It’s almost unheard of to compete three times against the same fighter before you reach the United States legal drinking age, but that’s exactly what’s happening at Rise FC 5.
Damon Marlow (2-1), 20, and Raphael Ouellet (2-1), 21, will look to settle the score while also adding some gold to the trophy cabinet when Rise FC’s amateur lightweight championship is on the line as they step into the cage to conclude their trilogy Saturday night.
It should make for an interesting matchup as Ouellet and Marlow have gotten to know each other quite well with all their time spent in the cage together.
If either fighter has their way it will be a short visit back as they don’t want the judges to be involved this time.
“It’s crazy having three fights against the same guy, all in a one-year period too,” Marlow said in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I think it’s going to be a pretty good fight and I’m hoping it’s over quickly. I’d love to go out there and completely destroy him; I’ve already had six rounds with this kid. Obviously he’s a really good jiu-jitsu fighter, so I know I have to be careful and make sure I don’t get caught in anything.”
Ouellet expects to bring a much-improved version of himself into the cage on Saturday, one he hopes Marlow isn’t familiar with.
“It’s the third fight between me and Damon, so I’m coming in ready. I know what he’s coming with and what he thinks I’ve got, but it’s going to be different. I plan on putting a stamp on this one and finishing it,” Ouellet said in an interview with MMA Empire
“I’ll take the path of least resistance if I can finish him on the feet or the ground, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m just looking for the finish at all times; I never want it to go to the judges. I definitely feel I have an edge in the grappling, and I’m sure he knows that. But I’m planning on surprising him with my stand-up as well.”
Every fight provides an athlete with the opportunity to learn and improve. For Marlow, there’s been an increased focus on striking in the gym and he feels it will play a big part in his upcoming title fight.
“I feel like my striking has improved a lot. My first year and a half was really focused on grappling and the wrestling aspect,” Marlow said.
“I’ve started to train more striking and take it more serious lately, and I think my striking and my all-around game has improved for sure. With all the training I’ve been doing and the ability to ground and pound in this fight, I think I’ll be able to get a finish.”
The ability for these two amateur fighters to ground and pound will not only provide a great learning experience as they prepare to go professional, but it could come in handy for a fighter who excels on the mat. Ouellet, however, is confident wherever the fight goes.
“If I’m completely honest with you, Damon’s good at stalling,” Ouellet said.
“He’s good at winning rounds in a not finishing kind of way. He’s a good fighter, don’t get me wrong; he’s got a good right hand and double leg, but that’s about it. He just kind of looks to hold and stuff. I think I have more ways to win the fight, whether it’s on the feet or the ground. I’ve got more options, so I think I’ve got it covered.”
Belt Provides Stepping Stone
When asked the cliche question of what it would mean to win an amateur championship in MMA, both fighters see the opportunity as a potential launching pad to bigger fights and the chance to turn professional.
“Winning the belt would be sweet; one little goal on the path to becoming a pro,” Marlow said.
“I’m thinking this fight and then maybe two or three more amateur fights, then going pro after that.”
Ouellet is on the same page, but unfortunately there can only be one champion come Sunday morning.
“I think it’s just a fast track to the pro ranks and that’s my objective. I want to go pro,” Ouellet said
“That’s what me and my brother are planning; we’re going to take over this game. I want to defend the belt a few times and then talk to my team and figure out what we’re going to do, whether I want to go pro or stick amateur for a while longer. This is going to be my first fight with ground and pound, so this one will be a lot more realistic.”