It’s the classic striker versus grappler narrative.
Youngster Nick Leblanc (2-1) will look to test his superior striking skills against veteran grappler Mike Parsons (4-1) when they meet in the cage at Rumble in the Cage 57 in Lethbridge for their amateur catchweight bout at 165 pounds.
Leblanc, 20, said he’s never faced an opponent with the style and particular skills Parsons has when it comes to grappling, so he’s been putting in plenty of work at Champions Creed MMA to prepare for the new look.
“It’s a newer style of opponent for me. I’ve never really had anyone try to take me down and hold me down,” said Leblanc in an interview.
“From what I’ve been working on, I’ve got some good shots in my arsenal for this type of opponent, so I’m pretty excited.”
It’s been over a year and a half since Parsons last competed in the cage, largely due to bad luck with fights being canceled.
But despite the time away from the cage, Leblanc still expects to see the best version of Parsons, with not an ounce of cage rust.
“I’m going to go in there and expect the best of him,” said Leblanc.
“I’m coming in ready for the best Mike Parsons yet.”
Although he has all the respect in the world for Parsons, Leblanc feels his striking will be too much for him to handle in the end.
He said eventually Parsons will slip up, and he’ll be there to capitalize.
“I have many dangerous shots in my arsenal, and whichever one presents itself first, is the one I’ll take,” said Leblanc.
“It’s just going to be a matter of time before he exposes himself and I land something square on his chin, and I put him away.”
Parsons Trusts Grappling
Parsons, 38, is well aware of the danger Leblanc’s striking presents, but also doesn’t expect him to be a pushover on the ground.
He said Leblanc is going to be one of his toughest opponents to date, which is saying a lot given who he’s squared off with in his career.
“His striking is phenomenal,” said Parsons in an interview.
“And if I do decide to taken him to the ground, I have to deal with Brian Bird jiu-jitsu, which is not an ideal situation either.”
In order to best utilize his skills, Parsons said he will look to take it to the ground.
Parsons said he’s hoping Leblanc gets a little too worked up and starts pushing forward too much, which will open the door for him to go to work.
“I’m hoping he’s a little too aggressive,” said Parsons.
“If he gets a little too anxious or a little too excited, I think that’ll set up my takedowns.”
Being the owner of Team Extreme MMA in Brooks, Alta, Parsons has had no shortage of time to prepare for what he expects will be an unpredictable war.
He said he truly feels this fight could go either way, and expects it to be a type of fight he’s yet to compete in before.
“I think this might be the first time I come out of a fight bloodied, and beat up, and I’m pretty excited about that,” said Parsons.
“Either way, I see myself getting him to the ground at some point and landing some ground and pound. If he gives me a submission, I’ll take it. If not, I’ll look to pound him out.”