[Combat Zone Press Release]
courtesy: Lynne Snierson
SALEM, NH (April 13, 2017)— The last time he stepped into the cage, he was the hunter. Now Brendon Marotte is the hunted.
“That does make things different,” said Marotte (5-1), who as the huge underdog scored a unanimous decision victory over Danny Abad to win the MMA Amateur Featherweight championship the last time he climbed into the cage in August.
Saturday night, the 21-year-old Hampstead, NH native and Pinkerton High School graduate undertakes his first title defense when he meets John Douma (4-2) in the main event of Combat Zone 61 “Resurrection” at the Downtown Radisson Hotel in Manchester, NH. The battle is the highlight of an intensely-competitive and stacked card of 17 pro and amateur MMA and kickboxing bouts.
“When I was training to get the belt, and then was in there going for it, it was one thing. Now it’s another. I am the champion and have that belt so I’m training even harder to keep it and want to win even more. To take it away from me, he’ll have to beat me and I cannot and will not allow that,” he said.
Marotte, who lost his first MMA fight in the first round in February 2016 but savored victory five times and with four TKOs thereafter, has been idle since taking the title in Combat Zone 59. The eight months’ hiatus from battle, mostly due to the lack of a suitable opponent, has hardly softened him.
To the contrary, the longer he waited, the hungrier he got.
“Absolutely. I’ve been in fight mode for a while. In one year, I fought in six fights. Not being able to fight for a while was tough, but at the same time it worked out because I was able to take all that time to train and work on a lot of the things that I needed to. I’m excited to get to get back in the cage,” he said.
Marotte trains with the redoubtable Rick Hawn and Tim Barchard at the Plaistow and Derry locations, respectively, of Professional Martial Arts Academy (PMA).
Hawn, a four-time (2000,2002, 2003, 2007) U.S. national champion in Judo, finished ninth against the world’s best in the 2004 Olympic Games and is a black belt in Judo, Jiu-Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As a professional MMA combatant, he earned multiple championships in two separate weight divisions with Bellator, Titan FC and Triumph Fighter. Barchard, a member of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame who has trained UFC and Bellator fighters, is a world champion in Jiu-Jitsu and holds seventh degree black belts in Aiki Kempo, Shaolin Kempo, and Muay Thai.
“It’s great to work with them as my coaches,” said Marotte, who trains mostly with Hawn. “Rick’s been to the top of the game in sports and mixed martial arts. He knows exactly what it takes. He’s a great teacher. He’s not going to sugar-coat anything. If something needs to be fixed, he’ll point it out to me and work with me until it is fixed. He’s lived it, and that really helps. If I ever have a question, he knows the answers right off the bat.”
Just four months before Marotte won the belt he started training with Hawn, who said the student was as green as spring grass when he first walked through the door.
“He was raw. The way he has improved since then is tremendous. He’s grown even more in the eight months since his last fight. He’s gained an incredible amount of skills in all areas of his game and we really see the difference is in his ground work, overall awareness and what we call fighter IQ,” said Hawn.
The tough Taylor Costantino (4-2) from Portland, ME was the original opponent but he was a late scratch and then another match-up fell apart. Douma, a Cage Titans champion, became the 11th hour replacement.
“This camp has had a lot of ups and downs with changes and switches so we have more homework to do. Even so, Brendon is well prepared. Douma is more of a wrestler type of fighter with a strong ground game. He’s a tough fighter and that’s what we want. They are both champions so there are no easy fights at this point,” said Hawn. “Brendon is ready to fight.”
Marotte gave up his job as a personal fitness trainer at Title Boxing in Manchester and Concord, NH to train full-time. That means three times per day, every day.
“I’m giving it the 100 percent effort that’s required. I have made the serious commitment. This is what I know I want to do and pursue. I’m not here to just dilly-dally about it. I’m going full blast because in this sport you can’t do it half-way. I am on it. If this is what you want, you’d better be 100 percent committed because it is non-forgiving. If you go half-way, your opponent won’t be. This isn’t like other sports where if you lose, it’s just a game. You can get very seriously injured. So going into MMA half-way is a bad, bad mistake,” he said.
Time will tell if Marotte has what it takes to reach the levels he desires and his coaches envision. The next step on the journey would be turning pro.
“He’s young and he’s hungry but it all depends what the results show (Saturday night). He could be ready. This fight will be a good indicator,” said Hawn.
In the co-main event, the vacant Amateur Welterweight MMA title is on the line and the battle for the belt between a pair of 170 pound fighters with unblemished records shapes up as stellar. Martin Thompson (2-0), who hails from Springfield, MA and Hanover, MA’s Tommy Lee Davis (3-0) are making their Combat Zone debuts and are sure to get the venue rocking.
Doors will open at 5 PM on April 15 and the first fight will be at 6:30 PM. Tickets are $120, $90, $60, $50 and $40 and are available for purchase on the web site (www.czmma.com) or by calling co-promoter Jamison Kattar at 978-361-6772. There are group rates for parties of 10 or more.
Parking is available in downtown Manchester or in the Radisson’s garage, and the hotel, which is located at 700 Elm Street, offers a special room rate for Combat Zone fans who wish to stay in the city.
The top amateur fighter of the night will take home the trophy from Chang’s Tae Kwan Do America in Methuen and Lawrence, MA.
Combat Zone LLC, headquartered in Salem, NH and owned by the brothers team of Calvin and Jamison Kattar, is New England’s longest running mixed martial arts, kickboxing and Muay Thai promotion
The complete card, subject to change, is:
*** Amateur Kickboxing ***
155 lbs. – David Foss (1-0) Augusta, ME vs. Demetri Photis (0-0) Windham, NH
200 lbs. – Kristian Lombari (2-1) Methuen, MA vs. David Jamie (0-0) Windham, NH
170 lbs. – Duncan Smith (0-0) No. Waterboro, ME vs. Isaih Ocasio (0-0) Haverhill, MA
140 lbs. – John Bourget (1-3) Augusta, ME vs. Steve Perry (1-1) Boston, MA
130 lbs. – Crystal Demers (1-0) Derry, NH vs. Rachel Reinheimer (0-1) Boston, MA
170 lbs. – Nate Mullens (3-1) Augusta, ME vs. Patrick Kirby (3-0) Boston, MA
*** Amateur MMA ***
135 lbs. – Max Casa (0-0) Wakefield, MA vs. Carlos Vespaziano (0-0) Hanover, MA
150 lbs. – Noey Melendez (0-0) Gilford, NH vs. Matt Brady (0-0) Stratham, NH
125 lbs. – James Palmer (2-1) Wakefield, MA vs. Tim Flores (3-2) Springfield, MA
155 lbs. – Kevin Sopha (0-0) Lowell, MA vs. Peter Moscone (0-0) Methuen, MA
122 lbs. – Christine Brothwell (0-3) Nashua, NH vs. Anna Brown (0-0) Derry, NH
145 lbs. – Eric Johnson (0-0) Rockland, MA vs. Nick Fiore (2-1) Salem, NH
145 lbs. – Shawn Melanson (3-1) Manchester, NH vs. TBA
*** Professional MMA ***
135 lbs.- Andy Aiello (3-2) So. Easton, MA vs. Chris Caterino (0-1) Nashua, NH
155 lbs. – Taylor Trahan (6-7) Littleton, NH vs. Vovka Clay (4-2) Nashua, NH
*** CZ 61 C0-Main Event ***
Amateur MMA Welterweight Title Fight
170 lbs. – Martin Thompson (2-0) Springfield, MA vs. Tommy Lee Davis (3-0) Hanover, MA
*** CZ 61 Main Event ***
Amateur MMA Featherweight Title Fight
145 lbs. – John Douma (4-2) Pawtucket, RI vs. Brendon Marotte (5-1) Hampstead, NH