A few weeks ago I did an article on a local gym in my area and was invited to check out the show they were putting on. So this past Saturday I attended Ignite Fighting Championships 7 and was excited to watch the fighters I had interviewed perform that night.
They all did very well but of the entire fourteen bout fight card there was one kid that stood out. Rudy Sapien out of the Wolf Pack MMA gym made his amateur debut that night against Adam Wall from gym SEVA. Just off of appearances Wall was the bigger and stronger fighter not to mention several years older than 22 year old Sapien. The spectators around me weren’t giving Sapien much of a chance saying comments like “this shouldn’t last long” and “that kid is going to get hurt” and to be honest I was a little concerned for him myself. Then the fight started and he would almost immediately prove everyone wrong.
From the opening to the closing bell of that first round there was not a moment when Sapien was not in control of the fight and flawlessly imposing his game plan on his opponent. Amateur shows are usually a proving ground for up and coming fighters, giving them the chance to develop all aspects of their game. Some fighters might not be the most technical but, they are amateurs, and have time to develop. This wasn’t the case in Sapien, he made perfect use of his range with hard jabs and kicks, he wasn’t overwhelmed with his charging opponent and quite frankly made Adam Wall look like….well, like an amateur.
By the end of the first round it was clear that Wall had no business stepping into that ring with Sapien and if there were three minutes of his life that he regrets I’m willing to bet a dollar those were it. He was bloody, battered and holding his ribs as he walked back to his stool. Across the cage was Sapien still looking very relaxed and comfortable, ready to come out for the second round and try to put Wall away. That opportunity would never come as Wall had had enough and refused to come out for the second round.
I caught up with Rudy after the fights and he was kind enough to answer a few questions about himself, the fight ad his plans for the future. If his first fight is any indication of what we can expect from him in the future I think he will have a very successful future in this sport.
JL: So Rudy, tell me a little about yourself and your life outside of fighting.
RS: I’m 22 years old, I live with my girlfriend and our 2 year old daughter. I work for Randall county sheriff’s department in corrections. I’ve been doing that for about a year and a half. I’m also currently in the hiring process for the Amarillo Police Department. God is blessing me with a lot of options right now.
JL: What made you decide to start training in MMA? And besides your current gym do you have any other martial arts background?
RS: I wrestled and boxed growing up. After high school I made the mistake of not taking any of my scholarships to go wrestle. Life seemed boring, and my body just missed competition.
JL: How long have you been training and how did you end up at your current gym?
RS: I’ve been training MMA for almost 2 years. I heard about Team Wolfpack from some friends that fight Oscar Navarette & Cameron Villiens.
JL: Do you see yourself continuing and trying to make a career out of it?
RS: I’m going to do this for as long as God allows me to. If I am lucky enough to make this a career and take care of my family then I’ll retire a fighter.
JL: Where do you see yourself in this sport a year from now?
RS: By next year I plan to be making my pro debut or have already had 1 pro fight. By the end of 2015 I hope I’ll be undefeated still and get called up to a big organization.
JL: What was your game plan going into the fight? Did it work out as you had planned or did you have to make some adjustments?
RS: Luckily everything went exactly as planned. People might not believe me but my coach predicted I would make him quit on the stool if I didn’t end it in the first round, it was crazy when it happened.
JL: You seemed pretty confident the entire time even with him looking like the bigger stronger guy, did that ever worry you?
RS: Thanks, no it didn’t worry me at all. All my life I’ve been the skinny guy going against bigger guys. People underestimate me because I’m so skinny but I’m far from weak. I joke and say I’m “skinny strong”
JL: Did it surprise you that he didn’t come out for the second round?
RS: No. His face was REALLY busted up and I think he might have sustained a rib injury from a body kick. I knew he was breaking.
JL: We were able to see your very impressive stand up which was actually what made you stand out to me. Would you have felt as comfortable if the fight had gone to the ground for a little bit longer than it did?
RS: Thank you again. That credit goes to my head coach Tony Castillo and My boxing coach Jose Montanez, they had my stand up ready. Yeah I would have been fine, I train to be a complete fighter so I can be comfortable everywhere in a fight.
JL: Last question for you Rudy, what would be your ideal situation for your next fight? Would you want to take a few weeks off before getting back in the gym or would you rather get right back in and book another fight as soon as possible?
RS: I’m taking a week off to just spend time with my family, with work and training there’s only a few days out of the week where all three of us can spend time together. After the week off I’ll be right back to training. I plan on fighting in May, thanks for the interview and as always all the Glory to God!
Again I want to thank Rudy for his time and congratulate him on a great win. Also Thanks to Richard Gamble and Mike Lister for having me at their great event and I look forward to the next show. Follow me on twitter @jlorenty as well as the website @cagepagesfs, and tweet me if you’re an amateur with a fight coming up or a pro making your way thru the regional circuit.