Friday night at Cage Combat 23, Garcia Promotions will crown a new welterweight champion in the main event, which features Ryan Connelly and Mikey Patterson. Connelly is coming off of two submission victories and is looking to take home the belt Friday night. I caught up with Connelly before he gets his chance to win his first title.
Mark Carrillo: Tell us a little about yourself.
Ryan Connelly: I’m 21 years old, my current record is 5-1, and I train out of 4 oz Fight Club. I also cross train at Houston Muay Thai and Bam Bam Martial Arts, and I’ve been training for 4 years.
Carrillo: Your last fight ended under a minute, walk us through that fight.
Connelly: My opponent and I came out, I threw a few strikes and landed a couple. I feinted a few times then I threw a leg kick, and then a body kick, and a spinning back fist. Afer the body kick he was coming towards me because my back was turned momentarily and the spinning back fist landed and dropped him. After that, he shot for a takedown as I came forward and I locked up a guillotine and grapevined his legs while he was still standing. He didn’t tap and he went unconscious.
Carrillo: This is your first chance at a belt. Any added pressure to this fight compared to any of your others?
Connelly: No. My last fight in December was supposed to originally be for the belt but the opponent I ended up facing had another fight with Legacy scheduled a week before ours when the promoter, Eric Garcia, first tried to make the fight happen. So I was given a different opponent with a lesser record and was told it wouldn’t be for a belt.
Eventually, that opponent got pulled by his coaches and the guy I was supposed to fight for the title was offered to me again because his fight with Legacy fell through so I ended up facing him any way except not for a belt.
Carrillo: How has training been for this fight?
Connelly: Training has been going well. I’ve been working on a lot of different things with my coaches and training partners.
Carrillo: What do you know about your opponent, Mike Patterson?
Connelly: I don’t know much about him other than that he’s a brawler and he’s tough.
Carrillo: How do you see yourself winning this fight?
Connelly: I plan on being ready for whatever he brings to the table.
Carrillo: How much longer as an amateur? Any plans on going pro?
Connelly: I don’t have a timeframe in mind. I’m just taking things one fight at a time.
Carrillo: What is your life like outside of MMA? Any hobbies or activities you enjoy between punching people in the face?
Connelly: Fighting/MMA is my main focus right now. I don’t really have any hobbies outside of it.
Carrillo: What can the fans in the arena expect to see Friday night when you step in the cage?
Connelly: They can expect to see me going out there and looking to put on a good show and get the finish.
Carrillo: Who all would you like to thank for helping you prepare for this fight?
Connelly: I’d like to thank my coaches: Alex Chhang, Jesus Rivera, Daniel Pineda, and Kru Bob Perez, and all of my training partners, my friends and my family and everyone coming out to support me. I’d also like to thank my sponsor Brenda Gregory at Resonant Nutrition.