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Bellator featherweight Henry Corrales didn’t have much of a plan when he started his MMA career. Showing up and fighting were about it.
“I was 12-0 with 12 finishes and no fight IQ,” he told MMAjunkie Radio. “It was just like, ‘What’s up? I’m going to (expletive) spar and flip these tires.’ It was just go, go, go. I had to learn the hard way.”
Corrales’ (14-3 MMA, 2-3 BMMA) resume got him a ticket to the big show. It also put him across more experienced fighters who did have a plan and executed. He got big opportunities, facing ex-champs Daniel Straus and Patricio Freire. But he wasn’t ready for them. It wasn’t long before the zero on his record was a distant memory, and a title was a faraway dream.
After a submission loss to Freire, Corrales finally realized if he wanted to stick around in the game, he needed to get smart about his approach to fights.
“Straus and ‘Pitbull’ (Freire), they kind of took me to school,” he said. “I took my notes, went back to the drawing board, changed camps, and I’ve been on a two-fight win streak since joining The MMA Lab.”
After joining the Arizona-based team, Corrales brings a better IQ to the cage. He is able to adjust on the fly when opponents don’t want to slug. And indeed, he boasts a two-fight win streak he hopes to convert into a title run.
He still hasn’t lost his longing for the barnburner, though, which is why he’s amped for a meeting against Georgi Karakhanyan (28-7-1 MMA, 6-5 BMMA). Maybe a little more amped than usual.
Corrales thinks he and Karakhanyan are birds of a feather when it comes to fighting style. It won’t be about a win at all costs, but a clash of fists that leaves one on the canvas.
“I got into the sport because I like to fight,” Corrales said. “I’m not here to win some points. I’m not an athlete, really. I just fight. When I think about my career, these type of fights are what make my balls tingle, dude, what gets me excited.”
The two meet on the Paramount-televised main card of Bellator 192, which takes place Saturday at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
Corrales now knows there’s nothing wrong with being intelligent in the way you take on an opponent. He’s just anxious to put that on the backburner.
“My last fight, the guy was just running, and you could see he just wanted the takedown, he wanted to duck under everything, and I was putting constant pressure on him,” Corrales said. “But I didn’t really put myself in a position to finish him. I wanted that second check.
“But Georgi, dude, he’s down. He’s a rider. He’s going to slam, so let’s do this.”
MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.
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