Coming off a loss in his first pro MMA fight, bantamweight prospect Carlos Vera quickly rebounded and hasn’t looked back since.
In four fights since his lone loss, Vera has won all four bouts, including three finishes, and has earned himself a spot in Legacy Fighting Alliance in the process.
“My first pro fight I took kind of out of impulse, I went in there pretty nervous, not knowing what I was getting into,” Vera told MMAWeekly.com. “I lost in the last second of the second round by arm triangle (choke). A lot of it had to do more with my nerves.
“I recently quit my job to do this fulltime, and every fight has been just a little bit better. My second fight was a win by knockout, my next fight was a decision, and then my next two were by submission, so I feel like I’ve grown as a martial artist all around.”
Vera’s development of his overall game has come after getting into MMA from years of training in martial arts styles with more traditional roots like Tae Kwan Do and Capoeira.
“The problem with a lot of traditional martial arts is they become a bit sporty when it comes to competition,” said Vera. “When (my Tae Kwan Do teacher) was trying to train us with that mentality of never giving up and to actually learn how to fight. I grew up in that mentality and that environment.
“The truth is, if you have a solid base in any martial art, and master that solid base, it leads you already athletic enough to train in any other martial art. You just have to have an open mind.”
Vera (4-1) will look to pick up his fifth straight win when he makes his LFA debut on Friday in Lake Charles, La., against veteran Joel Scott (5-5) in a main card 135-pound bout.
“He’s a southpaw with a solid left hand that I have to respect, and you can just tell that he is strong – he’s got that brute strength that you can see,” Vera said of Scott. “I’m looking forward to testing him with my speed, my counters and my aggressiveness.
“His Jiu-Jitsu I believe is average, and it’s a little bit forced, and he over-compensates with his strength, which is a good tactic because he’s very strong, so I have to be aware and not be in positions where I have to fight that strength of his.”
Having established himself locally, Vera’s next step is to make waves at the national level, and he sees the LFA as the perfect place to do that in 2017.
“I wanted to get experience in New Orleans where I started my MMA career, so I fought for a league here,” he said. “In 2017 I told myself I was going to fight for Legacy and make a name for myself and potentially work my way toward a belt in 2018.
“This year is definitely going to be about moving up the ranks and people becoming fans of my style and my creativity in the cage.”