Current Bellator fighter Seth Petruzelli was no different.
While he’s spent the majority of his fighting life inside the MMA world, Petruzelli has always admired K-1 and kickboxing as a sport so when he received a Facebook message a few weeks ago gauging his interest in being involved in an upcoming Grand Prix, he couldn’t help but be excited.
“Coming from a stand up background since I was a little kid doing traditional karate, kickboxing and Muay Thai all my life I had to be a fan. It’s what I enjoy doing most with MMA is the stand up aspect, so of course I’ve been a fan for a while,” Petruzelli said when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio.
Petruzelli will be one of eight fighters in the upcoming K-1 U.S. Grand Prix landing in Los Angeles in September, with hopes of winning the tournament and moving onto the Grand Prix final later this year in Japan.
The preparation for his entry into the K-1 tournament will be tough, but Petruzelli is excited about the challenge because he gets to do show off some fun tricks that he just can’t do when competing in mixed martial arts.
“I love to stand up and bang in MMA and this is a chance where I get to do all my crazy kicks and show off the kicks I never get to do in MMA because I’d be afraid of getting taken down. Now with doing K-1 I have a chance to do all those things,” Petruzelli said.
As a veteran of the sport, Petruzelli has gone through rigorous camps before to get ready for fights, but competing in a K-1 tournament is a whole different kind of animal.
On paper any single fight is less in total time than two rounds in MMA, but to complete the tournament requires three wins in one night and Petruzelli also points out that just because the time per fight is less, it doesn’t mean it’s any easier.
“To come down from three 5 (minute rounds) to three 3 (minute rounds), you’d think it’s easier on your cardio, but you’re going at so much a higher pace for those 3, 3's, and it taxes your cardio and pushes you to the limit,” said Petruzelli. “That’s going to be a challenge for me, but I feel like I’ll be fine with it.”
Long term, Petruzelli still plans to return to MMA and he’s currently in talks with Bellator Fighting Championships to be a part of their next light heavyweight tournament.
All other plans are put on hold for now though because Petruzelli hopes to conquer the K-1 Grand Prix first, and then decide what’s next for him.
“It’s all going to depend on that,” Petruzelli said about the tournament.
“My body, how my body’s holding up, and all that sort of stuff, so there’s going to be a lot of factors that play on that date Sept 8 to kind of plan out the rest of my year.”