There may not be any belts on the line on Saturday, but master Lyle Cheney is promising solid card for Superfights 22 at the Sheraton Centre in Red Deer.
Headlining the event is a showdown between Andre Braden out of Edmonton and Troy Kulasekere out of Calgary. Braden is looking to build some momentum back after dropping a fight for the Western Canadian belt at Superfights 20 to Jessie Vandervelden.
But there will also be plenty of local talent, including Darren Potts and Jared Eliot of Cheney’s Zen Karate & Kickboxing and Wilson Vinoya from Black Dragon Martial Arts and Braeden Rice out of 7 Stars Praying Mantis all signed up for their own fights.
The Braden and Kulasekere fight at 155 pounds should be the best fight of the night, featuring two experienced fighters.
“They’re both very experienced fighters and Andre Braden actually fought for the Western Canadian title two years ago in Red Deer and he got knocked out by my guy Jesse Vandervelde, so he’s returned to the ring and he’s ready to fight.”
Potts, Elliot and Vinoya will all be making their debuts in the ring. Potts will be fighting John Gibbson out of Hayabusa Martial Arts in Edmonton at 170 pounds while Elliot will be taking on Oscar Dakiti out of Mike Miles Muay Thai in Calgary at 165 pounds. Both have been training with Cheney in Muay Thai kickboxing for about 18 months and he has high expectations for them in their first fights.
“They’re both very strong, both in very good shape and both very dedicated hard workers — I anticipate they’ll both do very well,” he said. “Darren’s a real aggressive, hard slugger, and Jared is more long and thin, more of a sniper … he’s more of an outside fighter.”
He also adds that Vinoya comes from a strong training background with Black Dragon and should also fare well against Stephen Kung of Arashido Martial Arts out of Edmonton at 155 pounds.
The only local fighter with any experience heading into Saturday night’s event is Rice who holds a 2-1-0 record. He will be fighting Jamie Walker from the Siam Kickboxing & Muay Thai out of Regina.
The fight card has 11 fights overall, including one women’s fight — Calgary’s Olivia Awad against Regina’s Fiona Duffy.
Superfights is an amateur Muay Thai Kickboxing promotion that Cheney has run for the last 17 years in Red Deer and is sanctioned by the Canadian Muay Thai Council Amateur.
Cheney says Muay Thai kickboxing is a very easy sport to watch for the casual combat sports fans and they have a large following in Red Deer.
“MMA is really popular, but the problem with MMA is that to the untrained person, as soon as they go to the ground then unless you know your grappling, it makes it difficult for people to follow,” he said. “For the average Joe who doesn’t know anything about grappling, these are far more user friendly, because it’s all stand-up fighting.”
Doors open at 6 p.m. with the fights starting at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $40 each and will be available at the door, but purchasing them ahead of time at Cheney’s Zen Karate & Kickboxing is recommended.