It’s not only a title defence for Albaraa Atmeh, it’s another new experience.
Although successfully defending his title would mean a lot, Atmeh, 20, said he’s most concerned about adding to his list experiences he wants to have before making the jump to professional.
“I just want to experience everything about the game before I go pro,” said Atmeh in an interview.
“I used to be very fixated on the age I want to go pro at and the age I want to be in the UFC at, whereas now I just want as much experience as I can before I go pro.”
Although typically known for his striking, Atmeh has displayed a well-rounded game throughout his amateur career.
And while the striking is where he feels he will hold the biggest edge over Parsons, Atmeh said he’s prepared for anywhere the fight goes.
“I’m not going into this with a set game-plan; I’m not going into this saying I’m going to knock him out or submit him. If he wants to go five hard rounds of striking, I can do that. If he wants to take it to the ground, I can do that too,” said Atmeh.
“My job as a mixed martial artist is to prepare myself in every facet of the game, and to not do that is doing myself a disservice.”
With Atmeh being a natural featherweight, he will be up against a bigger and stronger Parsons, who has fought at as high as 170 pounds in his career.
But despite the weight and strength disadvantage he’ll be facing on fight night, Atmeh said his technique will be more than enough to offset it.
“I always say, and there’s so many proofs of it in the professional world of MMA, technique beats anything,” said Atmeh.
“He’s probably stronger than me, but that doesn’t mean he has more power than me and it doesn’t mean he’s going to be faster than me. At the end of the day, I think what gives you success and longevity in this career path is your fight IQ and having crisp technique.”
Parsons, 39, was originally planning for a lightweight bout on this card, but was instead offered the opportunity to fight for the featherweight title.
He said having to cut that extra 10 pounds has made for a tough past few weeks, but he is right on track to hit the 145-pound limit.
“I’m within six pounds now; I’m good to go. But having said that, in the last two or three weeks life has been hell,” said Parsons in an interview.
“I’ve been starving myself, running, doing saunas just to get a little sweat on, and just doing whatever I can.”
Parsons said he’s seen Atmeh fight in person, and had nothing but high praise for his younger adversary.
“The first time I saw him fight I thought this kid is good; I have to watch out for this guy,” said Parsons.
“He’s a good striker. To me, he looks like a pro on his feet.”
After having multiple title fights fall through in the past, Parsons will finally get his shot at his first belt on Saturday night.
He said winning a title is something he’s always wanted to do for his amateur career, and is one of the last items on his amateur list to check off.
“I know to a lot of people amateur titles don’t mean s**t, but to me it means a lot,” said Parsons.
“I’ve trained most of my life and have had my gym for 11 years now, only because of the love of the sport. It’s a dream of mine to win a title and then go pro.”
“First and foremost, I want to give a big thank you to my parents for always supporting me, my two younger brothers, my coaches Vince Gentile, Matt Krayco, and Bobby Triantafillou, and all my teammates.” Follow Atmeh on social media: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM
“I just want to wish the best of luck to my opponent and let’s one of us win a Harley at least!” Follow Parsons on social media: FACEBOOK