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Interview with Kieran O’Brien ahead of ‘EOC 7’.

Evolution Of Combat returns on the 19th of September in Glasgow, Scotland. Putting on their second event of 2020 for the local fight fans. Many athletes from across the UK have been itching to jump back into competition while the world of martial arts has stopped. The event will be available on PPV. Evolution Of Combat has treated us to an exciting main event that features Cage Warriors veteran Scott Malone and Kieran O’Brien who is no stranger to the promotion. Both men will battle it out for the EOC Vacant Bantamweight Title.

Kieran O’Brien (4-3) has been competing professionally since 2016. He has recently appeared to find his feet inside the octagon bringing a two-fight winning streak to the table. The end of 2019 saw the Englishmen KO Ryan Cooper at Evolution Of Combat 5 within 11 seconds of the first round. Just a few months later O’Brien returned to take on Iain Postlethwaite at Evolution Of Combat 6. He won by submission as he secured a rear-naked choke victory. Evolution Of Combat has seemed to work for O’Brien with four of his professional wins coming under the promotion.

Scott Malone (6-4) has found himself in somewhat of a rut recently losing his last three bouts. Malone looked destined for success. He built himself an impressive 6-fight winning streak before meeting Jack Shore, Jack Cartwright, and Adam Wilson. These highly skilled opponents show you what level Malone was and can compete at. The nickname ‘Boom Boom’ is there for a reason.

Interview

How have things been for you from a training standpoint under the current pandemic? Do you feel you’re coming into this bout fully prepared or would you have liked a more effective training resume?

O’Brien – “The pandemic has actually made training better for me in a lot of ways. Though I have lacked the variety of training partners, I’ve had less coaching duties to draw my time and effort away from preparation which has allowed me to heal up chronic injuries, develop my athletic qualities to a new level and work on sharpening my skills with no distractions. The pandemic has allowed me to be the best version of myself yet.”

You’ve seemed to have fit in well with EOC. With four of your professional wins coming under the promotion and in impressive fashion. How glad are you to make your 5th appearance under the promotion?

O’Brien – “It’s a really well run show from top to bottom. Runners that care, refs that are thorough and on the ball and promotional team that care about giving you fights that make you grow. Fighting in front of a personal home crowd is a lot more nerve racking then no crowd or massive crowds for me. So I’ll be very much looking forward to this one! Interesting opportunity!”

You’re coming in on a two-fight winning streak, both coming via finish. How much confidence does that give you coming in to take on a tough vet like Malone who’s lost his last three?

O’Brien – “The head kick was against a journeyman so whilst it’s nice to know you have the power and timing to turn a human brain off it’s not a scalp to be proud of beyond that. Defeating Ian Postlethwaite in the manner I did gives me a lot of confidence however as he is in a lot of ways a very similar match to Scott. I didn’t get hit in the face flush more than once in that fight – I controlled the pace and distance very well with few errors and showed that I’m dangerous and skilled wherever the fight goes.

What gives me more confidence than anything to do Malone’s (or even my) past fights is I’ve finally cracked how to perform. For 10 years I’ve been trying to work that out – turning up to fights and not knowing what kind of Kieran would show up that night. That’s what gives me confidence- to know I have a way to translate how I perform in the gym to the cage in the fight now. Now I’ve got that down ~ you’re going to see some serious shit.”

How much does the bout v Malone excite you? Malone has competed on Cage Warriors against some of the best. Like Jack Shore who’s now successfully winning in the UFC and current CW Champion Jack Cartwright. It must be good to test your skills against someone who’s been in there with guys of that caliber?

O’Brien – “It’s a phenomenal opportunity and I’m very grateful to EOC and to Malone for the fight. Mad respect to everyone involved for being willing to throw down in the middle of a pandemic. Brings some normality to an otherwise strange global situation. I already know my skills are up there with the best ~ this is the chance to show it. The pressure is on Malone though as I’m the underdog looking to prove my skills and place at that level. I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

What are your personal thoughts on Malone as an opponent? Any strengths or weaknesses you feel you can exploit?

O’Brien – “He’s a powerful puncher with great defensive footwork and a incredibly fast and well timed double leg shot with generally good wrestling and top game grappling and durability but, without saying too much ~ even these strengths can become weaknesses and exploited (and that’s to say nothing of the weaknesses). I have the full gamut of styles at my disposal. Soviet boxing, dynamic taekwondo kicking, elusive Muay Thai and purple belt European champion level Jiujitsu ~ and vicious top game grappling and ground and pound. A PhD in unarmed combat ~ and I’m just getting warmed up…”

Make sure to check out Kieran O’Brien’s social medias.


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