Fast-rising Lightweight prospect Justin Salas made a big leap Saturday night with the biggest win of his career. Salas (now 10-3) dominated UFC veteran Rob Emerson capturing the Full Force/Fight To Win belt in the process. With a unanimous decision victory, Salas firmly established himself as one of the top 155-pound prospects in the world.
Salas, fighting out of Grudge Training Center in Denver, had to adapt to some unexpected adversity during the fight as well. The cage-side lighting caused quite a problem. The heat generated from the overhead lights was so intense; it heated up the mat and decals to a very uncomfortable level.
In fact, following the first round, Salas was confused as to why he was slipping on the canvas. As it turned out, the skin on the bottom of his right foot had begun to blister and cause some serious issues. “The whole bottom of my foot got torn completely off during the fight,” explained Salas, “which posed a problem for me in closing the distance with my feet.”
Although his original game plan was to stand and strike with the more seasoned Emerson, he quickly realized his footwork was suffering. He then switched gears and went back to his wrestling roots, completely controlling Emerson and working some superior ground and pound. Despite the unforeseen circumstances, “I made it work; I adapted. I feel like I still dominated the fight.”
Up next for Salas is hopefully a call from one of the bigger promotions. He plans to train non-stop in the event he gets a call as a last-minute replacement for Strikeforce, UFC or even Japan. With such an impressive victory over an established veteran like Emerson, it is just a matter of time before Justin Salas becomes a household name. A few fights ago, Salas was given a list of criteria to accomplish in order to graduate to UFC or Strikeforce: 1. Win a title. 2. Get his win total up to double-digits. 3. Defeat a former UFC veteran. Check, Check and Check.
Follow Justin Salas on twitter: @JustinSalasMMA.