By KOTC Staff
Often in mixed-martial-arts fighters will tell you, that it’s the losses, rather than the victories, that become the building blocks from which they evolve as athletes and people. In the case of Ryan Knysh, the Albertan fighter has had over one year now to reflect on his first round, submission loss to Clayton Sheen last January, and heading into his rematch with the Canadian Flyweight Champion on March 18th, the 23 year-old is adamant he’s learned from the defeat.
“It’s another opportunity to fight someone of that calibre, but to also fight for a title which means the world to me,” said Knysh, while talking about his upcoming “Brawl in the Mall 4” rematch with Sheen, which will be hosted by the Edmonton Events Centre. “I’m not going to make the same mistakes I did last time. Ever since that fight all I could really think of is getting another shot at it.”
“He’s definitely the best 135’er on this side of the country,” Knysh added. “So I’m really excited to test myself against him.”
While Knysh is feeling confident heading into his rematch with Sheen, due to the fact he’s had months to train and build his skill set since they fought at KOTC Canada’s “Nailbiter” event, the flyweight clearly continues to have the utmost respect for the undefeated champion.
“Honestly, I don’t think anyone has a game plan for him,” Knysh said. “He’s never been out of the first round; he’s an absolute stud on the ground. He won the title, drove to B.C. that night and won an open weight grappling tournament the next day. The guy definitely knows what he’s doing. But fighting him again, the nerves are done, I’m going in there fresh, I have more fights than him and it’s going to be a different outcome.”
There’s no debating the fact that Sheen is widely recognized for his jiu-jitsu; the Murray Sholty trained fighter has won all five of his pro bouts by submission, and as Knysh alluded to, Sheen has also been successful competing in grappling tournaments. Knysh has also impressed through utilizing his ground skills, however, with three of his four pro wins coming by submission.
“Honestly I felt comfortable on the ground with him,” said Knysh while discussing strategy for the March 18th rematch. “We went back-and-forth with submissions but I made a mistake and he capitalized really quick. I don’t have a problem going to the ground with him; most of my winds have come by submission so I wouldn’t be surprised if it winds up a grappling match. If it is, it’s going to be one for the fans.”
To prepare for the bout, Knysh reports that he’s been putting in extra time training alongside KOTC vet Jarid Bussemakers.
“There’s been a huge difference in the amount I’ve been training,” Knysh noted, who has spent time preparing at PIX MMA in St. Albert as well as the Panther Gym in Edmonton. “Jarid’s been coaching me full time for this fight and he’s got me more than prepared. I’m two-and-a-half weeks out and I feel like I could step in there right now. Jarid’s been helping out a lot and training camps been going really good, no injuries, no nothing.”
Heading into this month’s title fight, Knysh is coming off a first round, tap out victory over Gary Espinar last September, to get the Alberta Beach fighter back on the winning track.
“That win was a really good one for me,” Knysh acknowledged. “He fought my brother (Matt) and it kind of ended in controversy (doctor stoppage), so it gave me motivation to go out and train really hard. Just went out there, did what I had to do, and got the win. It really boosted my confidence and got me started on a new winning streak.”