Case in point: El Paso’s Jesús Urbina, who will face Albuquerque’s Damacio Page tonight in the flyweight (125-pound) main event of an MMA card at Isleta Resort & Casino, makes no secret he has been a Page admirer in the past.
“I’m a fan of his,” Urbina (8-5) said earlier this week at a news conference. “I’m super excited. This fight’s like a dream come true for me.
“I’ve followed (Page) since his WEC days. He’s a great fighter.”
Then, however, there was this: “But I’m a better fighter.”
To that last remark, Page (19-10) took no offense. Isn’t Urbina supposed to think he’s the better fighter?
As for the compliments, Page said, they were appreciated. But they’ll mean nothing tonight.
“I think it’s great, but at the end of the day he’s my opponent,” he said. “I respect that he respected me for my past. … (But) now he’s my opponent, and he’s here to do his job and I’m here to do my job.”
Page, 35, hasn’t fought since May 2015, when he lost by technical submission (triangle choke) to Alexandre Pantoja on an RFA/Legacy card in Robinsonville, Miss. Since then, he’s acquired a contractor’s license and become the head wrestling coach at St. Pius X High School.
Regarding his MMA comeback, if that’s what this is, Page is looking no further than tonight. A return to the UFC, in which he competed in 2011-12, isn’t something he’s thinking about.
“What’s important to me is just doing my job, getting my job done, getting my hand raised at the end of the day,” he said. “… I’m not worried about the UFC, I’m not worried about anything.”
Urbina was asked how he planned to fight Page. “That’s to be determined,” he said. “I don’t know what I have to do as of yet.
“I’ve never fought him before. He comes forward a lot; I like that about him. That’s why I took this fight.”
Urbina has fought in the Albuquerque area before, most recently against Joby Sanchez, Page’s teammate at Jackson-Wink MMA. Sanchez won by split decision.
Mike Winkeljohn, co-promoter of tonight’s card with Lenny Fresquez, said Sanchez’s movement won that fight for him. But, Winkeljohn noted, that’s not Page’s style.
“If you’ve never seen Damacio fight before, he comes at you and throws hard, so there’s gonna be fireworks,” Winkeljohn said.
A total of 10 fights, six involving pros and four involving amateurs, are scheduled.
Highlights of the pro card include a heavyweight fight between Los Lunas’ Cody East (12-3) and Tony Lopez (56-26) of Yucaipa, Calif. It’s a rematch of a 2012 fight won by Lopez via third-round TKO.
Harvey Park (8-1), the fighting Curry County sheriff’s deputy, is matched against Frenchman Majeddine Ayadi (10-2) in a lightweight fight. Ayadi has been training at Jackson-Wink.
CHANGE OF OPPONENT: Albuquerque’s Nicco Montaño (3-2) will face Roxanne Modaferri (21-13) tonight (Fox Sports 1, 6 p.m.) in The Ultimate Fighter 26 finale in Las Vegas, Nev. The winner will become the first UFC women’s flyweight (125-pound) champion.
Montaño was to have fought Sijara Eubanks (2-2), who defeated Modaferri by unanimous decision in a TUF semifinal. But Eubanks was pulled from the card after being hospitalized as a result of cutting weight.
Montaño, who trains at FIT-NHB, weighed in Thursday at 124.8 pounds. She advanced to the final by defeating Lauren Murphy, Montana Stewart and Barb Honchak during the filming of TUF 26. Those fights do not count on her official record.
Tonight’s fight will count, and Montaño believes she’s ready.
“The further I build my skill and my technique and the harder the opponents become,” she said in a phone interview this week, “I feel like I’m starting to become a more well-rounded fighter.”