After picking up two wins in conventional fights to kick off his 2017, bantamweight John Castaneda closed out his year as part of Combate Americas’ single-night eight-man 135-pound tournament.
Having never been part of a tournament format before, Castaneda had difficulties preparing for the multi-fight format, but ultimately performed well, making it to the finals before being eliminated from the tournament.
“It was very hard to simulate what the night was going to turn out in the practice room,” Castaneda told MMAWeekly.com. “We knew we were going to be fighting three different times that night, but trying to prepare for three different fighters, three different styles, in a two-hour span was very vigorous and tough to do, but it was a lot of fun.
“It was honestly one of the funnest things I’ve been a part of. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the win in the finals, but it taught me a lot about myself. As grateful as I am to have competed in that tournament, I don’t think I’ll ever do it again.”
Even though he fought five total times in 2017, with three bouts coming in a single night, Castaneda isn’t worried about being burnt out heading into 2018.
“I’m not only training hard, but I’m recovering just as hard,” said Castaneda. “I’m doing the appropriate things to recover and stay healthy and to minimize the wear and tear. I had 16 amateur fights, I’ve had almost 20 professional fights, so I’ve been in the game a while, so I know what to do in terms of my health.”
Castaneda (16-3) will look to get back on track when he faces late replacement Jose Alday (9-3-1) on Friday in Los Angeles, at Combate Estrellas 1. Castaneda was originally expected to rematch Marc Gomez Sariol (21-11), but Gomez was declared ineligible to compete when a pre-fight medical exam revealed a detached retina.
With a multi-fight deal in hand, Castaneda’s path is pretty much set in 2018, after which he’ll figure out what his next move will be.
“I have three fights with Combate Americas and my goal is to win them all,” said Castaneda. “I want to start another win streak up. I want to win all my fight for Combate Americas and then sit back, reflect, and see where we go from there.”