Bigger promotions, bigger fights, and title shots are all up for grabs in this one.
Sherwood Park’s Craig Shintani (9-3) will go to war with Edmonton’s Cole Campbell (3-3) in a 160-pound catchweight bout at Unified MMA 40 on Saturday night in Edmonton, Alta.
Having won three of his last four contests coming in, including two first round finishes, Shintani, 28, said he’s hoping a convincing win over Campbell on Saturday night may be his ticket to the big show.
“I feel like a win puts me in a spot to potentially get my name in the UFC or another big promotion. I feel like it’s not an undefeated record, but it is a very good record. It’s hard to say exactly what they want; I know they want wins and I know they want finishes, and I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of doing that,” said Shintani in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I’m going to try and a get ahold of a manager in the very near future to see if I can maybe get a shot on the Contender Series, or I’ll take a short notice fight. They could give me a day’s notice and I’ll fight anybody.”
For Campbell, 27, Shintani will be his toughest and most experienced test of his six-fight professional career so far.
Campbell said if he’s able to defeat Shintani this weekend, he believes it’ll create many more opportunities for bigger fights down the road.
“I feel it just opens doors for bigger and better opponents,” said Campbell in an interview with MMA Empire.
“If I get a win over him, I feel like it opens up my options. I’ll be offered more fights, higher level fights, and hopefully one day fight for a belt with Unified.”
Shintani was last in action back in November at Havoc FC 14, where he became the Havoc FC lightweight champion after submitting Corey Gower in the first round.
Not only did his quick finish add another belt to his collection, but Shintani said it filled him with momentum and confidence moving forward.
“It was just a nice win momentum-wise for me. Going out there, putting on a clean performance, doing it quickly, and winning a belt was just a nice push to get me to a bigger promotion,” said Shintani.
“That was also a good experience for me just mentally. I hadn’t gone out there in awhile and had a quick, clean finish, so it felt nice to get that. It made me very confident in where I’m at right now.”
With both he and Campbell living in the Edmonton area and both being regulars in the Unified MMA cage, Shintani is no stranger to what Campbell brings to the table.
And with Campbell set to be the slightly bigger fighter come fight night, while also coming from a strong gym, Shintani said he believes nothing will come easy on fight night.
“He’s a tough guy, a good wrestler, and well-rounded, so I expect to have to earn everything that comes my way,” said Shintani.
“I’m expecting nothing easy in this fight. He’s not going to go out there and quit; I have to find that finish and really earn it. It’s going to take some digging deep on my part and I look forward to the challenge.”
Campbell also found success his last outing in the cage, submitting Dave Pogson via rear-naked choke in the second round at Unified MMA 38.
Campbell said one thing he focused on heading into his last fight was sticking to a strict training regime, which is exactly what he continued heading into this fight.
“I’m just staying strict with the training and not slacking during the offseason,” said Campbell.
“This year, I stayed busy the whole offseason. I didn’t take any real big time off from training; I just trained consistently the whole time.”
One of the big changes Campbell made for this training camp was making the move from Kamikaze Punishment over to the team at Shaved Bears MMA.
Now training with the likes of Tanner Boser, Teddy Ash, KB Bhullar, Graham Park and Christian Larsen at one of Canada’s premier gyms, Campbell said he’s noticed massive improvements since making the switch.
“Iron sharpens iron. You can’t get away with the little things you used to be able to get away with,” said Campbell.
“There’s no easy rounds ever. It’s just all grueling, hard work and it’s good to train with people that are like-minded like that.”
“I’d like to thank my sponsors (Pierce McAllister, The Clinch Fight Shop, Alberta Combat Seminars) my coaches, my beautiful wife, my teammates, and everyone who supports me.” FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM
“I just want to thank everyone over at Shaved Bears MMA and Frank Lee’s for training and working with me.” FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM