Second chances are rare in the MMA world, and they only tend to come around if you really deserve them.
After missing his opportunity to claim the throne over the summer, Coquitlam, B.C.’s Ali Wasuk (4-1) is set for a crack at Burlington, Ont.’s Serhiy Sidey’s (5-1) BFL bantamweight title this Friday in the BFL 70 main event in Vancouver, B.C.
Obviously, getting rushed to the hospital wasn’t the ideal scenario leading into Wasuk’s first career title shot back in June.
And being forced out of the biggest opportunity in his young career was a tough lesson for the Tristar West Coast product, but it was a valuable one.
“Because the fights were so close together, I got a little sloppy on my diet and I started doing different things,” Wasuk said in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I was having a lot more fibre and my nutritionist explained it’s like if you see a stack of hay and pour water on it. It just soaks it all up and gets super heavy. And that’s kind of what happened. I was able to make the weight but it just killed me basically. Hindsight is 20/20 and it was a big lesson for me. I’m back to normal and I’m excited to hit the scales healthy.”
While Wasuk, 30, was out he kept an eye on the developments in BFL’s bantamweight division.
Sidey was able to capture the vacant title with a first round submission over Gio Platon back in September and although Wasuk did notice some improvements from Sidey off his back, he feels he still holds an advantage in most areas, especially when it comes to grappling.
“It was a quick fight and a great finish, but Gio was doing pretty well to start,” Wasuk said.
“He did get on top and he landed some shots. It was just a little bit of an amateur mistake on his part getting caught in the triangle. Hats off to Serhiy for sinking it in though. Serhiy’s kicks are a big part of his game and against a wrestler you don’t want to throw too many. Stylistically, I feel like it’s going to be a tough fight for him.”
Wasuk said he has sprinkled in some new names, along with some old staples, in preparation for his showdown with Sidey.
“It’s been good, I’ve added a few new people to my camp,” Wasuk said.
“I brought in a few high-level kickboxers and I’ve been working with Jauncey. I’ll be using him moving forward. And of course I’ve got my man Kajan Johnson as always.”
Wasuk is aware of the danger Sidey can present in the cage, but with the team he’s had around him for years he said he feels like it’s nothing new.
Always looking to keep the focus inward, Wasuk doesn’t spend much time contemplating his opponent’s approach.
“The beauty of having a guy like Kajan on my team I feel like he has a lot of the same tools that Serhiy has but just on a higher level, a little bit sharper,” Wasuk explained.
“Serhiy is young and getting into the groove of it, but I’ve had those looks for so many years, since I was an amateur. Now it’s all about fine-tuning it and come fight day I’m just going to look for openings and take what’s there. I never go in with a real game plan. I just focus on myself, try to utilize all my tools and see what happens.”
BFL 70 on Friday night brings the opportunity for Wasuk to lay claim to the gold he’s been chasing since he turned professional back in 2019.
It’ll be a fantastic clash of styles between two of Canada’s best bantamweights and a huge boost of momentum for whoever comes out on top.
“Since I’ve turned pro, I’ve had the BFL title as my background on my phone. I see it everyday,” Wasuk said.
“It’s been a long-time goal of mine to win the belt. It would mean a lot to me and this guy is one of the biggest prospects in Canada, so it’s really two of the best in the country going at it. I feel like after that it’s a big ticket for either fighter. Whoever wins this fight is going to get a big push.”
“My entire team at Tristar West Coast, J. Jauncey and WKX, Lions MMA team, and all my sponsors.” Follow Wasuk on social media: INSTAGRAM