CLEVELAND, TX, August 26, 2012 – Legacy Fighting Championship 14 is right around the corner with Houston’s top pro show coming back to the Arena Theater in just a few weeks’ time on September 14th of next month.
As usual, Legacy Fighting Championship 14 will feature some notable and established veterans on the card like Jorge “Macaco” Patino defending his welterweight title against Jeff Rexroad in the main event of the evening but the show will feature some up and coming young fighters looking to make waves as well.
One of them is a debuting professional by the name of Ryan “Riptide” Hollis.
Fighting out the Hard Head Hitters fight team in Cleveland, TX, Ryan has steadily made a name for himself in Houston MMA’s flyweight division in the past year. Since October 2011 he’s built up a 4-1 record including a dominant submission victory in his last fight at Cage Combat 9 to win his first amateur belt and secure his third finish in a row.
His success at the amateur level will be short-lived however as he’ll make the move to the pro ranks at Legacy Fighting Championship 14in a fight he couldn’t pass up – against Matt “Danger” Schnell, one of the primary stars on MTV’s recent MMA-focused show CAGED.
We recently caught up with Ryan to discuss his upcoming pro debut and see what he has to say about facing “Danger” to start things off as a pro.
Interview – Ryan “Riptide’ Hollis (Hard Head Hitters)
Ryan, give us a little bit about your history in the fight game on your way to going pro.
I started off street fighting. Me and my boy Ralph Garcia had a Team Called Team Cutthroat out of Galveston Texas. We started fighting in smokers usually at clubs and bars. I had about 4 of those (fights) then started fighting for Charles Ontiveros’s Promotion East Texas MMA on the Indian Reservation. I fought there 5 times and won the 135 Title but ended up not having a place to live anymore in Galveston so I moved to Cleveland, Texas so I could start Training with Charles and be a HardHead Hitter. They put me in my first sanctioned fight at the Verizon Wireless Theater for Legacy where I beat Alex Ramirez by decision.
In my next fight got a title shot against Ricky Turcios for the Legacy 125 Belt. I showed up at weigh-ins thinking I was on weight and was 7 pounds overweight. Apparently my scale was broken so I went outside and cut 7 pounds in 30 minutes. The next day I fought a good fight but was outwrestled. I did more work and was the guy landing more shots and putting him in different submissions but at the end of the fight they gave it to Ricky. That fight changed me. It killed me because I didn’t get hit with 1 punch the whole fight and I let this dude get the win over me… So it was back to the drawing board. I went harder in training and came back with a vengeance! I fought Matt Thompson at Cage Combat 8 and won by armbar in 44 seconds. Then I fought Hugo Dela Fuente at Legacy Amateur series 7 and won by TKO in round 2. Then I had my title fight for the Cage Combat 125 belt against James De Hererra Where I won by armbar in a minute. Now I’m ready to go pro.
You say that first title fight changed you. What’s your mentality now as a fighter?
I would have to say I have the mindset of the Diaz Brothers with the style of Anderson Silva or Jose Aldo. I get in my opponent’s heads. I make my opponents do what i want them to do. The longer the fight goes on the more I make them feel like nothing they do is working until they just give up on themselves.
What have you been going in preparation to do work in the pro ranks?
I have been adding on weight, eating a lot, hitting the weights, Getting stronger overall so I can keep these wrestlers off me or throw them to the side when they try to ride me like some Mechanical Bull.
I would say my striking, confidence, and muscle mass have been my best improvements. I fought several fights where I never even threw one punch and just went for submissions. I kind of had this mental block where I felt bad about punching someone in the face so I tried to win without doing that. But nowadays I know if I don’t (hit them) then they might do it to me so I dropped that mentality quick.
What’s one thing not a lot of people may know about you that’s interesting?
I always wanted to play football. I was too small to play in school but if I would have been normal-sized you might have seen me going to college trying to get into the NFL. God had something else planned for me though so I’m happy just being a fan. I still love it.
What goes through your mind when you step in the cage?
You get so many different things going through your mind. It’s insane, When you see your opponent you know that everything you’ve been training for, all your sacrifices, it all comes down to this. I see my opponent and I think of all the sh-t people say about me leading up to the fight. All of the name calling… All the doubt… And when I look in my opponent’s eyes from across the cage as I pace back and forth I can see the fear in their hearts. It’s almost like they can feel everything I’ve had to go through. When I see them I know that this isn’t just some dream that this is actually happening and it’s time to go hard or go home!
I know you’re planning on going hard when you debut against Matt “Danger” Schnell, especially considering he was on MTV and all with their MMA show CAGED. What are your thought on this fight?
I’m very excited for this fight. It’s one of the fights i have wanted for a while! I watched the show and always thought it would be fun to fight him but never thought it would happen. He was on MTV and I was just some scrappy Texas Kid. Then I seen he had signed with Legacy and not even seconds after that I was messaging Collin Cantrell. I told him I wanted to be the one to welcome “Danger” to Texas! Lucky for me Collin and Mick thought that sounded great.
I feel like he is well rounded, has good wrestling, good jiu-Jitsu, and okay striking but he’s nothing incredible… Everything is just ok. I think he’s a nice guy and very respectful but come fight night I will show why coming to Texas to fight me was very bad choice by his managers and team.
How do you plan on beating him?
I’m going to do what I usually do. At first I’m going to get in his head. I’m going to stuff his takedowns, dance in front of him and show him that there’s nothing he can do to hurt me right off the bat, and after that I’ll will use my range to hit him in the face. I see me walking out of that cage with a KO/TKO. I see him getting tired from trying his hardest to take me down and ride me, then me either dropping him or getting on top to ground and pound for the finish.
It sounds like you are a man with a plan. Do you have any other plans after this?
I’m going to be fighting for Legacy again in November. I have a few people in mind that I want right off the top of my head… Marcus Dupar, I really want to put him in his place, but then again that’s just a fun fight and not really a fight that will get me much of anything. Also Will Campuzano. Everyone thinks they can kick my ass anyways so I wouldn’t have to worry about him backing out… Or maybe JT Mendez but he’s a good guy. No problems here, that just sounds like a good fight to me.
Any last words before September 14th in Houston Ryan?
I would like to thank some people… My Sponsors, Deviate Auto Sports, Southern District, B.O.I Entertainment, and Pound4Pound. I would also like to thank my teams: HardHead Hitters/ ONEMMA.
And one last word for Danger…Just know that you’re on my home turf now. This isn’t Louisiana…This isn’t a MTV Reality show….This is TEXAS! This is AXS! All brought to you By LEGACY FC! Thanks again Mick Maynard and Collin and thank you god for giving me this chance to prove myself.