Shintani, Anderson Set For Elite-Level Matchup at Unified MMA 37

Their records and winning streaks speak for themselves.

Sherwood Park’s Craig Shintani (8-2) and Edmonton’s Neal Anderson (9-3) will square off in a 150-pound catchweight bout at Unified MMA 37 Friday night in Enoch, Alta.

With two title fights scheduled in the main event and co-main event slots, Shintani, 27, said this fight is flying under the radar, especially given what could be at stake for the winner.

Craig Shintani
Craig Shintani lands a body kick to Chris Day at XFFC 21. (Photo by Joel Griffith)

“I think this is a matchup people want to see, and they’ve wanted to see it for a long time. It’s just going under the radar purely on no belt being on the line,” said Shintani.

“The UFC coming to Edmonton is just a little more fuel to the fire. The UFC obviously wants guys with good records, and I think we’re both lining up at the right time to compete against one another.”

With both he and Anderson being regulars in the Unified MMA cage and both living in the Edmonton area, Shintani said they’re familiar with each other.

Having watched him fight, trained with him, and competed with him, Shintani said he believes there are a couple areas of Anderson’s game he will be able to take advantage of.

“There are some areas in MMA where not only does he not utilize them that much, but most people don’t train them that much,” said Shintani.

“There’s just some transitions I can look to score in and take advantage of.”

Throughout his career, Shintani hasn’t been known for leaving his fights in the hands of the judges, with six of his eight wins coming before the third round, including five in the first round.

And while Shintani said he does envision another finish coming his way, he said he’s prepared to go the distance, mentally and physically.

 

“I don’t think it’ll go to the judges. I’m prepared for it, but I do think I’ll be able to pull off a finish before the final bell rings,” said Shintani.

“I get paid to win. I don’t get paid by the hour, so I’m going to go in there, look for a finish and get my hand raised, whether it’s a minute or 15 minutes.”

Anderson Looking to Tame The Bully

Anderson, 31, is in the same boat as Shintani where he feels he has a good gauge on what to expect from his opponent.

Having just watched Shintani’s last fight at XFFC 21 with Chris Day, Anderson said the “bully” style of fighting he’s expecting was on full display in that bout.

Neal Anderson
Neal Anderson works against the cage in his Unified MMA 35 bout with Curtis Demarce. (Photo by Joel Griffith)

“He’s used to being the bully and he’s used to fighting while he’s ahead because he’s good,” said Anderson.

“I think I have to match him, let him know it’s going to be a tough fight, and maybe put a little doubt in his head and make it a little tougher for him.”

Much like the majority of his other recent training camps, Anderson has been splitting time between his home gym, Hayabusa Training Centre, and Shaved Bears MMA.

After what he said was a long, hard training camp, Anderson said he’s sick of training and is now ready to fight.

“I told coach Jeff Montemurro that I’m just sick of training, and he said his coach told him a long time ago if you’re sick of training, that means you’re ready to fight, so I guess that’s a good sign.”

Despite his current five-fight win streak, Anderson has still yet to receive a shot at current Unified MMA lightweight champion Shane Campbell.

Instead, Menad Abella was given the most recent crack at Campbell at Unified MMA 36, but the bout was changed to a non-title fight after Abella failed to make weight.

Given his record and winning streak, Anderson said he feels a win over Shintani should be his ticket to a future matchup with Campbell.

“That would be a six-fight winning streak for me. There’s other tough guys in the division, but I train with most of them and a lot of them are coming off losses or haven’t fought in awhile,” said Anderson.

“But right now I’m just focused on Craig. I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t crossed my mind, but I’ve learned you can only think about your next fight.”

Shintani’s Shoutouts

“I’d like to thank Clinch Fight Shop for the ongoing support, Pierce McAllister who’s been supporting me for a long time now, all my teammates at Kingdom MMA, my coaches and training partners, my amazing fiancé, all the guys at The Pit, Lisa McInnes of Flare Mortgage Group, and MMA Empire.” Follow Shintani on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM

Anderson’s Shoutouts

“I just want to thank my coaches and training partners at Shaved Bears and Hayabusa Training Centre and my sponsor Urban Edge Homes.” Follow Shintani on social media: FACEBOOK

This fight preview is brought to you by Lisa McInnes of Flare Mortgage Group.