Heading into his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut last year, former King of the Cage lightweight champion Alberto Crane was considered one of the best young prospects in the 155-pound weight class.
Having won all seven of his bouts heading into his UFC 74 match-up with Roger Huerta, Crane seemed more than ready to make his step up to the big time of MMA.
After missing out on an opportunity to take control of the fight early on, he was finished off in the third round, signaling the beginning of a three-fight losing streak for the previously unblemished fighter.
Determined to get back on track, Crane entered this past weekend's Rage in the Cage event insistent on not dropping his fourth fight in a row, and delivered a performance reminiscent of his earlier bouts, winning the match via guillotine choke just over 90 seconds into the fight.
"It's been a while since I got a win, so it feels amazing," said Crane of his victory over Adrian Valdez Saturday night. "I'm real happy with the way that it went, and I got to fight in New Mexico with all the support as well.
"We came out, threw some punches, then we scrambled and I took him down. Basically I went into half guard and threw some punches, mounted him and the guillotine was right there, and that was it."
Crane points out a continued focus on becoming a serious competitor as the reason he was able to get out of his funk.
"This last year I've been committed to being a full-time MMA fighter," said the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. "I'm just working on my stand-up and my overall MMA game.
"I was hoping to show some of that, but I didn't get to throw a lot of punches, but a win's a win and I'm happy to get back in the win column. I'm going to go from there and get back on track."
Now fully settled in Los Angeles after a move from New Mexico; Crane looks to kick his career back up into high gear in the coming months.
"They're talking about having an EliteXC on Showtime in September in New Mexico, and that's an option," he stated. "There's a couple other options that I'm looking at, so I'm going to look to see what's best and go from there.
"I want to string some wins together and get back in there with the best, get back on the big stage and make it happen."
Back on track and looking to stay busy in the coming months, Crane could quickly work his way back up the ladder and make the kind of impact he had originally wanted to make last year.
Should that happen, there could be yet another serious young contender for a myriad of titles in the stacked lightweight division.