Following a 6-0 start to his career, Bellator bantamweight Owen Evinger has struggled this past year, losing three of his last four fights.
According to Evinger, among the factors that have caused his recent rough patch is the fact that he is still balancing trying to be a fighter with the responsibilities of life outside the cage.
“I have two kids and I have to provide for them first and foremost,” Evinger said. “Fighting is not my full-time job, plus I’m a football and wrestling coach, so that’s taken up a lot of my time this last year. I think that is part to do with why I’ve had a bad year this past year.”
Evinger will have the chance to end his year on a good note this Friday in Hollywood, Fla., when he takes on former Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren.
While both fighters are coming into Friday with losses, Evinger knows he’s seen as the one with an uphill climb against Warren.
“Going into this fight, everybody’s saying I’m the underdog and how I’m just going to be a highlight reel for him, but that’s not how I’m looking at it,” said Evinger. “I know I’m a good fighter and this is going to be a tough fight.
“A lot of the time, I’m usually the underdog, so it doesn’t bother me. I just go out there and do my thing and give it 100 percent.”
With Warren’s wrestling background, the course is clear for Evinger, stay on his feet and off his back.
“I’m a decent wrestler, but I’m not a World Champion-level wrestler like Joe is, so I’m obviously going to try to stay away from the ground,” said Evinger.
“Even if he does take me to the ground, he’s kind of a lay-and-pray guy. He really doesn’t try to pass guard or go for submissions; he just looks to grind a guy out for 15 minutes. I have decent jiu-jitsu, so I have a good chance of tapping him out.”
Evinger told MMAWeekly.com that a win over Warren could go a long way in setting up for a big year in 2013.
“I’m hoping that if it goes how I think and I win, Bellator or somebody will give me another chance at a big fight,” he said. “That’s kind of been my problem in the past, I never really got opportunities like Joe Warren or some other name guys do.
“The bigger the fight, the bigger the motivation is for me.”
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