Get ready for fight night, Sarnia. The Score Fighting Series returns to RBC Centre tomorrow night (Friday) for what’s expected to be a high-octane, testosterone-driven melee of knock-down drag-out fights between some of the most talented up-and-coming MMA fighters in the world.
That’s right – in the world. With a media and communications giant like Rogers Communications behind the promotion and easily some of the best rising talent in the sport today – many of who are ultimately scouted and picked up by the bigger promotions such as UFC – The Score Fighting Series has become a juggernaut in the world of mixed martial arts entertainment.
Take those elements and put them into a state-of-the-art venue – such as RBC Centre – and there’s no question that we’re in for a world-class show this weekend when some of the biggest names in the promotion come together in a proverbial clash of the titans.
Often it’s the main event that people come out to see and it’s no wonder when you consider some of the top of the card matches slated for this weekend like the highly anticipated contest between top ranked featherweight Chris Horodecki (18-4-1) and ring veteran Brad Cardinal (16-8). Then there’s what’s expected to be no less than a collision of champions when John “The Haggis Basher” Fraser (10-4) goes up against Tyler Toner (13-4).
However, this weekend’s fight night is not only on track to give us some of the best, most anticipated main event matches – it promises some preliminary bouts that might just give those main events a run for their money. In particular, two of the slated undercard matches are expected to stand out and help assure people get more than their money’s worth.
At the top of the preliminary card this weekend will be a history-in-the-making matchup between Jason Meisel (3-1) and Eric Attard (4-3) as well as what could turn out to be nothing less than an epic battle between up-and-comers Joel Paquette (0-1) and Allan Wilson (2-0).
This week, LambtonShield.com had the opportunity to talk with Joel Paquette about his sophomore bout with Wilson as well as what went wrong in his debut match last December against Jason Meisel and his aspirations for the future.
Paquette, 27, whose chiseled stature and evident physical conditioning might make his most fierce opponents a bit nervous, spends his days working in the salt mine near his hometown of Goderich and his evenings working out and conditioning himself to win under any circumstances.
For the past four years, Paquette has trained with and under the tutelage of John “The Haggis Basher” Fraser – one of the most respected figures in Canadian MMA – and cites him as an inspiration inside and out of the ring.
“John’s a decent gentleman, great at what he does and I respect his qualities as a fighter inside the ring and those as a person out of the ring,” said Paquette. “That’s why I’m with him.”
Paquette’s training regimen since his first bout – a matchup in which he lost to Jason Meisel last December at RBC Centre – has been demanding, but he says he’s never been more mentally and physically ready to step back into the octagon and pull out the win. He spends his week nights training in Sarnia with John Fraser – traveling back and forth from Goderich each day – with a focus mainly on grappling while his weekends are spent at London’s Adrenaline gym facility doing stand-up training.
Paquette remarked when asked what went wrong in his debut match 11 months ago against Meisel that his nerves got the best of him the minute the bout started and it was a bit overwhelming. He also cited ring rust saying that he took time off from working out full-time when he attended school for two years – he’s a graduate of Lambton College’s Police Foundations Program – and at one point had an injury to contend with that also set him back physically.
He said that those issues are behind him and he’s now in a “completely different” mindset going into tomorrow’s fight. Paquette added that he feels a real difference within himself as a person and fighter and no longer has any sense of nervousness – he feels unstoppable.
“I know Wilson is good and won’t just roll over, but I feel like I’m better and capable of beating him wherever the fight goes,” remarked Paquette.
He continued, “You’re going to see an angry Joel in there, putting on the pressure and really showing some aggressiveness,” then added, “I feel like a raging bull and won’t be there to make friends.”
Paquette is also looking ahead, saying that he likes the idea of being a role model and wants to pass on his knowledge and experience to younger fighters as a coach and trainer. He pointed out that he’s already given his time and participated in small YMCA program aimed to teach kids about wrestling fundamentals and physical conditioning remarking that the experience was very rewarding.
Another popular element of these type of events are always the official ring ladies – not to sound politically incorrect or chauvinistic but that’s the term used – who will come out between matches and participate in other ways during the night. Last weekend, a few dozen local ladies came together at The Lazy Duck for a chance to be ring girls and winners were indeed selected – but there remains a shroud of mystery as their identities will remain under wraps until the show. If you want to know who they are you need to be at the show – or read about it the next day on LambtonShield.com.
The Score Fighting Series has become – to some extent – a farm league for larger promotions like UFC and it’s likely there’ll be scouts at the show trying to discover the next big name in the business. As a result, you can expect that all of the slated fighters will be bringing nothing less than their best.
“You’ll see a lot of guys looking for the finish,” said Paquette.
There’s no question that this weekend’s fight night has a handle on all of the elements and is shaping up to be one for history books.
- 150 lbs. – Chris Horodecki (18-4-1) vs. Brad Cardinal (16-8)
- 145 lbs. – John Fraser (10-4) vs. Tyler Toner (13-4)
- 145 lbs. – Lyndon Whitlock (7-2) vs. Rick Glenn (11-2)
- 155 lbs. – Jorge Britto (12-8) vs. Tony Hervey (14-12)
- 170 lbs. – Sergej Juskevic (11-7) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (15-5)
- 145 lbs. – Jesse Gross (6-3) vs. Seiji Sugiman-Marangos (5-1)
- 155 lbs. – Jason Meisel (3-1) vs. Eric Attard (4-3)
- 155 lbs. – Joel Paquette (0-1) vs. Allan Wilson (2-0)
- 170 lbs. – Brett Biederman (1-3) vs. Josh Taveirne (2-3)
- 125 lbs. – Malcolm Gordon (0-0) vs. Tyler Kirk (0-0)
- 145 lbs. – Jo Pehatagoose (1-0) vs. Kyle Nelson (1-0)
- 170 lbs. – Kyle Post (0-0) vs. Scott Hudson (0-1)
The main card of the event will be televised live in Canada on theScore Television Network and in the US on AXS TV beginning 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Tickets are on sale now starting at $29.95 and can be purchased through the RBC Centre box office and www,rbccentresarnia.com.