Fadipe ahead of EFC Africa 32: “The guys over there can’t beat me”

fadipe

Ryoshin MMA Lucan’s Henry “Herculeez” Fadipe is closing in on his first title defence having claimed the EFC Africa welterweight title with a first round knockout Dino “The Lion” Bagattin back in early May.

Despite performing with a grade two ligament tear on the night, Fadipe claimed his knee is close to perfect again as he prepares for former promotional champion Adam Speechly who he will meet on next Thursday in Johannesburg at EFC Africa 32.

“It’s almost there,” he said of his knee issue, “I’d say it’s about 95%. I can move now, I can’t say the same for before the Bagattin fight.”

Speechly, who is famed for his submission ability, doesn’t seem to strike fear into the heart of the Dubliner who insisted that he has not worked specifically on takedown defence to stop the South African from implementing his game plan.

“I have to take every fight seriously, this is a title defence and I would be stupid not to. As far as Speechly as an opponent is concerned, I don’t see him as much of a threat. I think I can beat him in all areas.

“I’m just going to go in there and feel him out, he’s an awkward fighter that’s for sure, but I can’t see it being too much of a problem once we get in there.

“I haven’t worked that much on my takedown defence, I’m very comfortable on the ground now so I’m not too worried about him trying to take me down,” he said.

‘Herculeez’ highlighted how the idea of defending his title has him more determined than ever:

“I am more determined now to defend the belt than I was when I was trying to win it, it’s a new experience so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never done that before.”

A big draw in the African market, Fadipe described the popularity of EFC Africa and how returning home to Dublin for training camps is ideal for keeping him focused on his training.

Fadipe said: “It’s unreal. I go over there and my face is on billboards when we’re are driving down the road. People stop me and ask me for this and that, EFC is a really big deal over there. It’s an amazing show, very professionally ran and the fans are crazy.

“I stay grounded when I’m at home, I don’t get the same amount of attention and that allows me to focus on my training. Nothing can go to my head when I’m in Dublin, I don’t get an inflated ego or anything like that so it does suit me very well.”

During the MMA explosion in Ireland in the build-up and wake of UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs Brandao, Fadipe took exception to an online article that failed to mention him as a “future prospect” coming from the Irish scene despite the article picturing an opponent he has beaten. Fadipe, who took to social media to vent his frustration, explained why seeing the article got to him.

“It did piss me off when I saw that. It’s cool to not put me in if they don’t see me as a prospect, but to put a picture of a guy in that I’ve beaten twice in two fights in there is a bit strange. No disrespect to John Redmond, but I have beaten him twice in the first round by submission and knockout.

“I’m over here in Africa doing huge things, I’m the champion of a continent and doing it all while I’m flying the Irish flag. They describe me as an “Irish knockout artist” in the EFC promos and it just looked like I was getting no recognition for what I’ve done, yeah it pissed me off,” he said.

Fadipe also commands a strong following on the Irish scene and he spoke about how he misses competing in front of his hometown crowd:

“I do miss fighting over here, I really miss it. The constant travelling for all of these fights is quite tiring and demanding and when I fight over here I don’t have to worry about all of that. I really miss fighting in front of my local crowd.”

The Nigerian-born fighter discussed how he will look to display his kicking game in the Speechly bout having completely backed away from the style as he focused on his grappling ability ahead of his last few tests.

“For this camp I’ve been working a lot on my legs. I used to kick a lot before, but when I stopped focusing on striking to work on my ground game it just kind of stopped after that, I haven’t used my legs in a while.

“In this camp I’ve really got them going again, so that’s something everybody should be looking out for in this next fight. We’ve been working on stopping takedowns with strikes and I’ve been attacking from a lot of new angles. There has been no real focus on one specific style, but I’m feeling better in all areas,” he said

As for a prediction, Fadipe claimed he will be taking a trip to the bookmakers to see what finish will get him the biggest pay out before he gave a forecast for the August 7 clash.

“I dunno,” he laughed when asked of for a prediction. “I’m going to check what the odds are and then I can decide how and when it’s going to finish. The guys over there can’t beat me, the only reason that belt will leave my hands is if I’m tired of it.”

@PetesyCarroll

Peter Carroll is Severe MMA's lead feature writer. He has been featured in many top publications and some rubbish ones too. He also writes for the Irish Daily Mirror and Vice's Fightland.