The Bellator MMA fight schedule plows on as we are approaching another fantastic night of fights on the 25th of June in Uncasville, Connecticut. The ten-bout fight card has everything on offer, from debutants to undefeated records on the line. Most importantly, in the night’s main event, the interim heavyweight championship is up for grabs as an informed Tim Johnson meets Valentin Moldavsky, who rides a five-fight winning streak of his own.
As every fight night, we expect the opening bout of the night to set the tone for the rest of the fights. Opening up the fight-card on the night is the 42-fight veteran in Lee Chadwick, who travels stateside to welcome Simon Biyong to the bright lights of Bellator.
Lee Chadwick (26-15-1) enters the bout with a bucket-load of experience behind him. The thirty-six-year-old is as game as they come and has seen it all in terms of opposition, but has he seen a high-flying knockout artist like Simon Biyong?
Chadwick joined the promotion in 2019, where he dropped a unanimous decision loss to Fabian Edwards In Newcastle, England. Just three months later, the Englishman found his feet with his first Bellator win against James Mulheron. Since then, Lee Chadwick has dropped a split decision loss to Karl Moore. Recently, Chadwick pocketed his most impressive win, beating Ederson Cristian Macedo at Bellator 247 in October of last year.
Chadwick has proved to be a problem for any light heavyweight, showcasing he has the power to shut your lights out in a flash and also has the toughness and durability to go a full three rounds. Chadwick’s opponent, Simon Biyong, has only tasted defeat once in his professional career. Biyong’s lone loss came via submission, which is something to consider when Chadwick brings a 54% submission rate to the table.
Simon Biyong (7-1) will be making his Bellator debut and enters the bout in the best form of his career. The African-born, who now fights out of Italy, has recorded six knock-out victories out of his seven professional wins.
Simon Biyong’s confidence will be sky high in preparation for 25th June, with a four-fight win streak behind him, all by way of knockout. The X1 boxing affiliate recorded wins on Slam FC, Nova FC, EFC; before making a big statement at RIZIN 20 with a second-round knockout over Russia’s Vitaly Shemetov.
Biyong was scheduled to make his debut for the promotion last October against Melvin Manhoef. Unfortunately, the bout was canceled, and the thirty-year-old has spent longer on the sidelines than expected. Let’s take a look at the interview answers by Lee Chadwick leading up to his fight against Biyong.
Interview with Lee Chadwick
How has preparation been for you in the lead up to Bellator 261?
Lee Chadwick – “My camp has been great, I didn’t get the fight until 5-weeks before the fight date but I was training anyway, hoping for a date. I’ve been training 2-3 times a day for this fight, I’ve had to incorporate a lot of midnights runs to prepare my body for American times.”
It’s been a hectic two years with the global pandemic, with limited training resources and partners due to restrictions. Are you feeling with the gym’s back open and training underway you’re going to be fully prepared and ready? I ask as I believe we’ve seen you compete twice under the pandemic and I’m wondering if it’s affected you at all?
Lee Chadwick – “If I’m honest the pandemic has made me a better fighter, with fewer fights I’ve been able to work on my skill-set with my coach and a small bubble of pro fighters. I used this time to get better.”
For our followers who may not watch Bellator as much and aren’t familiar with yourself, I like to give them a little background of who you are, how you got into the sport of MMA, and why is this a path you chose to go down?
Lee Chadwick – “As a kid, I was always getting moved around from house to house as my mum and dad struggled to pay the bills. When I was 4, we moved to London for a couple of years to live with my uncle while my parents sorted themselves out. When I was 6 we moved back to Liverpool, accept the problem was I had a cockney accent. I was seen as an outsider in school and people tried to bully me, sometimes I won sometimes I lost, but I would always fight back, even though I wasn’t great at it.”
“When I became a teenager my mum sent me to a senior school out of the way to keep me away from our local scally’s, that was a mistake because then I was more of an outsider than ever. I fought after school, most weeks for years defending myself against gangs, I got jumped with bats, hit with a car, you name it it was done to me.”
“I did a bit of Greco wrestling when I was 11 so I was always pretty strong and was able to stay solid and never got hurt too much, after school I worked on the building, then a factory, while in the meantime practicing martial arts and doing my training qualifications. I started fighting at 20 and never looked back, loved it, and still love it.”
Bellator 261 will mark your fifth bout with the promotion, how would you sum up your time with Bellator so far? You’ve had some tough fights and some impressive wins, what else can we expect to see from Lee Chadwick?
Lee Chadwick – “Yes I have loved my journey so far, I’m working hard to be a lot better, I’ll break into the top 10 in 2 more wins I believe, then I’ll climb to the title, I wanna be in the next LHW tournament, hopefully, 2022 or 2023.”
I’m unsure of the logistics of your contract, are you currently on a multi-fight deal with the promotion? I ask because I’m curious if this could be towards the end of the contract and it’s a vital win to secure yourself a new deal? I speak to some fighters and many have said the nerves when they come towards the end of their contract that they feel pressured to perform? Is this something that’s playing into your mind ahead of this bout?
Lee Chadwick – “I’m on my 2nd multi-fight contract but only 1 fight in, I have 3 fights left on this contract, 2 after June 25th, I don’t worry about that stuff I believe everything happens for a reason.”
We last saw you compete in October of last year, having some time to reflect, how many times have you watched the win over Ederson Macedo and how do you feel that overall performance went? Were you completely happy with everything and how it played out?
Lee Chadwick – Yes, I loved that fight, the whole experience was amazing, I was happy at the time with that performance, but now 8 months later, I feel I’m a lot better so I’ve stopped watching it, I did watch it a lot afterward’s for weeks though.”
As stated previously, It’s been eight months since we’ve seen you inside the Bellator cage. You’ve had long spells out of MMA competition but are you afraid ring rust may play a factor or are you one of those athletes who think ‘ring rust’ is just a myth?
Lee Chadwick – Sometimes it works better, if you don’t party, time off from fights should mean learning and training and work on new skills, that’s what I’ve been doing, as a professional it’s important to get better in between fights, there’ll be no rust for me.”
Looking at your opponent on the night in Simon Biyong, a strong finisher riding a four-fight win streak. What were your initial thoughts on the match-up when it was offered to you and was there any hesitation on your end?
Lee Chadwick – “No, I’ve never hesitated, always been happy to fight anyone in the world.”
How do you feel you match up stylistically with Simon Biyong, have you and your team had an opportunity to watch his previous bouts on Rizin and formulate a game-plan around that?
Lee Chadwick – “Stylistically I feel it’s an awkward fight for me as well as him, he’s tall and long and I’m compact, complete opposites, the difference is I’ve fought people like him a better than him before, he hasn’t fought anyone on my level yet, I’m his test, and he’s in my way, ye I’ve seen his fights, my game plan is there and ready and I won’t be revealing till the night.”
Lastly, can I have an official fight prediction from you, how do you see this one playing out?
Lee Chadwick – “I believe I will take him out in round 1 , submission or KO”
Featured Image Credits to: Embed from Getty Images