Mukai Maromo Talks MFC Title Fight With Graham Spencer: “I Can Grapple, But That’s Not What I’m Here To Do”
By Kelsey Mowatt
As Mukai Maromo continues to prepare for his upcoming, Maximum Fighting Championship lightweight title fight on February 15th, he does so, having been down this road before. While Maromo knows what it takes to put together a championship winning training camp and performance, he has yet to wrap the MFC belt around his waist.
Last August, the decorated kickboxer put away Adam Lynn with a second round knee, in what was supposed to determine the promotion’s lightweight champion. Unfortunately for the competitors, however, Lynn had failed to make weight and the bout was a non-title affair. Now, as Maromo gets set to fight another of the promotion’s rising stars in Graham Spencer, he hopes a winning effort will also mean championship gold.
“It was the first time ever in Adam’s career that he missed weight,” Maromo said recently on Full Contact Fighter Radio. “So it was surprising to see him miss the weight. You’re right; it was very, very disheartening. To be looking forward to such a fight, to be at the pinnacle of your success, getting that lightweight title, and then boom, have it just taken in an instant because he missed weight.”
Although Maromo didn’t emerge with the belt, he did record an impressive, highlight reel finish of Lynn, after narrowly emerging with a split decision victory over the resilient vet a few months earlier in May.
“Part of the drive behind that fight was proving to everybody that the last time wasn’t a fluke and that I was way better than what I had showed the last time,” the 29 year-old, Edmonton based fighter added. “Dominating him and knocking him out was just as much of a priority as getting the title, so it wasn’t a complete loss.”
Now, Maromo has another opportunity to not only become the MFC champ, but to hand the last man who defeated him a loss. Spencer defeated Maromo by unanimous decision in December, 2010, and since then, the Nanaimo fighter has continued to impress by adding three more victories to his resume.
The fight’s announcement likely caught some observers by surprise, however, due to the fact that Spencer has traditionally competed at featherweight. Most recently, at MFC 35 in October, the 9-1 fighter earned a unanimous decision win over UFC vet Shane Nelson.
“I was surprise; yeah for sure,” Maromo admitted. “At the same time, he’s a game opponent, and this is the fight game, and there’s not really that big a difference in size between lightweights and featherweights for the most part. I was surprised, but at the same time, I wasn’t taken aback…it was more like ‘it makes sense’. We have fought before and he has that win over me.”
When Spencer was on Full Contact Fighter Radio earlier in January, he said he’s certain that both he and Maromo are much better fighters than the two men that fought over two years ago.
“Oh, he’s definitely a better fighter. He just fought Shane Nelson who comes out of BJ Penn’s camp; very solid competitor, former UFC fighter,” Maromo said. “He fought a really good opponent and bested him…he completely walked over him and had his way with him. He’s definitely gotten better as a fighter.”
While Spencer has worked on his skill set through continued training at Impact MMA and Team Alpha Male, Maromo has also evolved his MMA game considerably by heading to renowned gyms like Montreal’s Tristar facility.
“Same could be said for me,” said Maromo, while discussing improvements he’s made since December, 2010. “That fight actually happened at 150 pounds, and was like on two weeks notice, so it was a big disadvantage for me….it was a bad mistake at the time but you learn.”
“I’ve gotten better, my guard’s gotten better, my takedown defense, standing up and on the ground, my Muay Thai has progressed a lot, when I’m talking about striking for MMA, so we’ve both gotten better,” noted Maromo, was received “Inside MMA’s” “Bazzie” for rising star in 2012, which are awards named after AXS TV commentator and MMA legend Bas Rutten.
Although both men have worked hard to become more complete fighters, Maromo acknowledges that the “grappler versus striker” label for the fight still applies.
“It’s definitely a grappler versus striker match-up because that’s our bread-and-butter,” Maromo furthered. “I can grapple, but that’s not what I’m here to do.”
MFC 36 will be hosted by the Shaw Conference Center in Edmonton, Alberta and will be broadcast live on AXS TV.