Photo Credit: @alonzomenifieldmma on Instagram

LFA 33’s Alonzo Menifield: Building Experience to be a “Top Dog” at Light-Heavyweight

Dallas’ Fortis MMA has quietly put together a team of rising talents with three team members set to make UFC debuts over the next 30 days. With an impressive performance at LFA 33, light-heavyweight prospect Alonzo Menifield (5-0 MMA) might find himself on the short list to join teammates Rashad Coulter, Charles Byrd, Steven Peterson and Geoff Neal in the world’s largest MMA promotion.

It’s no secret the light-heavyweight division across the entire sport of MMA is thin. With top promotions in need of new talent, prospects with less professional experience are getting signed more frequently. The 3o-year-old Menifield fits that bill as his 5-0 record already has him garnering attention from the MMA community.

A professional since 2014, Menifield only got his start in martial arts a few years prior. Menifield was a football player at the collegiate level and even went to the NFL combine as a linebacker. While Menifield also had a stint with the Indoor Football League (IFL), a lack of “passion” for football led him to try muay thai at age 24. Legendary muay thai trainer Saekson Janjira took Menifield under his wing. Janjira has trained some very notable MMA competitors including Pete Spratt, Anthony Njokuani, and Chidi Njokuani. It was Janjira who pushed Menifield to make his professional debut up a weight class and after only two amateur fights. What resulted was a 0:38 knockout victory at Bellator 146.

Menifield continued developing his skills under Janjira as well as at nearby Fortis MMA. His next two bouts came under the LFA banner, an organization known for developing up-and-coming talent in the United States. When asked about his experiences competing for LFA, Menifield classified it as “all great and dandy.”

“No hiccups. They take care of you,” Menifield said, “it’s always been a good experience.”

At 3-0, Menifield was granted a massive opportunity to compete on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Menifield was matched up with American Top Team’s Daniel Jolly, a fighter who had twice competed under the UFC banner. “I was pumped about fighting a UFC-opponent and was ready to get in there and prove myself,” Menifield said.

Menifield’s hand was raised in that matchup, but not in the matter he would’ve liked. After a back-and-forth first round, Jolly was unable to answer the bell for the second round due to an injury. “The experience was pretty intense, I tried to hold it together,” Menifield said. When asked about the result, Menifield acknowledged he was disappointed but “thrilled for the opportunity” to compete in front of UFC president Dana White and talent relations’ directors, Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard. “He (Jolly) did catch me with an overhand right in the first round and I wanted the opportunity to retaliate,” Menifield mentioned.

Following the win, Menifield was not granted a UFC contract nor a second fight on the aforementioned Contender Series. Menifield went back into training camp and picked up another knockout victory at LFA 28 over the dangerous Otavio Lacerda (9-4 MMA).

The win over Lacerda also did not grant Menifield an opportunity at a big promotional debut.  Yet, Menifield maintains incredible focus and determination to continue building experience towards his ultimate goal of being a “top contender” and “not just a fighter” in the UFC.  When asked if he’s been contacted by the UFC or other big promotions, Menifield articulated that he leaves that up to his management and coaches.  “My manager (Rick Guerrero with MATA LEON Sports Management) and coaches handles the conversations,” Menifield said, “I try to keep all my focus on my fights and development and let them manage me.”

For Menifield, the ongoing discussions with larger promotions may be heavily contingent on his LFA 33 main-card bout against Brice Ritani-Coe (4-4 MMA), a former headliner who’s winless since 2015 and making his light-heavyweight debut.  Regarding Ritani-Coe, “he’s a good boxer, good head movement, and fluidity. He’s got good experience,” Menifield said. “I’ve been training and taking my opponent very seriously,” he added. Menifield also described his hope to accomplish and showcase his overall game and put together his skills and experience that he’s gained during this training camp. “Obviously looking for that W,” Menifield concluded.

Menifield’s focus is entirely on Ritani-Coe but when asked about a future LFA title opportunity against champion Ryan Spann, Menifield was quick to shoot down the potential idea seeing that Spann is his Fortis MMA teammate and one of his primary training partners. However, Menifield did elaborate on his future plans competing in the UFC’s Light-Heavyweight division when his coaches and management feel he is ready. “The division is thin. I’m looking to be in that line based on some of the competitors I’ve seen in there,” Menifield said, “I want to prove I can outperform some of those guys. Take them out and be a ‘Top Dog’ in the 205 division.”

There’s no denying the stakes for Menifield’s LFA 33 matchup are high given his prospect status.  Like many athletes in this sport, Menifield is a family man first and foremost and uses that to drive him in his training and performances. Time spent sightseeing and doing activities with his wife is what the unbeaten martial artist enjoys most outside the gym.

Happy Anniversary to my beautiful wife. You are the love of my life.

A post shared by Alonzo T Menifield (@alonzomenifieldmma) on

Watch Alonzo Menifield battle Brice Ritani-Coe on the main card of LFA 33 on Friday, February 16, 2018 at The Bomb Factory in Dallas, TX.  The fights will air on AXS.tv.

Follow Alonzo Menifield on the following social media platforms:

FacebookAlonzo T. Menifield

Instagram@alonzomenifieldmma

Twitter@alonzomenifield

 

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