Journey Newson not taking Soslan Abanokov lightly heading into FFC 36 co-main event

Looking back on his 2018 campaign, bantamweight up and comer Journey Newson feels like he couldn’t have had more different opponents, but was able to pick up wins in both his bouts regardless.

First against the taller Tycen Lynn in February, Newson had to adjust to the physical difference to get a unanimous decision win. Versus the more comparably sized Chris SanJose in November, Newson was able to be more assertive and pick up a second round TKO.

“Tall guys (like Lynn) are hard to deal with because they’re so far away from me,” Newson told MMAWeekly.com. “I’m a short stocky guy, so getting in and trying to land some punches is definitely harder than going against guys my own size and height.

“That (SanJose bout) was a good fight. I beat him in the second round with TKO. The first round was mostly just ground. The second round I kind of wanted to keep it standing. He wasn’t looking to go to the ground either. I basically read his timing and just caught him.”

For Newson, it’s the work he’s been putting into his stand-up game that he feels will be a big part of his success moving forward in his career.

“I’m not technically a boxer, but I know my hands need work for MMA, and I felt the best way to kind of solve that is take some boxing matches,” said Newson. “It’s getting better for sure. I’m getting better at reading people and being comfortable. Hopefully that will transfer to MMA.”

Thursday in Las Vegas, Nevada, Newson (8-1) will look to pick up his sixth win in a row when he faces Soslan Abanokov (5-3-1) the 135-pound co-main event of Final Fight Championship 36.

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“He swings pretty hard and he’s a boxer/wrestler from what I could see,” Newson said of Abanokov. “I definitely think I’m more technical than him in the stand-up area. I’m not too sure how good his ground game is because I’ve just seen him wrestle and kind of lay there on top of guys.

“I can’t take him lightly, but I’m hoping to out-strike him and not worry about punching power. He throws a 1-2 pretty hard, so I have to watch out for those, counter, and look for that one opening. One opening is all I need.”

For Newson it’s not so much the promotion he fights in as is the opportunities fighting can afford him that is his main focus for the second half of 2019 and beyond.

“It would be awesome to get (to the big show) but it’s not my dream,” said Newson. “My dream is to travel with this and just fight. Travelling is kind of what I’m aiming for; just kind of travel the world and fight and get better at fighting.”