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Fighters gain confidence after earning victories


Adam Minichino



Jake Reeves, Bobby Merryman, and Sarah Pevey can''t wait until July 10. 


The confidence the three athletes gained Friday at the Chaos in Columbus Mixed Martial Arts event at the Trotter Convention Center should serve each competitor well next month when they take the next steps in their amateur careers. 


Fighting for Relentless MMA, Reeves (2-0) earned a first-round submission victory against Lee Franklin, of Jackson. He used a rear-naked choke hold to end the fight in 58 seconds. 


"I was blessed enough to have it happen that early in the fight," said Reeves, who is from Vernon, Ala., and attended Victory Christian Academy in Columbus. "My training paid off. I kept my wits about me when he got on top of me and I kicked him off me. I rocked him and I got a submission by taking advantage of what he gave me." 


Reeves said he learned plenty about his technique in the fight and knows what he will have to improve on for his next one.  


Merryman (2-0) used the same hold to force Justin Reeder to submit at 1 minute, 14 seconds of the first round. 


"I came in expecting a real fight and it to be tough," said Merryman, 19, who went to Armorel High School in Arkansas before moving to Columbus in January. "I used my hand speed and my precision to pick him apart." 


Franklin caught Merryman with a right hook that knocked him back. Merryman said he regrouped from the blow and waited until Franklin moved in to catch him with a knee to the face, which he believes broke Franklin''s nose.  


He said he plans to work on his footwork and to improve on his handwork for his next fight. 


Pevey, a recent New Hope High graduate, defeated Psycho Dojo''s Kristina Ramsey 2-0 in a grappling match. The fight was Pevey''s first against a female and likely will be her final preparation for her first fight involving full MMA rules on July 10 at the Trotter Convention Center. 


"I was really, really nervous about it," Pevey said. "It was pretty nerve-wracking, but once I got in the ring my nerves completely changed and I just thought about all of the grappling that I had done at practice and went in and did my best. I didn''t realize I had the skill I had until I was able to beat my opponent." 


Pevey said she plans to continue to work on her hand work because her first MMA fight in July will begin from the standing position. She said it will take a lot of work to get back into the groove to be ready for July. 


On Saturday, Pevey followed up the MMA victory by winning the girls middleweight division at the Mississippi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation State Championship in Jackson. 


Kevin Fitzpatrick, who trains Reeves, Merryman, and Pevey, also won a state title in the super super heavyweight (220- to 260-pound division). 


Fitzpatrick was pleased with the performance of all three of his fighters. He hopes to join them in July on the next fight card at the Trotter Convention Center. 


"Everybody performed beautifully," Fitzpatrick said. "There were very few times anybody got into trouble. They handled themselves great and took care of business." 



Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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