After stepping away for hand-to-hand sports for three years, Pioneer High School graduate Brady O’Keefe is getting back in the cage for his second fight in the last three months Saturday at Reno’s King of the Cage, hosted by Silver Legacy Resort Casino.
O’Keefe, who will be fighting at 130 pounds, has been dropping weight the past week in order to prepare for his opponent who is coming up from 125 pounds.
In his first King of the Cage bout, O’Keefe earned a TKO in 51 seconds at 135 pounds, but is now coming down in order to try to pick up his second mixed-martial arts win.
His opponent is the current title holder at 125 pounds, but came up to 130 pounds for Saturday’s bout.
A win for O’Keefe means he would get a shot at a title fight of his own.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” said O’Keefe. “I want to thank my sensei and my master and my training partner Ramon Garcia because I wouldn’t be near where I’m at today without them.”
For Saturday’s tilt, O’Keefe knows his opponent has a strong jiu-jitsu background and the high school wrestling standout is hoping to stay on his feet and avoid getting stuck on the mat.
O’Keefe said his standup, boxing approach has been the main focus of his training in preparation for Saturday.
“I know that I’ll probably have the heavier hands,” said O’Keefe. “If it comes to it, use my wrestling background to take him to the ground and just stay out of his guard.”
Getting back into the sport
His sensei and his master had to do more than train O’Keefe to get to this point, they also had to convince Brady’s wife, Peyton, that he belonged in the cage.
O’Keefe said that they were better suited to convince her than he was.
“When she was told by them that they see potential in me, it kind of opened her eyes a little bit,” said O’Keefe. “When they were telling her they see potential in me, she was kind of like ‘maybe it’s something that could happen.’”
After three years away from the mat, O’Keefe started a wrestling club at the gym he fights out of now and before his trainers had to convince his wife, Brady was enthralled in watching them work.
Simply running his wrestling club while watching others train for MMA ignited an old flame.
“When they told me they think I have potential it sparked the fire under my butt that I had when I used to wrestle in high school,” O’Keefe said.
O’Keefe added that mixed martial arts is just a hobby at the moment, but should a professional opportunity arise, the freestyle fighter said he won’t turn it down.
After training three hours a day for six days a week, O’Keefe is ready to get into the cage for his second-ever fight.
King of the Cage is set to start at 6 p.m. in the Grand Exposition Hall.