Looking over the course of his last four fights, in which he won three, Ultimate Fighter 19 alum Tyler King is happy with the victories he’s been able to pick up, though he doesn’t feel he’s quite at the level he could be at.
“I’d say in the last 12 months I’ve had three fights where I fought almost to my potential, and one fight where the game plan just kind of went out the window and I paid for it,” King told MMAWeekly.com. “I’ve learned some valuable lessons that will help me as a fighter, and this (upcoming) fight will show where I’m at right now at this time in my career.”
King’s recent success caught the eye of RIZIN, and now he’ll be headed to Japan to have his first fight for the company. Being an East Coast native, King decided it would be best for him to arrive a little early in order to adapt to the difference in schedule.
“My team and I made arrangements for me to fly out a day early,” said King. “My corner man Tom Egan is flying out the same day as well and we’ll land 44 minutes apart from each other. We’re going to land, go to the hotel, get settled, immediately go to the gym to get some work in, and set our plan from there. I figure it will take a day to get settled, and after that we’re good.”
On July 30 in Tokyo, Japan, King (12-5) will take on Amir Aliakbari (6-1) in a main card heavyweight bout at RIZIN World Grand Prix 2017 Opening Round.
“So far he’s fought below expectations and can’t get anybody to bring it out of him,” King said of Aliakbari. “When he fought Heath Herring, he was just getting back into things. Valentin Moldavsky exposed him. And Mirko Cro Cop exposed him further.
“He relies on his wrestling and crucifix. The ones are who as good or better than me off their back is Fabricio Werdum or retired like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Frank Mir, other than that, I’m the best heavyweight submission fighter in MMA. So I’m going to make this an exciting fight.”
After July 30, King is looking to have a fight in the States before returning to Japan at the end of the year to compete again for RIZIN.
“One thing is, when I sign on that dotted line, I will make that fight exciting,” said King. “I will get more eyeballs on that fight. After this I’m looking for the best and hopefully the big money fights.
“Right in my backyard Bellator is having an event, and there are a lot of guys who I’d like to get ahold of, guys like Bobby Lashley. He hasn’t been tested. I would love to make an example of that guy and then go back to RIZIN for the year’s end tournament.”