Gross Climbs the Featherweight Ranks With Dominant Win Over Johnson at ECC 17
Gross used an intelligent and disciplined approach this past weekend to get the biggest win of his career, a unanimous decision victory over consensus top ten featherweight Tristan Johnson. Johnson was fighting in the comforts of his own backyard, but Gross made sure that comfort stayed outside the cage from the opening bell. Gross used keen timing and superior strength to take Johnson down and keep him there for the majority of the fight.
“I fought a smart fight for a change you know. I’m not usually one for these game plans and tactical crap but in this one I had a big chance to take out a big name and I had to capitalize on this or I was all the way back to square zero and I did not want to go back there.” he told CKSN.ca via phone.
Johnson has long been considered one of the best featherweights in the country for years now, certainly a top ten behind the likes of the recently retired Mark Hominick, Antonio Carvalho, John Fraser, Chris Horodecki and Brad Cardinal. With the impressive win and new and improved approach, Gross places himself right in the mix with the best 145-pound fighters in the country.
“Right now I think I catapulted myself right into the top five in Canada.”
It is a great accomplishment for the Adrenaline Training Center trained tough guy and Chris Clements protégé, and Gross recognized his advantages from the get go in this fight.
“Tristan wanted it to be a striking battle well, guess what? I just made it a grappling match. That’s a strong part of my game to be able to dictate where this fight was going to happen. So if you are comfortable one way I’m going to take it to the opposite, I’m not going to make it easy on you.”
“He came out striking right away and because he came out so aggressively, he found himself in a body lock to an easy take down right away.”
Gross landed in side control and knew pretty much right away that he was the stronger man, as he was able to hold Johnson down without using his entire strength. This allowed Gross to let Johnson squirm around a bit and use up a lot of his energy before he opened up with selective shots. Gross was able to play this scene out for the majority of the first two rounds, forcing Johnson to go for broke in the third.
This is Gross’ second fight at featherweight and I wondered how his gas tank was compared to his debut in October.
“At the start of the third round I was standing in the corner fresh as ever. It’s easy to stay fresh when you are in great shape but also when you are in control. I wasn’t the one struggling or working as hard as he was. I was fresh and ready to go and Mency (Dresden native and UFC fighter Chris Clements) said he’s going to come out guns blazing now, and I said that’s fine, I’m ready.”
Johnson did come with desperation in the third round and Gross didn’t budge, although he didn’t come out of it unscathed.
“We came out in the third dancing around a bit and because of the my takedowns he didn’t open up with his hands, I froze his hands up which was perfect but he bombed a front kick at my face and broke my nose.” he laughed, with a sneak peek into the mind of a fighter like Jesse Gross.
“My nose has been broken so many times it was an easy break but it exploded with blood. I took it ok and shot a takedown shortly after and that’s when I saw the blood pour onto his chest. I said to him oh man just split me open and he started laughing. We said a few other things and then we just went right back to working.” he laughed.
Gross is always ready to fight at the drop of dime, and prefers to slug it out and let the best man win, but it is great to see him evolve in this sport and take the approach necessary in order to win and reap the benefits of his hard work. He is just set to start his full time job in construction and is unsure of what is next for him inside the cage.
“Well they already want me to come back in September and fight there undefeated champion Gavin Tucker. He’s 7-0 and they want me to fight him for the title. That’s fine with me but I want to see if some other opportunities might arise before I say yes.”
Beggars can’t be choosers in the regional MMA circuit but the money that Gross was paid to fight Johnson was not what is should be for a fight between two top talents in this country. Gross hinted that the price will have to be right for him to make the trip out east again, but it is clear that he has no problem fighting Tucker.
“Yeah I have no problem going in there and smacking that kid in the teeth because to be honest, he could use it.” he said beautifully.
Now, I can’t wait for Gross-Tucker. Stay tuned.