Whitehorse’s Ryley Johnson isn’t choked up about his fight on Saturday. That was his opponent’s job.
The 16-year-old fighter from Whitehorse’s Avalanche MMA twice got his opponent in chokeholds en route to winning at WarPath VIII in Chilliwack, B.C.
Fighting Chilliwack’s Corry Wass (0-1) in a submission grappling bout in the 160-pound youth division, Johnson won the fight with an arm choke about three and a half minutes in.
“It felt really good to be back in the ring and fighting again,” said Johnson. “It was a good experience. It was a lot of fun going down there.”
In the fight, which was a best-of-three submissions bout, Johnson came in with a low stance, keeping his hand low to defend against takedown attempts.
“I was just feeling him out for the first minute and a half, two minutes,” said Johnson.
Johnson took Wass down, got in his guard and attempted an arm-bar. When Wass countered, Johnson got him in a triangle choke, forcing Wass to tap-out.
That was the beginning of the end.
“Same thing: I circled, I clinched up with him, I got him against ropes and managed to take him down again,” said Johnson. “I got mount, got him in an arm choke and that was it.”
Johnson now has a 4-0 amateur grappling record. Competing in the Tiger Balm International last March in North Vancouver, Johnson won three straight matches on the way to gold in freestyle grappling in the junior 15-17 age category.
In his only mixed martial arts bout, Johnson lost to Gagan Gill from Mumba MMA in Abbotsford, B.C., last December.
“I think I’d like to give it another try,” said Johnson of MMA.
It was a tough night for Avalanche’s T.J. Woodman. Fighting Chilliwack’s Jamie “The Gremlin” Siraj in the main event for his second title shot, Woodman went the full five rounds but lost by unanimous decision in the 135-pound weight class.
Takedowns by Siraj, who defeated Woodman by split decision last February in WarPath IV, were the deciding factor.
“Taking him down is a sign of dominance and that’s where (McLean) was winning all the rounds,” said Avalanche coach/owner Cliff Shultz, who was Woodman’s cornerman in the fight.
“It wasn’t one-sided. T.J. didn’t have any damage done to him. He played the game on the ground really well. The other guy moved his hips quite well to stop (Woodman) from doing his jiu-jitsu on the ground.”
Woodman, 29, who now has an even 3-3-0 amateur record, went for a title in Warpath III last December, losing in the fourth round to Kelowna, B.C.‘s Cameron Deluerme.
“It didn’t go badly,” said Schultz of Saturday. “The guy he was fighting kept taking him down. In each round T.J. had really good stand-up; his hands were looking really nice. But every time he clinched up with him, the guy kept getting underhooks.”
A third Avalanche fighter, Stefan Brynjolfsson, was supposed to fight on Saturday, but the fight was cancelled due to unexpected circumstances.
Brynjolfsson’s opponent, Mark Morrison from Billings, Montana, was unable to make the fight when his plane suffered an electronics malfunction and had to make an emergency landing in Spokane, Washington.
“I know Stefan is ready to fight. He’ll be fight quite soon and so will I,” said Shultz. “It’ll be in the month or two.”
Brynjolfsson has a win and a loss after two amateur fights. The 26-year-old won by a rear naked choke in Round 1 against Luis Terrero in September 2011. In Warpath III in last December, he lost to Chilliwack’s Brandon Wolkosky by split decision.
“I’m not disappointed,” said Shultz of Saturday. “T.J. did a really good job. Ryley did an awesome job and I know Stefan, in the future, will be ready for his next fight.”
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