When the combatants are big, the shots are even bigger.
Neis, 34, has only fought past the first round once in his career, and said he can’t see this fight being a marathon either.
“It’s not going to be a slap and tickle fight, I’ll tell you that much,” said Neis in an interview.
“It’s going to be a hard fight, but let’s just hope Heinz doesn’t cross his feet when he tries to close that range. He’s going to go down early if he does that.”
In addition to his daily training at Black Dragon in Red Deer, Neis has been making weekly trips to Edmonton to train with Tanner Boser and Teddy Ash at Little Sweat Shop.
He said being able to train with high-level fighters his size has made for some solid rounds in which he hasn’t had to hold back.
“It’s nice because when I spar with Boser, I can actually throw. I don’t have to worry about people hitting the floor or saying that I hit them hard. It’s men fighting men, not men fighting boys,” said Neis.
“We get out and giver, and egos are left at the door.”
It’s been over three and a half years since Neis’ last time in the cage, but not for lack of trying to get back at it. In that time, Neis had five fights fall through, which he said was becoming very frustrating.
But despite the long layoff, Neis said he’s been training hard week after week the past three years, and said there won’t be any nerves or cage rust to worry about.
“I’m fighting in my hometown and I go fight and train every day. As far as nerves go, I’m doing what I like to do,” said Neis.
“It’s more the anxiety of wanting to get in there, get it done, and lay down a beating.”
Heinz Expects Tough Test
Heinz, 31, is also not expecting to be able to take advantage of a rusty Neis, as he said he’s always preparing for the best possible version of his opponent, no matter the circumstances.
Heinz’s most recent bout came in July of this year, and he said he’s expecting Neis to perform as if he also fought in recent months.
“Neis has a pretty good head on his shoulders. He’s fighting in front of his hometown, he’s fought there before and done well there before,” said Heinz in an interview.
“I think I’ll see the best Devon Neis that anyone’s seen so far, and I don’t expect anything less.”
While both Heinz and Neis have faced their fair share of diverse opponents, Heinz said he doesn’t believe Neis has faced anyone like him before.
He said his speed and movement will surprise Neis, and is something he can’t prepare for.
“I don’t think he’s fought a style like me before, so it’ll be interesting to see how he takes it,” said Heinz.
“I’m willing to go to the ground, I’m willing to stand up and bang, wherever the fight goes, I’m ready to go.”
Between the two of them, Heinz and Neis have never gone the distance, with 14 of their 16 combined fights ending in the first round.
With their track records, Heinz, fighting out of Lethbridge, Alta., said he’s expecting yet another quick fight, likely resulting in a knockout for one of them.
“I’m expecting it’ll be a knockout for one of us, whether it happens early or later,” said Heinz.
“It’s definitely going to be a fight to watch, that’s for sure.”
“I’d like to thanks my sponsors Red Deer Motors, Red Stag Barbershop, Bulletproof IT, Lapp Realty, and Choice Mechanical Ltd.”
“I’d like to give a shoutout to my wife after everything that’s happened and say that I love her. This win will be for Blaze.”