Photo from ONE Championship

MANILA, Philippines—Mark “Tyson” Fairtex Abelardo, like other dedicated athletes, had to make do with the limitations in training amid the COVID-19 lockdown which didn’t stop him from preparing the best way he can for his bout on July 31.

The Filipino-Kiwi said he was able to stay in shape during the lockdown and used the free time that he got for himself while waiting for the New Zealand government to allow gyms to reopen.

“Quarantine lockdown was hard to deal with at first, due to many closures and enforcement of rules everywhere. But I was able to work around it with road work and solo training. Then we got the green light for group training, so it’s okay now,” said Abelardo.

The 28-year-old striker is set to face Brazilian newcomer Fabricio Andrade at ONE: No Surrender in Bangkok, Thailand, ONE Championship’s first flagship event since the pandemic.

Abelardo (19-7) may have more battles under his belt compared to Andrade, who’s only fought four times professionally, but he’s not taking his opponent lightly despite his inexperience.

“Fabricio is a high level striker, having competed mainly in kickboxing and Muay Thai fights. I never look past my opponents so I will not take him lightly regardless of his experience in MMA,” said Abelardo.“I hope he is ready because I’ll be giving him all I’ve got and more. I want to put on a pace and look to mix things up like I usually do.”

Abelardo, who hopes to bounce back from his loss to Troy Worthem five months ago, also showed support for the Filipinos who are dealing with the pandemic.

“To all Filipinos dealing with the current COVID-19 crisis, I hope that you, your loved ones, and your colleagues are safe and well. I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced an event with such a drastic impact on how we live and work. Now more than ever, we must do the right things and be prepared to take steps beyond what we’re typically required to do. Stay safe.”

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