Top UK prospect Adam Amarasinghe confident of triumph at the 2017 European Open

Adam Amarasinghe pictured above (left) alongside striking coach Kenny Moyston

The UKMMAF national amateur MMA team has welcomed a compelling new sense of legacy in the form of newcomer Adam Amarasignhe. The 24-year-old Bantamweight competitor will compete on the IMMAF international amateur platform for the first time this week at the 2017 European Open Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.

As the younger brother of renowned MMA coach and former TUF competitor, Dean Amasinger, the undefeated NFM Windsor product undoubtedly brings a high sense of anticipation this week to the Men’s 135lb bracket. Building upon the reputation of his family name, the British standout has established his own notoriety within the UK scene, holding an undefeated amateur record of 5-0, including 3 first round stoppages, and now, he steps to the world level.

“I think it was through word of mouth,” Adam said, when asked how he discovered the IMMAF amateur platform. “My coach (Dean) and my team mates were talking about it and I jumped at the opportunity to compete in a competition like this

“Dean plays a massive role in my training, I’m really blessed to have someone that covers all areas of my game. I have other coaches that specialise in different areas but Dean is the one that puts it all together for me.  We are always working on game plans, goal setting and technique. As we are so close as brothers we have a great working relationship in the gym and I know that every decision being made is in my best interest so I really couldn’t ask for more.”

Amarasinghe feels that the experience of his brother Dean has opened doors and exposed him to a wiser perception of athletic development, lending to his enthusiasm for amateur development and establishing himself as a formidable champion with no pressure or eagerness to turn pro ahead of the perfect moment.

“Using Dean’s career as a platform we’ve been able to use the positives and avoid the negatives in helping my career to take off. I’ve never felt like I need to rush in to going pro and I know that lots of fighters do and quickly realise they aren’t ready. I have every confidence in my ability and what I am going to achieve but there’s a certain level of experience that I want to have under my belt before I go pro.”

Unlike the singular amateur bouts that newcomers such as Adam are used to, with agreed opponents scheduled in advance, the international IMMAF tournaments present a unique nation vs. nation format with all team members ready to face a wealth of potential opponents from around the world on a schedule of back-to-back fights across multiple days. Success demands the very best of each standout martial artist.

“I’m going in there feeling confident,” he stated. “I’m not the type of guy that spends very long looking at opposition, the most important thing to me is to concentrate on my game and to make sure I have all aspects covered, regardless of the skill set of the other guy.

“As I said previously, I jumped at the opportunity to represent the country. As people aren’t getting payed to compete it really draws on fighters that are passionate about this game and just want to compete for the love of the sport and their country. This set up definitely makes for some great fights and match-ups.”

Competitors are requited to weigh in on the day of competition, ahead of each individual bout, which in turn eliminates excessive weight cutting and thus athletes remain healthy and safe, competing at weight closer to their natural size. In the past, Amarasinghe has competed as low as 125lb (Flyweight), but between March 29 to April 2 he will be in action as a 135lb Bantamweight. Amarasinghe agrees that the culture of weight cutting in MMA, particularly among professionals, is in need of reform, and he is happy to see it done at a much lesser extent among amateurs here in Sofia.

“This format is definitely new to me and is a challenge in its own right. I usually fight at either Flyweight or Bantamweight, but I’ve chosen the latter as I don’t want to be doing full weight cuts day in day out. I think weight cutting should definitely be kept to a minimum in MMA but even more so in the amateur rankings.”

In the same division Amarasinghe will join fellow Bantamweight and Team UK member Jack Flanagan. Flanagan was first selected by the UKMMAF in 2016 and competed at last year’s European Open in Prague. Amarasinghe will take on the added experience of competing abroad for the first time and steps into a hotly contested 17 as an unseeded challenger with top ranked athletes including the likes of experienced Italian Marco Zannetti and Bulgaria’s Rostislav Raichev.

“I’m really looking forward to fighting abroad, it’s a completely new experience for me and I’m always looking for new challenges. I think I’m going to cause some major upsets in this competition. As I’m not seeded yet I expect to have some tough fights early on and I’m more than ready for that. I’m only coming to win, I’ll leave everything in the cage and everyone will know who I am by the end of it.”

By IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran

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