(OMMAC IV: Co-Headlined by Sass vs. Young for the lightweight title)
On March 6th, at the Liverpool Olympia, Jason Young (7-2) will top the bill at OMMAC 4 when he faces off against Scouse submission specialist Paul Sass. Young caught up with FIGHT! to discuss this contest, and where he thinks it will be won and lost.
“I’m really excited for it,” the Londoner beamed. “Sass hasn’t lost before, and it’s a great honour to fight someone who’s probably the best unsigned lightweight in the UK, and probably in Europe too.”
When asked how preparations have gone to date, Jason said,
“Obviously I’m not a full time fighter, and because I’ve got a mortgage I have to work to pay the bills. This means that I can only train every day after work and on the weekends, but I’ve got some really good guys around me, and a lot of people that help me out like my training partners and especially my work. They sponsor me and give me the time off leading up to fights to train, which is a big help.”
He continued to tell us who he is working with at present. “I train with Kieran Keddle,” he began, “Who I reckon is one of the best standup fighters in the country. Ashleigh Grimshaw is one of my buddies and I train with him all the time. Also, Mark Pastou, who has just come down to lightweight and Brad Pickett, who was probably the one who got me into the sport. I’ve got loads of guys down at Semtex [Gym] as well, and fingers crossed I should be going down to the Roughhouse soon! That will be my first time up there, and will really help preparations for the fight.”
To many, Sass is a massive favourite going into the bout. This does not affect Young, who is enjoying being overlooked. “I know leading up to this fight I will always be an underdog. He’s 9-0 and Britain’s number one. All this takes a bit of pressure off me. I’m usually the underdog going into fights, and that’s how I like to look at it because it gives me a bit more fuel to win.”
“I watched him fight Rob Sinclair and I see a lot of holes in his game,” he continued. “I have really, really good takedown defence. To get me on the ground, he’s going to have to eat a lot of stuff on the way in; there’s no way I’m going to let him take me down without giving him something to think about. Even if he takes me down, he’s got to keep me down and no-one, not even Michael Pastou, can hold me down and keep me on my back for long.”
In Sass’ last bout, Rob Sinclair took him to a three round split decision that many called the British fight of the year. On this, Jason noted,
“Rob Sinclair’s got good striking, and is no idiot on his feet. I couldn’t understand why he wanted to take it to the ground. Sass has got such good Jiu-Jitsu, I don’t know why you would want to do that. The guy has seven wins by triangle alone, why do you entertain someone like that on the ground?”
The UCMMA veteran carried on to say, “Abdul [Mohammed, who Jason beat in his last fight] is a good wrestler. He might be on his way out, but you can’t take it away from him; he has good takedowns, good ground and pound and pretty strong wrestling overall. Even he found it hard to take me down, and if Paul Sass wants to take me down, he’s in for a fight.
“I had Abdul in a Thai clinch in that fight too, and he felt weak to me in that. This shocked me because before that fight, I was scared. I’d seen him knock out Ross Pointon, beat Robbie Olivier and so many other good names that I was thinking that it was a big step up for me. My confidence grew as I carried on and, up until that point, I hadn’t been hit really hard in any of my fights. He caught me on the chin with a spinning backfist, and I managed to shake it off, which shows I’ve got a good chin. I always put myself down before fights so much that when I get out there my confidence goes up the longer the fight lasts.”
On a gameplan for taking on a great BJJ fighter in Sass, Young admitted that he wants the action standing at all costs.
“I’m obviously going to try and keep it standing,” he divulged. “I don’t want to stay in one spot for too long, because it gives him the time to set up and shoot, so I’m going to be hitting and moving – basically, the same sort of gameplan I used for Abdul, and I’m quite good at sticking to gameplans. I would like to stand with Sass for the whole fight.
“When he fought Jason Ball, Ball was all over [him], and Sass was in really big trouble. It’s just one of those things though; it’s MMA – things can change very quickly, and he got him in a triangle. I believe I can make it happen though, and I’ve got so many good people around me supporting me. I’ll be fine.”
“I’ll be out of my comfort zone,” Young admitted, “But at the end of the day, it’s not about the comfort zone, it’s about the name, hunger and how much you want it. I think I’ve got the pace for Sass as well. I’m not just going to rush in looking for bombs, I’ll stand there, look, look, look, look, watch out, move and then throw my shots and pick my shots. These will be nice and straight; crisp and down the pipe. This will help me get in on the body too.
“Leg kicks are also a big ‘no no’ in this fight and I’ve been working a hell of a lot on my boxing because I want to box him all the way through this fight, and if he thinks he’s going to shoot, then I can catch people on the way in with flying knees – I caught Jordan Miller and Francis Heagney with them and that stopped them in their motion and stopped them doing what they want to do.
“I’m not going to put him down or anything, but his striking is nowhere near the level of mine. I know that. I’m not scared of his power at all. To me, it looks like he doesn’t have much power, so that’s another hole I see in his game. I don’t see any danger from him apart from his ground game, and I’m just not going to entertain him with that.”
The bout will take place in Liverpool, which is Sass’ hometown. When asked if an anti-Young crowd would bother him, Jason retorted, “It definitely won’t bother me; crowds don’t affect me in the slightest. I’m going to give them what they might not want to see in one way, but every fan wants to see two people bang and a hard working fight; not someone rolling around on the floor.
“I know Paul Sass is a really good, technical fighter on the ground, but that’s not what people want to see – onlookers are going to think that fight’s boring. People want to see excitement, and I think that’s what I’ve got.”
To conclude, the confident Young had this to say,
“I can get to my feet from anywhere, and I don’t and I won’t settle for my back. I will not have it! Even if I dropped him, I’d stay standing, unless I could see his eyes roll in to the back of his head. I’m not silly, I think about what I’m doing. I’ve seen people’s mistakes and where they’ve gone wrong with him, so I’ll just learn off them, and all going right, my gameplan will work.”
“I’ll be honest,” a frank Young resumed, “I’m not going to learn much between now and the fight. However, I’ll make sure my fitness is bang on, and my gameplan is right.”
Tickets for OMMAC 4 can be bought at OMMAC.tv.