By: Darrien Starling
Hailing from Harvard, Illinois -- Emmanuel "El Matador" Sanchez
is eager to improve his impressive 6-2 Bellator record on March 31st, at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois against former Bantamweight Champion Marcos Galvao
. Another big fight night for Sanchez who invites high pressure contests under the bright lights of a Bellator cage.
"El Matador" is coming off of a magnificent victory over seasoned-vet Georgi Karakhanyan
at Bellator 170. That fight was one of the most exciting contests on that entire card, even with Tito Ortiz and Chael Sonnen battling later that night. Sanchez's motto is "to be the best, you have to beat the best." He takes pride in battling the best competitors in the division and gradually moving up into title contention. "I want that title, you never know when you can get that fight, it just happens," he said. "Ranking and records don't matter. Exciting fights, good finishes and the most deserving [fighter] gets the title fight." Sanchez thrives and feeds off of the spotlight, he's enthused about being on another legend-filled card once again; this time headlined by Rampage Jackson and King Mo Lawal
Sanchez plans to feed off of the momentum from his last fight as Bellator 175
approaches, "I'm going to ride the momentum and my hunger for success, nothing is stopping me right now." He is ecstatic about jumping right back into the cage after fighting in late January, considering the fact that he only fought twice in 2016. He plans to be very active this year, in hopes of obtaining a title shot as a result. However, that will be a tough journey in the featherweight division where the talent pool equates to a rough gauntlet. Sanchez has a great deal of confidence in his ability to perform against the biggest names in the division, and firmly believes that he will be champion fairly soon. Not only is he confident in his ability, but he also believes in everyone he's placed around him, such as his close friends and family.
What a fitting opportunity for the 26-year old featherweight to be featured on the main card in front of a home crowd in Illinois. Sanchez has a deep level for care of his family and those who are close to him. He's been the 'man of the house' since his teenage years, looking after his nieces, nephews, younger sisters and mother. Maturity seemed to be obtained at a young age for Sanchez; he has rekindled a lost relationship with his father, and they now share an awesome bond. "It means a lot to be able to perform in front of my family," he shared. He's served as a role model for his younger siblings, nieces and nephews. Sanchez also spoke about the special attachment between himself and his mother "I am now able to buy her nice things and help pay off the house. She made so many sacrifices for us coming up. She won't stop working though, it keeps her going." The apple didn't fall far from the tree; Sanchez is known as a gym rat who likes to use most of his free time to train.
The first course of action right now for Sanchez on his quest for a title, is to defeat Galvao. He is a talented and exciting former champion who is looking to create a streak of his own. A victory over Sanchez could bolster him back into serious contention for a title shot. He is moving up from bantamweight to fight Sanchez, yet this isn't foreign territory for him; Galvao fought at featherweight early in his career.
When asked about Galvao, "El Matador" had an interesting perspective on their upcoming clash "He's coming up in weight, he has a lot of experience and he's very good. He has his own style, and if I'm the best in this matchup, I have to prove it. Guys with the most experience excite me." That was his initial response, which was very thoughtful and carefully stated. However, when asked about his fight prediction, Sanchez added, "It's going to be a first, maybe second round TKO [technical knockout] no doubt." A very bold statement from him but this is also consistent with who he is. Sanchez also alluded to the fact that he'd like to have more finishes on his record which could springboard his career forward even more. Even though Sanchez is eager to pile up more stoppages on his resume, he doesn't want to enter the cage searching for a stoppage, "I don't put too much weight on my shoulders. Bruce Lee said 'Flow like water' and I have that same mentality."
With his first amateur fight coming at 18 years of age, Sanchez grew up watching Rampage, "I grew up watching Rampage, Tito, Chuck Liddell and others. I wanted to be on that level." He is now set to turn his dreams into reality; he fights on the same card as one of his inspirations for the second consecutive time. Don't miss the action Friday night March 31st, at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois on Spike TV 9/8c.
Rampage vs. King Mo 2
Bellator MMA Main Event
Rampage vs. King Mo 2