Saipan's Frank “The Crank” Camacho (10-2) remains grounded and upbeat despite his recent loss to Chicago's Neil Magny (7-1) via judges' decision in the very first episode of Ultimate Fighter Championships' The Ultimate Fighter: Season 16 Welterweight Edition held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada late last month.
“I'm not going to lie, for a moment I felt like I hit the lowest-low point of my life in the locker room right after I lost, but all in all, I did grow from it and took a lot of good things from the experience. I truly consider the outcome as a blessing in disguise,” Camacho said.
“I won't look back on it wishing that I won either, because that's just not how I look at life. I mean, I was fortunate to notch three rounds of invaluable experience in the UFC octagon, in front of UFC president Dana White, and got to fight in front of cameras at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. I accept what happened, as well as all of the hard work ahead of me that I have put in because rest assured, I am coming back stronger,” he added.
Camacho's fight aired on cable's FX channel on Sept. 14, but it actually took place in August, but he had to hold true to the UFC's confidentiality agreement and could not disclose any details about the outcome until after the televised premiere.
The loss does not count to Camacho's official MMA record and he was in fact competing out of his normal, lightweight (155lbs), fighting class. The welterweight division is for 170-lb fighters.
The Master Lloyd Irvin Mixed Martial Arts product declared with confidence that whatever ring rust, if any, he may have had since his three-year absence from the cage is gone now. He also shared hopes of getting a call for a possible lightweight bout in the near future.
Camacho claimed was not nervous and was in good shape, at about 75 to 80 percent of full health, when he stepped into the heat of battle and according to a fight recap posted on Sherdog.com, he scored a quick takedown in the opening round and almost ended the fight right there, but his opponent made to the bell and mounted an impressive comeback.
“I went straight for the kill and opened up with some flurries of punches to get inside [position] and took [Magny] down with a foot sweep. Then I got on top [position] and just started unloading blow after blow, switching back and forth from half and full guard at all angles. I broke my left hand on my first punch, but didn't realize it until after the round; and threw so many punches in the first round that I was completely exhausted,” Camacho said in an audio file he emailed to Saipan Tribune.
Magny managed to get to his feet a couple of times late in the opening round, but Camacho was quick to send him back down to the mat until the bell. Holding the edge after the opening canto, Camacho originally thought the match was only set for two rounds so he mustered every last drop of energy left in him to try and secure the win in regulation. However, he suffered from some harsh lactic acid build up and was plainly out-willed in round two. Magny later evened the score with his standup game in the second round and Camacho, more or less, concurred.
After the back and forth performances, the judges called for a “sudden victory” third round, which Magny dominated for all but 30-seconds of the 5-minute affair. The victor apparently had a much lengthier reach and put it to good use in the latter periods.
“I got to give Magny real talk props for his resiliency. I started out very strong, but he weathered the storm and executed his game plan very well in the second, and especially the third round,” Camacho said.
“I wanted to end it right away at the start of round three and led out with a huge left hook, but didn't connect, and he made me pay for it with over four minutes of heavy ground and pound strikes. I was eating so many punches late in the round and could hear the referee warning me that he was going to stop the fight, but even though I was in a lot of pain I maintained my composure and refused to get knocked out. He later took my back and tried to choke me out at the end, but I made a point to myself that I was going to make it to the bell,” he said.
Meanwhile, Camacho thanked his CNMI supporters and wished that the fight was shown in its entirety.
“I want everyone back home to know that you are my motivation, and you all help me, more than you know, when I'm training my tail off over here. The loss was a humbling experience, but don't get it twisted, I didn't move all the way to Camp Springs, Maryland just to goof around. I'm in it to win and will never quit. I have come to understand the pressure of representing our islands well as my career has progressed over the years and will always stay true to my island roots. Hearing the excerpts about Saipan and the CNMI on the show made me so proud, and trust me when I say that big things are coming,” he said.