Edmonton’s Christian Larsen (5-1) will look to defend his Unified MMA heavyweight title for the first time when Grayson Wells (5-3) makes the trip from Abbotsford, B.C. to challenge for the belt in the main event of Unified MMA 40 on Saturday night in Edmonton, Alta.
Although he is the undisputed heavyweight champion, Larsen, 32, said successfully defending his belt will truly solidify his champion status.
“They say you’re not really the champ until you defend your title,” said Larsen in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I think it’ll just reaffirm this wasn’t a fluke and I deserve to be where I am, and I’m going to keep on proving that.”
For Wells, 41, this will be his first crack at Unified MMA gold. He was the Havoc FC heavyweight champion back in 2016 before losing the title to Dustin Joynson at Havoc FC 12 a year later.
When he lost his Havoc FC title, Wells said there was a lot going wrong in his life at the time, and said to be able to win another title on Saturday night would be a strong feeling of redemption.
“I went through a period where I lost a lot of sh*t in my life. Right around that fight with Dustin a lot of things went south for me, and I’ve been slowly coming back. I feel I’m almost at that point again when I had that title,” said Wells in an interview with MMA Empire.
“To me, it would feel like redemption. It would show myself and others that even if you lose all your sh*t and you hit rock bottom, there is a way out and there is a way back to the championship level.”
Larsen Hopes to Clean Out Division
With his current 5-1 record as a heavyweight and three-fight win streak, Larsen has slowly began ascending up the heavyweight rankings and into the eyes of bigger promotions around the world.
And although the end goal is to compete at the highest level, Larsen said he wants to clean up around Canada before making the jump.
“I’m starting to climb up into the rankings internationally now, and this is where people are starting to take note,” said Larsen.
“But with that being said, I have to do some house cleaning in Canada before I go anywhere. There’s a lot of people locally who still think they have a shot at taking my title, so we’ll deal with them and move on to the next opportunity as it comes up.”
Larsen is one of several fighters competing Saturday night fighting out of the ever-growing elite team at Shaved Bears MMA.
He said the level of training partners and coaches he works with on a daily basis compared to Wells is going to provide him a significant edge come fight night.
“Nobody’s able to train with the calibre of guys I’m lucky enough to train with. We’re one of the best gyms in the country and I’m lucky to be in a room with them,” said Larsen.
“Jeff Montemurro and Keijiro Noda are two of the best coaches I could ask for and the training programs they draw up for us is just a huge edge.”
Wells in Prime Shape
So far in their careers, neither Wells nor Larsen have had a fight go to the judges scorecards. And with Saturday’s meeting being a championship bout, the possibility of five rounds exists.
Wells said he believes if he can weather the early storms and push through to the later rounds, he will have the advantage over Larsen.
“My conditioning is better than it’s ever been before, and I do believe I have a little bit of reach on him,” said Wells.
“If I can just keep away and do my magic, fingers crossed.”
This will be Wells’ fourth main event fight in just nine professional fights, a spot he’s become accustomed to knowing how to shine in.
And while he said he’d love to leave Edmonton as the champion on Saturday, Wells said he just wants to have a good performance and give the fans what they want, regardless of the result.
“At the end of the day, I want us to both put on an entertaining fight for the fans. Those are the people paying money, and that’s why we do this. I want to give the fans their money’s worth,” said Wells.
“Whoever wins, wins. As long as I have a good fight, I’m okay with whatever happens.”
“I’d like to thank my sponsors (Excel Athletics, Three Monkeys Tattoo & Lifestyle Apparel), and Jeff Montemurro, Keijiro Noda and all my training partners for getting me ready for the fight.” FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM