Zach Albritton (1-0) is a 23-year-old fighter from Louisiana. At Ar-La-Tex conflict 1, he faces Texan fighter Jesus Martinez (0-2). Despite Martinez’s record, he is a tough opponent and easy to overlook, posing a considerable threat to anyone he faces.
Born in Shreveport, Albritton grew up in Haughton, Louisiana, a small town about twenty minutes from his birthplace. It was as a result of his family that the first steps towards fighting as a mixed martial artist occurred;
“As far back as I can remember, I sat on my grandpa’s lap with family around watching boxing. I grew up watching my older cousins and grandpa who were big on staying in shape. There was always a punching bag hanging on a tree in the yard. I looked up to them and saw them and fighters as role models. As a kid I dabbled a bit in martial arts. I was always on top of staying in shape and working out. Before I started training at a gym I was doing stuff on my own.
“At about sixteen or seventeen, I got hooked up with the gym I am still at, Karate Mafia. We just clicked; we were all on the same page and mission.”
It wasn’t long after starting training that Albritton had his first competitive experience in combat sports;
“My first fight was actually boxing in golden gloves. I won the state title at 119 lb. My next match was when I was straight out of high school. In Louisiana you had to be 18 to compete in MMA. I had my first match and fell in love with it.”
Albritton’s fights have all been at either 115 lb or at a catch weight of 120 lb. As an amateur, he went 6-0. Interestingly, his first professional fight was against a fighter he had faced before;
“I fought Berto Grimaldo at Legacy Fighting Championship and Legacy Fighting Alliance as an amateur. I won both by unanimous decision. They were exciting fights, which is why they had us fight each other again. The second fight was for the Legacy amateur title.”
In the third matchup, Albritton stopped Grimaldo in the second round;
“I feel that not only had I progressed as a fighter, my fight IQ had gone up. The extra two minutes in a round made a difference. As a pro, it can go in your favor or against you, but it makes a difference. With five minutes, you have a little extra time to get the job done. Finishing the fight was definitely me progressing and growing as a fighter though, and having more experience in the ring. Plus I have great team behind me that have helped me along the way.”
Albritton’s fight nickname is ‘Scratch’;
“I think that’s how you would describe me as a fighter, to scratch is to fight. I had a bunch of nicknames and that one stuck. My coach gave it to me. Being a young pup with a lot of heart and laying it on the line was how it came about. I had some wars coming up, being in the trenches with your elbows in the mud. They knew I’d keep coming and get it done by any means necessary. I’m a scrappy, straight forward, wide open, pedal on the gas fighter.”
Martinez, his opponent, comes in a taller and rangier fighter, walking some three inches taller;
“I really don’t know a whole lot about him. I’ve seen one fight; he’s a tough, straight forward, game fighter. Other than seeing that one fight, I don’t know much about him.”
Albritton enjoys standing and trading with opponents, as he describes it, he likes to “stand in the pocket and trade paint and let my hands go”. Despite this, he has worked hard on his ground game, and understands the importance of being able to fight in all aspects of the sport, wherever the fight may go.
As with most young professionals, Albritton balances training with working to put food on the table;
“I work in a restaurant to pay the bills. As for training, in an ideal week I train six days a week, with some days being two sessions a day. We turn up the intensity closer to fight time, but outside of that time, it’s six days a week with a day for rest and recovery.
“I have a boxing match in November in Bossier City at the Horseshoe. I was 3-0 as an amateur, 2x Louisiana Golden Gloves champion at 119 lb. I’ll be making my pro debut in boxing. So after this fight, I’ll be implementing more boxing focused workouts. I’ll still be working the other aspects, but my training will be more focused on moving to a boxing mentality. They are both combat sports but are completely different.”
One thing that Albritton has already identified is that it is important to recharge his batteries mentally. Training is very demanding, made more difficult by having to work as well;
“When I’m not training or working, I love to spend time with my family, kicking back, relaxing with friends and family or playing with my dogs. I like to be outside and enjoy life. It’s easy to get caught up in the grind. It’s cool sometimes when I have time to take a breath of air and enjoy the people around me, as well as the fruits of my labor. We work hard, and you have to take that time off to enjoy yourself.”