Rodgers might not be done after winning MMA debut
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Chance “Woody” Rodgers entered the octagon with a mindset that his debut bout would be a one-and-done appearance.
At the end of the bout he wasn’t too sure.
Driven by fans chanting his name throughout the fight at The Moon, he scored a third-round technical knockout over Gage Kuilenburg. The end came with three seconds left in the scheduled three-round bout.
On his way back to the dressing area, Rodgers was followed step-to-step by a group of ruckus supporters. Along the way, they hoisted him while chanting his name even louder.
It might just be the thing that makes him come back to the cage.
“I have the best fans,” said Rodgers, a Perry native who is in his senior year of studying business management at FSU. “They want me to do it.
“I said I would just do one and be done. I did it but you never know. I get better and better I might stick it out a little bit. As of now, I’m not thinking about it. I will let it soak in and probably in the next couple of days I will be in the gym.”
By the end of the first round, Rodgers was in control of the fight. Kuilenburg appeared winded and couldn’t get an opportunity to catch his breath.
Both spent most of the second round sparring and pawing. Rodgers got the best, landing powerful shots to the head. Twice he knocked Kuilenburg’s mouthpiece out.
During the closing seconds of the final round, Rodgers landed a right that backed Kuilenburg into the cage. His face bloodied from the constant attack of shots to the head, Kuilenurg didn’t recover.
He sank to the canvas after taking a right uppercut that ended the fight.
“I never had a wrestling or kick-boxing back ground so my hands is my best weapon,” said Rodgers, who took up MMA while training at Gold’s Gym three months ago. “He tried to take me to the ground but I knew I could finish it standing.”
The win puts Rodgers in a good position if he decides to continue what looks like a promising MMA career, said promoter Mitchell Chamale.
“Woody will be doing it again,” Chamale said. “No doubt about that. He is a local guy and local guys are always going to have a good following. On top of that he is a good guy.”
Plus he has a fan-friendly style.
“He didn’t give up,” Chamale said. “He could have easily given up after a take-down in the third round, but he got up and kept punching the guy. I haven’t met a fan yet who doesn’t like to see someone getting punched in the face.”