Neufeld, Bell Matchup Filled With History at Rumble in the Cage 58

Although Lucas Neufeld and Nick Bell have yet to meet in the cage, Neufeld expects Bell to be quite familiar with his style when they square off Friday night.

Neufeld (2-0) will welcome Bell (2-1) to his hometown cage in Lethbridge, Alta. at Rumble in the Cage 58 for a professional featherweight bout that has more history behind it than most people know.

Both of Neufeld’s opponents as a professional have been against Bell’s training partners, Daryl St. Rose and George Matechuck, at Alliance Training Centre in Saskatoon, Sask., both of which he submitted. Although he’s expecting Bell to confer with St. Rose and Matechuck, Neufeld, 24, said he has no plans of changing his strategy or style Friday night.

Lucas Neufeld lands a hard left on George Matechuck at Fight Night 6. (Joel Griffith)

“I’m going to stick to my strengths. I’m going to stick to the stuff that works,” said Neufeld in an interview.

“If it’s my best versus his best, I’m putting my money on me.”

Neufeld was originally slated to face Fred Stonehouse in this contest, but he was forced to pull out due to injury.

Two weeks from fight day, Neufeld learned Rumble in the Cage had found him a willing opponent in Bell, and he said he felt this was the best matchup to make, for himself and the fans.

“It’s not just about finding any opponent; it’s about finding the right matchup, someone that I’ll hopefully learn something from, and the fans will respect,” said Neufeld.

“At the end of the day, there are people paying money to come watch.”

Unlike Neufeld, who last fought in February of this year, Bell’s last action in the cage was nearly seven years ago.

Neufeld said he expects Bell to need some time to get accustomed to all the minor fight week steps again, such as weight cut, mental preparation, and nutrition.

“I definitely have a wicked advantage,” said Neufeld.

“I think he’ll have to deal with a little ring rust too, but at the end of the day, he jumped forward for this fight. I’m hoping he’s as game as he shows he is.”

Bell Prepared, Despite Long Layoff

Although it’s been several years since his last fight, Bell, 27, said he’s still been training hard, working out, and helping training partners prepare for their upcoming fights.

When it comes to cage rust, Bell views it as a mental barrier, and one that won’t get in his way Friday night.

“I’m a very sure-of-myself fighter,” said Bell in an interview.

“When I’m in the cage, nothing really phases me. Even in real life; not much phases me.”

Although he’s confident in his skill set and mental game after a long layoff, Bell said he expects his cardio to be the big question mark.

Bell said it’s going to be key for him to go in there looking to finish the fight, and to finish it early.

“Taking a fight on two weeks notice, he (Neufeld) knows and I know that I have about a 10-minute gateway, before I fatigue or gas out, where I need to finish it.” said Bell.

“If I channel all my strengths and my skills, I believe my footwork, my distance measuring, and my boxing is going to win me this fight in the first round.”

Bell also enters this contest with a little extra motivation from two of his teammates previously falling to Neufeld, including being in Matechuck’s corner for his defeat.

With he and Matechuck also being close friends since they were 10 years old, Bell said this bout is personal, and he’s looking to avenge his good friend’s loss on Friday.

“He’s (Neufeld) a good fighter, but I’m just using this as motivation,” said Bell.

“I have a little bit of animosity built up towards him.”