From the undercard to the headliner, fighters are climbing the ladder thanks to the Armageddon Fighting Championship.
Since 2009, all seven of the mixed martial arts organization’s events have boasted a card rich with Island fighters, often with bigger names brought in to serve as headliners.
Now it’s Victoria’s time to shine.
AFC No. 8: Vengeance, is scheduled for April 14 at Bear Mountain Arena, and the last four fights feature Victoria-based AFC veterans Ryan Janes, Nick Driedger, Karel Bergen and Diego Wilson.
Though Wilson’s fight against Duncan’s Corey Gower is the last of the night, it isn’t necessarily the marquee match.
“Pick any one of those fights, all of them look exciting, and have earned a local following,” said AFC co-organizer Jason Heit. “Since (AFC) started we’ve been all about developing local talent, now we’re seeing it.”
Wilson, Driedger and Janes are all out of Vic West’s Zugec Ultimate Martial Arts, and are all known for their slick grappling and ground game.
All three are on a fast ascent, though Janes’ opponent, Marcus Hicks, carries an interesting element. Hicks has 31 fights to his name, and though just 11 are wins, it’s 27 more fights than Janes has.
“I’d say this is one of those fights Janes has to win,” Heit said. “There’s more pressure on him. Hicks is what I call a gatekeeper. There’s a few guys like him, and you’ve got to win that (fight) to get to the next level.”
Bergen, meanwhile, is looking to follow Island MMA training partner Derek Medler in becoming another top-10 ranked fighter in Canada through the AFC. Bergen’s fight with Adam Smith is the second time they’ve been pencilled in. The two were lined up for AFC 7 back in November, when Bergen defeated step-in fighter Dave Logan instead.
Of course, the beauty of going to the fights means you never know who’ll put in the match of the night.
“In the undercards, Bronson Petterson brings a style that’s exciting,” Heit said.
From Campbell River, Petterson will fight Chris Anderson in a fight that Heit did little to accommodate.
“That fight seemed to already be set,” Heit said. “I believe there is a place in this sport for a guy who is just tough, and that’s Bronson. He’s a guy we’ve scouted in the local scene and wanted.”
Without a polished defence, Petterson has the potential every time he fights to become a fan favourite because he makes it an absolute war, Heit added.
Zuma youngster Alexi Argyriou is also on the undercard. It’s Argyriou’s second attempt at his MMA debut after an injury pulled him out of AFC 7. Tickets for AFC 8 are available at Sports Traders, the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre and online at Armageddonfc.com.
AFC 8 April 14th, 2012 Bear mountain Arena.
Diego Wilson (5-1) vs Corey Gower (3-1) 135
Karel Bergen (5-0) vs Adam Smith (3-0) 170
Nick Driedger (5-1) vs Bruno Capdeville (3-3) 145
Ryan Janes (3-1) vs Marcus Hicks (11-20) 185
Ash Mashreghi (0-0) vs Dejan Kajic (1-1) 170
Nathan Swayze (2-2) vs Derek Mrak (0-0) 200
Alexi Argyriou vs Guy Gauthier 155
Chris Anderson vs Bronson Petterson 185
Dustin Joynson vs Dylan Moore 265
Dillon Brown vs Brandon Shorter 155
Josh Williams vs Dee Obaro 145
Ty Daggis vs Jonathon DuBois 170