Rakim Cleveland knows he’s no longer the heavyweight getting the most hype heading into CFFC 96, but he’s no longer so obvious he won’t be the one getting the most fancy after Friday’s event.
Cleveland (21-13-1) takes on CFFC heavyweight champ Jamelle Jones (10-6) in the headlining bout, which streams live on UFC Battle Plod from Philadelphia’s 2300 Arena, and “The Boogeyman” plans on handing over fireworks in his promotional debut.
“I mediate it’s a accurate matchup,” Cleveland acknowledged of the contest. “It is a traditional striker vs. grappler kind matchup, if you gape at it on paper. But he is coming off of two wide knockout wins, so I’m roughly exasperated. I’m roughly exasperated to see how it performs out, and I need to see if he’s daring enough to stay on the feet with me.”
Jones has loved somewhat the bustle as of late, scoring abet-to-abet knockout wins en route to claiming the CFFC title, and he now seems to be to protect his belt for the first time. But Cleveland is a accurate frail of the recreation, dealing with the likes of Houston Alexander, Tanner Boser, Bubba Bush, Maxim Grishin, Derrick Lewis, Vinny Magalhaes, Viktor Nemkov and Mike Rhodes, among others, in greater than 10 years as a professional.
“I certainly took the dilapidated faculty route, coaching with about a of the guys I came up underneath, like a Josh Neer and all these guys like that,” Cleveland acknowledged. “I pride myself on scuffling with the who’s who. I don’t need to fight a bunch of tomato cans and then receive to a wide display and simply receive demolished and overwhelmed because their ability level is so great greater. So I took the long road; I took the tough road.
“You perceive, all the arrangement thru the years, I’ve realized loads about myself. I’ve proven that I can stand in there with the wide guys, and I can take these blows, and I’ve earned every part I got.”
After sitting lazy for all of 2020, Cleveland heads into Friday’s event with spectacular momentum, already notching a pair of stoppage victories in 2021. At 32, Cleveland seems to be like he’s paid his dues and now is taking a watch to fabricate a push to the sport’s greatest stage.
“UFC, Bellator, ONE Championship, PFL – any of ’em,” Cleveland acknowledged. “Cherish my boy ‘King Mo’ says: ‘Moneyweight.’ I don’t agree with a particular status that I need to be in. I simply need to be wherever and whoever wishes me and whoever wishes to give me an alternative, and that’s what it is. I’m going to function my easiest. I’m going to fight captivating, and I’m going to gape to compete.
“If the wide display wasn’t my aim, I wouldn’t be doing it. I told my household that if I felt like I didn’t agree with a future in doing this deal, I’d dangle it up, so I’m making my push. I’m attempting to receive to the subsequent level, and we’re going to see what happens. It’s no longer going to be straightforward, but this is the subsequent step.”
Claiming the CFFC heavyweight title would obvious be a step in the dazzling direction, especially over a respected prospect like Jones. The frail heavyweight knows what’s on the line and acknowledged he’s prepared for all eventualities – and if Jones fancies himself a knockout artist, Cleveland says to bring it on.
“I mediate temporary, I mediate he’ll attempt to strike with me off the top,” Cleveland acknowledged. “But simply like any other fight I’ve had, you perceive, once I touch him once or twice, he’s going to flip abet into his customary roots and stoop battle, but we’ll see.
“He’s riding high. He’s confident. He has two wide knockouts in his final couple of fights, and he’s a strong man. He’s an athletic man, so I mean, I’m alive to to see how his gameplan will be, but I’m prepared to stoop wherever. If he wishes to battle, we are able to battle. If he wishes to grapple, we are able to grapple. If he wishes to field, certainly a wide mistake for him.”
This story first published at CFFC.television.