Sam Hughes: ‘I know I’m the better all-around fighter’ heading into LFA 85 title fight

Following an undefeated campaign in 2019 that saw her pick up the first three wins of her career, strawweight Sam Hughes continued her momentum with a unanimous decision victory over Lisa Mauldin at LFA 81 in January.

Though she wasn’t able to pick up her fourth straight finish, for Hughes, the win over Mauldin was an opportunity to showcase multiple aspects of her game.

“I was pleasantly happy with my performance against Lisa,” Hughes told “It was mostly a striking victory, but what I think really sealed the deal were the few takedowns that got at the end of the first, in the second, and the back-take in the third round.

“It was definitely difficult. Lisa is really, really tough. The size difference was probably why I couldn’t finish the fight.”

Following a start to her career at flyweight, Hughes will now move down to strawweight from here on out. It’s a move that’s been on her calendar since she started her career.

“I’m looking forward to seeing more at the strawweight weight class,” said Hughes. “That’s where my style will match up a little bit better for me; having that strength and size advantage for me.

“(Moving down in weight) was always the plan. We wanted to get four strong wins at a higher weight class, but it was always to go down to strawweight.”

On Friday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Hughes (4-0) will look to claim her first major MMA title when she faces Vanessa Demopoulos (4-1) in the 115-pound championship main event of LFA 85.

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“I’m really excited about this fight,” Hughes said. “I know Vanessa is super tough. She comes from a very good gym. She trains really hard. I respect her in that aspect, but I know I’m the better all-around fighter.

“As far as striking goes, or if it comes down to wrestling, or if she wants to play the Jiu-Jitsu game, (I’m ready). I know (Jiu-Jitsu) is where she feels strongest, but I’m very confident of all aspects of my game.”

Having missed out on half a year due to the coronavirus lockdown, Hughes is hoping to close out her 2020 busier than it started, with a potential move up to the next stage of her career by year’s end.

“I know there’s a threat of some states going back to Stage 1, so I’m hoping that doesn’t actually come to fruition, but I’m hoping to fight once or twice before the end of the year,” said Hughes.

“(A step up to the next level) is kind of what we’ve been eyeing. A win (against Demopoulos) and we’ll be 5-0, I think we would definitely get a call and get looked at. LFA has been nothing but great, but we’ll see what happens.”

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