Alex Halkias and Behrang Yousefi Gunning for Key Win at “KOTC: Earthquake”
This Friday’s King of the Cage event is titled “Earthquake”, and the June 7th card will feature a bout that could have a big impact on the promotion’s featherweight division, as Behrang Yousefi will take on Alex Halkias. Both men have impressed since they transitioned into pro MMA in recent years, and a win over the other will make a statement about where they sit in the promotion’s rankings.
“A win over Behrang would be huge for me,” said Halkias. “This will be the biggest win in my career. He has a solid record, and double the amount of fights that I do. This is the next progression for me, I’ve previously fought opponents with, the same amount of experience as myself, more experience but weak records, and even had the opportunity to fight overseas. While I’ve had the pleasure of training with some top fighters on a daily basis, fight experience is huge. I feel I’ve gotten some experience and it’s now time to step up the competition and that starts with Behrang. I feel this will be a fight that will get me a little more recognition, and look good on my resume.”
Yousefi, however, focused on the financial reward of fighting Halkias, when asked what a win over the undefeated Toronto fighter would mean.
“A win over Alex means I’m one win purse closer to buying a home.”
Yousefi has fought exclusively for King of the Canada since he turned pro in 2011, and aside from a submission loss to featherweight champ Josh Machan, he has won all five of his bouts. Most recently, the 25 year-old fighter scored a unanimous decision win over Cameron Loutitt at KOTC’s “Monster Smash” in April.
“Winning is always priority number one, regardless of coming of a loss or not, I was not impressed with my performance; ring rust is real, I felt it,” said Yousefi, who was fighting for the first time since he faced Machan in April, 2012. “Cameron was a great opponent who exposed a lot of holes in my game, many of which I have worked on ever since.”
“I know a little bit about Behrang,” said Halkias, while discussing his next opponent. “I know some people out west who have seen him compete, and I’ve seen some tape on him as well. But to be honest, this isn’t something I focus on. At the end of the day it’s a fight. I’m more focused on what I am going to do than what he might do.”
Although Halkias didn’t take his first pro fight until last year, the 29 year-old-teacher has been training in jiu-jitsu for quite some time.
“I first began training jiu jitsu back in 2005, and after a couple of years added wrestling and striking to part of my training regimen with the thought of competing in MMA in the back of my mind,” said Halkias, who trains out of Open Mat MMA and Para Bellum MMA alongside fighters like Antonio Carvalho, Josh Hill, Alex Ricci, and Lyndon Whitlock. “However, I began seriously training to compete in MMA about 3 years ago. I began my professional career in April of 2012 and finished last year with a record of 3-0.”
“Alex is a highly experienced, very dangerous fighter who has been competing at jiu-jitsu nationally since 2007,” noted Yousefi. “I signed up for my first MMA class back in 2009 so I’ve really got to bring my A game to stop Alex.”
And how does each man approach their bouts, considering the training they’ve done and what they feel are their best assets?
“”I approach fights with the intention of finishing them,” noted Halkias, who has been cornered by Andrew McInnes in all three of his bouts. “Although it isn’t always possible I don’t believe in approaching a fight to win on points. Although I won a unanimous decision in my last fight I was disappointed, because I know I was capable of finishing that fight, as I had done in my previous bouts. I believe that my best assets in fighting are fight intelligence, and I would like to think that I am a technical fighter as well.”
“I don’t step into the cage to fight a man, fighting is dumb,” said Yousefi who credited Behnam Yousefi, Jarid Bussemakers, Gasper Bonomo, David Ansah, the Red Dragons team and Kamakazi Punishment for helping him get ready for Halkias. “I go in and solve a violent problem with my mind body and soul.”