Mixed martial arts: Three titles up for grabs at Caledonian

Robert Dean
Robert Dean
North versus South rivalry will come to the fore as three mixed martial arts titles go on the line at a Hammerhead Productions fight night at the Caledonian Gymnasium.

Saturday's card will have fighters from Auckland, Timaru and Dunedin seeking two International Sport Karate Association belts and one from Auckland's Supremacy Fighting Championship.

Promoter Matt Toa said the opportunity was the result of "hard work" between Hammerhead, Iska, ten8 media Productions, Strikeforce gym and SFC.

The aim was for the country's fighters to consistently fight each other, Toa said.

He said the winner of Saturday's Iska title fights would fight for Supremacy titles in Auckland next year.

"There are many different promotions around the country and if fighters can get titles in two major organisations they would be close to calling themselves the best in the country," Toa said.

In the main event, Team Hammerhead's Robert Dean fights Auckland's BJ Bland for the Iska New Zealand professional middleweight title.

Dean (22) goes into the fight with a record of seven wins and two losses. Bland has five wins and five losses, added to his 20 wins from 25 kickboxing fights.

"If he wants to trade blows, that's fine by me, or we can go to the ground," Dean said.

He said he was bound to have a few nerves, but was certain he would channel them into a good performance.

In a co-main event, Dunedin's Brogan Anderson fights Aucklands's Arthur Lasike (27) for the Iska New Zealand amateur middleweight title.

Anderson, a 23-year-old personal trainer, said he was excited about what would be a step up in opponent and was eager to put on a good showing.

"He's going to try to bring his heavy hands and knock me out," Anderson said.

On the ground is where Anderson might have an advantage.

He has won his last four by arm-bar submission, earning him the cage name "Arm-Collector".

Both men have a record of five wins and two losses.

The Supremacy featherweight title is between Timaru's Scott Macgregor (27) and Auckland's Ev Ting (23).

Toa said both fighters were top professionals in their weight division and were extremely well conditioned.

Ting, who has had some tough fights in Hong Kong, has seven wins and two losses, while former New Zealand wrestling representative Macgregor has four wins and two losses.

There are eight mixed martial arts fights and three kickboxing fights.

A kickboxing fight in the female featherweight division is between Kat Mogadassi, from Dunedin, and Invercargill's Dana Templeton.

Mogadassi (20) said she had wanted to fight since taking up the sport socially three years ago, but it was not until she began serious training six to seven months ago that she knew she wanted the challenge of stern competition.

"I will definitely have nerves, but I am confident I can do my best," Mogadassi said.

The tone for the night should be set in the first fight when Team Hammerhead's Rick Welsford meets Hooligan MMA's Ricky Curline.

The fight night will be Hammerhead Productions' 10th show since 2008, and the first to have Sky Television coverage.

Toa said it was a great opportunity to take the shows "mainstream" and one he could not refuse. The show will air next month.

Title fights are three five minute rounds. The first fight is at 6pm and doors open at 5pm.