Blake Donnely hopes fifth time is the charm, as he shapes up to enter the ring against Sean le Gourrierec in Melbourne on Saturday, September 8.
The Moruya fighter has had four professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) bouts fall through this year – through no fault of his own – and the young athlete is keen to improve his one-win, zero-loss record.
“There’s been a big build up to this Saturday,” Donnely said.
“I haven’t been working as much as normal, just training hard.
“I’ve covered all areas, and I have no regrets.”
Donnely has a stand-up background, but has been committed to developing his ground-work.
“In my last Brazillian jiu-jitsu competition, I took gold in gi and silver in no-gi (as a blue belt),” he said.
Gi jiu-jitsu is grappling in a traditional martial arts uniform, which allows opponents to use clothing for leverage and submissions. In no-gi bouts, opponents wear shorts and a rash guard, which cannot be used for leverage or submissions.
It’s easily the biggest and toughest fight of my lifeBlake Donnely
“I’m facing a guy from one of the best gyms in Australia – he’s a brown belt, and a very good grappler with a strong right hand,” Donnely said.
“I just want to stay long, be patient and wait for my opportunity.”
It’s Donnely’s first fight in Melbourne – but not his first Melbourne MMA experience.
“I watched the UFC there in 2016,” he said.
“It’s a good stepping stone to the UFC – I know promoters keep their eye on this promotion.”
Illawarra UFC featherweight competitor, Alexander Volkanovski, has mentored Donnely.
“I’ve been training with Alex once a week,” Donnely said.
“He’s probably the nicest guy I’ve ever met. He’s been really generous with his knowledge and his time.”
Saturday’s fight will be a challenge – but one Donnely is excited for.
“It’s easily the biggest and toughest fight of my life, but this is the readiest I’ve been,” he said.
“It’s going to be good. It’s been a long time coming.”
Blake Donnely (1-0) fights Sean le Gourrierec (5-2) at the Melbourne Pavillion on Saturday, September 8.