Jesse Arnett promises 'rock and roll' against Ali Al Qaisi in UAE Warriors title rematch

Challenger needed 13 stitches after first encounter and Canadian vows to inflict more punishment

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Jesse Arnett claims he is ready to “rock and roll” when he meets Ali Al Qaisi in their UAE Warriors 33 featherweight title rematch on Saturday.

The Canadian took the belt when he opened a deep cut above Al Qaisi’s left eye with an elbow shot before the ringside doctor stopped the contest in the second round of their first meeting on July 2.

Al Qaisi’s plea to continue was turned down and the two are now set to square it up in what is billed as the biggest match of the promotion at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island.

Arnett, 38, believes it is too early for the challenger to return and is confident he will stop Al Qaisi again in a similar manner.

“I’ll be going for that cut, 100 per cent. There is a good chance that will open up again in the first round,” he told The National during the pre-fight conference at the Palm Sports Headquarters.

“It’s too early for him to come back. His artery was cut. There was 13 stitches. This is a fight and it’s not going to stop me from working over that cut.

“I’m going to get on top of him and finish him off and leave no room for a debate to prove who the champion is.”

Arnett acknowledged Al Qaisi’s frustration when the ringside doctor and referee stopped the first contest.

“Nobody wants to lose a world championship fight like that,” he said. “The doctor and the referee made the judgment, and there was nothing I could do about that.

“It was a nasty cut. His artery was cut and the blood started to flow. A couple more punches in that area could have done more damage on him, and he wouldn’t have lasted, that was for sure.

“Ali is probably the most skilled fighter that I ever fought. He’s super durable, he turns up in phenomenal shape, he believes in himself and he gets inspired more than me. But this belt is mine, and I’m going to finish him again.”

Arnett insisted he has returned in much better shape and more prepared mentally for the rematch.

“This is a world championship and I have had a much better training camp,” he said. “I feel much lighter but the weight cut shouldn’t be a problem. This is the biggest fight of my life and I’m ready to rock and roll.”

Al Qaisi, 32, still feels the title was stolen from him following the stoppage doctor's decision.

It’s one of the few times the Jordanian had the time to put together a proper camp for the UAE Warriors and felt a lot of that effort went to waste.

“I feel this is the biggest fight of my career but it has turned very personal as I still feel that the title was stolen from me,” he said.

Jesse Arnett celebrates his victory against Ali Al Qaisi at UAE Warriors 30. Chris Whiteoak / The National

“This time it’s going to be a different fight. I’m going to hit him as hard as I can from the first round. Jesse still hasn’t felt Ali’s power or strength. I don’t want to finish this fight too quickly. I really want to punish and hurt him, and make him suffer.”

Fouad Darwish, CEO of Palms Sports, compared the rematch to a Khabib-McGregor contest at a lower level.

“The title rematch for the UAE Warriors featherweight is a much anticipated one and we expect it to live up to the hype it has created,” he said.

“We consider it as a Khabib-McGregor fight on a smaller stage. We are pretty happy the way the UAE Warriors have progressed as an MMA promotion as we organise our 33rd fight card in three years.”

Preceding the international event on Saturday is also a 10-fight card for the locals. And before that on Friday is the UAE Warriors Africa-3, highlighted by the light-heavyweight title between Kevin Oumar of Comoros and Angolan Emilio Quissua.

Updated: September 15, 2022, 4:34 AM