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The next Conor McGregor? Here's the fighter John Kavanagh tips for big things in 2021

John Kavanagh (left); Ilias Bulaid (center)
John Kavanagh (left); Ilias Bulaid (center)
Johny Payne
Modified 22 Dec 2020, 11:43 IST

Straight Blast Gym (SBG) founder and world-renowned MMA coach John Kavanagh has praised one of his star pupils on Twitter.

John Kavanagh had words of high praise for SBG member Ilias Bulaid

John Kavanagh responded to a tweet sent out by the official Bellator MMA Twitter account. The tweet by Bellator's account was regarding the organization’s Featherweight fighter Ilias Bulaid.

Bulaid is one of the top prospects in Bellator today. The Dutch-Moroccan fighter had a highly successful career in the sport of kickboxing and made the transition to the sport of MMA in 2019. He trains at the SBG gym that functions under the oversight of none other than John Kavanagh. The highly reputed coach has now suggested that Bulaid is the one to watch in 2021.

John Kavanagh reiterated his appreciation for Ilias Bulaid, referring to the latter as ‘dangerous’. The tweet sent out by Kavanagh was a response to a video clip of Bulaid scoring a brutal KO win in the Bellator cage. John Kavanagh’s tweet read as follows –

“One to watch in 2021. Dangerous.”

Ilias Bulaid trains at John Kavanagh’s SBG martial arts academy

Ilias Bulaid competed in the sport of kickboxing for many years, boasting a record of 25 wins and six losses over the course of his career that started in 2013. It is likely that the Dutch-Moroccan fighter could continue in the discipline of kickboxing. However, many believe that his aim is to make it to the top of the sport of MMA in the coming years.


Furthermore,Bulaid is the 2016 K-1 World GP 2016 65kg World Tournament Runner-Up and also the 2014 Enfusion World Champion 67 kg.

The Dutch-Moroccan fighter made his MMA debut in September of 2019. He faced Vitalic Maiboroda at Bellator 227 and defeated his opponent via a first-round KO. Following this, Bulaid fought in February of this year. He took on Diego Freitas at Bellator 240 and beat him via unanimous decision.

Ilias Bulaid is just 25-years-old and the belief is that should he manage to keep improving his overall skills, his grappling in particular, the Dutch-Moroccan fighter would be a threat in the featherweight division in the years to come.

As for SBG founder and coach John Kavanagh, he’s currently helping MMA megastar Conor McGregor prepare for his much-anticipated Lightweight bout against Dustin Poirier at UFC 257.

Published 22 Dec 2020, 11:43 IST
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