Diego Sanchez came up short against Michel Pereira this month at UFC on ESPN+ 25 in Rio Rancho.
Pereira appeared to have the upper hand until he struck his opponent with an illegal knee that changed the course of action. Sanchez decided not to continue the bout and was awarded a disqualification victory.
While “The Nightmare” admits his performance didn’t go to plan, he believes he had a lot more to deal with than first meets the eye.
“First of all, the gameplan was for me to get in the space where I can execute the kill,” Sanchez said (via MMA Junkie). “The kill zone, get to the kill zone, get to the space, get to the angles. Well, you know I’m giving up five inches on reach – they had it as two, that was wrong. It was five. I can attest to this, I know. I fought probably more than everybody else. I gave up five inches on the height. I gave up near 25 pounds in the weight, and this is because there is no space for me to compete at 165 or 167 or who knows.”
“The strategy is to get in there and do what I was planning on doing: getting in there and fighting with him – getting to the place where I could hit him,” Sanchez added. “The guy was extremely fast and was negating this by staying away. Like, anytime I come in, it was like a rabbit running away; you could just get close enough. This is not technically a fight. I had to adjust in there because, yes, I have kicks and punches, power shots, coming at me from a space that I cannot hit back.”
Sanchez acknowledged it would have been great to take the fight to the ground, but the energy required would have outweighed the reward.
“I was adjusting in there and of course, to get the guy down, that would have been great, but I was reading the energy of his stamina and were the bars coming down?” Sanchez asked. “No, they weren’t, and it was going to take a lot of energy, already being a triple disadvantage. You want to throw age in there, we’ll make it quadruple. This just is what it is. I’m fighting in my hometown, I’ve got a lot of pressure on me as it is.”
“He got me ready to go in there, to perform as the athlete and the entertainer that I am to the best of my ability. Yeah, to entertain the fans, but to also continue to live another day, to fight another day, and in that fight, towards the end of the fight, yeah, I knew how things were going. I was struggling getting to my zone, getting to my place, but I did know also that I am a really amazing third-round fighter and I find inner strength, energy and endurance from work and my experience.
Despite taking the victory, Diego Sanchez would have changed his gameplan if he had the opportunity to redo.
“Yeah, this guy was throwing with everything he had. I was hoping and anticipating that he was going to blow a little, and I was going to be there, to close that distance and get in his face. Going back, if I could adjust the strategy, yes, I would have attacked more with these leg kicks I was landing. I would have came at his body more, but that was a calculation I had to make in the heat of the moment with so much pressure on me.”
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/28/2020.