The bright lights and the black and white octagon of the Havoc Fighting Championship made its return to the Prairie Pavilion at Red Deer’s Westerner Park with Havoc FC 11 last weekend, much to the delight of fighting fans around Central Alberta.
It was the first time in just under a year that Havoc FC has been able to hold a fight card in the City and Promoter Jesse Fox said it was a successful night of mixed martial arts and kickboxing action.
“They all went pretty good. We always like to throw a couple of really new amateur fights in there and then a handful of experienced fights. You never really know how they’re going to turn out. They could either turn out really well or they could be a quick, fast show,” said Fox of the Friday night card, which featured a number of local fighters as well as some out of province talent.
“I think the night overall went really well. The fights themselves went a little bit long and we had a lot of decisions and stuff like that but all in all the matchmaking went very well and the fights were entertaining and that’s always the key to having a successful show.”
The evening kicked off with a 135 lb. amateur bout between Peter Janssen and Red Deer’s own Isiah Bean. The bout was an excellent way to get the evening started, as the pair sparred for the full three rounds. In the end though, Bean would come out on top by unanimous decision.
Following the opening bout a number of other amateur fighters took the stage to showcase their skills with more than one Red Deerian winning over their opponents.
The second fight of the night, a 145 lb. amateur battle, saw Red Deer’s Solomon Courtoreille go over Dawson Armstrong by submission via Triangle Choke just 1:45 into the second round.
Immediately afterward Fort Saskatchewan’s Dean Thiessen posted a dominating 52 second victory over Rocky Mountain House’s Patrick Leblanc using the Guillotine Choke.
Finally for the amateur fights, Red Deer’s Jett Grande forced Sadulla Atadzhanov to tap to the Kimura securing Red Deer’s third win of the night.
“I’ve been doing MMA since I was 18 and seeing the fights on our cards, we’re seeing that a lot of guys are coming in with a decent amount of background experience. Everybody has a coach now and a gym that they train at and we really try to pick teams and pick gyms that will train the fighters. They actually try to be a true fighter,” said Fox of the amateur fighters.
“That’s one thing that I noticed, everyone that came in was prepared and whether they won or lost they had some skills backing them a little bit and it worked out really well.”
After a brief intermission it was on to the pro fights and kickboxing matches, which saw out of town fighters take over the spotlight.
Brent Keryluke, the lone Red Deerian fighter on the pro MMA card, dropped his match with Justin Schmit by TKO.
Meanwhile in the kickboxing, Rocky Mountain House’s Luke Spicer took a unanimous decision over Toronto’s Markhaile Wedderburn while Matt Krayco of Calgary took a split decision over Red Deer’s Advin Omic after a hard-fought match.
The main event though was the icing on the cake. With the Havoc FC Heavyweight Championship belt on the line, Edmonton’s Grayson Wells came up huge in his match with Winnipeg’s Steve Roy. Although the pair appeared to be even from the opening bell Wells quickly took over and eventually pummeled his opponent to win by TKO in the second round.
Overall, Fox said the team at Havoc were happy with the turnout for the event, which saw about 1,100 people crowd into the Prairie Pavilion to take in the action.
“Our table sales were down a little bit from last year but it’s to be expected with the slow down in Red Deer. But our general admissions were up and we were happy with the attendance,” he said, adding now that the Red Deer Fight Commission is back at full strength, fighting fans can expect to see more MMA in the coming years.
“We’ll probably get back to doing two shows a year. We’re thinking our next one’s going to be end of May, early June and then we’ll do Christmas again. We’ll keep it to two shows a year.”