This Friday at The Humble Civic Center will be the debut of a new Texas based pro MMA promotion Fury Fighting Championship. Started by Eric Garcia and Jace Pitre, the promotion has already put together a rather impressive fight card. Headlining the card will be a 170 bout between Alex Morono and Rob Wood. I caught up with Morono to get his thoughts on the fight.
Mark Carrillo: First off, how has training been going for this fight?
Alex Morono: Training has been amazing. Since January of 2012 I had the honor of taking the lead of our MMA team after the gym went through some staff changes and we have gone 18-2, 5-0 this year. Those wins are attributed to our mandatory 8 week fight camps. This time I have really increased my strength and condition by doing cross fit 3 times a week on top of all of the other training sessions. In the words of Ricky Turcious “Every day’s a two-a-day. And some days are three-a-days”. I’ve been injury free and have done some amazing cross training. I’ve gone to Klein Oak to wrestle with their team and have got some great work in with a lot of tough fighters. I’ve never been so lean and ready for a fight which is saying a lot because I’ve always been prepared for every fight. It’s also been fun because a lot of my teammates are on this card. Ricky Turcios, my wrestling coach Kody Williams, and my good friends Todd Moore and Travis Tooke.
MC: What can you tell us about your opponent Rob Wood?
AM: I know he has submitted all of his opponents and he’s quick to get the fight to the ground. His style seems perfect for mine because I’m no stranger to the ground, have had a lot of submissions myself, and I am very, very confident and comfortable with my striking. I’ve been waiting to get matched up with a good wrestler/grappler because it really made me work hard to complete my MMA game. Honestly, I feel my best in the clinch and wrestling considering I’ve worked so much of it this camp. I feel like I can neutralize his game and really implement mine.
MC: What will be your game plan going into your fight? Can we expect to see more of your BJJ game?
AM: I’m sure there will be quite a bit of grappling but as always, no matter who I fight I will look to get the nastiest knockout anyone has ever seen. I’ve mentioned this before, but I never understood why guys immediately go for a takedown. If that were my game plan I would feel limited and pressured. Instead, I go for the finish from beginning to end especially with strikes, considering every fight starts standing. But as for game plan, I’ll look to knock him out, submit him, or grind him out on the cage; wherever the fight goes I’ll be ready.
MC: All but one of your fights ended by submission or TKO. Can we expect to see the same in this fight?
AM: Yes, I’ve never gone into a fight not 100% confident I’ll get a finish. In the fight it is my one goal in life to beat whoever is in front of me. I have changed my style a lot since I’ve started. I was very traditional [Muay Thai] and BJJ, and now have adapted to more of an all around MMA style, more boxing and wrestling and a way, way meaner pace and mentality.
MC:What do you prefer? TKO or Submission?
AM: I’d always prefer a vicious brutal KO. I know everyone says that, but I know I have the ability to do it and I will do everything in my power to get it. That doesn’t mean I wont try to rip his arm off if I have the opportunity, but nothing beats trying to send someone to the grave with one big shot.
MC: What did you learn from your only loss to Jeff Rexroad? He was a tough opponent and you were still very young.
AM: He was a very tough opponent and I was young but going into the fight I felt ready. When I lost, it seemed everything I believed in came crashing down. I always emphasize to my guys that you have to take control of the fight and be 100% confident. Obviously, never underestimate your opponent and seize control. He fought way different than I had planned for, and he did a great job. All I needed was one loss to learn an entire lifetime of lessons from and I’ll be damned if I let it happen again. I remember someone telling me after the fight, “you didn’t expect to stay undefeated forever did you? No one can.” And I though to myself, I absolutely did. I never thought about losing a fight. I don’t diet and train my ass off for 2 long months and dedicate my life to this to lose.
MC: Would you have liked a rematch with Rexroad if he didn’t retire?
AM: I really would have loved one especially after he won the belt. I had won 3 fights in the weight class for Legacy and that would have been a perfect opportunity, but he retired. And its all good, I’m glad Houston guys aren’t fighting each other as much anymore. As a matter of fact I’ve really come to love Houston MMA and how guys are no longer at each others throats but now willing to cross train and get everyone to the next level. A few years ago it was understandable when everyone was trying to climb to the top but now with Legacy getting big names and all of these shows available to fight on, we don’t have to beat each other up. It seems we can fight guys from other states and cities. I’ve done some cross training with guys I never though I’d train with and everyone is super cool and very helpful. I’m glad to see Houston MMA come together and help everyone reach their goal of trying to get to the big show.
MC: Do you think Wood will do his best to keep the fight standing? Will it matter if he is able to?
AM: No, from what I’ve seen, he looks for the takedown immediately. I’d love it if he would stand toe to toe and blast it out, but I really don’t see that happening. I’m more than comfortable standing, wrestling or grappling with him. So we’ll see where it goes. I hope for the fans sake he doesn’t try to grapple fuck his way into a decision, but he’s finished all of his fights so I really don’t see this one going into the judges hands.
MC: 2014 is right around the corner. What can we expect out of you next year?
AM: If everything goes according to plan I get 2-4 more wins putting me at 7 or 9-1 then hope to get to follow in the footsteps of Andrew Craig, Daniel Pineda or Brian Meloncon and make it to the big show. But as I say to my guys, one fight at a time.
MC: Please list all gyms, coaches, training partners, sponsors, and anyone else you would like to thank for helping you prepare for this fight.
AM: I’ve had a blast this camp. Seen so many different looks and trained with so many awesome guys. First off my, family at Gracie Barra The Woodlands/The Woodlands MMA. I’m there all day everyday and couldn’t/wouldn’t be in this spot without my students, training partners and coaches. Training with all of the guys at Team Tooke, especially my old coach and best training partner Todd Moore, who is fighting on the card along side his coach Travis Tooke. Pat Bierschwale from GB Champions and the Klein Oak wrestling team. I was also able to work with some guys from 4oz, “Machine Gun” Young and Ray Blodget who were a lot of fun to work with and some guys from Paradigm like Angel Huerta. It was really cool training with such a vast amount of guys all over Houston and like I said this was the best fight camp I’ve ever had. As for sponsors I have one, my man Van. Always hooking the fighters at the gym up! And my older brother Max for making my website, highlight video and shirts. I CAN’T wait to fight on Friday. Then eat a pizza lol!
Follow Mark on Twitter @PincheMark979