Atomweight champ Alesha Zappitella is doing her best not to let emotions affect her performance at Wednesday’s Invicta FC 45, but make no mistake – those feelings are boiling just below the surface.
“Honestly, there’s a little bit of a chip on my shoulder about a lot of stuff with just the way that this fight played out,” Zappitella told MMA Junkie. “I’m not letting it get to me. I’m not angry. I’m not going in there angry, but I have a lot of reasons for this fight now.”
Zappitella has been sidelined since her May win over challenger Jessica Delboni. It was a razor-thin, split-decision result, and one that “Half Pint” readily admits wasn’t her best night.
“I’m not happy with my performance at all in that fight,” Zappitella said. “I went in with a gameplan. My coaches weren’t really talking to me. They weren’t really telling me the things that I needed to be doing, so I was getting frustrated even in the fight, so we just had to go back and gameplan. Got a new team behind me and everything, so really just reassess everything.”
Now working with both Ohio’s Strong Style MMA and Tennessee’s Knoxville Martial Arts Academy, Zappitella said she has laboriously studied her 25 minutes with Delboni and has made the needed adjustments.
“I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve watched it or my coaches have watched it,” Zappitella said. “I broke down every single thing that I did wrong and every single area where I could be doing better. And I mean, she’s fought since I fought, and I’ve been able to just study absolutely every single thing and really evolve in this time.”
Zappitella (9-2) and Delboni (11-3) will meet again in the headlining bout of Wednesday’s Invicta FC 45, which streams live on MMA Junkie from Kansas City, Kan.
Delboni earned her way back to a second shot at the belt with a single-night, eight-woman tournament victory this past June and has made it clear she doesn’t agree with the result of the first bout with Zappitella.
The reigning champ has taken notice.
“It annoys me a little bit that she’s posting everywhere that she thinks that she’s the champion because she’s not the champion; I’m the champion,” Zappitella said. “I’m the best atomweight in the world, and I’m going to go out and I’m going to f*cking shove it down her throat and prove it to her.”
Once that bit of business is handled, Zappitella said she plans on moving up to strawweight, where she has competed earlier in her career. But in her final fight at 105 pounds, she wants to make a real statement.
“I’m sending a message,” Zappitella said. “This is my last fight at 105. I’ve been cutting weight for five months now, and going to 105 is not healthy for me at all. I want to go out and send a message and just show that I am better than what anybody is saying about me.”
In order to do that, Zappitella said another split-decision win just isn’t going to be good enough.
“I am going to go in and I’m going to stop her,” Zappitella said. “I am going to get Jessica to the ground, and I’m going to keep her there, and I’m going to break her.