Weigh-ins lead to anticipation for IFC fightersIt wasn’t visible, but it was definitely in the air. An intense, anxious aura that permeated all in attendance for Friday night’s Impact Fighting Championship Fully Loaded weigh-ins at the Quality Inn and Suites of Jamestown.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
It wasn’t visible, but it was definitely in the air.
An intense, anxious aura that permeated all in attendance for Friday night’s Impact Fighting Championship Fully Loaded weigh-ins at the Quality Inn and Suites of Jamestown.
Fighters exchanged glances and handshakes, many of which included brief smiles of curiosity in anticipation of what might unfold when the fighters climb into the cage for this evening’s mixed martial arts (MMA) fights inside the Jamestown Civic Center.
The fighters also offered their opponents concise words of encouragement while posing for pictures, as many sized each other up for the first time.
One of those fighters was Jamestown’s Corey Ashland. Originally from Portland, Oreg., the 20-year-old Ashland obtained a second degree black belt in Taekwondo when he was 16, but he will be making his MMA cage-fighting debut this evening.
Ashland will be taking on M.J. Gayton of Fort Yates at 145 pounds. Gayton has a career MMA record of 1-3 in four bouts.
“He has more experience, but I feel pretty comfortable,” Ashland said of Gayton. “He’s older, for one, and I’m in the prime of my youth and I work out every day.”
Each and every fighter that was there — 21 in all — were confident they’d find a way to be victorious tonight. After months of training one couldn’t expect anything less, and Ashland was no different.
“I’ve been jumping around excited for the last four days,” Ashland said. “I work a lot, 12-13 hour days, everyday doing grain bins and lifting pipe. As I’m doing that all day I’m working out too, so I’ve been prepping for this for awhile.”
Ashland isn’t complete strangers with Gayton. He’s seen the fighter on film, and he said he’s got a pretty good idea of what to expect against him tonight.
“He’s a counter fighter, which is kind of the opposite of what I am,” Ashland said. “I kind of tend to get in there and handle the job before somebody else does it for me.”
Ashland is a member of the newly formed ND Warrior Fight Club based out of Jamestown. Ashland, along with club members Jesse Diaz, Paul Patrick, Daniel Perez and Junior Zinck, have been training with each other for the past couple of months in preparation for tonight’s fights.
Patrick and Perez, both of Jamestown, will also be fighting this evening during Impact Fighting Championship Fully Loaded. Patrick will be facing Bismarck’s Steve Schumacher at 165 pounds, while Perez — who will also be making his MMA cage-fighting debut — will face Michael Baker of Fort Yates at 155.
A total of 11 fights were originally planned for tonight, but Valley City’s Travis McCullough at 185 was a no-show at Friday night’s weigh-ins. McCullough (20-29) was originally scheduled to fight Robbie Gotreau (7-1) of Minneapolis.
Impact Fighting Championship promoter and founder Chad Kurle, however, was searching for a replacement for McCullough as of late Friday night. Kurle said he’s hoping to find a replacement to get all 11 fights in.
Patrick, originally from California, has three MMA fights under his belt for a career record of 1-2. He’s hoping for a quick bout with Schumacher.
“I hope to end it in the first round,” Patrick said. “I expect to win, I guess. Find a way to beat him up somehow.
“I heard he was a standup fighter. He looks pretty stacked.”
Patrick hasn’t been in the cage for two years, but his experience should help him when the bell rings tonight. All the matches, except for the main event, are 3 five-minute round fights.
“I’ll maybe just feel it out a little bit and catch an opening,” Patrick said. “We’ll see. I’ll have to get past some butterflies first.”
Tonight’s main event pits Derek Abram (24-25-1) of Minneapolis, against Linton’s Leo “The Lion” Kuntz (11-1) for the Impact Fighting Championship welterweight (170 pound) title. Bismarck’s Ryan Burwick (4-2) and Bryan King (4-0) of Minneapolis, will also be fighting in the semi-final round of the Impact Fighting Championship lightweight (155 pound) tournament.
The doors at the Jamestown Civic Center will open this evening at 6:30 p.m., with fights starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can still be purchased at the Jamestown Civic Center box office, or at Trax Bar of Jamestown.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org