Bad blood brewin'

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 4:26 PM ET

Victor Valimaki is a fighter who usually does his talking in the ring.

But Marcus Hicks has managed to get under his skin.

Yesterday Valimaki and Hicks got into a war of words talking about their fight on tomorrow night's MFC 12 High Stakes card at the Shaw Conference Centre.

"I'm really motivated for this fight. This guy made it very easy for me to stay motivated because he's a very lippy guy and very disrespectful," Valimaki said.

"I'm a very respectful guy and if you show me respect, I'll show you respect back. But this guy has a complete lack of respect.

"They call him 'the loud mouth assassin.' He's just that, he's a loud mouth. My younger brother fought him and beat him. He's a sore loser - and he always has an excuse, whether he's injured or sick, it's always something."

It's not as if Valimaki, 25, didn't have enough motivation going into the light heavyweight tilt. The local fighter is coming off a defeat at UFC 70 in Manchester, England, in April, losing to Italy's Alessio Sakara via a technical knockout.

It was the second time Valimaki has fought on a UFC card, and the loss dropped his record to 9-4.

"Coming off a loss at UFC, Victor is very aggravated and he's very ornery, so I figured I found the perfect opponent that he can't stand," said promoter Mark Pavelich.

"Marcus has never been in the ring or much less sparred with a guy like Victor before. But he's convinced himself and other people that he's going to win this fight."

Hicks, 30, who lives in Vancouver, has been practising a Korean form of jui jitsu for the past seven years. He's had 12 fights since turning pro last year, posting a 6-6 record.

"To be honest, the first eight months since turning pro I fought off my couch, which is what a lot of my friends called it," Hicks said.

"I never trained for fights and was only in the gym one or two days a week.

"I lost a few fights because of injuries that I realized maybe happened because I wasn't training properly. I had a lot of horrible habits, there were a lot of negatives in my life.

"Then near the end of the year I decided that in 2007 I was going to dedicate myself to fighting and see where it takes me."

Hicks has since gone 4-1, winning his bouts in self-described "first-round massacres." However, he's never been in the ring with an opponent of Valimaki's quality.

"I think he knows he's in a little over his head here and I think he's trying to talk himself into it, trying to talk himself into believing he can beat me," Valimaki said.

"I think the guys that are insecure like that are the talkers, the guys that are the loudest. I'll just stay relaxed when I go up against him.

"If you go out too aggressive you're going to burn yourself out. But already I'm more fired up than I've been in a long time to fight somebody."

Hicks claims he never set out to disrespect Valimaki. It simply began as a misunderstanding.

"People think it's just an ego thing," Hicks said. "But when I decided I wanted to turn pro and wanted to fight, I started looking at guys who'd be possible matchups in my weight class and I saw that Victor was a big deal in Canada.

"But there was nothing about his style of fighting that overly impressed me.

"I mentioned that I looked forward to fighting him someday and I think he took it as a challenge or as me being aggressive. He was a little arrogant, a little cocky about it - and now it's going to get nasty."


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