Following a nine month layoff, Ultimate Fighter 22 alum Andres Quintana was able to come back this past February and have a solid performance in his Combate Americas debut against Erick Sanchez.
Over the course of three rounds, Quintana was able to neutralize his opponent’s strengths and keep the fight to his advantage, leading to a unanimous decision victory.
“I knew (Sanchez) was going to be a tough guy,” Quintana told MMAWeekly.com. “I felt like my striking was better. I felt like he was a little green. I went in there to exploit how much better my stand-up was than his. I was able to avoid the takedowns and keep it standing.”
Though a series of setbacks kept him out nearly a year, Quintana was able to keep a level head and kept working hard for his return.
“I got in a real bad accident and that’s why I took some time off,” said Quintana. “I wrecked my ATV and was in the hospital for a while. I was ready to come back and took a fight in Canada, but the guy ended up coming in seven, eight, pounds overweight, so we didn’t end up fighting.
“It’s just part of the fight game. I’ve been fighting for a long time and have had fights fall through left and right. It’s just kind of out of your hands. All you can do is train hard to be the best version of yourself and show up to fight.”
On June 30 in Mexico City, Mexico, Quintana (11-2) returns to Combate Americas to take on Levy Marroquin (8-1) in a main card 145-pound bout.
“(Marroquin is) tough, but he’s shorter than me, so I’ve got to make sure to stay in my range,” Quintana said. “He’s going to try to wrestle me. He also has some tricky kicks, so I’ve got to watch that. I’ve got to stay at my range, try to hurt him and avoid being on my back.”
For Quintana, getting an opportunity to fight in Mexico is a great opportunity to grow his fan base and establish himself as someone to watch on the international stage.
“They’re my people and they don’t know me, so I’m going to show them who I am,” said Quintana. “I’m going to give them a great fight. I’m the exact kind of fighter they love: I go in and I bang and I always win.”
When it comes to the second half of 2017, Quintana’s mindset is to establish himself and work his way up the Combate Americas ranks.
“Basically my goal after this fight is to fight two more times; nothing crazy or too out of the ordinary,” Quintana said. “I feel I’m the best fighter in my division and I’m ready to prove it.”