Down to chins and wills -- champ

JASON HILLS

, Last Updated: 2:16 PM ET

Roger Hollett has been waiting far too long to defend his MFC World Light-Heavyweight championship.

After dismantling Victor Valimaki at MFC 13, just a short time later, he blew his knee to shreds tearing both his ACL and MCL in his only loss in his career against Lew Polley last October.

He'll get his chance when he finally defends his title tomorrow night against Emanuel Newton in the main event of MFC 19-Long Time Coming.

"Having to sit back and watch my teammates fight, and watching the UFC on TV and wishing I was there was no doubt the hardest part," said Hollett yesterday.

"I had to restrain myself from getting ahead of myself."

Hollett may be the champion, but after coming off major knee surgery, and with only one tune-up fight in September for this championship bout, Hollett knows he still has to establish himself.

"Since I've been the champ, who have I beaten? Nobody," he said

"It's a ladder you've got to climb back up again. This is going to prove if I am ready to come back in the top ranks, or if I still have work to do."

Newton made his MFC debut at MFC 18 with a decisive second-round submission win over David Heath.

Newton too is still recovering from a serious motorcycle accident, but he hasn't lost a fight in almost four years.

Both fighters are big-time punchers, so this fight has the capability of being an epic battle.

"(Roger) Hollett is going to come out aggressive and he's going to come out and try to take my head off," said Newton, who is a California native. "I am certainly going to have to be on my toes."

Hollett, who has an 8-1 career record, has yet to have a fight go into the second round.

Before yesterday's press conference began, Hollett walked up to the podium with his shiny new belt on the table. Shortly after, Newton came up to the podium, and he couldn't help but keep his eyes on Hollett's belt.

"It's brand new, and that belt isn't leaving Canada, it's going right back on my wall," said Hollett, who hails from Halifax.

"If he's looking to test my chin, that's great. I've trained my ass off with guys punching me all day and I am sure he's gone through the same thing.

"It's going to come down to the better chin and the stronger will."

RING NOTES: NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND'S PAUL DALEY WILL FACE HIGHLY TOUTED FIGHTER JOHN ALESSIO OF LAS VEGAS IN THE WELTERWEIGHT DIVISION.

San Jose's Ariel Sexton will take on an experienced Derrick Noble in the lightweight division.

The feature bout on the preliminary card is a rematch between Edmonton's Jason Kuchera and Tulsa, Okla.'s Aron Lofton. They faced off in a bloody battle at MFC 16, with Lofton coming out on top.


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