A cold was not going to stop Raphaël Ouellet from going to Rise V in Chilliwack at the end of November to face opponent Damon Marlow in a tie-breaking fight, but it did change his strategy.
“If I sign a contract, I’m going to be there, no matter of sickness or injury,” said Ouellet. “But when you’re sick, that affects your cardio, and a title fight is five rounds instead of three, so I knew I had to finish it quickly.”
Ouellet won the fight by arm bar submission in the second round, claiming the Rise amateur lightweight belt for fighters between 145 and 155 pounds. He had faced Marlow twice before, and each fighter had a win heading into the third match.
“We first met at Rise II in Chilliwack last November, where he won by kind of a controversial decision,” said Ouellet. “I won by split decision when we met again at Extreme Fighting Challenge in Vernon at the end of August, so this fight was the end of the trilogy for us. I have lots of respect for Damon; he’s a cool guy. When you fight someone three times, you feel like you know them.”
Ouellet has a long background in martial arts.
“I’ve been doing karate since I was three,” said Ouellet. “Later on, my brother Nic and I got into boxing and kickboxing, then we progressed to grappling and Brazilian jiu jitsu. Jiu jitsu really took over, because we saw a big hole in our skills.
“We went into the discipline thinking we’d clean up because we were blackbelts, and these girls completely wiped the floor with us because they were grapplers and we weren’t,” he added with a laugh.
Ouellet plans to turn professional in mixed martial arts eventually, and the belt win is a big part of building his fighting resume.
“Mixed martial arts has only been around for 25 years or so, so it’s a young sport,” he said. “Now is the peak time to become an athlete, and I think my brother and I can make a big splash in it. We’re both lightweights, we both have amateur belts, and we’re getting better and better all the time.”
Born in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Ouellet moved to Powell River when he was three. He attended École Cote Du Soleil and Brooks Secondary School, graduating in 2016. He and his brother Nicolas run Powell River Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, where residents can learn the finer points of grappling.
“We have a great program, and I love teaching,” said Ouellet. “We have a really good environment, where everyone wants to help each other. There’s competitive spirit there, but only when it’s an appropriate time.”
Ouellet will defend his belt in mid to late 2020, although he wants to take part in some jiu jitsu competitions first.
“It’s been too long,” he said, “and I want to do some more training before I fight again. In mixed martial arts, four competitions in just over a year is a lot.”