[EXCLUSIVE] Rockie Bactol on fighting his friend Akihiro Fujisawa: It feels a little weird

Conan Altatis, Rockie Bactol (© Alvin Berto)

Conan Altatis, Rockie Bactol (© Alvin Berto)

Rockie Bactol, 19, of the Philippines and Akihiro “Superjap” Fujisawa, 38, of Japan are set to battle it out at “ONE: Conquest of Champions.” The two are friends and are both alumni of Full Metal Dojo and “Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series” Season 1.

“ONE: Conquest of Champions” will take place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines on November 23, 2018. In the second bout of the evening, Bactol and Fujisawa will compete in the flyweight division.

During the “ONE: Conquest of Champions” press conference at the City of Dreams Manila in Parañaque City, Metro Manila on November 20, 2018, I had a short interview with Bactol. I first asked him about how he felt about fighting Fujisawa, who happened to be his friend.

“It feels weird a little bit,” Bactol told me. “But at the same time, you do what you gotta do. You know what I mean?”

“(When you) enter the cage, you are fighters (so) you gotta fight,” the teenage Filipino mixed martial artist added. “Outside the cage, we’re brothers. We’re best friends. That’s for sure.”

Bactol was born in Manila and is of Waray descent. He is currently based in Thailand where he is training and he has trained with Fujisawa a lot of times.

Both Bactol and Fujisawa are undefeated fighters. The Thailand-based Filipino fighter holds a professional MMA record of 1 win and 0 loss while the Japanese contender has 4 wins and 0 loss.

Fujisawa earned his first 2 wins in Full Metal Dojo. He knocked out Chan Samart of Cambodia via punches in the third round at “Full Metal Dojo 14” on July 1, 2017 and submitted Jirawat Aunjai of Thailand via arm-triangle choke in the first round at “Full Metal Dojo 15” on November 4, 2017.

On March 31, 2018 at “Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series” Season 1, Fujisawa knocked out Sandeep Gurung of Nepal in the first round. When the Japanese fighter made his ONE Championship debut at “ONE: Heroes of Honor” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on April 20, 2018, he knocked out Kaji “Alpha” Ebin of the Philippines via shoulder injury.

On the other hand, Bactol submitted Mark Cuizon of the Philippines via keylock at “Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series” Season 1. The Waray warrior will be Fujisawa’s second Filipino opponent in the cage.

As an amateur fighter, Bactol had 2 wins and 0 loss. He defeated Jadjan “Jok” Yotiphai of Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand at “Full Metal Dojo 12” and Asith “Loveman” Buapa, 26, of Bangkok, Thailand at “Full Metal Dojo 13” both via unanimous decision.

Watch my full interview with Bactol here:

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