After a devastating loss, a fighter can often be left wondering what direction to go in. For Professional Fighters League athlete Jason High, it’s all about getting back to the basics.
The Kansas City native had the opportunity to perform in front of a raucous hometown crowd at WSOF33. “The KC Bandit” took on former title contender Joao Zeferino in a battle of top-ranked welterweights. Early on in the fight, it looked as though High was going to get the hometown crowd on their feet with a submission win as he had a guillotine choke nearly locked in.
“It was pretty tight but it was early in the fight,” High said. “I wasn’t able to pull it off. Sometimes you get it and sometimes they slip out. I just wasn’t able to get that one.”
Despite nearly finishing the fight early, it would be High who was on the receiving end of a fight-finishing TKO. Zeferino would wobble High and the Brazilian quickly swarmed in for the finish. Although High appeared to be intelligently defending himself, the referee stepped in to call a halt to the fight.
“I thought it was a little premature,” High said of the finish. “I don’t like losing. I hate losing and it’s never fun to take a loss in your hometown. I spent a little time being sad but the biggest thing is to have a short memory. Whether you win or lose, you have to go back and get ready for the next one.”
That mentality should serve him well as High will once again take the national spotlight to square off against a fellow veteran in Caros Fodor.
“I’ve known about Caros for a while. We were in Strikeforce at the same time,” High said. “I’ve heard his name a couple of times and I’m sure he’s been told mine a few times too. I’ve seen his recent fights so I feel like I know of him pretty well.”
The two have made the walk to the cage numerous times and the fight has the possibility of stealing the show. Fodor is coming in off a victory over Phoenix Jones while High will be looking to rebound from the Zeferino loss.
“I think it’s a pretty well-matched fight,” High said. “Caros is tough. He has good striking and decent on the ground. But I think I’m better than him on the ground with my takedowns and all that. But Im ready for a tough fight. I’m ready to go.”
Utilizing his ground skills appear to be a focal point for High to get back on track at #PFLDaytona. He’s a former Division I amateur wrestler and also won the IBJJF World Championship (blue belt, medium-heavyweight). The welterweight contender had enjoyed a nice two-fight winning streak where he was able to finish his opponents via knockout.
“Sometimes you get caught knocking people out and forget about your major assets,” High said. “It’s always fun to knock people out, but it’s more fun to get the win. I think using my wrestling is the best avenue for a win against anyone in the world. I think I’m one of the best grapplers in the world so I think that’s my best asset.”
High will attempt to use his back to basics strategy this Friday, June 30 live on NBC Sports. The win could prove to be pivotal as both men will enter the inaugural Professional Fighters League season next year.
“It’s always great to have momentum through an industry change like that,” High said. “I feel like I’m going to go into those tournaments with a target on my back as the big dog.”
Tune in this Friday evening on NBC Sports to see who can separate themselves from the pack. The hard-hitting action kicks off at 10:30 p.m. ET and will be held at the historic Daytona International Speedway.