Biggest test for ‘Sonic Boom’


Trench Tech’s Roman “Sonic Boom” Alvarez holds Mark Abelardo during the first round of their bantamweight bout in PXC 50 held at the UOG Calvo Field House in December last year. (Pacific Xtreme Combat)

Trench Tech’s Roman “Sonic Boom” Alvarez will debut in Deep Cage Impact, one of the longest-running MMA events in Japan.

Alvarez will be facing Masanori Kanehara of Reversal Gym Tachikawa ALPHA in the bantamweight bout of the Dec. 17 competition that will be held at the Differ Ariake in Tokyo.

“This is by far my biggest fight in my whole MMA career. My opponent is a very experienced fighter and has fought all high-level athletes in the UFC bantamweight division. His last five fights were all against ranked fighters in UFC so yes, I would say this is my biggest test,” said Alvarez.

Kanehara has seen action in 43 fights since he started joining MMA events in 2003. He holds a 25-13-5 win-loss-draw record with eight of his victories by way of knockouts. The Japanese’s last three bouts were in the UFC and he lost the final two after winning over Alex Caceres via unanimous decision in UFC Fight Night 52 on Sept. 20, 2014. Kanehera bowed to Rani Yahya (UFC Fight Night 71 in July 2015) in a split decision and to Michael McDonald (UFC 195 in January 2016) via rear-naked choke in the second round.

Interestingly, the veteran fighter also dropped his last Deep Cage Impact match (Deep Impact 66 in April 2014) against fellow Japanese Toshiaki Kitada due to disqualification (fighter thrown from ring) in Round 1. Before this defeat, Kanehara was on a winning streak (6).

Alvarez also bagged five straight victories before losing to Mark Abelardo (TKO/punches) in PXC 50 in December last year. The Trench Tech fighter had his MMA debut in Rites of Passage 5 in September 2008 and won over Reagan Mality via TKO in the first round. His four other victories were against Jay Taijeron (Round 1 KO) in PXC 40, McKlane Alfred (unanimous decision) in PXC 42, Robert Wusstig (Round 1KO) in Trench Warz 18, and Ernie Braca (DQ) in PXC 48.

With four of his five wins recorded in the first round, Alvarez is also gunning for an early victory over his Japanese foe.

“My game plan is to always look for the finish like I always do in my fights. I’m going to try and keep it standing so I can work my speed and accuracy because I feel I’m the faster and more explosive fighter in this matchup,” he said.

“My main focuses are my striking and my wrestling. My opponent is very experienced and crafty with his jiu jitsu so I’m going to try my best to stuff his takedowns and keep the fight where I’m most comfortable but you can never really prepare specifically for a fighter or a fight because things may change so you have to be ready for everything and everyone,” Alvarez added

Alvarez also believes his strength as a younger fighter will work against the seasoned Kanehara and he has a dedicated team that will prepare him for next month’s competition.

“Although he’s very experienced and crafty, he is a weathered fighter and can be finished. I know that I can win the way I want to because I believe in my abilities and my team to get me ready for the victory,” the 22-year-old Alvarez said.

“I’m young, hungry, and always ready for battle when the opportunities present themselves, but my biggest advantage is my heart and will to win. Come Dec. 17, I will put our island and people on the map. It’s time to let them know that the CNMI is coming hard,” Alvarez said.

Kanehara and Alvarez’s duel is one of the eight bouts featured in next month’s event.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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