Steppin' stone for Valimaki

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:10 AM ET

The goal for Victor Valimaki is to get back on the ultimate stage.

And with a win over Lew Polley tomorrow at the TFC 8 Salvation fight card at the Shaw Conference Centre, the local product would be taking another step towards it.

"It's a huge fight," Valimaki said. "I honestly think this is a make-it-or-break-it fight. If I win this, I can go back to the UFC. If I lose it, then you obviously have to fight a little bit more locally."

Valimaki and Polley are part of the co-main events and will be battling for the TFC World Lightweight Championship. Ryan Ford and Markhaile Wedderburn make up the other main event, battling for the TFC Canadian Welterweight Interim title.

"It's going to be a super-tough fight, this guy can be in the UFC right now, he's beaten quite a few good guys," Valimaki said.

"He's a great fighter and is on a bit of a winning streak. He is more of a recognized name that I can get out there against and hopefully get back to the UFC."

LONG-TERM GOAL

Getting back to the sport's biggest circuit has been a goal for Valimaki since getting a taste of it a couple of years ago.

He's heading into the bout against Polley on a six-fight win streak and expects to garner some attention with a good performance tomorrow.

"That's the NHL of our sport," Valimaki said. "That's where you want to be. You don't want to fight in the second-best organization, you want to fight in the best one around. That's where the best fighters are right now, the best coverage and that's where you get the most respect."

Having dropped 15 pounds and taking on a new approach to training, Valimaki considers himself to be in the best shape and the most prepared he's ever been for a bout.

"I have a different mentality, I'm in way better shape," he said. "I'm faster, I've been training with good boxers, good wrestlers, good jiu-jitsu guys. I tried to jump around and tried to train with as many different people as I can now. I've approached fighting with a different mentality and I think it's going to show in the ring."

Different types of combat are a key to Valimaki's recent success. He'll take a 15-5 record into the ring with him, while Polley, who hails from California, comes in at 10-2.

"I try to integrate everything together, there's no substitute for going and training with each discipline," Valimaki said. "That way you get the best aspects of everything. There are not too many straight MMA guys around that I have trouble with, but there are sure a lot of wrestlers that can beat me in wrestling, a lot of boxers that can beat me in boxing, so I kind of take that formula and go out. You kind of get beat up a little bit, but you become better for it."

FORD CONFIDENT

Ford, meanwhile, is confident heading into his bout with Wedderburn from Toronto. He's taking a 9-2 record into the fight against his 8-4 opponent.

"I think it's going to be a quick fight. I want to hurt him a little bit before I end it," Ford said.

"All the trash-talking he was talking when he was in Toronto, he tones it down when he's face to face with me. I don't see him being able to do anything to me. I think this is going to be like it's my third fight."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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