Massouh Anxious To Get Back On Winning Track
With back-to-back losses for the first time in his career, Jameel Massouh has found himself in an unfamiliar situation; on Saturday, he looks to secure his first victory in the WEC and put himself back into contender status.
Jameel “The Real Deal” Massouh debuted in February of 2005 with a TKO victory over Robert Mrotek at Madtown Throwdown 2. He then went on to win his next ten fights, giving him a record of 11-0.
Since then, Massouh has asserted himself as one of the state’s elite fighters, and owns a career record of 21-6, including victories over Vladimir Zenin, Ryan Healy, and Dustin Neace.
However, two straight decision losses to Raphael Assuncao and Leonard Garcia has forced Massouh into a must win situation on Saturday when meets Erik Koch at WEC 45: Cerrone vs. Ratcliff.
“This upcoming fight is huge for my career,” said Massouh. “I don’t feel like you lose three in the WEC and they call you back anytime soon.”
While “The Real Deal” may have lost both of his previous fights within the UFC’s sister organization, both matchups were completely different.
His first opportunity in the organization came against Assuncao at WEC 40. Massouh admitted that he was extremely nervous at the time, and did not perform up to his expectations. He lost the fight by unanimous decision.
Five months later at WEC 42, the Milwaukee native was given a chance to compete against Leonard Garcia. Garcia was fresh off of a title fight, and highly respected in the public eye. Massouh was up for the challenge.
The back and forth battle was extremely entertaining. Halfway through the first round Garcia landed an overhand right that dropped Massouh. However, Jameel quickly recovered and seemed in contention throughout the fight.
The battle went the entire 15 minutes and was put in the hands of the judges. Two of the three judges ruled in favor of Garcia, giving him the split decision victory over Massouh. Many people, including Jameel, saw the fight differently.
“The only good thing he did against me in the whole fight was the right hand,” said Massouh. “I felt that I did more damage, and even though I could have done more in the third round, I still feel that I won that fight.”
Never one to make excuses, Massouh shouldered the blame for the loss.
“At the end of the day I should have been able to do more,” said Massouh. “So it is my fault that I let it get to that point. I only needed one more takedown to get the victory, and the fact that I couldn’t shows my downfall.”
Getting Back on Track
On Saturday night at “The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort” in Las Vegas, he has an opportunity to get back on track with a victory over Erik “New Breed” Koch.
The WEC 45 preliminary bout will mark Koch’s promotional debut. He was scheduled to face Wagnney Fabiano in September, but was forced to pull out of the matchup due to injury.
Koch currently holds an unblemished record with five of his seven victories coming by way of submission. But in an interview conducted with Koch before his injury, he told USCS that he is much more than a submission fighter.
“To be honest, I actually look at myself more as a freestyle fighter,” said Koch. “I like to spar and standup more than I like to go the ground. It just seems like my opponents are constantly bringing me down to the mat, but I’m not too shabby there either.”
Massouh agrees that Koch is a well-rounded fighter, and actually sees similarities between Koch’s game and his own.
“He kind of reminds me a lot of myself coming up,” said Massouh. “He’s a well-rounded fighter that has started his career out fast. He’s a good athletic fighter, but he is still relatively untested.”
In preparation for the fight, “The Real Deal” has continued to train at Dave Strasser’s Freestyle Academy, but has also worked on his boxing in Milwaukee, and even traveled to the Midwest Training Center in order to work with Clay Guida and Chase Beebe.
With a wide-ranging training regimen and a more pronounced dedication towards conditioning, Massouh feels that his fight with Koch will be a fast paced battle that will result in him coming out the victor. He would like to end the fight before the judges can impact the outcome.
“I’ve been working on closing it out,” said Massouh. “My last two fights have gone to decision, and I want to finish the fight with either a knockout or submission.”
Saturday’s bout with Koch is extremely important to the career of Massouh. A third loss will most likely end his reign in the WEC, but a victory puts him back in the thick of the division.
“I really want to get a win and get out of this gatekeeper position that I have put myself in,” said Massouh. “A victory puts me right back into contention, and I’m going to do everything in my power to leave the cage with my hand raised.”