After picking up a submission win over TJ Brown at RFA 44, bantamweight up and comer Joey Miolla has been sidelined for over a year, waiting to get back to action.
Whether it was injuries or fights falling through, Miolla just couldn’t seem to find his way back into the cage.
“I’ve been off for a year, not by choice necessarily,” Miolla told MMAWeekly.com. “I had a small injury in April, and aside from that, locally I’ve had opponents pull out, so it’s been hard to get fights.”
While the time off was frustrating, Miolla feels he was able to put it to good use and it will help him out in the long run.
“I think the time off has really been helpful for me,” said Miolla. “It’s allowed me to hone my skills to the best of the abilities and give my body a break.
“I was cutting weight for the last two years sometimes three times a year, four times a year, and that cut to 135 pounds isn’t necessarily the easiest, but this has given me time off and has made me feel so much better.”
Miolla (9-2) will finally get back to action when he takes on Vinicius Zani (10-4) in the co-main event of LFA 24 on Friday in Phoenix.
“Everybody is blowing up (Matthew) Frincu’s and (Mackenzie) Dern’s fights, but this right here I believe is going to be fight of the night,” Miolla said. “We’re both hungry.
“(Zani is) a very tough Muay Thai specialist, but he’s good on the ground as well. I’m an athlete. I’m not a boxer, I’m not Muay Thai, I’m not just a wrestler – I’m a mixed martial artist. I’m an athlete and I’m explosive, so I feel I’m dangerous everywhere.”
Having had a difficult time over the past year getting a fight, Miolla is cautiously optimistic about what could come next after Friday’s bout. One thing that is clear to Miolla is it could very much be now or never if he’s going to make his step to the next level.
“I really want to go out there and soak in every moment of it and enjoy it,” said Miolla. “It’s been a year, so I just want to have that feeling again. Getting back into the winning circle and enjoy that feeling.
“I’m 32, I’m not getting any younger, so I need to fight and stay active. I need to be somewhere these big shows can see me. Not fighting, they can’t do that. It is what it is, so I’ve got to stay positive and look forward to what’s next. Hopefully with this victory I can get some eyes open and get that call.”