Chepe Mariscal on Win Over Morgan Charriere: I ‘Made It an MMA Fight’

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Chepe Mariscal (16-6 MMA, 3-0 UFC) pushed his win streak to six after earning a competitive split decision win over Morgan Charriere (19-10-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) in the UFC Apex on Saturday.

Mariscal graded his performance an A-, as he felt he did what he wanted to do against Charriere: have fun and fight a good bout. He said Charriere was a very tough opponent with a very high fighter IQ.

“He definitely tested me and some of my limits,” Mariscal told MMASucka. “He showed me how much more I’ve evolved.”

Mariscal found success when he muddied the waters in rounds 1 and 3, pressing Charriere up against the clinch and pushing the pace. He was rewarded with a split decision win when two judges gave him the two aforementioned rounds.

“To be honest, I get a little tired of trying to be this clean, technical fighter like I can be, but when I put that pressure and I’m throwing those punches and keeping the pressure on you, I interrupt your flow, I interrupt your breathing, your mentality, your motive,” Mariscal said.

Mariscal addressed some criticism from coaches, fighters and others that he was smacking Charriere inside the Octagon.

“Some coaches and fighters think that smacking doesn’t have an effect, but it does,” he said. “If I smack you hard enough, your ears are going to start ringing. That’s when I fought at the Apex. I’m like, ‘I’m going to smack him in his ears so he can’t hear his corner, because his corner is going to be right there and it’s going to be way more quiet and not as much fans.’ I had to play with more strategy in this fight, and it worked out fine.”

Mariscal said he brings an old-school style into the new era. He switches his stance, changes his attacks and tries to go for takedowns. And even when he doesn’t hit his attempts, he feels they open up different maneuvers.

“Pressuring him against the cage, creating some different movement and applying some strikes, going for takedowns; that’s what I did in this fight,” he said. “I had more of the output. I was throwing more strikes. I was landing. I had him touching his knee on the canvas. I felt those were points adding up. I was outstriking this guy. I was out pressuring him. I was doing what I had to do to win this fight. It was a great fight. He is a great fighter. I bet any money he’s going to kill the next guy he fights. I maintain I did enough for the victory.”

Mariscal said he knew he was doing enough in the striking department that Charriere would try to grapple.

“When he took me down, he didn’t do anything. He didn’t advance. He didn’t throw no ground and pound. He was just holding me, and I could feel it. That’s why in some positions, I couldn’t advance. He was just holding me. He didn’t throw no punches or try to advance position. When he did, it was because of my movement of getting of getting out. He got me in a guillotine, but I got out of the guillotine. I got out of all his submissions and I was applying strikes. When he was trying to do an anaconda, I threw those sneaky elbows. I kept it a fight; an MMA fight. It wasn’t no, ‘This is just grappling,’ or ‘This is just striking.’ I was mixing it up to clarify that this is my style.”

Charriere won the second round on all three judges’ scorecards. He was being patient and counter-fighting against Marsical, landing the more effective strikes. Mariscal knew he had to step it up in the third round and get back to mixing things up in a fight where his corner told him it was either 1-1 or he needed a finish on the judges’ scorecards. And Mariscal said he was looking for that finish.

“I wasn’t trying to hold him or stall. I came in to fight. I wanted to try to get a finish any how. Ground and pound. Any way. I kept it fun, I kept it active, and I did it from every position.”

Mariscal had two big moments in the third round: an early blitz where he landed a heavy combination on Charriere against the cage and then with 40 seconds left, he got on top of Charriere and landed ground and pound. After a back-and-forth four minutes in the final frame, Marsical feels those last 40 or so seconds earned him the victory.

“I remember being in that one weird position in the single leg. Holding that position. Me trying to wait for him to advance, me trying to go for a submission so I could move or do something. I was like, ‘OK, am I going to wait on him, or am I going to go?’ When they told me ‘one minute left,’ man that gave me fuel. I heard my partner. That gave me fuel and I was like, ‘Let’s go.’ I just drove him to his back. My coach is big on settling on top, letting them scramble a little and then settle. That’s what I did. Then I just started adding my punches to show the judges I’m on the ground, doing ground and pound. I’m not just holding. I’m showing that I’m being active. I felt like that got me the win.”

Mariscal said he showed more effort than his foe in every round.

“I gave everything. I threw everything. That’s the thing. I was showing the judges, ‘Hey, I’m here to fight. This guy, he could try to counter fight this whole goddamn fight. I’m going to show you that I’m fighting.’”

Mariscal said Charriere is a great counterfighter, so he wanted to make him active and break him with pressure.

“I was playing it like a dance floor. I was just trying to keep it at center, keep him on the cage, keep him in the centerzone, middle, everything. I just tried to make it a real fight where the judges would see that, ‘This guy actually obviously put more effort into the striking and made it an MMA fight.'”

Mariscal said he’s not big on calling out people after fights, but expressed he would like to get two of his defeats back at some point.

Bryce Mitchell, currently ranked at No. 10 in the featherweight division, beat Marsical via unanimous decision at V3 Fights 60 in June 2017.

“I do want to run that back,” Mariscal said. “It would be cool to fill my storyline and my career. All the stuff I had to go through. My journey to get into the UFC, he was part of that. It would be cool to run that back.”

He said it would also be “amazing” to rematch Joanderson Brito.

“The one who knocked me out in the LFA main event [in 2019],” Mariscal said. “He kicked me in the crotch. He got some lucky shots in and then he got that lucky overhand. I feel like I’m a different version now, so I would like to fight him. Whoever.”

Mariscal said he didn’t pick and choose Charriere, or Trevor Peek or Jack Jenkins, who he also has UFC wins over.

“I was ready on the hotline. They were all short notice, and I was like, ‘Let’s just go.'”

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Michael is a big MMA fan who enjoys interviewing the sport's athletes, writing about the sport, and just discussing it. He earned his Master's in Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and his B.A. in Journalism at Stony Brook University. He also enjoys hockey, football and baseball. Feel free to hit him up if you want to discuss MMA, or any other sport!

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