This photo story was the final project of my photojournalism class at the University of New Mexico. In this project, I followed mixed martial arts fighter Tim Sosa as he prepared for his King of the Cage flyweight title fight. This included taking photos of Tim during one of his wrestling practices, his weight cutting process to meet the 125-pound flyweight limit, the weigh-in ceremony, and the fight itself. I think these photos display the large range of emotions fighters like Tim feel as they prepare to fight. The following photos and captions are what was turned in.
In preparation for his upcoming mixed martial arts championship fight, Tim Sosa waits alone for wrestling practice to begin at the FIT NHB gym in downtown Albuquerque on Saturday, November 12th.
As wrestling coach Jonathan Judy demonstrates a technique with the help of UFC fighter Tim Means, Sosa watches in a crouched position to placate the back pain he incurred during his training camp.
On the day after Thanksgiving, Sosa waits in the hot tub at Defined Fitness on Juan Tabo, periodically peering at his watch to see if enough time has passed to warrant a break from the draining process of cutting water weight.
With his weight cut nearing completion a mere hours before he’s expected to weigh in, Sosa comments on his possibility of reaching the 125-pound flyweight limit by muttering, “I have a chance.”
Sosa looks on as his opponent Johnny Guillen weighs in at Sadie’s on 4th Street the day before their fight.
Sosa enjoys a moment with his coach Arlene Sanchez-Vaughn and teammate Brenda Gonzales-Means while using a foam roller before his fight at King of the Cage: Duke City II at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
While Sosa continues to prepare for his fight later in the evening, fellow mixed martial artist J.J. Holloway blows off steam alone in an adjacent room after a losing his fight.
Sosa lands a leg kick on his bloodied opponent Johnny Guillen, leaving Guillen off balance.
Between rounds, Tim Means, Arlene Sanchez-Vaughn, and Tom Vaughn elevate Sosa’s legs and apply ice, all while offering tactical advice for Sosa to utilize inside the cage in the following round.
In the fourth round, Sosa executes one of many takedowns landed throughout his flyweight title fight against Johnny Guillen.
Victorious after winning a split decision, Sosa exits the cage with his newly-acquired flyweight championship belt in hand.
On his way to complete a post-fight drug test, Sosa is greeted by friends after his hard-fought bout.