While he hasn’t been as busy as he would have liked so far this year, flyweight Casey Kenney has had a good 2018 overall with two unanimous decision wins in his two bouts this year.
First against Kendrick Latchman in January and then versus Roman Salazar in June, both for the LFA, Kenney had contrasting performances, but is none the less pleased with his victories.
“I haven’t been as active in 2018 as I was in 2017,” Kenney told MMAWeekly.com. “I’ve been kind of looking for the right fights to get where I need to go.
“I started off in January with Kendrick and had a pretty dominating performance against him. I fought Roman in June and had another good performance, but it wasn’t the break-out performance that I wanted, but I got the win. It was a big step; I went up a weight class against a former UFC vet.”
Originally at LFA 53 this Friday in Phoenix, Arizona, Kenney (9-1-1) was to challenge Maikel Perez for the promotion’s 125-pound championship, but a last-minute opponent change will now see him facing Brandon Royval (8-3) instead for an interim title. The change of opponent is something Kenney feels he’s made a good adjustment to.
“Maikel was a right-handed wrestler, and Brandon is kind of a southpaw striker/submission guy,” said Kenney. “In the fight world it’s virtually the opposite. It’s definitely not the first time. Over the course of my career, I’ve had a lot of switch-ups, especially last minute. It’s pretty much the same for this one.”
When it comes to styles, Kenney feels he and Royval are much closer, which could make for an explosive bout.
“I think our styles, especially on our feet are pretty similar,” Kenney said. “We’re both southpaw strikers who are going to stand in your face and bring it. I think my experience and beating him to the punch and being stronger and hitting harder is going to be the key.
“You can’t forget about my wrestling and Judo background, so we’ll see how his grappling is. I know he’s got a few submissions, but can he stop the takedown and the ground ‘n’ pound as well?”
Claiming an LFA title is something that Kenney helps will allow him to finally make a step to the next level in 2019.
“Chasing belts and racking up belts is always good, but getting the win and going out and performing the way I do and putting Brandon away is the most important,” said Kenney. “Really it’s all the same to me.
“I’ve been on the short list for the UFC for a couple years now, and I think I’m staying persistent to that goal. The UFC is not like college, it’s one of a kind, so I’ll stay as persistent as long as I need to. The goal for 2019 is going to the next level and working the way up the ranks there.”