In just his first fight in nearly one year, Calgary’s Justin Basra will put his undefeated record on the line at Havoc FC 12 on Friday.
Basra (3-0) turned professional in early 2016 and went on to secure his first three victories in just over six months, but has since had tough luck lining up a fight, including having an event cancelled, and effectively leading to this long layoff.
But the time has finally come again for Basra to try and add to his impressive resume as he welcomes his toughest challenge yet in Randy Turner (8-6), fighting out of Ottawa, Ont. The two willing combatants will battle for the Havoc FC bantamweight belt, which is currently vacant.
“From what I know of him, he’s well-rounded, he’s a veteran of the sport, and he has 12-15 fights, so he’s a game opponent,” said Basra in an interview. “He’s definitely going to be my toughest opponent to date.”
Basra’s New-Found Jiu Jitsu Game
Basra has amassed seven combined professional and amateur wins so far in his young career, with the most recent six victories coming by stoppage. Given the limited jiu jitsu game he said he’s had in the past, six stoppages is even more impressive.
He said he’s coming into this fight with a vastly improved jiu jitsu game, having spent most of his training camp with Brad Cardinal, working on improving that area of his game.
“I never used to have a jiu jitsu coach,” said Basra. “After my last fight, I messaged Cardinal and asked if I could come join his team, so it’s been almost a year now I’ve been going to him two or three times a week. I think my jiu jitsu is on a whole new level now; I actually have a real jiu jitsu game.”
Basra said he plans to execute the same game plan he always does, utilizing aspects of the game he’s good at, continuing to move forward and push the pace, while also integrating his strengths in wrestling and grappling.
“His nickname is ‘Relentless,’ so he thinks he has a good pace as well. But I don’t think he’s going to be able to match my pace for 25 minutes, so I think it’s going to end in a stoppage with me winning.”
At 39 years old, Turner may be nearing the end of a successful MMA career, but that hasn’t stopped him from taking fights against some of the top bantamweights in Canada, including Basra.
Although he was on the losing end of his last three fights, he proved he can still be competitive against quality opponents in Austin Ryan, Corey Gower, and Chad Anheliger.
With another quality opponent in Basra up next, Turner said his training camp at the Ottawa Academy of Martial Arts wasn’t zoned in on one specific aspect, but rather preparing for the fight to go in any direction. He said he doesn’t know much about Basra, other than he’s a strong wrestler, so he wanted to ready for whatever comes his way.
“The way I see it unfolding is us being patient, making adjustments on the fly, and hopefully getting the fight into the deeper waters of the fourth or fifth round,” said Turner.
With retirement potentially on the horizon for the veteran, he said adding a championship belt to his list of accomplishments is what he’s been working his entire career for.
“I’m all in for this fight,” said Turner.
“To go out on a high note is obviously an understatement. This is what I’m coming for.”