Next Friday, 28 February, the Egyptian – who has been with the world’s largest martial arts organization since 2017 – will face Yoshihiro “Sexy Yama” Akiyama in a main-card welterweight contest at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Akiyama has tremendous experience from high-profile bouts on big shows all over the world throughout the past 15 years, but “The Shark” reckons he will have the edge once they step into the Circle and lock horns.
“He has been around in the sport for quite a long time. He is a tough fighter with a lot of experience,” the 37-year-old says.
“The moment I received this offer to fight Akiyama, I knew it was always going to be a challenging fight. He is a good fighter, but not a well-rounded fighter.”
It might come as a surprise to hear Mohamed’s opinion about his opponent’s skill set, but it is only because of his confidence in his own abilities.
Akiyama has well-documented judo skills, but “The Shark” believes the threat he poses with his wrestling, ground and pound, and submission techniques will be more than capable of giving “Sexy Yama” a ton of trouble. That is why he is prepared to face a striking strategy from the Japanese athlete.
“I think he will show up this time and try to make this match a stand-up fight. On the ground, we are good, but I’m better,” Mohamed says.
“I think he will choose not to close the distance with me. Instead, he will try to pick the right time to land with his hands and kicks.”
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Whatever approach Akiyama takes in the Circle, the EFC Champion stresses that he will be ready after fine-tuning every part of his arsenal.
“My training camp has been perfect because I’ve had enough time. I trained with my good friend, Moustafa Abdelsalam, a heavyweight Egyptian athlete,” he adds.
“His weight in wrestling was so challenging for me, and that helped me. Also, I trained with my brother (Mahmoud “El Deep” Mohamed) who taught me a lot. Their advice to me was simple – they want me to improve my striking and land more with my kicks.”
With great guidance and a supportive team behind him, the Cairo native has his heart set on a career-best performance in “The Lion City.” His rival may be more well-known to martial arts fans around the world, but Mohamed does not mind if fans overlook his ability.
After being out of action for nine months, he is keen to remind them what made him one of the top competitors in Africa and led to his signing with the world’s largest martial arts organization in the first place.
As a former light heavyweight, the Egyptian will be confident he will bring a strength advantage to the Circle, and he expects to pull off an impressive finish to make his countrymen proud.
“My previous losses make me even more motivated to pull the ‘W’ this time,” Mohamed says.
“I think I can to finish this fight, hopefully by the second round. I want to take my time to test him in the first round.
“To the rest of my family, friends, and teammates, I will do my best to bring this win to all of you, and most importantly to Egypt.”