“My stand up has never been this strong.”
Interview by: Lance Edwards
April saw Alex Morono (2-1) lose a split decision to Jeff Rexroad in a three round battle. This Friday will mark the return of Morono when he takes on Evert Gutierrez at Legacy 8. Morono has showcased his skills at Legacy picking up three wins and a draw and an amateur before going professional. Morono’s fight with Gutierrez, if it lives up to the hype, could be a contender for fight of the night.
Alex: Things are great, they couldn’t be better. I’ve never been so technically sound and strong going into a fight as I am at the moment.
TCD: You recently earned your brown belt in BJJ didn’t you?
Alex: That’s right, six Thursdays ago, so that’s a month and a half ago. I’ve really changed my jiu-jitsu game though. I used to use a very active guard, and now I have changed my approach to a much more wrestling, aggressive top game.
TCD: Why did you make that change?
Alex: Because of MMA, in my last fight I didn’t do as well as I would have liked to have, and my game didn’t work out for me. I had to re-assess what I was doing and fill in the weaknesses in my game. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing, and so I’ve worked on becoming better in wrestling and the things that were lacking in my last performance.
TCD: In the last year or so there have been a few changes at Gracie Barra Woodlands, for example Daniel Kim left, did those changes affect you at all?
Alex: A little at first, but things have settled down well. Michael Chase Corley is with us now, and he’s a great Muay Thai instructor. A lot of old members have come back, Todd Moore is around a lot, and having Robo doing more coaching is great. The last two months have been phenomenal; the gyms back to where it used to be. Last year we were doing great, Barry compiled a list of ranking of the gyms and we were up there at the top. This year we had a few losses, but I really think the gym is going to see us back at the top of the gym rankings in MMA again.
TCD: Any predictions for this fight?
Alex: I’ve never been one to go for takedowns before, but I’m confident that if I wanted to I could. I like to fight on my feet, and if that’s where the fight plays out expect fireworks. My stand up has never been this strong.
TCD: What strategy do you think Evert will be coming in with?
Alex: That’s a good question; he’s been successful on the ground in the past and has a good ground game. He’s also fought Muay Thai. In my last performance, I didn’t do so well on the ground with Rexroad, so I’ve really been working on my weaknesses in that area, not just the ground but my takedown defense. I’ve done a lot of ground, fighting against the cage, walking up the cage, all those sorts of things. I would like an exciting standup fight, but if it isn’t I’m ready.
TCD: So what after this fight?
Alex: Well I’d like to fight for Legacy again. It’s tough to take fights around the holidays, we have students and commitments there, and then there are also family commitments. If I win this fight I’m hoping that Legacy will have me on the main card in the future.
TCD: A lot of fighters are cross training at different gyms at the moment, do you?
Alex: Well I go to Team Tooke’s weekly, once a week. It gives me the opportunity to train with some good training partners that they have there. Travis Tooke is an excellent grappler, one of the best in Texas, and they have some tall 170 lb fighters in the gym. Evert is pretty tall, so that’s been good for helping me prepare.
TCD: Anything else we should know?
Alex: We have ten guys fighting in October; keep your eyes open for them. There are a couple who have fought before and you’re familiar with, but there are also guys making their debuts. They’ve been training hard, and our wrestling coach is making his debut, he’s a great wrestler. Our Muay Thai coach, Michael “Chase” Corley is also fighting in Las Vegas in October, which is exciting.