The modern martial artist now emerges into the world of combat sport with a decorated backdrop of experience through various walks of practice. Andy Tiet, ACE Fighting Championship’s undefeated bantamweight, is one of mixed martial arts’ most modern forms of combatants. His basis isn’t in one sport, but in learning the fluidity of putting them all together and that building block of skills began at Evolucao Thai in Toronto, Ontario.
“My head coach Maurico [Veio] comes from that Chute Boxe style,” said Tiet. “They were known for putting together that kind of [MMA] style. I felt like it fit perfectly and I felt like I came to the right place that puts their lineage of knowledge together very very well.”
Long before he stepped foot onto the dark red mats of Evolucao, Tiet was dabbling in boxing for the sake of throwing a punch. But once his competitive desire took hold, becoming an amateur fighter and sustaining an office job were two highly contrasting avenues. That’s when he decided the passion would outweigh the financial incentive of a stability based career and moved himself and his entire arsenal of effort to the facility he now calls home full-time.
“In the back of my head I knew one day [training at Evolucao] would eventually lead to competition and it always stayed in the back of my head in the early days of training here,” said Tiet. “I’ve only been training for a total of three years in MMA, but if you take into consideration the fact that within two of those three years there have been points where I’ve lived in the gym, I’ve been training in the morning and night and also teaching here, I feel like my progression has sped up a lot.”
Tiet will be taking on Ryan Dunphy at ACE 6 on Nov. 11, looking to defend his impressive undefeated streak on the amateur level and hoping to find himself within touching distance of a title shot. The two will bring to the octagon an interesting set of skills, especially in the stand-up realm. But in his corner and for his camp is Evolucao leader and successful GTA professional mixed martial artist, Albert Cheng.
“[Albert] is one of the top guys who people can look up to and his experience reminds us that he has been where we are,” said Tiet. “He’s seen a lot and done a lot and he continues to compete at a high level. And what he does is all new school stuff, so you can trust his techniques.”
Cheng is best known for his appearances in the UFC and more recently his success in Asian promotion ROAD Fighting Championship. His professional record currently boasts a six-fight win streak. Cheng has been a part of the academy since 2012 and will be one of Tiet’s most trusted pillars as he prepares for ACE 6.
“We are both in the gym every day,” said Cheng “I always enjoy working with individuals that share the same lifestyle and drive that I have, so we are fairly close”
Although Evolucao houses a variety of upcoming amateurs and seasoned veterans in all platforms, their doors are open to the public. If they weren’t, Tiet may have never been able to harbour his skills and act on his competitive bug in Muay Thai, BJJ and finally MMA. Evolucao Thai endorses itself as the first MMA School in Toronto with an instructional team rooted in the highly efficient transitional martial art of Chute Boxe lead by the highly accredited head coach Mauricio “Veio” Amado.
It is clear the evolution of MMA based fighters has already begun through the doors of Evolucao as the facility will be highly represented on November 11th with Ariel Arellano Zuniga, Cesar Bonilla and Filipe Fereira all on the card alongside Tiet. Most importantly, it’s the competitive nature of Evolucao that will keep them coming.
“The environment is really light when we aren’t training,” said Tiet. “But when we are training, it’s very serious…the environment is super intense and we all train twice a day with high level amateur and professionals. This has made me mentally strong and skilled.”
This article is a part of ACE Fighting Championship’s special “Spotlight Series” that will look to explore the GTA’s best amateurs and their respective MMA facilities as they ready for ACE 6 on Nov. 11. You can also experience the event live in person at Nashville North in Georgetown and you can get your tickets at acefights.com.