In what would be the only knockout of the evening at Turf Wars 23, Zach Baker of Alliance MMA landed a devastating head kick that would set-up the eventual finish for the undefeated fighter. Fighting for the vacant bantamweight title, Baker came into the match-up against Scott Wegman with an unblemished record. He walked out the promotion’s newest champion.
Not even old enough to purchase alcohol, the 19-year old is less than two years into his fighting career. The now bantamweight champion began his career in March of 2013 when he earned his first knockout, stopping Richard Volz in the opening round. Baker started training with Alliance MMA, a gym located in the eastern suburbs of Cincinnati, when he was fourteen years of age.
Coming out to the cage first, Baker waited as Wegman made his way to the cage. Ordinarily, this might not be much of an issue had it not been for the overwhelming support Wegman had. It undoubtedly was the largest ovation of the night. However, it appeared to have little to no effect on him as it only took, an impressive, 0:28 seconds to earn the stoppage. If you missed the fight, our good friends over at MMA Therapy captured the entire fight- watch it below:
“As I type this with a heavy heart, first off I am fine, just got flashed,” Wegman explained to everyone. The always humble Wegman was gracious in defeat, even adding, “congrats to my opponent Zach on his win.”
For Baker, this fight meant everything for him. Spending the last five years training, essentially preparing for this fight, all culminated when it was his hand that was raised at the end of the night. “This is only the beginning of a long career for me,” Baker informed us.
We asked Baker to give us his thoughts on the fight and to walk us through it he had this to say, “I was expecting a long war.” Having the fight end as quickly as it did was not expected but also not out of the realm of possibility. “I’m always confident in my ability to finish fights considering the monsters I train with so a quick finish wasn’t out of the question,” explained Baker. “I couldn’t be happier with the way it went though.”
Coming into this fight, Baker was facing his toughest test to date. The focal point wasn’t on winning the title; to him the belt is only an item. “If you let titles and things like that add pressure then your not gonna be focused,” Baker insisted. “All I’m worried about is getting that one more win added to my record and staying undefeated.” He did just that on Saturday night.
As far as the future is concerned for the bantamweight champion, Baker told us “Only God knows. But you can Guarantee it involves me being in the cage taking people out.” Uncertain of his future, he is looking to get back into the cage within the next few months.
Photo features trainer Brian Moell (left), Zach Baker (center), and professional fighter/teammate Eric Moell (right)