Longview’s UFC fighter on the ESPN + card tonight | Sports
Kevin Aguilar was making a sign in 2018 when a phone call took him away from work. He listened and didn’t say much because he was stunned.
UFC President Dana White wanted him for UFC Contender Series 12 in Las Vegas.
Aguilar would work all day in the sign shop and then train at Longview MMA as part of Team 515 on East Tyler Street, but he had only fought mixed martial arts, never on a real UFC card.
He looked at his colleagues and said, “I have to go to work.” He remembers having butterflies and being taken aback when his colleagues replied, “What are you talking about? You’re at work. ”He quit on the spot and started vocational training.
On July 10, 2018, Aguilar made Longview proud by going the distance against Joey Gomez in a victory. He followed that up with two more UFC wins over ESPN.
Tonight on UFC Fight Card, ESPN + and ESPN, he’s part of UFC 262. His featherweight fight will be the second fight of the night, which starts at 5:30 p.m. The main event is at 10 p.m.
Aguilar (17-4 MMA, 2-3 UFC) will take on Tucker Lutz (11-1 MMA, UFC first fight) at 5:30 p.m. on UFC Fight Pass. Another East Texas fight will take place at 7 p.m. on ESPN when Atlanta’s Andrea Lee (11-5) takes on Antonina Shevchenko (9-2).
“Tucker is a promising high level player. I don’t take it lightly. I put everything in training camp, ”Aguilar said. “He’s 11-1 and is making a name for himself. We will face each other in the octagon and go to the feet. It’s the same exciting feeling of stepping into the cage, whether it’s your first fight or that fight.
“He is a top level wrestler. We have prepared for it for a long time. He is known to be a good striker. He is a kickboxer champion, and we prepared for it too, ”he added.
Aguilar turns to James Compton inside Longview MMA and says, “I have my own champion striker here who has carried me this far, and he never lets me stray from my punching ability.”
Compton, a native of Fairfield, has lived in Longview since 2002. He is a boxing coach at Longview MMA with the 515 team and has worked with Aguilar for 11 years. The team includes coaches for Muay Thai, wrestling, jiu jitsu and boxing. Wade Pomeroy is the head coach. Compton will be in the Aguilar area on Saturday evening.
“I knew he would be successful from the start. He has a lot of heart and never stops. I love working with people who when I ask them to do something, they do it. And when they can’t, they work in a mirror until they are successful, ”Compton said. “Kevin was a perfect student.”
During the last night of training at Longview before having to travel to Houston for media obligations and other pre-fight events, Aguilar hit Compton’s training glove so hard that he is gone. Compton squeezed his numb hand.
“It feels good, but it feels even better when he does it to another fighter,” Compton said with a laugh. “He hits hard. But where he has improved is the experience of the ring and knowing what to do and when to do it.
“He’s smart in combat. Lots of people know the techniques, but it’s hard to do when you’re fighting someone else. He knows when to throw something and why, it’s like a chess match, ”added Compton.
Aguilar went to Harmony ISD where he stood out in football and track and field. Aguilar has also competed in powerlifting, baseball and tennis.
“I was always trying to stay busy, stay active and find my thing. For a while I wanted to be a professional soccer player, but I needed height and stuff. However, every sport I competed in I went 100% nonstop and the only thing I was concerned about was winning and perfecting the craft, ”said Aguilar. “I have always been a huge fan of mixed martial arts and martial arts in general. I loved sports, action movies, and karate as a kid, and I always thought it would be cool to fight someday. But for a country boy, something like this will never happen in my lifetime.
Today, he is 32 years old. But at 19, he met Pomeroy and began to train.
“Kevin has gone the furthest of all of our fighters so far, but he’s worked the hardest,” said Pomeroy, who worked in MMA for 30 years and 25 years as a manager. “At his level, it’s teamwork that prepares him. Everyone has to push him and help him in different areas. But what I love about this sport is that once it gets into the cage, it’s an individual sport.
Aguilar finishes his training and says: “I had a dream. I wanted to be a great fighter and Wade started training me.
Aguilar said he realizes the help from Longview and East Texas when he’s able to compete in a UFC event and watches fighters with domestic and international sponsors.
“We have a lot of local businesses and local sponsors helping me,” Aguilar explains. “I have old friends who have started their own businesses to help me. People love to help out here, they love to see a local boy succeed.
“I couldn’t be happier with the support I got from East Texas, Longview, Winnsboro… Everyone is so proud of me,” he continued. “Every time I announce something, people flood my posts with ‘we are so proud of you, we are so happy for you’ and ‘you deserved it’, to have this support from people. makes me feel good and makes me want to push harder.
Despite his full-time training schedule and his all-in with UFC fights, Aguilar also gives back to the Longview community. When kids sign up for one of Compton’s classes at Longview MMA, they’ll see his “assistant” Aguilar.
Some children have his posters on their walls and most of the students receive autographs. Of course, after their parents who paid for the fight get one first.
They also enjoyed this period.
“The kids play baseball, soccer, soccer and they come to train here between seasons,” Compton said. “Some stay all the time. But the best thing for me is to see a kid who is not very athletic, not very confident, suddenly becomes very confident.
Tonight’s fight will take place at the Toyota Center in Houston and Aguilar’s nickname is “The Angel of Death,” while Lutz goes through “Top Gun”.
John Anderson is the regional editor of the Longview News-Journal and the Tyler Morning Telegraph, members of the M. Roberts Media Group, with the Kilgore News Herald.