The city of Lethbridge lived up to its reputation as one of the most MMA-crazed cities in Alberta, creating an electric atmosphere for Fight Night 6 Saturday night.
The Z-Promotions event went down at the Enmax Centre and featured seven total bouts; five professional and two amateur.
In the main event, Lethbridge’s own Lee Mein made yet another walk to the cage at the ripe age of 50, to take on Winnipeg’s Steve Roy in a professional heavyweight clash.
Mein would secure a takedown early in the first round, which eventually led to him locking in a kimura and forcing Roy to tap out at 3:04 of the first round.
“I stuck to my game plan. I knew we could stand and bang, but that’s risky with heavyweights,” said Mein in an interview.
“I took the chance to work some jiu-jitsu. I’ve been working my clinch game and tie-ups against the fence, and I felt I had a strong position for the takedown. I managed to lift him up, turn him down, and pass his guard.”
Mein said he didn’t suffer any serious damage in this bout with Roy, so he’s hoping to fully heal some lingering injuries and be back in the cage as soon as possible.
“I’m just glad I was able to get the win. Now I can hopefully heal up a couple injuries, get back on the program, and be amped up and in better shape for the next fight.”
With the victory, Mein improved to 9-13, while Roy saw his record drop to 2-3.
Krayco vs Phillips Too Close to Call
The co-main event was an absolute war between Calgary’s Matt Krayco and Vyron Phillips in the professional welterweight division.
Towards the end of the first round, Phillips caught Krayco with a hard right, knocking him down. Krayco would recover to make it out of the round, but was visibly shook up heading back to his corner.
He rebounded nicely in the second and third rounds, trading heavy shots with Phillips the rest of the way, much to the delight of the crowd. In the end, the judges would rule the bout a majority draw.
Krayco said he thought he did enough to earn the decision, but admitted getting caught in the first round led to the draw. Although it’s not a loss, he said he’s still disappointed in himself.
“I’m upset with myself. I know I had more in me,” said Krayco in an interview.
“I’m hard on myself, but I think it’s a good thing. It keeps me motivated, and it keeps me wanting to work. You live and you learn.”
On the other end of the draw, Phillips said he was happy to be involved in such a great fight, but also feels he should’ve edged out the decision.
“He’s one guy that actually came out to strike. I’ve always wanted a guy to come out and strike with me,” said Phillips in an interview.
“It was one of my highlight fights for sure. I wish I would’ve got the win, but it was still a great fight.”
Both fighters will get a 1 added to the end of their records, with Krayco now sitting at 7-7-1 and Phillips 7-4-1. The idea of a rematch was also something both fighters were open to setting up down the road.
Neufeld Puts on Wild Performance
Perhaps the loudest cheers of the night came in a professional featherweight bout between Lethbridge’s Lucas Neufeld and Saskatoon’s George Matechuck.
Neufeld had nearly every fan in the Enmax Centre on their feet during his walk to the cage, and would go on to thank them with a well-rounded, dominant performance.
Right from the start, Neufeld was all over Matechuck, and was close to having the referee stop the contest on multiple occasions in the first round.
Matechuck’s toughness carried him through the first round, but in the end, the pressure of Neufeld was too much. He would eventually take Matechuck to the mat early in the second round, and sink in a rear-naked choke, forcing the tap out at 2:20.
Neufeld said being able to fight in front of so many people cheering for him is a huge boost, and said he’s extremely grateful for the support.
“It truly gives me energy. All the energy they output, I receive it,” said Neufeld in an interview.
“I accept all the positive energy and just become a beast out there.”
Despite the love he has for fighting in his hometown, Neufeld said he’s looking to test his skills in other parts of Canada. He said in order to continue moving his career forward, he needs to venture into unknown waters.
“I need to get out of my comfort zone, and go beat someone in a different city. I need to go find their Wild Thing and own him.”
Neufeld improved his record to 2-0 with the win, while Matechuck fell to 1-2.
In earlier action, Dave Pogson saw his record jump to 2-6 after a unanimous decision win over Cody Purtell, who dropped to 1-5.
Gerra Gossen earned his first professional win at 1:43 of the first round with a TKO of Ryan Moore. Gossen moved to 1-3 while Moore dropped to 0-5.
Joel Burgess improved his amateur record to 1-1 after forcing Will Grieve to verbally tap out at 1:37 of the second round. Grieve fell to 1-2.
In the first bout of the evening, David Garcia emerged victorious in his amateur debut, earning a unanimous decision win over Quinton Tait, who dropped to 1-1.