While 2017 hasn’t gone quite the way that bantamweight John Castaneda may have planned, it so far has turned out to be a successful one.
Following a layoff, Castaneda has picked up victories over Chris Beal in Combate Americas, and followed that with a win over Cheyden Leialoha at Dana White’s Contender Series, raising his current winning streak to nine in a row.
“My performance against Chris Beal was after a seven month layoff, it was a transition in my life where I was switching management and my contract with Combate Americas had just ended,” Castaneda told MMAWeekly.com. “It just so happened that seven months went by before we figured things out.
“Chris is obviously a tough guy. I was able to finish the fight in the second round by TKO. The second fight against Cheyden I felt like I didn’t battle as I normally do. I was able to grind out a win against him, which is a good win against a good, young, fighter.”
Castaneda (13-2) will now look to close out his year as part of Combate America and NBCU Telemundo’s Copa Combate single-night eight-man tournament on Saturday in Cancun, Mexico.
“I did my research on all the guys, and picked two of the guys who I thought were ‘my biggest threat,’ and I’m implementing their styles in my camp,” said Castaneda. “The rest of it will kind of click along the way.
“Let’s say I did not get those two fights that I prepared for, you’re still preparing for a fight regardless, so it’s not anything too crazy that is going to surprise me. I’ve had well over 30 fights (amateur and pro) and have seen basically every style up to this, and I’m a very adaptable fighter, and that night it’s not going to be any different.”
Not only does Castaneda feel he’s prepared stylistically for the tournament, but doesn’t feel the physical toll on his body over the course of three possible fights presents a challenge.
“The breaks in between will be a little unique, but this is not going to be more than 25 minutes of fighting, and I’ve gone a full championship fight before, which is 25 minutes,” Castaneda said.
“Let’s say every single fight goes the distance, that’s 23 minutes of fighting, so it’s no really different than a championship fight except for breaks in between. I don’t think that will be too hard to get used to and adjusted to. I just think it will be different.”
Following the tournament, Castaneda is looking forward to what’s next with Combate Americas in 2018.
“I recently signed a contract with Combate Americas, so I’ll be with them well into next year,” said Castaneda. “We’ll see where the future goes for me. I’m a very young fighter. I am very experienced for my age, and I think that I’d be happy to go anywhere as long as I’m able to provide for myself and be able to compete against the top, elite, fighters.”