Mando Gutierrez will look to improve to 5-0 as a professional against a fellow undefeated fighter in Mo Miller (3-0). The two are scheduled to clash in a bantamweight bout at LFA 90 on Sept. 4.
The fight will mark Gutierrez’s first time competing against an undefeated opponent who has a winning record; the same is true for Miller as far as professional opponents go.
“I think [Miller’s] by far my hardest opponent to date,” Gutierrez told MMASucka. “He’s really talented, really athletic, but I feel in my fights, I’ve seen more in them. I feel my fight IQ is better than his. I’m definitely going to have to give him my best 15 minutes, but I don’t see myself losing this match-up in any way. I don’t think there’s anywhere he can beat me.”
Someone’s ‘0’ will have to go in the match-up. Gutierrez said when he competes, there “never really is an opponent” in front of him; everything he does in the cage is for himself. That mindset, he believes, will see him past Miller.
“This is one of those fights that’s going to bring out the best in me,” he said. “I know he’s training hard; I’m training hard. But I know he’s going to come ready and prepared, so I am as well. I feel like once we get locked up in there and we start throwing hands, it’s really going to bring out the best in me. I shine in those moments where the pressure’s on and everybody’s watching. That’s when I shine my hardest. Everything I’ve been doing leading up to this point is to set me up for success on that night. Sept. 4, there’s going to be a show.”
Once the cage door locks, Gutierrez expects to use Miller’s aggressiveness against him.
“He’s going to come at me crazy, and I’m definitely going to have to weather the storm,” Gutierrez said. “He doesn’t have an answer for everything I have for him, so something’s going to give, and I feel like I’ll get him out of there either late first or early second.”
Gutierrez plans to show his versatility and “throw a bunch of shit” at Miller, who he believes won’t be able to keep his head above the metaphorical water.
“El Toro” made his Legacy Fighting Alliance debut in July at LFA 86, when he swiftly submitted Jeff Jepsen. Once Gutierrez took Jepsen to the mat, he applied a rear naked choke for the win. However, against Miller, Gutierrez believes the fight will take place mostly on the feet.
He notes that Miller has good hands and is a “really talented wrestler,” adding that he feels the two are evenly matched in many areas. Gutierrez said the difference will be his superior fight IQ.
“I’m going to be able to make adjustments during the fight, stay one step ahead and be able to give him something he hasn’t seen before,” he said. “And then I’ll really put it on him. I think the transitions are going to be key, definitely. Anywhere the fight goes, I just have to be the first to attack and be the first to have an answer, and things will play out in my favor.”
Gutierrez fielded calls from a “few” different promotions, but ultimately chose to make his sophomore LFA appearance.
“Honestly, everybody’s goal is to go to LFA, state their case, make their point and move up to the UFC,” he said. “That’s what I’m here to do. I’ll fight in a backyard if I have to, but I’m obviously going to take the best option, and LFA is most definitely that. Why would I not want to fight in front of thousands of people online streaming? It’s the best platform to fight for as far as feeders go, so I want to go out there and have the best fight of my career on the best platform I could possibly do it on.”
Between the hard work he’s put in and the level of competition Miller is at, Gutierrez believes this fight will be his best performance yet. That said, he thinks he’s still a couple of victories left from earning a crack at the LFA bantamweight title.
The LFA bantamweight division is “extremely talented,” Gutierrez said.
“There’s a couple of guys with double-digit wins who are really making some noise in that division. They’re probably going to have to shake that out. I just have to worry about me and keep on winning. God has always been on my side, and things are going to play out the way they’re supposed to as long as you work hard and stay faithful.”
LFA 90 is slated to air on UFC Fight Pass on Sept. 4.