The packed house for Prestige FC 9 at the Syncrude Sports and Wellness Centre in Fort McMurray did not leave disappointed Friday night.
There were a total three amateur kickboxing matches and seven MMA bouts, including a light heavyweight title fight between Fort McMurray’s own Teddy Ash (10-3) and Wisconsin’s Cameron Olson (9-4).
Ash came out firing right from the get-go, maintaining constant pressure on Olson with devastating leg kicks and control before landing a stiff right hand up against the cage, leading to referee stepping in at 2:43 of the first round.
“I trained my a@$ off for this,” said Ash in his post-fight interview.
“I’m better now than I’ve ever been and I’m going to keep on climbing.”
Ash’s last title fight came in Edmonton at Unified 29 in 2016 where he suffered a heartbreaking unanimous decision loss to Brendan Kornberger.
Although he spends most of his time in Edmonton now, Ash said he still considers Fort McMurray to be home, which makes winning his first title there all the more meaningful.
“All the stars aligned. It was meant to be,” said Ash.
Abella, Kajic Get Technical
In the co-main event, it was Menad Abella (5-0) edging out Dejan Kajic (8-7-2, 1 NC) by split decision in a tightly-contested, technical welterweight matchup.
Abella hurt his knee in the first round due to a leg kick, which forced him to alter his original game plan. His usual push for the finish was halted, and instead he fought a strategic, and technical fight, with no intention on finishing.
“I just had to be smart. I just wanted to secure the win, and that’s it,” said Abella in an interview.
“I could’ve done better. Much better.”
With Kajic continually pushing forward and Abella picking and landing his shots, it was tough to know who was ahead leading into the final round.
But Abella maintained his adopted strategy following the knee injury in fighting a smart fight, and not looking for the finish. He continued to focus on staying away from Kajic’s counter punches and avoiding the take down.
“I knew I got the win. I knew it was a split,” said Abella.
“I landed way more and I rocked him way more.”
Theocharis Stuns Macdonald
It was striker versus striker when Cam Macdonald and (1-1) and Tom Theocharis (1-1) stepped in the cage for their professional lightweight bout, and it was Theocharis who landed the last blow at 1:19 of the first round for the TKO, tap out due to strikes, victory.
Theocharis said he stayed patient out of the gate until he saw the opening he was waiting for. He landed a shot that rocked Macdonald, then followed that up with a flying knee, which was the beginning of the end for Macdonald.
“I knew he was injured from the way I hit him, from his reaction, and with how clean the knee landed,” said Theocharis in an interview.
“Once I smelled blood, I just pounced on him right away.”
He said one of the big reasons he was able to secure the victory was due to the expertise of his coach Chris Horodecki.
After losing his professional debut, Theocharis felt a lot pressure to win this fight, but Horodecki stuck with him the whole way and kept him focussed on the end goal.
“We’ve been together for about eight years now, and he’s stuck with me the whole time, through the ups and downs,” said Theocharis.
“I listened to every word he said, I trust in him, and I owe it all to him.”
In earlier amateur MMA action, Thomas Deneve (2-0) made quick work of Daniel Kobsar (0-1), securing the TKO win just 0:25 into the first round.
Mark Mosure (2-0) gave his hometown crowd something to cheer about when he finished Brandon Bouchard (1-1) by TKO at 1:01 of the second round.
Geoff Loken (1-0) and Tyrone Tuccaro (1-0) both earned decision victories in their amateur debuts to kick off their MMA careers the perfect way.
In amateur kickboxing action, Sam Bieri, Robert Kovacevic, and Megan Rennie all walked away with victories.