Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -


SIX years of re­lent­less train­ing, trav­el­ling to learn from the world’s best and tire­less com­mit­ment to his craft has fi­nally paid off for An­ton Zafir, who will re­alise his dream when he steps into the UFC 193 ring on Satur­day night.

Last Fri­day the lo­cal MMA fighter and Whit­sun­day Mar­tial Arts Club coach was called-up to re­place fel­low Aus­tralian Bren­dan “Badger” O’Reilly at the Mel­bourne event.

The PSHS teacher, who said he did a lit­tle dance around the WMA gym af­ter re­ceiv­ing the news, faces Ger­many’s James “Moon Walker” Moon­tasri in the show which is head­lined by UFC star Ronda Rousey.

“One of the Aussie guys in­jured him­self on Thurs­day night. They mes­saged me say­ing ‘ maybe’ and then they rang on Fri­day and said ‘do you want to fight in eight days’,” Zafir ex­plained.

“It will be tough, but it’s an op­por­tu­nity too good to pass up. I’m look­ing for­ward to the ex­pe­ri­ence and look­ing for­ward to per­form­ing in front of one of the big­gest au­di­ences in UFC his­tory.”

Usu­ally fight­ers spend weeks pre­par­ing for bouts through means of re­lent­less train­ing, strict di­et­ing and com­pre­hen­sive strate­gis­ing, but Zafir, 28, has just a num­ber of days to get him­self con­di­tioned be­fore step­ping out into the ring at Eti­had Sta­dium.

“I haven’t seen any footage of him (Moon­tasri). He has had four fights in UFC so he’s no slouch,” Zafir said.

DREAM COME TRUE: An­ton Zafir will fight at UFC 193 in Mel­bourne on Satur­day.

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