Following two losses in a row to close out 2018, bantamweight Roman Salazar was able to rebound with a unanimous decision victory over Evan DeLong at Iron Boy MMA 14 this past March.
For Salazar, he was able to use the blueprint a teammate of his used to defeat DeLong to help pick up his own win and snap his losing streak before it got too far out of control.
“Evan is tough,” Salazar told MMAWeekly.com. “He’s a gamey guy. He was on like a five-fight winning streak. The last time he had lost was actually to one of my teammates. So I kind of emulated him already.
“It was different bumping up to 145lbs. It had been a long time since I had fought at 145lbs. It felt pretty good to get back in there and fight with somebody so much bigger than me. It was cool to be able to hold my own and know that I have the option to fight in both weight classes.”
Salazar feels like one thing that helped him get back on track was the infusion of new coaching to his gym and how it has influenced his game.
“I’m forced to evolve now,” said Salazar. “We brought in a dream team of coaching to Fight Ready. We just added a bunch of structure to our program here. Our team is blowing up. I have some partners here that push me every day. I look at the hardest competition I face in my life every day.
“I’m super excited to go out there and show what I’ve learned not only striking, but wrestling. I’m putting my game together. I’ve always been good at all of it, but having that full team of coaching has helped me really put things together and I’m able to finally see all my potential.”
At LFA 72 on Friday in Phoenix, Salazar (13-8) will look to build a winning streak when he faces Mario Isreal (10-4) in a main card 140-pound bout.
“Mario is tough,” Salazar said. “He’s a gamer. He’s been out for a couple years it looks like. I know he’s got really good Muay Thai. Both hands look heavy. To be honest, his scrappy-ness is pretty good Jiu-Jitsu-wise.
“For me to get the victory I have to just keep him guessing. Make him think I’m striking when I’m wrestling; make him think I’m wrestling when I’m striking. Overall I know I have the cardio and endurance to wear him out. I definitely want to make the guy tired and make it a long night for him.”
With an ability to compete in two weight classes, Salazar feels like there’s a lot of opportunities available to him, and wants to take advantage of whatever he can and be as active as possible in the coming months.
“I usually have the roadmap all set up, but right now with all the changes we have right now, I’m just excited to finally be fighting,” said Salazar.
“Obviously I’m not getting any younger. I’m 31 right now, so I would like to get in another fight before the end of the year, but I know I’m getting better every day too, if I happen to not get another fight, I’d be learning and be ready to pop off 2020 strong.”