Christien Savoie expects his speed and athleticism to make the difference in FLA 7 main event

Christien Savoie
Christien Savoie celebrates his title defence at Elite 1 MMA 37. (Photo by Lea Campbell Photography/Elite 1 MMA)

The East Coast is in for a treat as two of Canada’s top middleweight prospects lock horns this weekend.

Fight League Atlantic returns to Moncton, N.B. this Saturday at the Moncton Coliseum for FLA 7. In the main event, New Brunswick’s own Christien Savoie (8-1) will look to defend home turf against Etobicoke, Ont.’s Dorjan Dokaj (3-1).

“I feel really good. I pretty much just jumped right back into it after two years off from competition,” Savoie said in an interview with MMA Empire.

“It’s the first time I’ve had a full training camp away from home, so yeah it was a great camp.”

Savoie’s last time out was in the CFFC 89 main event for the vacant welterweight title where he came up short by submission to jiu-jitsu black belt Bassil Hafez.

Coming off his first career loss, it’s been a good learning experience that has led Savoie to one of his best training camps yet.

“Back at home it was kind of a big fish in a small pond thing. I never really had the training partners to push me and challenge me the way I should be at this point in my career,” Savoie explained.

“The reason I stayed home as long as I did was because I got a lot of individual attention and the camp was built around me. Of course I’ve travelled to different high level gyms in the past, but I’ve never actually gone away to do a training camp, so it’s been super helpful.”

As always, a solid training camp is key, but being confident and comfortable in your weight cut is even more important.

For Savoie, that means staying at 185 pounds where he’s had success and feels like he can make a significant run.

“I’ve never lost a fight at 185. I dropped down to 170 because, at the end of the day, I’m not a big middleweight. I’m kind of one of those guys that’s stuck between the two weight classes,” Savoie explained.

“I felt like cutting to 170, I was just gambling to see how I feel on fight night, which isn’t something I really want to do anymore. I’m not the biggest at 185, but I’m strong, fast, athletic and powerful, so I’m hoping that can make up for my lack of size.”

Savoie has a lot of respect for the physicality and size of Dokaj, but does feel like he holds a skill advantage across all categories.

Being able to bring in some big sparring partners has Savoie feeling well-prepared heading into battle.

“I think he’s a tough fight. He’s a big 185er, he’s athletic, he’s well-rounded and he sets a really good pace. I expect a tough fight, but I think I’m a little bit more skilled than he is everywhere,” Savoie said.

“Obviously, getting in there with similar body types is always good. I got to train with some big guys this camp. And aside from that, me and my coach, we’ll come up with a game plan and it’s usually the right one. Talk is cheap though. We’re going to find out on fight night.”

Of course, having watched tape and studied his opponent heading into Saturday night, Savoie will look to use that knowledge to his advantage.

With his high-level striking background, opponents usually look to get things to the mat. Savoie, however, wants to avoid having a one-track mind when the cage door closes.

“I mean, the perfect outcome would be me kicking him in the head in five seconds, kind of like Jorge on Ben Askren, but I’m ready for a 15-minute war if need be,” Savoie said.

“Again, we’ll find out when we step in there. I don’t want to be too narrow-minded thinking he’s going to do a certain thing, so I can’t go in there thinking he’s going to try and wrestle me the whole time because he might think that he has the striking advantage or whatever. But some takedown attempts is definitely what I’m anticipating.”

Having amassed a solid record over his career, Savoie has been knocking on the door of the big promotions for the last few years.

With a few more big performances, we could be seeing another UFC fighter from the Maritimes.

“If I can get past this task, then I’m kind of thinking of getting a bigger name. I’d have a 9-1 record, I was on the cusp of the UFC before my last loss,” Savoie explained.

“So I think if I got a bigger name, like a former UFC fighter or something, and I get the job done impressively, I think I’m right back. That would be the best case scenario.”

Savoie’s shoutouts

“All my coaches! Kru Alin especially, he’s helped a lot with this camp. All my friends, family and supporters.” Follow Savoie on social media: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM