At the age of 35, Sadibou Sy is completely relaxed a few days before fight night in Cardiff, Wales. This Saturday, however, will put all of his training, explosive power and will to win to the test as he hopes to get one step closer to winning the Professional Fighters League welterweight championship and a cool $1 million championship in 2022 The PFL Playoffs resume this weekend from across the Atlantic.
The path to Cardiff was secured on July 1 at PFL 6 when Sy defeated MMA superstar Rory MacDonald by unanimous decision. w that the dust has settled on this big win, Sy reflects that the experience has given him a lot of confidence.
"I was so happy when I got the call [Macdonald] was my second opponent because I'm not here to lose time," says Sy, nicknamed "The Swede Denzel Washington". "Being a legend of the sport... being able to get the receipt of where I am and where I'm going has been really amazing and I think, to be honest, I will when I go back gonna fight him make it look easy Because I've felt it now and I have a little more air under my wings now in a sense that I know what I can bring and I believe in it on another level. I know a fight is a fight so never underestimate anyone and I'm not trying to say that. I'm a huge Rory fan, but I just feel like I'm not a good partner for him."
Courtesy of PFL/Sadibou Sy
Sadibou Sy has a love affair with MMA
Sy's love of MMA grew out of his participation in kickboxing and muay thai. While competing for the Sweden national team, he felt the urge to try MMA and began his career while remaining active in these other disciplines. "But what happened, I fell in love with her," he says. "It was 2012 or 2013. I fell in love with her and haven't looked back since." With perhaps the biggest night of his MMA career approaching, Sadibou Sy understands that it takes a well-rounded approach to be the best. He values the advice he receives from his strength and conditioning coaches, like the team at Baker Woodson Training, and focuses on using the right techniques at the right time. "For different opponents, we have different goals that we aim for and different drills that we put more emphasis on," says Sy. "A lot of it is building strength, building a base, building balance, building the know-how to transfer power, and things like that."
Sadibou Sy says the ability to adapt is the "key" to winning. On his brilliant Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/sadibousy/), Sy shares many of the exercises he does in training, including mobility work, CrossFit style workouts, and hardcore heavy lifting. The fierce competitor, whose current MMA record stands at 11-6-2, uses moves like the land mine press to continue his progress. Sy says grueling workouts are a great way to test his ability to take punishment, and this helps him well when he's feeling pressured during a fight. The ability to adapt to changing enemies and moments that require split-second decisions is something Sy says is "key" to any fight. "Knowing what to do and when to do it is everything, because you can have all the guns, but if you don't know when to use them, it doesn't matter," Sy says ahead of his playoff duel with Carlos Leal on Saturday. "I believe this fight can be a very tough fight and I believe it can be a very easy fight. Simply in the sense that if I use the right weapons at the right time, I'll be able to make it not that competitive. But if I don't do it (use the right weapons) then I think he'll grow and he'll try to put his game plans together and stuff like that."
Sadibou Sy is a self-confessed "geek" when studying opponents
Sy is undoubtedly an avid student of the game. Along with his team, "The Swede Denzel Washington" dissects every aspect of an opponent's arsenal to perfect his tools for the job at hand. "I'm a geek when it comes to technology and the right thing at the right time," he enthuses. "Some fighters [take the approach of] just do more or just do harder. I don't believe in this concept. I think you have to be in top form. I believe that you have to have the commitment, the year-long residency and the focus and everything. But I also believe that there is a right time for the right things. It comes from having the knowledge around you, but of course the experiences as well.” Sy says honesty is a must when reflecting on his past struggles and he's not afraid to criticize himself and find out what can be improved before each fight. However, one of his greatest weapons, which is sure to give many opponents sleepless nights, is his lightning power. In 2019, Sy destroyed David Michaud in just 17 seconds with a scintillating kick followed by a series of brutal punches.
Coming from middleweight, Sadibou Sy (8-4-1) crumples David Michaud in 17 seconds! The 6'3" Swede's six finishes are all by KO, five in round one. #PFL1 #PFLMMApic.twitter.com/SNrE7du5je
— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) May 10, 2019
Training to be a lean MMA fighting machine
Heading into a fight, Sy's body fat percentage fluctuates between 7 and 12 percent, depending on how far along in camp he is. This level reaches its lowest point for weighing operations. "I have to be careful not to go too deep too soon when it comes to shedding the fat," he says. "I think you need a bit of fat to absorb the blows and protect the muscles." With Britain currently experiencing a heatwave, Cardiff will be unseasonably warm next Saturday but that doesn't worry Sy having been there since January lives in Las Vegas and it was so hot there they had to carry hydration packs. "You have to be able to rehydrate between your exercises or you'll burn out after a day or two," says Sy. And as bell time draws ever closer to the PFL Playoffs, thoughts now turn to how a cool $1 million in prize money could be spent. "I want to invest," says the smart Swede. It sounds like a sensible plan, but he's just as excited about a giant cheesecake and sharing the moment with his family.
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