Climbing the ladder in any sport leads to bigger venues and performing in front of more fans. This is especially true in combat sports — and it’s something Salem native Matt Doherty is hoping to experience firsthand tomorrow night.
The 25-year-old Doherty is scheduled to battle in CES MMA’s card at the Twin River Casino in Rhode Island. He’ll be fighting Shaun Marmas at 135 pounds in what will be his third professional mixed martial arts bout.
Anyone that wants to make a living competing in combat sports fights wherever they can. Doherty’s been at it for years and has been a pro for a little more than 15 months. Getting with a promotion like CES (one of the top promoters in New England) and climbing in the ring at Twin River is certainly a sign that he’s on his way.
“I love it,” Doherty said last week. “Being such a popular casino, it draws more fans and makes it that much more intense. Everything is so professionally run and well put together.”
Doherty is 2-0 as a pro, having last fought in August in a match he won when his opponent dislocated a shoulder and couldn’t continue. He’s ranked No. 10 in New England and is matched up against an experienced opponent in Marmas (5-5 in his pro career).
“He’s swift and dangerous,” Doherty said of his upcoming opponent. “I need to be careful and utilize smarts and aggressiveness for sure. He’s a Rhode Island home crowd favorite, so I’m definitely hoping to have some local support down there, too.”
Known as an exciting fighter with plenty of heart, Doherty has been working on his stand-up skills. In MMA, fights can take place both on the ground, where aspects of wrestling and submission fighting dominate, and with both competitors standing, where the bout resembles a kickboxing match.