The Heavyweight division in combat sports has always given fight fans some of the most memorable moments in the cage, and will forever be a fan favourite across the MMA world.
Many of these dangerous practitioners have passed through the Fightstar roster with highlight reels in mind, but Louie Sutherland will always stand out.
Fightstar fans once again have the opportunity to witness Louie in London when Fightstar Championship returns on November 19th, challenging for the FSC Heavyweight Championship.
I caught up with Louie as he is set to make his long awaited return to the Fightstar cage, and gain some insight into what he has in store for the fans at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.
Louie ‘The Vanilla Gorilla’ Sutherland 4-1-0 is a Scottish professional Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Heavyweight division, representing Fightzone London. He has competed for Almighty Fighting Championship, Ambition Fight Series, PFL, and returns to Fightstar Championship on November 19th challenging for the FSC Heavyweight Championship.
I’d like to kick things off by thanking you for taking the time to speak with me today Louie, and also to congratulate you on your upcoming Heavyweight Championship opportunity at the Fightstar Championship 23 card.
“Nice one, thanks a lot. It’s my pleasure, I know it’s been a long time coming in regards to Fightstar.”
Well worth the wait mate.
How has training been going over at Fightzone London as you prepare for your highly anticipated return to the Fightstar cage?
“Training’s been going great, it’s been going really good training hard everyday. The knowledge that the guys have got over at Fightzone it’s good, with Stuart Austin who’s now my MMA coach. I’m just heading to 10th Planet at the moment at Diesel Gym, so I’m over at Diesel as well, that’s where I do my Jiu-jitsu. I’m with Jamie Scott, the 10th Planet Blackbelt, it’s great down there as well, so things are going really well.”
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That’s good to hear man, I’ve not had the pleasure of visiting Fightzone as of yet, but I have visited Diesel & 10th Planet, a real breeding ground of warriors over there.
It must be a great atmosphere in the gym, with a few of you preparing for your respective bouts at Fightstar?
“Yeah, the atmosphere is really good at the moment. There’s a few on the card that will be in title fights as well, so there’s an extra bit of motivation there, everyone’s pushing each other super hard. Everyone’s getting into that championship mindset, it’s really good.”
Yeah, Shah and Bertie I believe right.
“Yeah, you got those two fighting for as well as defending belts, obviously myself, as well as everyone that’s helping push us. Stuart’s pushing us at the moment as well as Mario Pinto, he’s an absolute pig of a Heavyweight, everyone’s pushing each other to the limits.”
I’ve caught Mario in the cage a few times, he’s an absolute warrior out there.
“Yeah he is.”
As previously stated, the Fightstar fans have been eagerly anticipating your return since your last appearance back at the tail end of 2021.
Previously set to take centre stage on Fightstar Championship 22 in July, you took the next step on your professional journey with PFL.
How does it feel to once again fight under the FSC banner?
“It’s great to be back to be honest, going to the PFL, Fightstar was a great pathway to get recognised on the world stage and push on to a big show like the PFL. To come back to it is great, I still prepare for this bout as if it was a PFL fight. The shows run really professionally, and they’ve had some great names on there before that have all gone on to do well in their careers. I’m always happy to fight at Fightstar, it’s local to me, the shows are always in London, I always bring a big crowd with me, it feels like home to be fair at Fightstar, it’s great.”
It really is a sound promotion, and I agree, there definitely has been some big names fighting there, including yourself.
“Yeah, thanks mate, I appreciate it.”
No worries at all.
Amongst one of the many standout fighters the UK has to offer, your career has given many explosive highlight reel finishes, and memories in the lion’s den. Now under contract with one of the biggest organisations in the world in PFL, no doubt we are in store for many more.
“Yeah for sure, that’s my style. People know by now that I’m explosive, I always look for the finish. I’m not saying it’s easy to go out there and draw out a fight, but when I’m in there, something just takes over me and I put people to sleep, that’s my main goal.”
I completely get that, when you step in that cage nothing outside matters, just you and the opposition.
“That’s it, and the fighting is the easy part, it’s all the other stuff that comes with it. Waking up every day to morning runs and things like that, that’s the hardest part. The easy part is getting in there and putting on a show.”
No doubt you’re looking forward to the violent festivities that are to come in the 2023 MMA with PFL also?
“That’s it, I can’t wait for whoever PFL puts in front of me. Whoever they are, whatever their record is, what type of fighter they are, I’m always looking to finish people. So yeah, you’re in store for an explosive 2023 and I don’t think I’m gonna slow down. I’ve been pretty active so far since turning pro, I don’t think I’m gonna be slowing down anytime soon. So bring on 2023, whatever PFL or any other organisation puts in front of me, bring it on, I’m happy to step in there with anyone.”
I’ll definitely be looking out and forward for what’s to come.
Looking forward to your FSC Heavyweight Championship opportunity at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, you are set to take on Nicolas Djurdjevic. Your meeting, many would agree, has fight of the night potential.
Have you had the opportunity to take a more in depth look into Nicolas as you prepare for your collision in Crystal Palace?
“In terms of Nicolas, there’s not loads of footage out there of him, he’s an experienced guy, he’s been around the block. I don’t really prepare massively for individuals, we prepare slightly, we have a gameplan, I like to stick to what I personally do with obviously with little tweaks here and there, depending on the sort of fighter he is. But I understand he’s a Jiu-jitsu guy so he’s probably gonna be looking to take me down, play his top game and things like that. He’s definitely a dangerous opponent, but at the end of the day, so is everyone I step in there with, you’ve gotta give them credit and respect. But bring it on, I’m here to challenge myself, I ain’t here to plod through the Heavyweight division. At the end of the day, I’m willing to fight, let’s get it on.”
That’s a great mindset to have mate definitely.
Yours is but one of many astronomical bouts planned for what is set out to be quite possibly the biggest event Raj Singh and his team have put together in Fightstar history.
Are there any confirmed bouts or warriors added to the card that you’re particularly looking forward to witnessing?
“I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the guys I train with, I always wanna see them do well and get the wins so definitely Shah and Bertie. There’s a few other guys as well that train out of 10th Planet, you got Sabir, another good striker and a really well rounded fighter. Mehmet as well, he used to be a training partner of mine, he’s now down at GB Top Team, he’s a great guy as well. People that I’ve met or trained with, I’m always rooting for them you know, I’m really excited to see them boys put on a show, which I’m sure they will.”
I’ll look forward to witnessing you all out there.
I wish you all the best with the remainder of your training Louie, and I look forward to catching you out there on the 19th.
“I really appreciate it, thanks for reaching out. And hopefully there’s many more to come, I’ll see you there.
Anytime mate, I look forward to speaking with you on the night.
Last but not least, do you have a message for the fans that will be in attendance and anybody you’d like to give a shout-out to?
“The message for the fans is to keep your eyes peeled, I’m looking for the finish, it’s not in my nature to be in boring fights or be a boring fighter. Expect fireworks, because I’ve definitely got dynamite in these hands. Big shout-out to my team, Shout-out to Bertie, Shah, Mario, Stu and all the other boys who put the graft in each and every day. Big shout-out to Eryxgear as well, they’re a really good company doing big things in the world of MMA. Let’s rock and roll, I can’t wait to get in there and smash it up.”
Catch Louie and many more phenomenal warriors take centre stage at what’s shaping up to be an incredible fight card on November 19th at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London. Tickets will be made available from the fighters as well as via the Fightstar Championship Website here.
Fightstar Championship are proudly affiliated with the English Mixed Martial Arts Association (EMMAA) who’s prime goal is To develop and promote the education, training and safeguarding of young people, competitors and coaches in MMA.
Feature image by Avk Creatiff