After a 10-month layoff, flyweight up-and-comer Roberto Sanchez returned to fighting in March with a second-round submission win over Klayton Mai at Legacy Fighting Alliance 7.
While Mai had twice as much experience as Sanchez did, he wasn’t deterred in the fight, and despite some early trouble was able to persevere and get the win.
“I’m looking at the guys in the UFC and the guys outside the UFC, and I see there’s a big level difference there, so the guys outside the UFC don’t worry me too much,” Sanchez told MMAWeekly.com. “Even though Klayton was a super-tough fighter, I wasn’t super worried or anything going into that fight.
“He did catch me in a guillotine for a little bit in the first round, but I was able to get out, change it around on him in the second round, and I got his back and was able to finish the fight.”
Undefeated over the course of his first two years as a pro, Sanchez believes he was able to work out the major issues in his game as an amateur, and now just works to fine tune his skills.
“It’s mostly refinements and locating my weak points and working on those; just kind of thinking of what the worst case scenario and if I’ll be okay in that situation,” said Sanchez. “Each fight I would see something I could improve on and that I could do better the next time. I was luckily able to figure it out as an amateur and am able to finish guys now a lot easier.”
“I think he’s going to be a tough, scrappy kid,” Sanchez said of Rivera. “He’s tall, so I’ve got to look out for his reach. It’s a title fight, so I’m excited for it to go five rounds. I’m guessing just like everyone else I’m going to try to get the takedown and get the submission.”
For Sanchez, the opportunity to experience a championship fight as a pro is a big step forward in his career, and it’s one he’s looking forward to.
“I’m more excited I get to potentially fight five rounds; not that I want it to go past the first round if possible,” said Sanchez. “I do get the experience to say I’ve done a title fight. I did one at the amateur level, but it was only two rounds, so I’m excited to do one at the pro level.”
Having spent his entire pro career with Legacy in its two incarnations, Sanchez believes he’s done enough to warrant a move up to the next level, especially if he takes the flyweight title this Friday.
“I think I’m doing something that no other fighter has done, and fight exclusively for Legacy and hopefully move up to the UFC,” Sanchez said. “If I win this fight, that would be seven Legacy wins in a row, which I don’t know if any other fighter has done, and I have five finishes in a row with Legacy.
“I’m glad I started with Legacy and I’ve done well with them and that they’ve taken care of me. (Because of Legacy) Dana White has been to two of my events and not many other fighters can say that.”