By Nicole Kato
Going into last Saturday’s match against Frank Baca for the King of the Cage flyweight title, Russell Doane didn’t expect to just put on a good show. He expected to win.
“Not in a cocky sense, not at all,” he said. “I (just) put in so much work (that) I felt like I couldn’t let him take this victory from me. I knew he was a wrestler who liked to push the pace, so I wanted to establish my own pace earlier and keep him guessing.”
Doane took the belt from Baca, the defending champion, by virtue of a unanimous decision. The five rounds of the bout consisted mostly of the fighters’ respective stand-up games and constant back-and-forth action. During the last 10 seconds of the third, Doane, who fights out of 808 Top Team, actually had the New Mexico fighter in a submission hold, but Baca was able to outlast the bell.
While happy with the victory, Doane (8-0) feels it could have been better.
“I really wanted to finish him, so it wasn’t as sweet a victory as it could have been.”
In many ways, Doane put himself in ideal position for the victory by adhering to an intense training regimen — one he described as “train, work, train, train, sleep, train, train and work.”
“I’m always trying to get in a good session,” he says, “so if I have to wake up at 4 a.m. and sleep at 11 p.m., so be it.”
A Waipahu High School graduate, Doane said that he had always been into contact sports like boxing, football and wrestling – and he’s always been a fan of MMA.
“While coaching wresting, one of my wrestlers invited me to 808 (Top Team), so I showed up,” he said. “First day there, Harris Sarmiento dropped me with body shots twice, and I’ve been in love with it ever since.”
While the win was impressive and earned him a new MMA title, Doane always tells himself to stay humble but hungry.
“I know the road to the top is rough and takes a lot of work and sacrifice, but I’m willing to do what has to be done to get there,” he said. “But I will never forget who I am and who has helped me get to the top.”
As far as what’s next for Doane, is as good as anyone’s guess. Regardless, he’s ready. Two days after the fight, Doane was back in the gym training.
“The hungry never rest,” he added.