Abelardo will face the undefeated American in Singapore on Friday, 28 February, and the ONE Warrior Series contract winner believes that his stock will rise if he can ruin the Evolve athlete’s perfect record.
Worthen’s recent surge has been impressive, but “Tyson” – a veteran of 25 professional bouts – has shown his class with two victories in The Home Of Martial Arts, on top of back-to-back OWS wins.
Ahead of this battle of rising bantamweight stars, the Kiwi warrior explains how his relentless style and experience will help him to earn a famous victory.
ONE Championship: Are you feeling confident after your dominant decision win over Ayideng Jumayi?
Mark Fairtex Abelardo: Yeah, for sure. Obviously, I always want to finish my fights, but my opponent in the last fight was really tough – he fought until the very end.
But I can’t take away from my performance, I was able to throw all my weapons and do everything I wanted to do, and I was glad to come out with the ‘W.’
ONE: You kept up a lot of pressure and intensity on Jumayi for three rounds. Is that the plan again in Singapore?
MFA: That will definitely be the plan – to keep the pressure on Troy and see if he will break.
Maybe he’s been in that kind of position before, maybe not, and whether or not he can last will be the determining factor in the fight.
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ONE: What do you know about Worthen’s style?
MFA: I have been watching his fights. He’s a high-level wrestler with strong grappling.
Those are his main strengths, but I feel like my experience in the cage and ring will also be a factor coming into this fight. Also, facing someone of my caliber will be a big test for him.
ONE: You have 25 professional bouts compared to his six. Why do you think that is important?
MFA: It just comes down to experience and time in the cage. Going the three rounds, going the distance, is a big thing.
I know he’s probably gone the distance in his fights before, but doing it on this stage – the big show – and with the style and pressure I bring, we’ll see if he can match that.
ONE: Will it help that you have faced so many different opponents with different styles already?
MFA: Yeah, I’ve faced all kinds of fighters throughout my career, whether they’re high-level strikers, wrestlers, grapplers, BJJ black belts, southpaws, everything.
I’ve seen it and I will be ready for it all with my game plan. I’m a higher level than he has faced before.
ONE: What is your plan to defeat him when you meet in Singapore?
MFA: I would just like to put the pressure on him and not go into his strong side with him being a southpaw.
I’ll be looking to dictate the pace, push the fight where I want it to go, and try and keep it standing. If it goes to the ground then I’ll be ready to move and work from there.
ONE: What will make this an exciting bout?
MFA: Both he and I like to put on a show. He likes to finish his fights, I like to finish my fights, and whether or not it does finish, it will be a war nonetheless, and we’re both going to be looking to give a great fight.
ONE: What kind of statement would you like to make to your division with this match?
MFA: Well, like I always do, I want to win in a nice fashion.
A finish in this fight will be a really great way to push me forward in the rankings, especially against a fighter like Troy who is on the radar as well. If I take him out it will definitely be a great way to put me right up there.