It’ll be U.S.A. versus Canada in the main event of Unified MMA 33.
Alberta’s own Teddy Ash (10-3) will battle American Kobe Ortiz (16-6) for the vacant Unified MMA light heavyweight belt on Friday night at the River Cree Resort & Casino in Enoch, Alta.
Ash, 28, will enter Friday’s bout at the top of his game, riding a four-fight win streak, and said he doesn’t see Ortiz being at his level.
“I’m on the rise. I’m too big, fast, strong, powerful, smart, and skilled,” said Ash in an interview.
“As long as I bring my game and I’m sharp, he’s not going to be able to hang with me anywhere.”
Ash’s most recent victory came at Prestige FC 9, where he claimed the vacant Prestige FC light heavyweight strap against another skilled American in Cameron Olson.
Friday night, Ash will have the opportunity to become champion in two different organizations, both in cities he’s called home.
Ash spent most of his life living in Fort McMurray, before recently making the move to Edmonton to pursue MMA full-time.
“It’s time to become the champ of my new hometown,” said Ash.
“I’m ready to be the double-champ; the northern Alberta champ.”
Related: Alberta Light Heavyweight Rankings
Ash was originally scheduled to face long-time UFC veteran Matt Hamill, but Hamill was forced to withdraw due to injury.
Although Ash said he was looking forward to sharing the cage with a legend like Hamill, he’s still motivated for what lies ahead.
“It is what it is. It would’ve been cool to have Matt Hamill on your record and share the cage with a guy like that, but hats off to Matt and his MMA career,” said Ash.
“At the end of the day, as long as I’ve got an opponent and I’m winning and getting better, that’s all that matters.”
Ortiz Moves Up a Weight Class
Ortiz, 36, seized the opportunity to battle Ash for the title after seeing a post on social media.
Normally a middleweight fighter, Ortiz will compete at light heavyweight for the first time Friday night, which he said may work to his advantage.
“I’ve never had a fight where I didn’t have to cut weight,” said Ortiz in an interview.
“I’m feeling stronger than I normally do at this time, so maybe it’ll work to my benefit.”
Ortiz’s last fight was just over one month ago, a knockout victory over Randy McCarty at Southwest Brawl 7.
After having such a short break in between fights, Ortiz said it’s allowed him to stay in the routine, and not have to worry about the little things in the cage he normally may have to coming off a longer layoff.
“It lets you know where you’re at physically, what kind of condition you’re in, and allows you to get some of that ring rust out,” said Ortiz.
“If you fight twice within a month, you’re ready to go and just keep that ball rolling.”
Between Ash and Ortiz, they have a combined 15 knockout/TKO victories over their professional careers.
But despite their knockout tendencies, Ortiz said he’s fully expecting to have to go the distance in order to come away with the belt.
“It’s going to come down to what kind of condition he’s in, and if he can carry that stamina five rounds,” said Ortiz.
“It’s going to be a five-round war.”