The weigh-in for tomorrow afternoon's GLORY tournament final went down earlier today, with all fighters making weight successfully. Pictures are below, as are quotes from the tournament's final press conference.
"The main thing for me is that this major tournament has come to Italy and will be taking place in the PalaLottomatica. It’s a big occasion for the sport and I am very happy that it will be taking place in front of an Italian audience. I hope there will be big cheers for me."
"Shemsi is a very good friend - but in the ring, things are different. However, we have to get our first fights out of the way so let’s do that before we start talking about having to possibly face each other."
"It's true that I won a lot of fights and I am a champion but that comes with a sense of responsibility. I always have to demonstrate my worth - not just to fellow fighters but also to myself. And yes I make sacrifices, like all other fighters. When you choose this sport you can’t drink, you have to be disciplined you can’t go out with friends but I do this voluntarily, I knew the sacrifices that would be involved in choosing this path."
"It doesn't matter where we are - its only me and him in the ring at the end of the day. If anything I feel like the pressure is off. I know who everyone is going to be cheering for and I know the odds are against me. That puts me deep in the underdog position where I love to be. I have nothing to lose; I will go for broke and show everybody my best."
"I am ready. I will win."
On the withdrawal of original opponent Albert Kraus, due to illness:
"It doesn't make any difference to me. Everyone in the Final 16 was good, all these guys are good and in a tournament you don't know who you will end up fighting so, I was prepared for anything."
On chances of winning the Final 8 tournament:
"To be honest. I see this tournament as a really big step for me in the professional world. If I win it would mean everything for me but I have to be realistic and take it one fight at a time."
Robin van Roosmalen:
"I don't have a problem with taller fighters. Everyone is taller than me - I am used to it!"
On Kraus’ withdrawal:
"I wouldn't say I am disappointed as such, there was no guarantee he was going to get through it anyway. We can always fight in a separate match. If he does want it he can ask for the fight - and maybe he will get knocked out."
On van Roosmalen:
"He’s a good opponent for me because he is so short. I do well against short fighters like that."
"All eight guys are strong, you don’t get to the final eight not being strong. In a tournament anything can happen. You had some favourites and you had some new guys and 50-50 came through. Sato was favourite against me in the Final 16 stage - not for me, I knew I could do this! - but for fans and bookmakers. I proved them wrong, ha! (laughs)"
On whether it would be difficult for him to face close friend Petrosyan if they meet in the tournament:
"Of course; just a few months ago Giorgio came to Basel and I took care of him, like a holiday for him - his brother was fighting in Geneva - and so it’s not nice, it’s not easy. But we are professional enough to understand that at the end of the day it’s about being number one. We saw on the last GLORY show, Zimmerman and Schilt know each other very well for many years, but they tried to kill each other.
"And so I would say, everyone in the Final 8 knows each other anyway. It’s a small world, professional kickboxing, and we always encounter each other at different shows, in the ring or in the hotel or wherever, backstage, and so there is almost a family feel to it. For example, the guys from Superpose brought to the Final 16 in Sweden a present for Sato’s baby who has just been born. Its professional; friendship and fighting, no hard feelings afterwards.
On Petrosyan being the favourite:
Yeah good, all is good. It’s good to be the underdog, takes the pressure off me. At the same time, there is more than talent that can influence the tournament so I am happy to surprise the people. We will see.
Remember, MMAmania will have LIVE coverage of the event, which kicks off at 3:30 PM EST tomorrow.