Fort St. John resident Reece Doherty made his professional MMA debut on Friday, Oct. 28, when the Encana Events Centre hosted the King of the Cage "Goldmine". Doherty impressed those in attendance, going the distance with the much larger Logan Jarrell.
Doherty, who tries to mimic the fighting styles of UFC legends Randy Couture, Chuck Lidell, and Cain Velasquez, began his training years ago, studying Judo and Kung-Fu. Recently, he made the switch to begin training in MMA, including boxing, wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu, which he studies at the Iron Rhino MMA gym in Fort St. John.
He also has the pleasure of training with UFC fighter Jeremy Horn, an experience he says is extremely beneficial as a pro fighter.
After a month of intensive training, Doherty was prepared to take part in his first professional MMA bout, and King of the Cage "Goldmine" provided him with that opportunity.
The 250 plus pound Heavyweight was matched up against a slightly more experienced Logan Jarrell, who had two fights under his belt before entering Friday’s bout, compared to Doherty, who only had one fight prior to the event. Neither fighter had recorded a win before Goldmine.
Doherty did his homework on his opponent before entering the fight. He knew he was a hard striker and had excellent stand up skills. Despite never training with Jarrell or knowing him on a personal level, Doherty felt he was the underdog entering the fight.
When discussing his game plan entering the fight, Doherty said he knew how hard of a hitter Jarrell was, and intended to stay out of striking range to avoid taking any big shots. He said he followed that game plan "to a tee", as most of the fight was spent on the ground, with Doherty on top, imposing his will through a constant barrage of hammer fists, elbows and body shots. Although, he knew there was some risks on the ground, as ending up on the bottom of a heavyweight is bad news for a fighter.
He gave credit to his opponent, as Doherty tried multiple times to lock in a submission from the top position, saying Jarrell had excellent submission defence. He also praised his opponent's stand up, saying he was much quicker then he anticipated, and displayed an excellent combination of speed, power and accuracy.
"Every time he hit, it was like getting hit with a brick; it hurt. I've never really been hit like that before and it took a lot out of me." The condition of his face post fight backs up that statement.
With a successful first two rounds behind him, Doherty’s corner urged him to continue to push the fight, something he admits was much harder than it seems. He admits he was extremely gassed entering the third round, which could be contributed to the large shots he took at the end of the second round. He also said this was his first 15 minute fight of his career (three five-minute rounds). He said he dedicated that third round to avoiding putting himself in a vulnerable position.
He also discussed what this type of opponent and fight has taught him, saying, "overall, he gave me a good idea of where I've got to go from here, to keep working on my cardio, try to be faster and a little more experienced on my feet. At least now I know I can take a hit and keep on going."
After the biggest fight of his MMA career, it's back to work for Doherty, literally and figuratively. The recently married fighter will return to the grind for a bit, but says he’s looking to drop weight to fight in the Light Heavyweight division. Although, he also said he may take another Heavyweight fight in the near future. However, his main focus is to stay in shape, and continue to enjoy the sport of MMA.
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