A flyweight title fight took place in the main event of Cage Fury FC 87 on October 30, as top prospect Santo Curatolo (then 5-0) took on Combate Americas veteran Alberto Trujillo (then 4-1).
Curatolo, a Nick Catone MMA product, had a ton of hype entering the contest. Having finished all five of his opponents in the first round, he would be seeking a UFC shot with an impressive victory.
Opposite him was Trujillo, who would be returning to action for the first time in over a year. In his last outing, he had picked up a decision victory over Edgar Chavez in September of 2019.
Trujillo, an Alliance MMA prospect, was able to get inside early on and pressure Curatolo backward.
It was unfamiliar territory for Curatolo, and Trujillo imposed too much pressure for the 25-year old, finishing him late in the second round.
“The coaches know that’s how I fight, I’m a pressure fighter,” Trujillo told MMA-Prospects. “I like to come forward, and never like to step back. The reason I pressure a lot is to close the distance.”
That pressure paid dividends and earned him his first pro title. It was a masterclass by the undersized flyweight, who walks around at 5’2″. Trujillo was able to eliminate the reach advantage of the taller fighter, however, with his aforementioned relentless pressure to get the victory.
Trujillo entered as a heavy underdog, with only 4% of fight database Tapology voters giving him the edge entering the fight. When asked how it felt to pull it off despite being the underdog, Trujillo insisted that the doubters do not affect him.
“I really don’t pay attention to if I’ve got doubters and all that stuff,” Trujillo said. “I believe in myself, my team believes in me, and the people around me believe in me. As long as I’ve got them, I’m good to go.”
It was a mentality that served Trujillo well, as his walkout music ahead of the title fight was drowned out by the sound of the roaring boos from the crowd. It was a familiar sound for the Arkansas native, despite training in California for the majority of his career.
“Even when I do shows in California, I don’t have a huge crowd here,” Trujillo said. “Usually when I go out to the fights, it’s always my opponent’s crowd.”
— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) October 31, 2020
Needless to say, the stock of Trujillo is bound to rise following the performance, and the love from the fans is likely to follow.
Finishing a prospect with a lot of eyes on him like Curatolo does attract a lot of attention for the flyweight hopeful.
As a result, this could hopefully bring him closer to his goal: the UFC.
The UFC’s 125-pound division has been one of the shallowest divisions in recent years despite a current resurgence, and could always use fresh faces.
There are currently only 27 flyweights on their roster, which opens the door for fighters like Trujillo. Adding a title belt from CFFC – a promotion that broadcasts on UFC Fight Pass – around his waist shows he is prepared to compete for the biggest organization in all of MMA.
At a time like this amid COVID-19, where up and coming prospects seem to be given every opportunity to compete in the UFC, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 5-1 fighter get a shot in the Contender Series or even in the UFC.
When asked about when we could see him next, he indicated he will be ready by January.
Trujillo hopes to follow some of his Alliance MMA teammates in joining the UFC including veterans Dominick Cruz, Phil Davis, Jeremy Stephens, Angela Hill, Wilson Reis among others, adding that he is extremely grateful for the lessons he has learned from his time at Alliance.
“It helped me out a lot because they have a lot of skill and experience,” said Trujillo “They’re teaching me, and we help each other out.”
The full interview is available below: