A Yellowknife fighter will represent Canada at the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s (IMMAF) World Amateur Championships this summer after winning his division during nationals this weekend.
Jarrett Vornbrock beat Alberta’s Jesse Atwell via unanimous decision in Sunday’s flyweight (125 pounds or less) title fight during tryouts held in Lethbridge, Alta.
With the win, Vornbrock has earned the right to represent Team Canada at this year’s world amateur championships in Las Vegas.
“When I got my hand raised I was just stoked and super happy,” he said. “It’s surreal to be here and to think that someone coming from a small town like Yellowknife can do something like this.”
But his final fight wasn’t without controversy. After being hit with an illegal knee to the head, Vornbrock told Moose FM he felt dazed but the referee insisted the fight go on.
“It did kind of rock me a little bit and I needed some time to recover,” Vornbrock said of the knee, which struck him in the temple.
“It was really weird though because usually the ref will give you five minutes and ask you when you’re okay.
“But he came over to me, checked my eyes and then made us start fighting again. I was trying to recover as we were going back into the fight.”
Despite the illegal blow, Vornbrock was able to recover and push his opponent to a decisive third round. It was at that point that he found another gear and capitalized on Atwell’s apparent fatigue.
“I heard the last ten-second countdown and I just tried throwing a couple shots to the body with the last bit of energy I had.
“I honestly didn’t know who won the fight at that point because it was so close. I thought with the last round, with the way it was, that I had won it but you never know when it’s up to the judges.”
Vornbrock says he’s been fighting since the age of 17 when he was introduced to kickboxing. He then added some Muay Thai and wrestling to his arsenal when he attended college in Lethbridge.
His mixed martial arts skills have expanded even further in the past two years since joining Yellowknife’s Warrior Strong Fight League.
The 2016 IMMAF World Championships will be held in Las Vegas between July 5 and July 10.