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Watson: I’m still a force


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KYLE WATSON has told Juha-Pekka Vainikainen to expect the biggest challenge of his career when the pair clash in the main event at CWFC Fight Night 3 on February 11.

Having gone 1-1 in the UFC, Watson (13-7-1) was surprisingly released by the organisation following his third round KO loss to John Makdessi at UFC 129 last April.

The Illinois native hasn’t fought since that defeat but will make his return to the cage in Beirut, Lebanon next month to face highly-rated Finnish striker Vainikainen (18-5-1), who’s also a Cage Warriors debutant.

27-year-old Vainikainen, who’s unbeaten in his last eight fights, says he’s confident of victory but Watson has other ideas. He said: “I’m glad he’s confident and I would expect nothing less. You wouldn’t accept a fight if you didn’t think you could win it. 

“His assessment is that I won’t be able to get the fight to the ground, but I’ve heard that many times before. 17 of my 19 victims said the same thing.  If I decide that’s where I want it, he won’t have a choice.

“The great thing is that I feel comfortable in all ranges. While I give John Makdessi credit for a creative finish in beating me in my last match, it was a fluke. Aside from that bout I haven’t been finished since 2005.

“I’ve fought better strikers and I spar with better strikers daily. I also train with collegiate wrestlers and several other black belts so being comfortable in all ranges gives me a great advantage.

“Vainikainen has a lot of experience, like I do, so I’m expecting professionalism and a tough fight. I think it’s a safe assumption that he’ll display technical striking and good composure. His win streak is impressive but he hasn’t fought an opponent like me with such a diverse set of skills and the ability to finish the fight anywhere.”

With just over three weeks remaining until CWFC Fight Night 3 in Lebanon, Watson says his preparations have gone well: “Although I haven’t fought for several months, I’ve been training consistently throughout the last year. 

“I’ve been tightening some things and adding several new tools to my arsenal. I’m very excited about getting back in there to show everyone that my last fight was merely a minor setback and that I’m still a force in the lightweight division.”

Watson added that he’s looking forward to fighting in front of the Cage Warriors fans in Lebanon. The 32-year-old added: “The local fans can expect an aggressive fighter who brings continuous pressure and always looks for the finish. 

“I’m very excited to be a part of the Cage Warriors organisation and this event. I look forward to being an ambassador for the sport and reaching out to a new fan base.”

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