Stellar Performances by MVJ/Gracie 717’s Elite

Zak Kelly continues his winning streak

Zak Kelly continues his winning streak.

The cage doors shut behind Team MVJ/Gracie 717 fighters Zak Kelly and Steve Olan yet again at Stellar fights 18 on September 28th at the MTown Sports Complex in Middletown, DE. Both fighters were extremely game for their tasks at hand, both had an identical training regimen consisting of Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday training with MVJ Training Facilities, and Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday with Gracie 717 academy. These stellar athletes were peaked and ready to perform for their Stellar Fights promotion to endeavor in what wound up being a one sided bout for both…Yet, one with a victory, and one with an upsetting TKO via injury.

Zak Kelly took to the cage as stone faced and emotionless as he’s known for while entering the arena. Leaving his fans and attendants wondering just what Kelly’s thought process was upon entering the fenced in stage, Zak came out with a beautiful standup game holding his ground. He out pointed his foe from the early onslaught by setting his kicks up with his punches, as well as setting his punches up with his explosive kicks. After a short time in the first round, Zak sought out the opportunity for a standing guillotine, when his opponent found his legs for the takedown. “I was completely comfortable.” Zak said. Continuing by claiming; “I train off of my back daily. The only part that sucked was he took me down pretty close to his corner. So when I was trying to set up my submissions, he was able to neutralize my attacks because his corner was communicating with him”. Zak fought well through his foes ground game and obviously felt at ease with everything his opponent attempted to attack, or pass. Zak comfortably coasted through the first round (although losing the round) yet never in any danger at all. Round 2 and 3 proved to be Zak’s stomping grounds as he hurt his opponent with his technical striking, and controlled both rounds with his far superior kickboxing skills and ever improving grappling game. He was scoring takedowns and could keep his opponent on his back. He was able to score a takedown in the middle of the cage and crawl his opponent roughly two feet in front of his trainer Greg Pritchett for some advice from a closer angle. Zak humbly, yet confidently spoke on his performance stating: “Going into the fight I heard my opponent had some Muay Thai expereince along with a solid ground game. He trains at a well respected camp, and the fighters are pretty well rounded.” At the end of the evening Zak prevailed with his hand raised finalizing “not taking anything away from him, I’m just pretty relaxed in the cage.” Curiousity set in about whether Zak would have done anything different in his victory. “I would have liked to get the finish of course. In MMA there are so many different ways to win. Looking back at the footage I saw a couple missed opportunities on the feet and the ground. Overall, I am proud of my performance and am looking forward to my next bout under Stellar Fights banner.”

The other MVJ/Gracie 717 fighter to enter into battle was Steve Olan. This bout wasn’t long lasting, but was deemed one sided until the end. One on one conversations with Olan leading up to his fight proved his strong minded demeanor, he assured: “I’m so confident I’m going to win this fight, I can’t see not winning.” Fast forwarding to the night of the bout, the first bell sounded and everyone in the crowd saw first hand the confidence put into play as he dictated the pace early on by pumping his jab to find his range, while holding no fear of hitting the ground considering his grappling caliber. The MVJ/Gracie 717 combatant displayed his solid and smooth grappling talents. His only minor threat in the bout was a Kimura attempt which Olan easily fended off with no sign of immediate danger. Upon standing back up, Olan was clearly landing the cleaner punch combinations as well as pounding knees to the midsection when the fighters tied up. As stated, Olan was a far better grappler and was also able to score takedowns when he wanted to change the pace. His brutal and relentless ground and pounding was used to close and easily secure the first round with conviction. A great beginning for a blossoming fighter, however, during the first minute of the opening stanza, Olan’s opponent attempted to throw him and as Olan reversed his foe for the slam, problems ensued. Recapping the bout with Olan he stated “I felt it (shoulder separation) happen in the first minute of the round.” He continued with “He threw me, and I reversed it. The whole time I’m thinking sh*t! My shoulder’s hurt!’, so I just kept a poker face on for the remainder of the fight.” After the opening round came to a close, Olan walked over to his stool for the usual break, looked up at his coach Pritchett and calmly yet bluntly stated “Coach, I f*cked up my shoulder.” Ever so unfortunate for a fighter to be unable to continue in such a way, Olan recalled about his injury, “It’s (left shoulder) separated pretty bad, but it’s getting better everyday. I should be at 100% in 5 months.” Always in bright spirits, Olan pleasantly opened up about his high hopes and aspirations upon his return to training and the cage by saying “My biggest plan for when I heal up is just to take any fight I can get before I go pro and be the best that I can be. That’s my plan as of right now.” All the best to Mr. Olan in a speedy recovery and successful return to the cage!

Both fighters did great justice for both of their training academies, and did themselves proud.. Although both fighters feel they can better improve their talents and performances, we can only look forward to their upcoming bouts. We look forward to Zak Kelly fighting John Mosley at Stellar Fights 19 on November 9, 2013. We hope you can come support our warrior Zak Kelly as he continues his winning streak and movement on to that title shot. In closing we wish Steve Olan a quick and easy recovery to get back in the cage and claim his own very soon.




About Adam Crist