LARAMIE VS MORGAN: IT’S TIME FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER!

CHAPTER 1: THE FIRST FIGHT

April 7th, 2017 at TKO38 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada is when chapter 1 was written.  On that night, a youngster from Windsor, Ontario was set to take on a man many felt was the next big Quebec-born star in MMA. TJ Laramie entered that cage that night having scored consecutive knockouts of Damien Peltier and Maxime Dubois.  We had seen great things from the man known as “The Truth”, however many felt that this opponent was by far the best he’d ever faced.

That man is Alex Morgan.  The prized pupil of Pascal Chambodie was making his TKO debut.  Although Morgan had earned quite a bit of experience up to that point, this was his first step on the international stage which always requires an adjustment for any fighter. The staredown at the weigh-ins was intense and so was the atmosphere the next night when both men entered the octagon.  Fans knew they were seeing two great fighters who were destined for greatness square off in what promised to be an epic battle.

And 2 minutes 39 seconds later, it was over. After some good exchanges standing up where both men landed, Morgan managed to knock Laramie down with a solid punch and the referee stepped in rather quickly to stop the fight… and so the controversy began. There is no question Laramie was rattled by the punch but it was obvious he had recovered when the stoppage occurred.  On the other hand, perhaps Morgan would have continued his assault if the referee had not intervened and may have been able to finish the job.  We’ll never know, but we all figured we would find out some day as it was obvious these two would square off again in the future given the controversy but also the reaction of TKO president Stephane Patry who was furious after the fight, describing the stoppage as one of the worst he’s seen in TKO history. 

CHAPTER 2: THE CHASE

In the minutes, days, weeks and months following the fight, Laramie was adamant in asking for a rematch to prove the loss was unwarranted.  Whether it was in interviews, on social media or in messages to TKO management, the only man on Laramie’s mind was Alex Morgan. The fight did not materialize however and Laramie looked to be on his way to bigger things as, despite the loss, he remained active and kept accumulating points in the TKO standings in the hopes of earning a championship fight at TKO41 last December.  Given where he stood, he opted not to compete at TKO40 in September as he had been very active in the year prior and wanted to heal up and be 100% for his big title fight.

Then the news broke that Alex Morgan would fight Joao Luiz Nogueira at TKO40 and should he be successful, he would score enough points to overtake Laramie in the standings.  An incensed Laramie took to social media and in a few expletive filled posts, made public his disdain for Morgan.  He would celebrate a few weeks later when Morgan lost the fight in question on a split decision. As TKO fans know, Laramie would go on to win the championship at TKO41 and successfully defend the title at TKO42 against the very same Nogueira.  Morgan on the other hand was inactive due to injury.  When he returned last May the shoe was on the other foot as now he was the one chasing Laramie and not the other way around.

Despite the fact that Laramie had declared in the past that if he became champion he would never give Morgan a title shot, when Morgan won his comeback fight and the word was out that TKO would try to put together Laramie-Morgan II, the champ agreed in a heartbeat.

CHAPTER 3: LARAMIE VS MORGAN II

August 2nd, 2018 at TKO Fight Night 1 in Montreal is when chapter 3 will be written.  It’s very hard to say at this point how this one will turn out. In his last three fights, we have seen a much improved Laramie: more mature, more patient and a lot less reckless.  Ironically this upgraded version of Laramie came to life after the Morgan fight, as if that controversial loss forced him to make the required adjustments to his game.  His performance against Nogueira was nothing short of majestic, so much so that even though he was an Ontarian fighting in Quebec, he received a standing ovation from the crowd as he finished off the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.

Morgan on the other hand remains a very technical and intelligent fighter.  A chessmaster in the cage, he is also very patient and knows how to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses.  If Laramie leaves him even the slightest opening, you can be sure Morgan will exploit.

One has to expect a tough, grueling fight where both men will likely show why they are such elite fighters.  Although, we expect a war that will go into the championship rounds, we will all be on the edge of our seat from the time this battle for featherweight supremacy begins to when the final horn blows, no matter if that takes just a few minutes or the full 5 rounds.

We are just over three weeks ago from this epic battle, so TKO fans who’s your pic?  Laramie or Morgan?

Tickets are still available by calling the TKO ticket office at 514-700-1909!

– Story by Patrick Lono, TKO

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Alex MorganTJ Laramie