Chris Kelades Looking to Impress in Flyweight Debut at ECC 19
When Chris Kelades returns to the cage on January 25 at ECC 19, it will have been well over two years since he last fought.
October 7, 2011 was when Kelades took his record to 5-0; a record which landed him a spot just outside of Canada’s top 10 Bantamweight rankings and made him a must see fighter heading into 2012.
A mix of injuries, busy life and an inability to find the right matchups kept him out of the cage. Now he’ll face another Canadian coming off of a long layoff in Adrian Wooley in what will serve as both of their Flyweight debuts.
“I took a little bit of time off with my body,” explained Kelades. “I had issues with my head and back and neck. I took a year off and was training on and off in between. In the last year and a half, I have been training and looking for fights and having things fall through, just been progressing and getting better.”
Having made his MMA debut at Featherweight, it was a welcome sight to see the smaller weight divisions gain notoriety over the past two years. The emergence of stars like Dominick Cruz, Renan Barao and Demetrious Johnson have made 135lb. and 125lb. viable options for fighters to emerge as stars, instead of forcing undersized talent into the higher weight divisions.
“I think it’s just finding the right weight class for my body,” said Kelades. “When I first started fighting, I started at 145. That was the lowest weight that was around. I took a few tries at Bantamweight, but progressively I have stayed in better shape as I have come down in weight classes. It just kind of makes sense.”
Now in the weight division that perhaps he should have been at all along, Kelades is focused on regaining the momentum he had during the latter half of 2011. With dangerous fighters like Mike Davis emerging as standouts in 2013, and new promotions like World Series of Fighting Canada looking to expand their roster, a win could open many doors for the Nova Scotia native.
Kelades has taken part in his most developed, lengthy, and calculated training camp to date. As in most things in life, a training camp is as much about how smart you train as it is about how hard you train, a fact Kelades is acutely aware of.
“It’s obviously been nice for this one (the longer training camp) because of dropping to the lower weight,” explained Kelades. “It’s my first time going to Flyweight. Having the time to get down properly has been key. I definitely think you can over train. With such a long period of time for this camp where I haven’t had that much time before, I’m kind of being aware of that. If you get too eager too soon, you get burned out and you still have two or three weeks to go.”
In Woolley, Kelades will face one of Canada’s top MMA wrestlers and one of the more powerful punchers in the lower weight divisions. His four knockouts in seven career wins is nearly unheard of in the sub-145lb. weight divisions. It’s something that Kelades has planned for. Despite having been out of action for over two years himself and having lost his last two bouts, Woolley, who has been on the national Canadian wrestling team, is still the most dangerous opponent Kelades has faced. It has forced Kelades and his Fit Plus camp to put together a comprehensive game plan to take Woolley out of his comfort zone.
“I’m always trying to get better,” he explained. “Definitely when you focus in on an opponent that has a particular skillset, that’s when the coach, Scott MacLean, will kind of start to work things, tell me what to work on, give me combinations that he thinks will work. You definitely start to sharper certain skills that you’ll want to exploit in that person.”
A win will almost certainly launch the 32-year-old into the top of the Flyweight division, and open doors for him to fight for more prestigious promotions.
If you ask Kelades about any potential ring rust from such a long layoff, he chuckles.
“If you ask me, I fight every Saturday when we train,” laughed Kelades. “We all get together and we fight. It’s not an issue that way.”