Combat sports can sometimes be about being the right person at the right time. Many a time, we see fighters get a golden opportunity that was supposed to be given to somebody else. When it pays off, it can be a career changer.

Kurtis Pegoraro has that very situation unfolding in front of him. He has stepped in for an injured Ben Quarmby to take on Kerry Foley for the Combat8 middleweight title on Nov. 9 in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Competing in an industry where doors can close just as quickly as they open, Pegoraro just couldn’t say no to the opportunity.

“[Combat8] mentioned about fighting him once before, but the fight didn’t really fit in with my schedule,” Pegoraro said in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “This time it was really good timing. I had a boxing fight lined up, but my opponent was a bikie that ended up getting arrested for drugs, so the fight got called off. Then Nathan [Swadling, Combat8’s promoter] gave me a call after Ben Quarmby got injured, and the timing was perfect. I’m a fan of Combat8 and the [fighting] style, so I’m excited for the fight.”

During his time as a professional fighter, Pegoraro has often been frustrated whilst competing in mixed martial arts bouts. With fight experience and a background rooted predominantly in kickboxing, he has a natural tendency to focus on the stand-up aspect of his fights. The modified rule set of Combat8 plays to his strengths as a competitor, and facing an accomplished striker certainly adds to the potential for his upcoming fight to turn into a stand-up war.

“I always kind of thought that I was going into a fight, but [in MMA] it seems to become more of a grappling match with punches,” he admitted. “I don’t mind too much, and that’s the nature of the sport, but with Combat8 I know that I am going to be able to punch on. I’m going into it expecting an exciting fight.”

Having taken the fight on relatively short notice, Pegoraro was already going to have to cut a little bit more weight than usual. Add on top of that the travel arrangements to get to the fight, which takes place across state lines, and it adds a whole new challenge to a part of the sport that is already arduous enough.

“The only thing that I am really worried about [with making the weight cut] is the flight,” he said. “Sometimes when you fly, you can retain water, so it kind of changes the way that I would usually cut the weight. I know I will make the weight, but it’s just going to be a challenge. That’s the nature of the sport, though, and I’ll be ready for it.”

Pegoraro’s opponent, Foley, has a fierce reputation for being one of the hardest hitters on the Australian fight circuit. The last time he was seen inside the Combat8 cube, he won by disqualification after his opponent, one of the top middleweights in mixed martial arts in Australia, Steven Kennedy, failed to engage in the bout on numerous occasions. Foley’s reputation may precede him, but Pegoraro is ready for anything that the accomplished boxer will throw at him come Nov. 9.

“I’m not really that worried,” he said. “He can punch me in the face all day [laughs]. Yeah, sure, he’s a big hitter, but a lot of the guys I train with are big hitters too. Some I think would hit even harder, so I think that I am going to be fine in there with him.”

On Nov. 9, Pegoraro gets to be that right person at the right time. A win over a top Australian fighter like Foley is not only going to see him walk out with a championship belt around his waist, but will also show that when opportunity knocks, he is there, ready and waiting to answer the door.

Kurtis would like to thank Advanced Fight Gear, Aussie Supplements Brisbane, Fightcross MMA and Corporate Box.

Photo: Kurtis Pegoraro (Facebook)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.