Rivalry renewed, Charles Rosa looks to impress at UFC Fight Night 59

61f9e7fc98b11beda1f7427d58379565To say Charles Rosa will feel more at home when he makes his second Octagon appearance Sunday at UFC Fight Night 59 is a serious understatement. The 28-year-old featherweight gets to live out his lifelong dream, competing in his home state of Massachusetts, when he takes on Sean Soriano to open up the preliminary portion of the FOX Sports 1 card. His sophomore fight in the Octagon is a stark contrast to his UFC debut last October in Sweden. “I could say that was one of the craziest weeks of my life.” Rosa told MMAOddsBreaker. “I [was already] going to Holland to train kickboxing at Mejiro Gym, it was my third time making the trip. I had my manager Charles McCarthy [tell me] to be ready. We knew that Dennis Siver was looking for an opponent but they actually found one for him. Pretty much I figured I wasn’t fighting so I said if I’m not getting my UFC call yet I’ll go to Holland to work on my kickboxing. When I landed in Holland and went to the kickboxing show, they took me to my coach right away. He goes “Hey man you ready to go to Sweden?  We’re fighting in the UFC.” and that’s how I found out about the news. Then it kind of hit me for a second, I’m 178 pounds right now and that was five or six days before the fight. Instantly some anxiety set in. Obviously from there I literally started running around the place trying to lose weight.” Like a true professional, the ATT product made nearly a 30-pound weight cut and his octagon debut was made official against the Siver, a veteran of 17-UFC fights.  When the bell rang, Rosa didn’t look like a fighter who had taken this contest on short notice, pushing the German fighter to the brink during the three round affair. Ultimately Rosa lost a decision, but his performance earned himself a nice “Fight of the Night” bonus.  While Rosa was disappointed with the loss, he was overwhelmed by the positive response from fans. “I think [at first] I was a little bit down that I lost the fight. But after I saw the fans reaction, I literally didn’t get one bad comment. I’ve had wins where people are like “he fought a scrub” but [this fight] it really felt like a win for me.” Rather than head back to the United States after his fight, Rosa opted to fly to Holland instead and go along with his original plan of working on his kickboxing.  He was sleeping on the mats at the Mejiro gym the next day after his fight, rather than using his bonus money to stay in a nice hotel. He ended up staying in Holland for a month, training twice a day and admits that the time spent there was a valuable experience.  Shortly after his return to the States, Rosa received some monumental news. He would be competing in Boston for the UFC in January, just a short 15-minute drive from his hometown of Peabody, Massachusetts. “That was probably one of the best phone calls of my life. I was so happy” Rosa explained with excitement. ”It’s always something I dreamed about as a kid, I used to watch the Bruins and the Celtics play at the Boston Garden as a kid. Every time I watched the game, I wished I could be on the ice or in that arena playing as a professional. It really just made my dream come true so I’m really excited.” His opponent, the 25-year-old Soriano, is a man Rosa knows all too well. Both fighters competed in the Florida based Championship Fighting Alliance (CFA), but their path will finally cross Sunday on MMA’s biggest stage. Soriano is still searching for his first UFC win after coming up short against Tatsuya Kawajiri and Chas Skelly.  While the Miami native has pitched a shutout so far through his two octagon appearances, Rosa isn’t taking his opponent lightly. “He’s definitely a super talented kid, I know his strength is muay-thai, he trains with Henri Hooft. I would say he’s most dangerous on his feet; he’s very athletic, he’s quick and fast. The first the two fights I don’t think he was able showcase that because the guys pretty much went instantly right after the takedown and were able to expose him there. I definitely know his weaknesses. We’ll see if I can expose some other ones, because I think I’m going to be able to strike with him and take him down and do pretty much do whatever I want with him.” If Rosa sounds confident, you only have to take a look at the team he trains with at American Top Team in Florida to understand why.  Along with training on a regular basis with coach, mentor and former WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown, Rosa has also been putting in work daily with former Bellator lightweight champion Daniel Straus (who fights for the featherweight title Friday at Bellator 132). Rosa is proud of the team he fights for and that’s why it’s added motivation for him facing an opponent who is a member of the Blackzillians camp. “[ATT vs. Blackzillians is] a huge rivalry back where we’re from in Florida. I feel like [this fight] is going to be for my team. It’s going to be a good way to get one up on the Blackzillians.” When he heads into the octagon Sunday night, Rosa will already be coming in with a winning attitude as his walkout music will be Zombie Nation – Kernkraft 400, which is the goal song for his home-town Boston Bruins of the NHL. More importantly, Rosa has the opportunity to show his true potential in the octagon and put the rest of the featherweight division on notice. To listen to the full interview with Charles Rosa, check out Episode 87 of The Parting Shot Podcast (at the 39 minute mark) 

Written by James Lynch

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