Modestas Bukauskas says training with Jon Jones helped him on his way to CW glory
LONDON – British-based Lithuanian Modestas Bukauskas derailed the hype train of Norwegian standout Marthin Hamlet to capture the Cage Warriors light heavyweight title at “Cage Warriors 106: Night of Champions,” then paid tribute to one of the sport’s pound-for-pound best for helping shape him into the fighter he is today.
Bukauskas trained with Jon Jones for 10 weeks as part of a training camp a few years ago and said that experience set him on a path that culminated in his Cage Warriors title win on Saturday night.
Speaking to MMA Junkie backstage after his fourth-round TKO finish at the Eventim Apollo, Bukauskas (9-2) said: “I have competed with some of the best athletes in the world. Obviously, that’s in the training room, but I’ve got to give credit to guys like Jon Jones. I trained with him for 10 weeks when I was about 22. Those sorts of experiences show me that I’m ready to fight at the world level now.
“It’s just all about getting in the cage, being confident, finding the range, finding the rhythm and just getting used to fighting in big fights. I think the more I get used to fighting in big fights, the more it’s going to help me prepare.”
Bukauskas was a significant underdog in his title fight with Hamlet (5-1) and had to stay composed and patient when the big Norwegian used his wrestling skills to wear him down throughout the first three rounds of the contest.
But in the moments when the bout was standing, Bukauskas used his time wisely, scoring well with sharp striking as he set his range for later in the fight. And in the fourth round, he took advantage of a tiring Hamlet to drop him to his knees with a strong shot before finishing him with a flurry of strikes for a thrilling come-from-behind win.
Coming through adversity is nothing new for Bukauskas, who has made a reputation for himself as something of a comeback kid with back-to-back come-from-behind stoppage victories in Cage Warriors.
“How many times have I come back from being put in a bad situation?” he asked. “I’ve almost become conditioned to that – being put in very stressful pressure situations and overcoming the odds and coming back.
“It was just a case of timing, experience. I’ve had 10 pro fights, now 11 – with that you learn the range, you learn to stay calm, so there’s a lot of experience that goes into that.”
While Bukauskas is starting to make a real name for himself in Cage Warriors, back in the country of his birth, the media are watching his every move and celebrating in his successes.
“Do you know what? It’s nuts,” he said. “After my last win against Marcin Wojcik, there was a lot of Lithuanian followers and the Lithuanian newspapers, they get right behind the athletes. I hadn’t even known about it, and they’d written stuff about all the wins that I’d had, and they’re really right behind it.
“I have been living here since I was 3 years old. So at the same time as being born in Lithuania – I’m a true cold-blooded Lithuanian – I’m also a British man. I’ve been living here all my life, and I’ve got the British accent to go with it.
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