Since his release from the UFC last year, lightweight Mike “The Alien” Ricci has made changes in his mental approach that have resulted in three consecutive victories heading into the Halloween night edition of Titan FC.
Of his recent back-to-back wins in Titan FC, Ricci said, “I’ve refocused myself and it’s showing. I’m having devastating fights, and if the guys survive or not, they’re leaving damaged, and that’s all I’m out to do.
“I think the way I carried myself in the UFC and the approach I took and where I was out was wrong. Even though it was their call, I think it was a premature call, but having said that, I feel it’s a motivator because I have something to prove.”
Taking things more seriously and having contempt for his opponents has resulted in Ricci being lined up for a TFC lightweight title shot on Friday against Yoshiyuki Yoshida in Tampa, Fla.
“I was always a talented, long, athletic lightweight, but I fight with bad intentions now,” said Ricci. “I’m improving with my technique and all that, but now I have bad intentions all the time where I didn’t have that before.
“When it comes to fighting and I get into that zone, it puts me into a place that’s not so friendly. I think that needed to happen. I needed to get more business-like in what I was doing.”
Ricci (10-4) told MMAWeekly.com that he’ll be bringing those bad intentions into Friday’s bout with Yoshida (17-6) and does not feel the fight will last long.
“I could sit here and talk about the technical aspect of me and Yoshida for hours, but really in all honesty, regardless of the game plan I try to execute, the entire time I’m going to be trying to hurt this man,” said Ricci. “Whether he survives or not, that’s his business. And if he survives all five rounds, he’s not going to be fighting for a long time.
“The longer (Yoshida’s) in there, the more chance you have of losing. If he’s in there and minutes go by, you’re giving him an opportunity to win, so I’m going to try to put him away from the beginning.”
While taking the Titan FC lightweight title is important, Ricci feels the winner of this bout will punch their ticket in the coming year for something more.
“I think the MMA world is going to be interested in the results of this outcome,” said Ricci. “I think it will change either one of our careers. I think a win over me for Yoshida is huge for him, and a win over him is the same for me.
“This whole year has been great, but it’s coming down to this. I think it will stamp off the year for one of us and change the path of our career.”