Coming off a three-fight winning streak, even as a late replacement, flyweight Klayton Mai felt like couldn’t pass up an opportunity to fight in a main event title fight against Matt Schnell at Legacy FC 52 in March of 2016.
Unfortunately for Mai, he was unable to repeat the success he had against Schnell in 2014, and ended up losing via submission in the first round of their rematch.
“I wasn’t training like I had a belt on the line for a month or two out, but I was in pretty good shape,” Mai told MMAWeekly.com. “We decided to take the fight on late notice. I made the weight and everything, but it just didn’t go my way.
“On the other hand, taking that fight on short notice, being in the main event and fighting for a belt, I had a lot of eyeballs watching me, it stayed with me. I’ve got that experience under my belt and will be more prepared going into this next (main event).”
While some fighters might be concerned with having a year away from active competition like Mai has had, he doesn’t base his career expectations off of activity level.
“I view myself differently than a lot of martial artists do,” said Mai. “I’ve been doing martial arts in the first grade. It’s always been a part of my life. Competing is just a recent thing.
“I don’t look at it like I need to be fighting three times a year or once a year, it just kind of works out that way. I’ve been ramping it up since 2017 started and I’m ready for this one. I’m excited to get back in there.”
Friday night in Houston, Texas, Mai (8-2) will make his second headlining appearance as he takes on Roberto Sanchez (5-0) in the 125-pound main event of Legacy Fighting Alliance 7.
“Everyone is a different kind of puzzle to solve,” Mai said. “I know (Sanchez’s) game plan is probably to take me down and try to submit me. In the fights I’ve seen, he just gets past everybody’s guard, pounds on them a little bit, and somewhere down the line they make a mistake.
“My game plan coming in is to stick to my game: use good movement and use my wrestling advantage. Just counter-wrestle him, look for my submissions, and take every advantage I can while we’re on the feet.”
For Mai moving forward, the main thing is for him to perform the best he can with each opportunity given to him in 2017, starting with Friday’s bout against Sanchez.
“This is a big test right here,” said Mai. “There’s going to be a lot of big eyeballs on this one. Everything has been leading up to this moment. I’ve got to enjoy it, and everything I’ve learned throughout these years, put it out on display, rack up this win and who knows what doors will open up for me.”