It’s been two years since Swedish light-heavyweight prospect Herdem Alacabek last fought and much has changed. After moving to the United States, Alacabek spent time training with American Top Team in Florida before re-settling in California. Now finally Alacabek is ready to get back to fighting.
“The amount of work I’ve put in, the people I’ve sparred with, the amount of knowledge that has been passed around, it is inevitable for me to develop with this amount of work,” Alacabek told MMAWeekly.com. “I’ve been training a lot and I’ve been developing. I have ups and downs, but I’ve kept doing it, I’ve kept on.”
Alacabek notes that there are some differences he’s experienced in training in America as opposed to his native Sweden, but both places have been instrumental in shaping who he is as a fighter.
“The main thing that I’ve picked up over here is elbow strikes and stuff like that,” said Alacabek. “The wrestling here is a little different than in Sweden. But other than that, Sweden has a very good scene for MMA.
“(Sweden has) very good fighters there and a big interest for it. A lot of people come from over Europe to go there to train. But for me, taking the right steps forward in my life, it was the right step for me to come and live in the US.”
While Alacabek feels that he and fellow Swedish light-heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson do have a lot of similarities, and that Gustafsson is a great example to follow, both men have their own path in MMA.
“I have great respect for Alexander Gustafsson,” Alacabek said. “You can’t deny that Gustafsson brought the UFC to Sweden. He opened a lot of doors for a lot of the fighters in Sweden, so you have to be grateful for that.
“He showed a way that if you train hard and you fight and believe in yourself, you can get somewhere in MMA. Everybody lives their own lives. I live my life, and he lives his, but if I can reach the point he has in his career, I’d be happy.”
On Friday in Burbank, Calif., Alacabek (2-0) will look to make a successful return to MMA when he takes on Joao Antonio Arroyo (4-1) in a main card 205-pound at Legacy Fighting Alliance 13.
“I believe it is going to be good competition,” said Alacabek. “Our experience in the cage is still pretty fresh for us. It will be a good way for me to prove myself and see my development inside the cage. Sure, training is always good, but you’ve got to do it in the cage as well.
“For me to win I believe I have to work harder than my opponent, and if an opportunity comes for the finish, I’ve got to take it.”
From here, Alacabek looks to establish himself and eventually work his way to the biggest stage in MMA.
“My long term goal is to reach the UFC and compete in the UFC with great success, but life is very uncertain,” Alacabek said. “In the short term, I take it one step at a time, one fight at a time and just try to enjoy myself along the journey.”