This time, Ring of Fire raises the bar |

This time, Ring of Fire raises the bar

Ian Cropp
ROF Jerry Campbell PU 3-25

VAIL – Somebody from tonight’s Ring of Fire 25: Overdrive will be booking tickets to Japan. The winner of the Bantam weight championship match will receive a contract to fight in the Pride Fighting Championships, Japan’s premier mixed martial arts organization.Last time the Ring of Fire came to Vail’s Dobson Arena, fans were treated to a 10-match evening of amateur fighters, most of whom were making their first appearance in a mixed martial arts fight. This time, Dobson will host a 12-fight card with some beefed-up competition.”These guys will be more technical,” said Carlos Carvalho of Inyodo Martial Arts, who is training two fighters for the event. “You’ll see more excitement from these guys. The amateur card was really nice, but this is a whole different thing. These are professional guys who have fought six or seven times.”

Not only do the fighters in this event have more experience but some have a bit more charisma. John Dodson, who will be fighting in the five-round main-event championship bout, has a style that pounds opponents into submission while pleasing the crowd.”Basically anything (the crowd) yells out, I’ll probably do,” said Dodson, a former high school wrestler who trains in Albuquerque, N.M. “I’m too unpredictable for anyone to control.”Dodson will be fighting Joe Doherty, who is moving down from a higher weight class to fight at 135 pounds.”Right now I don’t know much about (Doherty),” Dodson said. “I’m a smaller guy coming up from a lower weight class, and he’s coming down from a higher weight class. I’m not expecting it to be an easy fight.”

CrossoverBoth of the 155 bouts feature fighters who have found considerable success before making the transition to the mixed martial arts format.Scott Jorgenson, who will take on Louie Lagunsad, looks to transfer his skills from the wrestling mat into the ring. Jorgenson was a three-time Pac-10 wrestling champion at Boise State in the 133 class. Lagunsad is anything but a pushover, as he showed with an early knockout the last time he fought in Vail.In the other 155 bout, Mike Justus will step into the ring with Jesse Brock. Last month, Justus, who has a kickboxing background, fought in the National Khmer Boxing Championships in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia.”This is my first mixed martial arts fight,” said Justus. “I’ve been training for a while. My striking background is very good. I’ve been working on my ground game and my defense. The other guy, Jesse Brock, wrestled in college He’s going to be a good takedown artist and looking for some ground and pound.”

Justus, who spent time growing up in Steamboat Springs, will be easy to recognize with dreadlocks that reach his waist. PunchesFighters will be coming from New Mexico, Denver, New Jersey, Wyoming and Las Vegas.Eleven of the fights will be mixed martial arts rules, with 10 of them featuring three three-minute rounds. The female bout will have K-1 kickboxing rules, and also have three three-minute rounds. All fights will have three-minute breaks in between rounds, a minute more than usual to accommodate for the altitude.

The doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the first fight slated to start at 7:45. Prior to the competition, there will be a demonstration by kids from Inyodo Martial Arts in Edwards.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or, Colorado

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