Last time Austin Batra entered the BFL cage, he was the hunter. Now, he’s the hunted.
Now being the champion, Batra, 23, said he expects Hayer to come out strong and “trying to take his head off,” but there’s no circumstance in which he will be surrendering the belt on Sept. 22.
“Last time, the game plan was kill or be killed, but leading into this fight the mindset is kill or kill,” said Batra in an interview.
“I’m not prepared to die in there. I’m just there to go in there and kill him, and come out with a victory.”
With Hayer’s extensive kickboxing background, Batra, fighting out of Surrey, B.C., is expecting him to try and keep the fight standing, and utilize his long reach and frame.
And while he possesses the skills and experience in the wrestling department to take the fight into his world, Batra said he’s been working a lot on his stand-up game, and is looking to showcase it.
“I just need to be patient and pick my shots,” said Batra.
“It all comes down to the first exchange, and who’s hungrier. The first exchange will really set the tone for the fight.”
In his five career amateur fights, Batra has yet to go the distance in any of the match-ups, including three of his four wins coming in the first round.
With Hayer also having the same knack for avoiding the judges scorecards, Batra said he’s expecting an explosive, back and forth slugfest.
“My focus is on one thing, and that’s Perry Hayer. We’re going to dance on Sept. 22 and there’s going to be fireworks,” said Batra.
“He’s going to come in with his game plan to keep it standing and I’m going to have my game plan to keep it standing while mixing in some takedowns. It’s going to be a little preview of Khabib versus Conor.”
Well-Rounded Version of Hayer
Knowing the extent of Batra’s background, Hayer, 32, said he’s been working a lot more on his wrestling and grappling this training camp.
Hayer, fighting out of Surrey, B.C., said he knows the dangers of Batra’s wrestling and wants to be as prepared as possible to defend against his takedowns, but said at the end of the day, it’s not a wrestling match.
“We’re fighting MMA. At the end of the day, his wrestling might be good, but I’m going to be punching him in the head every time he comes to shoot on me and every time we’re grappling,” said Hayer in an interview.
“And from what I hear, he doesn’t like to get hit very much.”
Hayer is one of the most experienced amateurs in Western Canada, having already fought 12 times leading into this matchup, including squaring off with tough opponents such as Chris Anderson, Achilles Estremadura, and Christian Tremayne.
The one thing his amateur career is missing is a championship belt, and he said winning the title Saturday night would be the cherry on top of a successful amateur career.
“It’s going to be the perfect cap to close out my amateur career,” said Hayer.
“This is going to be my last amateur fight, and I’ll be looking to go dominate the pro circuit after this.”
Despite being known for his kickboxing background, three of Hayer’s five amateur wins have come by submission.
Whether it’s through striking or his jiu-jitsu game, Hayer said he will leave the cage Saturday night with a finish.
“I plan on hurting him, and I know I will. I’m much longer than him, I move better than him, and I know my standup is many levels ahead of his,” said Hayer.
“Either way, it’ll be a knockout or a submission, and I will win this fight.”
“First and foremost, I’d like to thank my coaches and my family because without them, I’m nothing. I’d also like to thank my sponsors: Collab Premium, Delush Bath and Body, Seva Wellness Clinic, Sukhi Dhanda from Dhanda & Company Chartered Accountant LTD, High and Buy Abbotsford, and Studio Green. Finally, I’d like to thank my best friend, Carly, for putting up with everything from the moment we started this fight camp 12 weeks ago till now.
“I’d like to thank my team at World Kickboxing XTRM and Revolution Martial Arts and everyone who’s supported me throughout the process.”