A year ago, I had written a story about Belal Muhammad training for an upcoming UFC fight during the holy month of Ramadan. Mainly, I talked with him while he was training at a UFC Gym in Orland Park, Illinois. His training regiment consisted a three-man, five-minute rotation with Kevin Nowaczyk and Mazen Ballout.
Nowaczyk was bigger than Muhammad and seemed to act as his main striking-companion on these days. Nowaczyk had a brief stint On the Ultimate Fighter season 16 back in 2012. You’d almost have to go back that far since the last time he lost a fight (HFC 14 in the main event in 2013). Nowaczyk, now 29, will headline Vicory FC 60 this Saturday, April 14 against Andrew Kapel. Nowacyzk will take his eight-fight win streak into this weekend, but the streak doesn’t appear to affect him.
“I’m only looking in the present and in the future,” Nowacyzk stated.
“I’m just fighting one fight at a time so I’m just looking at this that in 0-0 right now until this next fight happens.”
Ballout loves his wrestling background and would rotate rounds in this tripod. Ballout’s road to VFC, his debut as a professional, was a bit more drawn out. After more than a year of trying to notch his first professional fight, and boasting an impressive 5-0 record as a amateur, would be met with last minute withdrawals, opponent’s missing paperwork the night of, etc. Talking with Ballout, he displayed a balance of calmness and angst. Calmness despite missed fights and the circumstances for which they were pulled but also angst that would be a natural response considering he is still looking to prove himself as a professional fighter.
“2017 was just a whole series of people backing out and fights falling through,” Ballout explained.
“After about three-or-four times in 2017 I didn’t really fall out of it, but its nice to be here and keep the ball rolling.”
Ballout will take on John Popi who will also be making his professional debut.
VFC 60: Kapel vs. Nowaczyk can be viewed on UFC Fight Pass on Friday, April 14 starting at 9:00 PM CST.