Following a loss in his 2019 Professional Fighters League opener in June, heavyweight Alex Nicholson rebounded with a first round TKO of Zeke Tuinei-Wily in August to earn his way into the post season.
For Nicholson the win was not only important to secure a spot in the PFL post season but it was also a reminder to everyone that he’s got just as good of a chance of taking this season’s heavyweight title as anyone else remaining.
“I went out there patient, composed and ready to go,” Nicholson told MMAWeekly.com. “I picked my shots and I got the W. I was in and out, no injuries, and I’m getting ready for what’s next.
“I’m happy to get the W, but I know it’s just the beginning. I had to prove to the world that I’m still here, just like every fighter does every time we step into the ring, we’re only as good as our last fight.”
For Nicholson, fighting every couple months under the PFL’s format is advantageous, as he’s always been one of the more active fighters out there.
“I’ve been doing this whole career,” said Nicholson. “Even before I got the PFL I had the same amount of fights in a short period of time. It’s something I’ve always done. I’ve always stayed in training mode. I live for this.
“It’s not that hard for me to always be ready. I feel this (format) was built for me because I’ve done this my whole career.”
On Thursday in Las Vegas, Nicholson (14-8) will kick off his playoff run in a rematch of his season opener when he faces Francimar Barroso (24-7-1) in a heavyweight opening round bout at PFL 2019: Playoffs.
“I learned from what I’ve been through,” Nicholson said. “I almost finished (Barroso) multiple times during that (June) fight. He was able to injure me. There were a lot of mistakes I made. I’m learning from all those mistakes.
“I’m looking forward to fighting him, but I don’t think he’s thinking the same thing. Even though he won, I know he’s not excited to get back in there with me. It’s no secret to me what he’s going to do. He knows he can’t finish me. He’s going to try to lay on me for 10 minutes, and I’m not going to let him do that.”
With the playoff semi-finals the same night and the finals in December, Nicholson knows his bout with Barroso is the just the beginning of a longer road, but he’s not too worried the possibilities moving forward.
“For me it’s kind of nice because the two guys on the other side of the bracket are very similar in style, so I know what to prepare for,” said Nicholson.
“All three of the guys that I could possibly fight it’s a similar fight. They all don’t have the tools to stand with me. They’re going to get me to the ground. It’s what I’m prepared for; sprawl ‘n’ brawl; I’m ready.”