Charles Rosa (13-4 MMA, 4-4 UFC) will look to stay in the win column over Darrick Minner (25-11 MMA, 1-1 UFC) when the two featherweights collide at UFC Vegas 19 on Feb. 20.
Charles Rosa vs. Darrick Minner
Rosa and Minner have 30 professional submissions combined between the two of them. Fans may be expecting a grapplers’ delight between the two, but Rosa said the decision to try to make it one lies with Minner.
“If that’s where he wants to take the fight, it’s on him,” Charles Rosa told MMASucka. “I’m an MMA fighter, so that’s the way I fight. I find the opponent’s weakness and I capitalize on it. If I start landing punches, and I’m landing shots and he’s not able to defend himself, then you’d better believe I’m gonna knock his ass out and put him down with a shot. But if he starts shooting on these takedowns and I snap down a front headlock, he’s going to sleep for sure.”
Rosa pointed out that he has never been submitted as a professional, while Minner has suffered eight submission losses. “Boston Strong” also noted Minner’s one win via TKO, as well as his own armbar finish of Manny Bermudez.
“There’s really no safe place in the fight for him,” Rosa said. “I think he knows that, too, going into this fight. Darrick doesn’t seem that dumb of a kid, so I think he knows he’s going to be in for a tough night. … We’ll see if he’s wise enough not to stand in front of me and try to fight a technical fight because he knows a little behind me there.”
When asked where he feels he holds advantages over Minner, Rosa responded:
“I think the better question is ‘where don’t I?’ I don’t think there’s any spot in the fight. If you look at the fight, he’s kind of like a one-trick pony. He has that guillotine, but I can’t remember the last time in the gym I’ve been guillotined. I train with the top Jiu-Jitsu guys on the planet all day long, and I can’t remember the last time I got guillotined … From a technical standpoint and a fan standpoint, I don’t see any spot in the fight where he’s better than me. I don’t see cardio, striking, kicks, punches, submission offense or submission defense.”
Seeking a Win-Streak
Charles Rosa has alternated wins and losses ever since he entered the UFC as a 9-0 prospect with a perfect finish rate. He believes Minner is the opponent to start his first UFC winning streak against.
“I thought I was going to go right to the world title,” Rosa said. “But it takes a little bit more than that. It’s not the way the story was supposed to be written. I went through a lot of stuff since then, and I was out for two years with surgeries. But now, finally, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been and the strongest I’ve ever been. To put these two together and get on a good winning streak, I think it’s the plan the way it’s supposed to go. So, I’m excited to get that winning streak going and start riding this momentum.”
Charles Rosa feels he should have had a win-streak by now, as he still believes he beat Yair Rodriguez when they fought in Mexico City in June 2015. Rodriguez, currently the No. 4-ranked featherweight, edged Rosa via split decision at UFC 188.
“I think about that fight every day and want that fight back. I lost a split decision to Yair Rodriguez in his hometown of Mexico City in front of 35,000 Mexicans cheering against me, and I took it to him. I whooped his ass, dude. I was on top of him punching him in the face, and his coach, Greg Jackson is in the corner telling him to try to get up. I’m just smashing elbows and smashing punches. Beat him, beat him up. I didn’t get the ‘W,’ but it’s the name of the game.
“I think that was a great performance. It also showed my toughness, because he hit me with some good spinning kicks and some shots. It showed how durable I am.”
Rosa noted his other career losses all came to men who were ranked when he fought them or became ranked afterward: a five days’ notice bout against “European legend” Dennis Siver, Shane Burgos and Bryce Mitchell.
“I know if I get another crack at any of those guys, I beat them all,” Rosa said. “It’s just a matter of strategy going into the fight and preparation.”
Charles Rosa’s Favorite Win
Rosa is coming off a decision win over Kevin Aguilar; which Rosa said is the “smartest” fight he fought from a technical standpoint. However, his submission over Bermudez is his favorite win – “besides the Yair Rodriguez win, which I didn’t technically get,” Rosa said – because of the two-year layoff Rosa suffered due to surgeries.
“The doctor said I would never fight again,” Rosa said. “I came back and submitted him in my home town of Boston. I extended my UFC Boston winning streak, breaking Conor McGregor’s record for most wins all-time in Boston. I’m currently the record holder for UFC’s all-time wins in Boston. That’s something I take a lot of pride in.”
Rosa predicted a first-round knockout win over Minner, adding that he’s coming for his head.
“It’s really on him with the way it ends. We’re yet to see if he’s tough enough to take the damage past the first round. If he, all of a sudden, grew a chin overnight and he can take these punches and he can take this punishment, then he makes it to the second round and he starts getting desperate to shoot, then maybe you’ll see a submission. If he thinks he’s going to stand in front of me, then he’s getting knocked out. There’s no doubt about that. I’m excited for it.”
UFC Vegas 19 is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 20. The action is slated to go down from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
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