With the Prestige FC light heavyweight title on the line, Fort McMurray’s Teddy Ash will have the chance to put on the belt in front of his hometown fans.
Ash (9-3) will battle American Cameron Olson (9-3) at Prestige FC 9 Friday night with the winner leaving with the light heavyweight strap.
Although Ash spends most of his time in Edmonton nowadays, he said he still considers Fort McMurray to be home, and is excited to show his hometown fans just how hard he’s been working.
“It means so much. There’s so much added to it with it being a small town and growing up there,” said Ash in an interview.
“It’s a lot to live up to. It’s definitely an added pressure stepping into that venue when every single person in there wants me to win, and is expecting me to win. But I like it. It’s a little extra drive, and I handle well under pressure.”
Ash enters this championship bout coming in hot, winning his last three fights, and five of his last six. His most recent contest was a quick knockout win over Victor Valimaki at Unified MMA 32.
Earning his fourth straight victory will be no easy task, however, as Olson presents one of the toughest tests of his career, having won six of his last seven fights for a solid run of his own.
“It’s a tough fight, and I’m excited for that. I’ve been working my tail off, and I don’t want anything easy,” said Ash
“I’m considering it my toughest fight yet. I always go in with that mindset.”
Ash’s MMA career took a big step forward leading into this bout as he’s now training full-time at Little Sweat Shop, Snake Pit MMA and Frank Lee’s, pursuing the sport as a career.
He was originally slated to fight Jared McComb for the light heavyweight title at Unified 33, in which he took extended time off work to train for that fight, prior to the event being canceled due to the combative sports moratorium in Edmonton.
Despite the fight not happening, Ash continued to train hard all day, every day, and will continue to do so going forward.
“I’m pursuing the dream. This is a full-time job now,” said Ash.
“This is my livelihood now, so no matter who it is in front of me, I’m not taking anyone lightly.”
Olson, a Roufusport Product
Olson will make the journey to Fort McMurray from Milwaukee, Wis., where he trains under one of the best coaches in the country, Duke Roufus, at Roufusport MMA Academy.
He said he’s had the luxury of working with multiple training partners coming from the likes of the UFC and Bellator that are continuously coming through Roufusport for a couple months at a time.
“It’s been great to have these guys to roll around with, spar with, and bounce ideas off,” said Olson in an interview.
Olson said he wasn’t able to find much film on Ash throughout this training camp, so he’s had even more of a focus on himself than usual, including the added preparation for a five-round fight.
“As usual, with any fight, I’ve just been more focussed on myself and where I can improve, and making sure I’m in good shape for a five-round fight for a belt.”
On paper, Olson and Ash appear to have opposite strengths, with six of Olson’s nine wins coming by submission, and six of Ash’s nine wins coming by knockout or TKO.
Despite his track record of submissions, Olson said he’s equally confident in his striking, and sees the fight ending by either method come Friday night.
“Ideally, I see myself getting the finish in the first couple rounds, likely by ground and pound TKO, or submission,” said Olson.