Bellator Featherweight Emmanuel Sanchez is prepared to take on whatever challenges are put in front of him and feels like he should be considered among the best in one of MMA’s most talent-rich divisions.
“I have the hunger and desire to want to go out and do amazing things,” Sanchez told MMATorch on Tuesday. “I’m excited to do it on the biggest stage.”
Sanchez trains at Roufusport in Milwaukee, a gym that has seen its fair share of controversy and attention in the last year with UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley engaging in a back and forth with the fans, media, and the UFC, the entry of former pro wrestler C.M. Punk to the gym, and most recently a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the gym. Despite the attention and potential distractions, Sanchez says he doesn’t let any of it affect his training.
“The media stuff is the media stuff,” he said. “We’re here under this roof, we’re all just focused on getting better and working hard.”
Sanchez is taking on a veteran of the sport, former Bellator Bantamweight Champion Marcos Galvao on the main card of Bellator 175, set to take place on March 31 from Rosemont, Illinois. Sanchez feels he matches up very well Galvao and welcomes the challenge.
“They always give me the biggest opponents,” he said. “I’m not ever asking for breaks, I’m not asking for easy fights. There’s no such thing. I’m hungry and determined, I want to fight the best. If you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.”
Sanchez, with his five most recent wins coming at the hands of the judges and four of those being split or majority decisions, still feels he will make short work of Galvao. “I see myself getting that knockout or that TKO in the first or second round,” he said. “I think I’ll be able to overwhelm him with that pressure, that strength, that speed. I know he brings a lot to the table but I’m going to be too much for him.”
In looking for stoppage victories, Sanchez admitted that he has put too much pressure on himself in the past and is looking to change that next weekend. He was also quick to remind us that has finished many of his fights earlier in his career.
“All my finishes have come in the first round,” he said, which is true save for one second round submission in his third pro fight. “This will be my 18th professional fight and half my wins are finishes so, for me, it’s just to remember to go out there and have fun and don’t put so much pressure on myself to go out there and be perfect. I’m a perfectionist, I strive to always be flawless. Sometimes you put too much pressure on yourself and you mentally crumble.”
One way Sanchez plans to keep the pressure off of himself is to look for inspiration in a martial arts legend. “So if I go out there and like Bruce Lee says, ‘flow like water,’ I know those finishes will come.”
Hiscoe’s Analysis: While talking to Emmanuel Sanchez, I could sense that he was sensitive to the fact that he hasn’t been finishing his fights lately and I believe him when he said he has been putting too much pressure on himself to get stoppage wins. He’s been fortunate that most of the split decisions have gone his way during his Bellator career – not because he didn’t deserve to win the fights that he did, but because judges are so unpredictable and one judge who saw one minute of one round differently than everyone else can derail a fighter’s career momentum. Sanchez is fighting a smaller, older fighter in Marcos Galvao, so the potential to get that finish is there. There will be a lot of eyeballs on the fight as it is scheduled second from the top underneath the Rampage Jackson-King Mo fight, so an emphatic win could really help Sanchez on his way to a Bellator title shot.
Look for more from my interview with Emmanuel Sanchez next week. We talked about recent issues surrounding weight cutting in MMA, his weight cutting process, and where he thinks he fits in the Bellator featherweight title picture.
THURSDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS
-Conor McGregor’s fine and community services for his part in the UFC 202 pre-fight press conference bottle throwing incident have been reduced. The fine was reduced from $75,000 to $25,000 and the community service from 50 hours to 25 hours. (SOURCE)
-Bloody Elbow has posted the scheduled dates for depositions in the antitrust case filed against UFC by former fighters Cung Le, Nate Quarry, Jon Fitch, Brandon Vera, Javier Vazquez, and Kyle Kingsbury. Among those set to be deposed are Lorenzo Fertitta, Dana White, and Scott Coker. (SOURCE)
-A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Roufusport, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The suit has been filed by the family of Dennis Munson Jr. who died shortly after an amateur kickboxing bout promoted by Roufusport in March 2014. The ringside doctor, referee, Munson’s coaches, and promoters are all individually named in the suit.
-The California State Athletic Commission is proposing a 10-point plan to combat weight cutting in MMA. Proposed measures include licensing a fighter to a specific weight class, re-working weight classes so every class below 205 is in ten pound increments (effectively eliminating 170 and adding 165, 175, and 195) as well as adding a 225 pound division, forcing fighters who miss weight more than once to move up a weight class, day of weigh-ins and fighters who gain more than 8 percent of their body weight between weighing in and competing may be forced to move up in the future, and 30-day and 10-day weight checks for title fights.
-UFC has requested dates at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for July 6, 7, and 8 according to MMA Junkie.
-Royce Gracie told MMA Fighting that he would be interested in a second fight with Matt Hughes. “That would be great,” he said, “Everybody wants to see this second fight.”
–Ariel Helwani tweeted on Wednesday that Luke Rockhold has been lobbying UFC hard for a heavyweight fight with Fabricio Werdum. Rockhold confirmed as much during an appearance on UFC Tonight last night.
Rockhold is pushing hard for a fight with Werdum. He's willing to move up to HW. Asked UFC for it this week after FW's #TheMMAHour comments.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 22, 2017
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ROUNDUP
-B.J. Penn vs. Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night Oklahoma City on June 25.
-Also announced for the Oklahoma City show were Johny Hendricks vs. Tim Boetsch, Felice Herrig vs. Justine Kish, and Josh Stansbury vs. Jeremy Kimball.
Watch Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Henry Corrales from September 2015
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST 3/22: Live coverage of Bellator 175 media conference call featuring Rampage, King Mo, Scott Coker
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)