After spending the last 18 months out of action due to injury, former MFC middleweight “Savage” Jason Zentgraf returned to MMA recently with a win over Jordan Currie in a King of the Cage bout that ended up being harder than he expected for multiple reasons.
Firstly, Currie ended up bringing more to the table than Zentgraf had anticipated.
“I knew he had good defensive boxing and I knew he had good jiu-jitsu and wrestling, but I didn’t expect his striking to be as good as it was,” Zentgraf told MMAWeekly.com. “We exchanged quite a bit of kicks, strikes and clinch work, but I was able to catch him in a guillotine about half way through the third round.”
Secondly, having been out of the sport for so long, Zentgraf feels he wasn’t as sharp as he normally would have been.
“I hadn’t fought in about a year and a half because I had a serious hip injury that I’d been dealing with, so I had a bit of ring rust,” said Zentgraf.
“I didn’t feel comfortable in there throwing combinations like I’m used to. I didn’t really check kicks, so I was a bit rusty. Other than that, I feel I did a lot of things well, like my clinch, elbows, and ground work.”
While at times Zentgraf did get down during his time off, he feels that ultimately it allowed him to prioritize fighting and will be able to make a strong run at things now that he’s back.
“I did focus on the fact that I needed to take fights more seriously,” he said. “I always train hard for fights at all levels, but I had a pretty serious hip injury, so I had kind of humble myself, sit down and focus on rehabbing my hip or I’ll never be 100-percent a fighter.
“I took time off and did physical therapy with two different therapists, then did my own physical therapy, and now every once in a while I feel weak, but it’s not injured anymore.”
For Zentgraf, fighting out of a small camp in Montana has made it difficult for him to gain the kind of attention he needs to make it to the next level of the sport. He feels, however, that he can build off his recent win, put together a winning streak, and turn some heads in 2015.
“Not a lot of people have heard of me or my gym, and that makes it that much harder to get into the bigger promotions, but I just had a Fight of the Night performance in KOTC, so the more I can get out there and do this, the better it will be,” said Zentgraf.
“I’d like to go undefeated this next year and get back into the swing of things.”