After starting off his first three years as a pro undefeated, flyweight prospect Richard Palencia was looking to keep things going when he had his first fight of 2018 against Kevin Wirth in the LFA in June.
Over the course of three rounds, Palencia was able to do enough to impress the judges on the way to a split-decision win, but that doesn’t mean he was overly pleased with his performance.
“I had gotten sick during that camp,” Palencia told MMAWeekly.com. “When I was about two or three weeks, I was sick for a good week and a half, so I wasn’t able to train as hard or as well as I wanted to. I think that showed in the fight.
“Other than that, (Wirth) was tricky. He was light on his feet. He had a good game plan. He did a good job on his part, but I got the win. I thought I won all three rounds.”
Though he has been able to maintain his undefeated streak so far, Palencia doesn’t focus much on the pressures of staying that way. He instead puts his attention into his fights and little else.
“You’ve got to put that stuff aside,” said Palencia. “In MMA you never know what’s going to happen. I just like to go one fight at a time, study my opponent, and improve myself. I like to get better all-around and that’s why I’ve managed to stay undefeated.
“As far as going out there and doing it, I’ve been competing all my life, so it’s just another day in the office for me. The more I fight the more I understand MMA, my game and myself.”
This Friday in Phoenix, Arizona, Palencia (6-0) will face one of his most experienced opponents yet when he squares off against Freddy Olivera (3-3) in a main card 125-pound bout at Combate Americas 22.
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“Freddy is pretty tough,” Palencia said. “He’s got heavy hands. He’s scrappy. But for this fight I’m going to have to go in there and get my game plan off.
“I think I can finish this guy pretty quick. He’s good at Jiu-Jitsu, but I’ve been rolling around with a lot of black belts. I feel like I’ll be a good match-up for him as well.”
Wherever he chooses to close out his year, Palencia is looking to stay active and finish 2018 with at least eight wins on his record.
“The LFA has been great to me, and now Combate Americas as well,” said Palencia. “Getting all the exposure has been great. I’ve seen my career going this way, and as far as the next step, I’m excited for it.
“There’s a couple more shows going on before the end of the year, so I’d like to get in one more if possible.”