Vancouver Island MMA fans were already being spoiled this March with King Of The Cage: Uprising II scheduled for Nanaimo on the 12th, just one week after Colwood hosts Armageddon Championships Fighting II. Now, they have received a significant upgrade to the KOTC: Uprising II's main event as Adam Gabel (1-1) has pulled out of the Canadian lightweight title fight against Charlie Zak (3-2) and has been replaced by Victoria resident Gavin Neil (6-1).
According to KOTC Promoter John Cooper, "It's official. Gabel is out and Neil is in." When asked why the change had been made, Cooper responded, "Gabel called me to say that he didn't feel like he was ready and he didn't feel like he would be able to make weight." Cooper went on to explain that this news had not come as a complete surprise, "The rumour I was hearing was that he was not training very hard."
Gavin Neil is a far more experienced fighter than Gabel. He who sports a 5-1 record in Alberta's Maximum Fighting Championship, with his only loss coming against fellow Canadian lightweight stand-out Ryan Machan (10-3). Neil's most recent fight was a unanimous decision victory over Curtis Demarce (7-7), which came last August at Armageddon Fighting Championshps I.
According to Cooper, " [Neil] was pretty excited. It sounded like he had been training because, with two shows in ten days, I think he was expecting to get a call and this is probably the exact phone call he was waiting for because it's a great opportunity to get a title shot at a week's notice."
This new fight puts the pressure on Zak to elevate his game to face a stronger opponent. With all due respect to Adam Gabel, he probably made the right choice in opting to continue sharpening his skills before making the jump into a title fight. Nanaimo-based MMA fans will surely thank him on fight day-- sentiments which Cooper seems to echo, "I think our title fight now is as good a fight as we could have ever had for the lightweight belt."
Tickets for King Of The Cage Uprising II can be purchased online at http://kingofthecage.eventbrite.com/.