At AFL 19: Night of Champions Darwin Rodriguez (7-4) will defend his light heavyweight title against UFC veteran Amilcar Alves (18-16) in the co-main event. It’s the largest AFL fight card to date, taking place in Gran Canaria, Spain and will be available to watch around the world on FITE.tv on March 30 with tickets available from MASTEQUILLA.com .
We sat down with Rodriguez recently to speak about his decision to train in Phuket, his goals, and what it means to be fighting veterans like Alves.
AFL: You are training in Phuket ahead of your next fight. Where exactly are you training / which gym, and who are you training with?
Darwin Rodriguez: I’m training in AKA Thailand and Tiger Muay Thai, here they have pro fighters from all big leagues, ACA, Fight Nights, UFC, Bellator …. and AFL. Training all the time with great fighters and coaches.
AFL: Why did you decide to go there?
DR: I decided to come here because we do not have heavy fighters in Spain to help with my camp. My best training partner, Daniel Ladero, has an injury now and these means I have no more partners here. Also I like to be out of my comfort zone and always under pressure, Thailand certainly offers me this.
AFL: You are facing UFC veteran Amilcar Alves, what are your thoughts on him as a fighter? Where do you have the advantage?
DR: Alves is a good fighter. He is dynamic and strong, very experienced. I respect all my opponents the same but I am always training to destroy them. My advantage is my drive! I am winning this fight for my people, my team, and myself!
AFL: What is your prediction for the fight?
DR: I can only see victory and I will do whatever it takes.
AFL: What would it mean to defend the AFL light heavyweight title at AFL 19 and against an experienced opponent like Alves?
DR: It is the next step the progression of my career and my fight CV. Alves is an experienced guy, I’ve fought in the UFC, and the big leagues want fighters with victories over fighters like this. So it means a lot to me to get the win and also to defend my light heavyweight title.
AFL: What are your goals in MMA?
DR: My only goal is the UFC!
AFL: You are 26, on a good win streak, known for your finishes, how confident are you in yourself right now and do you see yourself as the best of Spain’s light heavyweights?
DR: I think so and on March 30 I will once again prove this. I am young and there are many years ahead of preparations and battles, and I look forward to it all!