2014 has been a year of change for former M-1 Global heavyweight champion Kenny “Duce” Garner.
After spending years fighting for M-1 Global in Russia, Garner has returned to the U.S. with a renewed spirit and managed to pick up a win in his most recent fight against Matt Kovacs this past September, though it didn’t go as initially planned.
“In the first round, my foot fell through the mat in the cage and it could feel the floor,” said Garner. “(Kovacs) got maybe 20 punches clean because I fell straight through, so I was on my knees and was trying to pull my leg out.
“In the second round, I hit him with a couple shots then took him down and finished him with my new move I call ‘Duces’ Grizzly.’ It can’t be stopped. I’ve done it to all the heavyweights at ATT and I did it on Sept. 6.”
The win over Kovacs broke a four-fight losing streak for Garner. He feels the turnaround has come thanks to reassessing the way he trains and making improvements to his routine.
“I took a step back and looked at my whole career and looked at all of my fights and saw where I was higher, where I was stagnated, what I needed to work on to get better,” Garner told MMAWeekly.com. “I spoke to my coaches and we watched the videos, so we started working on the things that I was short at.
“I started picking up my wrestling, my jiu-jitsu, and even though my boxing has always been strong, we sharpened that, and I’ve been working a lot of cardio.”
Garner (13-7) will look to pick up his second straight win at Titan FC 31 on Halloween night in Tampa, Fla., against Scott Barrett (15-4) in something of a grudge match between the two fighters’ camps.
“He’s from Blackzilians and I’ve heard they don’t like ATT,” said Garner of Barrett. “I never got into it, what team is better, but Blackzilians always talk trash and how they’re better than ATT, so I guess this is a way to see who is better.
“I’ve seen some of (Barrett’s) fights and it looks like he can take a lot of punches. He doesn’t move his head because it’s so big, so I’ve got a nice target. I know a lot of people he’s fought just throw all punches, but we’ll see what he does when he gets punched by me.”
Garner’s looking to use his fight against Barrett as another step up in the ladder of the heavyweight division.
“(Barrett’s) just another pawn to get me to where I need to be at,” said Garner. “I’m just going to move him right on out of the way.”