On November 30th, I fought in RUFF 11. RUFF is China’s only officially sanctioned MMA fight organization. This was the 11th installment of RUFF, and my seventh fight with the organization. My opponent this time was Russian Sambo fighter Iftikor Arbobov. I knew he was going to be a very tough opponent. He had 11 fights, 9 wins by submission, 1 by KO and just 1 loss.

For this fight, I trained hard every day. In addition to the usual time on the mats rolling with my students and training partners, I spent a lot on my wrestling and striking, especially because I saw in his videos that my opponent was very good at takedowns. I worked a lot on my takedowns, but defense and attacks.

The hardest part of the whole process, as always, is cutting weight. I fight at lightweight (70 kgs) so I usually need to cut around 10-12 kilos each time in preparation for a fight. I started cutting about one and a half months before my fight, eating only vegetables and lean meats. I stopped eating carbohydrates and sugar to help my weight loss. I was at 74 kilos the Monday before my weigh-in. The day before my weigh in, I cut 4 kilos in the sauna and by taking hot baths to make it to 70 kgs.

After weigh-ins on Friday is one of the best feelings in the world…it feels liberating to be able to eat and drink again. I drank a lot of coconut water and Gatorade to replenish fluids and energy. I also ate a lot of pasta, potatoes and other carbs to refuel and stay strong during my fight on Saturday.

On fight day, I spent the day relaxing and focusing on the task at hand. I usually just spend down time with my girlfriend, friends, and those who keep me happy and focused before my fight. When I go to the arena to prepare for the competition, I like to listen to my music (usually any songs by Pregador Luo) to continue to stay relaxed and focused.

The actual fight went as well as I expected. Nothing changed, in that everything I trained and strategized for worked perfectly. For this fight, I started by working my left hook and came close to KO’ing my opponent early on in the match. In the middle of the fight, my opponent tried to take me down but I was able to defend. I countered with an attack against my opponent by taking him down instead, and worked towards the mount. In the mount, I started throwing punches and elbows, continuing to work this until my opponent was able to reverse position. While in my guard, I tried for attacks by armbar, arm triangle and omoplata. In the omoplata, I swept him and was able to get back into mount. From there, I kept working the elbows and punches. That’s when they called the end of the first round.

I thought my opponent would come back for the second round, but the doctor and referee determined that because of a huge cut on the bottom of his eye, they needed to call a stop to the fight. I didn’t even realize what was going on until Brandon Resnick (the promoter of RUFF) came over to congratulate me on my win. I was elated. Champion again, and my seventh win in RUFF.

My record is now at 12 wins and 4 losses. I still have a long way to go, and a lot of hard work ahead of me. There is no rest for the weary. I hit the gym the following Monday after my fight, re-energized and motivated more than ever to train hard and prepare for the next fight.

As always, thank you God for giving me the energy and health to train everyday. Thank you to my family and my girlfriend, and of course a big thank you to my team and training partners for helping me prepare and train everyday. As I always say, champions never win alone…there is always a family behind each champion. So thank you Familia Grips and RCJJ.