Local MMA fighters prepare for bouts

Fighters from both Whitehorse mixed martial arts gyms will be entering the ring over the next two months. Three from Avalanche MMA are on the fight card for Warpath 4 in Chilliwack, B.C.

Fighters from both Whitehorse mixed martial arts gyms will be entering the ring over the next two months.

Three from Avalanche MMA are on the fight card for Warpath 4 in Chilliwack, B.C. on Feb. 17 and the newer Chaos Combat Club will send athletes to Tiger Balm International in March.

Heading to Warpath 4 are Avalanche’s TJ Woodman, Miller Rogers and Simon Pre’gent.

Woodman, who tried for a title at Warpath 3 in the 145-pound class, will be facing Jamie Siraj in the 135-pound category.

Siraji, who fights out of the Revolution Gym in Chilliwack, has a 2-2 amateur record while Woodman sits at 3-1.

The undefeated Rogers (3-0), will be taking on Langley, B.C.‘s Brandon Shorter (2-2) in the 155-pound class. At Warpath 3 in December, Rogers was the only Avalanche fighter out of five to win his bout, defeating Russ McCumber from Courtney B.C.‘s CV Boxing with a rear naked choke two minutes, 18 seconds into the fight.

Pre’gent will be entering the ring against Mike Purewell from Mumba MMA in Abbotsford, B.C., in the 170-pound weight category. It will be both fighters first amateur fights.

“He’s been doing Muay Thai for five or six years, is a stand-up fighter and is learning the ground game now,” said Cliff Schultz, owner/operator of Avalanche MMA. “He’s been learning the ground game for a few months now and he’s coming around.”

Schultz, who will be going to Chilliwack as a coach and cornerman for his fighters, may also try to get on the fight card. Currently he is out with an injury.

Sheldon Casselman, who owns and operates the Chaos Combat Club, which opened in September in the Marwell area, hopes to take six or seven fighters to compete at Tiger Balm in North Vancouver on March 17 and 18.The trip will likely be the first time the gym sends fighters out to compete.

“There might be a fight in March and we might be able to line up a fight the weekend before,” said Casselman. “I’m just waiting to hear someone can make the weight on time.

“I’m also going to try to line up something in Alberta as well as in Anchorage,” he added. “We’re probably going to get in some of the fights down in the States too.”

Casselman, who has a 7-1 amateur record and a 1-0 professional, won the advanced freestyle grappling division at Tiger Balm in 2008.

Both gyms are also planning some seminars over the coming months.

Avalanche will put on a seminar with Revolution Gym’s Sean O’Halloran, an Extreme Couture coach, and Jason Williamson, a UFC trained ref with a professional fighting background. It’s on Jan. 27 and 28 in Riverdale and will run Friday evening and Saturday, from morning to afternoon.

“It’s special to all us fighters because it’s going to be working on, not our mistakes, but what we were rusty on (in Warpath 3),” said Schultz.

Though it will benefit the experienced fighters, the seminar is a good place to get started with MMA for newcomers, he said.

“It’s really good because the way Sean and (Jason) teach it, you don’t have to know anything to be here,” said Schultz. “You’d be able to pick it up easy so it works for people with experience and without.”

Avalanche will also put on an Axe Capoeira seminar on Feb. 18 and 19. Instructors from Vancouver will be coming up to teach the Brazilian dance type martial art.

The Combat club will also hold some seminars in the summer, though no dates have been set, including one with retired Canadian UFC fighter Kalib Starnes.

“He’ll probably be coming up once or twice a year, and he has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu under the Gracie Jiu-jitsu system,” said Casselman. “He was one of the guys helping me train in Vancouver.”

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