Irshaad Sayed is only 22 years old but the WPMF and WMC Champion is already running out of challenges in Muay Thai. He has fought 37 times, taking on some of the best stand up fighters at his weight, and feels he is ready for the net phase of his career.
That got underway in 2010 when he stopped Thai fighter Ngoo Ditty in the first round of their fight in Macau. Check out the video further down the article to see how his skills stood up against a more experienced fighter who had a blue belt in BJJ, over 100 Muay Thai fights and a 3-1 MMA record.
Sayed's next fight was not until 2011 when he took on Jumabieke Tuerxun, the number one bantamweight in China. He went three rounds and he lost a decision but bounced back to beat another Chinese fighter in his next outing.
Sayed has another tough assignment at ONE Fighting Championship 'Battle of Heroes' tonight but feels that with the three fights experience he will be better prepared when he takes on 6-2 Filipino Jessie Rafols
"I've had two fights that have gone the distance so I feel pretty comfortable going three five minute rounds. Jumabieke, was bigger than me and I thought he managed to take me down because he had a weight advantage but I think if I sprawl the same with Jessie he wont be able to take me down."
Irshaad sayed vs ngoo ditty MMA (via ungaat)
Rafols has a reputation for being the most exciting fighter which the URCC has ever produced and for fighting at a frightening pace, which very few opponents are able to live with. Sayed says he isn't concerned and if fully prepared for an early onslaught,
"I am not worried about the fast pace.I like fighting at a fast pace so I won't try to slow it. im going to look to strike nad then to try and kick the legs to slow his takedown
I'll keep my kicks low, I've been practising throwing the kick fast and getting my foot out so it is difficult for him to catch a kick and take me down. Towards the end of the fight is where I will be able to easily stuff the takedowns and let my hands go."
Although Rafols has almost three times as many MMA fights Sayed does not feel he is at a disadvantage in terms of experience and doubts whether the Filipino has ever faces anyone with his striking prowess,
"He's 6-2 but I have a huge Muay Thai record behind me so I have been in many fights, he might have more MMA experience but I have been in the ring more times. I only watched a couple of his fights bu I don't think he has ever fought an experienced striker, the fights I saw were mostly grappling."
Sayed was only called up as a late replacement after Ngoo Ditty was injured but he is looking to make a living out of mixed martial arts and thinks that ONE FC could be his opportunity to break into the big time,
"He has a very good record so a win over him could really take my career to the next level. FIghting for ONE FC there is definitely more pressure because more people are watching and more people are streaming it. My family and friends around the world will be watching but there is also pressure for my opponent because he has always fought in the Philippines."
If you notice any similarities between the aggressive, explosive stand up style of Sayed and that of another Hong Kong based South African, Vuyisile Colossa it is probably not a coincidence. The two are training partners and Sayed says he has learned a lot from him,
"Me and Vuyisile train together a lot and I look up to him he's an awesome striker and I learned a lot from him and i do try to imitate his style. I also train with BJJ black belt Rodrigo Caporal and I did a lot of work off my back in preparation for this fight, I worked on getting to the cage and wall walking and learned a couple of submissions off my back. I'd love to get a win by submission that would be awesome."
For fans who are unsure what to expect from him tonight Sayed describes his style of fighting in the following terms,
"I am aggressive and I like coming forward. My striking is very crisp and very clean and if I smell blood I will turn up the tempo and go for the kill."
Sayed's fight with Rafols is set to be one of the highlights of the ONE FC card which is being streamed free of charge from the following sources: