clarke.
“I know that Josh is much more experienced then me and he shows a lot of heart in each fight; the guy lost his first 3 fights and went on a 7 fight in streak,” Yousefi noted. “That just shows what kind of warrior Machan is.”
Of Machan’s eight professional wins, seven have come via submission, including a first round, heel hook victory he secured over Nick Heynen in November.
“Josh has many great abilities, yet I can not allow myself to be concerned by any of them,” Yousefi furthered. “My job is to shut them all down.”
To prepare for what will be the biggest in his career to date, Yousefi continues to train out of the Pix Martial Arts facility in St. Albert.
“My coaches Jarid Bussemakers and David Ansah, special guest coach Kyle Larade; my awesome teammates at Pix Martial Arts, all the Red Dragons and last but not least, my brother Behnam Yousefi,” said Yousefi, while discussing who has been assisting him in his ongoing training camp. “We haven't changed what we do for training or how we do it, we've just made me better at what I do.”
Yousefi entrenched a shot at the KOTC Canadian bantamweight belt in October, by tapping out Matt Whitten in the first round at the promotion’s “Gold Mine” event in Dawson Creek, British Columbia.
“I felt somewhat happy with my last performance,” said Yousefi, who submitted Whitten with a rear-naked-choke. “I always see room for improvement.”
After managing to fight four times in his rookie year, Yousefi is looking to maintain or exceed that schedule in his sophomore campaign.
“I would like to have four to six fights in the year 2012; perhaps a title defence in July,” the optimistic Yousefi noted.
And how does the 23 year-old-fighter see his April 28th bout with Machan unfolding?
“I predict it will be a hard fought fight with only one man being able to stand when its all done, since we both don't have any quit in us.”
Tickets for the upcoming “Unified” card, which will also feature UFC vet Tim Hague versus Jordan Tracey, can be purchased at the Crystal Centre Box Office in Grande Prairie.