Mana Martinez tests skills with Ronnie Lawrence at UFC 271 on February 12th. This bantamweight bout emanates from Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
The timeline was quite tumultuous and tragic for Martinez leading into his first UFC fight back in August. His coach passed away, COVID interjected, opponent changes transpired, delays took place, and missing weight were all factors in the lead up to that first fighting foray in the organization. All of that being said, Martinez came through underneath the bright lights and managed to get it done.
Martinez’s UFC debut against Guido Cannetti was uncharacteristic by his estimation but it galvanized his confidence in a way. The AllStar’s John Hyon Ko spoke with “Manaboi” ahead of his fight.
No More Hiccups
“I remember that fight week being an emotional roller coaster ride. The highs, the lows, the ups, and downs. It was definitely tough but I made sure to stay as mentally strong as I could. Despite everything going on around me and everything going on with me. With the little hiccup in missing weight.”
“Thinking back and pulling off the victory. Looking at the fighter who fought that fight which is nothing like I’ve ever fought like in any of my fights. It’s like man, if I could do that especially in my debut, I can go places. I can go far in this game. That’s definitely something I’ve mentally accepted and thought about.”
Next, he clashes with 7-1 Ronnie Lawrence who cut his teeth on the Valor Fights, HR MMA, and LFA circuits early on. Lawrence won during the 2020 season of the Contender Series and subsequently has put together a 1-0 record in the UFC.
A lot of momentum continues from that debut effort heading into this second UFC fight for Martinez. The confidence comes through in what he sees in this sophomore Octagon matchup vs Lawrence.
“I see a wrestler. He does have his spin kick. Got his one-two blitzes, occasional flying knees. Nothing that I haven’t seen before. But I definitely see him shooting in. Trying to time a little head on the outside, head on the inside double. Been training hard for that. If he comes with a different takedown approach or happens to want to keep it standing, I’ll be ready for anything.”
Martinez vs Lawrence
The excitement is resonating from Martinez ahead of this second UFC bout. He returns to a venue that he competed at as an amateur fighter.
The familiarity with fighting in that venue and this being his hometown arena are bolstering an already pronounced motivation to get the win here.
Martinez admits that he does not see himself getting taken down in this contest. His expanded fight prediction leans more towards feeling like this fight ends inside the distance.
“Me getting my hand raised. Just looking back at my record and how well I’ve done in Houston, I don’t see any changing that. Whether I decide for it to be a wrestling heavy match. Choose to scramble with him, take him down, stuff his takedowns, or play a little bit on the ground. It just depends. But ultimately I definitely see myself getting my hand raised. Finishing him within two. But if it has to go all fifteen, I’ve proven I’m more than capable of that. And I’m down to go all fifteen.”
What are your thoughts on Mana Martinez versus Ronnie Lawrence at UFC 271 this weekend?