Ahead of the biggest fight of his career, Afakasi Sione talks to Mike Breton about how he plans to
shock the world by defeating Paul Kelly.
On June 25th you take on Paul Kelly at UCMMA 21: Stand Your Ground. Do you see this fight as the
way to catapult up the Lightweight division?
Definitely, I wouldn’t be asking for the fight if I didn’t think it was an opportunity and it is an opportunity to
get my name out there and fast track myself up the rankings.
Is this the biggest fight of your career and what are you expecting from Paul?
Yeah, without a doubt. I know Paul is a fighter that likes to give the crowd a good fight and he is a crowd
pleaser. I know that he will want to stand and bang and that’s what I’m expecting to him to do. At the end of
the day it’s going to be one of those fights that I think the crowd will be happy with the out come, this will be
a great fight.
There were several people in MMA who were surprised to see you as Paul Kelly’s opponent, how do
you feel about this?
Without a doubt people would be surprised because of my record at the moment. But all I can say as simply
as possible is that they haven’t seen the full potential of Afakasi Sione and come June 25th, everyone will
be surprised by what the outcome is.
So would you say your record (1-2) doesn’t reflect your skills as a fighter?
Not at all and only a handful of people know that, only my camp and I know that. My last two fights they
haven’t been by the person I am and this is the opportunity to showcase what I’m capable of and at a very
higher standard and I am confident that I’m more than capable of doing that.
Does fighting Paul Kelly give you the incentive to train harder?
No I’m not saying Paul Kelly is the incentive. The incentive is MMA that is my passion and the incentive
to train hard is for me personally, this is just an opportunity to fast track myself and the rankings and for
people to know who I am.
Do you relish being the underdog?
Oh yeah, without a doubt. I’m the underdog and I’m going up against the big bad wolf people are going to
How has training gone and what do you think are Kelly’s weaknesses?
I always train hard. Every single one of my fight camps is getting better and better and I’m going to prove it.
I think Paul’s weaknesses are probably his ground game. I saw his last fight and I’m no Donald Cerrone but
he got taken to the ground and got chocked out. So I’d definitely say his ground game is a weakness.
Paul Kelly is a real fans favorite and will draw a huge crowd. Does this add to the pressure of being
I’ve got a huge fans base – Dave O’Donnell knows this – I have a huge fan base. The crowd that I bring – I
bring the Kiwis the Aussies the South Africans they all come to my fights to follow me and it will be no big
surprise to me because I pull a crowd as well. And the atmosphere will be electric.
Your team mates with Jamaine Facey do you think he can bring the belt back to Bandogs?
I see the belt coming to Bandogs, I see that belt coming down South. Jamaine at the moment is bang
on form and his training camp has been bang on. He is looking sharp and rearing to go and it’s the best
Jamiane I’ve ever seen.