After a rough stretch earlier in her career that saw her lose three
straight fights in Bellator MMA, Amber
seems to be hitting her stride.

The 35-year-old Californian made a statement in her Professional
Fighters League debut, knocking out 2022 postseason participant
with a first-round headkick in their PFL 2 bout on
April 7. It was the fourth consecutive victory for Leibrock — all
inside the distance — and it sets her up for a showdown with
on Friday night at Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta.

Leibrock has pinpointed two key reasons for her career

“Everyone asks me, ‘How did you go from the skid to where you’re at
now?’ I think it’s accountability,” Leibrock said during a PFL
virtual media day. “It’s easy in the fight game to blame somebody
else or change camps. At the end of the day it’s all within you, so
you have to look at yourself. What are you doing? What are you not
doing? How hard are you really training?

“Mental game as well. …I changed up the way I approached my
mental,” she added. “I have a hypnotherapist named Richard Hart.
(He’s) really just changed the game for me, taught me how to
visualize. Gave me a lot of self confidence and mentally has
brought me to a different level. Being accountable has really
changed me as a fighter, changed the way I train and the way I
approach everything.”

Working with a hypnotherapist might seem a bit unorthodox, but
Leibrock has used it to visualize everything from her career as a
whole to her upcoming fight.

“Me and my hypnotherapist work on all scenarios. So we’ve seen this
fight going so many different ways. We actually envisioned the PFL
opportunity before it even happened,” Leibrock said. “There’s so
many different avenues to get to the million dollars and the
championship. We address all those things as they come up. I’ve
seen so many ways to finish this fight. I’ve seen this fight going
three rounds. I’ve seen bad positions, good positions, worst-case
scenarios, best-case scenarios.

“That’s the most beautiful thing about working with a
hypnotherapist. I definitely suggest it to anybody who could be
mentally struggling a little bit. Find a mental coach whatever that
avenue is, because that definitely changes the game.”

Leibrock will be a considerable underdog against Pacheco, who upset
Harrison to win the PFL championship at 155 pounds in 2022. The
Combat Sports Academy representative believes she has one key
advantage against her opponent heading into Friday night.

“The unknown. There’s tape on me but it’s really old,” Leibrock
said. “I’m not that same fighter anymore. Obviously the last fight
didn’t last very long … I don’t think I’ve truly shown exactly what
I’m capable of in the cage at this level. A lot of people don’t
know exactly what I can do or how much I actually bring to the
table. I think that’s hard mentally for people and that’s hard to
train for when you don’t know exactly what’s coming at you.”

Pacheco has a well-established reputation for her knockout ability,
as she authored a streak of five consecutive KO/TKO victories in
PFL competition before back-to-back decision triumphs over Harrison
and Julia
. With that being said, the rangy Leibrock is confident in
her own striking ability, as well as her willingness to engage with
the heavy-handed Brazilian.

“My length, my kicks, the ability to be able to strike and kick the
way that I do [makes me a tough matchup]. I’m a phenomenal striker,
I’m extremely skilled,” she said. “I train at one of the best
striking gyms in the entire world. My movement is really good as
well, I think I have really nice, evasive footwork. It’s hard to
hit something that’s moving all the time. I’m conditioned. I’m
ready to go all three rounds and just be on my bike and stick and
move. “It’s going to be hard to deal with somebody that’s long and
not just standing in front of you.”

Leibrock vows that she won’t be awed by the Pacheco mystique, which
she believes has hindered some of the defending champion’s past

“It’s gonna be hard to deal with somebody who’s not just concerned
about not getting hit,” Leibrock said. “I think that’s something
people have been doing a lot. They just don’t want to get hit by
her. I could care less. I train with dudes; I get hit by strong
people all the time. I think my length definitely puts me above
anyone else in this tournament that could go against her.”

Source link

Amber Leibrock Credits Accountability, Work with Hypnotherapist for Recent Success