Pair of P.A. MMA fighters poised to make pro debut

Andrew
Andrew Schopp
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Ryan Rohovich grapples with Donovan Hack at the Battle for the Border event in Cranbrook, B.C. over the weekend. With his victory over Hack, Rohovich improved his record to 5-0 in amateur MMA. Photo courtesy of Davidson Photography 

With victories in the Battle for the Border event in Cranbrook, B.C., over the weekend, a pair of Prince Albert MMA fighters are now poised to make their pro debuts. 

Coming off a title win in Regina on March 16., Prince Albert fighter Ryan Rohovich improved his amateur record to 5-0, defeating Cranbrook native Donovan Hack to take home his second championship. 

Also winning at the event was Prince Albert’s Wesley Bowman who defeated Josh Freisen to improve his amateur record to 3-2-1.

With the pair of wins at the Cranbrook Memorial Arena over the weekend, Lucian Phillips who trains Rohovich and Bowman out of LDP Martial Arts in P.A., said the pair are ready to make the next step.

“After this event both Wesley and Ryan have decided that they want to go pro,” Phillips said. “They have both now been in higher-profile fights at the amateur side where they went into a big arena and took on the hometown guy.”

With a rear-naked-choke late in the third round, Rohovich remained undefeated after he battled through some hard shots to kick things off, countering with a series of strong leg kicks before taking Hack down with a reversal in the opening frame. 

After the strong first round, Rohovich continued to dominate, Phillips said. 

“Ryan really beat Hack up in the second round and in the third he was super aggressive and he took him down,” Phillips said. “He controlled him and got his back and choked him out.”

For Bowman, Phillips said the key to victory was knocking Freisen down early and controlling the fight from there.

“Wesley had the upper hand on the guy from the time he knocked him down with some clean shots,” Phillips explained. “The second round was back-and-forth but Wesley was able to be resilient and take him down again. In the third round he had a better idea of distancing himself and did enough to get the decision.”

Leaving Cranbrook 2-0, Phillips and his pair of fighters are now mulling their options in terms of making their professional debuts.

Although unable to confirm, Phillips said that the trio are considering making the leap from amateur to pro at an event at the TriStar Gym in Montreal in about six weeks. 

Phillips said that competing at the pro level in Montreal is a “big possibility” and if they do, Rohovich and Bowman will be the first fighters coming out of LDP to do so. 

Phillips added that the pair of victories in Cranbrook showed that his team is headed in the right direction as they continue to compete outside the local scene.

“The team we are developing is a good team and going out and collecting wins at these events is awesome,” Phillips said. “It’s confirmation of our hard work. We are testing ourselves against some of the top gyms in Western Canada so it’s always good to know that we can compete against these guys.” 

With the absence of a provincial athletics commission to regulate them, professional MMA events in Saskatchewan are currently illegal.

On Nov. 5, the province introduced legislation to establish such a commission, which Phillips said, will do wonders for his gym and the sport’s development throughout Saskatchewan.

“With the pro commission coming into Saskatchewan by the summer, hopefully there will be a show in P.A. and I’ll be able to have fighters on that card,” he explained. 

Philips added that the sport in Saskatchewan is young, but growing rapidly as gyms like his continue to pop up in small towns across the province. 

“It’s still in its infancy stages,” he explained. “It’s still growing and I don’t see it stopping any time soon.”

andrew.schopp@paherald.sk.ca

Organizations: Prince Albert

Geographic location: Cranbrook, Regina, Saskatchewan Montreal Western Canada

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