Two experienced amateur fighters. One championship belt.
Riley Pequin (4-2) will make the trip north from Calgary to take on Todd Vatcher (4-2), fighting out of Yellowknife, N.W.T., for the amateur welterweight title at XFFC 17 in Grande Prairie, Alta. Friday night.
Pequin is the current amateur middleweight champion for Hard Knocks Fighting, making Friday’s bout his opportunity to hold two belts, in two different organizations, and in two different weight classes.
But despite the opportunity to hold two different belts, Pequin, 24, said the focus of he and his coach, Jake Peacock, is strictly on the fight ahead of them.
“We don’t focus on the titles; we just focus on the fights, getting the wins, progressing each fight, and being a better athlete, a better fighter and growing as a person once we’re in there,” said Pequin in an interview.
“Two belts would be great to have, but we just focus on becoming a better fighter.”
Pequin brings a plethora of skills and achievements into this bout, including his recent crowning as amateur provincial and national champion in muay thai.
While Pequin feels he has the strongest advantage on the feet, he’s equally comfortable with his ground and pound and jiu jitsu skills, and said it’ll be a stoppage one way or the other.
“I see me using my length, staying on the outside, and hitting him with long punches, and putting him away,” said Pequin.
“If he wants to shoot on my legs, then go ahead. We can go on the ground and I’ll put him out there. Anywhere.”
All four of his amateur wins have come by stoppage, three knockouts, one submission.
Pequin’s been training primarily out of Dunamis Martial Arts with Peacock, and said they’ve been preparing for the brawler-style they see in Vatcher.
“We’ve been working a couple things we know will work on him.”
Vatcher Expecting a Brawler
Vatcher, 26, said he’s familiar with Pequin’s style, having cornered two of his teammates from Warrior Strong who previously fought Pequin.
He said Pequin seems like a brawler, and fully expects him to try and keep the fight standing.
“I’m just going to wait for the right moment, and I think I can counter punch him, and end up finishing it,” said Vatcher in an interview.
“It’ll be a good fight; I know he’s a tough guy. I’m not taking him lightly.”
This bout will be Vatcher’s first title fight of his MMA career, against arguably his toughest test.
He said having the belt on the line has provided an extra burst of motivation for him, and has his sights set on bringing it back to Yellowknife.
“It’s definitely been making me try harder, focus more, and concentrate on my diet more,” said Vatcher.
Following this bout, Vatcher will head to the amateur national championship for MMA, and depending on the results, a decision to turn professional may be looming.
Vatcher said he and his coach have been discussing the possibility of moving on from amateur, and said the decision will be made following the national championship.
“Depending on how these upcoming fights go, it’ll determine how soon I decide to turn pro,” said Vatcher.
“If I’m successful, it’ll definitely be soon.”