After picking up a unanimous decision win in his first pro bout in 2020, light-heavyweight Zac Pauga was looking to have an even better performance for his first fight of 2021 when he took on Ashby Thomas this past January at LFA 98.
Determined to kick off his year in a big way, Pauga was able to pick up a first round TKO of Thomas and build a winning streak for himself to start his pro career.
“I did what I really wanted to do and got the finish,” Pauga told MMAWeekly.com. “That’s the thing I was trying to grow from my pro debut, where I dominated my opponent with a decision, but I want to be known as a finisher, as an exciting fighter.
“To be able to get that done against Ashby, start my year off right, and get another fight real quick, right now I’m feeling good about everything.”
Following six months between his first and second fights, Pauga would like to be more active. As he puts it his age means he has to make moves faster than other fighters to get where he wants to be while still at the top of his game.
“For anybody I think it’s important to stay super active,” said Pauga. “This is such a strange sport to where you can go on huge layoffs that are not in your control. So for anybody, but for me, a guy who is 32 years old, I need fights. I’m looking to knock people out quick and fight a lot.
“The quarantine and everything it sucked to not be able to get fights, but it did allow me to expand my game and work on myself, especially my striking. The grappling, the wrestling, that all comes really naturally to me, but I was able to really dig into my striking. You’ll be able to see me open up more on my feet before I go to the ground.”
Pauga (2-0) will seek to pick up his third win in a row to kick off his career when he faces Logan Nail (2-1) in a main card 205-pound bout at LFA 105 in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
“This one is just going to be like the last two,” Pauga said. “(Nail’s) a striker. He’s a kickboxer. He’s trained in Thailand. Obviously the plan is to take to the ground and beat him up, but I do want to showcase what I can do on the feet a little bit.”
Though Pauga is focused on picking up a win on Friday, because he is on a bit of an accelerated timetable, he is looking forward to making moves as fast as he can in 2021.
“I do think about that; I do have plans,” said Pauga.
“I am not taking this fight lightly, but I do plan to win, win in exciting fashion, and with the state of the light-heavyweight division in all these companies, I’m looking to get exciting finishes and by the end of the year be in one of the bigger organizations.”