I was able to catch up with up and coming MMA fighter Shah Bobonis last weekend. Shah is coming off of a big victory in Mexico's Combate Extremo promotion that earned him their 145 pound featherweight championship.
MMA Blaster: How did you end up fighting for Combate Extremo?
I ended up fighting for Combate Extremo because one of the partners in the company spends a lot of time Orlando. He happened to see me competing at a NAGA grappling tournament that I won. He asked if I would participate in a Super Fight at his next grappling event. From there, he started looking me up and watched some video and liked the way I fought. After my last two wins we had a solid relationship and he asked if I wanted to fight for his 145lbs title.
MMA Blaster: Does your experience fighting in Costa Rica transfer over to fighting in Mexico?
Fighting in Costa Rica early on in my career was key in feeling comfortable fighting for this title. I was accustomed to the travel and hostile crowd so it didn’t feel like my first Rodeo.
MMA Blaster: What are the MMA fans like in Mexico?
The MMA fans in Mexico were every bit as passionate as the fans in Costa Rica. They called me every name in the book as I walked out to the ring which I expected as I was fighting their countrymen. The difference was after the fight the Mexican fans were very friendly.
MMA Blaster: What did you know about Carlos Monzon before the fight?
I had seen tape on Monzon and the first thing I noticed was that he is huge for a 145 pounder. He was a Sean Sherk look alike. His Muay Thai was good and he was very aggressive. When Monzon was on the ground he only looked to ground and pound, never too worried about passing guard or hunting for subs. His wrestling did not look overwhelming, it just seemed he was a very good athlete and naturally hard to take down.
MMA Blaster: What was your plan going into this fight?
The game plan was to take him into deep water. From the few fights that I watched he seemed to come out guns blazing and walk through guys. I knew if I could bare the brunt of the early storm I would be fine.
MMA Blaster: How did the fight play out?
The fight ended up being a lot shorter than I thought. My reach was giving him problems which led him to lung in and give up a easy double leg take down. I don’t think he was used to being on his back. Trying to get back to his feet he went to all fours as he was trying to get up and I jumped into a guillotine.
MMA Blaster: What sort of response did you get from the crowd?
After the fight they were a lot more receptive to an American holding a belt in their country’s biggest MMA show than they were before the fight. The crowd was great, probably about 3,000 people. I spent an hour after the fight taking pictures with the fans and my new belt.
MMA Blaster: I've heard you are pretty busy over the next couple months, where are you fighting?
I’m working on a fight in Puerto Rico Nov 20th for an upstart promotion called Maxximo Fighting Championships. It isn’t for a belt, but hopefully next time I travel to Puerto Rico I’ll get a shot. They have had some great fighters on their show already such as WEC vet Eric Schambari and Whisper Goodman.
In December, I’m back in Mexico to defend my title. I was told by the promoter my first title defense will be against another one of Mexico’s best fighters. I forget his real name, but his nickname is El Gato (the cat). I’ve seen tape on him and he is a very skilled guy. That will be my last fight at 145 pounds. Next year I want to fight some really big names at 135 pounds.
MMA Blaster: What are your goals in MMA at this point?
Goals include fighting for more titles and by the end of next year fighting for a huge promotion WEC, Dream, Sengoku, Strikeforce, whatever! I would love to fight in Japan! My dream match-up would be standing up and having a war with Hiroyuki Takaya. In the WEC I’d like to fight a guy like Manny Tapia. I like the way he fights stand up guy who brings it. It would make for a exciting fight.
By the end of next year I think I’ll be ready to fight anyone in the world at 135 and give them a run. My last three fights have been with guys who usually fight at 155. Two of the fights were at a catch weight of 150 pounds. The combined record of my last three opponents is 16-4. I got a sub in less than 2 min, a decision win, and a split decision loss that many feel I won. I think at 135 I can be a force!
MMA Blaster: How did the fight with Rudy Tujillo go in the XFC?
The fight with Ray Trujillo was really disappointing. I totally dominated the first round, I’ll give him the second round, and I feel there is no way he won the third. During the fight I swept him, had twice as many take downs, had his back and had him mounted several times. He had maybe two take downs, but never passed my guard and never caused any damage. But, I should have finished the fight, if you let it go to the judges in MMA you never know what you will get. I lost a split decision.
MMA Blaster: How did your fight with Dustin Blake go in Kansas?
The fight with Dustin Blake was tough but I feel I won every round. He was the hometown favorite. It was much like fighting in Mexico or Costa Rica. I guess I play the bad guy well. I won the split decision. The one judge that gave the fight to Blake is a Witchita native, go figure. But it was a huge win for me!
MMA Blaster: Who are you training with now?
I’m back in Miami training with the Avellan brothers at the Freestyle Fighting Academy. The only school on Earth that can say they have four ADCC vets teaching classes. My coaches are Marcos, David and Rima Avellan, Enricco Cocco and Efrain Ruiz.
MMA Blaster: Any shouts outs?
Always want to thank Braul and Maul, http://www.brawlandmaul.tv/, Paragon MMA, http://www.paragonmma.com/, Bucklehead knifes, http://www.bucklehead.com/ and everyone at FFA http://www.floridamartialarts.com/!!