Norman Parke: My boxing is “far better” than Reza Madadi’s


Norman Parke will attempt to turn around a two fight-losing streak when he faces Reza Madadi at UFC Dublin at the 3 Arena on October 24. ‘Stormin’ Norman’ was looking at establishing himself in the UFC rankings before picking up two back-to-back split decision losses to Brazilian’s Gleison Tibau and Francisco Trinaldo this year.

Madadi is a famously aggressive fighter. The Allstars’ fighter’s career was brought to a halt in 2013 when he was imprisoned after being found guilty of being involved in a robbery. Although the Swedish fighter is praised for his gameness, Parke is convinced that he is more technically sound than his upcoming opponent in all facets of the game.

The Bushmills fighter has done his homework on the returning Madadi too. While ‘Mad Dog’ is known for his intimidatory tactics inside and outside of the Octagon, Parke is confident that nothing will surprise him when the two finally face off.

“I know I can beat Reza Madadi if I put on my best performance,” said Parke. “I look at the way he fights and I look at the way I fight and I think it makes for a great matchup. I know his last win was against Michael Johnson and he’s been on a great run, but up until that loss Michael wasn’t doing as good. He changed his whole game after that loss.

“What stands out to me most about him is he likes to come forward with pressure, but it’s not like he comes forward with pressure and throws a lot of shots. He just comes forward and tries to intimidate you, that’s his whole personality. He likes to try to get into his opponent’s head and I’ve seen that in his fights and in the way he weighs in, but that’s all bullshit.

“I like to come forward, I like to pressure and I feel like my boxing is better than his. It’s far better, I can fight in the pocket, I can fight long range and I feel like he’s more of a scrappy boxer. He likes to lure you in like he’s going to brawl and then sneak under for the single leg, and he’s got a getting in deep and finishing the takedown.

“In saying that, the guys who he has taken down, they’ve just settled for the position. That’s not going to happen to me, if I get taken down I’ll be straight back up again. I’ve seen that he likes to sneak a guillotine in when his opponent’s are transitioning back to their feet, but it’s nothing that I’ve never seen before and I’ve been drilling all of my guillotine defences.

“He’s got cardio and he can take a punch too. He’s tough, that’s what he is. He doesn’t look like an amazing fighter, but he comes forward, he puts you under pressure, but I feel like I’ve faced tougher opposition than he has.”

The marquee fighter at Rodney Moore’s Next Generation Northern Ireland, Parke highlighted how exciting it’s been to see Rhys McKee and Mark Andrew graduate to the pro ranks at BAMMA 22. According to the UFC lightweight, the two fledgling pros would have “run through” him when he was their age and he also claimed that the youngsters have been an “inspiration” to him head of his meeting with Madadi.

“I had a chat with Rodney right after the BAMMA fights about the new generation of lads coming through. These lads are 18 and 19 years of age, and I was starting my career around the age. How far they’ve advanced in the three years with their training is unbelievable, it’s an inspiration to be honest.

“If I was to compete with them guys when I was their age they would completely run through me. To see how far the game has advanced and to see how these guys have adapted with it so quickly, it’s just remarkable. It’s only going to get better as the years go on.

“When Rodney said it me about Rhys fighting John Redmond I knew it would be a tough fight for him, but I’ve sparred with Rhys a lot and I know he’s a tough boy. The ground game might have been one of the weaker things initially for both Rhys and Mark, but I could feel over the weeks and months leading up to the fight how hard it was to control these guys on the ground.

“They looked great on the feet, great in the clinch – their striking is really technical. We’ve got a great boxing coach in the gym, Derek Morrison, and these guys were training with this guy for one hour solid whenever he was up. This guy can push the pace and never get tired and that’s forced their hands to improve really quickly.

“I thought the worse case scenario with Redmond and Rhys would be if John managed to take him down and stay on top. It was a big fight for Rhys, a lot of guys wrote him off, but we had that belief. Having watched both of guys in the past I knew he could get the win and he went out there and got the job done in one round.

“Rhys really surprised John with a left hook and I think after that he was in his bike a bit. He never really recovered from that, he knew he had a fight on his hands. After that, Rhys never took a step back. He kept coming, and John hit him with some big shots too. We told him not to get involved in a brawl and he stepped back and started to pick his shots. He got him to the ground and finished with the choke, it was a great fight,” he recalled.

Parke also highlighted that he is looking forward to experiencing the Dublin crowd again, even though he admitted he had to calm himself down after the thunderous reception he received last July in the Irish capital.

“I can’t wait to walk out in front of the Dublin crowd again, but I know I don’t need to feel that energy to put in a good performance. To be honest, the whole atmosphere got to me the last time in Dublin, I had to really put a lot of effort into controlling myself and calming myself down after it.

“I have a lot of great sponsors behind me like the Millside Restaurant, Garden of Life supplements, Fit Food Northern Ireland, Scotch House Bar in Bushmills, Bayview Hotel, Ground Coffee and Mason’s Nightclub – they’ve made this camp go a lot easier for me and I know I’m going to put on a show on October 24.”


Ireland's leading MMA media outlet. Home of Severe MMA Podcast. Producers of 'Notorious,' 'The Fighting Irish' & other MMA docus

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