By John Chidley-Hill from http://johnchidleyhill.com/
After winning the welterweight title at UFC 83, Georges St. Pierre is Canada’s most famous mixed martial artist. He’s not Canada’s first MMA champion though: Victor Bachmann is.
On December 28, 2007, Bachmann won the Canadian Boxing Federation’s MMA Welterweight Championship at The Fight Club’s First Blood.
He wasn’t even meant to be in the fight originally, but a fortunate set of circumstances made the title shot possible.
“A couple weeks before the event I got a call from my manager telling me that the title fight fell through and that they wanted me,” says Bachmann.
Unfortunately, he was living half a continent away in Toronto as his wife completed a graduate degree and he had minimal preparation for such an important fight.
“A couple days later, I was on a flight to Edmonton to do a big training camp,” he said. “The guys at Hayabusa all rearranged their schedules so they could give me the best training they could and they spent the next three weeks putting me through hell.”
“There were a few times where I was almost in tears, they pushed me so hard. I was more ready for that fight than anything else I’d ever done.”
The fight was a quick one, with the ref calling the match just 49 seconds in. Bachmann locked in a triangle choke and was raining unanswered blows down on the head of Stjepan Vujnovic. The fans were upset with how brief the fight was, and Bachmann sympathizes.
“While I know refs have a tough job and the fight did go my way, it was disappointing that we didn’t get to put on a big exciting fight, especially having everyone put so much work into getting ready.”
Bachmann was introduced to jiu jitsu at Elvis Sinosic’s club in Australia the summer before he began university. In 2003, he joined the University of Alberta’s varsity wrestling team.
“I had never wrestled with a strictly wrestling team, whereas most of the team had wrestled through high school and a couple years at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport level,” says Bachmann. “I spent most of the first year and a half getting my ass handed to me.”
It was through wrestling that Bachmann made a connection that introduced him to MMA and put him on a path to being one of the top welterweights in Canada.
“At the end of the wrestling season, I heard about a jiu jitsu club in one of the suburbs and we started training with Kyle Cardinal,” Bachmann said. “After a couple months I got the idea that I should test my mettle and get a fight.”
Cardinal introduced Bachmann to Travis Galbraith, who was coaching a group of young fighters looking to get into MMA. Bachmann hooked up with them and began intensive training. In September 2006, he got his big break: a fight against Tyler Weibe in Calgary on a card put together by King of the Cage Canada. Victor won by TKO in the first round.
“It was probably the ugliest fight I’ve ever seen. I had about 20 pounds and 6 inches on the kid,” recalls Bachmann. “I just came charging in with punches and clinched. I fed him a bunch of knees until he picked one up and got me down.”
“After some sloppy guard work I mounted him and hit him until the ref stopped the fight.”
Although Bachmann had years of experience as a wrestler and had been training hard in preparation for the fight, he still had a lot to learn.
“One of my training partners, Jeff Montemurro, was pissed,” says Bachmann. “He told me that I was in no way a boxer and had no business standing with him and letting him take me down. I really didn’t know what I was doing in that match and it showed.”
Bachmann and his team at Hayabusa Mixed Martial Arts worked hard to create a style that would work to his considerable strengths.
That developing style coupled with growing experience in the cage quickly led to a 4-1 record. It was his progress in the ring that earned Bachmann a shot at the new championship. His victory confirmed that he was at the top of Canada’s MMA scene.
Winning the belt led to a match with his toughest opponent to date: Claude Patrick, who will be fighting at UFC 115 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Unfortunately, Bachmann lost the title in that match.
However, the bout lifted his conditioning and in-ring skills to new levels.
Bachmann reeled off two wins in quick succession. He rained blows down on Mike Rowbotham in the second round for a TKO at The Fight Club 9: Total Chaos in early December 2009.
Then he accepted a long-standing challenge from Markhaile Wederbrun to fight at The Fight Club 10: Armageddon on March 19, 2010. He submitted Wederbrun with a rear naked choke 3:28 into the first round for another decisive victory.
In early 2010, Bachmann signed on to participate in Let’s Get It On MMA’s East vs. West tournament. He faced Jordan Mein in the first round on April 23. It was a classic striker versus mat technician match. Surprisingly, Mein was able to catch Bachmann in a neck crank, handing Bachmann only his third loss.
Despite that setback, Victor Bachmann is gaining experience in the ring and remains one of the rising young stars of Canada’s mixed martial arts scene.