Adrian Hadribeaj (11-2 MMA) will look to win the Lights Out Championship super welterweight title when he meets Erick Lozano (14-20 MMA) on Feb. 18 at Lights Out Championship 10.
Hadribeaj said it will be a “really exciting fight” but also a tough one.
“[Lozano’s] one of those grinders; heavy hitters,” Hadribeaj told MMASucka. “I’m just going to wait for the moment and pressure. My toughest part is moving around and breaking him everywhere. Throwing punches and kicks from every corner. I think with the game plan, I think it’s a good fight for me and for the future, of course, if this goes as we plan.”
The upcoming fight marks the third time Hadribeaj and Lozano have been booked: The first time, Hadribeaj suffered his second of two torn bicep injuries, and Lozano pulled out from the second bout with an injury, Hadribeaj said.
Hadribeaj’s first torn bicep injury forced him to turn down a call from the UFC, he said. He said he couldn’t take the chance of losing a short-notice bout with the UFC because of a bicep injury and had to decline.
“I had those on the table, and I wasn’t lucky to step up like other guys,” he said. “Now, I have to build up my record again.”
Hadribeaj won the TWC middleweight championship when he submitted Kevin Brown Jr. with a neck crank in June 2022. Now, he’s looking to add LOC gold to his collection, which he hopes will lead to a call from the UFC.
Hadribeaj said he is “way past due” to be in the UFC. He pointed to his 2015 unanimous decision win over Kyle Nelson when the two were undefeated at 4-0 and 6-0, respectively. Nelson was eventually signed to the UFC, where he’s had six fights since December 2018.
“I had a big win against Kyle Nelson, and he was not a problem for me at all with the time,” Hadribeaj said. “Stuff happened, and it’s been a few years. I’ve really grown as a person, career-wise. Mentally and physically. I think things are coming together at some point. Before, it might have been a rush, but I think right now, it’s either now or never.”
Hadribeaj is 32 years old. He noted there are top UFC fighters who are 36 and 37 years old.
“I’ve been here for a long time in the sport with a good record, so why not? I have five years to show my best.”
Albanian welterweight prospect Adrian Hadribeaj (11-1) will be making his LFA debut on August 28th against Demarques Jackson. Hadribeaj sole loss is to Kyle Prepolec and has a key won over UFC fighter Kyle Nelson. Outside of MMA Adrian is a National Karate Champion. pic.twitter.com/PYMYEW4poF
— Shawn Bitter (@mmawizzard) August 13, 2020
Hadribeaj has his heart set on the UFC, as he feels that promotion is where the toughest tests lie.
“The thing is, I want to go for the top,” he said. “I want to try that. The [other promotions] are always there. I just want to test myself, because that was my original goal when I moved from Albania to here. That was the reason I moved here. If I don’t do it; at least I’ll try. I don’t want to regret.”
Hadribeaj plans to keep winning and stay active until the UFC call comes, he said.
“I have the best management in town, so I know they’ll take care of me very well,” he said of his management, Iridium Sports Agency.
Hadribeaj has bounced around in weight, from lightweight to middleweight, in his career. When he reaches the UFC, he plans to compete at 155 as long as he has enough notice ahead of the fight. He would fight at 170 on short notice, he said.
Hadribeaj, a national karate champion, said he is a counter-attacking striker who is “dangerous” on the ground. He learned a lot of judo throws in karate, which has translated well to MMA.
“My jiu-jitsu, if I see a weakness, I’ll use it,” he said. “If not, just to defend myself, get out, and start striking again.”
For his fight with Lozano, he feels it will be tough in the beginning.
“And then the experience will kick in, and my goal is to finish him with a stoppage or a TKO,” Hadribeaj said.
Lights Out Championship 10, slated for Feb. 18, is set to go down from the Hype Athletics Recreation Center in Wayne, Michigan.