Five days out from his headline fight at Cage Warriors’ Academy show in Newport, Phil Wells is feeling good and ready to go.
Wells (8-3) is set to make his second appearance under the Cage Warriors banner as he faces Aaron Khalid (5-2-1) on Saturday, and the SVT Swindon fighter is feeling good about his preparation. He said:
“Training wise, it has never been better. Everything has gone according to plan and I’ve enjoyed this camp more than most.
“Weight wise, that’s been the harder part as Christmas fat is a different type of fat, so I had to shed a bit. But I’m comfortable now and ready to go.”
Wells is no stranger to headlining shows
The event, which takes place at the Newport Centre was set to be headlined by a bantamweight clash between Josh Reed and Damo Weeden. However, Reed was forced to withdraw, and the Welterweight contest between Wells and Khalid has been promoted in its place. When asked about the added pressure of fighting in the main event, in his opponent’s home nation at that, Wells seemed unfazed. He said:
“I’ve been in the main event on a load of shows, some local and some larger, so I’m used to this. When it comes down to it, it’s just a fist fight.
“I have fought in Wales a few time now, often against local lads and the Welsh fans are brilliant. I’ve never received a ‘hostile’ reception. They are always up for it, and the atmosphere reflects that.
“[Against Khalid] I may get a few boo’s, but who gives a sh-t?”
In Aaron Khalid, Wells goes up against a talented grappler coming off of the biggest win of his career last October, when he submitted top prospect Adam Proctor at CW 79, also in Newport. However, earlier that night Wells too was in action, when he defeated Toby Hartman by decision, and he got the chance to watch Khalid in action. Reflecting on this, he said:
“He is predominantly a grappler, but having watched his fights he doesn’t just rush for takedowns the whole time. He can fight all round.
“I’ve just focused on myself, keeping what I am good at on point, and I am quite good on the floor too, you just don’t get to see it that often.”
That is certainly the case going off previous fights. Six of Wells’s eight career victories have come by way of knockout, with just his most recent fight going to the judges’ scorecards. History would suggest that this fight doesn’t go the distance, and Wells’ game plan, in its most simplistic form, reflects that.
“Step one, punch him in the face until he falls over.
“Step two, eat southern fried chicken.”
On fight night, Wells will be cornered by SVT coaches Mike Osbourne and Dan Hughes, along with training partner Alex Bunnen. However, his corner will have one notable omission.
“I normally try to get Brad Scott to support as he teaches the MMA Wrestling at my gym but he selfishly decided to go to America to train for his UFC bout which is 2 weeks after mine!”
Cage Warriors Wales a professional setting, and cheap beer
Last week, Cage Warriors Wales promoter Richard Shore told MMA Plus that the winner of this fight will likely receive a high profile fight when the main Cage Warriors show returns to Wales on May 6. On this, and the general experience of fighting for Cage Warriors compared to other promotions, Wells said:
“What Richard Shore said has only motivated me more, but I know I need to win this fight first.
“I’m not getting ahead of myself I’ve worked hard and will perform on the night and earn my spot on the bigger shows. I expect nothing to be given to me or for it to be easy.
“[With Cage Warriors] there is a massive step up in the organisation and structure of the shows. You are told exactly what time you are fighting and the last time they had a countdown clock in front of me, and I went out the minute they told me. This makes preparing a lot easier, rather than guessing and measuring how the other fights are going.
“The Newport setup is decent as well, I love the extra effort that goes into the presentation of it all.
“It also offers £1.50 a beer which you can’t go wrong with!”
Having competed professionally in MMA for a little over five years, Wells is realistic in terms of his goals.
“In the short term, I want to get to ten pro wins.
“Long term, fight abroad. Technically I think Wales may be abroad for me, but you know what I mean.”