Andres Quintana is the best featherweight in Combate Americas, but he needs one more victory over Bruno Cannetti to officially add the belt to his trophy case.
Last December, Andres Quintana won the Copa Combate, the $100k and cemented what many already knew about him: he is the best featherweight in the promotion. The only thing that was not awarded to him was the world title belt, but he gets that opportunity tonight as he faces former foe Bruno Cannetti for the chance to become the inaugural champion at 145 pounds in Combate Americas.
So what does one do when $100,000 gets added to their bank account? After he got home from Fresno, Quintana enjoyed the spoils of victory but has since found an interesting venture with the winnings from his biggest event to date.
“I did use some of it to have fun and go out with my friends. But a good chunk of it I have saved up and invested. What I have done is buy these cars from IAA and they’re salvage vehicles. They’re wrecked and stuff in a spot or two so I try not to get any with deployed airbags or anything. They’re easier to fix so I fix them up and I flip them. I send them on their way and make more money. That’s the whole point of having a little more money, you get to spend money to make money.”
It will be nearly nine months since his last appearance in the cage. Earlier in June, he was set to compete in his native New Mexico with the same opponent and stakes on the line. However, just days out from the event, he was notified that the entire show was being cancelled. As one would imagine, the experience was a devastating one and the adjustment to go through another camp immediately came with its own set of challenges.
“Mike Afromowitz called me personally Monday morning [the week of the event] which he said he doesn’t normally do so I appreciated that. I mean, obviously I was really pissed because I wanted to fight back at home. I told them I wanted to fight back at home. It kind of sucked because we’re professionals right. My team knows the game in-and-out. I’ve been working with them for ten years or so. They know when I’m peaking, when I need to cut back, everything. We had everything on point for that fight in Albuquerque. We were ready to go. Obviously injuries pile on so I had to take a few weeks off just to jump back into camp. I feel like I had a lot better camp the first scheduled fight than the second one just because everything was thrown for a loop. ‘Oh well now we have to do this, this, and this.’ I’ve been training the same stuff now for five months so that’s nice that I now have that engraved in my brain.”
All of this is a lot of work for a fighter who’s already proven himself in the promotion. Including the tournament, Quintana is on an eight fight win-streak that includes victories over competition such as upcoming title challenger Erick Gonzalez, top contender Alejandro Flores, and another tournament winner in Levy Marroquin. So what spurned this run? Quintana says all of this has been a second chance.
I had lost in California to Adrian Diaz and it was really controversial. I’m sure you can find the fight somewhere, it was for Taichi Palace Fights. He hits me with a body shot and I shoot in for a single leg, he starts hammer-fisting me with a bunch of shots to the back of the head and the ref stops it. In my mind, I was like ‘Oh he’s going to give him a warning.’ Instead he calls the fight and I was really upset. The funny thing is I told everyone I wasn’t going to fight anymore. I told my coaches I was done fighting and retired, they told me to kick back and take some time off. I did and was thinking about what I was going to do now with my life next because in my mind I was done fighting. I get in this really bad motorcycle accident. I ride ATVs and it was really late at night. I would ride through these ditches behind my house because it was the fastest way to the desert. One night I go through the street to the desert and I come back through the ditch. I go out pretty late and I guess the houses behind the ditch got upset so they put this huge boulder in the ditch to block the entryway and I didn’t even know. I’m going 50-60 miles per hour through the tunnels and I hit the boulder full force. The bike flips and I’m all beat up, broken ankle, broken nose, my face is mangled, road rash everywhere. I’m in the hospital for like a week. I’m sitting there and I was just like ‘Man, I want to fight.’ So any second it could all be taken away from you.
The fight with Bruno Cannetti was one of the stand-out matches from the Copa Combate in December. A promotional newcomer, Argentina’s Cannetti had a strong showing earlier in the night and then landed a shot that put Quintana down in the first round. “Bullet” would go on to recover and rally, eventually knocking down Cannetti himself and prompting the referee to stop the fight. Much had been made of the circumstances: that the fight was stopped early and so forth. Quintana has seen the fight and says that those comments are misguided.
“He’s making a lot of assumptions. He was in a really bad position. I had easy access to his back. He had no defense. I had a spiral right on him. I was landing heavy right hands. The ref was kind of in the way and didn’t know whether to stop it or not. It wasn’t going to get any better for him. A lot of people complained that they should have stopped my fight when I got knocked down and said ‘Oh they should have stopped the fight then but since it’s in America they let it go.’ He didn’t land one clean punch on me after he clipped me. So I didn’t see any justification to stop that fight and I’m intelligently defending myself. I’m really close to him. He can’t hit me and I get up right away and I’m perfectly fine.”
Looking at the featherweight division, Quintana has virtually swept the field in Combate Americas. It leaves “Bullet” with a conundrum moving forward as there’s seemingly nowhere to go following the fight with Cannetti. However, he has a few ideas for what could be next including cross-promotion and a move up in weight.
I would like to see someone new, someone coming up who’s on a good fight win-streak that I haven’t tested yet. Combate is really smart with cross-promotion stuff and I want to prove I’m the best in the world and get paid so I would be down to go to RIZIN or something like that. I’d love that. If cross-promotion doesn’t happen, “Ghost Pepper” is fighting for the belt at 155 and if he wins I’ll go up there and beat him again.
Andres “Bullet” Quintana will be fighting Bruno Cannetti TONIGHT at Combate Tahoe at 6 p.m. PT, live on Univision in Spanish and DAZN in English.