Though he had a late opponent change going into his last fight this past July, welterweight Kenny Cross was able to use what he did know about his new opponent to his advantage and picked the win.
Facing Luke Hnevsa at WXC 80, Cross was able to weather an early onslaught to quickly take advantage of the fight and pick up a first round TKO victory.
“I went out there knowing I was fighting a guy (in Hnevsa) who had been around for a while and had fought a lot of tough guys, someone who would stand-up and trade with me,” Cross told MMAWeekly.com. “I was expecting to get some cage time and test myself on my feet and get comfortable all-around, but he came guns blazing at me.
“I maneuvered out of his attacks and started laying down my firepower and he could take any of it. As soon as I started touch him up a little bit he wanted out of there. He tried taking me down but that wasn’t there either. So once a minute went by in that fight I was feeling good enough that I started using moves that I had been practicing.”
The win over Hnevsa was Cross’ second in a row following a loss to Korey Kuppe in February. According to Cross, his loss to Kuppe only solidified what he felt needed work in his game, which he has done in the months following the defeat.
“When I lost to Kuppe I knew I definitely needed to up my cardio,” said Cross. “That’s always been the weakest part of my game and something I needed to fix. I’ve been rolling up my sleeves and getting down to work.
“I kept the same kind of mentality; I still believe in myself in every which way. I learned a lot in that fight. Things stayed the same but I worked a lot harder. My eyes were open more to my flaws and the holes in my game that I needed to fix up.”
On December 14 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Cross (8-3) will look to pick up his third straight win when he faces Jonas Flok (13-4) in a 170-pound main card bout at Lights Out Championship 8.
“I see Jonas Flok lacking a stand-up game, and I believe he’s got an all right ground game,” Cross said. “I don’t see him being able to take me down. Everybody forgets that I’m a wrestler; a damn good wrestler; good luck to him trying to take me down.
“I see so many ways that I can attack and land, and not be in that much danger. I feel like this is a really good fight for me; he’s got a solid record, it will look good when I get my first round finish; so I’m really excited for the fight.”
For Cross, the main goal of 2020 is to attract the kind of attention that will help take him to the next level of his career before the year is out.
“I feel like as you get to be a more advanced, more seasoned fighter, you start to gain the eyes of people you’ve been wanting to have notice you,” said Cross. “I’m going to go fight by fight and hope somebody sees me and takes me on board.
“The goal is to get to the UFC or one of the top promotions, I’ll go anywhere. I’ll say in a couple years I’ll be on top, but for now I’m going to take it slow and do everything right.”