For featherweight Jamall Emmers, 2019 went just about as well as he could have hoped.
In two bouts last year, Emmers picked up two wins, both with first round finishes.
“My 2019 was good,” Emmers told MMAWeekly.com. “I had all finishes. I was happy with the result I had last year.
“For the most part (I was happy with what I did in the cage). Even in some fights I surprised myself a little bit. I was glad I was able to showcase what I’ve been working on and my improvements.”
Emmers can definitely see the improvements he made in his game as the year progressed. Not only was he able to add new things but also further sharpen the things that have made him successful so far.
“I feel like I gained a lot more knowledge,” said Emmers. “I’m more strategic and more calm in certain areas.
“I think it’s a little bit of both (adding new things and refining existing skills). I can always improve on everything, including wrestling, so it’s a bit of both.”
This Friday in Costa Mesa, California, Emmers (16-4) looks to kick off his 2020 in a big way when he faces Rafael Barbosa (12-2) in the 145-pound main event of LFA 81.
“He has a karate base, he’s got a good cross, throws a decent back kick, but other than that, I don’t see too much,” Emmers said of Barbosa.
“I know my ground game, my wrestling, is more superior to his. I’m pretty much confident anywhere the fight takes me; whether it’s on the ground or on the feet.”
For Emmers, having missed out on moving up to the next level in 2018 with a loss at Dana White’s Contender Series, headlining an LFA event on UFC Fight Pass could be just the thing he needs to get a second chance to step up to the company in 2020.
“I’m excited because this is a big opportunity for me,” said Emmers. “It’s going to have a lot of eyes on it, so I’m excited to get to showcase my skills in front of a lot of people.
“I just take it one fight at a time and see what happens. I can’t think too far ahead. I’ve got to worry about this fight and see what happens after.”