Harvey Park Looks to Become the Next New Mexico Prospect to Join the UFC with Victory Over Jaleel Willis on the LFA 58 Card at the Route 66 Casino
From a graduating class of 28 at Melrose High School in 2005 to headlining the nationally televised LFA 58 card on Friday night at the Route 66 Casino, Harvey Park feels his journey is far from over.
“I think we’re going to take the next step after this fight,” says Park (10-2) of a potential call up to the UFC. “Every time I say it, I feel it becomes more true because I’m not fighting bums.”
Park, 32, a Curry County Sheriff’s Deputy who was raised in Melrose, New Mexico and now resides in Clovis, faces Jaleel Willis of Memphis in Friday’s Legacy Fighting Alliance lightweight main event bout.
Willis (9-1), is certainly not a bum. He is a 6-foot lightweight and has a combination of power, and submission games having ended all nine of his victories before the final bell.
“The level of competition looks good,” says Park of Willis, 26. “If [I] put on a good performance, it’s could mean what I’ve been working for, to make my UFC debut.”
This is arguably Park’s toughest fight of his career. He is taking the bout just two and a half months after his November victory over Leville Simpson at LFA 53 where he had to overcome gruesome compound fracture to the ring finger on his right hand.
“It didn’t hurt to punch but I couldn’t clinch to wrestle,” recalls Park who says he is fully healed from the injury. “I took six weeks off from throwing punches with that hand.”
Friday night’s bout will be the first time that either man headlines a nationally televised card. This is quite an accomplishment for Park who hails from a town of just 630 people in Melrose.
“This part of the country makes fighters, it makes you tough— it’s not glamorous,” says Park who severed in the Navy right after high school. “We’re blue collared people.”
Park enters tonight’s bout as a +140 underdog. Willis is the slight favorite at -180.
Friday night’s LFA 58 card starts at 6pmMT with the preliminary bouts. The televised portion of the card begins at 8pmMT. Tickets can be purchased just outside of the Legends Theater at the Route 66 Casino and Hotel which is located just outside of Albuquerque.