LFA 51: Versatility key for undefeated Andres Alcantar, in and out of the cage
This Friday, light heavyweight prospect Andres Alcantar (4-0) is set to compete at LFA 51 against Jordan Powell (9-7) on September 28th in Fresno California.
Coming into this fight with an undefeated record, Alcantar’s three of his four victories ended by way of KO/TKO in the opening ten minutes. In his short four-fight career, he has managed to fight in three different divisions: middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight.
As a child, Alcantar was first introduced to martial arts by his brother-in-law. He remembered watching Royce Gracie fight and falling quickly in love with the sport. The Arizonan took an immediate interest in wanting to train, but accidentally stumbled into the wrong style of fighting.
Introduction to MMA
“I remember growing up I always wanted to try to do karate because I didn’t know about styles and jiu-jitsu,” Alcantar said. “I thought it was just karate because Royce had a gi on. Then I get into it and it was different. As I got older The Ultimate Fighter season three comes out and it was really big, Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock were the coaches and [I] really remembered how I wanted to do this and then I knew it was jiu-jitsu.”
He began his mixed martial arts training at the age of 21, spending his time developing skills in jiu-jitsu, before transitioning into other disciplines such as muay thai and boxing.
Though he has been training for many years, Alcantar only recently began competing, in late 2014.
“I have some amateur fights under my belt but there was only a few of those,” Alcantar said. “I also have a family as well. I think back then my downfall was really the inconsistency and letting things get in the way so it was kind of my fault why it took that long even to go pro, and go that route.”
Mixed martial arts isn’t the only interest Alcantar had during his youth. He has also spent years being an active break-dancer.
“I was a break-dancer so I did that since I was 12,” Alcantar said. “Even now I mess around breakdancing and I even teach my daughters. I did that competitively and even went out to LA for a bit. That’s what helped me transition really well into jiu-jitsu and MMA.
I moved up to this town called Salinas California and my coach Vince Vanderlipe at Kugtar Mixed Martial Arts, took me under his wing, and those are my roots. That’s where I started learning mixed martial arts and started putting everything together.”
Mentoring, Special Education, and Community Work
Through his passion for break-dancing, he also got involved in a Boys & Girls youth club as an instructor.
“I started getting unhealthy when I left LA and getting out of shape,” Alcantar said. “I just loved dance and I wanted to teach kids. So I asked if they had any position for teaching dance and they offered me a position, so I took it and ran with it. I got to be there and mentor, and have a dance class.”
The 34-year-old is currently based out of Cyclone Muay Thai & Soul Fighters BJJ in Glendale, Arizona. For his day job, he works at a local high school in the Special Education department. He works primarily with students with a variety of developmental disabilities and behavioral needs, providing them with individualized education plans (IEPs) so their school work can be modified to fit their individual needs and goals.
“I’m also part of a life skills program,” said Alcantar. “We try to help the kids be college and career ready, helping them transition and be ready for the real world. We are here supporting the kids, I’m there for them to inspire them so they can do anything as long as they just try or have effort. It doesn’t matter what the disabilities are, they can achieve stuff and they can be something. That’s why I love doing it.”
Alcantar’s position as a paraprofessional requires him to also provide emotional support for students and providing them with coping mechanisms that can help students to de-escalate their behaviors. He has ample training through the district with autism, behavior, and various disabilities.
“I’m with them daily, checking how they are, seeing if they’re okay,” said Alcantar. “Some aren’t able to express themselves, they don’t know how to yet, or they don’t have that ability, so I just monitor them and make sure they’re okay and make them feel as comfortable as possible.
They use me a lot really well I guess. I have a calming nature, so I’m able to calm kids down and I have a good rapport with kids. They tend to listen and do really well, but we’ve been trained on how to deal with behaviors, how to redirect, provide positive reinforcement, and it’s really cool.”
When the 34-year-old is finished his regular school day, he goes to the charter school where his wife works to teach jiu-jitsu to the students in the after-school program. He is also an active member of community engagement organizations and dedicates a lot of his time to supporting youth in his city.
Upcoming Fight: LFA 51
Alcantar is currently looking forward to his next fight at LFA 51, he is scheduled to duke it out against regional veteran Jordan Powell (9-7) this Friday night. He hopes to be able to be able to showcase his skills on the ground, if the fight goes there, but is always looking for a finish.
“I think it will be a great matchup,” Alcantar said. “I know he does have an extensive pro record. He has a few knockouts and some submissions but overall I think it’s going to be a really great fight. His style, I like it, I think I’ll do really good and great. I’m excited for this fight because if it goes to the ground.
Which I have a feeling he might take the fight to the ground, I’m excited for that because I’ve never got to actually really showcase my ground skills in my pro MMA career yet so I think it will be cool to have a submission win under me. I respect him, I never count anyone out but I think it’s a really good great matchup. I think it’s a good fight.”
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Though he has fought in three different official weight divisions, Alcantar is looking to stick around at light heavyweight for the time being. Eventually, he wants to make his mark in the middleweight division.
“My pro debut was actually at middleweight, so it’s kind of funny to see those weight classes but I think I’ll be at light heavyweight for a little bit. I’ll see how it goes and how my training is going, and everything. Eventually, I think I want to make a mark at 185.”
Ultimately, his goal is to make training and fighting his sole career, and he believes through his performances he will make that a reality.
“I love fighting but I also wanna provide for my family, I want to take care of my family and I work two jobs and then I train. I want to get to the point where I can focus on just my training. So I definitely want to get some good fights under my belt and get my name out there.
The goal is ultimately the UFC, I want to be in the UFC and I’m hoping my performances with LFA will make a good impression and any organization that wants to take me I’m willing to do it.”