A lot can happen in four minutes and two seconds.
It took that long for Whitehorse’s Chaos Combat Club to get a pair of victories in the gym’s first mixed martial arts (MMA) fights.
Whitehorse fighters Jesse Fairburn and Owen Holmes both took first-round wins at Total Mayhem at the Fraserview Centre in Vancouver on Friday.
Both fighters now have 1-0 amateur MMA fight records.
“It’s pretty euphoric,” said Fairburn. “I worked so hard for it; I’m putting in at least 15 hours a week, working out – conditioning, technique drilling and all that fun stuff. Lots of sparring.”
“It definitely feels good,” said Holmes. “We got some offers right away to fight again.
“We’re just going to get back in the gym right away on Monday and continue to work on our skills and see what happens.”
Fairburn worked the crowd of over 800 into a frenzy with his dramatic win.
The 25-year-old beat Surrey, B.C.‘s Tom Proppe (1-2) by technical knockout just 2:37 into Round 1 in the 155-pound weight class.
“A lot of people told me it was the fight of the night because of the slam and the constant pressure I was putting on him,” said Fairburn. “The whole experience was incredible.”
Fairburn took Proppe down and the Surrey fighter maneuvered into a mounted position but didn’t land any substantial blows before Fairburn squirmed out.
“I took him down but I kind of froze up. I was so nervous and stiff for my first competition. He rolled me over and kind of put me in a bad position. He had me mounted but I managed to escape. I got out, I got a really big slam – it was pretty cool.”
Back on their feet, Fairburn landed an uppercut to the chin, picked Proppe up and slammed him to the canvas.
Fairburn got in the full mount and dealt a barrage of punches until the ref stopped the fight.
“There’s a big difference between training and competing and it really takes a lot more focus to get in there and compete – to put the skills together that you’ve developed and make them effective in a situation where you can really get hurt,” said Fairburn. “In the gym they’re not going to try to knock you out, they’re not going to try to put you to sleep.
“In the ring, staring at that guy, you know he’s coming to take your head off and has been training for weeks for this.
“Having my first taste of competition and doing it in a way I did it, without getting hit, getting a big stoppage … I’m definitely hooked. It’s like a drug and I can’t wait to get back in there.”
Holmes had a bit of a surprise when he met his opponent during the weigh-in before the fight. The promoter said his opponent, Tom Austen of Surrey, was six-foot-one. He was actually six-foot-five, about six inches taller than Holmes.
Austen purportedly entered the ring with an 8-0 record in Muay Tai, a standup kickboxing style.
“So I knew I wanted to take the fight to the ground,” said Holmes.
That’s exactly what he did.
Holmes, 27, defeated Austen with an arm triangle (a.k.a. side choke) just 1:25 into Round 1 of the 180-pound catch-weight fight.
Holmes took a kick to the face right off the start, but Austen over-committed to his follow-up shots and Homes took him down.
“He got me with a good kick to the face and he stepped in – I think he thought I was hurt – with some pretty big swings, and I shot a double leg, picked him right up and brought him back to our corner,” said Holmes.
“I tried once or twice to get in a position to start punching and I couldn’t. So I switched over to the other side and got the arm-triangle in. As soon as I sunk it in on him, he tapped right away.”
The plan for both fights was to get the opponents on the mat, said Chaos coach and owner Sheldon Casselman.
“We had a game plan going in. We knew both the (other) guys were more stand-up (fighters). Jesse’s guy was more of a brawler, so we wanted to take him to the ground.”
For Holmes’ fight, “our game plan didn’t switch if he was six-one or six-five, we just knew he was a Muay Tai and we wanted to take him to the ground.”
This spring has been good to the Chaos Combat Club, which opened in September 2011 and moved to Porter Creek last year.
At the Tiger Balm Internationals this past March in North Vancouver, eight members of the gym returned with 14 medals, including six gold.
Chaos plans to send fighters to B.C.‘s Five Star Fight League in July.
Casselman, who has a 7-1 amateur record and a 1-0 professional record, hopes to pick up his second pro fight.
“I’m going to wait for their July card and I’m going to get at least five people if not seven (entered),” said Casselman. “It’s going to be a big one.”
Holmes and his wife Charity are expecting their second child in August, “so I want to make that my main focus right now,” said Holmes. “I’m going to stay in the gym and stay fighting shape. I took this fight because I wanted to do one before we had the baby.
“Balancing family life and training takes a lot. Before my fight I was training a minimum of four hours a day.”
“I’m really glad to see the sport taking off with Avalanche (MMA in Riverdale) going out and winning all their fights in their first outing and us winning all our fights in our first outing. I think it really goes to show the Yukon has a really hard work ethic,” added Fairburn. “Between the schools, I think it really shows what Whitehorse is all about.”
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