In the 1972 film classic Fist of Fury, Bruce Lee does battle with a Japanese Dojo in order to preserve the honour of his master, Huo Yuanjia.

Spoiler alert: For the most part, Bruce Lee triumphs.

And that is exactly what Gareth “Fists of Fury” Ealey plans to do April 27 at the Chin Woo Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on the Legend FC 11 card.

His nickname may have come about primarily due to his aggressive fighting style, but it also shows his respect for a martial arts legend.

Ealey (Sherdog)

“Yeah, my fighting style has to do with it too, but the movie is the main thing,” Ealey told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “One of my old trainers said that my ground-and-pound reminded him of the movie.”

Like his other countrymen who are featured on the Legend FC 11 card on April 27, Ealey is forced to make the trek overseas due to a lack of MMA activity in New Zealand. Whilst it means that he gains international exposure, every fighter loves to fight in their hometown. But unless things change in the country, Ealey won’t be doing that any time soon.

“The way that the New Zealand scene is at the moment, there aren’t many local shows so we are kind of forced to fight overseas,” he admitted. “It’s hard to develop the sport without any local shows, and there are a lot of up-and-coming guys in the country. [Fighting for Legend FC] is a pretty big accomplishment though, it shows that training is paying off and it is going a long way.”

Most MMA organizations opt to utilize a cage, but Legend FC prefers to pay homage to Pride and therefore uses a ring for its bouts. For the fighters it can often mean a difficult transition, but most embrace it just as much as the cage.

“You get used to it after a while,” Ealey said. “It’s not really that different. The only thing that makes a difference is that it’s easier to use the cage to improve your position and to push your opponent against it. You can’t do that in a ring obviously—I have seen many guys fall out of it.”

Ealey (R) (Legend FC)

Ealey squares off with Japanese fighter Hideto Tatsumi, who in his most recent fight defeated Ealey’s fellow New Zealander Pat Crawley. Ealey is looking to get his first win under the Legend FC banner and, having not taken this fight on short notice like he did in a previous outing, he likes his chances of leaving Kuala Lumpur with a victory.

“I need to get one back for Pat,” he declared. “It’s unfortunate that Pat went into the fight [against Tatsumi] injured, but he still banged him up pretty bad. Pat made him look like the Elephant Man by the end of it. Hopefully I can do the same thing.”

And from his assessment of Tatsumi, it seems quite possible that he can.

“He seems a little green in his stand-up. We have found quite a few holes in his defense,” Ealey explained. “Apparently, he trains and grapples with [Yushin] Okami, and you can see that with his grappling—it’s a strong part of his game. It looks like he has some strong ground-and-pound, so I am excited to see how the fight plays out. I am going to win the fight. I will just go in there and adjust as I need to and see what happens.”

Having a solid fight record with just three losses out of 10 fights, Ealey is looking to ensure that he finally breaks his bad luck streak with Legend FC. When the fight starts, the fans in attendance will be graced with some “Fists of Fury.” And just as Bruce Lee did in the movie, Ealey plans to pull out all the stops to secure his win abroad.

Gareth would like to thank Illicit Fightwear, WD Security, Stained Skin Tattoos, Ten8 Media and Strike Force Gym. Follow him on Twitter: @FISTSOFFURYMMA

Top Photo: Gareth Ealey (R) (Legend FC)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.