June 25, ICNZ 14 was a much anticipated event for GC. Head coach Andrew Craven stepped up to pro class MMA and dropped down to lightweight to fight a dangerous opponent in Fightshop’s Adam Calver. Andrew put on his most impressive MMA performance to date to take the match in the second round by rear naked choke. Not only that, he was awarded the NZMMA fighter of the night. A decision we can’t help but agree with whole heartedly.
Andrew’s preparation for this fight was intense. Few people realise the total dedication and commitment required to truly prepare for a pro class MMA fight. The many hours and rounds on the GC mat, the additional work Andrew did on his strength and conditioning (with thanks to World Health and Fitness Drury), the hours of honing his striking game (with thanks to Francis “Danger” Vesetolu) and of course the input of our own Neil Swailes.
As well as the focus on skills and strength and conditioning, Andrew dropped a weight class for this fight. Cutting weight is an art, get it wrong and you can miss weight or deplete yourself too much before the fight. Andrew’s focus and discipline saw him manage this process perfectly, comfortably making the much lighter weight (69.5 kgs) and coming in to the fight strong.
The hard work on all counts was more than evident on the night. Traditionally a fighter that’s been most feared for his ground game, Andrew dropped his opponent with a right hand in the first round. He then demonstrated just how well rounded he’s become with seemingly effotless takedowns off the fence, strong ground control and striking and solid defense. To top it off he finished according to his game plan with the rear naked choke.
We congratulate Andrew on not just the result, but the discipline and focus that delivered it. If anyone is looking for a poster boy for the concept of “train hard, fight easy”, we have just the man.