While much of his time was devoted to his personal life in 2016, bantamweight Dinis Paiva was able to get his MMA career back on track after picking up a win over Zane Behrend at CES 40 in November.
“I was coming off my first loss in three years or something like that (to close out 2015),” Paiva told MMAWeekly.com. “I took the loss, took time off, got married, changed jobs, started training again and got ready for the (Behrend) fight, took the fight and it went as good as I could have possibly hoped.
“He was a great guy, great opponent, and a tough kid. He came out with a lot of forward pressure. I spent a whole minute and a half pretty much backpedaling. I got a first round finish in 1:22.”
Paiva’s win over Behrend was his fifth in six fights, to which he credits his wife and an effort to up his training.
“I just wasn’t training right,” said Paiva. “I really got a team around me.
“I started fighting out of a garage. I trained out of a garage for the first two years of my career. I had to put my faith in trainers and coaches who had more experience. I surrounded myself with the right people and made the right adjustments.”
Paiva (8-6) will look for his second straight win when he takes on Jordan Espinosa (9-4) in a main card 135-pound bout at CES 41 on Friday in Lincoln, R.I., to be broadcast live on AXS TV.
“He seems game and could one of my best opponents yet,” Paiva said of Espinosa. “I’m a pretty heavy hitter, so the game plan for me is to keep the fight standing. I can finish the fight at any time with my left or right hand. If we end up on the ground, I feel confident I do more than just survive there.
“Wrestling is something I’ve always had in my back pocket, but it’s something I haven’t had to rely on a lot. Knocking people out is a lot of fun. It gets you in and out of the cage as soon as possible. If it’s a first round finish, great, but if takes all three rounds I’m okay with that too, I’ll wait to win.”
Now that he’s able to commit more time to MMA, Paiva is out to make 2017 a year in which he can begin to establish himself in the 135-pound weight class.
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“My goal is to stay active in 2017, but looking at the calendar year and reflecting on the past, I’ve learned not to rush things,” he said. “If I get this win and maybe one or two more before the year is out, I’d be real happy.
“I have some losses that I have to battle back from before I can consider myself a top bantamweight prospect. So my goal in 2017 is being as active as I can, while being patient, and keep the wins going in as dominant fashion as possible.”
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