Looking back over his 2018 so far, flyweight Brandon Royval has admittedly had kind of a crazy year, but it has been a successful year at the same time.
After winning his first bout of the year against Jerome Rivera at LFA 39 in May via injury, Royval was stuck waiting for a fight until he got a last-minute replacement opportunity and defeated Charles Johnson by unanimous decision at LFA 48 in September.
“I think I’ve done awesome in all my fights so far,” Royval told MMAWeekly.com. “Against Jerome, his arm broke early in the fight. 17 seconds in I dropped him with a punch. I had my timing fairly well. He was an old LFA title contender, but I think even if his arm didn’t break I was going to walk right through him.
“Then in my last fight it was pretty much just a striking clinic (on Johnson). I kind of emptied the gas tank a little too much in the first round, but it was pretty much a just a clinic I ran on him with the exception of that third round.”
Royval (8-3) will look to cap off an undefeated 2018 when he faces Casey Kenney (9-1-1) at LFA 53 this Friday in Phoenix, Arizona, in a 125-pound interim championship main event.
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“Casey and I have very similar styles, and if we both fought (featherweight title holder) Maikel Perez we would probably have the same strategy,” said Royval.
“He’s a southpaw and I think he’s a good striker and is Jiu-Jitsu is good, but I think I match him on the ground and on the feet, and I’m longer than him and hit harder than I am. I have more that brawler mentality, and I’ll take one to throw one, and I think he’s a little more afraid to get hit than I am, so we’ll see and test that out.”
While winning an LFA title would be a big feather in Royval’s cap, he’s more looking at this fight as a chance to gain some more notoriety that could help him step up to the next level in 2018.
“For me it’s the opportunity,” Royval said. “This is an opportunity to fight pretty much the top contender (in Kenney), and he’s earned his spot there. The LFA belt is cool in itself and it’s cool to have that credential, but it’s way cooler if I can put past this guy and take his shine a little bit and take his spotlight.”
While the flyweight division’s future is uncertain in some promotions, Royval is hoping there will be opportunities wherever he can find them and make a case for him being the top fighter in the division.
“I want to be in that number one spot,” said Royval. “I want to be at the top level wherever it will be.
“The flyweight division is a little scary right now because you don’t know if the UFC is going to be the thing. But whatever top promotion is for the flyweights, I want in on it. Wherever the top flyweights are, I want in on it.”