Fighters hope to make impact
Taranaki mixed martial arts fighters will feature in all but one of the match-ups in the sport's debut at the New Plymouth YMCA tomorrow night.
Cage Warrior 9 will feature nine Taranaki men fighting in MMA bouts while two more – Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) exponents – will contest a grappling match.
They will be represented across three Taranaki-based clubs – co-event promoters Southern Tribes Taranaki Academy, along with Brasa New Zealand Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Sakura Kan Jiu Jitsu.
"I've had a couple of fighters pull out in the last two days but they were guys from out of town," promoter Pina Simpson said.
"But then one of my boys put his hand up to fill in a spot and someone else did as well."
The featured main event is an 88.5kg catchweight fight between New Plymouth's Nick Daly, the Industry of Combat NZ light heavyweight champion, and Napier's Daniel Digby, the Supremacy MMA middleweight champion.
On the undercard are three more professional bouts with the prospect of another late addition, one A-Class fight, three B-Class fights and the grappling matchup.
A-Class rules do not allow elbow strikes, while B-Class does not allow striking of the head when opponents are on the ground.
With several groups contributing fighters, including a contingent from Auckland MMA, the judges will interchange through the evening.
But as Simpson said, the competitors would want to leave victory and defeat out of the judges' hands.
"That's what I tell my boys; `try to finish it off, then there's no question'."
Terry Hill, formerly of New Plymouth, is scheduled to be the referee for all the fights.
The weigh-in for the fighters is 7pm at the YMCA tonight.
Doors open at 5pm tomorrow, and the first bout starts about 6pm.
Main EventNick Daly (Southern Tribes) v Dan Digby (Orphans MMA) Professional Class MMARobert Gray (Pack Horse Gym) v Matt Wilson (Cage Warrior Fight Academy); Dustin Terrill (Southern Tribes) v Ev Ting (Auckland MMA); BJ Bland (Orphans MMA) v Dave Nicholls (Auckland MMA). A-Class MMAGareth Hill (Sakura Kan) v Maddison Prattley (Cage Warrior Fight Academy). B-Class MMAGareth Wellington (Southern Tribes) v Maia Emery (Auckland MMA); Alex Nicholas (Southern Tribes) v Troy Sorenson (Brasa); Logan Skelton (Southern Tribes) v Maifea Maifea (Brasa). Grappling Match (BJJ Purple Belts)Rhys Izett (Southern Tribes/Gracie Barra) v Kodi Limmer (Brasa).