Just Like Training
This past Saturday, Absolute MMA competed in a Steel Fist Fight Night event of mixed martial arts bouts at 135 lbs. and 145 lbs. Skyler Frazier, Joel Haro and Thomas “T-train” Prestriedge entered this local Utah show to further their records and test their skills. Thomas ”T-train” Prestrige, a long time student at Paul Tom’s Academy of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in American Fork, has been augmenting his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Muay Thai, Judo and Boxing at Absolute MMA. Thomas has made some great improvements in his technique and conditioning. He is young, has dreamed of fighting in the cage and is chasing that dream. His victory on Saturday was one that belonged to both schools.
Thomas is a slightly built man of 19 years with an MMA record of 2 wins and 3 losses . He is quiet, soft spoken and polite. Not the brash image that comes to mind when people often think of MMA fighters. There isn’t the nervous energy around him that can come with fighters but rather a calm that hides his determination to succeed in a very difficult sport.
Round one for Thomas was rough. He took some heavy punches which he weathered stoically and with poise. His opponent was a wrestler who was able to take Thomas down but didn’t want to engage with Thomas’ jiu jitsu skills and would quickly back out to return the fight to standing. Some of the takedowns saw Thomas thrown to the ground but he never changed his look and always returned to the fight. The third minute if the first round saw a glimpse of the outcome. Thomas kept his steady pace but the wrestler was slowing down and Thomas began to pepper him with punches and foot jabs. Round Two. The second round was very different. Thomas pressured his opponent and pushed him against the fence. Landing punches and forcing his opponent to cover, Thomas started working the clinch against the fence. As his opponent weakened and dropped his hands, Thomas applied a guillotine choke that forced panic in the wrestler. As he tried to escape the choke, Thomas took him down and achieved the mount position where he threw punches, forcing the referee to stop the fight and declare Thomas the victor by TKO!
Skyler “The Utah Kid” Frazier was the second Absolute MMA fighter of the evening. Skyler also dreams of being a professional mixed martial arts fighter. He is dedicated to his training and has arranged his life to revolve around it. His diet, workout schedule and technical training are the main points of focus in his life. His physique and conditioning both reflect his dedication to this goal. Round One. The first round saw Skyler taking a few leg kicks which didn’t seem to do much damage. Skyler was light on his feet and supremely confident in his own skill and training. Some punches were traded, each fighter landing strikes but Skyler was able to deflect most of the damage while his opponent took the more solid shots. Eventually the wrestler attempted a take down which was successful but he wasn’t able to keep Skyler on the ground for long and didn’t do any damage while he was there. Round one looked like it went against Skyler.
Round two was much like the first round except that Skyler got taken down and wasn’t able to get back to his feet right away. It took some work due to his takedown defense but the Nebraska State wrestler eventually got past Skyler’s defense. Upon hitting the ground, Skyler immediately wrapped up the wrestler and took no damage. The pair worked for dominant position with Skyler maintaining strong control from the bottom and evading any shots that did get through. As he controlled the posture and one of his opponent’s arm, Skyler set up and executed a triangle submission. Being pressed up against the cage didn’t allow him to apply the leverage needed to finish the fight but he did apply pressure. As his opponent backed out and took a breath from the choke, Skyler used the space and timing to get back to his feet. The round ended with Skyler looking more active but still too close to be comfortable going into the third round. Round three. Round three saw Skyler come out with supreme confidence. Aggressive, striking and in control of the cage, he pressured his opponent with his superior striking, conditioning and intensity. It was soon evident that Skyler was looking to finish the fight and take any doubt away about who was there to win. Hard punches set up the clinch against the fence with Skyler in control. From there, Skyler took the fight to the ground, maintaining a dominant position and doing damage. As he pushed the pace and increased the pressure on his opponent, Skyler saw an opportunity to end it. He sunk in a guillotine choke, just as he had practiced so many times in the gym and pushed his opponent into the cage, effectively eliminating his ability to escape. Only a few short seconds were needed to force the tap and Skyler raised his hands in victory!
Joel Haro was the last fighter from Absolute MMA to enter the cage that night. He was also the only one to fight a title match. Amateur title matches, this one for the 135 lbs. belt, are five , three minute rounds. Well, the fans got all they could hope for in a title match. Joel carries himself with confidence but no false bravado or posturing. He is as likely to help the brand new kid in class as he is to land a great striking combination and then ask if you are OK, afterwards. He is more known for his infectious smile than his fighting ability. Until now. This match was one that Joel dedicated himself to more than any other precious match. He made time to train before work, dialed in his diet and came to technical classes as well as sparring classes and Team Training (mixed martial arts class). He even went to the MMA Draft in Las Vegas a few weeks before the fight to se how he stacked up against others in his division. To quote his coach, Rob Handley, “That was the most enjoyable fight I’ve had the pleasure to corner.” Simply put, Joel’s performance was stellar. He moved smoothly. He threw combinations with calm and intensity. He followed up those combinations with more movement. He did damage and took almost none. His opponent had trouble moving due to the damage he took from the abundance of leg kicks he ate in all five rounds. He defended takedown attempts beautifully and maintained dominant position at all times. He commanded the pace and direction of that fight from start to finish. Joel won a unanimous, five round decision to claim the 135 lbs. amateur title. It was amazing to see.
The title of this article is, “Just Like Training.” It accurately describes the result of each one of these fights. These athletes train, day in and day out, all of the skills they used on that Saturday night. That was a fantastic night of skill, heart and determination on display for the SteelFist Fight crowd to see. Just like training, those warriors needed every one of their training partners to achieve the success they did. True to form every one gave credit to their team. Team Absolute MMA is proud of them and of all those it took to get them there. It was an amazing thing to be a part of. Congratulations, Thomas, Skyler and Joel!