Ali Wasuk, Craig Maclean know what to expect of each other heading into BFL 66 matchup

Ali Wasuk (left), Craig Maclean (right) Credit: MMA Sucka/Nelson Yeo

Battlefield Fight League will make its UFC Fight Pass debut this weekend and one of the most exciting fights on a loaded BFL 66 card will feature two local men in Craig Maclean (5-3) taking on the streaking Ali Wasuk (3-1), who’s looking to make it four in a row.

With a long list of training partners at his disposal, the Tristar Vancouver product, Wasuk, has plenty of options when it comes to preparing for a fight.

Wasuk feels that dealing with Maclean’s known power won’t be an issue on Saturday night.

“I don’t train with anybody my size, everybody is at least one or two weight classes above me. And the guys I train with all have phenomenal power,” Wasuk said in an interview with MMA Empire.

“I know he has a lot of power, but if he’s just banking on that, it’s going to be a long night for him. In my head, I see me dictating where the fight goes. I’ll feel him out everywhere and see what my smoothest route to the victory is.”

Maclean, 33, doesn’t expect Wasuk to look to trade with him.

Most of Wasuk’s wins, dating back to his amateur career, have come via the judges scorecards and Maclean feels like that’s a telling trend.

“I think it’s going to be pretty obvious what he wants to do. He wants to take me down and grind me out, I think that’s just his style,” Maclean said in an interview with MMA Empire.

“He’s going to stand with me for awhile, but eventually he’s going to end up shooting and I’m totally prepared for that. People have seen my striking, of course, but I have a lot of things I’m looking to show out there, I only have one submission, but I’m a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, I’ve been training BJJ for years and I’ve got good wrestling, so expect to see it all.”

Wasuk rolling since committing full-time

Wasuk, 29, has been on a roll since making the jump to training MMA full time.

He said his renewed commitment to the sport has seen him improve immensely each time out. 

“Once you eliminate everything else and put your focus on one thing you start to really improve,” Wasuk said.

“It’s like when you get into gardening, if you’re constantly watering your plants and feeding them nutrients, they’re going to grow and become beautiful.”

The next test will undoubtedly be one of the toughest in Wasuk’s young career, but it’s one he says he’s been looking forward to.

“I know he’s a great guy and a very game opponent. I’m definitely not taking him lightly,” Wasuk said.

“I’ve put in a lot of work for this camp and that says a lot about him.”

Prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wasuk maintained a busy schedule in the cage, rattling off his first four professional fights in under one year.

With a victory Friday night over Maclean, Wasuk said he’s looking to stay busy once again, and hopes for a crack at the BFL bantamweight title.

“I’m looking to stay busy this year and my next step after I get past Craig is a title shot and a big name,” said Wasuk.

“I’ve never looked for an easy fight and I’m not one to pad my record, so the biggest name available after this win is what I’m looking for. I like to take big risks and take out big names.”

Maclean bringing the power

Maclean is known for his heavy hands and finishing ability, with only one of his professional fights going to decision.

As usual, Maclean feels his biggest advantage will be in the power department.

“I think I’ve just been gifted with that power. I have heavy hands and I look for a finish,” Maclean said. 

“I have a dangerous opponent ahead of me, but I think what separates us is the ability to close the show at any moment. I think that’s usually the case in my fights, I’ve always been heavy-handed. Some guys have speed, some guys have endurance. Heavy hands and power is what I have.”

Power isn’t the only thing Maclean has in his cookie jar, however.

While battling it out with some of the best Western Canada has to offer over the years, Maclean has learned how to mix it up.

“The hardest thing in this sport is putting it all together,” Maclean said.

“You can have guys who are very good in all aspects individually, but MMA is a sport on its own and putting them all together is super important. It’s a skill that not everyone can figure out and I think over the last four or five years I have.”

This will be both Maclean and Wasuk’s first time competing in the COVID-19 era and dealing with the new protocols and precautions in place.

Maclean said while it will take some getting used to the new protocols outside the cage, nothing changes once the cage door closes behind them.

“It’s just going to be a whole other experience for both of us. We’ve never had to isolate and travel to the arena in certain time windows, go straight to our dressing room and then fight and then leave,” said Maclean.

“It’s totally new and different so the whole idea is to be in the moment and be mentally prepared for everything. Once we get in the cage then it becomes easy, that’s where home is.” 

Wasuk’s Shoutouts

“I’d like to thank my head coach Kajan Johnson, all my teammates at Tristar, my management team and all my sponsors.” Follow Wasuk on social media: INSTAGRAM

Maclean’s Shoutouts

“I’d like to thank my coaches and teammates at Revolution Martial Arts, and all of my family.” Follow Maclean on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM

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