Coming off the novel coronavirus lockdown, lightweight Aaron McKenzie was looking to get back on track following a loss this past February when he faced Glaucio Elizario at LFA 88 in August.
Unlike his previous fights, coronavirus precautions made for his bout against Elizario have a different feel to it, but McKenzie embraced the changes.
“Honestly it felt completely normal,” McKenzie told MMAWeekly.com. “Not having a crowd didn’t really bother me. The extra rules and regulations didn’t really bother me, other than them sticking that cotton swab up into my brain.
“I like how everything stayed on schedule. I just show up, did as I was told, and fight.”
As for the fight itself, McKenzie was able to weather an early storm and ultimately submit Elizario near the end of the first round and get himself back on track and pick up his fourth win in his last five fights.
“You don’t want to have to be a tough dude as an MMA fighter, but it’s really nice to have in your back pocket,” said McKenzie. “(Elizario) caught me with a knee early and cut me above and below my eye at the same time. I wasn’t rocked, but I couldn’t see.
“I just had to survive a little bit and make sure everything was good. Once I got that (confirmation) I felt him slowing down, and was able to land a big shot and just stayed on him until the finish.”
This Friday in Park City, Kansas, McKenzie (8-2-1) will look for his second straight win when he faces Joe Giannetti (9-3-1) in the 155-pound co-main event of LFA 94.
“Joe’s a great fighter,” McKenzie said. “He was in the UFC, he fought on The Ultimate Fighter, he could be there today, but he’s not, so as far as I was concerned he was the biggest name available for me to fight.
“I’ve had my eye on him for a little while. I asked for him a couple of times. I’m really happy to get in there and test myself with somebody who was on (TUF). It makes me glad to get that chance.”
While McKenzie does have his eyes on the next level, for now he’s got his mind set on Friday night and getting through is bout with Giannetti first before anything else.
“You always kind of have (the next step) in the back of your mind,” said McKenzie. “My end goal is to be in the UFC, but right now I want to take it one fight at a time. I want to go out and beat Joe and then see what happens after that.”
Inside LFA 94 with Ron Kruck
(Video courtesy of LFA)