Sixteen months ago, Roger Hollett looked indestructible in the cage. The Fairview mixed martial arts fighter won the first seven fights of his career with a 97.8-second average time of victory, and appeared on the cusp of a UFC deal.
Since then, things haven’t gone so well. He ripped apart his knee in November 2007 and has now lost two of his past three fights entering Friday night’s Maximum Fighting championship event near Edmonton.
He’s sporting an 8-2 record and looking to resurrect his once dominating image against UFC veteran David Heath (9-4) in an important light-heavyweight showdown.
“I’m just trying to get back to where I was then,” Hollett said. “It’s an uphill battle, but I’m a lot closer now.”
Hollett and Heath are both coming off losses to Emanuel Newton. Hollett, who suffered a five-round unanimous decision setback on Dec. 5, thought he was close to his November 2007 form before the fight, but now realizes he wasn’t ready.
“I had a pretty (crappy) performance last time and that’s not how I fight, that’s not how I represent myself,” said Hollett. “Right after that, I gave my head a shake. I knew I didn’t train right, and I’ve trained extra hard so it doesn’t happen again.”
Hollett said he “couldn’t pull the trigger” against Newton, but said he has “easily corrected” the mistakes he made. He didn’t waste any time booking the fight with Heath.
“I want to get back in there,” Hollett said. “I want to prove to myself I can get back to where I was.”
Heath, 32, has fought five times on the UFC circuit, winning his first two and then losing his last three. His last UFC bout was this time last year and he’s fought twice since.
“He likes to punch and shoot, I like to keep it up on the feet,” Hollett said. “He’s been to the big shows and he won’t be nervous coming in. Who knows what will happen.”