Mike Tubera’s blood was boiling after seeing Austin Liu’s Instagram post leading up to their Combate Americas Mixed Martial Arts fight.
“He posted a picture of our faceoff and put a pumpkin emoji on my head and he had a knife emoji in his hand, basically saying I was going to get carved up,” stated Tubera, a 2008 Central Valley High School grad. “That was definitely additional fuel.”
Tubera, 30, got the last laugh with a unanimous-decision victory (30-26, 30-26, 30-26) against San Jose’s Liu on Feb. 28 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno.
“The main goal was to make him feel stupid in front of his family and friends,” Tubera said. “I probably humbled him a little bit.”
Tubera dominated the 133-pound matchup from start to finish despite competing with separated ribs sustained 30 seconds into the fight.
“Once that happened, I wanted to stay away from clinching and work on strikes,” Tubera said. “I would have had to tap out if he took me down.”
Tubera dropped Liu when he landed a left hook to the right side of his head with 1:11 remaining in the first round.
Liu had no answers for Tubera’s stand-up game.
Tubera also landed more kicks.
“We flustered him with striking and kicking,” Tubera said.
Tubera and Liu didn’t shake hands after the winner was announced.
“I knew as soon as the fight ended I won,” Tubera said. “He didn’t land too many significant strikes.”
Tubera (1-1) was prepared for his second professional fight.
Daniel Oseguera, Tubera’s teammate, topped Liu (0-2) by unanimous decision at the same venue on Aug. 2.
Tubera was humbled that night when he lost by submission (rear-naked choke) with 1 second left in the first round to Fresno’s Paul Elizondo Jr.
“My teammate fought him (Liu),” Tubera said. “I watched the film and trained with him. That was really helpful.”
Tubera had more than one motivating factor for the bout.
The fight was almost canceled due to contract issues.
Tubera wasn’t the person to blame.
“We were supposed to have a catchweight of 130 pounds,” he said. “He (Liu) came in overweight. They took 20 percent of his purse and gave it to me.”