UFC bantamweight Vince Morales had a brief but horrifying flashback at the start of his most recent camp.
Morales (10-5) returns to action on December 4 against octagon veteran Louis Smolka. It’s his second fight back since tearing his Achilles last year, an injury that can be severely detrimental to many athletes. Yet after more than a year away from the octagon, Morales returned at UFC 265 in August and defeated Drako Rodriguez, likely saving his job in the process.
At the start of his training camp for Smolka, however, Morales rolled his ankle— on the same foot on which he had two surgeries to repair his Achilles tendon. That led to a flashback, and Morales started to get anxious.
“I’m doing a lot better from where the camp started, that’s for sure. Right at the beginning of camp, I ended up rolling my ankle on the same foot that I had the Achilles surgery, so yeah, I started having anxiety,” Morales told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview.
“I was kind of frightened because I was in wrestling class, and some tried a standing scissors sweep-which you don’t do because we’re wearing shoes. I rolled over them, and it sounded like a bag of popcorn, and I was like, NO WAY! Thankfully I had a year of practice of limping, so I knew how to handle it. So, I had to have a slow start to camp.”
With his ankle at 100% and camp done, it is just about showtime. He faces Smolka, and they kick off UFC Vegas 44 in what could be a Fight of the Night contender with both fighters known for coming forward.
“That’s what it’s to going be. You know Beyblades? I think we’re going to see a lot of that,” Morales laughed. “I’m really looking forward to the fight. I know he’s a dog and likes to get in there a slug it out. He is dangerous everywhere, just like myself. So it is going to make for a fun fight.”
Morales was apprehensive at first about fighting Smolka because he trains with Morales’ cousin Ricky Simon at Team Oyama. However, after thinking and talking about it, “Vandetta” concluded that it’s just business, and they will have a good fight regardless.
“Wherever the fight goes, whether we’re on the ground smashing each other or we’re standing slugging it out, it’s going to be fun. I love that; I’m getting goosebumps talking about it,” Morales said.
Vince Morales fights Louis Smolka on December 4 at UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Aldo. Watch the rest of our interview with “Vandetta” above.