Saad Awad, 20-9, is a Bellator lightweight who was last seen defeating Ryan Quinn via unanimous decision in April. This Friday (November 3) at Bellator 186, Awad, 34, goes up against Zach Freeman, a man best known for wrecking the professional MMA debut of Aaron Pico in June (when submitting the highly-touted prospect inside 24 seconds).
Ahead of his fight with Freeman, Awad took the time to answer the questions of Fighters Only contributor Tony Reid.
Question: What are your thoughts on Zach Freeman as an opponent, and how do you see the fight playing out?
Saad Awad: Zach is very durable. He has decent stand-up. He is a good jiu-jitsu guy, a good wrestler. I see it being a competitive match and I definitely see my hand raised at the end of the fight.
Q: He is coming off a huge upset win over Aaron Pico. Do you think he is entering this fight with sky-high confidence?
SA: I think it’s awesome that he is coming off a big win. I don’t know if it’s a big win – maybe a shocking win. I think that plays in my favor. Now he won’t be shy. He’s going to be confident, so he will be coming out there to get the win. He won’t fight on his heels, which is awesome because that’s the kind of fight I want. I feel like that’s what he’s going to bring.
Q: Are you expecting a highlight reel finish to impress the good folks in State College and Penn State University?
SA: I’m definitely looking for a finish. I ran into a lot of fighters that fought on their heels or just fought to take me down. I had to adjust my style just to get the wins. I think he will come forward and I am going to go out there to finish the fight, whether it’s on my feet or on the mat.
Q: You are coming off a win after back-to-back loses. Are you looking to string a few wins together and get back into the title picture?
SA: Yeah, I am always looking to get a bunch of wins together, whether that is at 155 or 170. Right now, I am focused on 155. I want to get a title fight. (Michael) Chandler is fighting his rematch after that loss (to Brent Primus), so I feel like that puts the 155-pound division on hold. Then you have a couple of other guys in the mix. I hope to get back in that mix and I hope this fight puts me on step closer.
Q: You were a contender and did well in a number of the Bellator tournaments back in the day. Were you a fan of the tournament format?
SA: I like the way it’s being run right now, but when they had the tournament I thought it was dope. You win the tournament and you are fighting for the title. No questions asked. It kept us really busy. I was fighting every three months. This past year I fought twice. This will be my second fight all year. I don’t like to sit back and wait. I want to stay as busy as I can. I’m not getting any younger. If anything, the other fighters coming in are getting younger. I’m just trying to stay as busy as I can and fight as much as I can until I can’t fight anymore.
Q: Would you want to get the fight with Emmanuel Sanchez?
SA: I will fight anybody. I can’t make 145, but if he wants to come up to 155 I will take that fight any day. I will go up to 170 and fight other guys that want to fight. I’m not too worried about weight classes. I would fight my next without weighing in. I will take a fight. That’s the type of person I am. I am over cutting weight, but if I want to fight for a title, I have to do it. I want the title at 155.