After dropping a tough decision to Chris Kelades in his last fight and suffering a broken hand, Keegan Oliver (6-6) returns to the cage Jan. 13 to take on Hardeep Singh (9-3) at BFL 53.
Oliver’s bout with Kelades on Sept. 9 was the second time in three fights he broke his right hand, but he said it’s now fully healed and ready to go.
“I’ve been taping my hand a little different for practice and I’ve had zero problems with it,” said Oliver in an interview. “The first time I broke my hand and came back, my hand was still sore in training. This time, my hand never gets sore.”
Oliver, 28, enters his bout with Singh, 43, having won three of his last four fights, two of which were against undefeated opponents. On the other side of the cage, Singh is fighting for the first time since 2012, which Oliver said makes it difficult to know what to game plan for.
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Keys To Victory
Oliver expects Singh to be tough and come out hard for the first three minutes of the fight, but said after that “it’s my game.” He expects his conditioning to be too much for Singh to handle following a five-plus year layoff.
“I’m probably one of the most active guys in Canada, if you include my boxing,” said Oliver. “I’m fighting four or five times a year.”
With the matchup taking place in Coquitlam, B.C., just 40 minutes from Singh’s hometown of Vancouver, Oliver said he knows he can’t let the fight go to a decision.
He said he’s been robbed too many times by the judges, and knows he won’t be awarded a decision so close to his opponent’s hometown.
“I know they’re not going to give me a decision in B.C., so I have to finish this guy. I know how this game works,” said Oliver. “I’m not going to go out there in a panic or in a rush or anything like that, but I know what the job is to do. I need to finish this guy.”
The Coach’s View
Oliver’s completed the majority of training for this fight with Vince Gentile at Dynamic MMA, and Gentile said he believes Singh made a big mistake in choosing Oliver for his first fight in five years.
“They need to do their research,” said Gentile. “Keegan’s been in all these fights for three rounds, with tough guys. They’re picking a guy who’s 28 years old and starting to peak now.”
Oliver’s last four opponents have a combined record of 27-11, with the most recent being a former UFC fighter in Kelades.
In Oliver’s professional career, four of his six victories have come by stoppage, three of which were knockouts.
Gentile said Oliver’s more motivated than ever to get back in the cage and avenge his most recent loss. He said all parts of Oliver’s game are in top form, and all that’s left to do is fight.
“It’s go time now,” said Gentile. “Enough is enough. It’s time to go out there and bang some heads.”