Change of Plans: Hollett Gets Ready for Desilets at Ringside


Anytime you have trained for a fight only to have someone drop out, it can throw a fighter off guard and make him have to change his game plan. Roger Hollett will have to be doing this as he now squares off with Martin Désilets at Ringside 10 on April 9th in Montreal. Hollett was originally scheduled to face Steve Bossé for the Light-Heavyweight title but Bossé dropped out due to injury. In a way, Hollett sees it as a relief.

“It doesn’t really matter to me,” says Hollett. “I am just glad to be still fighting. I thought I was going to be left in the dark for a minute because I wasn’t sure if they would have somebody.”

While Hollett does not have to go into a five round slugfest with the hockey enforcer, some would say that he could be in for a tougher fight. Désilets has been on a three fight winning streak including back to back wins over Victor Valimaki which won him the the TFC Light-Heavyweight title which goes nicely with the XMMA title that is sitting on his trophy case. Désilets is currently third on Top MMA News rankings for the country’s top fighters in the 205 division.

While Désilets’ resume is impressive, Hollett can say the same for himself.  Although he has only three fights in the last year and a half, Hollett is still a threat and is ranked 7th in the rankings for 205ers. The Hulk has the ECC Light-Heavyweight title and is the former champ for MFC. He does have notable wins over Valimaki, Aron Lofton and former CFL fullback Mike Maurer. He does possess knockout power, solid submission skills and can finish his fights quick as shown by only two of his matches going passed the first round. While Hollett was ready for a five round title fight originally, now Hollett can take his foot off the gas pedal a little bit.

“I don’t have to kill myself for this fight. It is nice that it is only a three round fight,” says Hollett.  “I know he is a tough guy and I know he is a gamer. I have to be prepared for him. He has been on a roll lately but I will be prepared for what he has got and I am not too worried about it.”

While the change in his opponent may be big enough, Hollett has had to make some changes of his own. Before his last fight against Mychal Clark at W-1 in October, the Hulk trained for a few weeks at Jackson’s Submission Fighting, one of the top gyms in MMA. For the Désilets fight, training at Jackson’s has become a full time as Hollett has moved his training to New Mexico at Greg Jackson’s camp for his entire 10 week camp. While travelling away from home for a couple of months can be hard on someone,  Hollett knows that if he wants to make it to the top, sacrifices have to be made.

“This will be my new home, so this is where I will be coming for all my fights,” says Hollett. “It is one of the best gyms in the world and I wanted to make it my home. I get the best training partners and I wanted to be a part of it. Everyone has been here, Jon Jones just left, Keith Jardine is here, Kyle Noke was here, Ryan Jensen is back and there are 20 other guys as well. People will probably see an upgrade from what they have seen from me in the past.”

It is clear that Hollett will be hearing his share of boos when he walks down the entrance ramp at the Bell Centre. Désilets is from Quebec and this will be his first fight in La Belle Province in over a year. Hollett has had the comfort throughout most of his career of fighting in front of his hometown of Halifax where he is, arguably, the most popular fighter in the city. While he may be seen as the enemy on April 9th, it does not faze him.

“There will actually be less pressure on me,” says Hollett. “I don’t have to be in front of my family and all my friends back home. When I go into a different town, it is a lot less stress on me. The pressure will be on him to perform and not me.”

While it hard to tell, if the move to New Mexico or not having the world on his shoulders will result in a win come April 9th, one thing is for sure Hollett will be ready for whatever comes his way.

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