Thursday, November 26, 2009
Vernon's KOTC:Catalyst Card Is Loaded With B.C. Talent
MMA remains unsanctioned in Vancouver and Victoria, but that hasn't stopped a growing number of B.C. fighters from competing. This Saturday's King Of The Cage: Catalyst (Nov. 28th), scheduled for Vernon's Wesbild Centre, provides these determined professional and amateur athletes with an opportunity to shine. In fact, in most cases, both fighters in any given fight at Catalyst hail from, or at least train in, British Columbia.
For several of the scheduled fighters at Catalyst, their last chance to compete came at the eXtreme Fighting Challenge 8 event that held less than two months ago on October 10th. That event also took place in Vernon, which means MMA fans in the Okanagan can enjoy a sense of continuity by attending both cards. For example, Ethan Owusa, who scored an amateur victory at EFC 8, will be appearing as a professional at Catalyst against Nanaimo's Ryan Billingal. In addition Rakan Khatib (1-0), who impressed in his debut at EFC 8 with an arm bar submission, faces Joe Verbeetan (1-0), while Brian Coldwell (2-0), who scored a TKO that night, appears at KOTC: Catalyst against Del Melnyk.
As was the case at EFC 8, B.C's Revolution Fight Team will lead the charge. They have four fighters set to appear on Catalyst's main card, including a prominently featured bout matching their own Matt Baker (2-1) against Clay Davidson (3-1), who trains with Kelowna's Team Toshido MMA. In the main event, Revolution's Ryan Chiappe (4-5) squares off in rematch against Jason Volpe (5-2) for the Canadian middleweight title. Chiappe was controlling their first bout in July before losing by DQ due to an unintended eye-poke.
The head matchmaker for Catalyst is Team Revolution founder Bill Mahood (17-7-1), who is also the King Of The Cage Canada Light Heavyweight Champion. According to an article on KingOfTheCage.ca, Mahood thinks pretty highly of Chiappe's chances, "This is a sport where you can't evolve over night...for Jason to put into effect a skill package to deal with what Chiappe brings to that particular fight, it ain't going to happen in a couple of months."
A major event like Catalyst from a highly-respected promotion like King Of The Cage will only spur the growth of MMA in B.C. and could even nudge the sport closer to province-wide sanctioning.