In the stacked 170 lb division in MMA, you really don’t expect an easy road on your way up the top. Top tier welterweights of both the past and present will attest to this. It takes a lifetime of dedication inside the gym and octagon to be able to become confident on what you have and who you are. It is common to find yourself in a position where no matter how hard you prepare, it is always possible to have someone who will outsmart and outgun your prepared strategy.
In fact, even former UFC champs Matt Serra and Matt Hughes to name a few had their own taste of defeat. The most painful part of being a talented young MMA fighter is to have a winning streak only to realize there are more experienced and probably more prepared guys waiting for you by the end of the cage.
Sam Oropeza is a 6’2” welterweight prospect who in the last 3 or 4 years is making a great run in the division. Ground savvy and definitely great with his stand up, he racked 4 straight wins in his first four fights. He finished 3 of his first 4 fights via submission and the other via vicious head kick.
After his second loss, he decided that it is time to find a new coach a new fight camp to restart his fighting career. The 27 year old fighter from Pennsylvania racked 2 straight wins both ended via submission. After his loss in Bellator Fighting Championships 44 last May 14, 2011, he managed to pick himself up and bounced back against another Bellator veteran in Aung La Nsang. A second round victory that ended in triangle choke, it proved how different his mindset was during this fight.
The Nsang fight was a litmus test for Sam Oropeza. Suffering a loss in his previous fight before Nsang, it was a proof of hard work and dedication of the Pennsylvanian native who now trains under Professor Marco Perazzo of New Jersey Martial Arts near Cherry Hill, NJ.
Sam Oropeza showed superior wrestling skills and defense in the first round as he played majority of the round on top inside Nsang’s guard. In the same round, the young welterweight also showed some great submission defense shrugging the armbar attempt of his opponent turning it into his own foot lock counter. For the second round, Nsang capitalized on Oropeza’s failed leg kick ending up inside Sams guard. Working with Professor Marco Perazzo’s superb BJJ techniques, he broke the posture with a whizzer grip before turning his hips to a push and pull triangle.
NJMA believes in working hard and working smart. Sam Oropeza is a type of fighter who is open minded about these things that can improve his overall game. This BJJ brown belt showed that sky is the limit when you improve areas that you need to work on. Also, it is never too late to reinvent your approach to fighting especially when almost everyday, you see fighters improve on their camps. So what is next for Sam Oropeza? Considering his 7-2 record with no match ever landed on the hands of the judges, it is looking bright for the NJMA pupil.