Next month, Sunderland featherweight Andrew Fisher will return to the cage for Russian promotion Absolute Championship Berkut at their ACB 75 event in Dubai and will face one of the toughest tests of his career as he faces Armenian Akop Stepanyan.
In an exclusive interview with MMA Plus, Team Fish Tank‘s Fisher revealed that the Russian-based veteran had been lined up as his opponent for the November 18 show, in what will be the first bout on his new four-fight deal with ACB.
“The Sniper” Stepanyan has a wealth of experience including time with Bellator, Fight Night Global and of course previous bouts with ACB. With an impressive record of 25-9, he is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges that Fisher has faced so far.
Whilst happy with the opponent given, the 32-year old admitted a match up with the St. Petersburg based fighter wasn’t what he expected to be given from the Russian promotion.
“I just said yes [to fighting Stepanyan]. They asked me if i was fighting on the Moscow card on 23rd December so I was hoping I could get one of the Russian wrestling type fighters but they then phoned and said how about Dubai? I just said yes.”
As opposed to the traditional efficient, and arguably, lacklustre grapplers and wrestlers of the Russian scene, Stepanyan is far removed from this stereotype. Flashy, agile and cumbersome power all make this fight an intriguing and exciting match-up. In his last outing, Stepanyan won with a perfectly executed spinning wheel-kick.
“The thing is, he’s really precise with his punching. And when he lands, he’s explosive. He’s very accurate and heavy-handed. He knocks people out with his spinning attacks as well.”
With great reputation, comes great responsibility and that is what will be heaped on the shoulders of Stepanyan. Ranked high up in the ACB world rankings, Fisher has been cast straight into the deep end with one of the finest in his division.
“He’s ranked sixth in the world rankings. Which means if I do beat him then I’m right up there really. In terms of the title, I don’t care, I don’t really care. I’m not old, but 32, I’ve told my wife I’d retire at 35 so I just have three years to get some more stories out of”.
The Sunderland native expressed his joy about fighting in Dubai and elaborated on his wonderful, yet bizarre year, fighting in numerous different continents.
“It’s just all a great experience really. I’m in a position where I’m loving my life, I’m in form, fighting the best people and now I’m going to Dubai! I’ve been Brazil this year already for a fight there, Dubai and with ACB there are plenty of places to go.”
The following month on from Fisher’s clash with Stepanyan sees interest closer to home with several fighters from Fisher’s Team Fish Tank gym competing on the BAMMA 33 card in Newcastle.
“I think it’ll be great. We don’t really get many big shows here in the North-East so I hope they do really well. It’s a big comeback for him [Ryan Scope] as well, I hope he gets the win.”
With a chance to fight in Dubai and put himself in the ACB rankings followed by big opportunities for teammates back home, it will be both an eventful and memorable next two months for Fisher.