In front of a packed house at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer, Alta., Havoc FC 13 delivered.
“This feels amazing. It’s better than I ever dreamed it,” said Gower in an interview.
“I really wanted this title. It was a goal of mine to win, and now I get to bring it back home to my community.”
It was far from cruise control to victory for Gower, however, as he found himself caught in a deep arm bar by Pfeifer midway through the first round.
But Gower said he stayed composed, worked his way out, and eventually finished with a submission of his own.
Gower said he was originally supposed to face Justin Basra for the bantamweight title, after Basra claimed it last November, before being forced to vacate it. He mentioned Basra as an opponent he’d still like to fight and potentially defend his title against down the road.
“I’ll fight whoever. I’ve never backed down from fights,” said Gower.
“I’m just going to keep moving forward and see whatever life throws my way.”
Neis And Desist
In the main event of the evening, Devon Neis (now 6-5) and Josh Heinz (now 4-3) put on a show for the fans for 3:02, before Neis caught Heinz with a heavy shot, sending him to the mat and finished with a TKO.
Heinz started strong and appeared to be on his way to a TKO victory, but Neis held on and pushed through the flurry of shots attempted by Heinz.
“Whenever he throws that overhand right, he goes off to the one side, so I knew I had to clip him when that happened,” said Neis in an interview.
“Once he went down, I continued swinging on the top. Everyone was yelling to go for the body, but the head is where the guts are at.”
It was a nice way for Neis to return to the cage after over three years of fights falling through, and an even nicer way to bounce back from a loss in his last fight.
Neis said he’s hoping to continue to stay active, and said there’s a couple opponents he has in mind he’d like to stand across the cage from next.
“There’s a few guys I have in mind, but I’ll keep it under wraps for now,” said Neis.
“I’d rather do a public callout to them.”
Overcoming Cage Rust
Much like Neis, Chris Chapman (3-1) also made his return to the cage a memorable one, as he earned the second round submission victory over Justin Schmit (now 4-9), after sinking in a rear-naked choke with just four seconds left in the round.
In his pre-fight interview, Chapman said he didn’t think cage rust was going to be a factor, but said he ended up feeling it.
“Ring rust is a thing. I was tired, but I was still able to dig deep,” said Chapman in an interview.
“I felt good walking out, but the second I got in the cage my arms were gassed. It was hard to get the range at first, and I wasn’t really setting up combos.”
Now that he’s back, Chapman said he’s looking to stay active, and hopes to get back in the cage around April.
And although this was only his fourth professional fight, Chapman said his extensive amateur career should allow him to start fighting more veterans moving forward.
“A fight like me a Derek Boyle would be an awesome fight for Havoc,” said Chapman.
“I’m not one to call guys out, but I think it would be a fun fight for the crowd, a fun fight to get excited for in the gym, and just a good fight for Alberta in general.”
In the other professional bout, John Nguyen improved to 2-0 with a dominant first round TKO victory over Ryan Williams.
Sean Carroll, Travis Grayson, Garrett Noonan, Grady Behrens, and Mike Ngo were all victorious on the amateur portion of the card.