The final fighter I had the chance to speak with after the recent ICF: Sacrifice event was Luke Zachrich, a winner of the FightTicker.com Submission of the Night award. I caught up with Zachrich after he pulled off a great kimura from the half-guard (pic after the jump) to talk with him about fighting in front of a hometown crowd and what he did to get ready for the fight.
FightTicker.com: Okay Luke, big submission victory over J.R. Hines tonight – how were you feeling going into the fight?
Luke Zachrich: I felt good going into the fight. I haven’t really had a break from training camp since December. I fought on April 11th and then spent some time in California and that was a great trip and I just kept it going until this one. I think my body needs a little rest, I might be over-trained, but I felt confident, I don’t get nervous or anything like that.
FightTicker.com: You got hit with an unintentional groin kick early on – did that throw you off any?
Zachrich: [Laughs] He caught me straight on the cup, I’ve got a dent in my cup right now. I took my time, I didn’t come back from it too fast, I wanted to make sure I could recover correctly. They gave me five minutes, I took about half of that.
FightTicker.com: Who all were you working with before the fight?
Zachrich: I always work with Nathan Fitch, my muay thai coach, he’s awesome. I usually work with Rob Radford, he's one of my main coaches, but he’s been out in California [with Rich Franklin training with Anderson Silva], and Jorge Gurgel and John Stutzman, he’s the guy that works with me the most at my gym – he’s a freaking animal [Laughs]. I have a great team of coaches, a great team of sparring partners, you couldn’t ask for anything better.
FightTicker.com: You had your run on TUF, and it was well-publicized that you’re from the Cincinnati area, but before the April 11th [ICF: Breakout] show you’d never fought in Cincy – now you’ve fought there and just across the river here in Florence a couple months later. How do you like fighting in your backyard?
Zachrich: It has its plusses and minuses. It’s a little distracting. You’ve got everybody that is here – it’s not like you’re packing your bags and getting on a plane and going somewhere where everything is about the fight. Here everybody has their own lives, my cornerman and people like that. I’m laying at home, I’ve got three dogs that drive me insane and the guys are showing up late and stuff because they have their own workouts and stuff like that. But I like fighting here because it lets everybody in the area and at the gym come see me. But on the other hand, it takes the focus away a little bit.
FightTicker.com: Well, you looked pretty focused in spite of the kick to the groin and everything. You won with the kimura from the half-guard and that was pretty impressive and it looked like he didn’t see that coming at all.
Zachrich: I know I can hit the submission from there, I do it a lot in practice, but it’s really tough to hit from the half-guard, so I thought I was going to get it and pass into side control and then either transfer to an armbar or catch him with the kimura but I hit it – nice submission. It’s weird, I don’t like getting submissions on people. I mean, I’ll take it, a win’s a win, but I prefer to stand up and trade punches, look for the knockout. But it [the submission] was there tonight, the takedown was there, I got him down in my corner, I had my coaches talking me through the submission. It was a good night.
FightTicker.com: When do you think you might fight again?
Zachrich: Maybe July, in Palm Springs California. I’ll go out and train for that fight in California with Juanito Ibarra. I stay in real good touch with him; I spent a month-and-a-half out there training with him before my last fight. He’s a great guy and he keeps me focused and it’s all about fighting out there. It’s an opportunity to go out to California and train with some good coaches and stuff so I’ll have to take advantage of that opportunity.
FightTicker.com: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me, Luke, is there anybody you need to thank?
Zachrich: I want to thank Fight Durty, they threw me some extra cash tonight for wearing the hat, Revgear, Full Mount Fight Wear, they always take care of me, they’re a great company. Forty Thieves – these guys have been with me for a long time, they make awesome products, great shorts. It’s a real cool company, I’ll always wear their stuff. They were with me before I made it on TUF, Forty Thieves is awesome, and I highly suggest everybody check them out. And Lodge Bar, they sponsored me tonight too.
Zachrich was an extremely nice guy, and that's now two fights in a row where he's pulled off an impressive submission (the last was a keylock on Robert Thompson at ICF: Breakout). Despite having never fought in or near his hometown until Breakout, it wasn't hard to see he was a crowd favorite at both shows and I'm looking forward to seeing him fight again.