At Legacy Fighting Championship 63, Bilal Williams (7-3) returns to the Legacy cage for the fifth time this year. The event, taking place on December 02, 2016 at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tulsa, OK will be the last one for Legacy Fighting Championship before the merger to form the new Legacy Fighting Alliance.
With only a day before weighing in, Williams felt on point weight wise, but was not enjoying the process.
“I don’t usually weight cut too much. I diet down and then go from there. I’m a vegetarian anyway, so don’t need to cut out meat. When I fight at 170, I never get over 190 lb. I diet down ten pounds of body fat and then cut water. Whether it’s twenty pounds or two pounds, you have to cut. Nobody likes it.”
Williams’s last fight was against Melvin Jordan (5-2), a fight that Williams felt was ended controversially.
“I was ready for that fight, and the bell went and I hadn’t tapped or went out. I had just had a 200 lb guy on my neck choking me. I just didn’t get up. I went to my knees and people said they’d never seen that kind of stoppage. I don’t think the ref made the right call. I was up walking to my corner fine. I was moving and Melvin was on the ground as well. I’m still upset about that.
“I’ve had to put it in the past, not so much to do with Melvin; he was a class act, but the decision. I’m still upset about that. I was winning the fight in the first round and in the second before that. For the ref to stop it in between rounds, that bothered me. I don’t want to talk bad about him, but my understanding is he’s usually a judge and not a seasoned referee. I was moving and responding physically, plus it was after the bell, in stoppage time he stopped it.
“As a fighter, you have to take responsibility for anything that happens. If you get cut in the first round, that’s because you didn’t defend. I went for a takedown, he had head control. I figured I had ten seconds left and the round would end. If the ref had waited two seconds, he’d have seen I was ok. I was good and tired, but I was still moving. At least Legacy called me again and I get to make it all better.”
Williams is originally from Pennsylvania, and moved with his family to Texas about twelve years ago. As a youth, Williams did Tae Kwon Do for a while before getting involved in team sports. While at college, he returned to martial arts and did some Tae Kwon Do and Judo before moving to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under the veteran eye of Chris Brennan, then Muay Thai and then wrestling. Then he got involved with MMA.
This fight sees him pitted against Try Houston (11-3) a skilled veteran who has fought tough competition in the past.
“A week or two after that fight, I got the call. His opponent dropped out, so I signed. I lost to Andrew Parker before. I tapped and went back to the gym and got better. The best thing to do is get back on the horse. This is the last Legacy event, so I’m excited to be part of it. I had my first fight on a baseball field in Laredo, Texas. This is a big step up from that.
“I know he’s the home town kid, it’s his crowd, his judges, but past that it’s a fair fight. It was tough after the loss to get my head back focused, but I have to be focused for this fight.”
Williams is confident entering this fight, but is well aware of the dangers Houston poses.
“Trey, he’s a strong guy, a hungry guy. He’s had a layoff; he has a really great bottom game with Jiu Jitsu. He has lightning fast arm bars. Guys normally try and take me down. He’s not a natural wrestler, but he played rugby. He’ll probably come at me, and we’ll meet in the middle and see who lands first. Last fight I went for the takedown, which isn’t my natural game. I panicked a bit. This time I won’t be in panic mode. I’m more than happy with it being two minutes left in the third round. I’m a distance runner.
“I’ll play a smarter game, play chess. There’s nothing in his striking arsenal that worries me. He has a strong will, which is a tough thing.
“Artenas Young gave me a strong shot. He hit me hard, and I survived the round, so I feel I have a pretty good chin. There’s nothing easy in this fight, but it’s the opportunity to fight in the last co-main event of the promotion before the merger, and that’s great.”
Since his previous fight, Williams has maintained a similar training routine.
“My training hasn’t changed too much; I still train at Next Generation, Frisco. I did some extra sessions to work on ground escapes, to reassure myself I know what to do. It’s more of a mental thing for when I go to the mat.
“I know I’m good on my feet, so I’ll try to stay on my feet. Make him expel energy getting me down. Other than that, things haven’t changed much.
“I’ve been in camp since August, so I’m trying not to over train. When you study Jiu Jitsu, wrestling and striking separately you have to put them together, you have to embrace them for MMA and adapt to the fight. I’m a B+ in everything; I’m not going to come just with my Jiu Jitsu, or just with my striking. If I put it together I’m complete, I’ll win.
“I respect his Jiu Jitsu, he has four out of five arm bar wins for his last fights. I can’t play that game with him on the ground; you don’t go to 11-3 in MMA by luck.”
With the merger leading to the LFA promotion, Williams can’t but hope to make it onto the promotion’s radar in the new year.
“I saw the LFA poster here in Dallas with Steven Peterson on it. I know they have the main event and co-main event picked. I’m one of the guys always ready and willing to put on a great fight. As far as LFA goes, I always agree to fights at this level. I have been offered a fight in January for a smaller show, but I like working with Legacy. There are so many great things about them before the fight even happens. It’s a high level show. I’m always looking for Legacy or higher, or I don’t want to take the fight. We’ll see what happens in this fight and see where that puts me. With a win, maybe it will put me over the level to get on the show, going four out of five fights this year.
“If it’s a fair match up, I’m like, let’s do it! If they want to put me on TV for a good fight, I’m up for it.”