Maclean, Anheliger Clash in Champ Versus Champ Bout at Rise FC 3

When you hear champ versus champ, you also hear fireworks.

Aldergrove’s Craig Maclean (5-2) will defend his Rise FC bantamweight title against current flyweight champion Chad Anheliger (8-5) at Rise FC 3 Saturday night in Chilliwack, B.C.

Backed up by all five of his professional wins being finishes, Maclean, 31, said he feels he’ll have an advantage over Anheliger wherever the fight goes.

Craig Maclean
Craig Maclean celebrates his bantamweight title victory with his team at Rise FC 2. (Photo courtesy of Rise FC)

“To be honest, I think I just edge him out a little bit everywhere,” said Maclean.

“I know I have better striking, I think I’ve got better jiu-jitsu, and I think I’m just an overall better version of Chad.”

Although he feels he’s the superior fighter, Maclean said he knows Anheliger will provide a stiff challenge.

He said Anheliger hasn’t won six straight fights for no reason, and he’s expecting to see the most confident version of him Saturday night.

“He’s done really well. He hasn’t lost in a long time, so he’s very confident,” said Maclean.

“He believes in his power and he believes he’s got good submissions. His last fight was at 125, but most of his other fights have been at 135 and 130, so he’s a threat at bantamweight.”

After winning his bantamweight title at Rise FC 2 with a first round knockout of Andrew Bard, Maclean will be making his first title defence Saturday night.

But while he said defending the title would be nice, the win over Anheliger would mean more to him.

“More than anything, a win here will further my career. That’s the big thing,” said Maclean.

“My goal is to make it to the next level. When I’m 50, I don’t want to be saying I was the local champ in Chilliwack. I want to be the guy saying I fought with some of the best in the world and fought at the highest level. That’s what I want to be remembered for.”

Anheliger Looking For Tough Fights

While Anheliger, 32, has the opportunity to become a double champ for Rise FC, he shares similar feelings to Maclean.

Calgary’s Anheliger said while holding two belts simultaneously would be fantastic, he’s more focused on continuing to be involved in tough fights.

Chad Anheliger
Chad Anheliger throws a strong left in his flyweight title bout with Terrence Chan at Rise FC 2. (Photo courtesy of Rise FC)

“I’m just looking for big fights against tough guys,” said Anheliger.

“There’s not that many guys left out there that want to fight me. I’ve won six in a row with five finishes, and haven’t lost in five years. There’s not a lot of guys knocking on the door to fight me these days.”

While Anheliger has shared the cage with the likes of Terrence Chan, Randy Turner, and Noah Ali, Maclean may provide his stiffest challenge to date.

Anheliger said he knows what Maclean brings to the table and knows his seventh straight victory won’t come easy.

“I’ve seen him put quite a few guys away. I know he’s got some power in his strikes,” said Anheliger.

“But more than anything, I just know he’s a professional, he’s well-trained, and he’s got good skills overall.”

Having won his flyweight title the same evening Maclean claimed the bantamweight title, Anheliger said this matchup was on his mind instantly.

He said Maclean is someone he’s always expected he would fight one day, and decided it was the perfect time to ask for the opportunity.

“I’m not embarrassed to say I asked for this fight,” said Anheliger.

“I just felt like it was a great matchup and it’s an exciting fight. These are the type of fights I want to be in; I want to get people talking.”

Maclean’s Shoutouts

“I just want to thank Revolution Martial Arts, Supplement King Chilliwack, The Power Within Hypnotherapy and Paul Frost Real Estate.”

Anheliger’s Shoutouts

“I just want to give a shoutout to my girlfriend, Jenny. She’s been super supportive. She helps me do all my meal prep and just helps me get through these long, hard camps.”

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