Jerome Rivera plans to use his striking to get through Zac Riley and take his first step towards LFA gold.
Rivera is just 21 years old, but is one of the most highly regarded prospects coming out of New Mexico. The undefeated flyweight will be making the jump up to bantamweight at LFA 10 to take on Zac Riley. In his first six pro fights Rivera has had his grappling abilities on full display submitting five of his six opponents, but he feels like this time around it will be his striking that leads him to victory.
“I honestly think this fight is going to end striking. My striking feels really crisp, I went back to the basics of boxing. I went back to the basics of everything; working my kicks again, working my side kicks. I really feel like I can finish this guy striking,” Rivera told The Fight House. “I want to control him with the boxing and just see how it goes. Also, if we get down on the ground definitely I am going to have a huge advantage there. I really want to try and finish this fight striking, I want to go out and strike with Zak.”
This is the first time Rivera will compete on national television and even though he would ideally like an early stoppage victory. He isn’t against spending a little bit more time on everyone’s television.
“I want a first round finish…Just watching Zak fight, I think I am a really tough match-up for him in the striking department,” Rivera said. “If it doesn’t come then I want to make it a really tough fight for him and go a little bit longer, since it is going to be on AXS.tv there is going to be alot of people tuning in. I want to showcase my striking a little bit and show everyone that I am not just a grappler.”
At only 21 years old Rivera has already had some ups and downs in the sport. After over a year away from the cage due to injuries and personal issues Rivera is back and feels like he is finally where he is supposed to be. He understands that there are levels to this sport and is in no hurry to get to the main stages of the sport. He is content to gain that necessary experience in the LFA cage and believes he can find success with the promotion in both the flyweight and bantamweight divisions.
“I would like to sign a long-term contract with LFA , get a few fights with them and try and capture those belts 125 or 135,” Rivera said. “That would be ideal, we will see what happens though. I want to gain as much experience as I can and I think LFA has some of the toughest fighters in the world. I really want to strive for one of those belts 125 or 135 depending on what LFA thinks and what my manager and my coaches think.”
“I could go to 125 get that belt also 135 to…two belts is a possibility and something I would like to shoot for,” Rivera added. “I feel like that is something I could do also.”
Rivers and Riley will throw down at LFA 10 in Pueblo, Colorado at the Massari Arena, or you can watch it live on AXS.tv at 9 PM.