Jeff Molina expected a grinding type of fight against Zhalgas Zhumagulov.
Molina knew Zhumagulov was going to be the toughest test of his career even though the 33-year-old was just 1-3 in the UFC entering the fight. ‘El Jefe’ said Zhumagulov didn’t get enough respect and was anticipating the grueling back and forth fight. However, despite the win, he is ultimately disappointed in his performance.
“The fight went a little differently than I thought as well. I did think he was going to wrestle me, I said all week I brought my wrestling shoes for this one but I did think he would try and advance, not just hold me,” Molina said to BJPENN.com. “As far as it being mostly grappling, it was not a surprise, he held me and milked the clock out. But, at the end of the day, that’s why the judges gave me the win because the first scoring criteria is damage and I felt like I landed the harder shots in the first and third round.”
Although Jeff Molina was disappointed in how the fight played out, he did edge out a split decision win to improve to 3-0 in the UFC. The 24-year-old believes this fight was a good learning experience for him before he faces a top-15 opponent.
“I know I’m going to get way better from this,” Molina said. “We talked about this before the fight, like Zhalgas didn’t get the respect he deserved due to his UFC record but the dude’s good, he beat a lot of top guys outside the UFC that have become top-15 guys. I’m eager to learn from this.”
The goal now for Molina is to return in October against whoever the UFC gives him. But, he was called out by both Ode Osbourne and Muhammed Mokaev, and says the Osbourne matchup is the one that makes the most sense.
“I tried to fight him, we are managed by the same manager,” Molina said about Osbourne. “I think it was David Onama’s fight week and after weigh-ins, Iridium always has a team dinner and someone from the management group was there, this was before I had signed to fight Zhalgas, and they had asked who I want next and I told them I wouldn’t mind Ode Osbourne. I love it, man and Mokaev called me out. It’s pretty cool, people know about me and I’m doing something right.”
Who would you like to see Jeff Molina fight next?