Looking back over his 2019 so far, bantamweight up and comer Ray Rodriguez is pretty pleased with how things have been going.
In two bouts this year, Rodriguez has picked up back to back finishes, spending just over two and a half minutes total in the cage combined for both fights.
“I had fight in January for the XFN title against Jimmy Flick, who was a really tough competitor, and I won that fight with a second round knockout,” Rodriguez told MMAWeekly.com.
“I wanted to get right back and not sit around and wait, so luckily I was able to get the match-up with Nick Mamalis, who is another tough veteran. I fought him and got a first round finish.”
For Rodriguez, his performances against Flick and Mamalis were indicative of the style he brings to the table in each of his fights.
“One thing we always push is the finish,” said Rodriguez. “I do not like going to the judges. I do not like the fight to be in the hands of anyone else but myself.
“I’ve gotten finishes over very high quality opponents, so it shows how hard we’ve been training with the training partners I’m with and the coaches I have. Everything is coming together nicely this year and I’m looking to showcase a highlight reel finish (in my upcoming fight).”
On August 13 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Rodriguez (15-5) will look to punch his ticket to the next level when he faces Tony Gravely (18-5) in a main card 135-pound at Dana White’s Contender Series 2019 Week 9.
“He’s been around for a while and fights very consistently,” Rodriguez said of Gravely. “He’s a good wrestler. There’s no secret what he’s going to do. There’s no secret in what I’m going to do: try for the finish.
“He’s tough and very explosive, but we’ve definitely done everything we needed to in camp in order to naturalize and mitigate the chances of him allowing the fight to go to the judges or just hold me down with wrestling. He’s tough, but we’re tougher; he’s got good wrestling, but I feel like my wrestling is just as good in the cage; and everywhere else I feel 10 times better than him. I’m ready for it.”
Being the type of fighter he is, Rodriguez doesn’t feel he has to push anything beyond what he normally does in order to impress enough upon the UFC brass to offer him a contract with a win over Gravely.
“I think my style of fighting is already something the fans want to see or Dana wants to see,” said Rodriguez. “I’m always looking for the finish. I’m always looking for the highlight reel knockout or submission.
“I just fight my fight, and I know I’ll do enough to catch Dana’s eye and get that contract. I think we’ll go out there and get the knockout or the submission and get that contract.”