So far this year hasn’t quite gone as bantamweight up-and-comer Anthony Birchak had hoped.
Normally a busy fighter, Birchak is coming off one of the longest layoffs of his career. As such, he’s eager to return to fighting and build off the success he had last year.
“I’m used to getting fights right off the bat in January or February and just keep things rolling, but this is like the second longest break that I’ve had in my career,” said Birchak. “Six months is a long stretch for me, so I want get in there and keep things rolling from last year.
“I finished all my fights in 2012 by knockout or TKO and I just want to keep that momentum rolling.”
Birchak points out that this layoff wasn’t intentional. Luckily, Canada’s MFC spotted him off his last win and was impressed enough to give him a shot at MFC 37 on Friday night in Edmonton.
Not only did Birchak land on the AXS TV televised portion of the fight card, he and opponent Ryan Benoit became the main event earlier this week when the initial headliner, a battle for the vacant heavyweight title belt, fell through the cracks. It was a sign of just how much confidence the MFC had in signing Birchak.
“We went to Jackson’s MMA series and fought (and defeated) his top 135-pounder there. After that we were just waiting in the wings to see if anyone called,” said Birchak. “We had talks with (MFC president) Mark Pavelich of being the face of the bantamweight division, and he’s the one that showed the most interest and pulled the trigger on signing me.
“I’m more than happy to be in the MFC and be one of the first guys in their bantamweight division.”
Having previously gotten big show experience in Bellator at the start of his career, Birchak told MMAWeekly.com that he feels things have come full circle with the chance to step back up into a promotion like the MFC.
“I think I was 3-0 and that was my biggest test at the time and I stepped up and felt great under the lights. To do that at that time was a great test,” he said. “Fighting for the MFC as a 9-1 professional now, this is where I’m supposed to be and this is what I’m supposed to do.”
Birchak’s MFC debut will not be an easy one, as he takes on promotional veteran Ryan “Baby Face” Benoit.
“I’ve been reading interviews where he’s saying that I’m just a wild striker and that I’m just going to swing for the fences and try and take him down and how that’s not going to work – I can shoot 100 takedowns and all I need is one,” said Birchak. “I think getting him to the ground is going to be the best chance for me to be victorious.
“My striking game is ever-improving and I think I can surprise him. I can’t wait to see the look on his face when I punch him and he realizes he’s in a fight.”
Now that he’s up in a big promotion fighting on a televised event against a top contender, Birchak’s next goal is simple, be crowned MFC champion sooner rather than later.
“I think this is a good fight for my career right now as far as how tough it is and the notoriety of it being the first ever 135-pound fight in the MFC,” he said. “A good, decisive, impressive win would make fighting for the championship not that far away.”