Combat Vision MMA were lucky enough to speak to Swindon Vale Tudo fighter Craig Rawlins as he prepares for his amateur welterweight title fight at Raged UK 6 against Keiren Bennett.
Thank you for speaking to Combat Vision MMA, Craig. Could you tell our readers about the type of fighter you are?
“When I was younger I always played football, I never done any type of martial arts so I didn’t have a background in any combat aspects. I feel, this has helped me, because I’ve had to learn all aspects of MMA without relying on one. I am all round fighter, who is very comfortable wherever the fight goes.
You fight out of Swindon Vale Tudo. Could you tell our readers about the coaches and the fighters you work with?
“We have a very good team down at SVT. We have Michael ‘oz’ Osbourne who is our MMA head coach and our muay Thai coach too. Daniel Hughes is our kickboxing coach. We have Lucas Luz coming down now, teaching BJJ, he is the only black belt in Swindon. Bradley Scott from the UFC comes down when he not away on camp. Our coaching department has a massive wealth of knowledge. We have Phil Wells, he coaches and is also one of our pro fighters. Him and Alex Brunnen are two massive talents around the MMA scene at the moment. Phil Wells is fighting on the Cage Warriors 02 card. SVT have great up and coming amateurs, such as Lucas Moszcynski who I have no doubt, you will be hearing about coming up the middleweight ladder over the next few years. Tom Enstone, Dean Hart, Mitch Bowen and Mateusz. Also some new lads who haven’t fought yet like Ryan Henderson. We have Sid Salem who is a top boxer and Sami Salem which is one of the best k1 fighters around. Sami won a British title a few weeks ago”
How important has training with team SVT been to your developing amateur career?
“Without SVT, I wouldn’t be where I am today or even fighting on shows like Cage Warriors. It’s a great team, who really push each other every day. Training with people like Phil, Alex, Lucas and everyone on a daily basis will improve you, some nights it’s a room full of killers. Without a doubt SVT is the best MMA club in Swindon! I train at Gracie Swindon with Lucas Luz which has helped my ground game so much. I also try to head down to Trojan free fighters Gloucester. Both gyms have helped me so much”
You will be fighting Kieren Bennett for the inaugural Raged UK amateur welterweight championship at Raged UK 6. This will also be your first amateur title fight will be the co-main event. How will you deal with the mental aspect of being in the co-main spotlight and the pressure of your first title challenge?
“Fighting co main event won’t be a challenge really. I been on fight shows 2/3 times where I have been on 3rd from last and even fought just before midnight on one show. As for pressure, I like that bit of extra pressure, it pushes me hard to train. I always have fantastic support when I fight in Swindon, the atmosphere is crazy”
How much do you know about your opponent Kieren Bennett and have you seen anything in his fighting style that you will be looking to exploit?
“I have seen a few of his fights and he has fought one of my team mates, Thomas ‘the tank’ Enstone. I’m not really too worried about what my opponent. I feel I have got a very good all round game. I am happy wherever the fight goes. I only really think about myself and where I can improve”
Your amateur career at the moment is six fights long. How ready do you feel for your first amateur title challenge?
“My record is actually 6-2. I had two fights at a higher weight when I first started. I really should have been a lot busier and had more fights, I am now trying to be as busy as I can. I 100% feel ready for my first title challenge, it’s just getting that break and a chance to get a shot. Plus fighting on shows like Cage Warriors has helped big time getting noticed”
You have fought twice at Cage Warriors 79 & 83. Fighting in a big promotion and seeing the setup that Cage Warriors can provide. How valuable has this experience been for your fighting career?
“It was amazing to be on there. The set up and show is one of the best in Europe. Also, there are no easy fights. It’s the best up and coming fighters on it and it’s a great learn curve to improve and to test yourself. Having that bit of extra pressure, makes you put those extra sessions in and work that little bit harder”
Your amateur record is (5-1). Your first loss was to Jack Tucker at Cage Warriors 83 by way of unanimous decision. What did you learn from this loss and what did this loss tell you about yourself as a fighter?
“My welterweight record is 5-1. Because, I had 2 fights at the start of my career. I lost my first ever fight and then went on a 6 fight win streak, so just like last time it’s taught me a lot. I have learnt more in that fight then I did in most of my wins. I know the little things I done wrong, which are really frustrating. But I have been working hard and 100% learnt from my mistakes. Jack is a very talented fighter coming from a top gym. I can definitely see myself and Jack fighting again when we are both pros”
Lastly, what does 2017 have in store for Craig Rawlins?
“I am going to take it fight by fight, keep progressing and learning. Hopefully, I get back on Cage Warriors and have 3-4 more fights by the end of the year. I will then look at things and see where to go from there. Firstly, I want to get in the cage and get back to winning ways next Saturday”
Watch Craig Rawlins knockout Daniel Hunter in round one at Raged UK 5