It was only three months ago that Chris Chapman lost his mixed martial arts pro debut, but it felt like three years to the Red Deer fighter.
“It felt good to finally get that one after losing my (debut) in September,” Chapman said Friday night, after defeating Jamark Brady of Red Deer by rear naked choke in the first round of a 165-pound bout on the Havoc Fighting Championship card at the Sheraton Red Deer.
“I felt a lot more comfortable in there tonight than I did in September,” added Chapman (1-1), who trains out of Arashi Do Martial Arts.
Chapman was quite familiar with the man he faced in the cage Friday.
“We’re actually pretty good friends. I’ve cornered with him all of his other fights,” he said.
Brady dropped to 2-7 with the early loss, tapping out just 1:46 into the scrap.
“Actually I’m terrible at submissions. I’m more of a stand-up fighter,” said Chapman, who turned pro last fall after a successful eight-bout amateur career that produced a lightweight title in each of the Havoc and Hard Knocks associations.
“I fought for the Hard Knocks title in January in Calgary, then I was asked if I’d turn pro and fight in September,” he said.
“I’d had eight amateur fights. I thought that was a little much and that it was time to go pro.”
So far, Chapman has noticed just subtle differences between the amateur and professional levels.
“It’s not that much different (than amateur), just the rules are a bit. For example, kicking and kneeing to the head are allowed in pro fights, which are also longer (five-minute rounds as opposed to three in the amateur ranks), so you have to start training for longer rounds.”
Chapman credits fellow pros Ryan Mahan and Mike Davis for helping him develop as a cage competitor.
“Both of those guys took me under their wing,” he said. “I feel I’m a pretty-well rounded fighter thanks to training with some good guys in Red Deer.”
The 21-year-old, who lost his pro debut by unanimous decision to Scott Hudson of Mississauga, Ont., in Havoc FC 6 Sept. 5 at the Sheraton, will return to the cage in a Hard Knocks production Jan. 31 in Calgary.
“I’ll probably take a week off training now and then get back into the gym,” said Chapman.
The Red Deer fighter will take his talents onward and upward if possible.
“I’d love to go as far as I can with it, but it’s super hard for Canadians to get anywhere, at least it has been lately,” he said.
“All I can do is stay focused.”
Another all-Red Deer pro bout Friday was stopped at 1:30 of the first round when Tanner Willshaw (0-0) of Kensei MMA was unable to continue after taking an unintended knee to the groin from Dwayne Mombourquette (3-1) of Black Dragon MMA. The 185-pound fight was ruled ‘no contest’.
In a third pro bout — a 145-pound scrap — Sabah Fadai (10-4) of Chilliwack, B.C., defeated Tim Tamaki (17-27-1) of Lethbridge by unanimous decision, and in the main event of the evening Jordan “Hellboy” Mackay (7-2) of Calgary defeated veteran Andrew Buckland (15-13-1) of Courtenay, B.C., winning by kimura (armlock) 2:09 into their 185-pound match.
• On the amateur card, Ryan Williams (3-1) of Red Deer Arashi Do defeated Connor Crebbs (0-1) of Red Deer Kensei MMA by unanimous decision in a 135-pound bout; Blaine Cust (1-2) of Red Deer Arashi Do lost to Dan Juricic (1-1) of Calgary by TKO at 2:24 of the first round of a 185-pound match; Dave Puhky of Calgary won his cage debut in a 170-pound fight versus Colton Cronkite (2-3) of Lethbridge, prevailing by first-round guillotine-choke submission; and Jess Elverum defeated Alex Beatty by guillotine choke at 2:21 of the second round of an all-Calgary women’s 130-pound fight. Both were making their competitive cage debut.