José ‘Pochito’ Alday and the last minute challenge

José 'Pochito' Alday and the last minute challenge

After four months of waiting, José ‘Pochito’ Alday received the call. He entered the card this Tuesday at the last minute of Dana White’s Contender Series where he will face Brazilian Saimon Oliveira, who has a 17-3 record.

Alday (14-5-1), originally from Hermosillo, Sonora, became an emerging replacement for Javid Basharat and did not think about it, because it was time to take the leap.

“Well I fought in May in Global Combate and it was my last fight of the contract, we already knew we were free. The plan was to take a fight in another league with a good opponent that would put me in the eye of the UFC, but we were also waiting for a call short notice. On Tuesday my manager Jason Hause told me to be in weight and ready because something could come out and here we are, “said the former Combate Americas bantamweight champion in an interview with ESPN Deportes.

He barely had time to study the 30-year-old South American, as the call came when he was working in his business and he took a flight to Las Vegas the next day.

At 29, he feels ready to put on a good show in the Contender Series, because even though he has been training MMA for just 9 years, he was already able to compete in international promotions such as Jungle Fight in Brazil or Pancrase in Japan.

“It’s a very good format, because it can give you a lot of popularity, as we see with Sean O’Malley, who have knocked out and others who have done well. I feel like I’m ready, sometimes I start slow, but when I’m with the sword against the wall I always come out harder and that’s how it will be, “added the Sonoran.

The ‘Pochito’ started his career in the local promotion Mexico Fighter in Sonora and in 2018 he became the inaugural bantamweight monarch of the then known Combate Americas (Now Global Combate), where he faced several rivals with experience in the UFC such as John Castañeda , Gustavo López or Joby Sánchez.

“My preparation in Combate Americas helped me to raise my level. I faced John Castañeda who was the No. 1 prospect in the United States, he had just fought in the Contender Series, he won, but they did not give him the contract, also Gustavo López who has a jiujitsu and wrestling are very little recognized, but it is very good, “he explained.

Although many thought that he would make the jump to the UFC before, he does not consider that it was wasted time: “things happen when they should. I did not train wrestling or jiujitsu or anything until I started with MMA at age 20. I always feel that I am catching up with all these fighters, I think it is the right moment to arrive, “he considered.

Due to immigration issues, Alday had to separate from his family in a key part of his career and as soon as he managed to fix his papers he moved to Arizona, to be able to be with his wife and baby: “It is something very nice and to be with my family and see my child grow up. I could not be with him in the first year and now that we are expecting my other baby in November, if it will be my first year, do not sleep, give him the bottle at night, watch him walk, hear him say dad and watch him grow up. “

Although he spent much of his career training at the Entram Gym in Tijuana, home of flyweight champion Brandon Moreno, he has adapted to the fighting style at Rise Combat Sports, in Tucson, where Mexican-American Chris Cariaso has trained him and will be in your corner.

The second chapter of Dana White’s Contender Series includes five matches with Josh Quinlan vs. Logan Urban (welterweight), Mario Sousa vs. Chidi Njokuani (middleweight), Bruno Korea vs. Carlos Vergara (flyweight) and Miun Gafurov vs. Chad Anheliger (bantamweight) complementing the undercard at UFC Apex.

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