Kingston MMA fighter Josh “The Smiling Assassin” DePace says he’s “more than ready” to challenge reigning Cage Wars heavyweight champion Alex “The Postmaster” Marro on Friday, Sept. 9 at Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady.
DePace recently learned that he will be fighting in the main event on the Cage Wars 53 card against Marro with the championship belt on the line. DePace pressed for the fight with Marro after scoring a
three-round unanimous decision over Chris Taylor on Mike Tyson’s Fight Night promotion undercard on July 23 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.
Marro (7-5) retained his title with an impressive first-round TKO against Max Lombardo in the main event bout of the mixed martial arts (MMA) show’s all-amateur lineup.
DePace, who improved to 3-4 with his win over Taylor, acknowledged he will be an underdog in the contest. But DePace is brimming with confidence and hopes to bring the title belt back to Kingston.
“I think I’m more than ready for this,” DePace said ahead of a recent 99/1 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training session in the city of Ulster. “I trained every day, more than I trained for the last fight. If you see the opportunity for glory and gold, you must be ready for it.
DePace said he was surprised by his opponent’s overwhelming support on social media. Maybe it’s because DePace lost a unanimous decision to Lombardo earlier this year. But the Kingston fighter says he has improved since then.
“I haven’t seen a single person say I could win,” he said. “Most people don’t even think I’ll go all the way (three rounds). But that just gives me extra motivation.
One person who thinks DePace has a good chance is Nolan Dutcher, the owner and martial arts instructor of the Ulster City Gymnasium where DePace trains regularly.
“I’m super proud of Josh and he was great there,” Dutcher said. “His last fight was great and I’m looking forward to his next title fight. I think he’s got it in the bag. I think another knockout is coming.
DePace has a lot of respect for Marro, who has indicated he could turn pro after the September fight. He met Marrow at a recent MMA event at the Newburgh Armory and they chatted and even posed for pictures together.
“I think the challenge is if he’s a good boxer, I have to be a great boxer,” DePace said. “If he’s a good wrestler, I have to be a great wrestler. I just have to surpass him in one or two categories. He’s a really strong guy. I’ve fought with him in the past (training) .
DePace said he was limited in what he could do in the last fight due to some rookie amateur rules that were in effect if either fighter had fewer than three sanctioned fights in New York.
“It will be regular amateur rules,” DePace said. “I could punch him in the face. If I could have done that in the last fight, it would have been over in the first round.
DePace said he was ranked higher than Marro’s last opponent. “He (Marro) said he was just as excited about the fight as I was,” DePace said. “I think it will be a good fight for sure.”
What would a win do for DePace?
“The goal is always to improve,” he said. “But eventually, I would like to turn professional.”
Tickets are currently on sale for the card, which begins at 7 p.m. on September 9. MMA fights are also available live on the Stimulus.com streaming platform.