SBG Ireland’s Will Fleury (9-3) is confident he will emerge victorious for the second time when he rematches Tarek Suleiman (12-7, 1 NC) this Saturday. A new UAE Warriors champion is set to be crowned, with the pair vying for the promotion’s middleweight title in the main event of UAE Warriors 28.
Fleury and Suleiman previously fought under the BRAVE CF promotional banner in 2018, with the Irishman getting the better of his Syrian counterpart over the course of three rounds.
Four years on, Fleury believes that they will enter the contest as different fighters, but the result will remain the same.
“We’re both completely different fighters. We’re both completely different in the way we’re going to approach the fight, I think. I don’t expect it at all to be similar to the first fight. I do think though that I have some huge advantages coming into this, and I’m surprised that he took it. But it’s on me to go in and show those advantages!” Fleury explained.
Though Fleury dominated much of their first encounter, the Tipperary man highlighted Suleiman’s physical prowess as a notable attribute that caused some difficulty, and he’s expecting the former UAE Warriors light heavyweight champion to have added new wrinkles to his game.
“I couldn’t believe how strong he was the first time we grappled, and he is very physically strong. He’s much stronger than he looks. He had a kimura grip in the 2nd round at one stage, and I couldn’t believe it, my hands were going numb just from him grabbing around my wrist. So, he has a bit of strength in that grip, but other than that…watching his last few fights even, he has improved, he definitely has, but there’s huge deficits in his game still.”
Fleury believes that he is the more evolved fighter since their first outing.
“I have a style that can exploit that. I’m a lot faster. I’m a lot more fluid on the feet. I’ve some new tools. I’ve some things that I’ve been working on for about 2 years now, that I probably would have got to show last September, but now I’m nearly glad that I didn’t, because I think I’m going to shock some people.”
“I think he’s got a decent BJJ bottom game, but the rest of his MMA game isn’t really developed that well.”
“I’m a lot faster than him.” Fleury reiterates.
An added wrinkle to their original meeting is the new element of a five-round fight rather than three. Fleury insists that this favours him more than Suleiman, and that finish will be inevitable.
“I don’t think he has more than two and a half rounds in him. I’m sure he’s doing a ton of conditioning, doing a ton of whatever. But fuck mate, you’re not like me. Not talking shit, but nobody goes like I go for 5 rounds.”
“On the night, he’ll present options, and I’ll take them.”
“It’s going to be something a little bit special. Trust me!”
Will Fleury vs Tarek Suleiman will be the main event of UAE Warriors 28, which takes place on Saturday, March 26. The card will be broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass.
Andy Stevenson is an MMA writer, interviewer, and occasional podcaster based in Dublin, Ireland.