Saiful up for the task despite daddy duties

PETALING JAYA: Daddy duties won’t distract Malaysian Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Saiful “The Vampire” Merican (pic) from his next mission.

The 28-year-old Saiful, who welcomed his second child just two days before Hari Raya Aidilfitri on June 23, is busy preparing for his bout against China’s Chen Lei in the ONE Championships Kings & Conquerors at the Cotai Arena in Macau next month.

But he has also been busy doing something else – helping his wife care for their baby girl and two-year-old son.

“It’s been a bit hectic for me the last few days. I’ve also been down with fever after staying awake for a few days to take care of our baby girl,” said Saiful yesterday.

“My wife is still recovering after giving birth. My son, who is almost two now, is also a handful. So, I’ve had to juggle my training with my daddy duties.

“But that won’t affect my training for the fight in Macau. It’s business as usual because I need to be on top of my game.”

Saiful, who holds a 5-3 record, said that he’s in the midst of formulating a strategy to take on the unbeaten Chen Lei.

The 28-year-old Chen Lei is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) practitioner and the Shanghai Open BJJ champion.

His grappling ability has led him to five straight wins bouts as a professional martial arts exponent.

Saiful, who owns the Merican Muay Thai Gym, intends to draw on the lessons learnt from beating Filipino BJJ expert Burn Soriano in his last fight in the ONE Championships Throne of Tigers in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 10.

“I have only seen one video of Chen Lei’s fight and he seems to have a strong BJJ background. I’m more of a striking (punching and kicking) fighter. I faced a similar opponent in Soriano and won,” said Saiful, who earned the nickname “Vampire” due to his bloody fights.

“In fights likes these, you need to be tight defensively and inflict as much damage as much as possible while staying on your feet.

“I’ve been working hard with my sparring partner, who is also a BJJ specialist. I’m confident I’ll be ready for Chen Lei when the time comes.”

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