Over the course of his first two years of fighting, bantamweight up-and-comer Andre “Diva” Tieva fought seven times. Since then, however, Tieva has only fought once.
What should have been his launching point with a win over Chris Lane in Bellator in October 2013 turned into a waiting game for Tieva, and ultimately failed to pan out.
“We were kind of sitting around and waiting to see what was happening with Bellator, but nothing really came of it,” Tieva told MMAWeekly.com. “We scheduled a local fight and then that fell through. I didn’t want to have a yearlong layoff, but that’s just how it happened.”
Tieva eventually managed to get a win this past September against Ben Pierre-Saint, but even in victory things didn’t go as he had hoped.
“It was really frustrating because it was my first decision since I was an amateur,” said Tieva. “I had (Pierre-Saint) dead to rights a couple of times and he just slipped through the cracks.
“I feel like he didn’t really belong in there with me – despite his undefeated record – he wasn’t able to do anything to me, so it was frustrating to go to decision.”
Tieva (8-0) hopes to make his RFA debut on Friday in Prior Lake, Minn., his big break as he takes on his toughest test yet in battle-hardened vet Matt Brown (9-4). (Editor’s note: No, not UFC fighter Matt “the Immortal” Brown.)
“I’m really excited for it because I think he can bring out the best in me,” Tieva said of Brown. “Matt is a super-tough opponent. He’s got good striking; he’s got good grappling.
“I think it’s a really good fan-friendly fight that RFA put together.”
While he’s unsure where he could be headed should he defeat brown, Tieva feels that he is definitely on the road to somewhere big in 2015.
“A win under the RFA banner could lead to a lot of things,” said Tieva. “It could lead to climbing the ladder within the RFA. It could lead to a UFC call. You never know what could happen.
“A win puts me in a really good spot at 9-0 with seven finishes right now. It puts me in a really good position for the future.”