After starting off 2018 with a unanimous decision over Josh Sampo at Bellator 197 in April, bantamweight Dominic Mazzotta spent the remainder of the year on the sidelines.
What derailed Mazzotta wasn’t a single injury, but a series of injuries, costing him nearly an entire year of his career.
“It was a rough year for me,” Mazzotta told MMAWeekly.com. “It was good at the beginning of the year, I got the win, but then I got the injury bug and it was one injury after another.
“It was a rough year, but I look at it like I got a win, so I went undefeated, and that’s good. I think the fight was good. Josh is tough guy. I’m the type of fighter who goes in to break my opponent; I like to wear down my opponent and break them, but he just wouldn’t break.”
Though he’s had injuries before, Mazzotta admits having to go through multiple ones in succession was not an easy thing to deal with.
“I’ve been through injuries in my career, but the thing about the injuries I’ve had before, even if I needed surgery, I was able to fight a couple of months after that,” said Mazzotta. “This was mentally testing for me.
“Training camp is usually harder than the fight, so everyone goes in there usually banged up, but if you can’t even make it to the fight, you start questioning why you are doing this. You can do a whole fight camp, but when it’s time to get paid, you don’t get paid (because you had to drop out of the fight due to injury).”
On Friday in Temecula, California, Mazzotta (14-2) will have his first bout in nearly a year when he takes on Shawn Bunch (8-3) in a preliminary 135-pound bout at Bellator 219.
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“I feel like I’m the best Honey Badger that there’s ever been, and I’m going to show that on March 29,” Mazzotta said. “I have a few tricks that I’m ready to pull out. My wrestling, my grappling, which is my game, is better than ever.
“I take the fight I can get it; however the fight plays out. I never say it’s going to go this way or that way, it’s a fight, and you can’t plan for everything, anything can happen in a fight, but I expect to more in shape and more ready than I have for this one.”
Having had his career derailed for an extended period of time just this past year, Mazzotta is cautiously optimistic when it comes to planning out the rest of his 2019.
“You always set goals, you always have plans, but sometimes you have to divert from those plans,” said Mazzotta. “Right now my goal is to win this fight and get in two more fights this year and stay healthy. Really my goal is to be in position for a title shot in 2020.”