This flyweight matchup was destined to happen.
The pair were originally supposed to square off for the vacant Unified MMA flyweight title at Unified MMA 35 in Calgary, Alta., but the event was cancelled.
Anheliger, 31, said this is a fight he wanted badly, and he said Chan agreeing to make the fight happen elsewhere after the cancellation shows he wants it just as bad.
“He’s had every opportunity to not take this fight. After our original event got cancelled, he didn’t have to re-sign for the new date and event, but he did,” said Anheliger in an interview.
“It’s just very clear to me he wants this just as bad as I do. He’s invested in just as long of a camp as I have. I’m definitely expecting a tough fight.”
With the original date supposed to take place in Anheliger’s hometown, he said he was initially disappointed after hearing the event was cancelled because he wouldn’t be fighting for a title in front of so much family and so many friends.
But Anheliger said he still has a large following making the trip to Chilliwack by his side, and he said he’s now looking forward to bringing the title home with him.
“Obviously, if I could pick, it would work out better here in Calgary, but it doesn’t change that much,” said Anheliger.
“Even though the fight’s not happening in Calgary, the belt’s coming to Calgary.”
Entering this contest, Anheliger’s coming in hot, having won five straight fights, which includes four finishes.
Anheliger truly believes his time has come inside the cage and that he’ll show why he’s the best flyweight in Canada.
“I’m really comfortable to beat him everywhere. I’ve never felt so comfortable with my own skills going into a fight,” said Anheliger.
“I know he’s going to be ready, but when we get in there and it’s actually time to fight, I’m just too much for him. I’ve got too much power, too much speed, I’m too mean, and in too good of shape.”
Chan Gave His All in Training camp
But just as Anheliger said, Chan does indeed want this fight just as much.
Chan, 37, said he’s made a lot of sacrifices this training camp and it would be rewarding to have the belt to show it was all worth it.
“It would mean the world. I’ve given so much in this camp,” said Chan in an interview.
“I have an almost one-year-old baby and so much time has been spent away from her and my girlfriend for training. That’s been the toughest part, and I’ll be tremendously disappointed if I’m not walking away with that belt.”
Chan’s experienced it all in the cage so far, having had three finishes, while also going the distance once.
Once again, Chan, fighting out of Kelowna, B.C., said he’ll have a finish in his sights, but has been preparing for 16 weeks for a five-round war.
“I’ve put myself in the state of mind that I plan to win in the first round, but I’m prepared to go five rounds,” said Chan.
“I absolutely have the skills to knock him out or submit him in the first round, but if it takes five rounds and is a gruelling, back and forth war, I believe I have that extra little bit to give.”
Prior to Rise FC coming onto the scene, Battlefield Fight League was the only major promotion offering a consistent platform for MMA in B.C.
Chan said he’s pleased to see another promotion now providing some competition, and is looking forward to being a large part of Rise FC’s growth moving forward.
“It’s nice to see another platform for up-and-coming B.C. fighters,” said Chan.
“Alberta’s MMA scene is a little more established, but hopefully B.C. isn’t too far behind now. I’m happy to be a part of Rise FC for sure.”
“I’m just really appreciative of Rise FC for picking up this fight. That’s something I know they didn’t have to do, and it’s something I’m really thankful for.”
“I really want to give a shout-out to my team at Toshido MMA. They’ve done such a great job preparing me for the fight. I’ve had great training partners and it’s been a great training environment.”