Nathan Gunn had everything going for him in his MFC debut – that is until things went horribly wrong.
The welterweight prospect had a solid first round in his first fight under the spotlight, well enough to earn him the nod for taking the opening five minutes against veteran Pete Spratt on the MFC 22: Payoff card. But Gunn made a fateful error along the way. When he had Spratt in trouble, he failed to put the hammer down and finish the fight.
Instead, Gunn let Spratt off the hook and paid for it dearly. The heavy-handed Spratt blasted Gunn face-first to the canvas in Round 2, scoring the win, the Knockout of the Night, and the MFC’s 2009 Knockout of the Year.
Gunn (7-1) will try to regain his footing as an up-and-comer at MFC 24: Heat XC when he meets Thiago Goncalves (11-3) on Friday, February 26 at the River Cree Resort and Casino.
"I felt a fought a smart, good fight against a great striker … I just let it slip away and did not attack and go for the finish when I had my opportunities," reflected Gunn. "When you are fighting someone with the firepower of Pete Spratt, well, you see all it takes is one punch no matter how much of the fight you control."
It wasn’t a pleasant experience for Gunn, but one that he takes away a valuable lesson from.
"The biggest thing I took from the Spratt fight is not to hold back. You don’t get a second chance when you have your opportunity to finish," said the Thunder Bay, Ontario, product.
"That along with experiencing my first KO and loss, I have nothing to lose from now on. I am going to go for broke and let things fly and see how it all plays out. As far as I’m concerned I am either walk out with a win or Thiago is going to have to do the same thing that Spratt did and that's finish the fight in spectacular fashion and have me waking up looking at the ceiling again.
"One thing I can promise is I am going to be a ball of energy and go in there looking to have fun and to put on a good show for everyone."
While being on the wrong end of the Knockout of the Year was a black mark on Gunn's resume, he expects to rebound from the loss and take advantage of the situation presented to him - an opportunity in front of another sold-out MFC audience to showcase his skills. Gunn has accurately assessed his best chance of winning by approaching the fight with a frenetic pace. If he's going to catch Goncalves, it's likely to be early and in the stand-up before the Brazilian jiu-jitsu talents have a chance to go to work.
"He's been training with the best in the world his whole life," noted Gunn. "It is an honor to once again be put in a position to test myself against someone with his background and abilities. I have never seen him fight and don't know much about him besides what I have heard about his ground skills and that he's a big 170-pounder with power."
While Goncalves remains a bit of a mystery, Gunn is hopeful that he can rely on some past success in his upcoming battle. Gunn previously beat Tyler Jackson, one of Goncalves's training partners, in early 2009 so going two-for-two against teammates would make for a great start to 2010.
"I'm pressing hard with my cardio and expecting to come into this fight in tremendous shape, allowing me to be able to push the pace and not hold back any offense like I did in the Spratt fight," said Gunn. "You will definitely see me looking for offense from any position I might find myself in. I'm grateful the MFC has given me a chance to come back and put on a show for the crowd again and I am not going to disappoint -- that's for sure."
Gunn vs. Goncalves will open the main card at MFC 24: Heat XC which will be broadcasting live online. Tickets for MFC 24 are still available via the MFC Ticket Hotline at (780) 504-2024 or through Ticketmaster.