Phil Caracappa (0-0 MMA, 0-0 ROC) makes his professional MMA debut when he fights Tommy Espinosa (0-0 MMA, 0-0 ROC) at Ring of Combat 58 inside the Tropicana Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey Feb. 24, 2017.NJ MMA News talked to the New Jersey native about is first fight with Espinosa, his first pro fight and future.
Q: You make your professional debut Sept. 24, 2017. Why did you decide to turn pro now?
Caracappa: I decided to turn pro now because I am finally evolved into a full mixed martial artist. I had nine amateur fights and I think it’s time to start making some money.
Q: What is your biggest threat in the cage?
Caracappa: I believe my biggest threat in the cage is my aggressiveness, but also my mentality. I give 110 percent of what I have the entire time that cage door is locked and I’m always looking for the finish.
Q: You faced Tommy Espinosa in 2014 on the amateur level, you won by unanimous decision. For someone who wasn’t there, how did the fight go?
Caracappa: The first fight with Tommy was tough, he almost knocked me out in the first 10 seconds of the fight. After that, I dominated the entire fight, in every aspect. Almost finishing him in the second and third round.
Q: Do you expect him to be a totally different fighter?
Caracappa: I expect him to be the same fighter, just a bit more seasoned. I want the best Tommy Espinosa come fight night.
Q: Is it tough not to look past him since you beat him once before? How are you avoiding that?
Caracappa: Definitely not looking past him, I never underestimate an opponent, win or lose. The fact that he’s a flyweight, taking a fight with me at bantamweight, obviously means he thinks he can beat me this time around. That’s all the motivation I need.
Q: How are you different than when Espinosa first met you in the cage?
Caracappa: I am a completely different fighter going into my pro debut. In 2014, I was solely a wrestler. Now I am a complete mixed martial artist and I am ready to showcase all of my skills come February 24, 2017.
Q: In your last three victories, you finished all your opponents, do you see yourself finishing Espinosa?
Caracappa: I go into every fight looking to finish my opponent, this fight being no different. I’m looking to punish him on the feet. If he wants to stand with me and if he wants to take it to the ground, I’ll get to showcase my ground and pound. I’m looking for a TKO in round 1, respectively.
Q: Is Ring of Combat a place you would like to fight most of your pro career as you try to make your way to the next level?
Caracappa: I think Ring of Combat is where I need to be. I plan on fighting the beginning of my career here and make a name for myself. I’m looking to win my first four or five in dominant fashion and then I believe I will get my shot at the UFC. The sky is the limit.