Photo courtesy of Lugo's Instagram account

NEF 36: Jose “El Salvaje” Lugo Isn’t Stopping Until He Gets a Finish

Heading into his last fight at CES 50, back in June, there was a lot on Jose “El Salvaje” Lugo’s mind. He had an opponent switch late in his camp but more importantly, his baby girl was going into surgery the next month. So it’s not hard to imagine why he was not entirely focused when he stepped into the cage.

Lugo was facing a familiar opponent in Michael Taylor whom he beat in his pro debut by rear naked choke in the first round. He knew that Taylor was going to come in quick and try and take him out and he almost did.

“He threw a looping over hand left hand and it hit me right in the back of the dome. And to be honest with you, I lost my legs, I was conscious, I wasn’t out but my legs were gone for like five to six seconds I had noodle legs.”

El Salvaje was able to recover and in the second round won by rear naked choke against Taylor for the second time. He wasn’t happy with his performance, but Lugo said it was a good learning experience.

“I’m glad he did, it sounds crazy, I’m glad he did. I’ve never been in a situation like that in my MMA career. I’ve never been hit so hard that I couldn’t control the lower half of my body. It was a weird feeling and a good lesson. Now I know if I ever end up in that position again I kinda know how to react a little bit to it. It was definitely a good experience. The question was, was I happy with my performance, no, there’s definitely a lot of things I gotta to improve, but like I said, I’m really early on in my career anyways.”

Now with his daughter healthy and recovered from her surgery, Lugo is ready to get back into the cage. On November 17, he will step into the NEF cage to face Ernesto Ornelas at NEF 36. Lugo has been training hard for this fight, he has been training not only with his regular teammates like Kris Moutinho and Richie Santiago at BST Fitness and MMA, but he has trained at Luazon’s MMA and Tri-Force with the likes of Donald Cerrone and other UFC fighters. He believes, this will be the best version of himself.

“You’re definitely going to see a better version of myself.”

And he believes he will have to be the best version of himself for this fight.

“I feel like it’s a very good matchup, he’s a very seasoned vet, he’s fought some of the toughest guys in New England. I don’t think his record speaks to how tough he really is, he’s been doing this for a very long time. He has like, I don’t even know, 14 professional bouts. Some of them MMA, some of them in the professional boxing circuit. Some people think he’s an easy fight for me, I train every fight like I’m going to fight Conor McGregor or Jose Aldo or as any of those guys. I train as hard as I possibly can with as little time I have.”

This fight will also be in Ornelas’ home turf in Maine. Lugo is looking forward to getting the experience of travelling so he is not surprised when he makes it to a big show. And to do that, he believes he will win and win by finish.

“I say we’re probably going to go to the second and in the second, if I manage to wear him down in the first one, it’s either going to be a TKO in the second round or a submission in the second round. Either way I’m going for the finish cause I’m not leaving it to the judges. I’m in hostile territory and it’s his home court. I’m not trying to leave it to the judges, no matter what you’re going to see me full blast.”


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