Whenever a fighter is booked for a bout in a places with high elevation (like Mexico City or Denver, CO), the first thing that comes to mind is how their lungs and muscles will hold up. We've all seen fights go horribly wrong when someone didn't prepare and gassed out.
I was determined to not let that happen to me when I was told I would be fighting for #CombateAmericas in Mexico City.
I already train at about 2,000 feet above sea level in Las Vegas, and I regularly go up to about 8,000 feet to Mt. Charleston, and Mexico City is about 7,300 feet, so I knew I needed to do a little bit more than I already was in order to make sure I was fully prepared.
So, for this fight, I went up in the mountains more often. I also came out to Mexico City two weeks before the fight to get acclimated. I did 10-mile runs, sprints, and hit pads in high elevation. It also helped that I had the best diet; it was easily the best weight cut I've ever had. I was walking around at 135 four days before the fight, so I was able to eat normally when other guys were struggling to shed water weight.
When it came time to the game plan, I knew my opponent's strongest tool was his lead hook, but I knew that I'd outlast him because I was well prepared for the altitude. I knew my opponent was a brawler who fights with a lot of heart. I knew he wouldn't want me to keep my distance, so my goal was to do just that. I was going to make him fight my fight.
I'm the type of fighter who doesn't just throw punches, I'm going to read body language and I pay attention to the way people act even outside the cage. I'm watching my opponent and compiling notes the moment my opponent is known.
My game plan was to pick him apart and finish him in the second round and that's exactly what I did.
I knew the beginning of the end was when I ducked and countered with an elbow to his head to open him up in the first. That's where all the blood came from. I picked him apart from there to wear him down to where I wanted him. He was bloodied up enough to where my arm easily slid under his chin for the rear-naked choke and I put him to sleep in the second round.
Since I had such an easy weight cut I think I would be open to trying a fight at 125, and whoever Combate Americas wants to pair me with — I'm open.
More Photos from my fight in Mexico City:
All photos by Amy Kaplan