Jamie “OJ” Driver (2-4) defeated Morgan Hickam (0-2) via TKO by punches with 20 seconds left in the first round, in a three-round featherweight bout on Friday night at Valor FC 66 in Knoxville, Tenn.
“I worked so hard for this and I’ve been visioning this my whole camp. I kept touching her with my jab and that’s when I noticed she didn’t want to come in,” Driver said, “so I kept the pressure forward and I knew once she was up against the cage I had her.”
New Jersey native started the sequence creating separation with knee strikes on Hickam’s thighs. Once the clinch was broken, Driver landed a straight-right punch – stunned the Knoxville featherweight backwards into the cage, and landed unanswered combinations.
“OJ” Driver established the tempo from the start, as she pressed Hickam – following ending her combinations with overhands. She’s known for going straight for the finish and not reserving her energy, but the featherweight displayed a boxing clinic.
“I was trying to find openings. We’ve been working on my movement so much,” Driver said. “Mo [Lawal] wanted me to work to find openings because if I stand still, I can’t do that.”
Bellator’s Lawal instructed Driver from the corner to utilize her jab more often.
Driver kept telling herself: “throw the damn jab!”
She hesitated on throwing the jab because she was still working on “gaging” the distance.
American Top Team’s coach Lawal focused on cleaning up the Driver’s technique nuances, such as her head movement and footwork. The slipping of punches and slickly head positioning, made her strikes timing unpredictable.
Driver looks for a quick turnaround after getting an early finish at Valor FC 66, money becomes a priority as she recently moved to Miami, FL, and has been crashing at her coach Lawal’s place on a “beanbag couch.”
“With each win, comes more sponsorships and opportunities in this sport and for me to grow as a person,” she said, “and get better opportunities to fight for different promotions.”