Although Kingston MMA fighter Josh “The Smiling Assassin” DePace lost his bid to win the Cage Wars heavyweight title, he’s not giving up hope that he’ll eventually bring the championship belt back to his hometown.
Reigning champion Alex Marro retained his mixed martial arts (MMA) title by stopping DePace in the second round of the championship fight Friday at the Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady. The main event headlined the Cage Wars 53 MMA card.
DePace was in trouble from the outset when the more experienced Marro took him down in the first round and inflicted a lot of punishment.
Marro also had DePace on the mat in the second round and was battering him with punches to the head when the referee stopped the bout.
“I thought I was more than ready, but the battle proved differently,” DePace told the Freeman in an interview after his defeat. “I’m going to rest up for a week or two and then go back to hard training.”
The Cage Wars heavyweight belt will be available again soon since Marro has indicated that he intends to leave the amateur ranks and start fighting as a professional.
“There’s talk of a fight in November for the contender spot now that Al is going pro,” DePace said. “So, the title will still be up for grabs.”
DePace said he’ll consider a fight for the contender spot if it becomes available. In the meantime, he will review the tape of the fight and
continue his training at several gyms, including his local base at 99/1 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the Town of Ulster.
DePace said he’s not sure there were too many things he could have done differently in his fight against Marro.
“I tried to advance and use both my technique and strength and that was only enough to survive the rounds,” he said. “I hit him a few good times standing and even attempted a guillotine choke, but it had no effect.”
After the fight, Marro offered some words of encouragement to DePace, saying that he had been in a similar position before he started to string some wins together to eventually capture the Cage Wars MMA title.
“I was in the exact same boat,” Marro told DePace in a social media exchange shared by the Kingston fighter. “I trained hard for a few fights until I realized hard work is the formula to success. You hit like a truck and you’re strong. Just like me at one point, you just need to apply it in the right spots. I don’t see you losing any time soon. You’re a beast.”
DePace said losing to Marro, whom he respects immensely, will only make him more determined to hone his craft for future bouts.
“This loss really showed me the difference in what it takes to reach the top,” DePace said. “I’m going to train even harder and get better than I was. I don’t take any loss badly. I take it as an opportunity to improve and show the world next time what I’m all about.”