Andres Quintana already knows he’s going to emerge victorious from Combate Americas’ upcoming “Copa Combate’ tournament Friday. But to do so, he will have to go through three men in one night.
Too bad ”The Bullet” doesn’t seem to be overly concerned with the arduous path to victory.
“I’m leaps and bounds ahead of my opponents,” Quintana said. “They can line them all up. I’ll fight all seven of them in one night. They can switch in whoever they want. It doesn’t bother me.
“I’m a warrior at heart. I I jumped into trying to test myself and I want to I want to be the best, not to want to be a world champion. So beating three people in one night is the best thing I’m going to accomplish over the money and over the trophy. Just pure competitiveness.”
Heading into the tournament, Quintana (15-3) was required to face off in a one-round, five minute “Copa qualifier” against Erick Gonzalez in September. While he had no problem accepting the fight, Quintana admitted he was confused over why the promotion didn’t just give him a pass directly into the tourney draw.
After all, he was a perfect 4-0 under the Combate Americas banner, which included a victory over last year’s Copa winner Levy Saúl Marroquín. Needless to say, Quintana felt he had already done enough to earn a full paycheck.
“I was extremely surprised,” Quintana said when asked about the one-round qualifier. “I felt like I would have got just a regular fight. I wouldn’t mind if it was just a three-round fight. But, you know, they gave me a qualifier and cut my pay in 10th. So, that was kind of shitty on my side.”
To get through the tournament, Quintana will first have to win another one-round, five minute fight in the quarterfinals before moving onto the normal three-round fights in the final two rounds.
A self described “slow starter,” Quintana recognizes changes in his approach to the quarter-finals is a necessity.
“We’ll play by the rules,” said Quintana. “We’ll bend them the way we need to bend them. We’ll get a good warmup in the back and we’ll go do what we got to do. We won’t take as many risks as they usually do in a regular fight. In my last fight, people saw me jump back and I don’t characteristically do that. So I feel I’d be a lot more exciting fighter if I had more time.”
In the opening scrap, Quintana will square off against Marlon Gonzales in Group B with the victor moving onto face the winner of Bruno Cannetti vs. Gaston Reyno in the semifinals. On the opposite side of the bracket, a pair of matchups between Pablo Villaseca vs. Zebenzui Ruiz and Alejandro Flores vs. Rudy Morales round out Group A.
The winner of the two groups will then battle it out over the $100,000 and “The Largest Trophy in Sports.”
As for who expects to see in the finals, Quintana already has two names in mind.
“It’s a toss up between Alejandro and Pablo,” said Quintana. “The guy Pablo is fighting is the replacement [Morales] I’m sure he’s not as good as the guy he’s replacing. Alejandro has that 7-0 kid from The Ultimate Fighter (Bedoya). But Alejandro is tough and so is Pablo. So it’ll be a toss up between them. So whoever can go in there for the three rounds or last two rounds and impose their will and come out with a decision or maybe a stoppage, who knows?”
The entire event will go down on Dec. 7 inside the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif.