Features

Leandro Issa Will Not Wait Around For A World Title Shot

July 17, 2018

Leandro “Brodinho” Issa is on a roll.

The 34-year-old has been flawless ever since he returned to ONE Championship in August 2017. He has racked up three consecutive victories, including his most recent win – an 86-second thriller – against Guam’s Roman Alvarez at ONE: SPIRIT OF A WARRIOR in late June.

The Brazilian continues to deliver epic performances and is undoubtedly one of the top bantamweights in the division. However, it may be a while before he gets a shot at the ONE Bantamweight World Championship, and he is fully aware of that.

In this exclusive interview, Issa speaks on his recent victory against Alvarez, the overall title picture, and much more.

ONE Championship: You defeated Roman Alvarez in 86 seconds. How did it feel to get the victory so quickly?

Leandro Issa: The fight was very fast, but my training camp was very long and hard. I think the result went that way because of the long training in the months leading up to the fight.

ONE: Despite that, Alvarez still landed some clean shots. Were you hurt by any of those punches?

LI: I did not get rocked, because when he was landing, I was aware and watching him. I think he made a mistake. As soon as he landed the punch, he wanted to come after me to finish the fight, but then he played into my strengths.

It made it easier to take him down and turn my game on. I put a lot of pressure on him, and then got the submission. It was the beginning of the fight, and we were both very dry and very strong, so it was easy for me to submit him.

ONE: How were you able to get the submission from your defensive position?

LI: I landed in his half guard, so first I went to pass his guard to submit him. He was doing a very good job of avoiding my pass to side control, but he exposed his arm. I went for the choke, and when he crossed his arms, I switched to the arm-triangle.

ONE: That finish puts you on a three-bout win streak, including two spectacular finishes. Where do you think this puts you in ONE Bantamweight World Title picture?

LI: I feel ready to challenge for the title, but the interim belt is being fought for at the end of July, and I guess the one who wins the interim belt will have to wait for Bibiano [Fernandes], maybe at the end of the year.

I do not want to wait until next year for another bout. I want to stay busy. I want to fight, get a good result, and hopefully, next year, I can challenge for the title.

ONE: When would you like to get back in the cage?

LI: I would like to compete in October or November – just one more fight this year, because after that, I want to take a holiday, and then come back and get ready for next year.

ONE: Finally, who would be the perfect opponent for you?

LI: Martin [Nguyen] is really busy because he has two belts already. So if he wins, then he is going to take longer to face me, so I think it would be better to fight Bibiano or Kevin [Belingon].

Bibiano has beaten everyone in the division already, but we have not fought yet, so he is the perfect opponent for me to test myself. Both of us are jiu-jitsu guys, and it would be a good contest.