Originally Alex Olave got into combat sports for fitness reasons, but then quickly found himself actively fighting in multiple disciplines, which eventually lead him to travel half way across the world to compete.
“I was really obese,” Olave told MMAWeekly.com. “I was 250 pounds. I was a fan of the sport. I saw my idols like Anderson Silva, Chuck Liddell, all the striking artists with sprawl and brawl. I fell in love with it. It kind of sparked a fitness journey.
“I moved to Thailand and made my pro debut in Muay Thai. I went 4-2 over there with four knockouts and two decision losses. I came back to America and made my pro MMA debut. Now I’m ready for this opportunity in Lion Fight, and I’m ready for it.”
Olave explains that going to Thailand to train and fight in Muay Thai is a whole other experience than if he had remained stateside to do the same.
“The culture is incredible; not just the community but the regular community as well,” said Olave. “Everyone knew who I was because Ko Samui is a very small island and I was fighting frequently there. The respect is different. The Buddhist influence is incredible. It’s more about the traditional roots of Muay Thai.”
While Olave’s striking is very Muay Thai-based, he also feels his work in MMA has given him advantages in the stand-up game as well.
“I’m a very different fighter,” Olave said. “I’m a Muay Thai fighter, but I’m also a mixed martial artist. I have many tools at my disposal: many spinning attacks and many unorthodox attacks that my opponents are not going to see coming.”
Olave (4-3) will take on fellow promotional newcomer Eric Rocha (3-3) in a main card welterweight bout at Lion Fight 37 on July 28 in Mashantucket, Conn.
“I think we fought at the same stadium in Thailand,” said Olave of Rocha. “I don’t know if we trained at the same camps or how that worked out, but we fought at the same stadium. With that being said, he has a hell of a right kick, but I’m very confident and I’m ready for this opportunity and can’t wait.”
While Olave’s focus for now is on Muay Thai, he sees himself being able to cross over to MMA again in the future; especially should he have an impressive performance at Lion Fight.
“For me the fight game is all about being smart,” Olave said. “I know my stand-up is world class and I can compete at that level. If you look at Gaston Bolanos, he just got signed to Bellator, and I know I can go out there and compete on a world class level (like that), and that’s just going to turn heads in the MMA community.”