Jhonoven Pati is a much different fighter than the first time he fought for gold.
There is a seven-year difference between his first title bout and winning the Ring of Combat [ROC] middleweight strap on Nov. 23, 2019.
The first championship bout came in his pro debut back in September 2013. Pati lost to now-teammate Ryan Spann by a first-round submission at Texas Pride.
Fast forward eight fights later, he captured his first professional title by submitting Joseph Pyfer with a second-round guillotine choke at ROC 70.
“I was way in over my head [against Spann], I had bad management. I shouldn’t have taken that fight,” Pati said. “Ryan Spann, I believe he was well decorated. He was champion and I was fighting for a belt in my pro debut.”
The 29-year-old entered enemy territory in both affairs. Living in Fort Worth Texas, Pati’s bout with Spann occurred a little closer to home than against Pyfer in New Jersey.
He fought Spann at the Montagne Center in Beaumont, Texas, the same arena used by the Lamar University men’s basketball team. The 10,746 seat-arena proved to be too big of a stage for Pati at the time.
The “Samoan Savage” welcomed the idea of fighting Pyfer in his backyard. Patti silenced the crowd by earning his first-career submission win, tapping the Philadelphia native at the Tropicana in Atlantic City.
He finally turned the script.
“I was grateful for the opportunity because I believe that lifted some of the non-believers back up, as far as the public eye,” Pati said. “Not the world, but the people I need to see me to get me to the next level.”
Pati’s title victory moved him to two-consecutive victories. The pair of wins come after a missed opportunity on, “Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight” in March 2019
Pati dropped a unanimous decision in front of White to Kailan Hill at Legacy Fighting Alliance [LFA] 63 in March 2019. It turns out all of Pati’s professional losses came from “Dana White’s Contender Series” alumn.
Spann and Punahele Soriano both earned contracts after being on the show. Pati is waiting for a chance of his own.
“I have had three opportunities to show I was ready,” Pati said. “As far as the next opportunity we get, which I know we will get another opportunity, I just need to be better prepared.
“I just think it was something mentally.”
The UFC and the UFC only
Pati won all six of his professional bouts by finishing his opponents. Unfortunately for him, 2020 is starting off slow with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pati originally planned to fight for two more titles, one in January and another in April. The bout in January was scratched after his opponent pulled out. The April card was canceled due to the pandemic.
He says he is in talks about retaining his belt with ROC’s matchmaker. The two targeted a May return, but Pati says the date is likely to be rescheduled because of the coronavirus.
The champion is eying the UFC either way. With no current interest in larger promotions like Bellator or LFA, Pati only sees the UFC as his future.
He is accepting his role as a prospect and is waiting for another chance to prove his worth to the higher powers.
“I was really only looking to maybe only one more defense because I don’t really see myself on this circuit much longer,” Pati said. “I just need to win out for the next fights that I have, I feel like I am in a great position right now.”