Manny Vazquez Hopes to Defend Legacy Belt and Get a Shot at UFC Chicago

While he hadn’t intended to kick off 2016 the way he did, bantamweight prospect Manny Vazquez couldn’t have asked for a better start.

In February, Vazquez was asked to step in on short notice to face Ricardo Ramos for the vacant Legacy FC 135-pound championship. He scored a first-round submission win.

“The fight in February went according to plan perfectly,” Vazquez told MMAWeekly.com. “I got the fight on three weeks’ notice. I was a little nervous and didn’t know what to expect. It was a big opportunity and it all worked out.

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“I got a real quick submission. (Ramos) didn’t feel real strong in the clinch. His wrestling didn’t really seem there. I was able to capitalize on that; took him down and submit him quick.”

Legacy Vazquez vs PetersonFor his first Legacy FC bantamweight title defense, Vazquez (9-1) will face what appears to be his toughest task yet in Steven Peterson (13-4) in the main event of the promotion’s show on Friday in Dallas.

“Steven Peterson is a real tough, gritty, veteran,” said Vazquez. “He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t quit. You have to try to dominate him from the bell or put him to sleep because he’s not going to stop coming forward. He’s not going to stop fighting.

“From bell to bell, I’m ready to go five rounds and just out-work him the entire time. When he makes a mistake, I’ll capitalize (on it). Grab a choke, hit him with something solid and put him to sleep, whatever I’ve got to do.”

Having the opportunity now to headline a nationally televised show with a title defense, it could be a stressful situation for Vazquez. In truth he’s approaching it as he would any other fight.

“I try to relax, but I do put a lot of pressure on me every fight,” he said. “I expect a certain result out of myself. If I don’t live up to that, I’m very disappointed. Every fight there’s always pressure, but I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily more pressure than usual.”

Moving forward, Vazquez doesn’t want to take much time off, but instead he hopes to get an opportunity to fight again in front of his hometown crowd on MMA’s biggest stage.

“Ideally, I win this fight, and I’d love to turn around real quick and (fight again) in July,” said Vazquez. “(The UFC is) coming to Chicago. If I can get a fight in Chicago at the United Center, it would be crazy in there and a hell of an experience.

“I’d like to get in there quick, if not, whenever they call me, but I think the UFC should be next, granted everything turns out right this fight.”

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