On Saturday 2nd March 2019, Rise of Champions (ROC) return for their seventh show from the Brentwood Centre with an evening of professional and amateur MMA action. The promotion was founded by Mickey Papas and UK MMA legend Brad Pickett and looks to give domestic talent the platform to hone their skills and develop a larger fan base. The shows main event is a rematch of a heavyweight clash that took place in BAMMA last year as Chi Lewis-Parry takes on Lukasz Parobiec once again.
That first contest took place at BAMMA’s final show in June 2018 and ended in a majority draw but was marred with controversy which was becoming a regular occurrence for Lewis-Parry. He suffered a leg injury in the very first round which prevented him from striking and moving as he usually does and was also deducted a point for an eye poke later in the fight. The fight was a rather lackluster affair and the scorecards were debated by many too so this rematch between the pair will look to clear up any previous controversy and see who the better man truly is. Lewis-Parry (7-0-1 2NC) doesn’t believe he can take much from that first fight and is expecting a totally different display at the start of March.
“I suffered from an oblique kick around a minute and a half into round one,” said Lewis-Parry. “That completely dictated the way that I fought. Survival mode kicked in and I was competing not only with my opponent but also with my own body. I had no idea what I could get away with and it took me two full rounds to gather enough confidence to bear weight. It will end violently differently this time around!”
Lewis-Parry also explained in a recent interview with MMA UK that as Parobiec took the first fight on very short notice, he went in with the mindset that he didn’t want to do too much damage to his adversary. This was because if Parobiec (12-9) hadn’t of taken that fight, Lewis-Parry would have been without an opponent and wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make money. However, due to some comments from Parobiec following the first contest after Lewis-Parry had paid for his opponents medicals, Chi is going into this fight with the complete opposite mindset – he wants to do as much damage as possible.
Since that bout, Lewis-Parry’s knee has healed up and he picked up a TKO victory in the second round at the end of January in Abu Dhabi. That was his first official win after returning to MMA in March 2018 following a debatable no contest to Stav Economu (that Lewis-Parry is insistent he legitimately won) and then the controversial draw to Parobiec. Lewis-Parry was becoming frustrated at how his fights were ending but wasn’t letting that affect him going into his last fight.
“To be honest, I was just happy to compete! It wasn’t so much a weight lifted as much as it was a goal accomplished,” explained the former Glory Kickboxer. “We set out a plan at the end of the year and it was important for the first step to happen which it did! This game is not very forgiving so all the BS that comes with it just comes with it. It’s that simple.”
This was the first time that Lewis-Parry had competed in Abu Dhabi and it went beyond all of his expectations. He is looking forward to returning to compete there again and has big ambitions.
“Abu Dhabi was an incredible experience. It was like no other. I competed in Dubai before but this time round in the Middle East was special. I have plans of taking that gold strap next time out AND SOON!” stated Lewis-Parry.
After suffering a major leg injury like he did, it can take fighters a long time just to feel normal again, let alone step inside a cage to fight another man. It took the Englishman around 7 months to heal up, go through a training camp and then compete resulting in a victorious effort. That’s quite the achievement.
“The injury I suffered was s**t and not a very pleasant one. There is nothing worse than feeling like your leg is going to give out at any given moment,” discussed Lewis-Parry. “Getting out of bed was a task let alone doing anything else. I took my time mending and I take the appropriate precautions when training. I’m in this for the long haul so intelligence is key.”
Chi Lewis-Parry is in the unique position of being a notable name that people are interested in but isn’t tied down to one particular promotion. However, this isn’t due to lack of interest from major companies and he is very relaxed about the whole situation.
“This year, I will once again be the most talked about heavyweight outside of the major promotions but I’m not chasing deals from any of them. I have had a swarm of offers from the UFC to the WWE. I will do everything at my own pace and comfort.”
The next step of that journey takes place in Brentwood and redeeming himself against Lukasz Parobiec is the next task in front of Chi. Since their first fight, Parobiec has lost 2 fights in a row. The first was a 41 second KO loss to UFC veteran, Wagner Prado, in KSW and then a unanimous decision loss to Marthin Hamlet in a Cage Warriors Academy show. However, Lewis-Parry hasn’t been keeping close attention to his upcoming opponents career at all. He ended the conversation with a damning message for Parobiec ahead of March 2nd after making it clear that he isn’t playing around in this fight.
“I couldn’t give a rat’s a** about his performances or his career. He’s getting trashed! He’s a disrespectful, unsportsmanlike trash man and he’s done! Normally I’d say something funny to hype up a fight but I genuinely don’t want to take away from the seriousness of my intentions. I want to hurt this man! I owe him that!”
ROC 7 will be available to watch on UFC Fight Pass shortly after the events conclusion.