by Mick Hammond
Over the last couple of years, the Oregon MMA scene has exploded. Initially spearheaded by Team Quest, other gyms have begun to rise to prominence recently including Oregon Jiu-Jitsu and Straight Blast Gym. Among the talented young fighters to come out of Straight Blast is Keisuke Andrew, an electrifying lightweight currently tearing up the Northwest amateur circuit.
Over the past year, Andrew has gone undefeated and most recently captured the FCFF Lightweight Championship, which is considered one of the most prestigious and recognized amateur MMA championships in the US. Upon his title victory at the recent FCFF July 16th show, Andrew spoke to MMA Weekly to discuss the victory and his future plans.
“It felt great,” commented Andrew about his championship win over Mel Locke. “I’d been waiting two months for the fight and wanted the belt really bad.”
Andrew, a submission specialist, has become one of the most popular fighters on the circuit since his debut. This is evident by the enormous response he got from the crowd upon his entrance to the cage.
As Andrew says, the pressure of headlining a show for a title added to the pressure, but it didn’t effect his performance.
“To be honest I was a little bit nervous going into the fight,” revealed Keisuke. “I knew that he (Locke) had a background in kickboxing and had belts in Judo and BJJ. I was hurt in training so I wasn’t able to prepare like I wanted but overall things went pretty good”
Andrew continued, “You know I love the pressure. The crowd was so energetic and great that it got me pumped up for the fight and I was able to use that to get the belt.”
Some reports of the fight had Andrew in trouble of possibly being submitted by Locke, but according to Keisuke, there wasn’t any real threat the whole fight.
“First I got him with a flying knee and after that I hit him with a roundhouse to the midsection. He came at me so I took him down, hit him a few times then passed his guard. He came up in kind of a single leg to take me down but I got a keylock on him and rolled him over and switched to an armbar and finished him,” explained Keisuke.
Now that he has a championship, Andrew is contemplating his next move, but like a true champion, he’s leaning towards continuing to defend his title before moving into the pro circuit. “I should defend this title once or twice before going pro. It’s great that we have two really good organizations up here (the FCFF and Sportfight) that support amateur fighters that it’s great to be able to fight for.”
According to Keisuke, his amateur career has helped him develop his game and it’s been the correct path for him to prepare for his future in MMA. “My amateur career has been very important to helping me find where my game is really at. It’s helped me make sure I’ll be ready to make a big impact right away when I turn pro either late this year or early next year.”
No matter where Andrew ends up in his fighting career, he’s quick to give credit to the team that’s helped him get to where he is now. “The training at Straight Blast is tremendous. I’ve got awesome wrestlers, BJJ and MMA guys to work with. I’m lucky because I’ve got all the resources that I need right now out of my gym.”
Keisuke concluded by saying, “I want to thank everybody at Straight Blast for the opportunity to train and fight for them. Without them I can’t do this. I also want to thank the fans, their support has been tremendous.”