Josh Parisian (7-2) will attempt to capture his first professional MMA title at Lights Out Championship 2 when he meets Brett Martin (5-1) for the promotion’s vacant heavyweight belt.
“As an amateur, I had seven belts and that was really cool,” Parisian told MMASucka. “But that is nothing compared to a professional belt; that really means something. A belt fight as a professional, outside of fighting for the UFC or a major organization, is the pinnacle of what you can do.”
Parisian came close to winning his first professional title in April 2017, but fell short to Tony Lopez at KOTC: Supremacy.
Parisian’s TUF Experience
Since then, Parisian knocked on the door of the UFC, the promotion he hopes to call home. He scored a 1:31 spinning back fist knockout over Greg Rebello on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series last year. Though the performance didn’t yield a UFC contract, Parisian was given a chance on Season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter. He was TKO’d by Michel Batista, an Olympic wrestler who took bronze at Beijing’s Summer Games in 2008.
The experience of fighting Batista fills Parisian with confidence against a wrestler like Martin, who Parisian noted is good at pushing people against the fence, holding them down, and disengaging before opponents can use their Jiu-Jitsu. Parisian said he’s been working on his defensive wrestling ever since the loss to Batista.
“I got up 13 times [in the Batista fight],” he said. “After that fight, I was still on the show for four weeks and the only thing we did was wrestling defense. Since then, I came back from the show 5-6 months ago, I’ve been focusing on the strength and endurance of my legs, my wall work and my wrestling. I turned one of my weaknesses into one of my strengths.
“I would say that just knowing that I went against somebody who beat Daniel Cormier in wrestling and was the top of the world at one point and couldn’t hold me down, it makes me feel good especially since I know that’s what Brett is going to try and do to me.”
Parisian vs. Martin: The Match-up
Parisian believes he has the defensive wrestling to negate Martin’s biggest strength, which will open up his striking game. Four of Parisian’s seven victories have come via stoppage due to strikes.
Having come close to reaching the UFC, Parisian feels he’s one or two wins away from finally achieving his goal. It all comes down to his performance for the LOC heavyweight title. Parisian said if he stops Martin to win the strap, he predicts the UFC will call him. But if he wins via decision in a grind-heavy affair with not a lot of action, he said he’d likely have to defend the LOC title before getting an opportunity.
Regardless of how it plays out, he doesn’t blame the UFC for not signing him after his loss to Batista on TUF–despite it being an exhibition fight and not appearing on his official record.
“The UFC is thin on heavyweights right now; they need them so badly,” Parisian said. “I understand why they couldn’t take me off a loss. Even though it didn’t count against my record, people still view that as a loss. I need to get a win and then I can be taken.”
Parisian predicted how his fight with Martin for the LOC strap would go.
“I believe that Brett will get tired trying to take me down. I think he’s going to rush forward, push me against the cage. Once he starts getting hit, it’s just going to change everything for him. I think that I will knock him out early.”
Lights Out Championship 2 goes down Saturday, February 16, from the Deltaplex Arena in Grand Rapids, MI.
Featured Image credit: