When it comes to his 2018, lightweight Anthony Avila couldn’t be happier with how things turned out.
In three bouts last year, Avila was able to pick up wins in all of them, even though he feels like he didn’t have his best performances of his career in two of the bouts.
“Honestly it was the best year of my life,” Avila told MMAWeekly.com. “I was fortunate enough to get out to India and fight for Super Fight League. Combate offered me a fight and I went out and did some good work and got a decision against a tough gentleman. Then Tachi brought me back and I got a knockout against another tough guy.
“That SFL fight was probably one of the worst performances of my life. Indian food didn’t sit too well for me. I was sick for 11 days. I won a decision, but it was my worst performance for sure. In Combate I could have done better, but I did good and am pleased with that performance. At Tachi I feel like I really showed my heart and my grit, and show I know how to fight striking and grapple.”
For Avila, having his best year in over a 10 year career is a testament to his persistence through patches of what he would not have deemed his most motivated years.
“I actually thought I would be done by the age of 30,” said Avila. “I didn’t really have the desire to stay in the sport too long, but I’m still here, I’m still grinding, and I still love the sport. I feel great and am still motivated to go out and do what I do.”
This Friday in Fresno, California, Avila (17-5) will look to add to his winning streak when he faces Pablo Sabori (9-5) in a 150-pound catchweight main event of Combate Americas 31.
“I just have to perform,” Avila said. “(Sabori is) a tough gentleman out of Tijuana. He’s a good striker with decent ground. I think I just need to perform; whether that’s striking or grappling; we’ll see what he gives me.”
While Avila would like to continue his upward trajectory in 2019, he’s focused on taking each fight as it comes and seeing where the results lead him.
“The endgame is obviously to compete for the UFC and show my talent to the world,” said Avila. “I want to prove to myself that I’m not doing this for nothing as well. But for now just one by one, seeing where we’re going with it and where it will take me.”