Brainerd mixed martial arts star Brock Larson was under contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship and unable to compete in the inaugural Gladiator Evolution Cagefighting Xtreme in 2009 at Villella's Bada-Bing.
|Gladiator Evolution Cagefighting Extreme|
When: 7 p.m. Aug. 14
Where:Villella's Bada-Bing, 18071 Highway 371 North, Brainerd
Tickets: At Bada-Bing, Brock Larson.com, CFX Production.com, Thrifty Living Store in Pine River, also available at the door.
Cost: General admission $25, Floor seats $35.
"He knocked out a UFC vet so he's pretty good," Larson said of his 175-pound opponent. "He's a tough, standup guy. He's a little bit bigger than me, physically, but I think, skill-wise, I match up pretty well with him.
"I got released from my UFC contract so basically I'm a free agent. Now I can fight whoever and whenever I want. That's kind of nice. And, I get to fight at home again for a while."
In his last fight, Larson (30-4) beat Nick Almen in 30 seconds in the Man to Man at Seven Clans Casino May 15 at Thief River Falls.
About a dozen fights are on the card at Bada-Bing's backyard coliseum, located on the west side of Highway 371 North near Brainerd International Raceway, which will host its showcase event that weekend, the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.
"It was a little hectic because we had rain," he said, "but all in all the event went off really good, the fights were really good. The (state boxing) commission still talks about how good the fights were.
"Everyone is excited about going back there, it's a good thing. Most people, it was positive for them. Not all the Brainerd fighters won, some Brainerd fighters got beat up, but that's why we fight I guess."
Initially, Larson was reluctant to stage an MMA event the same weekend as BIR's major race considering the horde of people in the area. Despite the weather the event went well.
"There were 1,000-plus people there last year," he said. "We're hoping to get a good crowd this time and entertain them, the same as we did last year."
Weigh-ins and a prefight party are Aug. 13. A pig roast, free to all fans, will begin at 3 p.m. Aug. 14.
"We'll get full bellies and go throw some fists," Larson said.
His bout will be one of two main events. The other will feature 145-pounder Billy Jochum and Jason Eiserman.
"We've got about 10 people from Pine River to the Brainerd area that will be fighting as amateurs," Larson said. "It should be an interesting night. Whenever you have amateurs you never know what you're going to get, but they're usually pretty entertaining fights.
"We'll have four or five high-level pro fights, some pro debuts, and have about seven amateur fights."
Larson remains busy with his training regimen and teaching others. In February he opened the House of Pain Kickboxing and Jujitsu facility in Annandale. On Sunday, his Warrior's Alliance Martial Arts Academy officially opens at the Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd.
He also has two fights lined up in the fall. One will be Sept. 11 in Amarillo, Texas, as part of the Shark Fights, a pay per-view event. In October, he's scheduled to be in the King of the Cage event at Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Welch. The latter will be televised on HDNET.
"I've got three fights in two months," he said. "I will have to strap it up, bite down on my mouthguard, and go to work.
"The plan is ... win the next three, and the talk is I will be back (in the UFC), but nothing's in writing. That's the goal, to get back there."
Gladiator Evolution Cagefighting Xtreme
175: Brock Larson vs. Eddie Larria
145: Jason Eiserman vs. Billy Jochum
170: Joe Jasicki vs. Kyle Fletcher
155: Shannon Scott vs.. Bruce Johnson
170: Josh Schrader vs. Kurt Etchison
Hwt: Dean Lamb vs. Kevin Garlitch
145: Kyle Wood vs. Adam Doucette
Hwt: Andrew Null vs. Jeremy Umland
135: Brad Vickers vs. Rocco Maggorie
170: Levi Pray vs. Will Kassulker
135: Julius Stone vs. Kyle Matus
155: Danny Soukup vs. Jared Torrence
170: Chad Cooper vs. Jared Averbeck
205: Andy Anderson vs. Jake Immeal
185: Jeremy Johnson vs. TBA