Looking back on her loss to Lisa Mauldin at LFA 66 in May, flyweight Kaytlin Neil admits that she wasn’t as in the fight as she could have been.
According to Neil, a high activity level lead contributed to mental exhaustion, and she wasn’t able to perform like she wanted to, even though she was able to push her fight with Mauldin to a close split-decision.
“That was my fourth fight in like six or seven months, so I think I was pretty burnt out,” Neil told MMAWeekly.com. “I didn’t feel like I really wanted to be there mentally. If you watch the fight you can tell that I didn’t really pull the trigger.
“(Mauldin) didn’t beat me because she was out-skilling me, she was just throwing a lot more and attacking a lot more than I was. I felt like the decision was close, and if I had pulled the trigger a little bit more, thrown more punches, been more aggressive and mentally there I could have pulled out the win.”
Since the fight with Mauldin, Neil has been not only working on her phsycial skillset, but her mental game as well in preparations for her upcoming bout.
“I starting to work with a mental health coach and he’s been working with me focusing on getting ready for the fight, fight visualization, getting me amped up for the fight, so even if I don’t feel like fighting I will be able to perform and switch my mindset when I need to,” said Neil.
“I’ve been working on some things to build power a little bit more, so hopefully that will show in this fight. It’s mainly just the little tweaks here and there, working on my aggression, power, and game plan for this (upcoming) opponent.”
On Friday in West Valley City, Utah, Neil (4-4) will look to get back on track when she faces Sam Hughes (2-0) in a main card 125-pound bout at LFA 75.
“Sam is 2-0, she’s undefeated, so I’m not taking that lightly,” Neil said. “She’s very aggressive and she keeps the pressure on throughout all of her fights.
“I noticed most of her fights are at 115 pounds, and I couldn’t make 115 pounds if my life depended on it, so I feel like I might be the bigger fighter going into this fight. I have never really felt like I was physically weaker than any of my opponents, even if they had fought at higher weight classes than me, so I feel like I will have the strength advantage in this fight, and will also have the technique advantage.”
Now that she feels like she has her mental game sorted out, Neil is looking to get in at least one more bout before the close of 2019.
“So this will be my fourth fight this year, but I would love to squeeze one more in before the end of the year,” said Neil. “Obviously it depends on how this fight goes; if there’s an injury or what happens; but I would love to squeeze one more in before the end of the year.”