Brock Believes Belt Will Be His
Challenger meets reigning bantamweight champ Birchak at MFC 41
By MFC Staff
Jesse Brock was surprised to learn he’s vaulted into the top 40 in the world, according to Fight Matrix.
He’s excited by that realization, but much more focused on being the number one bantamweight in the Maximum Fighting Championship. To make that happen, Brock intends on taking out reigning champ Anthony Birchak at MFC 41: All In.
Brock challenges Birchak for the belt on Friday, Oct. 3 live on AXS TV Fights from the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta. The Boise, Idaho, product has flown under the radar for much of his career, while Birchak has stood out in the crowded ranks with his effervescent personality. It’s the biggest contrast between the two rivals who will clash in Birchak’s first title defense.
“Birchak is good so I suppose some of the hype is justified,” said Brock. “He’s got a solid skill set, so it’s tough to pick out one area and say, ‘This is where I’m going to exploit him.’
“I believe my overall skill set is better, though, and on Oct. 3 I’ll be able to test him in all areas and find where he’s weakest that day and take advantage.”
If he finds the flaw and takes the crown off Birchak, it will certainly be the end result of tough career trek that Brock has taken, one that has seen him fight a who’s who of accomplished mixed martial arts fighters but often well out of his weight class. Now anchored on the right path, Brock has won four of his last five bouts, setting the stage for his MFC title shot.
“The MFC belt would be the greatest thing I’ve accomplished at this point in my career. This fight is by far the most important one I’ve had to this point,” said Brock, who is now ranked #38 by Fight Matrix.
“I really feel like I’m coming into my own as a fighter. I’m becoming more and more comfortable in there and because of that I’m starting to show more of what I’m capable of. To answer the question, I know I can be number one in those rankings, but the first step is being number one Oct. 3.”
Brock looked very comfortable in his organizational debut back at MFC 40 when he took on highly touted Kevin Croom on just two weeks’ notice. Croom entered the matchup with all the hype having won nine straights fights including seven in a row inside the opening round. But when it was all over, Brock left the ring with a split-decision victory with barely a mark on him, while Croom’s face looked as if it had been hit with a quarry full of rocks. The stunning win propelled Brock into the title fight and moved him up nearly 40 spots in the Fight Matrix rankings – coincidently one spot above Croom.
Brock showcased good wrestling against Croom, but more importantly, he flashed solid striking, something that could definitely surface again when he faces Birchak. If Brock’s wrestling and Birchak’s jiu-jitsu mean a saw-off, the title fight may come down to whose hands do more damage.
“It could definitely turn into that if I choose to let it,” noted Brock. “I have the ability to take Birchak down as well and win the fight on the ground. I feel my grappling skills are superior to his.
“My wrestling ability has always, and continues to be, my strongest skill. That said, I’m not really pleased with how well I wrestled against Croom. My setups were lacking, and I made a few other mistakes in certain spots that allowed him to return to his feet when I was close to achieving a dominant position. So setting up my wrestling better and maintaining control will be my main points of emphasis.”
Having ample time to prepare for the title fight will also mean a better Brock. If the short notice version of Brock is any indication, he will undoubtedly provide a stiff challenge to the champ.
“My fitness level is always at a high level, so short notice fights aren’t a big deal in that regard. But the extra time to prepare for one guy specifically will be nice and will allow me to develop certain skills specific to that fight.”
The Brock-Birchak title fight tops a six-fight main card on MFC 41 that includes the co-main event lightweight title matchup pitting reigning champ Tom “Da Tank” Gallicchio against top challenger Marcus “Bad Intentions” Edwards. The lineup also features a lightweight tussle with rising star Andrew “Andrewconda” McInnes meeting veteran Jacob “Feelgood” Volkmann.
Tickets for MFC 41 are on sale now via www.ticketmaster.ca and by calling the MFC Ticket Hotline at (780) 504-2024.