Shay Walsh has been enjoying some home comforts ahead of his long-awaited return to action.
Lancaster’s MMA star faces home favourite James McErlean on Bellator 173 in Belfast on Friday night.
Having last fought when he lost his BAMMA Bantamweight title to Tom Duquesnoy in May, Walsh is looking forward to getting back on the winning trail.
The 28-year-old had been due to make his Bellator debut in Dublin before Christmas only for his fight to fall through after opponent Luiz Tosta picked up an injury.
The quick turnaround means Walsh has been training in the North West and spending more time with his partner Beccy Ashton and young son Vinny, rather than heading out to his Thailand training base.
“It’s worked out well in a way,” he said.
“I spent a long time away from home for the last fight only for it not to happen.
“Disappearing to Thailand is not easy. The missus is really supportive but it’s not great.
“This time it’s been good, I’ve been at home with the family and got the work in.
“I feel relaxed and happy and they say a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter.”
Walsh has split his training time between working with brother Sergio Zappone and doing two days a week at a gym in Manchester.
The Lancaster man says he’s now ready to prove that Irishman McErlean, 6-3, is out of his depth.
“He’s a Belfast lad so there’ll be a big crowd making plenty of noise which will be different for me,” said Walsh, 14-4.
“In the last couple of fights in Birmingham I had a plenty of support.
“Now I’m going into hostile territory which will be fun.
“He’s got good experience and is on a decent winning streak after a good year last year.
“But this is a step up for him and he’s going to realise that on Friday night.
“He’s not been in with anyone like me before or fought the kind of people I have.
“I’ve been in with the best about and it’s going to show.”
The card is set to be shown on Spike TV on Saturday night, Walsh hoping to feature as the event is also on free-to-air television in America.
He would like to thank sponsors Green Frog Genovate, Engage Fightwear and DK Warehouse.
For more videos visit Shay’s official Facebook page.