I had to wait for the video to be released for this as I remember about 10 seconds of the fight. I remember certain things but in no particular order. Stepping in a ring always requires a great deal of cardio. Luckily this time I did enough training and my weight cut went well and I managed to secure the victory. In the days leading up to the fight my weight cut had made me feel drained and I was worried that on the day my power might be lacking.
I woke up on the morning, starving and dehydrated. I weighed myself and was happy to find that I’d managed to get down to 70.5kg. I only needed 71kg but I’d heard my opponent was underweight so I thought I’d leave it there so he wasn’t worried about my weight. I turned up at PDKM gym at about 10am to meet with Lee and Ray before the weigh in. Due to some complications we were running a bit behind. I’d been told a few days prior that my opponent was weighing in on the night because he was comfortably below weight. I thought this was good news because after re-hydration I was looking to be around 73-74kg. We turned up late and my opponent had already been and weighed in. He actually weighed in at exactly 71kg (so I could have had some breakfast). I weighed in, in pink boxers with sunset nail varnish on the big toe on my right foot (my broken toe). I even got a compliment on it from Ian “The Machine” Freeman (who was running the event).
As soon as my weight was captured I set about eating a massive bar of Galaxy Caramel, a lucazade sport and a big bottle of water. The re-hydration and eating process began. I ate every 30 mins from weigh in to my fight. I spent the day going round the shops, eating and generally relaxing. The fight was always at the back of my mind but it wasn’t really nerves or excitement. I felt ready. As the day went on I felt more and more alive.
I was slightly delayed on my way to the fight, I also needed to put fuel in my car. I took a strange route there ans was a bit worried I’d run out of petty. I turned up about 20 mins late but just in time for the pre fight talk. We got a run through the rules, had our medical checks and went into the changing room to get prepped. I was third on so there wasn’t much waiting about. Neil wrapped my hands like an absolute pro, it was amazing to see him work, in fact all of my corner men were on point. I noticed I was yawning while I was getting my hands wrapped. I asked about it to Neil and he said it will be adrenaline. I’d noticed the same thing in previous fights but never really thought about it. I don’t really feel nervous before stepping in. I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll know I’ll always do my best. If I lose then I’ll work on my problems and come back stronger. I’d recommend this train of though before a fight because it really works for me.
Neil ran me through some pad work and I felt pretty sharp. My power had returned. I was probably more concerned with how looked. Making sure my hair was in place and my shorts didn’t give me overhang (I probably ate too much cake on the day). I was suited and booted, feeling warm and confident when I got called in. There was a mistake on the fight before mine and they had to call the fighters back in to correct it. During the delay my opponent came out of his changing room. We noticed he wasn’t wearing shin guards. I didn’t mind if we used them or not, but it was supposed to be agreed before. In retrospect we wondered if it was a tactic to throw me off. With my walkout music playing I had Ian Freeman and Craig desperately trying to rip my shin guards off. Neil saw my opponent warming up in the corridor and said to me “kick him in the legs, he won’t block them”.
My walkout music was chosen because I only had two CDs in my car. Since the fight I only have one CD in my car. It was Immortal Technique and it gave off the right vibe, not my first choice but it was a good one. I walked to the cage and instantly forgot the detailed instructions Neil had given me before stepping into the cage. Luckily I felt relaxed so it doesn’t look bad on the video. My CD did start skipping before I stepped in though, so that was a bit annoying.
I eyed up my opponent while we were given our instructions. He was in better shape than I expected. Slightly taller than me but I was a bit stockier. He was a lot younger than me, but that didn’t necessarily give me an advantage on experience as he’d fought these rules before and I’ve only been training martial arts for around 3 years now and K1 rules for the last month or two.
When the order was given I came out aggressive. I’d rather put on a show and lose than fight a boring fight. I threw a kick or two before he connected with a beautiful right hand. He rocked me and showed some excellent skill with his hands. I fired back aggressively but his footwork was very good and he avoided nearly every attack, I even threw a jumping roundhouse that connected (barely).
Now, luckily, I have a strong chin. I knew this going in. It’s probably why I don’t usually protect my face. After the initial attack, in which he bust my nose and removed one of my contact lenses, I felt him starting to tire. I worked on his legs to stop his movement and I managed to connect with some good punches and body kicks. I felt very strong at the end of the first round. He was still firing back with good accuracy but the power was waning. I was trying for a finish at the end of the first but a groin shot from him and then from me slowed the pace.
Between rounds I felt confident, Neil gave me instructions that I can’t remember now but I believe he told me to go high low (because in the video that’s all I can hear him shouting). I came out strong in the second round, landing a good combination. And then… I tried a ridiculous spinning back fist. I’m not sure what I was thinking with that one. I was aggressive in the second round, growling like a dog with each strike. I was going for the finish the whole round. I caught a good toe-in liver kick that I thought hurt him. I felt him move with it (which is usually a good indication). He kept in though but he was getting tired, In my MMA debut I used the cage to keep standing a lot because of the exhaustion setting in. I could see him doing this, which made him a slightly easier target. I’d already landed some strong leg kicks but in my final flurry I threw one in and felt his leg give way (again a good indication). I hit the same spot again and he shook his hands to the ref. It was right at the end of the second round. He could have stayed in for the third but he probably knew I’d target the weak leg (and I would have).
I rarely look into the eyes of the people I’m fighting or sparring. To me the concept is interesting.In my MMA fight I remember my opponent landing a sweet combo to my face. I remember looking at him and thinking I don’t really want to fight anymore. Maybe it was my imagination but I think he gave me the same look back. In this fight too I felt like we had a similar exchange of glances. Like once you’re in there it’s not about fighting (for me anyway). It’s about putting on a show for the crowd. It’s about not embarrassing yourself. I got my ass kicked in my MMA fight but I am still proud of it because I know I took it like a warrior. In this fight too, the end was a bit of an anti-climax, we went out and had a war. I know how it feels to have your leg disabled in a fight and it makes you a sitting duck. It’s the whole point of leg kicks. I understand why he decided not to go on, it was the right choice. I was looking for a highlight reel knockout but I’m happy with the win.
After the fight ended Neil came right up to me and said “I told you about them leg kicks” I was on top of the world. I was genuinely concerned when I saw my opponent limping but thankfully it was just a sweet shot on the nerve and there is no damage.
I have massive respect for my opponent, he has some serious skill and I look forward to seeing his future fights. At his age he could well have a promising career ahead of him.
Our fight can be seen here : My Fight