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Legacy Fighting Alliance 30 – Curtis Millender

By Lance Edwards

 

“Curtious” Curtis Millender (13-3) has been rocking the LFA welterweight division. In October at LFA 24, he knocked out Matt Frincu (11-3) in just thirty-eight seconds of the first round via head kick. Frincu saw his four-fight win streak curtailed, and Millender increased his own streak to five wins. At LFA 30, Millender returns to the cage to face another tough welterweight in Nick Barnes (12-2).

Millender is a dangerous opponent for anyone, and has a lot of experience in combat sports;

“I’ve been wrestling and boxing since I was a kid. I started wrestling at seven or eight. My boxing wasn’t very official; I’d go to a gym and hit a bag and things like that. After high school, I took it a bit further. I wasn’t ready to stop competing. I knew I wanted to be an athlete. I already had good wrestling, so added striking to take over the world.”

Unusually Millender didn’t have an amateur career before turning professional in MMA;

“I did some smokers and went 5-0. I’d been training with guys at a high level. I was training at Reign and Lighting for four to five years before turning pro. I was already sparring high level guys.”

Reign was UFC veteran Mark Munoz’s gym, and had a solid group of fighters training there. In the fight against Frincu, Millender as mentioned finished his opponent very quickly;

“That was a set up I thought I’d use. I didn’t think I’d get the opening that early. Frincu is a talented striker; I thought it would go longer.”

Millender’s next opponent Barnes is also a competent fighter;

“He’s a talented guy, a good wrestler, but he’s not ready for what I’ll bring. He’s fought tall, rangy guys before, but I’m a different monster than what he’s seen. In the Camozzi fight, he got caught. I don’t fight looking for that one shot. I look for ways to hurt you and then put you out. I’m not just a headhunter; I’ll take whatever I can.”

Millender has a four-inch height advantage and a five-inch reach advantage. He feels confident in his ability to get a decisive finish in this fight;

“After this, I’m looking to be in the UFC. This is my third straight main event. I’m the hottest thing in LFA. If I’m not the hottest prospect then maybe Andrea ‘KGB’ Lee is, but no-one else comes close.”

If Millender isn’t signed by the UFC then he feels that a victory should put him in a title event;

“I actually thought when they contacted me that this would be that fight. I think my easiest LFA fight would be against James Nakashima (the current welterweight champion). Nick Barnes has good striking and wrestling. James has only shown he can get people down and hold them there. I have tools to not want to shoot and make you pay if you do.”

Training with NOC Fight Team and CSW in California, Millender feels his game is maturing;

“I think training at CSW has definitely brought out the other side of me. I was a good fighter, but my training has really brought together the finishing part.”

The ability to get finishes definitely helps a fighter in terms of popularity and opportunities. A finish for Millender against Barnes would demonstrate that this is indeed the case. It would mean Millender would have finished three of his last four opponents. Millender is no stranger to going the distance, and is capable of performing as a fight goes on;

“I do work a lot on my strength and conditioning. It is not my favorite part. My strength and conditioning coach and I have a good bond. I love variety and working with him delivers that. He is one of the most important parts of my team.

“I’m one of the hottest things in LFA right now. I need to go out there and hurt Big Barnes, get the win and then there is no reason I shouldn’t be in the UFC.”