Local MMA coach called-up for UFC
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 Sunday.
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.