Think ‘who am I fighting- what is their style, their strength, and weaknesses. What is the best strategy for fighting this person?’
Think ‘Is what I am doing working?’ if not what’s the new plan.
When fighting someone much taller. Understand they will be hard to counter-attack as their reach means they can strike when they are not within your range. Instead go on the attack more often than not.
When fighting someone faster and more aggressive. They have the advantage if they are attacking, so unless you have mastered reading the opponent and counter attacking, attack them first. Their over confidence in their speed means they are unlikely to be good at countering and they probably aren’t even thinking of countering, they are thinking of their next attack.
When fighting a counter attacker. Fake, fake, fake until they are sick of misfiring their counters. Once they give away their favoured counter attack use a combination that will avoid being hit by the counter or have a block prepared for it.
If cornered be aware of their over confidence in their positioning, they will try to creep in closer knowing you can’t retreat from their attack. Don’t wait too long, go on the offensive with a big front kick combination it is the most likely technique to cause them to retreat. Don’t counter-attack in corners, counter attacks are best made when you have freedom of movement to be able to position yourself for a good angle, you don’t have this luxury in the corner.
When fighting a charger you have two choices: first, have an exit strategy of sidestepping prepared. Or know that the chargers worst enemy is a front kick pick off counter. If you don’t like being charged, consistently show them you are ready to front kick counter.
When fighting a reverse puncher mirror their stance to keep your ribs away, have your back hand more forward and ready to do a scooping block. From this position counter with the jab.
If you have just won an exchange, especially if you are now in the lead, expect a charge or other aggressive move when the bout starts again, they will want to get their point back quickly, use this impatience to your advantage. Prepare a counter or have an exit strategy or beat them to the punch, whatever you do be acutely aware they are going to attack.
If you have just lost a point and are now losing, time permitting, stay calm and think strategy. A good tactic is to act relaxed even lower your guard a little to lull them into a false sense of security, they will already be relatively relaxed because they are winning, then suddenly explode with an aggressive combination.
If you are fighting a round kicker, check which leg they always kick off (most round kickers primarily kick off one leg) if it is their right have your left leg back and vice versa. Make a habit of running away from the kick, then suddenly change this habit and drive forward in while they are off balance.
Have combinations or counter attacks in mind before the event, ideally before the day (6 will give you strong grounding), think about which ones you are strongest at and practice them, don’t allow ‘hajime’ to be the point where you say to yourself ‘right what shall I do?’
Watch the other fights in your division like a hawk. By watching the other winners ascend through the heats will give you an insight in to their fighting style.
Bombard yourself with positive inner self-talk. Like “I am fast as lightning” “I get every one with my front kicks” “I am a winner” “why did this guy even bother coming he’s already lost” “I trained hard so now I fight easy”