Martinez movitated by MMA

Martinez puts histraining touse in cage

Dominic Martinez of Grand Junction won his amateur fight Saturday night during Cage Wars X at Two Rivers Convention Center on a technical knockout. Martinez started training for MMA just to stay in shape, but realized setting a goal to fight helped motivate him in the gym.

Vince Abachiche of Montrose, left, connects with a punch in his fight against Dylan Allgood. Abachiche won on a technical knockout.

When Dominic Martinez decided to start training for mixed martial arts last December, he didn’t intend to become an actual fighter.

Rather, the 2001 Central High School graduate was just looking for a way to stay in shape.

“I decided to start doing it and I realized I couldn’t do it without having a goal or a fight lined up,” he said.

“You’re not nearly as motivated unless you have something you’re training for, so I decided I needed to set a goal and decided I was going to take on a fight.”

Although he lost his first fight in April, his second was no problem.

Saturday, he picked up his first MMA win in the opening fight of Cage Wars X at Two Rivers Convention Center.

He recorded a technical knockout in a 140-pound bout against Justin Thomas from Riverton, Wyo., midway through the second round.

The two went right at each other at the opening bell, first with punches, later in the clench.

After a short time standing, Martinez had a takedown along the side of the cage. Positioned on top of Thomas, he was able to connect on two flurries of punches in a 30-second span.

“I got some good punches (standing up) but they got a little bit sloppy so I took it to the ground where I’m comfortable, with the wrestling background, and was able to control the fight,” he said.

The referee later stood the fighters back up, which allowed Thomas to connect on several blows with his knees before the end of the round.

In the second round Thomas came out aggressively, trying to connect with his knees. The attempts backfired when Martinez, a former wrestler, caught one and turned it into a takedown.

He then got in a rear mount position where he was able to swing freely with his right hand until the fight was called midway through the round.

“As soon as he started coming with the knees I knew he wasn’t going to just throw punches,” Martinez said. “If he was going to give me his legs I was going to take him and put him on the ground and do what I do.”

He cited the fight as an improvement from his debut at Cage Wars VIII in April, when he lost to Justin Thomas on a TKO midway through the second round.

“The biggest thing I learned was how to control my breathing,” Martinez said. “My first fight I got excited and got winded really early.”

He said his first fight also caused him to take on a more well-rounded training regimen that put more emphasis on ground work leading into the fight.

“I trained a lot more ju jitsu and realized that I couldn’t just go in there and try to bang it out,” he said. “I had to become an all-around mixed martial artist as opposed to just a fighter.”

Also helping during the fight was a distinct hometown advantage.

In the opening match, the crowd gave Martinez an ovation that made it hard to hear the ring announcer, and there were numerous shouts of support throughout the fight.

After the win, it took him several minutes to get back to the locker room as friends and fans stopped him for hugs and high-fives.

“Coming in and just seeing the support from these people, that’s what drives me,” he said.

Though he’s only two fights into his amateur career, he hopes to continue with the sport and eventually get his pro card so he can get paid for his fights.

Even then, he said he hopes to donate any future earnings from the sport to charity.

But right now, he’s content to stick with a sport that holds a special place in his heart.

“Everyone that comes out as amateurs they don’t make a dime on this, they’re out here because they love this sport,” he said. “I’m here because I love this sport.”


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