If Ryan Machan did indeed bid farewell to the Havoc Fighting Championship Friday night, he went out on a memorable note.
The ‘Sylvan Lake Strangler’ turned in a successful second defence of his welterweight title with a first-round victory over American Richie Whitson during the main event of the Havoc 5 card at a packed Sheraton Convention Centre.
Whitson, from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, came into the fight with a 12-4 record and attempted to apply a tight choke on at least two occasions. But Machan, as the more experienced fighter, had no problem escaping potential trouble and applied a kimura (armlock) that forced his foe to submit 4:14 into the match.
“Experience is big-time important,” said Machan, who improved to 22-9. “When someone takes your back when you’re newer, you panic a little. But I’ve had over 30 fights. I’ve had people on my back lots. You just wait it out, work for your position and carry on.”
Machan has likely run out of challenges on the Havoc circuit and will probably give up his title shortly.
“I think this will be my last fight with Havoc,” he said. “I’ll vacate my belt and have someone else have a chance for it. I’m moving on to bigger promotions, better opportunities.”
He was referring to Battlegrounds MMA and an eight-man, single-elimination tournament June 27 in Oklahoma City.
“That will be a big test, for sure. It’s potentially three fights in one night,” said Machan. “But I’m wired for the challenge.”
If Machan does indeed step away from Havoc, his training partner at Arashi-Do Red Deer, Advin Omic, could be a candidate to fight for the welterweight crown.
After defeating Andrew Buckland of Campbell River, B.C., earlier on the five-fight pro card, Omic insisted he’s wouldn’t go up against Machan at the present time. Or ever, for that matter.
“Ryan is my best friend in the world and he would whip my ass 10 times out of 10,” said Omic, who ran his pro record to 13-4. “He’s my best friend. I would never fight him or even want to fight him. We fight each other enough in the gym.”
But he would be open to challenging for a vacant Havoc welterweight title if, say, Machan was to move on and perhaps get a shot with the top-tier UFC.
“That would be awesome, and it would be awesome too for Ryan if he was to get into the UFC,” said Omic. “It’s time for the big show for Ryan.”
Omic stepped into the ring Friday night with a heavy heart.
“I dedicated that fight to Joey Hagel, a good friend of mine who passed away this week,” he explained. “It was really hard to want to go out and fight somebody after that, but it was nice to get the win for him and for myself as well.”
Omic won by rear naked choke at 3:45 of the first round. The submission dropped Buckland’s record to 15-12-1.
“I fought Andrew Buckland four years ago and he finished me real quick in the first round with a choke,” said Omic. “I got the choke for the win in the second fight so I’m pretty happy about it.”
Earlier, Andrew Kloot of Champions Creed Martial Arts in Calgary made his pro debut with a third-round submission of Jemark Brady of Red Deer in a 155-pound scrap. Kloot applied a triangle choke that ended the fight at 1:03 of the third round and dropped Brady’s record to 2-5.
Dusty Kramps of Calgary also made a successful professional debut by submitting veteran Jason Gorny (6-13) of Edmonton. Kramps won by triangle choke 1:35 into the opening round of the 185-pound fight.
In the other pro bout featuring a pair of Calgary athletes, Luis Huete ended a spirited 145-pound affair with Noah Ali with a rear naked choke at 3:35 of the first round. Huete improved to 4-1 while Ali fell to 5-2.
The amateur card included five fights and the final bout featured undefeated heavyweight Chris Lafantaisie of Red Deer, who sent five-foot-10, 240-pound Nolan Sakima of Bonnyville to the mat just 14 seconds into the match. With Sakima, who was making his cage debut, bleeding profusely from a gash near his eye, the fight was stopped at that point and Lafantaisie was declared the winner by technical knockout.
While the six-foot-four, 265-pound Lafantaisie is still relatively new to the cage, it’s just a matter of time before he turns pro. He’s in no hurry, however.
“Right now I’m just trying to get more experience. This was just my fourth fight,” he said. “I’m just training and working on my game plan.
“As an amateur all you can really work on is yourself. Once you get to the pro level you can’t go back to amateur. It’s a bigger shark tank and I just want to be ready.”
The time will come, perhaps before the calendar turns to 2015.
“I’ll leave it up to my coach, I always trust him,” said Lafantaisie. “I wouldn’t mind turning pro this year because I’ve put in a lot of time, but it’s not something I really want to rush. Before you can run you have to learn how to crawl. I’m just working on my game so I can be at the same level as other pros.”
When told that one Havoc official suggested that Lafantaisie has no immediate opposition in the amateur heavyweight class, the fighter replied: “You know what, there’s always a bigger dog. I know of a couple amateurs who have some pretty impressive records, so the amateurs will come out. I’m far from untouchable. Everyone has their day.”
Kris Pinky of Calgary opened the amateur card with a first-round submission of Sean Freund of Olds. Pinky won by armbar at the one-minute mark of the 170-pound bout.
In the only bout of the evening to go the distance, Travis Marshall of Fort Saskatchewan defeated Dan Juricic of Calgary by split decision. Both fighters were making their cage debut in the 185-pound division.
In the other amateur fights, Jayson Pyper of Red Deer recorded a first-round knockout of Andrew Marsden of Edmonton to improve to 3-1 in the 170-pound class, and Kent Soucy of Red Deer defeated Jason Huras of Calgary by guillotine 42 seconds into a 155-pound scrap to even his record at 1-1.