Coming off a big upset win in the eyes of many, Austin Russell is looking for a repeat performance Friday night.
Regina, Sask.’s Russell (2-0) tests skills against Gio Platon (2-1) in the BFL 70 co-main event. This bantamweight bout transpires from the BMO Theatre Centre in Vancouver, B.C.
Russell, 26, is riding the momentum of his winning performance at BFL 69, an impressive submission victory over Indroop Virk in the first frame of their fight.
“I think I did good. I know I can do a lot better. There are definitely some mental notes that I’ve made after that fight that I can improve on. But the game plan going in was not even to grapple or do anything with him because I knew coming in he was strong. He was going to have a strong wrestling base. He did a really good job on implementing his game plan and just initiating the grappling,” said Russell in an interview with MMA Empire.
“The whole time I just had to be patient and it’s just countering his shots. I knew my opportunity would be there. When I saw he left his head a little bit too low, I was able to slide in that ninja choke and the rest is history.”
Battlefield Fight League signed a deal with UFC Fight Pass earlier this year, which allows their events be streamed to a much wider audience.
Being on UFC Fight Pass can be a huge deal or an inconsequential factor for some. Russell said he lies somewhere in between.
“It’s really awesome that I’m given an opportunity to fight on (UFC) Fight Pass. I know it’s a really big thing, but at the end of the day I just make sure it doesn’t really throw me off my game because I just know it’s still a fight, right?” said Russell.
“I know all the crowd and the hype, they’re not in the cage with me. It’s just me and my opponent. When I hear that cage door close, that’s when I know nothing else matters. It’s just time to be present.”
This BFL 70 co-main event is in the bantamweight division and the main event is a bantamweight title fight.
Although Russell said he wishes to fight for the title as soon as possible, he hasn’t been made aware whether this fight is a title-eliminator fight or not.
“I haven’t really heard anything, any talks from BFL, or between my coach and them,” said Russell.
“We’re just taking it one fight at a time. I know if I just keep training hard and getting the results, I know I’ll be there fighting for a title sooner than later.”
Prior to suffering his first professional loss last time out, Platon had been on a finishing tear, even dating back to his amateur career.
The respect for his opponent was evident as Russell discussed the main stylistic proclivities of Platon.
“As soon as the fight starts, he just gets after it. It’s definitely good success and he even had that in his title fight against Serhiy (Sidey). So his approach, I’m definitely well aware of it,” said Russell.
“Me and my coach are doing the right things to prepare for it, but his striking is definitely going to be a big thing, and from his last fights he’s got power. It’s definitely something I do respect and I will be aware of, but I’ll still be able to get my hand raised.”
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