Sam Bastin: Embracing the Underdog Tag Yet Again Neil Rooke July 10, 2013 UFC “Defying the odds.” It is an overused statement in mixed martial arts. Sam “The Sledgehammer” Bastin was considered by some to be walking into a guaranteed loss against Rob Hill in his last fight. True to his word, however, Bastin came out and put on a show to remember and surprised many onlookers by coming away with a second-round stoppage. After being considered the heavy underdog in his last fight, Bastin once again finds himself in that familiar position when he steps into the cage against Alex MacDonald on July 13 at Nitro 9 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The underdog tag is something that he has come to embrace in his 10-fight career. “When you look at both of our records, I’ll probably still be the underdog,” he admitted in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “People will probably look at his five wins to one loss and think that he is a better fighter, and I am fine with that. A record can be deceiving, and I am always out to prove people wrong. I guess I am also the underdog in that I am going in and I am fighting in his hometown. I am sure there will be a lot of people booing me and I know that pretty much the whole crowd will be behind him. I am happy with that and I am looking forward to showing people what I can do in there. “A lot of people underestimated me going into the fight [against Hill]. I am happy that I got the win. We worked hard and we were all over the moon after the fight. The game plan that we worked on before the fight went perfectly and I did exactly what I said I was going to do.” Bastin (SamBastin.com) Having now taken his fight record back to a .500 winning percentage, Bastin must work to continue to develop outside of the cage so that he can continue with his winning ways. The best way for him to do that is to focus on his fight preparation. “It’s been a pretty hard camp [for the Nitro fight],” he revealed. “At the start of my prep, I had a bit of an early injury that I needed to work around. It’s okay now, but it made things a little hard to begin with. The good thing is that both Alex and I are southpaws and so was Rob [Hill], so it works hand in hand. It has meant that we haven’t really had to change that much with the standing prep.” A win over one of Australia’s top lightweights in Rob Hill has put Bastin on a three-fight winning streak. After turning in five losses in seven fights, it’s a change that he has welcomed and something that he plans to continue to build upon. “My confidence levels are great and that is exactly what you need in the fight game,” he explained. “A year ago, I was sitting at two wins with five losses. My career didn’t start off too well in terms of wins, but we’ve turned that around now.” It’s not that often that Queensland-based promotion Nitro MMA will put “out of towners” on its card, considering that the promotion has a plethora of fighters at its disposal located in Australia’s MMA heartland. The card on July 13 has a few fighters who call “south of the border” or New South Wales home, and the chance to be featured on a top-level card is one that Bastin isn’t going to take for granted. “I’m ecstatic to be fighting on Nitro,” he exclaimed. “There really is nothing like it in the world. It’s the best show in Queensland, and I know that Scott [Ferris] has wanted me on the show for a while now. I’m over the moon to get another chance at showing what I can do in front of more people.” With Bastin having trouble hitting the mark so many times early on in his career, the 21-year-old’s mixed martial arts experience got off to a slow start and there was one point there when he was staring down the barrel of losing over 70 percent of his fights. At that point in a career a weaker fighter may have called it a day, but Bastin continued to work on his game and has turned his career around like no other. With every win, he finds that he is getting closer to losing his underdog tag altogether. It all goes to show that hard work and persistence are keys to being a successful fighter and that a fight record is just a number. Sam would like to thank Allegiance Combat and Fitness, Allegiance clothing, Fight TV and Speedy Ads, Outlast Nutrition and Enriched Health. Follow Bastin on Twitter: @Sam_Bastin Top Photo: Sam Bastin (SamBastin.com) sarah armitstead Great write up! Really described sams journey to where he is at today and his love for fighting.