Ontario MMA enthusiasts knew that as soon as mixed martial arts was legalized in this province last August, that they would not only get the chance to see the spectacle that is the UFC, but they’d also get a chance to witness their friends, family and training partners fight in front of them at local events.
These smaller shows also act as springboards for the veterans of the sport, looking to put on a good performance in hopes of making it back to “the big leagues.”
Thursday night the John Labatt Centre in London (known mostly for housing it’s raucous junior hockey fans as the home of the London Knights) will be the site for MMA Live 1.
The main event and co-main event for this card feature those veterans that are looking for that unforgettable performance and a string of wins in hopes of landing with a bigger and better promotion.
The co-main event features Marcus Aurelio, a native of Fortaleza, Brazil and 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has been in the fight game since 2002 and has fought in King of the Cage, Pride and the UFC. He’ll be facing Kingston native Cory MacDonald (a local and relative unknown in comparison).
In the main event, Ryan “The Real Deal” Ford (Edmonton, Alberta) was mostly known in the MMA world as the face of MFC (Maximum Fighting Championship) since the beginning of his career back in June 2007. Thursday’s fight in London will be just the third time Ford has fought outside of Edmonton (with one of those fights being in Calgary) and he’s up against probably his biggest test in 17 career fights. His opponent, the always outspoken Karo “The Heat” Parisyan.
The former UFC welterweight is definitely the biggest name on MMA Live 1 and for good reason. He has fought the who’s who in MMA. Not very many fighters can say that they’ve battled against Georges St.Pierre, Nick Diaz, Sean Sherk, Chris Lytle, Matt Serra, Nick Thompson, Shonie Carter, Diego Sanchez, and the list goes on and on…and that was just in a seven year span in the UFC!
I got a chance to speak to the very candid MMA and UFC veteran about his upcoming bout with Ford, how mixed martial arts has changed since he started fighting and being the most well-known face for Judo in the sport.