Williams Lake’s Gary ‘Saint Lion’ Mangat’s training paid off in a big way in the Battlefield Fight League 32 co-main event on Aug. 23 at the River Rock Casino and Resort in Richmond, B.C.
The 135-pound bantamweight, who suffered the first loss of his mixed martial arts career last September, righted the ship against Blair Oster via rear-naked choke in the first round of the bout.
“The training all kind of showed in that fight,” Mangat told the Tribune/Weekend Advisor.
“For me it was a tough camp to get through mentally — coming back from everything that happened. There were a lot of mental hurdles I had to get through.”
With the win Mangat improves his professional mixed martial arts record to five wins and one loss.
Mangat pressured Oster throughout the early stages of round one, before pouncing on an opportunity with time dwindling in the round, taking Oster’s back and ending the fight with the submission.
He credited ONE-FC World Champion Bibiano Fernandes and his coaches and training partners in helping him get back in the win column.
“Just to get out of there in the first round, that’s all I can really ask for,” he said.
“When you’re in there everything’s built off of instinct. It’s not like I thought about what was going to happen, I just saw the opening.
“As soon as I saw that opening I went for it and that was because Bibiano drilled that into my head.”
Mangat, a Columneetza secondary graduate, has trained for the past two years at the world-famous Tri-Star Gym in Montreal with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) stars George St. Pierre and Rory MacDonald.
For his most recent bout, Mangat returned home to Surrey this May to train at Revolution MMA in Langley with Fernandes.
As for what the future holds, Mangat isn’t looking to take much time off.
“I’m not trying to take too much of a break,” he said. “I want a quick turnover, but it’s hard to find fights. I’m looking for promoters and seeing what I can set up, but I hate not having something to work toward.
“Some guys like to have vacation time. I’m not like that. I like to keep busy.”