Wednesday, March 28, 2007


By Mike Russell

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Phenom Faces Garrett Davis at KOTC Canada Tonight

Chances are, if you follow mixed martial arts in Canada you’ve heard of Mark “Kid Red” Bocek. If you haven’t, don’t worry - you will.

Bocek may be Canadian MMA’s best kept secret. It may be due to his quiet, unassuming demeanor. It may be because he is only three fights into his professional fighting career. Whatever the reason, Bocek says he is ready to prove that he can compete against the top fighters in any organization.

Bocek began his martial arts training in Kempo Karate where he received his black belt. Like many other martial artists at the time who witnessed Royce Gracie’s domination of the competition in the early days of the UFC, the young Torontonian switched his attention to learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu, swiftly becoming the first Canadian-born BJJ black belt and one of the country’s top submission grapplers. Impressive wins over Kurt Pellegrino, Shawn Williams and Cabbage Correira helped solidify Bocek’s place in elite jiu-jitsu circles, but he still found himself having to prove himself to MMA fans in Canada.

“It’s funny. In every MMA fight I’ve had thus far I’ve always been the underdog. It’s always that my opponent is too experienced or he’s had too many fights when it was just my second fight,” Bocek explains. “It doesn’t come down to experience in my opinion. It comes down to the skill and down to what weapons you have in your arsenal and what you can do with them.”

Finding himself in a rut, Bocek decided that the only option for him to bring his training to the next level was to travel to Brazil -- the birthplace of the sport he had adopted as a way of life. Since this original sabbatical trip to Brazil, the Canadian BJJ phenom has made the trek to the South American country several times, spending an entire year training under Joao Roque, from whom he was later awarded his black belt and instructor bars.

Never one to take his challenger lightly, Bocek sees his next opponent, Garrett Davis, who he is set to face tonight in King of The Cage Canada’s latest installment, “Capital Chaos,” as another obstacle in his way to becoming a champion.

For Bocek, the obstacles and the championships seem to be getting bigger. After winning the North American Abu Dhabi qualifier tournament last October without having a single point scored against him in any of his four matches, Bocek has been pushed into the top ten of the 66-77kg class at the ADCC championships in May. Other notables fighters in the class include Renzo Gracie, Marcelo Garcia and Andre Galvao – all of whom Bocek feels he can defeat.

“I’ve seen a lot of these guys around for a long time through gi tournaments and no gi tournaments and Renzo used to be my instructor. I got my blue belt from him in New York when I was sixteen,” says Bocek. “I think I’ll have an edge over these guys in wrestling and I think I’ll be able to use that to my advantage in the Abu Dhabi setting of the rules.”

Should Bocek win tonight, King of the Cage management have discussed the possibility of his next fight being a title shot against KOTC U.S. Lightweight Champion Mac Danzig. The organization had a difficult time finding a Canadian opponent for the feared submission specialist, eventually deciding on Michigan native Jake Short, who was replaced by Davis due to an injury.

“I think a lot of guys have seen me around for a while and even though I don’t have many [MMA] fights they know that maybe I can put them in some positions that they might not feel comfortable in so they’d rather fight someone else,” speculates Bocek. “I just want to keep being active in MMA and to get to be in the upper echelon of MMA competition.”

Training students at Kombat Arts Academy in Mississauga, Ontario when he isn’t training himself, Bocek doesn’t hesitate in reciting his list of fighters he would like to face. Although some might consider his opponent wish list to be somewhat lofty, “Kid Red” believes that his time has come to show the world what he can do.

“In Canada I’d like to face Fabio Holanda, Sam Stout, Mark Hominick,” says Bocek. “In the world, Sean Sherk.”

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