Serena DeJesus (5-2 as an amateur) will look to make her professional mixed martial arts debut when she meets Kelly Clayton in a scheduled April 14 bout at ICF 20 presented by Fusion Fight League. I caught up with ‘Southpaw’ DeJesus, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native, currently living in Las Vegas, Nevada to talk about the news.
The Syndicate MMA prospect tells MyMMANews, “I’ve always wanted to be professional and be the best I can be. I just wanted to be sure that I got the experience and everything else down before I made the decision to go pro. Everyone lately in the MMA world is going ammy first to sharpen themselves up before going pro so I’m merely following suit.”
DeJesus last competed in June 2017 with a unanimous win over Arlene Culbreth at Tuff-N-Uff: Pack the Mack. Eager to get back into the cage, the 26-year old fighter has been training as if she has been in fight camp all along.
“I think the transition from ammy to pro is hard for some fighters. I had someone agree to fight me but realized they couldn’t pad their record with someone like me and ran away. I haven’t fought since June so it is somewhat frustrating. All I’ve been doing is training, eating, drinking good brews, continuing my autism advocacy work, watching anime and playing video games. So pretty much the same thing I always do.
Her opponent, Clayton (6-3-1), is currently riding a three-fight win streak, but other than that, Dejesus does not have much information on her.
“I know that we both have the same sponsor and she was also on the same card I was on in Montana last year. I’ve watched her stuff and she looks like a game opponent. Which is what I want because how am I going to grow as a fighter if I just take easy fights? I never did as an ammy and I won’t start taking easy fights as a pro. I don’t see anything so far that stands out to me with her stylistically so I’m going to play it by ear and continue training my advantages and disadvantages.”
Along with the transition to a pro fight comes rules and time changes. Gone away are the traditional two and three minute amateur rounds. DeJesus will have to adjust to five minutes rounds but it does not sound like it should be much of a problem to carry what she does in the gym, into the cage.
“Well I always spar five, five minute rounds at Syndicate MMA. Also last year in Montana I fought five three minute rounds and didn’t gas out so the cardio aspect really doesn’t concern me. I run a lot and have my awesome strength and conditioning coach Lorenzo always helping me so I have that extra go in the gas tank.”
When asked what fight fans can expect from Southpaw on April 14 she said, “Expect a leaner, faster Southpaw, ready to go and smash some faces and cities!”
Ticket information for ICF 20 can be found on their Facebook page.