Photo: Brave Combat Federation
The spotlight will shine down bright on New Zealand’s John Brewin (4-1-0) this weekend when he steps into the cage for his co-main event bout at BRAVE 22 in Manila, Philippines.
The Kiwi lightweight will square off against Ireland’s Cian Cowley (2-1-0) in the early hours of Saturday morning, in a fight that could set him up for a title run if he emerges victorious.
“For me, this is like, who is the real guy moving forward in this division?” Brewin said to Newsie from his hotel in the Philippines capital.
“Who is coming from the amateur circuit, hasn't been fighting pro for a long time but is really getting after it, which one of these two young lions is going to win the little battle that we got going on here?”
Cowley is best known in the MMA world as being one of Conor McGregor’s running mates.
However, the 26-year-old is an accomplished fighter in his own right, having competed in Muay Thai from a young age before making the transition to MMA.
Training out of SBG in Dublin, Ireland, Cowley like Brewin is looked upon as an up and coming contender in Brave’s competitive lightweight division.
The Bahrain based promotion had a year to remember in 2018. The company added a number of promising talents to their roster while holding 12 events across the globe in a variety of exotic locales including Jordan, Morocco, and Colombia.
Brewin, who trains out of Bali MMA, currently has a 2-1 record fighting for Brave, with both wins coming via way of stoppage. The 25-year-old suffered his first professional defeat in December after losing a closely fought battle with Morocco’s Anas Siraj Mounir, in the co-main event of Brave 20.
The Kiwi’s stock did not dip much following his loss, with an exciting fighting style and plenty of untapped potential, it was always going to be a case that Brewin would bounce back strongly.
It just so happened that both Brewin and the Brave matchmakers were on the same wavelength when it came to selecting his next opponent.
“It's strange how the timeline came about, he [Cowley] fought while he was embroiled in the Conor McGregor scandal. He fought a month after I first competed in Brave, at the time I was 2-0 and he was 1-1.
“I was like this guy is famous now and he is in my division I should try and fight this guy. I then fought outside of Brave and came back, and my last two opponents were 9-1 and 6-1, and I was like onwards and upwards.”
“When I dropped that last fight, I just had a feeling. I was like man, I wonder if they are going to give me Cian Cowley, I wonder if they think that he is going to be the guy instead of me?’ That’s how I painted it in my mind anyway.”
Brewin comes into this fight on the back of what he considers his best training camp, and while he is respectful of what Cowley will bring to the cage, the hard-hitting Kiwi feels that this bout provides him with the perfect opportunity to showcase his evolving skill set.
“I know that he is not going to be a fool on the ground, he is going to know what he is doing, but I have been grinding my arse off in every facet of the game,” Brewin said.
“I think that I have gone back to my roots a little bit in terms of really trying to bring that NZ K1 style of heavy-handed kickboxing to the cage. I am throwing bombs looking for the knockout and combining that with my wrestling and submission game.
“For me, every fight that I have ever watched of my own, I have never been happy with.
“I am like that’s not me, it's me when I am cracking them with a beautiful sniper right hand, but the rest of the time I am that’s not me, I am better than that, I can fight different to that, “ he added.
“So now I am going back to bring my own pure style to the cage, I think I am going show out big time on Friday ( Saturday morning NZ Time). I am going to put a whipping on this dude and skyrocket from there.”
The Philippines has become a hotbed of MMA talent in recent years, and the crowd that will pack Manila's Mall of Asia Arena will be a vocal one.
The main event of the card is a bantamweight title fight between hometown hero Stephen Loman and French-Algerian Elias Boudegzdame.
By booking Brewin and Cowley on the co-main event, the Brave matchmakers are showing the faith they have in both fighters to put on a show that will have the fans on the edge of their seats.
"I don’t think this is going to the distance, if it goes the distance it’s because I didn’t finish him, not the other way round,” Brewin said.
“I am a hard dude to put away, I wriggle out of submissions and I got chin from the gods."
It may be St Patrick's Day this weekend but if Brewin has his way, it will be him and not Cowley who will be raising a glass in celebration to his success.
For those wanting to watch Brewin in action the full event can be purchased using the link below.