The man who will be standing in the other corner tonight is largely unknown to Red Deer kickboxer Jessie Vandervelden.
“All I know about him is that he trains out of Edmonton Arashi Do and has a record of 5-2,” Vandervelden said of Andre Braden, his opponent in the main event of tonight’s Superfights #20 Kickboxing and Muay Thai Championships at the Sheraton Hotel Exhibition Hall.
The undefeated Vandervelden, at 145 pounds, will take a 6-0-1 record into the five-round Western Canada lightweight modified Muay Thai title bout.
“Right now I don’t have a ranking but a win (tonight) could definitely set the stage for more big fights to come,” he said. “I want to win this title and eventually maybe become the Canadian 145-pound champion.”
Vandervelden has been involved in competitive kickboxing for two years and has fought in four previous Superfights events, staged by Red Deer martial arts instructor Lyle Cheney.
“I did karate when I was younger and really enjoyed it, but as I got older I needed more of a challenge and wanted to get into something a little more physical,” said Vandervelden, who holds a red belt in karate.
Vandervelden suggested that training with Cheney is a no-brainer.
“I did karate with Lyle and stuck with him for kickboxing too,” he said. “He’s an excellent trainer. He definitely knows what he’s doing and he’s taught me a lot.”
While he’s fought in one previous Superfights main event, Vandervelden admitted he will feel like he’s under the spotlight tonight.
“I think there’s a little bit of extra pressure because it’s the last match of the night and everyone is anticipating a good show,” he said.
In another feature bout, Red Deer’s Todd Gleeson (3-0) will take on Arizona state champion Brian Trubl in a three-round, 195-pound bout. Trubl’s record is 5-6.
In addition, Peter Arbeau of Calgary will tangle with Derek Jolivette of Edmonton in a three-round, 165-pound match. Arbeau is 33-10-1 and Jolivette possesses a 7-0-1 slate.
The card will include another 12 bouts, with eight featuring Red Deer fighters.