Lebanon Tennessee: Berzerkers Entertainment presented Primal Combat 3 on Saturday, June 12 at The Mill in Lebanon Tennessee.
Austin Swink made his MMA debut against Alex Ortiz that ended with Swink winning in the third round via TKO. Jonathan Kelly had the opportunity to discuss with the fighter about his experience, the fight, and future as an amateur fighter.
Check the discussion out below.
Kelly: Austin, thank you for taking the time to have this interview after having such a strong start to your amateur career. Being such a young upcomer in the local scene, what is it that got you to start training MMA?
Austin: Thank you for having me. I started training MMA because I was intrigued about striking from watching my teammates compete in the cage. The real motivator was my coach Cory Robison who asked me if I liked what I saw and if I wanted to try it after seeing it for myself.
Kelly: Before training MMA at your current gym, do you have any prior martial arts experience?
Austin: Yeah, I wrestled for four years at Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro. After that, I started training Jiu-Jitsu mostly, for two years at Phoenix MMA & Fitness. After deciding I wanted to fight, I began to improve my striking for five months before taking a fight, just to make sure I wouldn’t be too uncomfortable fighting inside an MMA cage.
Kelly: As for your debut fight, you exhibited great control of the ring to where you were able to set the tempo for most of the fight. Did at any point you feel like that was not the case?
Austin: A lot of the times that I would get comfortable, and land five or six shots and get him backing up, I wouldn’t be able to see him set his feet and he would hit me with a big cross, or any punch down the middle, really. That’s mainly because I couldn’t wear my contacts. But other than that, I felt that I had to back up after he landed a big shot to make sure I didn’t get hit with any more shots that would sit me on my butt or knock me out cold. Other than that, that was really the only time I felt I didn’t feel any control, but I was able to quickly get back to business after a few seconds.
Kelly: What was your original plan going into this fight and what adjustments did you have to make during it?
Austin: My plan was to kind of work backwards with what I am good at. I am a really good grappler, but I am a decent striker, so I wanted to try my striking first and get him comfortable striking and then take him down. But I ended up being really bad at setting up my takedowns in an MMA fight. So, I ended up having to do a lot more “stand and bang” with him to not look like I was losing the stand-up part of the fight. I wanted to take him down at the end of every round and smother him, but that ended up not being the case due to me not setting up my takedowns…
Kelly: Though you won the fight, what would you say is your biggest criticism of your performance?
Austin: I told myself afterwards that I gave myself a C+ grade on the fight just because I wouldn’t give myself anything lower seeing how I finished the fight. I didn’t let it go to the judges’ decision like I made sure that I was the finisher. I did tell myself though that there were three things that I should never do again, or at least work on. One, is to keep my hands up higher, and that’s the most important thing. Two, is to set up my takedowns better, like a lot of times I was just kind of hoping I would get on his legs when I would shoot and hope to powerhouse him to the ground. The third thing, which is really kind of a minor thing, and it only happened one time, but I tried to pull guard. I am never doing that again.
Kelly: After the fight, you called out your Alex Ortiz’s teammate, Walter Saragosa. What are the reasons behind that?
Austin: One, I think he’s beatable. Two, we are both 1-0 so we have the same record. That would mean someone’s 0 would have to go, one of us wouldn’t be undefeated after that night. Three, it kind of gives Alex’s team a chance to get us back because we’ve been whooping their a** so much. My teammate Justin Stoddard and I have both TKO’d dudes from their gym at ground-and-pound positions. Also, Saragosa is more likely to grapple me because he is a blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu so he’s more likely to initiate grappling and that’s something that if anybody tries to do on me, they’ll learn quickly that that is a big mistake.
Kelly: When will we get to see this fight if there have been any talks for it or when will we get to see you fight again at least?
Austin: I’ve seen him post on his Instagram that he has some fighting news that he has been trying to make and I’m sure he’s heard that I called him out because I’m pretty sure Alex told him right after the fight that I called him out. So, I am pretty sure Walter said he was down and what I’ve heard from Alex is that the promoter of this event is trying to make a 125lbs main event and I don’t doubt that I could possibly get the call for that because I finished Alex and it was a tough fight that went the distance.
Kelly: Thank you for giving me your time to have this interview and I wish you all the best in your next fight whether it’s with Saragosa or someone else. Is there anyone you would like to thank, or anything else you would like to say?
Austin: Just everybody at Phoenix. Everybody at Phoenix has helped me grow as a martial artist, especially Cory and my main training partners, like John, Xzavier, Jackson, Trey, and Nate. I could keep going but I’d be naming everyone.
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