This Saturday he will fight for the interim featherweight title. However, Keita’s opponent has changed two weeks before the fight and instead of Sanikidze he will face Tichota. In an interview with Ruik, he talked not only about his upcoming opponent, but also about Paradeiser, Rock and his contact with the UFC.
Less than two weeks before the tournament, your opponent changed. How uncomfortable is that for a fighter?
When I found out, I was quite worried that nobody would want to fight me.
Do you regret that the rivalry that you created especially at the press conference in Ostrava will not be resolved in the end?
I don’t regret it, because he was the first one to talk about me and challenge me. For a long time he didn’t want to accept the offer of the match, then he decided to accept it and finally said he was injured. I don’t believe him and I don’t believe the fight will ever happen. But it’s not such a surprise to me.
Instead of Sanikidze, you’ll have Tichota. How much different a fight can we look forward to ?
He’s a different kind of fighter. He pushes forward more and I think that will suit me. I like to war, I like to throw punches and so does Tichota. It will be a good fight, Sanikidze likes to wait and focus on tactics, but Tichota is more aggressive. I believe it will be an easier fight for me, but Tichota can make it tough for me too, after all he has a decent jab.
What do you expect from Tichota in the fight? Do you think he’ll want to take the fight to the ground at all costs, or do you expect him to try and take it to you in the standup?
I think he’ll be aggressive from the start and try to catch me in the clinch. I think that’s going to be his gameplan and that’s all he’s going to try to do.
Have you managed to study Tichota at least briefly yet? How do you rate his fight with Sanikidz? Do you plan to take any inspiration from Sanikidze or are you going to go your own way?
I have studied him very well. I saw the Sanikidze fight and I think he could have won if he had a better strategy. In the first round, he had the… Sanikidze didn’t inspire me, I have my own eyes and plans to beat him. I’m a nerd, I have a following and I know how these guys fight. I’m not Sanikidze, maybe he did something better than me, but it could be the other way around.
You’re separated by an abysmal 400 positions in the Fight Matrix rankings. Does that say something about your qualities?
To be honest, I absolutely don’t follow the Fight Matrix rankings. I don’t care how many ranks there are between us. I’m only interested in the fight scores, he’s 5:1, I’m 10:0, he’s just a good fighter to me.
When Sanikidze got hurt, you offered Paradeiser. You really didn’t think about that option for a moment?
He was the one who first challenged me, I fought him and beat him. I’ve fought him twice for the title and he doesn’t deserve a shot right now. But if he’s next and there’s no one better… Once I’m a two-time champion and he’s still interested, I have no problem with it.
Is there any feelers going on with the UFC yet? After all, you’re still undefeated in MMA and you’re convincingly beating one opponent after another in the Octagon.
I’ve been in contact with the UFC since last year. I’ve been in MMA for like five or six years, I want to gain more experience, so I decided to stay. I want to get better and I have more to work on. I don’t want to go to the UFC just to be there, but to beat my opponents.
Brit Shem Rock has joined the Octagon lightweight division and has leaned on many fighters and talked about you as well. Did you take note of that and do you plan on shutting him up?
I know he’s challenged some wrestlers. He has respect for me and I feel the same way towards him. He just wants to wrestle me, that’s normal, after all when you come to a new organization you need to beat the champion to show that you are the best. I’m not interested in him at the moment and I’m concentrating on Silence because he’s a real challenge and everyone believes I’ll finish him quickly.
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