Miller’s Kenpo Karate student Matt Morris won another MMA fight on Saturday, September 24, 2011 in Logan, Ohio. This was Morris’s fifth MMA fight with the win taking his record up to 3-2. Morris’s only losses came by split decisions, which means they could have went either way. All three of his wins, however, have been finishes. His first win was a TKO second round, second win was by submission (kimora) in the first round and his third win was by submission (guillotine choke) in the second round.
For this fight, Morris had his hands full with an experienced opponent, Karate Mike Williams. Morris knew this fighter was no slouch and that he would have to work hard to get through him. Williams had twice as many fights as Morris as this was Williams’ tenth fight. All three of Morris’s trainers, Michael Miller, Charlie Fitzsimmons and Art Vulgamore were in agreement that the game plan needed to defeat Williams was that Morris had to push the pace and utilize strong boxing skills to, hopefully, not give Williams a chance to capitalize on his plan.
Morris followed his trainers’ advice and began the first round strong by moving forward with good jabs, connecting a couple times. Morris came out in a good guard with his hands up and elbows in, whereas Williams had more of a low guard, but moving his hands up and down to keep good movement. Williams cuffed a couple of Morris’s jabs and responded with a jab of his own. Both fighters utilized some leg kicking, and in a punching exchange they ended up in the clinch.
They ended up against the cage and both fighters threw in some dirty boxing and some good knees. After a few exchanges, Morris was able to take Williams down and ended up in Williams’ guard. Williams attempted a sweep, but couldn’t make it work. He then went for an arm bar, which was close. Morris did a great job keeping his composure and was able to get out of it. It was obvious that Williams had a good ground game. Once Morris got out of the arm bar he threw in some good ground and pound and was able to mount Williams. Morris continued with some ground and pound. During the last few seconds of the round Williams swept Morris and then the bell rang.
The second round began with both fighters coming out strong with some striking exchanges. Morris fired a front kick that landed on Williams’ midsection. After the exchanges Williams went for a double leg and Morris wrapped his right arm around Williams’ neck. Morris’s head trainer Michael Miller told Morris to “use it” so Morris pulled Williams down to go for a guillotine choke. Williams was unable to get out which forced him to tap.
Morris has been a seven year student under Miller, who is an ex boxer and is an internationally recognized self-defense and personal protection expert. Throughout the past seven years under Miller, Morris has been learning American Kenpo, boxing, kickboxing, Joe Lewis Fighting Systems, Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu and Modern Arnis. Morris currently holds a 2nd degree brown belt in American Kenpo under Miller.
Morris also has two other trainers who have a major impact on his MMA career. Ex boxer Charlie Fitzsimmons, who is probably the best boxer in the history of Bradford, and ex Navy SEAL Art Vulgamore who was also a boxer and kickboxer. Miller is in charge of Morris’s overall training structure and is his fight strategy coach and his head striking coach. Fitzsimmons is Morris’ nutrition coach, as well as conditioning and striking coach. Vulgamore, from the Knockout Factory in Salamanca, is Morris’ head conditioning coach as well as a striking coach and his manager-the person who sets up his fights. One thing about Vulgamore is that any fighter that he trains is always in tip top shape. Miller corners Morris as his head trainer, and he is always accompanied with either Fitzsimmons or Vulgamore who are the one’s to go in the cage in between rounds and are the cut men.
Morris plans on turning pro, but will stay amateur for now and just play it by ear. He definitely has what it takes.