‘Razor’ Rob Wilkinson is considered to be the #1 Middleweight in Australia, and on March 19 he will have the opportunity to prove just why that is when he battles Jamie Abdallah for the AFC Middleweight Title.
Rob is undefeated, and has opponents have rarely made it out of the first round in any of his fights! Solid striking, razor sharp elbows and high level jiu jitsu make this man an extremely dangerous middleweight. All that’s missing is the AFC Middleweight strap hanging on the wall in his broadening trophy room, and in just 4 days he plans to walk in to the Melbourne Pavilion, hand Jamie Abdallah his first professional loss and walk out with the AFC Middleweight Title!
We caught up with Rob to get his thoughts on this monumental title fight:
Last time we saw you in the AFC you took care of young gun Daniel Schuardt. Talk us through your recollection of that fight?
Yeah Daniel is a good fighter and I was lucky enough to have the chance to fight him as his opponent pulled out 2 weeks before the fight. We had a few exchanges on the feet where I broke my hand early in the fight. We ended up clinching where Daniel pulled guard; I landed an elbow that split him open before it got back to its feet. From there I think I rocked him with some punches, he then shot on me and I was able to finish the fight with a guillotine.
You’d been waiting a while to debut on the AFC, and your performance was very impressive especially your ability to control a credentialed grappler on the ground. Did that fight give you even more confidence in your grappling?
I’ve always had confidence in my grappling, my coach is Priscus Fogagnolo who is perhaps the best no gi grappler in the country. Training with him every day for years, plus traveling to the USA and training with experienced UFC fighters has made me very confident with my grappling ability.
You unfortunately broke your hand in that fight, how has the recovery been?
Recovery has been long, ended up having two surgeries on my hand but its 100% now. It’s not the first time I’ve had to go through this process so I know what to do, and how to keep training in what I can and make sure I stay fit and strong. In my last 3 fights I’ve either broken my hand or had a broken hand going into the fight, so I’m looking forward to showing everyone what I can do when I’m 100%.
You’ll finally get your Middleweight Title shot at AFC 15 when you battle reigning Light Heavyweight Champ Jamie Abdallah – your thoughts on your opponent?
Yes it’s been a long wait as I originally I was meant to be fighting Zein Saliba in December, but he has now decided to retire which is upsetting, as I would rather fight the current champion than for a vacant belt. But as Jamie is the LHW champ this still will be a great fight. He is a tough fighter with heavy hands but I don’t think he is as well rounded as I am, he has good boxing and decent defensive wrestling but he has fought anyone with grappling abilities I have.
Does the fact that Jamie is dropping down from Light Heavyweight pose any issues for you?
The only issue it posses is that if he doesn’t make weight it can’t be for the belt and if that happens then I want the fight to be changed to a light-heavy weight title fight! Other than that there isn’t any issues, this is my division!
We all know Jamie has huge KO power, so how do you plan to avoid tasting that leather?
I’m sure I’ll be hit during the fight; it is a fight after all. What I won’t be doing is standing right in front of him and letting him swing away like I’ve seen in some of his previous fights. As in any fight I train to be hit as little as possible, while doing as much damage to them as possible.
Where do you feel you’ll hold the key advantages in this fight?
I’ll win this fight anywhere it goes, I’ll be to fast for him, he is use to fighting slow light-heavy weights. Then another big advantage is my grappling, it is on another level to his. I don’t see this fight lasting long if it ends up on the ground.
What would it mean to you to wear AFC Gold at this stage of your career?
I’ll have titles in two of Australia’s best promotions and still be undefeated. It will further prove that I am the best middleweight in the country!
Where will you be preparing for AFC 15 and what are the keys to a successful training camp?
I’ve been training where I always do, out of HTC in Hobart, I’ve also spent a week up with VT1 in Sydney training with some different bodies and getting some good advice there. This camp has been perfect for me, I’m injury free and been able to really make some good improvements in all areas of my game. I’ll be a different animal in there compared to what you saw last time I was fighting.
If you are successful on March 19, what does the future hold for you?
Just looking to keep fighting and keep winning, would like to start fighting some international opponents, whether that’s me flying over seas or getting them flown in I’m not fussed.
AFC 15 will definitely sell out so get your tickets now: AFC 15 Tickets
Article by Josh Warner AFC