After nearly four years since his last MMA fight, Tim Tamaki certainly isn’t easing his way back in.
Tamaki (17-28-1) will face finisher Delane LaMere (6-3) in a featherweight bout at Rumble in the Cage 60 on Saturday night in Lethbridge, Alta.
Other than a muay thai fight in 2016, Tamaki’s last time in the cage was back in Dec. 2014. But despite the lengthy layoff, Tamaki said he doesn’t expect to see any signs of rust.
“I’ll always be nervous for fights, but I don’t think the time off’s going to affect me,” said Tamaki in an interview.
“I’ve had so many hours in the gym sparring and rolling lately.”
With 17 wins in his career, Tamaki, 35, knows what it takes to earn a victory inside the cage.
And while he’s certainly looking to leave the cage with a win Saturday, he said he’s more focused on putting on the best performance he’s capable of.
“I’m just going to perform to the best of my abilities, and whatever happens, happens,” said Tamaki.
“I can’t just focus on winning or doing one certain thing. I’ve got to focus on performing to the best of my abilities.”
In 46-careers fights, Tamaki has no doubt seen it all inside the cage, from dangerous strikers to lethal jiu-jitsu specialists.
And while his scouting report tells him LaMere likes to stand and strike, Tamaki said he’s been preparing as if he’s dangerous everywhere.
“It seems like he likes to strike, but I’m going to take him as if he’s good everywhere,” said Tamaki.
“I have to be prepared to fight the best guys all the time, so I don’t want to underestimate anyone.”
Well, LaMere should prove to be one of those opponents Tamaki doesn’t want to underestimate.
LaMere, 32, said he’s always in search of the finish in the first round, which is fully supported by five of his six victories coming before the first bell.
“I feel like I’m a pretty exciting fighter. My base has always been striking because I come from a long line of a family of boxers,” said LaMere in an interview.
“I always go into every fight trying to take someone’s head off.”
LaMere, fighting out of Fort Belknap, MT, said he’s used to having to go into his opponent’s hometown and pull off the upset, which he’ll be forced to do once again Saturday night.
But although Tamaki calls Lethbridge home, LaMere said the land Lethbridge is on is his father’s ancestral homeland.
“If this was 200 years ago, I’d be riding a horse going in on a war party trying to collect scalps,” said LaMere.
“I try to live every day like my father and my ancestors did and live by that warrior code.”
While LaMere does have five first round finishes, only two of them have been by either knockout or TKO.
And despite Tamaki’s nickname “The Chin,” LaMere is confident he’s going to be able to land the knockout blow.
“I’m not underestimating him, but I honestly believe I’m going to catch him with a knockout,” said LaMere.
“I just have to watch for that big right hand he always throws, and I just know I’m going to catch him. I don’t think he’ll be able to deal with my speed and my reach.”
“I’d just like to thank all my teammates at Canadian Martial Arts Centre.”
“First of all, I’d like to thank the creator for blessing me the way he has. I’d also like to thank my wife and children for always supporting me, my manager at White Buffalo Fight Mgmt, all my family and friends, and my sponsors Fort Belknap Casino, Island Mountain Development Group, and Fort Belknap Tribe.”