Speer vs. Lafferty in the main event
Elgin's Tommy "The Farmboy" Speer will take on Lake City's Jeremy Lafferty in the main event of Saturday's "Gladiators" mixed martial artsevent at Graham Arena.
The event is being sponsored by Kathy's Pub and Andy's Liquor. There currently are 11 fights scheduled, including seven professional bouts.
Lafferty, who trains with Kevin Garlitch at Team Crazy, is on a five-fight winning streak, while the UFC veteran Speer is coming off of a loss to Ryan Ford in Canada last March.
"This is a fight Lafferty wanted," Speer said. "I don't think he deserves to be in the cage with me, and I'm going to show him that Saturday. He's got a puncher's chance, but that's about it."
Garlitch said Lafferty is ready for the challenge. Speer easily will be his toughest opponent to date.
"Lafferty's cardio is off the charts, and that's always been his downfall in the past," Garlitch said. "He's a violent fighter, so I'm excited to see what happens. Tommy's been knocked out before, so that's what we'll be looking for."
Speer has been training exclusively in Rochester at Mario Roberto Jiu-Jitsu Academy. He said it's still a thrill for him to fight in his own backyard. "It's always fun fighting here," Speer said. "It's also comfortable to be able to stay at home the night before the fightinstead of in some hotel."
Speer and Lafferty will meet at 175 pounds.
Three more of Garlitch's fighters have tough professional fights Saturday. Travis "Carefree" Perzynski will put his 29-5-1 record on the line against Omaha, Neb., native Alonzo Martinez (26-13-1).
Martinez has fought some of the sport's best, including Clay Guida, Alvin Robinson, Ryan Roberts, Yves Edwardsand Toby Imada. He's a Bellator veteran and brings a four-fight winning streak to Rochester.
Perzynski holds a win over Pat Curran, who is in the Bellator lightweight tournament finals. The Team Crazy standout is now completely healthy; a leg injury forced him out of his scheduled fight against James Warfield last month.
"We've seen Alonzo fight a lot," Garlitch said. "It's going to be a very tough fight for Travis, but it's a fight he needs to win if he's going to get to the next level."
Perzynski and Martinez will meet at 160 pounds.
Perzynski's Team Crazy teammate, Dan Copp, will take on Omaha's Sean Wilson (21-14) also at 160.
Wilson is coming off of a loss to Clay French at a King of the Cageevent in April.
Copp is a college student in Mankato, but he recently rejoined Team Crazy for the summer. He spent much of the past year competing in pro boxing bouts.
"It's a tough fight for Dan," Garlitch said. "But we have a good scouting report on Wilson because (Perzynski) has a win over him. We know Wilson has some deadly moves on the ground."
Also competing as a professional for Team Crazy on Saturday is former Lake City wrestler Webster Cox, who will take on Corey Houston.
Cox brings a 7-2 record into the 145-pound fight. Houston, who trains at the Winnipeg Academy of Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA), is 1-0 as a pro.
"Webster's a stud wrestler, and I think this Houston kid has like 15 pro boxing matches, so it should be interesting," Garlitch said.
There will be three other pro fights Saturday, including Rochester's Chris Barden taking on WAMMA trained AndrijaPavlic. Barden is coming off a win over Nick Almen at Treasure Island Resort and Casino on April 30.
In a battle of two of the best training camps in the country, Greg Jackson-trained Marcus Sursa will take on Pat Miletich-trained Eric Hammerich. Sursa is 6-5 at 205 pounds, but all five of his losses came to fighters who either have been or are in the UFC.
Making his pro debut will be Trevor Sutter of Iowa. Sutter's opponent is expected to be announced today.
During the amateur portion of the card, former Dover-Eyota standout wrestler and Logan Clark-trained Logan Otomo will make his debut against WAMMA's Brad Katona.
Otomo's teammate at Rochester MMA, Heath Rud, will take on Omaha's Jarrod Lheureux. Other fights include Keith Katona against Zach Kellso and Cole Clark against Nick Enns.
Fights are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $25 in advance at Kathy's Pub or from participating fighters. At the door, tickets are $30.