Tom O’Connor doesn’t feel Devon Brock will be able to match his pace in Unified MMA 47 co-main event

Tom O'Connor
Tom O’Connor in the cage at Unified MMA 44. (Photo by Joel Griffith/MMA Empire)

Christmas is coming early for MMA fans in southern Alberta!

Unified MMA 47 will take over the Genesis Centre in Calgary, Alta. this Friday night to kick off the biggest month in the promotion’s history. Lethbridge Alberta’s Tom O’Connor (10-2) will welcome Californian Devon Brock (10-5) to Canada in the lightweight co main event.

“He brings a lot to the table and presents a lot of danger, and that’s what I love about this matchup,” O’Connor said in an interview with MMA Empire.

“I want to continue to level up. I’m excited to put on a show.”

With wins in six of his last seven, O’Connor’s upcoming opponent, Brock, is looking to make it four in a row when he steps into the Unified cage Friday night.

O’Connor, 30, has a lot of respect for the skills that have led to his opponent’s current streak.

“It’s an exciting fight. He’s a really good athlete, he has good striking, good hand speed and power, so it presents a lot of cool problems that way,” O’Connor said.

“I’m sure he’s working on a lot of things to go against me in that anti-grappling space, but, in general, he does have good defensive grappling so he can keep the fight on the feet. I don’t think he’s ever faced someone like me, though, who can present such a well-rounded game and, on top of it, a vicious pace.”

With most of his career finishes coming on the mat, O’Connor continues to feel more confident in his stand up game. He’s coming off a dominant submission win at featherweight against a lethal striker in his last outing at Unified MMA 44.

“It was really good learning from the energy John (Nguyen) gave off,” O’Connor said.

“He has some very good striker energy. He has those fast twitch muscle fibres that fire his strikes at a very quick rate, so it was good to be in there and feel that and trust in my own striking and let it go. I’ve never put myself in a box. I might tend to lean on grappling, but I just love working and putting on a pace they can’t keep up with, whether it’s striking or taking them down.”

O’Connor was set to return against Canadian MMA legend Tim Smith back in September but ran into health complications during the weight cut that forced him out of the contest.

“Yeah, I won’t be going lower than lightweight for the time being for sure, or until I learn, on a deeper level, what the cutting really is,” O’Connor said.

“MMA is a constant learning process in general, but when you add in the weight cutting and mastering it, it’s a lot. Knowing how to do it the right way is important. I’ve been working with professionals to learn more; it’s been a big help. I don’t know what the future holds. I love fighting at 155, so we’ll see. My body feels good, I feel really strong. I have a good mindset going into the weight cut, so I’m excited.”

With his 12-fight career spanning all over North America, O’Connor has always excelled in front of a hometown crowd. He’ll be looking to feed off their energy and put on a show for friends and family.

“The energy of the crowd, in general, is something I’ve always loved about fighting and performing. So whether I’m the underdog on the road or I’m at home, I feed off the crowd,” O’Connor said.

“You can’t beat a hometown crowd, though. I’m looking to put on a show for them and make it exciting. I want to welcome him to Canada and have fun doing it.”

O’Connor’s last five wins have all been inside the distance and he will be looking to keep that trend going Friday night.

“I want to come out right off the bat and be looking for the finish from the start, but as the predator hunting his prey I know I gotta wait for the right moment to pounce,” O’Connor explained.

“I’m not going to rush to finish things, but from start to finish I’m looking for the kill. I’m going to constantly increase the pace and my work rate and he’s going to have to keep up or finish me.”

O’Connor’s shoutouts

“Progressive Fighting Academy, all my coaches and training partners, CMC MMA in Lethbridge, Dynamic MMA in Calgary and also, as always, Anderson Goncalves Jiu-Jitsu. My sponsors: BAIN Store, Clever App and Frontline Towing and Recovery Ltd.” Follow O’Connor on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM

Fight preview brought to you by Lisa McInnes – Verico Paragon Mortgage Inc.