It’s of little secret that the UK invasion of mixed martial arts is here and our latest guest on 10 for 10 might just be next up on deck. The younger brother of a former UFC TUF competitor and rising star in his own right, the undefeated Adam Amarasinghe has been dominant in the amateur scene of Europe’s bantamweight and flyweight division. Take a moment to get to know the next breakout star in the UK MMA scene.
Coming off an impressive run at the 2017 IMMAF European Open Championships and winning the bantamweight tournament, your amateur career has been skyrocketing to the top. Take some time and let the readers know a little about yourself and how you get your start in mixed martial arts?
Adam: My name is Adam Amarasinghe and I fight out of NFM Windsor. All of my family have always been into sports, martial arts and generally keeping fit. My mum used to compete in a number of track events in Ethiopia when she was younger and has spread her drive and determination to me and my brothers. My Dad has also always been involved in training and keeping fit so naturally we all followed suit. My Uncle has had a kickboxing gym in Slough for as long as I can remember, this is where my brothers and I started our martial arts journey. It wasn’t until my late teens that I made the switch to MMA, following the path and success that my brother Dean had made.
Now… most people know you because of brother Dean Amasinger’s success and UFC appearance with the Ultimate Fighter, did his success and him being a fighter inspire your own MMA aspirations and help with your training/preparation for your own career?
Adam: Absolutely, I think I would have stuck with kickboxing had my brother not taken the path that he did. I’ve always had a drive to be well known for something. My love for martial arts, a good work ethic and seeing my bothers success is definitely what has got me here today. The knowledge and training that I have access to is incredible. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities it has given me and I’m excited to see where this journey will take us both.
Your first amateur fight was against Luke Jin at TMT MMA – Too Much Talent: Fight Night 5. A fight you won via TKO in the very first round! Did that fight goes as planned and what kind of nerves did you have entering your very first fight?
Adam: To be honest with you I’ve always been blessed in that sense and never really experienced nerves that have had too much of a negative effect on me. I don’t know if it’s something that I have created because of my training or just something that is natural for me. I’m very fortunate in that I feel calm going into a fight and even my first fight. It was a while ago but I remember looking across the cage and thinking that he looked nervous, in my head I had already won the fight… and the first round TKO followed.
You’ve shown the ability to take opponents to the ground and you’ve also knocked people out. Where do you feel the strongest and what advantages do you feel you have over most of your opponents?
Adam: I feel strongest with my striking but I really believe I have a few more gears to go up and show everyone. This will come with time and experience no doubt. I’m trying to become as well rounded as possible and not focus solely on making my strong points better but making improvements in all areas so that I can finish fights wherever the opportunity arises. I feel stronger than a lot of the guys that I have fought at bantamweight and definitely at flyweight.
You had a very impressive run through the IMMAF European Open Championships, defeating four fighters including the finals against Mario Moreno. A fight you controlled from the beginning with a slam and taking him down. What was your strategy like going into a tournament and having so many opponents? Did you have to pace yourself or did you go full tilt the entire time?
Adam: I definitely paced myself going into the tournament following advice from all of the team UK coaches and most specifically Nigel Burgess. I wanted to take as little damage as possible going from fight to fight which is why my wrestling was such a huge factor in each of my bouts. This being said I managed to pick up an injury in the semi finals to my left quad which meant I wasn’t able to go full tilt in the finals like I originally planned to do. That’s just the nature of the sport and this style of tournament, you have to adapt to every situation as and when it changes.
In the finals against Moreno, you controlled the fight and won via decision. Did you have a chance to scout him before hand with such little time between fights or did you just fight your gameplan and trust your skillset? What was the gameplan against Moreno? Did he do anything that surprised you?
Adam: I managed to watch a few of Moreno’s fights before hand and we actually got on pretty well behind the scenes. We had a mutual respect for each other and we had said during the tournament that we would meet in the final. Originally I had planned to let everything go and showcase a lot more of my stand up but following the injury to my leg I had to revert back to wrestling and look for the finish on the floor. I had seen that Moreno had got a few submissions and was well versed off of his back so I was wary of that and adjusted my game accordingly. I would have liked to have done a bit more damage on the ground but to his credit he tied me up pretty well. It was great to have shared the cage with him and I know he has his pro debut coming up so I wish him all the best with that!
Before the IMMAF, you defeated Luke Shanks to win Lion Fight’s Flyweight Championship late last year. Did that give your amateur career a sense of completion or do you plan on defending the belt before you move pro? Being undefeated as an amateur, what is left for you to accomplish at the amateur ranks?
Adam: I’m still undecided about what my next move is and with my brother being away at the moment that’s a decision that we will make together once he is back.
This might be getting way ahead of everything, but you’ve fought at both 125 and 135lbs, looking ahead to a pro career there are two very different paths. One leads to a crowded 135lb fight class, the other to the pound for pound greatest in Demetrious Johnson. Where do you see your career going and which weight do you think your career will be focused on?
Adam: I think my pro career will firstly lead me to the flyweight division, it’s not a drastic cut for me and I still feel healthy and strong at that weight. With my brother coordinating my weight cuts I am still able to perform at the highest level and the whole process is seamless. I’ve always said I am going to be a multi-weight champ so I have no doubt that you’ll see me in the 125 and 135lbs divisions.
We mentioned your brother Dean earlier and most siblings fight but not most siblings outside of the Miller brothers and the Diaz brothers are both MMA fightes. So be honest, who won most of the scraps between you and your brother growing up?
Adam: I’m not going to lie growing up it was always pretty one sided in Dean’s favour. That being said there is a 9 year age difference and when I was younger and even into my early teens I was a small kid. I’ve definitely bridged the gap now and always give a good account of myself as I’m sure he’ll agree! I’m the youngest of three so growing up I’d always be on the receiving end of a scrap; it’s definitely made me tough from a young age both mentally and physically.
We’d like to thank Warrior Fight Series President Harry Shoebridge for making the connection and introducing us to you. Is there anyone from your team or sponsors you would like to take time to say thanks to? Thank you for your time Adam and best of luck on what is sure to be an exciting career!
Adam: I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone from my team at NFM, my head coach and brother Dean. Thank you to my sponsors Sam hall osteopaths, JEM performance and well being, Dirty Rags and Booster fight gear. Lastly thank you to my girlfriend for her continued support and to all of my family and friends who have been there for me. The journey is just beginning.
Make sure you check out Adam Amarasinghe on Instagram and follow his progress as he continues to rise! Thanks Adam and best of luck on what is sure to be a fantastic pro career when you choose to take that step!