Mixed Martial Arts competition is back underway in the United Kingdom thanks to Dominic Gibbs and his team at Caged Steel. Caged Steel is putting on an exceptional show on April 10th, featuring twenty bouts. The event will be broadcasted live on pay-per-view for viewers at home. Due to current restrictions in the UK, Caged Steel 25 will be a behind closed doors event.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Richie Bonallie as he prepares to make his return to competition after a long haul out, dating back to 2019. Richie Bonallie’s return to action takes place on Caged Steel’s 25 preliminary card against Oscar Ownsworth.
The fight card consists of multiple exciting amateur title fights, a stacked preliminary card with a thrilling main card. The main event on the night consists of a flyweight clash, as former Cage Warriors title challenger Scott Malone takes on a young and hungry Elliot Hoye.
Richie Bonallie (1-1) will be looking to kick his 2021 season off with a bang by securing a win over Ownsworth on April 10th, and having UFC bantamweight Davey Grant as his coach will definitely assist in doing so. After making the jump to the pro-ranks after an active amateur career, the fights have slowed down for the 31-year old, competing just twice since the start of 2019.
Richie Bonallie’s career as a professional got off to a bright start at Last Man Standing 8, picking up a rear-naked choke victory over Jack Parker. Eight months later Richie Bonallie tasted his first defeat at Shogun MMA 3, suffering a unanimous decision loss to PK Zadeh, who has recently picked up victories on Brave CF.
Oscar Ownsworth (1-2) will be determined to put his last loss behind him and climb his way back to the big shows. Considering the troubling times in the world, Ownsworth was still able to have a fairly active 2020, competing twice. The 26-year old secured his first win as a pro with a round-one bulldog choke over Eddie Johnson at Almighty Fighting Championship 16. To close 2020 off, Ownsworth was presented with a huge opportunity to compete at Cage Warriors 117 and fell victim to a round-one rear-naked choke to Adam Cullen.
Both men are coming off losses, eager to right the wrongs. It’s important to note that Adam Cullen has never been out of the first round as a pro. Don’t blink.
Interview with Richie Bonallie
It’s been a while since we’ve seen you compete, dating back to 2019. How has life been for you amongst the madness of the pandemic? How have you been keeping yourself active, busy and healthy?
Richie Bonallie – “Madness is a good word to describe it. Let’s leave the politics out or I’ll rant all day. I trained by myself for the first few months then when I realised I wasn’t going to die, I found some like-minded people.”
While in fight camp, talk us through your usual training schedule/routine, are your camps specifically tailored to your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses or is it a case of making sure your crisp and ready across all departments?
Richie Bonallie – “I work during the day, so train every night and weekends. Previous fight camps have just been turning up to various Kickboxing/Grappling classes but this camp has been more specific pro-MMA training, and some opponent specifics but more focusing on myself.”
You’re a few weeks out from the fight, how’s your preparation looking so far? Are you facing any challenges due to the current restrictions?
Richie Bonallie – “I’m more or less ready to fight, just the last sharpness and weight loss to go.”
For the fight fanatics that will be reading this, can you tell us a bit about your journey into mixed martial arts? How did you get involved and why is this a path you chose to go down? Any interesting stories in that aspect?
Richie Bonallie – “I started MMA quite late. In my mid 20’s my doctor tried to put me on blood pressure tablets and told me the way I was going I wouldn’t see 30. I stopped in one weekend for the first time since I was a teenager and watched UFC 80. I thought it was amazing and that I could do it. I spent the next year weaning off “the session” and training myself then joined Team Yasumazu in Sunderland a year later and never looked back.”
You’ve previously been matched to face Owen Ownsworth but the bout didn’t happen. How do you feel about this matchup stylistically and how do you view him as an opponent?
Richie Bonallie – “He’s a professional fighter so I take him seriously and respect him but confident I can beat him.”
Have you watched any tape on Ownsworth, if so, is there any strengths or weaknesses you can identify in his game that you feel you can capitalise on?
Richie Bonallie – “Yes, haha”
As stated previously, you’ve been inactive, Ownsworth has had two bouts in 2020, is that something that concerns you at all that may hinder your performance?
Richie Bonallie – “That doesn’t bother me. I’ve had plenty of competitive MMA training rounds in a cage, with people watching, against good lads regularly.”
Lastly, can we get an official fight prediction from you?
Richie Bonallie – “I’ll finish him.”
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All image credits to Caged Steel