Though he only had a couple weeks’ notice before stepping in to face Richard Alacorn at RFA 38 in June, flyweight veteran Ray Elizalde was able to step up to the challenge and pick up a third round TKO.
“I’m the better-rounded fighter and can adapt well to any situation,” Elizalde told MMAWeekly.com. “(Alacorn) did out-grapple me in the first round, and I knew I was down, so I had to step it up and that’s exactly what I did.
“I wish I would have gotten the finish sooner, but fights are unpredictable, and I still got the finish.”
For Elizalde, finally getting a chance to fight on a national show like the RFA allowed him an opportunity to prove his skills are worthy of this level after many years in the sport trying to make his way up the ranks.
“It’s a big step for me, but nothing that I wasn’t prepared for,” he said. “I’ve been training with high-level athletes for a very long time, and I’ve been doing this for going on 11 years now.
“The competition I’m facing, they may have bigger records than mine, I still hold more experience than they do, and that’s where the confidence comes into play.”
Elizalde (10-0) returns to the RFA on August 19 in Visalia, California, to take on fellow vet Alex Perez (13-4) in a main card 125-pound bout.
“(Perez) is a strong wrestler, so I’m expecting him to use his striking to set up the takedown,” said Elizalde. “I don’t want to go out there and showing all my tricks in the book right away, but I have a good feeling I’ll catch him with something, especially if he tries to take it to the ground and decides to shoot in.
“The last fight was on two weeks’ notice, but this time I had a full fight camp, so it’s going to be a very entertaining fight, very fast paced, and I can tell you right now that it’s not going all three rounds.”
Having finally reached a top level of MMA, Elizalde is more than happy to step up to any challenges that are presented to him, and make the most of his opportunity with the RFA.
“I’m ready for anything really,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time, so it’d be nice to win an RFA belt if the opportunity presents itself. If the UFC comes calling, I’ll be ready for that too. Either/or sounds like a good step for me.”