Facin’ an uphill climb
Veteran Rehm expecting difficult challenge next month against ‘Doomsday’ Howard
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (July 24th, 2012) – Scott Rehm knows what he’s up against.
He knows he’ll be a heavy underdog when he faces former Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) veteran John “Doomsday” Howard on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 at Twin River Casino. He also knows he’s got the sport’s greatest equalizer, a secret weapon tucked away behind two explosive fists.
“Anything can happen if you put your hands on somebody in the right spot,” Rehm said. “On any given night, right?”
At 44 years old, Rehm (6-6, 6 KOs) has a puncher’s chance, a chance few thought he had in September when he knocked out 30-year-old challenger Steve Skrzat in just 29 seconds. Years of training in both law enforcement and martial arts, including the Israeli self-defense technique Krav Maga, have given Rehm the “heavy hands” Howard (16-7, 5 KOs) will fear most when the two Boston natives face one another next week in the three-round main event of Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports’ “Far Beyond Driven” card.
“He has a lot of balls,” said Howard, who recently defeated Rhode Island native Todd Chattelle in April to win CES MMA’s inaugural middleweight title.
“He comes to bang, and he knocks a lot of people out. He’s a little unorthodox, and he will hit you and put you out if you give him the chance, but I think me being younger and more experienced will work against him.”
Rehm is as relaxed as ever entering next week’s fight; facing Howard is an opportunity of a lifetime. A win would be the signature moment of his career, and, perhaps, the perfect sendoff if he decides to walk away once the fight ends.
“There’s no difference in this camp,” Rehm said. “There are bumps and bruises like there are in every camp, but they seem to be piling up more this time around. It’s not that I’m necessarily training harder. Like my doctor says, the engine looks good, the transmission is in great shape, and there’s not a scratch on it, but I’m still 44 years old. These things will happen.”
For “Doomsday,” the stakes are much higher; a loss could be the death sentence – or, at best, a temporary derailment – in his quest to return to the UFC, a goal he’s worked toward feverishly since the promotion released him in July of 2011 following three consecutive losses. Having been there before, Howard feels more internal pressure to beat Rehm than he does to get back to the sport’s biggest stage.
“Honestly, I’m not in a rush,” he said, “because I’ve already proven I belong there. I went to Miami [in October] and beat Dennis Olson, who was one of the top-ranked welterweights. I came [to Rhode Island] and beat Todd Chattelle, who was No. 1 in New England. Part of me not being in the UFC is a case of bad luck. Everyone goes through it. Marcus Davis [released from the UFC in January of 2011] went through it – we’ve all gone through it.
“With this fight, I’m once again in a lose-lose situation because if I beat him, then I was supposed to beat him, but if I lose … He has nothing to lose and everything to gain, whereas I have everything to lose and nothing to gain.”
The only hiccup in putting this fight together was the fact Rehm and Howard are close friends who’ve trained and worked with one another through the years, so Rehm sent Howard a text message shortly after the fight was proposed.
“Let’s go have some fun,” he said.
At heart, Rehm is a realist who knows he’s not competing for a spot in the UFC, nor would he dodge anyone to avoid putting an unnecessary blemish on his record.
“I’ve never looked at those things,” he said. “I didn’t get into this sport expecting to go to the UFC, but I’m still going to challenge myself, and John is a phenomenal challenge.
“I guess we all want to see where we stand. The type of fighter I am is someone who goes out and challenges himself. I’m fighting for the love of it and to see where I stand in the grand scheme. This is clearly the biggest challenge ever put in front of me.
“I bet no one has me at even money.”
Howard isn’t nearly as quick to dismiss his opponent. He respects Rehm’s power and is entering this fight unsure of what to expect, similar to his last bout against Chattelle in which he needed at least one round to figure out the game plan.
“I think Scott will take his time,” Howard said. “He’s a smart man, but I honestly don’t know how he’ll fight me. He might try to throw a curveball and take me down.
“I don’t go into a fight expecting it to be a certain way. If he just comes at me with his hands, then so be it, but if he wants to take me down, I’ll be prepared for that, too. It depends on how he comes at me. I’ve got a Plan A, B, C, D and E.”
Aside from his own punching power, which he used to dispose of Chattelle shortly before the end of the second round in their five-round title bout in April, Howard is also relying on his experience in big fights to push him over the top.
“Fighting Top 10 guys and training with Top 10 guys, you know what to expect when you get on that big stage,” Howard said. “It’s a totally different mindset. I’ve fought some of the best guys in the world, so I know what it takes to be there.
“You could see the difference in experience against [Chattelle]. I knew what to do, and how to pace myself. Everyone thought I’d take him down immediately, but people forget I’m a striker. I took my time to see what he would do. All he was thinking of doing was knocking me out. Knowing his game plan made it easier for me.”
Though he tries to eliminate any thoughts of a potential return to the UFC should he win this fight, Howard admits there’s been some “buzz” recently about what the future holds. The only question is whether or not he’d continue fighting at 185 pounds, or if he’ll return to welterweight, where he spent the bulk of his UFC career.
“I want to make sure I’m really ready,” Howard said. “Most guys who get kicked out and come back only come back once. I don’t want to have to go through that again.”
Until then, Howard’s main focus is on facing Rehm, who could be the roadblock in his path back to the top. Rehm, after all, has nothing to lose on Aug. 3, a stark contrast to the pressure Howard will face next Friday at Twin River.
“No one is ever going to turn around when I’m done and say I wasn’t legit,” Rehm said. “I didn’t just get in on some small level to see if I could do it; I’ve only fought one fighter who had a losing record going into the fight and he beat me [Elias Rivera in 2009].
“In my mind, I’m constantly looking to see who’s out there and where I stand. I know my hands are full. I know I’m swimming in the deep end of the water. Look, John is the real deal. He’s 29 years old. He’s been to the UFC, and he’s fought nothing but animals there. I know what I’m getting into, but when it’s all said and done, regardless of the outcome, I know I’ll have fought the tough fights.”
Tickets for “Far Beyond Driven” are $35.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at www.cesmma.com or www.twinriver.com, at the Players Club booth at Twin River, or through any TicketMaster location. Doors open 6 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7.
The undercard features a lightweight showdown between Providence’s Mike “The Beast” Campbell (10-4, 7 KOs) and Bombsquad veteran Don Carlo-Clauss (9-6, 3 KOs) of Ithaca, N.Y., in addition to a light heavyweight battle between Greg Rebello (13-4, 7 KOs), also of Providence, and Carlos Cline (3-3, 1 KO) of Queens.
Lightweight Ruben Rey (5-3, 5 KOs) of Providence will face Sergio Moran Cabrera (1-0) of Boston; Hector Sanchez (0-3) of Woonsocket, R.I., will battle newcomer Dave Maggiore of Framingham, Mass., in a welterweight bout; and Johnston, R.I., light heavyweight Joe Pingitore (1-0, 1 KO) will face newcomer Ahsan Abdullah of Cortland, N.Y. Also on the undercard, Tyson Chartier (2-2) of Waltham, Mass., will face Wakefield, R.I., welterweight Tim O’Connell (4-4); welterweight Chris Cole (2-1) of Attleboro, Mass., will battle Robbie Leroux (3-1, 1 KO) of Fall River, Mass.; and Dinis Paiva Jr. (1-3) of East Providence, R.I., will face Framingham’s Gilvan Santos (1-3) in a welterweight bout. Providence middleweight Brennan Ward (2-0, 1 KO) will also be featured in a separate three-round bout. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
(Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “Far Beyond Driven.” Anybody under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must enter through the West entrance).
– CES –