Leandro Issa shocked many in the MMA world when he was able to defeat leg-lock master Masakazu Imanari at One FC’s latest show, so he might try to do the same in his next fight.
Issa is now riding a seven-fight win streak and may have his eyes set on another tough challenge as the fighter to welcome former Dream champion Bibiano Fernandes to the One FC arena.
MMAWeekly: Bibiano Fernandes just signed with One FC, would you be interested in a fight with him?
Leandro Issa: I would love to fight Bibiano. He’s a great champion and I have a lot of respect for him. He is a very nice guy too, but I will fight anyone that (One FC CEO Victor Cui) asks me to fight, that is my job.
MMAWeekly: How awkward an opponent was Masakazu Imanari and was that something you were prepared for?
LI: Imanari is a very weird fighter, but I was ready for his tricks and leg locks
MMAWeekly: Did you get your teammates to try and emulate his style in training?
LI: Here at Evolve MMA we have many BJJ black belts, each has their own style, and we have a black belt here call Takeo, who is also very good in leg locks and he does the same style as Imanari. So for this fight I trained with him a lot. All the black belts and all my teammates helped me a lot for this fight.
MMAWeekly: He seemed very reluctant to engage in the stand-up exchanges. Was that frustrating for you and did you have to be patient?
LI: For this fight I had to be very calm and patient because I knew if i made a mistake he could finish the fight.
MMAWeekly: You shot for more takedowns as the fight progressed. Was that part of the game plan or was that because you were more confident that he wasn’t going to submit you?
LI: The game plan was to take him down later in the round, but the first time I went to the ground I didn’t feel any risk so I took him down few more times.
MMAWeekly: This is the biggest win of your career and has established you as a top 20 bantamweight. Did you always believe you would reach the top of the sport and are you surprised by how rapidly you have progressed since moving to Singapore and signing for One FC?
LI: Surely this was the biggest win of my career. I always believe myself and my team. I improved a lot since I join to Evolve MMA, so with the way we train here this is just beginning.
MMAWeekly: Do you know when you will fight next and do you have any opponents in mind?
LI: I don’t know yet, but for sure I will be ready.
MMAWeekly: You didn’t get to showcase your Muay Thai as much as in your previous fight because Imanari was very reluctant to engage in the stand-up exchanges. Was that disappointing and do you prefer fighting more aggressive opponents?
LI: This fight was a fight with a lot more technique and strategy. I could not be too aggressive and I had to go in and out all the time. Against an aggressive opponent I would have a different strategy.
MMAWeekly: Both your fights have gone the full three rounds. How much has the experience of spending a full 30 minutes in the One FC cage helped you as a fighter?
LI: I always try to finish my fights faster, but fight three round is good experience for my career. For the next I will try submit or knock out.