'We're going to be having a war'

GERRY MODDEJONGE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

A pair of title fights headlines the card for The Fight Club 9: Total Chaos tomorrow at the Shaw Conference Centre and a pair of local fighters are in them.

A new champion will be crowned with TFC's inaugural welterweight world title when Edmonton's own Ryan (The Real Deal) Ford (10-2) will square off against one machine of a marine in John Walsh (10-4-1).

A veteran of Iraq, Walsh fights out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., and is a 10-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, where he is a black belt in their martial-arts program.

"It's a huge opportunity for me," Walsh said of his TFC debut. "I'm fighting on a little bit short notice but it's no problem. I'm in full-time training all the time, so I feel very confident."

That confidence comes despite being the third fighter to sign up to take on Ford on the card and only having a couple weeks to prepare.

"I went through a couple opponents that kept backing out. I say they're not real fighters," Ford said. "John Walsh, he's stepping in on short notice. You can tell he's a fighter. Don't blink, because I'm pretty sure we're going to be having a war."

Ford's previous bouts in the TFC cage were barely skirmishes, lasting a combined 112 seconds -- well short of one full round -- as he dispatched Alaska's Dave Mazany in 28 seconds at TFC 7 and Toronto's Markhaille Wedderburn in 84 seconds at TFC 8 in September.

"It would be nice for the fans to see a little more Ryan Ford cage time, but he's not going to change his style," said TFC president Mark Sinclair.

"You're not going to come to expect anything less from me, I come to fight every fight that I'm in," said Ford, who split his training time between Edmonton and Victoria.

He kept things consistent despite having questions about who he would face.

"I knew that they were going to find an opponent for me, so I just stuck to my game plan, full training camp, not slacking at all," said Ford, who kept the same preparation plan for all three opponents.

"It would have affected it if they had different styles but the three guys that I went through pretty much had the same style," Ford said. "We do train specifically for a guy but really what we're trying to do is make my whole game in mixed martial arts better from top to bottom."

The co-main event will feature fellow Edmontonian Victor Valimaki against Quebec fighter Martin Desilets for the TFC light heavyweight world championship.

TOTAL CHAOS: The last time Ford stepped into the TFC cage, mixed martial arts went from a spectator sport to an interactive event with the fans - make that a mob. Things got out of control real fast.

"Markhaille Wedderburn talked a lot of trash before the fight and I ended up finishing him in a minute, 28 seconds," Ford said. "Canada and pretty much Edmonton has got some crazy fans and one thing led to another. I guess he was mouthing off some fans or something and security wasn't tough enough to hold guys back from getting into the cage."

GERRY.MODDEJONGE@SUNMEDIA.CA


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