A two-day seminar with Extreme Couture coach Sean O’Halloran over the weekend couldn’t have come at a better time for Whitehorse’s Avalanche MMA.
Three fighters from the mixed martial arts club are preparing to enter the ring at WarPath VIII in Chilliwack, B.C. on Dec. 8.
It will be Avalanche’s first fights since Miller Rogers lost by split decision to Langley, B.C.‘s Christiaan Allaart at Warpath VI in June.
It’s also the first time that Avalanche is sending a group of fighters outside the territory since last February at WarPath IV. At that event Avalanche went 0-3 in their bouts.
“This time is going to be different,” said Cliff Schultz, Avalanche MMA’s coach, owner and cornerman. “These guys are pumped right up.”
“The last fights we were going to go to were in May and there were some injuries, so those fights were postponed,” he added. “From June, usually to August, there’s usually a break for the fighters.”
Avalanche also turned down other fight opportunities for a chance to compete at Quest for the Title VIII, which was scheduled to take place in Watson Lake in September. However, the event was cancelled due to legality concerns involving MMA in the Yukon.
“We were preparing for that, too, so we didn’t take any fights down south,” said Shultz.
“It’s been a bad-luck kind of thing. Every time we’re ready to go to fight, something always came up.
“It seems like everything is ready to go now. The fights are two and half weeks away and everybody is raring to go.”
Returning to the ring are TJ Woodman, Stefan Brynjolfsson and Ryley Johnson.
Woodman, 29, is fighting in the co-main event in the 135-pound weight class against Craig McLean (2-2-0) from Langley, B.C.
Woodman, who has a 3-2-0 amateur record, went for a title in Warpath III last December, losing in the fourth round.
Last February, Woodman lost by split decision to Jamie Siraj, of the Revolution Gym in Chilliwack.
Brynjolfsson is fighting in the 185-pound class against an opponent yet to be determined.
The 26-year-old has a win and a loss after two amateur fights. Brynjolfsson won by a rear naked choke in Round 1 against Luis Terrero in September 2011. Then in Warpath 3 in last December, he lost to Chilliwack’s Brandon Wolkosky by split decision.
Unlike his teammates, Johnson is not fighting in MMA. The 16-year-old will be in a Jiu Jitsu fight at the start of the WarPath in the 160-pound youth division.
“What we want to do is get Riley prepared for the ring again because of his bad experience his first time,” said Shultz. “So we want to get him in there doing something that will make him comfortable again.”
In his only MMA bout, Johnson lost to Gagan Gill from Mumba MMA in Abbotsford, B.C., last December. The loss came under shady circumstances.
At the start of the fight, Gill opened with a kick when Johnson went to touch mitts with him and basically stole the fight’s momentum.
Johnson won gold in freestyle grappling in the junior 15-17 age category at Tiger Balm International in March.
Avalanche MMA operates out of Peak Fitness in Riverdale, which the MMA club bought in May. Having unlimited access to a full gym means Avalanche now has bigger, stronger fighters, said Schultz.
“We all do cross-training and weights and stuff like that, when we’re not upstairs training (in MMA),” said Shultz. “Now that we have the whole gym it’s making our fighters stronger and faster.”
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