MMA is a very emotional sport, it is either the best moment in your life or it is devastatingly heartbreaking. In April I had my fourth amateur fight and despite my hard work I did not get my hand raised. The training for that fight went well, my weight cut was perfect and I had no major injuries - but I fought a tough undefeated fighter and couldn‘t put my skills into action when it mattered. I really wanted to erase that last loss, so I started pestering Brian to get me another fight as soon as possible. He wanted me to focus on correcting the mistakes I had made rather than jumping immediately back in to the cage. I told him I’d be the hardest training athlete in Dutchess County. To demonstrate that I was serious I took his advice on elements that I needed to improve on.
Finally, a fight offered against Sam Nadeau. Fortunately, there was a lot of footage of his fights so I could get an accurate idea of his strengths and weaknesses. Several of the coaches watched Sam‘s fights and everyone noticed something that we could work on against him. Sam was a muay thai fighter with a tendency to brawl; he had a powerful right cross and leg hook and was apt to throwing leg kicks. The focus of the fight was to always press and not let him be aggressive. Sam did well when he was in control of the cage but not when he was being pressured. I was to get in front of him and pressure, wait for the opening, and take him down.
The beginning of the training camp went very well. There was no shortage of training partners at Precision. I had the best training partners this side of Dutchess County. The main focus of my training was improving my wrestling. My strength is jiu jitsu, but to be effective I needed to develop a good takedown game. What good is having a grappling art as a base if you cannot implement it? Luckily, the wrestling instruction is incredible at Precision MMA probably the best in all of Dutchess County. In addition to the coaches I had the opportunity to work with Brian Barry, who was preparing for the Empire State Games in Greco-Roman wrestling the same weekend as my fight, which significantly helped my wrestling as he was always available to work with me.
By the end of the camp training things started to work against me. I tried to train as hard as possible, which actually led to me overtraining. My weight hit a plateau and I wasn‘t getting adequate sleep. I was concerned about my performance based on how my body was holding up.
The weigh-ins were the day before the fight, which meant that I was able to cut a significant amount of weight, but cutting several pounds of water is not an enjoyable experience. The weigh-ins turned out to be in a pretty shady ―gentleman‘
Day of the fight I was relaxing in the hotel and I saw that John Joy and Marine Joe were going to a concert during the day in Hartford, CT. I sent John a message letting him know how close the venue was to their concert. It was really awesome seeing those two friendly faces supporting me opposed to the rest of the crowd which was supporting Sam, their hometown hero. I really appreciate them coming out. I also found out that my fight was the main event. While I was initially unhappy being the main event ended up being pretty cool. I like to stay relaxed before a fight and only start to psych myself up right before the fight. Thankfully my corner was there, keeping me relaxed backstage by swapping hilarious experiences we‘ve had with the infamous Jamey Bazes and listening to Karl‘s tale about his tremendously obese cat.
Having Brian in my corner for several fights now we had a good warm-up routine worked out. I was warm and I heard my name to enter the cage. I‘m not going to lie, fighting is scary, but by that point I had past the point of no return. I did my little dance coming down to the cage while listening to “Kung Fu Fighting”. I was amused by the slurs and insults directed at me from the drunken crowd due to my unconventional appearance, I suppose a thin longhaired guy wearing flowered shorts does not meet the image of a cage fighter to the casual fan. The fight began and I was able to follow the game plan perfectly. Each round I was able to avoid his power shots and secure the takedown. In the second round I had a sunken rear-naked choke but he was saved by the bell. Instead of mentally braking from having the win slip from my fingers it motivated me as I saw he was on borrowed time. In the 3rd round I was fresh, he was not, and I got the takedown, mount and secured the submission. This ended up being my best performance as a mixed martial artist. The feeling of victory is indescribable, the entire crowd going silent seeing the sight of their fallen hero with exception to my few fans cheering for me. It feels good dedicating myself to something and seeing my hard work pay off.
I couldn‘t have achieved anything without the help of everyone at Precision MMA. From the coaches who put in the extra time to work with me and the students, both diehard and casual, who I was able to work with. It did not matter whether I was rolling with a purple belt or a white belt, each moment they were helping me achieve my goal. I couldn‘t have done it without everyone in the gym so I‘m thankful to have a great group to support me.
Mike trains at Precision MMA home of the only MMA Champions in Dutchess County. Precision is now offering a 30 Day Free Trial call 845-392-8495 or visit http://www.poughkeepsiemixedmartialarts.com to find out more.