MMA card set for Ontario debut

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

TORONTO - Casino Rama has beaten the UFC to the punch, so to speak.

The casino, located just outside of Orillia, Ont., is set to announce a major professional mixed martial arts card on April 2, getting the jump on the much-hyped UFC 129 show, April 30 at the Rogers Centre.

Site of numerous pro boxing events over the years, Casino Rama is teaming up with Knockout Entertainment Canada to present “MMA: The Reckoning!”

Yes, the exclamation mark is part of the title.

The card will feature eight to 10 world-class fights including a number of Canadian and British fighters such as Tom (Kong) Watson, no relation to the golfer, and Dean Ama­singer. The Canadian contingent will be announced later.

Interestingly, the promoter of the card, Robert Waterman of KEC, put together a pro boxing show last October at Rama and was driven to near-insanity by the over-regulating of Ontario athletics commission Ken Hayashi — the same Ontario athletics commission that oversees mixed martial arts shows in this province.

But Waterman, reached in England by the Toronto Sun on Monday, is optimistic that, at least in terms of putting together an MMA show, things will go much smoother between himself and the Ontario commission — a regulating body notorious for its strict rules and regulations.

“You caught me — unfortunately for me, probably fortunately for you — when everything was going wrong,” said Waterman of a Nov. 1 Toronto Sun article, which outlined Waterman’s trials and tribulations in dealing with the Ontario commission. “But I have to say, Ken’s been very constructive and helpful (this time). We’ve already agreed on a range of issues (including some fighters).”

UFC 129 will feature welterweight world champion Georges St. Pierre against American Jake Shields.

ROSS FINDS A FIGHT

World ranked cruiserweight boxer Troy Ross has been bounced from the Feb. 4 Super Brawl boxing show at the Molson Centre in Barrie.

But the good news is, Ross will be fighting a week later at a Feb. 11 show at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Ross’ people had hoped to match the Brampton fighter against Canadian champion Ryan Henney, but that was nixed by Hayashi because the commish felt the Canadian champion, Henney, wasn’t good enough to fight the challenger, Ross. So Ross (24-2, 16 KOs), will now be fighting an undetermined opponent on the Feb. 11 show in Montreal.

Canadian heavyweight champion Neven Pajkic will now headline the Feb. 4 show at the Molson Centre. Pajkic will meet Louisiana state champion Johnnie White, a tough fighter who seems to be on a bit of a decline, having lost three of his last four fights.

Still, White’s record (22-3, 18 KOs), is nothing to sneeze at and Pajkic will have to be on guard or otherwise he could be rocked hard.

“This will be a true test for Neven,” said Super Brawl promoter Rick Smiciklas, president of the Wild Wing restaurant chain. “White’s a very big, good-looking guy with a heavy, heavy hand and Neven’s got his work cut out for him. He’s another Butler.”

That’s not good news for the undefeated Pajkic (15-0, 5 KOs).

Pajkic met the tough American Raphael Butler last September at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, and though he punched out a 10-round unanimous decision, Butler nailed him hard early in the fight.

If all goes well against White, Smiciklas hopes to match Pajkic up this spring against Windsor heavyweight Ali (The Bomb) Mansour (8-0, 4 KOs), in defence of his Canadian title, and then against Detroit fighter Jonathan Banks for the NABA title next September, and then on against “one of the Klitschko brothers” — WBC champion Vitali or IBF king Wladimir.

“If we do a SuperCard at the end of the year at the ACC, who knows what will happen?” Smiciklas said of a possible fight against a Klitschko. “But it would be most likely to happen in Germany next March.”


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