June 09, 2008

Smokin' Joe Villasenor had the biggest fight of his career last weekend at CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights, the event's debut on network television. With CBS breaking mixed martial arts viewing records, Villasenor performed to his highest potential with his destruction of Phil Baroni in less than 90 seconds.

With all of the publicity leading up to this event, he is just now letting himself reflect on the fight.

"It's just all sinking in right now," Villasenor said recently on MMAWeekly Radio. "When I was backstage getting ready for the bout, all I was thinking about was working on all the things we had done to prepare for the fight. CBS wasn't an issue for me. I felt real comfortable. Every time I step into my mobile office, I get more and more comfortable."

There was a lot of pre-fight talking going on from both Baroni and Villasenor. Even though the talk was heated, Villasenor used it as fuel to get himself motivated.

"I got motivated. I got real motivated. If Phil didn't start with his stuff, I would have done something to psych up myself. It was just better that he motivated me with his mouth."

Villasenor weathered an early storm by Baroni as the "New York Bad Ass" came out swinging. The New Mexico native threw a high kick that Baroni caught used to take him down. Keeping his composure, Villasenor got back to his feet, and subsequently connected with a short left hook that hurt his opponent.

"I think that Phil wanted it to be a stand up fight. I think he thought the best opportunity to beat me was to knock me out. He stood up and I up-kicked him in the face. I knew Phil was going to be hard to knock out. I think the ref stepped in just in time because I was going to land some very heavy shots."

The left hook that staggered Baroni was tough to see for the fans on television due to the camera angle, but sure enough, that was the punch that was the beginning of the end for Baroni.

"The camera angle changes once I threw that left hook," explained Villasenor. "All I knew is that when that left hook landed and it was solid, it hurt him.

After the fight was over, respect was shown by both fighters. They both understand it was hype to psych them up for the fight.

"I respect Phil to no end. He's one of those guys if you want to go to the next level, you have to go through someone like Phil Baroni."

With the win over Baroni, Villasenor has won his last three fights. Even though he lost in his first chance at the EliteXC middleweight title, he feels much more comfortable now and believes he is in his best shape ever.

"I felt really sharp. I'm coming off three big wins and I'm just getting mentally and physically better."

Unfortunately for Villasenor, he will have to wait his turn to get a shot at the middleweight title. Scott Smith and Robbie Lawler are tentatively scheduled to headline the next CBS card as their fight ended in a controversial stoppage due to a poke in the eye. He doesn't plan on sitting out and waiting for his title shot either. He wants to get right back in there.

"I can't sit back and wait for them to fight and fight the winner of that. I want to stay sharp. I want to get a fight in. But I'd like to be in the front row for that one," said Villasenor.

With EliteXC's next scheduled card coming up in a few months, it would make logical sense that Villasenor may be on that card. He's not in a complete rush to start training again though. He is looking forward to taking a little time off in between. "I'm hoping to fight in about three or four months. I'm taking a few weeks off."

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