Following a disappointing 2018 campaign that saw him lose both of his bouts, welterweight JP Saint Louis rebounded in 2019 with back-to-back wins so far this year.
Saint Louis admits his defeats made him reevaluate his game and since then he’s been able to put together two strong performances resulting in first round finishes in both bouts.
“I’d been working on a lot of things since my losses,” Saint Louis told MMAWeekly.com. “I had taken a month and a half off and dedicated myself a better fighter and mentally focused.
“(My fight versus Bobby Downs in March) ended up going off pretty well. It felt good to go and get the drop them put him to sleep. Then I had the fight with Derek (Varin in May). I was able to take him down, get some ground and pound, and take him out within the first round.”
In what’s become a trend for his career, every win Saint Louis has picked up has ended in the first round. According to Saint Louis it’s not because he’s forcing things, but rather taking advantage of any opening he finds in his opponents’ games.
“I don’t come out there guns blazing, but it’s my mindset that if I see an opportunity to finish it I’ll take it no matter what,” said Saint Louis. “I’m not swinging like crazy, not swinging for the fence, but if somebody leaves their neck out I’m going to grab it and try to finish it as quick as I can.
“I definitely say training at Roufusport has trained me to be smarter with the way I go about it. I don’t’ go crazy and put myself in a bad position to get the finish, but if they give me the chance I take it. The moment someone slips up I jump on it.”
At LFA 77 on Friday in Lake Prior, Minn., Saint Louis (5-3) will look to pick up his third straight win when he faces Scott Writz (2-1) in a main card 170-pound bout.
“I feel that he’s pretty tough,” Saint Louis said of Writz. “He seems to pressure a little bit. In order for me to get the win I think it’s going to be a lot of hand play and getting my strikes off early and not letting him get comfortable.
“It seems like he starts off a little slow as well, but he stays in the dude’s face the whole time, so I’m thinking in order to keep him out of my face I’m going to have to give him something to worry about; whether it’s my strikes, my takedowns, or my submission game. I’m confident I can catch people no matter where the fight goes.”
With a third possible win in the LFA, Saint Louis could find himself in the position to step up to the next level in 2020. It’s the sort of move he would welcome, but he’s not going to fret over until it happens.
“I try not to worry myself with those thoughts,” said Saint Louis. “My whole thing has been if I’m just working on getting better and am constantly improving my game those things will come.
“You never really know what could happen with the MMA game, and I think that can really mess with a fighter’s head when they’re worried about where they’re going got go next. My whole thing is just continue to be in the gym every single day, keep training hard, stay mentally focused, keep improving my game, and I’ll get the call eventually.”