Nicolas Kambasis is looking to start 2021 in the same fashion he finished 2019.
Canada’s Kambasis (1-0) will make his first appearance in the cage since Sept. 2019 when he takes on the United States’ John Yannis (0-0) in a bantamweight contest at Peak Fighting 7 on Saturday night in Texarkana, Ark.
Kambasis’ last bout was a successful professional debut in which he submitted Gino Ghalehpardaz in the third round at Prospect FC 11.
If a victorious professional debut wasn’t enough, Kambasis, 27, said he gained plenty of confidence from a submission win in a fight he was certain he was going to keep standing against an opponent who was a brown belt in jiu-jitsu.
“For me, it was kind of an eye-opener. I just realized my jiu-jitsu and grappling is good, and not to count myself out and make myself one-dimensional,” said Kambasis in an interview with MMA Empire.
“After that fight, I just want to keep that balanced approach going. I don’t have to keep it standing, I can mix it up with these boys a little bit, grapple, and wrestle.”
After not being able to secure a fight in the COVID-stricken 2020, Saturday’s bout will be Kambasis’ first of two scheduled matchups to kick off 2021. He will also square off with Indroop Virk at BFL 66 on March 19.
Kambasis said to have two fights back-to-back is something he’s really thankful for and isn’t taking for granted.
“It feels amazing. I’m so grateful to be able to go from nothing last year to already having two matchups this year,” said Kambasis.
“I feel like a kid in a candy shop. I’m just so excited; I love this. Win or lose, I just want to go in there and perform my best and make Canada proud.”
With much of Canada still under strict lockdown measures due to COVID-19, completing a proper training camp in preparation for this bout was going to be tough to accomplish for Kambasis.
Instead of making do with the limited resources available in Canada, Kambasis and several of his teammates made the trip to Texas earlier this month to complete training camp at Genesis Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
“Back home, everything’s closed. You’re getting fined for keeping your gym open. But here in Texas, everything’s running like normal. You just wear a mask and you’re good to go. We’re training two or three times a day and hitting practices hard,” said Kambasis.
“It honestly feels like normal life. It’s not so crazy, it just feels like everything is back to normal down here. Me and the Canadian boys are loving it down here.”
But in order to make the trip to the southern states a complete success, Kambasis must first take care of business against a tough test in Yannis, who is making his professional debut following a 7-3 amateur career.
Kambasis said he knows Yannis’ biggest strength is his power, which he believes is a threat he’s built to handle.
“I think the biggest threat I have to worry about is just his heavy hands coming forward, but that kind of works into my gameplan a lot. I like to angle off and let people walk into my shots. I’m a purple belt in jiu-jitsu right now, so I feel like my grappling will be dominant,” said Kambasis.
“I really just have to watch out for those haymakers, keep the angles moving and if I feel threatened at any point, I’ll just take it to the ground and finish it there.”
“I want to thank all my sponsors (The Mortgage Matt Team, Bruckmann Martial Arts, Submission Shark, James Clarke Roofing, USG, Lid Lube, Mancave, Zoneify, Robust Electric, Jordan’s Exterior Metals, Vintage Speed and Metal, The Cave Boxing and Fitness, Ringside Management, True Believers Tattoo Club, Sovrin Extracts, Clarington Physio, Wynn’s Property Maintenance, Warrior Fight Store, Action MMA, Nam A Stay Gangsta, Briggs Commercial Concepts, Genesis Jiu-Jitsu, Savage Beard Essentials, Kalsamrit Gym, Crozier Mechanical Inc., Evolution Plumbing.” Follow Kambasis on social media: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM