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Friday, February 26, 2016

SASK MMA ROUND-UP

By: Cord Crowthers

Prestige FC has assembled the cream of the crop when it comes to homegrown MMA talent from Saskatchewan.

But will the heat of the moment, the pressure of the situation, and the expectations from hometown fans be too much handle?

For experienced pros like Kurt “The Hurt” Southern and Charmaine “Not So Sweet” Tweet there shouldn’t be much an issue contending with these external forces. However, the fighters who might not be so accustomed to the spotlight will have to find a way to put all of the things that can weigh on the mind to the side when they step into the cage at Prestige FC 2: Queen City Coronation presented by SUBWAY® Restaurants and 104.9 The Wolf.

Devon Smith and Sean Quinn have been around the block before in the MMA game, but never before in this type of situation. Smith is expected to have a hearty throng of supporters on hand to boost his spirits though it will be a new experience fighting high up on the main card – the last fight before the two title bouts.

Expectations have also been raised since Smith and opponent Keith Smetana have engaged in a heated, albeit humorous, social media battle with the La Ronge predicting a first-round knockout while his American foe is calling for a first-round submission win for himself.

Quinn has 13 fights under his belt but, much like Smith, hasn’t found himself in this type of high-profile situation before. Quinn will have a massive cheering section on hand when he battles upset-minded Chris Day, and for the Regina product the pressure is multiplied by the fact that this will be his first bout back in action since two major surgeries sidelined him for over two years.

Sheldon Leblanc might be in the most-envious position of all the main carders from Saskatchewan as he got his hometown jitters out of the way at Prestige FC 1 when he battled to a second-round submission win in front of his supporters in Weyburn. At Prestige FC 2, Leblanc has a chance to take another step up the ladder if he can pick up his fourth career victory by taking out Thomas Richardson.

There’s far less pressure fighting on the undercard but that doesn’t mean those regional fighters aren’t looking for success and making a name for themselves. Matt Zemlak (Regina), Ryan Wesaquate (Saskatoon), Cory Chambers (Saskatoon), and Ryan Rohovich (Prince Albert) are all looking to put wins on the board for their gym and province. All but Rohovich are also making their professional debuts adding to the excitement as they step under the lights.

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