Local MMA fighter Bessette will compete in second UFC bout tonight

Published on Thursday, 5 July 2018 21:04
Written by Kayla Murphy

Staff writer

It took 10 years for Matt “The Mangler” Bessette to receive a call from the UFC, which finally came this past January, when he inked a three-fight deal.

The second of those fights is coming up tonight, as the co-owner of Ascension Athletics MMA in Bristol will fight Steve “Ocho” Peterson in an eraly preliminary bout as part of the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter Finale” event.

The main bout and later preliminaries will be televised on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), but Bessette’s bout, scheduled for 7 p.m., will only be aired online via the UFC Fight Pass subscription service.

Entering the featherweight division bout, Bessette, with 22 wins and eight loses, is ready for the challenge.

“This is my dream,” Bessette said. “The UFC is the pinnacle of MMA. It’s like the NFL of football, the MLB of baseball, the NHL of hockey.”

Bessette says his strategy is to stay mobile and not make straight advances, unlike his opponent.

“My grappling is better than him, so I want to take advantage of that. This is my fight,” Bessette said.

Not letting nerves or excitement get to him, Bessette’s only concern was yesterday’s weigh-in.

“The hardest part about the UFC for me is losing weight,” he said. “The key is watching your diet. You have to be mindful of carbs and proteins and to not have any big meals. You have to lose a lot of water weight, and the best way to do that is to sweat it out.”

To prepare himself for his peak performance, Bessette trains every day with bag work, kickboxing, weightlifting, sparing and jujitsu.

Bessette wasn’t always an aspiring UFC fighter.

Until he turned 22, he had no idea what UFC was until a friend invited him over to watch some recorded UFC fights.

“After watching a few fights, I was hooked,” Bessette said. “My friend and I went out to his front yard and just started beating the crap out of each other like how they did on TV. I entered a little hole in the wall-type gym not too long after that. I kept transitioning from gym to gym, just trying to get better.”

Being a fighter has certainly taken a toll on Bessette, who has broken his nose seven times.

He said one of his worst injuries was breaking and dislocating his thumb within the first 30 seconds of a fight. Bessette continued to fight with his broken thumb for another three more minutes. After a six month rehab and recovery, Bessette was able to fight again.

Posted in The Bristol Press, General Sports on Thursday, 5 July 2018 21:04. Updated: Thursday, 5 July 2018 21:06.