Redemption is on the mind of Manny Fernandez.
After falling to Dario Sinagoga in his most recent fight for the BFL interim amateur welterweight title, Vancouver’s Fernandez (3-2) has an immediate chance at redemption Saturday night when he takes on Powell River’s Nicolas Ouellet (1-0) for the BFL amateur lightweight title at BFL 61.
After having the title within his reach and failing to grab it, Fernandez, 28, said it means a lot to have another opportunity so soon to bring home the gold.
“It means everything right now; this is what I’ve been training for,” said Fernandez.
“It’s been a big focus of my life for the last little bit, so it means a lot, to say the least.”
Fernandez has five amateur fights under his belt while Ouellet has just one.
He believes that significant edge he holds in cage time and experience will play a big role in how the fight plays out.
“It’s a different story once you’re in there. A lot of your training and cardio goes out the window when those bright lights are on you,” said Fernandez.
“I have that time underneath those lights and I feel that’s going to help me greatly winning this fight.”
Although Ouellet does only have the one fight to his name, it was an impressive first round submission win over a skilled Matt Lepper, an opponent who was also behind one of Fernandez’s losses.
Despite his opponent’s 1-0 record, Fernandez said he has a lot of respect for Ouellet after his debut win, and expects a tough test Saturday night.
“I do have respect for his skill-set. I saw his fight and he looked pretty solid with it being his first MMA fight,” said Fernandez.
“I’m expecting the best; I’m expecting a good striker, I’m expecting a good jiu-jitsu guy, and hopefully we can put on a good show.”
While he may only have one MMA fight to speak of, Ouellet, 22, has plenty of experience in jiu-jitsu competition.
In addition to competing, Ouellet is one of the head coaches at Powell River BJJ, and he feels his long-time involvement in jiu-jitsu will give him a significant edge in this fight.
“I know he’s super experienced with the MMA game, but when it comes to jiu-jitsu I think I have the edge top or bottom,” said Ouellet.
“I’ve been training a long time and I just feel like it’s going to be a battle of will in there, and we’ll see who gets it.”
While he only has the one win, it was an impressive enough performance over a strong opponent to earn Ouellet a title shot.
He said he was surprised to received the offer to fight for a title so soon, but an opportunity he welcomed with open arms.
“I was definitely a little bit surprised, but I know beating Lepper was a big win for me and it would put me right into those rankings,” said Ouellet.
“When they came to me with the offer of the title I just couldn’t say no. I was a little bit surprised, but happy more than anything. I’m ready to go.”
Ever since he got his start in combat sports, Ouellet said it’s always been a dream of his to win a title.
He said leaving with the belt Saturday night would mean everything to him, but would also only be a sign of things to come.
“It would mean the world to me. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little kid,” said Ouellet.
“It would only be the beginning. I have bigger plans in this MMA game and this is just a stepping stone to me.”
“I definitely want to thank my whole team at Powell River BJJ, everyone involved in my training camp, my brother, Nelson Spreeuw, my girlfriend Deidra, my parents, and everyone in Powell River in general.” Follow Ouellet on social media: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM