Alex Morono may be one of the most underrated fighters in Legacy FC and the Houston MMA scene in general. Maybe it’s the fact that he quietly takes care of his business, or because he spends most of his spare time playing video games, but most people wouldn’t realize off the top of their heads that Alex is now 4-1 as a pro. Next up for Morono is a matchup against respected stand-up artist Lee King, who carries a 32 fight resume with names like Edson Barboza, Roger Huerta, Carlo Prater and Melvin Guillard. We had a chance to sit down with the 21 year old Morono to get his thoughts on the upcoming fight, as well as what he has done to this point in the sport.
Examiner: First off, tell us a little bit about yourself outside of fighting. What do you like to do besides train and fight?
Morono: I work at the gym teaching some of the BJJ classes alongside Todd Moore and Alex Gotay and run the MMA practices. That on top of training keeps me in the gym for the better part of everyday and I wouldn’t have it any different. I’ve truly been able to enjoy my lifestyle over the last few years, especially now I can earn a living doing so. Training at GBTW has given me many opportunities to travel as well, which has always been a hobby of mine. Outside of the gym I play a lot of Battlefield 3 and like to go shooting with my brother. We recently bought some guns from a crazy Russian guy so we like to see who the better shot is.
Examiner: When did you start training and who are your primary coaches and partners?
Morono: I started training in January of 2007 and have been in the gym almost every day since then, recently earning my brown belt in BJJ late last year. Todd Moore and Alex Gotay are my primary BJJ coaches and Michael Chase Corley and Gerardo Abadie are my striking coaches. The vast skill and experience all of the coaches keep my game improving constantly. We’re currently 3-0 for the year and have over 10 fights planned until June, both amateur and pro alike. With everyone working together for so long now we’ve really been able to find out who is serious and what needs to be worked on. The MMA team has never felt so strong and we’re only getting better. Keep an eye open for a few of our emerging amateurs like the current LAS 125lb champion Ricky Turcios, Charles Lloyd and Kody Williams. They are all fighting in Houston soon and are all undefeated.
Examiner: At this point what do you consider to be your strengths as a fighter? What part of your game do you feel is in need of the most work?
Morono: I’ve been competing for awhile now and am starting to really become comfortable with my style. I’d say my strengths are my striking and grappling but after every fight I’m starting to feel more complete as a mixed martial artist. Over the last year I’ve really worked on wrestling and it has helped mix the striking and grappling together. I’ve really grown to love the wrestling aspect now in training. It keeps me off my back and allows me to engage with punches without being fearful of getting taken down.
Examiner: Having had five fights in just over a year, did you anticipate being so active this early on in your career?
Morono: I planned on fighting at least four times a year. This fight will be my tenth fight for Mick which makes it easy being able to fight in Houston. If I can avoid injury then I stay active. I really enjoy the competition and training for fights is way easier and more fun when you’re already in shape so I try to keep the competition close together before taking a break. It’s also easy to stay in fight shape with all of my training partners out of the gym training for their bouts as well. Being young helps too, I’ve been fortunate to not have sustained any injuries within the last couple of years and I’m able to train quite a bit every day.
Examiner: Talk a bit about your fight at LFC 10 with Rashon Lewis. What was going through your mind as that fight went on?
Morono: The fight with Rashon could not have gone better. It was long enough for me to pick up some really great things to work on and learn from even though it ended in the first round. I remember thinking in the fight that I was probably losing the round and needed to keep the pressure on and I was able to land a combo that I had been working a lot in the gym. Though the over hand right can be a sloppy punch there are solid techniques to set it up and one thing my coach Gerardo noticed is that in Rashon’s previous fights he had never had his chin tested and never took any big shots, so we worked on adding a lot of pressure after landing a big shot and it proved to be successful. It was funny; everyone in the gym said it as a bout time I scored a KO. I went back and counted the strikes thrown/landed in the fight and I was surprised to see that I was the way more active fighter in the bout.
Examiner: Back in April you took your first loss as a pro or amateur against the now top welterweight contender Jeff Rexroad. What did you learn from that fight and do you think another bout between you two would have a different outcome?
Morono: I learned a lot from that fight, not only where my technical game needed work but where my head needs to be at. One thing I try to stress to the amateurs at the gym is that a strong mentality is just as, if not more important than physical skill and strength. One aspect I’ve seemed to dominate is being extremely calm, comfortable and confident in every fight. I don’t accept losing as an option, so when it happened I immediately made some changes to training and how I fight. I watched Rexroad’s fight with Talavera a few times to prepare and really expected a stand up battle with him and overlooked working my wrestling, even though my coaches warned me. Looking back at the fight, he didn’t land any punches and only one kick. The striking was much more technical than I thought and I was getting the better of the exchanges, but didn’t expect him to fight like he did. It was a smart way to win, and I 100% guarantee if we fought again the outcome would be different, especially with 5 minute rounds. After a few more fights, I’d be honored to have a rematch with Jeff. He’s an exciting fighter and I’m always down for and exciting fight.
Examiner: The matchup against Lee King will be your fourth in a row against fighters out of Paradigm Training Center. Coincidence, or is there something more to it than that? Also, how do you feel about the style matchup against King?
Morono: Nothing personal, just a coincidence. Paradigm has some of Houston’s best fighters, many of which are in my weight class, so I know a victory is well earned. I feel the match up will make for an exciting fight with both of us being strikers. King is by far the most experienced opponent I’ve had. My coach Todd Moore fought King and getting Todd’s approval of the matchup meant a lot. I feel like I’ll have the upper hand on the ground, but I’m never shy to turn the fight into a slugfest. I’m looking forward to see how I match up against King and where the fight will go.
Examiner: Where do you see yourself in the hierarchy of welterweights in Legacy? How far away do you feel you are from a title shot?
Morono: The welterweight division in Houston is stacked. I’m in no hurry to get the belt. However, after two more wins in Legacy I’d say I could be a potential contender, plus training for 5×5 minute rounds would be a different experience in the gym and I’m always looking for a good challenge. With Legacy expanding and growing more popular, not to mention being on HDNet, I feel that the already tough competition is only going to get tougher and having nothing but tough fights so early in a career could prove to be unwise but we’ll see what happens. I’m really looking forward to what Legacy has in store for 2012!
Examiner: Do you have anyone you want to thank or anything else you want to mention?
Morono: All of my teammates and coaches at the gym really go out of their way to help out and make this both fun and easy. My family has always been very supportive, especially my brother who made my website. I’d like to thank Mick for giving me all of the opportunities that he has and my new management company Alchemist Management.
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