Everyone has different ways of living life. For most, it’s working a 9 to 5 job or a late-night shift and taking care of family. But that is too simple for 26-year-old Brandon Royval. For “Raw Dog” , it’s about living the life of a mixed martial artist and he sees his fight against UFC veteran Joby Sanchez in the main event of LFA 65 as a big step towards making that happen.
“The main focus is making this a lifestyle, I want to train as much as I can, I want to have the correct amount of recovery, I work a lot. And then on top of working, I train a ton, I like working but at the same time, I want to dedicate my whole life to this, I deserve to dedicate my life to this, I’ve put a lot of work into this.”
The Factory X product has been training since he was sixteen years old and has developed into a high-level project. He went undefeated as an amateur, amassing a record of 5-0 before turning professional in 2012. As a professional, Royval has gone 8-4, with three of his losses coming to top prospects such as Ricky Palacios, Nick Urso and current UFC fighter Casey Kenney.
Kenney was his most recent opponent, originally Royval was supposed to fight Maikel Perez for LFA’s flyweight belt at LFA 53 but when Perez pulled out to an injury, Kenney stepped in. The fight was competitive, but Kenney was able to dictate the pace and control Royval with his wrestling and Kenney earned a unanimous decision victory and the LFA interim flyweight title. For Royval, it was a disappointment, but it taught him quite a few lessons.
“I think there was a lot to take away for me. I think wrestling, wrestling, wrestling. Is always a huge kryptonite of mine. Just blending my striking and my takedowns, not to even take the fight to the ground, but to keep them guessing.
“Casey did a great job at that, I thought he was going to pretty much strike but like I said, he beat me in the striking game to make that shot. He did a really good job at that. I learned a lot from him.”
Royval has been working with former Bellator champion Joe Warren, who has recently become a wrestling coach at Factory X.
He also learned he can’t fear a five-round fight, because he learned that the worst feeling he could have is knowing he had something left in the tank after the fight.
“I want to just not hold anything back. I think a big fear of mine going into that fight was that it was a five round fight and I was worried about not gassing out. I maybe didn’t push myself in every situation where I could’ve. At the end of the fight I still had a little bit of breath and me and that’s always the worst, just knowing I could’ve spent more energy, I could’ve done this, I could’ve done more and having that feeling is way worse than just getting my ass whooped. Not taking anything away, cause Casey Kenney is clearly an amazing opponent but like I said, I don’t want to have any regret ever or anything I left back in there or that thought process in my head.”
To ensure he doesn’t have any regrets in his upcoming fight at LFA 65, Royval is changing how he practices. In the cage he fights as a pressure fighter, but in practice he likes to counter. After reevaluating himself, he feels it can only help him if he practices like he fights.
“Just kinda keeping that pace and pushing it and trying to throw a hundred punches a round and staying long, keeping that intensity. I’m going to do it no matter what in the fight, might as well do it in practice.”
His teammate, Mark De La Rosa used a similar strategy against Royval’s opponent when De La Rosa faced Sanchez at UFC Fight Night 139 in November of 2018. That is Royval’s plan, keep Sanchez on his back foot and keep it on the feet. And though he won’t give a prediction, he doesn’t want to leave his hometown fans without a finish.
“I push the pace a lot so that leads to a lot of finishes. If I get a finish on him that would be great, I’m not looking to any decisions ever, especially in F***ing Vail, Colorado.”
Vail is only a short ride away from Royval’s hometown and where his gym, Factory X is located. He’ll have many teammates on the card including, Youssef Zalal, Adam Stroup and Carmen Sage. As much as he loves fighting with his teammates on the same card, it does affect his emotions ahead of the fight. However, he says it doesn’t make a difference in how he fights.
“I can’t miss their fights, man, I have to try and watch them. I’ll be bummed because I’ll be warming up while Youssef fights and possibly while Adam goes out there and fights. I don’t know if I like it because I take in a lot of their anxiety. We’re a family, you know what I’m saying. I have no control over their situations and what happens there. So I might get a little bit more nervous than myself. I want them to do good. When they do good, it will drive me, like make me want to do better, when they do bad, I get mad. Either way it’s going to be a good push.”
Royval is also hoping a victory will give him a good push as well. However, his division is up in the air as the UFC hasn’t announced if they are keeping nor ending their flyweight division. Currently, One Championship is the only major organization that is making it known that their flyweights have a home. Because of that, Royval will be heading to the bantamweight division in the near future.
“I’m slowly picking up weight, I’m trying to gain as much weight as I can to go up to 35 but in the process, I still want to pick up fights. No matter what weight class, if I have a UFC veteran that is an option, I’m going to take that. As long as I can make the weight, I was like I’m good for this fight. It’s a good way to hype up my name.”
To watch Royval take on Sanchez in the main event of LFA 65, tune into AXS TV on May 3.