When Amir Albazi got the call from the UFC, he jumped all over the opportunity.
Albazi (12-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will replace Aleksander Doskalchuk and face Malcom Gordon this Saturday at UFC on ESPN+ 30 at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
It all came together pretty quickly for the London Shootfighters’ prospect, who woke up to a ton of calls from his team waiting to deliver the good news. The fight was just 10 days away, but Albazi didn’t have to think twice.
“Actually, it’s a funny story,” Albazi told MMA Junkie. “I woke up, it was exactly last Wednesday morning in London, I see a lot of missed calls from both my coaches and manager. So after that, I just called up my manager, he told me there’s a last-minute fight in the UFC, do you want to take it? Straight away, I said yes, sure. Went to the gym, did my last training session, then straight to Heathrow Airport. Literally I didn’t have time to pack all my things, so I went back home, put everything in a bag and just left straight away.”
Albazi takes on fellow debutant, TKO’s two-division champion Gordon (12-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC), whom he admits was not a familiar name until he realized that he was actually signed to the same promotion as him, Middle-Eastern based organization BRAVE CF.
“It makes for a good fight here in the UFC,” Albazi said. “If I fight him in the UFC or BRAVE, it doesn’t really matter.”
Albazi has fought all across Europe, notching two wins with Bellator, as well. His only career blemish came at the hands of ex-UFC flyweight Jose Torres in April 2019, but he was able to rebound with a first-round submission over Ryan Curtis last November.
While Albazi had no clue he’d be fighting on July 18 until a few days ago, he wasn’t completely out of shape. He was scheduled to make his third appearance for BRAVE CF in April before the event was canceled due to COVID-19.
The circumstances may not be convenient, but proven finisher Albazi is confident he’ll put an impressive showing on Saturday.
“I’m pretty relaxed with that,” Albazi said. “I’m just here, enjoying it, taking it all in, and at the end of the day it’s gonna be a scrap on Saturday night, so it is what it is. I’m more than ready and prepared for this fight.
“I think I was already ready a couple of years ago, but with them taking away the division and with all the drama with the flyweights, it was a lot harder going in. They weren’t really signing new fighters, so by now with this opportunity, I’m just happy to be a part of ‘Fight Island’ and happy to put on a performance on Saturday night.”
Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2020/07/ufc-fight-island-amir-albazi-prepared-short-notice-debut/