September 01, 2021MILFORD — On Aug. 21 at the Hampshire Dome in Milford, Lancaster's Mike Bezanson won his second amateurship welterweight (170lbs) belt after defeating title holder Duncan Smith. Smith has held the title since 2018. Bezanson who remains undefeated at 6-0 will now turn pro.
Bezanson first fought Jeff Dustin in 2015 where he won via knock out at 2:49 in round two. One year later he faced Shawn Bang where he secured another knockout win just 51 seconds into the first round. In 2019, the fighter faced Jason Landry where he delivered another knockout in 41 seconds. Later that same year, Bezanson faced Taylor Mears and won via TKO, 37 seconds into round four. In August of 2020 he faced Greg Ishihara and won via TKO, 2:24 seconds in round one.
At the Aug. 21 fight, Bezanson stepped into the ring, bowing first out of respect to his opponent. Smith who is a known grappler, had a plan to get Bezanson to the ground but that plan failed miserably when. Smith had Bezanson down for mere seconds before the Lancaster native used his power to simply, stand up. When both fighters were back on their feet, it was just a matter of time before Bezanson's powerful hands got to work. Smith was knocked out at 1:32 in round one. Bezanson's defense was so good, his opponent only manged to get in one kick and one punch.
Bezanson has been training out of Kaze Dojo in Lancaster under Greg Williams, however COVID had different plans for the young fighter.
"I moved down to Manchester for work and was looking for a gym. There was never any question that I would continue to fight," said Bezanson.
After visiting several gyms, Mike 'All Class' Bezanson chose to fight for Team Burgess under Coach Nate LaMotte.
"There has been a dramatic difference in that I can now train at a high level of Brazilian Jujitsu. There are different fighters there with different skill sets, simply because it's a more populated area," explained Bezanson.
He added, "Everyone at the gym is there for the same reason."
Explaining his training during the last year, Bezanson said, "Every fight camp, you're training to exploit the person you're going up against weaknesses. So this fight camp, we knew Smith was going to grapple. We knew he was going to try to get me onto the ground as soon as possible because he doesn't want to stand in and throw hands."
During the fight camp, Bezanson focused on take down defense and clearly his training paid off.
"We worked on a drill called shark bait, where every four minutes a fresh fighter would come in and try to take me down and smother me against the wall for multiple rounds," he said.
Now that he's going into the professional circuit, Bezanson said one difference is that throwing elbows and knees to the head is permitted and he will get paid.
When asked what his plans are moving forward, Bezanson said, "To get a call from the UFC, I'm trying to be the best in the world not just the Northeast."
Bezanson is ranked number one in New England.
"I'm super stoked about achieving my goal as all of my wins are knockouts and I have two belts. This is just the beginning, and I can't wait to see what the future has in store," he said.
"I love the community support from up north. People that I don't even know really well are supporting me, and it feels good to do the North Country proud," said Bezanson.
Taking a quick moment to reflect, Bezanson offered this: "You know, more than being successful in the cage, it's how I can inspire the kids where I grew up. I would love nothing more than to go back to the high school I went to, and give a speech on how 'bad' or 'good' you are, it doesn't have to affect your future."
He added, "Many of my teachers thought I might end up in jail with no chance of success. It feels really good to work hard both at my career in and out of the cage, stay humble and remain a class act. No one, no matter what they think about you, can determine your future."
Bezanson began boxing with officer Mike Boutin when he was 16. Boutin was the School Resource Officer at WMRHS for several years. A boxer himself, Boutin was the perfect match for the young, energetic Bezanson.
"Officer Boutin came to me when I was 16, because he saw that I was a good, athletic kid, but was just terrible with authority. So I showed up at the old boxing gym under the old police station in Whitefield and I haven't looked back since." explained Bezanson.
"I instantly liked everything about it. I wasn't good enough in school to do sports because of my grades so this was perfect. I've always liked wrestling and physical activity." he said.
When Bezanson was young, he would wrestle his friends and was instinctively good at it.
"I would put someone in a head lock and other holds, and even though I didn't know the names of what it was I was doing, it just came naturally to me," he said.
At the age of 18, he began training jiu jitsu with Williams. "I've never lost a bout under Greg's training, including jiu jitsu matches." said Bezanson.
After Bezanson's last fight, Williams has retired from MMA coaching. "This weekend was my last time coaching MMA and marks the end of Team Kaze MMA. Mike Bezanson's first round KO brings him to 6-0 with six KO's and two titles, a goal he set from the beginning."
Williams added, "What a great way to end it! Thanks to my wife and kids for putting up with all the time away and everything that goes along with being a coach. Thanks to all the fighters that spilled blood for our team. Thanks to all of those in the North Country that supported our team. Thanks to the entire MMA community! The mission has always been to help individuals realize their true potential and overcome adversity. I know that has been accomplished on some level."
To watch any of Bezanson's prior bouts, a simple Google search will do the trick.