Widely regarded as Scotland’s top MMA prospect, Airdrie fighter Paul Craig is set for the biggest contest of his career so far when he squares off against Marcin Lazarz for the BAMMA light heavyweight championship on November 14th at the Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham.
Fighting out of one of Scotland’s most respected MMA Gyms, ‘Scottish Hit Squad’, Paul made his BAMMA debut in Dublin on Saturday September 19th where he increased his undefeated professional record to 7-0 by submitting the highly rated Karl Moore via guillotine choke. Craig said: “I had finished all six of my previous fights in the first round so I signed with BAMMA to make sure I got to face the best guys possible and thankfully I got the opportunity to fight Karl, who is Ireland’s number 1 light heavyweight. I trained hard for him and I knew one way or another the fight would not go to decision”.
The previously undefeated Moore had been tipped to be Ireland’s next big MMA star and Paul knew a victory over such a big name would send a statement to the rest of the division, especially the champ. He said: “The guys above me in the UK rankings are fighting in Bellator or the UFC so I hoped that if I beat Moore and then made enough noise BAMMA would give me the opportunity to fight for the belt”.
BAMMA matchmakers were clearly impressed and moved quickly to offer Paul the title shot. The man standing in Craig’s way is Poland’s Marcin Lazars (8-1) but the current custodian of the light heavyweight belt doesn’t worry the man known as the ‘Bearjew’ one bit. Craig said: “I don’t research my opponents. All I know is their name, and usually I don’t even know what they look like until fight day. Marcin Lazarz is the champion so I will be the underdog which I don’t mind. At our level every fight is life changing. He will want to keep the belt and I’m sure he is training hard but one thing is for sure, his 100% ready is nowhere near my 100% ready and that will be the difference. Marcin has nothing that worries me and I think he will be a bit scared because of how I handled Karl Moor, and if he is not scared then he should be”. Having finished all of his amateur and professional fights by submission, the BJJ purple belt was quick to point out that he is certainly not a one dimensional fighter. He said: “BJJ is my bread and butter but I train all aspects of MMA, I spar with some the best Muay Thai and boxing guys in Scotland. I’ve got good stand up and can finish a fight anywhere”.
MMA’s popularity is on the rise in Scotland and gained a huge shot in the arm earlier this year when the UFC made their Scottish debut at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro but BAMMA has not yet ventured North of Hadrian’s Wall, something Paul wants to change in the very near future. He said: “I would love to be the reason BAMMA comes to Scotland. I would fight every weekend if I could. I don’t do this sport for fame or money, I do it for the thrill, because I enjoy it. It would be a really big deal if BAMMA comes to Scotland and I would love fans to get behind it and sell out the venue. BAMMA is a great show”.
Main card live on SPIKE TV UK and Lonsdale FB for the Prelims.
Follow Paul on Twitter @PCraigMMA
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