Special to the Record
In what promised to be an action-packed slugfest, the Comox Valley's Mike “The Honey Badger” Hackert took on Smealinho "The Prince" Rama of Calgary for the #1 heavyweight ranking in Canadian MMA at MFC 36: Reality Check.
The bout was part of a busy night of MMA action Friday night at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton.
Hackert had risen to #1 after beating top ranked UFC vet Tim Hague twice last year, forcing “The Thrashing Machine” into early retirement after their second match. Both Hackert (6-2) and Rama (6-0) looked to land heavy strikes early before clinching and exchanging failed takedown attempts. Hackert seemed to be getting the better of the exchanges until Rama landed an overhand right that sent him face down to the canvas.
While he was not knocked unconscious it was clear that he was unable to continue as Rama pressed his attack, forcing the referee to call a stop to the contest at 2:28 of the first round. Rama is now guaranteed a shot at the MFC heavyweight title sometime in 2013.
Asked afterward about his future plans for Hackert, MFC owner Mark Pavelich said he hopes The Honey Badger will drop to 205 pounds where he believes Hackert would be dominant. Some in attendance believed there should be an immediate rematch. Hackert stated he plans to take time to weigh his options.
"I think I respected Rama too much," Hackert said. "In my last two fights I didn't respect my opponent and was able to fight my fight, but I let Rama fight his fight this time."
Rama weighed in nearly 30 pounds heavier than Hackert and effectively illustrated that in heavyweight contests everything is only one punch away.
Considering Hackert was formerly a middleweight, it may be wise to drop down to a weight class where he is not always dwarfed by his opponents. Regardless of the weight class he chooses to compete in, it appears Hackert still has a bright future in the sport.
In other Island MMA news, Graham Spencer of Nanaimo captured the MFC World Lightweight title and Nathan “Roadhouse” Swayze of Courtenay, in attendance to support The Honey Badger, announced he will be headlining AFC 16: Uprising, March 23 in Winnipeg against UFC vet Nick Penner. A win would catapult Swayze into title contention in their light-heavyweight division.