Combate Americas “Mexico vs USA” takes place tonight (Fri., May 11), 2018 at McClellan Conference Center in Sacramento, Calif. on Univision Deportes Network starting at 11 PM ET. MMAmania.com talks to Team Alpha Male fighter Anthony “The Shark” Avila about his featured bout with Jose Luis Verdugo.
Combate Americas “USA vs. Mexico” comes to McClellan Conference Center in Sacramento, Calif. tonight (Fri., May 11, 2018). As part of the Univision Deportes Network (UDN) fight card, Team Alpha Male standout Anthony Avila (15-5) and Tijuana-based fighter Jose Luis Verdugo (8-4) collide at 155 pounds.
“The Shark” is on a two-fight win streak dating back to Tachi Palace Fights 32 in 2017, while Verdugo is on a three-fight run over the same span. Avila has been kicking around the sport for a while now, even landing a win in Strikeforce back in 2011, but by some accounts his loss to UFC vet Caol Uno in 2013 was a career setback, snapping a 10 fight tear at the time.
Avila has gone 4-3 since the Uno fight, but with his current winning streak and a chance to showcased on a major card seen on UDN all around the world, now is his time. MMAmania.com recently talked to Avila about his big opportunity and conflicted “USA vs. Mexico” feelings.
“I’m a bit torn you know because I’m Mexican. I’m Mexican, but I was raised in America, so… I’m representing America from being Mexican if that makes any sense. I’m in the middle!”
It should for MMA fans given that former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez represents both sides of his heritage as a fighter — American born but the son of a Mexican immigrant. Avila says this show has something for everyone.
“You know you have the Mexican fans, they (Mexican fighters) have a big following in the Latin community, so that’s going bring (those fans) as well the Americans are going to come to see the Americans do well against the Mexicans, so I think it’s a good draw.”
Avila is feeling confident ahead of his time in the spotlight, firm in the belief that Verdugo is a beneficial stylistic match-up.
“He’s a tough guy you know, he’s tough! Big Latin dude, most Mexicans come ready to fight, so I’m expecting a nice war but I don’t see myself losing in any aspect of the fight and I don’t think anyone else should expect that either.”
Verdugo has faced and beaten some well known competition including Estevan Payan, but training at Team Alpha Male gives Avila so much confidence that he hasn’t done any pre-fight scouting.
“I don’t know anything about him. I’ve seen his record as well, but I know he’s a good striker but that’s pretty much as much as I know about him.”
“The Shark” may sound cocksure right now but he was going into the Caol Uno fight too.
“I think if I had won that fight I would definitely be in a different place than I am now. I made some mistakes in that camp and I paid for it with the last few years, but I’m definitely looking to rebound. I’m ON the rebound as we speak.”
If there was one lesson Avila learned from the Uno fight it’s that getting full of yourself and acting like everything is easy comes back to haunt you in a big way.
“You know my head was big, I thought I was a man, I thought I was unbeatable and I wasn’t taking anything serious. I wasn’t cutting weight. I went and hiked Yosemite right before I left. I didn’t respect him. He was an older gentleman so I was like ‘Dude, I can beat this guy.’ I went out there with a shitty weight cut, showed up to Japan 22 pounds overweight and 48 hours (to go). I mean the cards were stacked against me as well. They were trying to send me out the day before the weigh ins, I paid the money to go out just one day before they wanted to send me out, and yeah dude. It was my first time fighting overseas or traveling overseas for that matter and I paid for it.”
Through his long time association with Team Alpha Male, Avila has learned from those mistakes and increased his belief in himself and what he can do in a fight.
“You know it’s fantastic. It’s an ego booster and a confidence booster when you know you’re working out with and against some of the top athletes in the sport. It does really well for you. It helps you sharpen your skills as well as (letting) you know you can compete with some of the best in the world.”
A humbled and hungry Avila has a newfound purpose in Combate Americas, going out there with respect for his opponent and the sport, ready to accept the outcome while giving it his all.
“I appreciate every athlete that actually does compete. We’re in there busting our asses. We’re taking time from our real life, our family, our friends and we’re putting it toward this sport. There’s no shame in a loss. I prefer never to lose but there’s no shame in a loss.”
Whether it’s a win or a loss this week, Anthony “The Shark” Avila will go out and give it his all.
“USA vs. Mexico” airs live on Univision Deportes Network starting at 11 pm ET/8 PT. Audio of this interview is above and coverage of “USA vs Mexico” is right here at MMAmania.com.
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