FeatureSports

Fighting with sole

Pro mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters swapped out their gloves and put on some shoes as they entered the boxing ring and switched up their fighting style.

Calgarian Matt Krayco, a third-year electrician at SAIT, has competed in about 15 pro MMA matches.

Now at age 24, Krayco has been training in martial arts for about 16 years.

“I started with dynamic martial arts from a young age and stuck with it,” said Krayco. “It’s helped guide me and direct me into this game.”

On Dec. 11, 2015, Krayco competed in the Dekada Premier Fight Night.

Krayco said he prefers not to fight while in school, but after his MMA fight fell through he was given the opportunity to box.

Krayco has boxed previously, but he felt he definitely still had things he needed to work on for his fight.

His fight against Sylvan Lake’s Ryan Machan was won by a unanimous decision from the judges over Machan.

“[The fight] was really good; it was my first pro boxing fight.

“I went all four rounds and I won all of them. I controlled it very well—I probably could have finished my opponent, but I was trying to be safe and cautious.”

What brought a unique edge to the fight was both men are experienced in MMA and faced each other as boxers for their first time.

The two had agreed to a rematch inside a cage, instead of the ring, on March 4 at the Genesis Centre during King of the Cage Canada 70.

Even though Krayco’s main interest is MMA, there are aspects of boxing that he likes.

“I think it’s the ‘bite down and fight.”

“Just will versus will to see who wants it more and who’s put in the time and work.”

Krayco described his strong point in boxing to be his composure, with all the shots thrown at him.

He said he is still able to keep his composure.

Although, Krayco said he was thrown off by a small difference between boxing and MMA.

“Wearing shoes was definitely my biggest challenge.

“Other than that, it was pretty simple going across.”

Nick Ring, a professional MMA fighter since 2002 was at the Fight Night.

“I’ve been on both sides of it, I’ve been inside the cage, I’ve been outside the cage training guys to go inside the cage,” said Ring. “I’m just as happy being on the outside as being on the inside. “It’s no big difference to me—not at this point anyways.”

Ring’s early background was fighting as a kickboxer, totaling around 30 fights.

He also spent a short time as a boxer with a record of 4-1, two of which were knockouts.

Variety is what draws Ring to the cage, with boxing being one of them.

“What I found with boxing matches, is they get me to refine very specific aspects of my game, that’s what I’ve always enjoyed.”

Ring’s favourite thing about fighting, though, is competing.

“I like being a competitor,” said Ring. “When I started watching MMA matches, I thought to myself, ‘This is what I want to do.’ 

“It’s like everything, there’s no way out, you have to perform.”

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