Syafiq ‘The Slasher’ Samad (2-0) is a name that most fighters and fans will be accustomed to in the near future. He may very well be Singapore’s top professional Mixed Martial Artist. With his debut win over Donald Tong under the DARE banner in September of 2012, the young Singaporean starlet continued his unbeaten start by submitting Wesley Machado (3-1) at PXC 37 last month.
MMASucka.com had the distinct pleasure of interviewing the 20-year-old, and he was happy to share his thoughts leading up to the fight and what happened thereafter.
“I feel really proud to be representing Singapore and Juggernaut Fight Club in PXC, ” he started. “I’ve been dreaming to fight in a really big organization and one day, PXC came up with an offer and I took it.”
That opportunity, of course, came hot off the heels of ONE Fighting Championship’s failure to secure his signature. The Singaporean had long been itching to compete on a big stage so joining the PXC ranks was a no-brainer.
Leading up to the fight, ‘The Slasher’ started his training camp with Phuket Top Team before ending it in his native homeland with Juggernaut Fight Club. Th former is one of the biggest and most respected gyms in Asia, that’s home to the likes of Bellator MMA’s JJ Ambrose, Legend FC’s Rob Lisita and many more. That eventually contributed towards the 20-year-old’s decision to train there and he hopes to do it again in the future.
“The fight at PXC was my biggest one yet, and I had to be in top shape in order to show my skills. I needed higher-level sparring partners so Tommy Yang Seung Ho (6-0) suggested me to go to PTT and train, ” he continued. “There’s Andrew Leone, his brother Anthony and a bunch of other world-class fighters but most importantly, I felt I wasn’t far away from home because Andrew had taught in Singapore before and I felt I had friends all over. ”
“I improved my ground game. I did a lot of Jiu-Jitsu and Wrestling, and there were fighters from all over the world who constantly challenged me during training sessions, ” Samad said, with a joyful look on his face. “I liked it, and I was really motivated to improve everyday.”
Samad spent 2 weeks at Phuket Top Team, and when asked if that was too short, he agreed.
“Yeah, it was too short. A month or two would have been good but, you know, I was studying and there were time constraints. But honestly, it wasn’t the right time to do a training camp anyway, ” he admitted. “But I had to do it. And there were certainly some sacrifices made.”
With Wesley Machado set to face the young starlet in his promotional PXC debut, Syafiq ‘The Slasher’ shared his pre-fight game plan. The trip to Phuket Top Team not only improved his MMA game, but some past videos actually helped the 20-year-old to understand his opponent better and prepare for the fight:
“Before the fight, I watched some of his videos and I felt that his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu wasn’t really good and his striking was okay, ” he remembered. “But I knew my striking was better and I liked to strike, and that’s one of the reasons why I went to Phuket Top Team: to improve my ground game, and become an all-around fighter.”
“My plan was to work in the clinch against the cage, because from the videos I saw of him, he actually liked to work the Muay Thai clinch with knees. And I wanted to take advantage of that, so every time I got him up against cage, the plan was to use head pressure, a bit of clinch work and try going for a takedown.”
And the fight was controlled by the Singaporean from the get-go and if it weren’t for the heart of Machado, Samad could have easily secured a Rear-Naked Choke submission victory in the first stanza. Nevertheless, both fighters looked visibly exhausted after the 1st frame and according to Samad, this is a course for concern:
“I was actually feeling really fit. But at the same time, I guess the reason I got tired was because I got too excited. I wanted to beat this guy and finish fast. Plus I focused a lot on using my strength for the takedowns, ” Samad recalled. “I had him in a deep Rear-Naked Choke but the position wasn’t correct, and he slipped off. I was also under pressure to finish fast and that got me tired. But I didn’t stop, and kept telling myself to keep going. I basically didn’t pace myself. “
In the end, a slick Armbar following a transition from full mount was all it took for ‘The Slasher’, as he earned the tap from Machado in the 2nd frame.
As for injuries, well, it’s at least safe to say that Samad does not have anything ‘big’ to worry about, lest for the infection he acquired during his training camp.
“While I was training, I think I encountered a staph infection. I didn’t feel anything at first, and just continued training. When I was at Juggernaut Fight Club, finishing up camp, I still didn’t feel anything. But like a day before the fight, I had this little pain on my knee, although it didn’t bother me, ” Samad said. “After a week, my knee was swollen and it was painful. There was puss and stuff. Now that I’ve been to the doctor, it’s getting better. The infection was my fault, because I had this wound and I didn’t take care of it properly.”
So with PXC 37 in the books, and another chapter done and dusted with, what’s next for the 20-year-old?
“I would love to fight at PXC 38, but right now, I’m just relaxing and taking things slowly, ” he said, with a smile. “I don’t really have any names that I’d like to face right now. “
*Pictures courtesy of Pacific Xtreme Combat