Ali AlQaisi bested Do Gyeom Lee via unanimous decision at UAE Warriors 24 to capture the promotion’s featherweight title. This victory emanated from Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Abu Dhabi, Dubai.
The now dual promotion champion (currently holds Titan FC gold) already has his next test lined up.
I spoke with AlQaisi, through an interpreter, after the UAEW title-winning effort and excerpts from our chat are below.
What the post-fight victory celebration looks like for Ali AlQaisi
“So normally the first week after a fight like that, he likes to really decompress. Take time off, spend time with his friends and family. Likes to really soak up good energy. So that the second week after his last fight, he can get right back to the grind. But with a lot of positive vibes.”
The grappling being a huge factor in securing UAEW 145 lb gold and who has honed those skills most
“So, interestingly enough he’s saying that the plan wasn’t actually to grapple. It just kind of happened that way. The plan initially was to beat him in every facet. So he was even thinking that he could just keep the fight standing. He could wrestle. He could go to the jiu-jitsu. But he felt comfortable taking the fight everywhere. And it just so happened that he found that he had the biggest advantage in the grappling department. Currently, he is training at ACG, American Combat Gym out in Florida. And his grappling coach and head coach is Charles McCarthy, former UFC fighter.”
Capturing the Titan FC championship in a unanimous decision victory against Andrew Whitney
“So it was a weird situation that fight because he was in Jordan. He actually had sustained a pretty significant injury to his nose before that fight. He got it on relatively short notice, on two weeks’ notice. It just so happened that he was anyway applying to the US back to his family. He got this opportunity. He went to the doctor.”
“The doctor said look, you probably shouldn’t take this fight. Ali being Ali of course just went ahead and did. And yeah, it was short notice, he was happy with the performance, he was happy with the result. He was just very conscious of avoiding getting hit on the face. And on the nose in particular during that bout. I asked Ali to send you some of the pictures of his injury before the fight.”
Getting to compete multiple times in Abu Dhabi and if that creates compounded comfortability competing
“The minute he stepped into the cage, he was very much just focused on the fight. He learned from his two fights in the UFC to only focus purely on the fight. Nothing else outside the cage. Try to not let the momentum, venue, the crowd, or anything else get to him. So he kind of took that attitude with this fight. When he got to the venue and he stepped into the cage. It was all business, it was all strictly professional. And then after the victory, he could really enjoy it because he was amongst his friends. He also has family living in Abu Dhabi. As you mentioned, he fought there quite a few times. So his popularity in this region is really quite high.”
UAE Warriors 24
If there was compounded pressure from those UFC fights where the rhetoric was very centric on being the first fighter from Jordan to compete in the UFC
“There was definitely a lot of pressure being the first Jordanian. A lot of pressure being the first Jordanian trying to get a victory in the UFC. That did impact his performance. He did feel the pressure especially when he fought on fight island. But looking back now, he’s very grateful because he learned a lot from that experience.”
“And it’s something he also said in his post-fight interview after his win in UAE Warriors but he’s very thankful that the UFC cut him after those two fights. Because it’s made him really focused on the core things. That made him really just stick to upskilling and becoming a better fighter. To give 120% in every single fight afterward. He thinks should he get back into the UFC, it will be a completely different Ali this time around.”
Parting thoughts for Ali AlQaisi
“He’s really excited for 2022. He’s gonna work very hard on things like sponsors and just taking off a lot of pressures that he had in 2021. Inside and outside of the cage. So he’s gonna focus on making sure that 2022 is really the year where he starts making a comeback in a very big way.”