Just moments before his IKBF title fight on Friday night, Alex Tzinavos went to the toilet where he awkwardly ran into his opponent.
Alex greeted him but was met with silence, a nervous sweaty demeanor, and a dropped head.
This exchange indicated Alex was already in his opponent’s head, and just one minute into the first round Grant Toa Toa was tapping to a guillotine choke.
Though he was hoping for a war, Alex sustained no serious damage as he quickly submitted the 41-year-old from Wellington to claim the 74kg South Island MMA title.
“He shot in for a single leg, but I got him in the choke and once I got him against the cage, I just kept squeezing.”
The pair were no strangers to each other, having met on three previous occasions in grappling competitions, with Alex now holding a 3-1 record.
Alex says he started slowly in Christchurch, before throwing a few jabs followed by a head kick.
“He didn’t answer with anything. I think he was worried about my stand up, so he went for a takedown.”
‘Big Daddy’ says it took a while for his accomplishment to set in.
“It wasn’t until they handed me the belt I was like ‘oh yeah, I get a title.’”
Despite undergoing a gruelling 8kg weight cut in just two weeks, Alex says he still had plenty in the tank following the stoppage.
“I felt really good and a lot lighter on my feet.”
However, going forward he plans to go back up to welterweight, which he got underway as his Maui Muay Thai teammates celebrated with ‘a good feed’ of Turkish following the fight.
His next step is likely to be a pro fight in the XFC as he chases his dream to one day sign for the world’s biggest MMA promotion, the UFC.
The 27-year-old father of three has always had a fascination with martial arts, with his father being a member of the South African SWAT team.