Looking back on his victory over Reginaldo Felix at Bellator 2016 this past February, middleweight Justin Sumter was able to overcome some early difficulties before picking up a second round finish.
According to Sumter, he felt that if he could get past his adversity that he could push Felix enough to force him into a bad position that could be taken advantage of to get the win.
“I did pretty good,” Sumter told MMAWeekly.com. “I got caught in the first round, but I was able to recover and get my wits about me, continue to apply pressure, knowing he was going to break, and I got the rear naked crank. I think I put on a good show.”
After suffering a loss in his pro debut, Sumter has won seven of his eight bouts since. For Sumter, the way he has developed with incremental steps up has been a big part of his success.
“I think it’s more the little things I add here and there,” said Sumter. “I have an extremely good work ethic and I feel as the years progress I’m still the same person, but I’m picking up details and different little things to make me more well-rounded.
“I think these little things really make a fighter a better fighter. You put the small things together and they make big things.”
At Dana White’s Contender Series on July 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sumter (7-2) will look to secure a chance to move up to the next level when he faces Maki Pitolo (11-4) in a main card 185-pound bout.
“Maki is a good well-rounded fighter,” Sumter told MMAWeekly.com. “I trained with him a couple years ago in Hawaii. I’ve been following him ever since.
“He’s got good stand-up with great boxing skills, and his grappling is a little underrated. I know people see good boxing, but he’s got great takedowns. I think with my range and versatility in the cage I think I can keep it standing, keep him at bay, keep my distance; or close the distance, get in the clinch and take him down.”
Having fought in the Contender Series before, Sumter knows he can’t let the pressure of the situation dictate how he fights, and instead will focus on getting the win first and foremost, and letting the rest take care of itself.
“I just go out there and do my thing,” said Sumter. “This is my second opportunity, so I definitely want to put on a show, but I just go in with the mindset of getting the victory.
“No added pressure of trying to get the finish or do something more spectacular and that allows me when I step in the cage to move freely, more fluid with my techniques, and not have anything else on my mind.”