Stratford, Ont.’s Kris Allard (2-3) headlines Absolute MMA’s inaugural event, Absolute MMA 1, opposite Calgary-based Kazakhstani Ramil Kamilov (2-0) this Saturday in lightweight action at the Deerfoot Inn & Casino in Calgary, Alta.
Allard, 29, last competed in Feb. 2020 against Xavier Nash at BTC 9, right before the onset of the COVID- 19 pandemic.
“Two weeks after that we had all the lockdowns here in Ontario, so training kind of ground to a halt and for most of the last two years it’s been touch and go, so it was hard to get a consistent camp in,” Allard said in an interview with MMA Empire.
Complicating matters further, and unbeknownst to him in the moment, Allard tore his LCL midway through the fight with Nash.
“I didn’t realize until afterwards,” he said.
“I’d felt a click in there but didn’t think much about it while the fight was happening and I was able to keep going until the final bell. But as soon as it ended and I was able to cool off my body was telling me like, yep, something’s wrong.”
Seemingly predisposed to taking every hardship in stride, Allard said the injury and pandemic-related factors granted a much-needed opportunity to rest and reset both physically and mentally.
Now in fight week for his return matchup with Kamilov, Allard said he has left most of the tape study on his opponent to his coaches and is focused on simply performing to his best ability.
A welder by day and by trade, he said he is looking at the results of his first ten pro fights as a barometer, for which the Kamilov bout will be the sixth, in order to gauge the viability of shifting into MMA as a full-time career.
“Ideally it’d be awesome,” he said.
“Obviously life is a bit harder than that, generally, so I’m being realistic, but I just love the sport honestly. Training for me is a kind of therapy where I can work out and think through anything that’s going on in my life. So to just wake up, train everyday and then go fight? That would be amazing.”
Allard said he didn’t realize his fight would serve as the main event until recently when he came across the official poster for the card online.
Returning from an over two-year layoff after being active in martial arts training and competition for most of his life, Allard said he is excited to be featured at the top of the bill this weekend but that the placement of his fight matters less than the opportunity itself to finally compete again.
He began training karate when he was four years old at the suggestion of his parents, but said after five years the distractions and hectic nature of childhood eventually elbowed it out of the picture for a time.
“You know, just fell out of it the way kids kind of fall out of interest with things. In high school I decided I wanted to start up again, and I began entering and winning (karate) tournaments,” said Allard.
“Then after high school I began training jiu-jitsu and MMA. A year or two into it a buddy that I trained with said he had a guy doing an amateur MMA event, and I offhandedly made a comment that it’d be fun to try. So I get a text from my buddy later that night asking if I was serious about wanting to try it. I said yes and he’s like ‘good, because I already signed you up.’”
Allard would end up losing this amateur debut to Marc Soloman by decision, but said he gives himself credit for going the distance with the much larger opponent in a fight at 175 pounds, almost two divisions above his natural weight class at 155 pounds (lightweight).
“He was the biggest guy they had that night. He weighed in 175, I think I weighed in 166 and I didn’t even cut any water or anything. I was just me at my everyday walking-around weight,” he said.
Allard would respond to the disappointment from his debut with three straight victories to end his run as an amateur. The Ontarian said he would have liked to amass more experience before going professional, but after only five bouts external factors began to necessitate a step up in competition.
“Something got messed up with the sanctioning body, I can’t remember exactly, but we didn’t really have one anymore for amateur so technically they were illegal and we couldn’t do them anymore. So here I am now, doing pro,” he said.
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