Graham Park prepared to show another level of aggression in Unified MMA 49 main event

Graham Park
Graham Park receives the Unified MMA light heavyweight belt at Unified MMA 38. (Photo by Joel Griffith)

Unified MMA is back at the River Cree Resort and Casino this Saturday to close out 2022.

In the Unified MMA 49 main event, Edmonton, Alta.’s own Graham Park (8-3) will defend his Unified MMA light heavyweight championship against¬†Ty Flores (9-4).

In his last outing, exactly one year ago to the day of Unified MMA 49, Park was looking to become a double champion, competing for the vacant super middleweight title. Unfortunately he came up short against one of Canada’s top prospects in Mariusz Ksiazkiewicz.

With his sights now firmly set on the 205 weight class, fans shouldn’t expect to see Park below the light heavyweight limit again.

“I always kind of played around with the idea that I could go back to 185 pounds. That experience definitely closed that door for me. 205 pounds is my home,” Park explained in an interview with MMA Empire.

“I’ve had lots of success there and I plan on continuing to do that. I’ve definitely learned some things though. I think I’ve been too nice in my last few fights and there’s just going to be another level of aggression this weekend.”

Park has a lot of respect for what his upcoming opponent brings to the cage. Although he feels like their styles are fairly similar, Park believes he does it a little bit better.

“Yeah I’ve watched his fights and he’s not really weak anywhere,” Park said.

“He has a strong all-around skill set, but I’ve always been training to be well-rounded as well and win the fight wherever it takes place. He’s a tough dude, he’s got good cardio, he’s definitely not going to quit early. I’m prepared. I feel like I have a good line on what he brings to the table and I’m ready to deal with it. He’s there to fight and I’m looking forward to it. This matchup is going to bring out another side that I’m excited to show the world.”

In an interview with Flores ahead of this weekend, he did point to Park’s full time job as a firefighter for the city of Edmonton as a potential disadvantage going into fight night, believing it could take away from the focus of training as a pro fighter. Park couldn’t disagree more. If anything, he believes it gives him an upper hand.

“I would say I have a pretty strong balance of work and fighting,” Park said.

“I spend a lot of time at the gym, my work schedule allows it. If he doesn’t think fighting is my main focus I’d say he’s kind of delusional. The best heavyweight champion we’ve ever seen (Stipe Miocic) is a full-time firefighter, so I just think he’s speaking out of a lack of knowledge on that one.”

With his background as a first responder and a 12-year pro career under his belt, Park has always leaned on his mental fortitude.

Win or lose, not one of his fights has made it to a second round. Although it’s not necessarily always Park’s goal, when he’s fighting his fight it usually doesn’t last long.

“I think anyone who’s mentally weak definitely gets weeded out by the time they make it to this level,” Park explained.

“I’m confident in my training and I’m confident in my abilities. I’m just going to go do my thing. I’m going to put my fight together and I still do believe I can get the finish. When I put together combinations with that forward pressure and mix in the grappling the finish usually shows itself.”

Park will be looking to add another title defence to his record in front of his home crowd on Saturday night. After that, the sky’s the limit.

“Nothing specific really. I did put my name in for PFL next year. I’m sure they’re probably watching this to see if I’ll make a viable contender in that,” Park said.

“I would like to get my foot in the door with the PFL and hopefully bring back a million bucks next Christmas.”

Park’s shoutouts

“Everyone at Shaved Bears MMA and Little Sweatshop. Head coach Jeff Montemurro, Jordan at Flex Chiropractic and Unified MMA for putting on these top level events. I’m proud to be a champion in such a high-level promotion.”¬†Follow Park on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM

Fight preview brought to you by Lisa McInnes – Verico Paragon Mortgage Inc.