It was Miller time at Warpath 3 in Chilliwack, B.C. on Friday.
Whitehorse’s Miller Rogers gave Avalanche MMA its only victory at the mixed-martial arts event, taking his third straight amateur win by submission to remain undefeated.
“My game plan was 100 per cent executed like I wanted it,” said Rogers. “It’s a good feeling to win. I like winning with the team. It’s a bit of a punch to me that I was the only one to take one home.
“I was happy that I won. I’m proud of myself. I stuck to my game plan … I was going to go in there, get in a fight and I was going to win. And that’s exactly what I did.”
Fighting in the co-main event for the 155-pound weight class, Rogers defeated Russ McCumber from Courtney B.C.’s CV Boxing, who had entered the ring with a 2-2 amateur record.
As he did in his previous fight, the 20-year-old won in the first round with a rear naked choke, the ref stopping the fight two minutes, 18 seconds into the bout. McCumber said “that was an interesting sensation” as he left the ring.
“I’d like to think I’m a striker,” said Rogers. “I was a brawler for so long but (Avalanche coaches) TJ (Woodman) and Cliff (Schultz) turned me from a brawler with a path of destruction ahead of me into a submission artist. It’s what I want to do with my future. When I think about my future, I’m fighting and I’m hoping it’s going to work.”
Though winning by submission, Rogers showed his prowess as a striker. A half-minute into the fight, out of nowhere, Rogers opened up with a barrage of punches like you’d expect to see in a Hollywood depiction of an MMA fight, not the real thing. The flurry of blows drove McCumber from one end of the ring to the other.
“I connected with four or five punches in that,” said Rogers. “As soon as I got him against the ropes I felt he was going to counter, so I got really close so he couldn’t throw anything that was going to really hurt.”
Up close, Rogers manoeuvred an underhook and hip-tossed McCumber to the mat, getting into a mounted position on McCumber and delivering more blows.
“For any up and coming fighters, you have to listen to your corner,” said Rogers. “I looked at Sean (O’Halloran) for about five seconds waiting for him to say something while I was sitting there because I didn’t know what to do. I’m just a year into training, I’m nothing special. I listen to what my coaches have to say.”
O’Halloran, a Warpath organizer with the Revolution gym in Chilliwack, also coaches Avalanche fighters.
Miller is a flamboyant fighter – a tidal wave of confidence, with a Muhammad Ali-like attitude who seems incapable of even considering losing. And it shows.
Unlike the other 19 fighters to enter the ring Friday with their stone-cold looks of determination on their face, Rogers practically danced into the ring, smiling from ear to ear.
He definitely gets noticed.
“A promoter came up to me and offered me more fights,” said Rogers. “I passed it on to my coach and he’ll talk to him for me.
“I would have been devastated if I didn’t fight; I love fighting. That’s just where it stands for me.”
Rogers’ first amateur bout was in Warpath 2 at the start of September, beating previously undefeated Allan George 1:01 into Round 2 with a triangle choke. He then got his second win at Caged Rage 5 the following month in Castlegar, B.C., choking out Calgary’s Shane Erickson.
So what’s Rogers going to do now?
“I’m going to take a little break. I’ve been training for the past four or five months. I’m taking December off, just doing the basic training. I’m going to hang out with my friends, get fat a little bit, then I’ll go back in there January 1.”
For full coverage of the Avalanche MMA fighters at Warpath 3, see Wednesday’s Yukon News.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org