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Combate America's Ricardo 'El Gallero' Palacios talks weight cuts, sponsors, UFC, and rooster fights!

Combate Americas -- a mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion which focuses on some of the best up-and-coming Latin American mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters in the game -- is still on the rise.

And Ricardo Palacios is quickly becoming one of the faces of the young and prospering fight promotion. With a record of 6-1, Ricky was one of the original cast members of the first season of the Combate Americas reality show.

Palacio will next see the inside of the cage when he headlines tonight's (May 9) Combate Americas event in a bantamweight showdown opposite Brandon Royval in the headlining act in Los Angeles, Calif., which will air on NBC Universo and UFC Fight Pass. caught up with "El Gallero" to talk all things mixed martial arts (MMA) including training at Team Alpha Male, UFC and sponsorship, weight cutting and much, much more.

MMAmania: You usually train in your hometown of Mission, Texas but recently started training in Sacramento with the world-renowned Team Alpha Male (TAM) Camp. How is it training up there and what is it like leaving your family behind to train across the country?

Palacios: It's hard, but it comes with the territory. But it's a hard thing. I don't really know many of the guys. I know some, but haven't known them for a long time, I came for three weeks in November, fought in December and then I am here again for three weeks. I don't really know a lot of the guys yet, so it does get a bit lonely being away from home, family and friends. But it is awesome knowing that I am here training with UFC guys. It's gives me a boost of confidence when I get compliments from them, from top notch guys, top 10 in the world.

MMAmania: You've stated in the past that you were obese before getting into MMA. How tough is it for you to actually hit the 135 pound bantamweight limit and have you encountered struggles in your weight cuts given your past history?

Palacios: My last camp was three weeks, and I was working in Houston, Texas scaffolding with my brother and I wasn't watching my weight, working out very little, we'd work 10-12 hour shifts, five days a week. I would get home, try to work and try to eat healthy. But, everything is on the go when you are working in a job. I was about 165 pounds and in three weeks I dropped to 137. It was a hard cut. This time around, I am feeling better, my weight is down and I am working with a nutritionist for the first time. This guys has worked with Cris Cyborg, so he knows what he's doing, but I have never had this professional help, while most of the guys go to top gyms and have the guidance they need. I always did it myself did what I thought was right."

MMAmania: You mentioned you still do other jobs other than MMA for income, do you ever foresee a jump into a bigger promotion like Bellator or UFC in search of bigger paydays?

Palacios: My record speaks for itself and I think people are looking at me now, but I am happy with Combate, Mike Afromowitz, Campbell McLaren, they are taking care of me, helping me out a lot. Aside from the fight game, we are always working on other things and I love that one-on-one attention with the boss. When you go to UFC at this point, they already have top 10, top 15 fighters in every single weight class. I'm not making big, big money yet, and I know what Campbell McLaren knows what he is doing, so his plans and Combate Americas is coming up perfect, nice and smooth and un-rushed. If I jump into UFC right now, I will be one of 300 fighters, and here I can say that I am a face of the company and I will be able to do things outside the company knowing that when people see Combate Americas my name and face is going to pop out. People are looking at other companies now. I am making three or four thousand in sponsors and my name isn't even out there that much yet. I am making good money with Combate, so, I am close to what they are paying (entry level fighters) in UFC right now. And working with other things that sound legit with Combate, it is going to build a foundation for me and my family.

MMAmania: With both an MMA and boxing background, do you see a shift from the Latin community away from boxing and into MMA, as far as a fans and fighters perspective goes and which is more grueling?

Palacios: Down in South Texas boxing is a big thing. I did one amateur boxing fight and then I went into pro boxing and pro MMA. You know, it's good, but boxing is a slow start and there are so many promotions out there, so it's still a 'who you know' type of deal. In MMA, my career took off a bit faster. Boxing is a bit more brutal. It's a hard, hard, hard sport. Because it's blow, after blow, after blow to the head and after so much sparring, you have headaches, migraines. In MMA, there is not too many punches to the head. There is takedowns and you can mix it up a lot more."

MMAmania: What can you tell us about your upcoming foe, Brandon, and what dangers does he pose for you?

Palacios: He's a southpaw, he throws very good kicks and likes to mix it up real well. He does like to push forward, but doesn't catch a lot of angles. I need to control the pace with him. I like the stand-up game, it's the competition, do or die. Who's going to bend first? Who's going to give up? They usually shoot on me after I hit them. But I like the wars.

MMAmania: And finally, where does "El Gallero" come from?

Palacios: Growing up, I lived near the border in Texas. So one of the sports I grew up was rooster fighting. I grow up with that and yes, the name means "Rooster Fighter" in English; but,  for me it's more of the heart of a fighting rooster. They fight to the death. It's more the heart of it, willing to give it all and fight to the death. I carry it with me and that's how I see myself.

Ricky would like to thank his sponsors: DY Army, Phat Boy Racing, Vitamin Shack & Shakes, Quad Force Fight Shop, BB Express, Reflection Homes, M&M Off Road Center, OHQ, Papi Chulo's, Royal Insurance Group, Quick Income Tax Center and Colibri Cuisine & Catering.

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