Impa Kasanganay’s willingness to fight on short notice likely landed him a UFC deal. Back on Dana White’s Contender Series earlier this month, Kasanganay (7-0) defeated Anthony Adams by unanimous decision.
Dana White being who he is, had questions it seemed. A contract wasn’t a given. There wasn’t a finish, something that has become comically overvalued on the show of late (look no further than Anthony Romero getting the cold shoulder earlier this week). However, Kasanganay espoused that he’d be willing to fight in a week’s time. That was enough, apparently, for White to give the middleweight a shot.
And here we are, with Kasanganay entering UFC Vegas 8 against Maki “Coconut Bombz” Pitolo. Given the explosive nature of this pairing, it seems unlikely that the match-up will fail to entertain us.
After two appearances on the Contender Series, “I’m grateful to be here,” Kasanganay told Cageside Press at the UFC Vegas 8 media day. But just being here, in the UFC, isn’t enough.
“I have a lot more work to do. I haven’t made it yet. I don’t think I’ve made it at all,” he later elaborated. “To get in the UFC is great, but just to get in here, what does that mean? To me, I have to put a stamp on it, that’s the goal. This is just the first part of it.”
With that in mind, it’s not just the Pitolo fight. It’s being ready to fight next month. It’s being willing to go out to Abu Dhabi. To fight four more times this year, if necessary.
The fight with ‘Coconut Bombz’ is just one step. “It’s going to be a ticket to take my next one. That’s how I look at it. I’m here to work,” said Kasanganay.
Not that he’s looking past his opponent. After dreaming of being in the UFC for years, “speaking it into existence” with training partners at a weekly dinner out, Kasanganay knows better than that.
“I love the way he fights. He comes to fight,” he said regarding Pitolo. “He’s committed to it. He’s not scared, he’s not going to back down. Whether he won or lost, he’s coming to fight.”
Kasanganay appreciates the way his opponent attacks the body. He also noted that Pitolo has strong wrestling, “and great pressure.”
Which should lead to a great fight.
Watch the full UFC Vegas 8 virtual media day press scrum with Impa Kasanganay above.