Lion Fight 26: Sean Fagan vs. Pedro Gonzalez
I’m not gonna lie, back to back losses are tough to swallow especially when it’s the beginning of my pro career and I have that FAT 0-2 record to brag about… I‘ll have to do something about that soon…
That being said, even though I lost the unanimous decision against Pedro at Lion Fight 26, I had a TON of fun fighting in front of the crowd at Foxwoods. And from what I’ve heard it was a high-action, entertaining fight to watch, so even though I didn’t get the win, at least I can sleep easy knowing it was a fight that people thoroughly enjoyed.
But before I go into detail about my thoughts about the fight, I guess it would make sense if you watched it first, right? Well, here it is:
Sean Fagan vs. Pedro Gonzalez Fight Video
Feature photo by Victor Alvarez (instagram.com/muaythaivictor)
Needless to say, this fight against Pedro was the biggest fight of my career.
I was fighting a tough, game opponent on Lion Fight Promotions (the biggest promotion in the US) AND my fight was the first televised fight on AXS TV. Not only that, but it was also my first fight back in over a year after getting stopped in the first round by Turan Hasanov.
To be honest, when I first saw Lion Fight matchmaker Christine Toledo post on Facebook she was looking for a matchup at 142lbs, I wasn’t even considering taking it.
Why? Well, let me tell you.
After my last TKO loss in October 2014 I realized that my focus was torn between training to fight and working on Muay Thai Guy. So, after taking some time to reflect I made the decision that I was going to focus 2015 on building up Muay Thai Guy so I can focus more on my fight career in 2016. I was content where I was with life and I figured I’d get back in the ring in early 2016.
Anyway, I mentioned to my girlfriend Liz that there was a fight opportunity for Lion Fight, but I wasn’t going to try to get it. She looked at me in complete shock and questioned why I wouldn’t take this great opportunity. She made me take another look inside myself to see if being “content” working on Muay Thai Guy was enough… and it wasn’t.
With her words of encouragement and after a hard training session at Stockade Martial Arts, I decided that this was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. So I took it.
5 Weeks Out
I can’t even explain the amount of anxiety I was dealing when I first decided to take the fight about 5 weeks out.
My mind was bombarded with doubt and all I could think about was how stupid I was for taking this fight. I was inside my own head and it was starting to drive me crazy!
Fortunately, my sanity eventually came back to me after a few hard training sessions. My conditioning was solid and I felt like my technique was getting sharper each and every day. I started to be more conscious of what I was eating and made sure that I tuned out other distractions in my life to focus primarily on my fight.
4 Weeks Out
Just as my anxiety started to dwindle and my confidence started to grow, I get thrown a curveball that messes up the flow of my entire training camp.
It was just another sparring session just like all the other ones, but this time I was working with gym members who weren’t fighters… and ironically enough, they often are the ones who are most difficult to spar (sometimes). After a full round of moving around with an elusive, spastic sparring partner, he caught me with a body kick that immediately shot pain throughout my entire left side.
I finished the round and then hobbled over to the sidelines where I tried to regroup myself… but I couldn’t. My ribs were in an incredible amount of pain and I could barely breathe, laugh or talk without the throbbing pain intensifying. I was pissed.
On top of that, once I get home I get a message from matchmaker Christine Toledo saying that my fight was now going to be televised! As excited as I was by this, I was also nervous as fuck because of how much pain I was in… but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.
The Rest of Training Camp
After a few days off to heal my ribs, I started to get back into a flow of training by mixing in some roadwork with light shadowboxing and bag work. But even these small movements were extremely uncomfortable and whenever I would try to catch my breathe when I was running I’d want to curl over in pain.
Fortunately, from what I read, I couldn’t injure the ribs any further unless it was due to impact. So although I couldn’t spar or clinch for the final few weeks, I was able to push through the pain for the rest of my training camp and bang out an insane amount running, bag work and pad work.
It sucked not being able to spar or clinch especially because it’s been over a year since I last fought. And although I was doing a decent amount of sparring prior to the injury, I was hoping to get some more work in to make sure my timing, distancing and accuracy were all on point for fight night… but that wasn’t in the cards this time around.
Pad Work With My Training JJ
Since I was doing so much running and pad work in substitution of my sparring, the weight cut went smoothly because I was already down my normal weight. All I had to cut was about 2 pounds of water weight and that was simple enough with some Albolene and a hot bath.
Once I got to weigh-ins I bumped into Pedro and had a small chat with him before jumping on the scale. It can be weird when you’re friendly with your opponent (and when you’ve previously interviewed him) but we were both there to put on a show and we were excited to throw down and test each others skills.
After we went through the whole process of getting our pictures taken and finishing up with the doctors, it was time to EAT! And eat I did.
The hours before a fight tend to be the longest hours of my life.
Just waiting in the hotel room for time to pass can be excruciatingly slow. All I was doing was counting down the hours until I could head down to the venue to get ready for the fight. But since I was all weighed in and good to go, I spent most of my time munching on some food until it was fight time.
Once I arrived to the locker room my mind was set. I knew what I had to do and I was confident that I had the skills and ability to beat Pedro. When they told us it was our time, I was as ready as ever.
My Thoughts On The Fight
Pedro is one tough SOB.
I was expecting him to come out hard and to push the pace, so I was ready for most of the forward pressure he put on me. Towards the end of the first round he caught me with a couple of hard punches that put me on the canvas. After an 8-count I was clear headed and ready to re-engage to let him know that I wasn’t hurt. Heading back to the corner I knew that I had some major catching up to do with the first round being 10-8.
When the 2nd round started I started to focus on beating up his body and legs. However, I was expecting him to keep the forward pressure so I could time when he lunged in, but he started to change up the tempo by countering and backing up more. He also through a decent amount of teeps which caught me off guard because he didn’t throw many of those in his previous fights either.
The 3rd, 4th and 5th round were all mushed together in my mind until I got to see the video. It basically was a swarm of clinching, wild punches, and checked leg kicks. I tried to keep the pressure on him and tire him out, but I was tired as fuck too!
Looking back on it I wish I did some things differently (more fakes and setups, better movement and footwork) but I wasn’t upset with how I performed. Could I have done better? Hell yea I could’ve! But with all things considered (1 year layoff, rib injury etc.) I was relatively happy with my performance.
I was especially pleased with how I was able to recover from the 1st round knockdown and continue pushing hard for 5 rounds. After losing my last fight against Turan by 1st round TKO, I had a lot of doubt in my mind about my chin and my ability to recover from getting dropped. So once I was able to shake it off and continue fighting hard all 5 rounds, I felt proud.
Losing still sucks though and I wish I could’ve gotten the win, but losing is part of the game. I’m doing my best to take it in stride and learn from my mistakes so the next time I step into the ring I’m an upgraded version of myself.
When all is said in done, I was relatively happy.
I was challenged and pushed to my limit by Pedro for a full 5 rounds (thank you Pedro).
I had a ton of fun fighting front of my friends and family on the #1 promotion in the US.
And although I lost, I felt like I proved that I deserved to be fighting on that stage and that I am always game to fight.
Live and learn! On to the next one!