There has admittedly been some bad blood brewing over the last several months, but Durant native Damon Jackson will finally get his shot at rival Kevin Aguilar Friday night for the inaugural Legacy Fighting Alliance featherweight championship.
The title fight in the octagon is the main event of the LFA 4 card of MMA action that will take place at the Horseshoe Bossier City Hotel and Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana. The fight card is set to be televised nationally on the AXS Network beginning at 8 p.m..
It’s being billed as a grudge match between the two combatants that were scheduled to go at it in October for the Legacy featherweight title which Aguilar claimed after Jackson had to vacate the championship three weeks after winning it in July of 2014 when he signed a UFC contract.
Aguilar, who is nicknamed “The Angel of Death”, backed out of the fight at the last minute due to an injury, which the former Durant High All-State wrestler has questioned extensively ever since, including calling the champ out on national television following his last victory a month ago.
“The whole thing seemed kind of fishy,” Jackson commented. “Then they offer up his teammate to fight me. Then he gets to go straight to the LFA championship fight after the unification. It just didn’t sit right with me.”
Jackson, who never lost a Legacy bout, instead was forced to fight Aguilar teammate Levi Mowles at short notice but still posted a unanimous decision victory. “The Leech”, as Jackson is known, then returned to the octagon to pick up a submission win over Charles Cheeks III via a patented rear-naked choke just over a month ago in Dallas while waiting on his chance at Aguilar.
That came sooner than expected when Aguilar’s originally scheduled opponent for this fight, Raoni Barcelos, was injured while training a few weeks ago. Jackson got the call and quickly accepted the meeting that he has been chomping at the bit for nearly six months in the making.
“It has definitely been a long time coming,” Jackson said. “It was fortunate for me that his opponent got hurt and I was able to take his place.”
The animosity spilled over into the camps of both fighters as well with Aguilar’s camp headquartered in Longview, Texas publicly claiming that Jackson’s Dallas-based team had been taking easy fights to pad their records.
Aguilar had plenty to say during a recent interview with MMA Weekly.
“Barcelos had to pull out and I’m fine with that, because now I get to handle some unfinished business with Damon Jackson,” Aguilar proclaimed to the website. “He was talking trash and running his mouth when I hurt my back in October. He was mad, because he ended up struggling and looking bad against a 135-pounder (Levi Mowles) that fought him on short notice.
“They call him “The Leech”, because he sucks. He’s a one-dimensional wrestler. I’m gonna show him what a real mixed martial artist is when I put the boots to him and stomp him out for the LFA featherweight title!”
That talk can all be put aside on Friday night.
“There has been a bunch of talk back and forth,” Jackson added. “My camp has fought for eight MMA titles so we aren’t ducking anybody.
“I’m just ready to put it all behind me and get to the fight on Friday.”
Even though the turnaround between fights has been relatively short, it’s not something that the former Lion is unfamiliar with.
He fought five times in the first six months of his professional career, all of which were victories.
“I like to fight pretty often so it’s really not that bad,” Jackson said. “I’ve done a lot more drilling for this fight to tighten things up. You can’t add a lot in a month and I was already pretty familiar with him from the preparation for the October fight.”
Jackson enters the championship fight with an 11-1-1 professional record while Aguilar is 11-1 with his only loss coming to Leonard Garcia, who “The Leech” defeated for the title in his previous championship bout in 2014.
Thanks to the reported shoulder injury, Aguilar has not fought since July 1 of last year.
“I feel like I can get him down on the ground with a takedown,” Jackson commented. “He’s a good defensive striker that counter strikes really well. That’s something I have to be aware of. I can’t overextend on my striking or go for a bad takedown and open myself up for him.
“My game plan is to be aggressive and stay on him the whole time. It’s going to be to my advantage to get him to the ground and then I’m going to try and get the submission.”
The last month has been a whirlwind to say the least for Jackson.
In addition to getting the call for the championship shot, he also welcomed a new addition to the family with fourth daughter Taytum born on Sunday.
With mother and new daughter home and doing well, Jackson’s focus is squarely on the LFA title even with talk that another UFC contract could hang in the balance for the winner.
“I just want to keep winning and then we’ll see how things play out,” Jackson summed up.
Contact Kevin Farr at 580-634-2161 or [email protected]