Hey Dave, tell us about your upcoming opponent at Legacy 47 on Oct. 16.
My opponent is Wesley Barnes. He’s a wrestler, striker and mixed martial artist. He’s real tough. He’s 3-1 out of Champions Training Center in Savannah. He’s a good opponent for me but I think I have more experience and I think I want it more than he does, so I’m going to win.
Tell us about the weight class you are fighting at for this fight and how you’re feeling.
I’m going down a few pounds. The last two weigh-ins I had to weigh in at about 175 and I have to weigh in at 170 for this one, so it’s a few pounds difference. I’ve been really strict these last few days and it’s tough.
How do you feel strength-wise?
Oh, I feel fine. It’s more or less a mental thing of not being able to consume the calories you want to. It’s hard to push yourself those last few days because you just don’t have the energy.
How do you cut down that much weight and maintain your muscle mass and strength?
I definitely lose some muscle and I definitely lose some strength. But I’m in the 170 class now and I’m going to be stronger than these guys who normally fight there. I’m running more, I’m eating cleaner, smaller and more frequent meals, just to get my metabolism going. I am just trying to stay as active as I can the last few weeks to keep those extra pounds off.
Because of the weight class difference are you training with smaller guys or bigger guys?
I have training partners who fight at 170 and 185. I definitely feel a strength difference like from a year ago when I was fighting at 185 lbs. I’m definitely not as strong. I definitely feel that. It’s not like I’m weak now, I just don’t have that same 185-lb. strength. I feel quicker, more agile. One of my main grappling training partners is Emmanuel Osho. He’s an amateur fighter who fights at 185 lbs. and walks around at 210 lbs. I base a lot of stuff off of him because when I’m heavier he and I are neck and neck on strength. When I start dropping the weight, he feels a little stronger and maybe throws to the ground a little bit more, so that’s my gauge.
It’s easy to see a speed differential in standup fighting, but how does speed play into grappling?
I think you may be able to move around your opponent and be a little quicker in the scramble. I definitely feel a difference. I don’t feel as strong, but I still feel confident in my skills.
You’re riding a five-fight winning streak. Do you think your opponents are gunning for you more now?
Absolutely. Frank Trigg Facetimed me and told me that my opponent knows I’m on a winning streak and that’s why he wants to beat me. But I’ve worked too damned hard to get where I’m at and there’s no way I’m going to let this guy take that away from me. This guy’s good and everything, and I don’t mean to talk badly about my opponents, but he’s not on my level. I’m not saying he’s not going to keep up with me the first round, but I’m going to make him look like a jokester in the second and third rounds. I know he’s a tough guy, but I’m taking one fight at a time these days. I’m looking for this next victory and then hopefully I can get a title shot in Legacy. If not, hopefully I can get back into Bellator or possibly even the UFC. I want to get to the next level.
Vitkay’s experience speaks volumes with a 15-12-1 record and a five-fight winning streak going into the Legacy FC 47 fight. Fellow KnuckleUp teammate Chazz Walton enters his second professional fight at 2-0 and a multitude of praise from coaches, teammates and even UFC’s Dana White, who’s taken note of “The Hybrid” and his promising potential.
Says Walton of his upcoming bout against Josh Millwood (1-1-0) out of Veterans MMA in Perry, Georgia, “This is my opportunity to show the world what I am capable of! It’s my time!”
Co-promoter David Oblas agrees that Dave Vitkay and Chazz Walton are making their own destinies with their upcoming fights on the Legacy FC 47 main card, which will air on AXS TV October 16.
Says Oblas, “The one thing fighters always look for is an opening to the big show. One chance. One break. This is Chazz and Dave’s chance. NFC has proven to be a terrific partner with Legacy and this is the second opportunity for local guys to fight for Legacy live on national TV. And Legacy has sent more fighters to the UFC than any other organization. If they’re looking for a big shot … this is their shot. NFC leads to Legacy. Legacy leads to the UFC.”