'Peg fighter on UFC radar

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

Joe (El Dirte) Doerksen was the first Manitoban to fight on a UFC card.

Krzysztof (The Experiment) Soszynski is poised to become the second.

Soszynski, a 29-year-old mixed martial artist from Winnipeg, became the TKO world heavyweight champ on Saturday night in Montreal, scoring a second-round TKO victory over Argentina native and Montreal resident Icho Larenas.

TKO Major League MMA is Canada's largest mixed martial arts organization, and it's a feeder system for the UFC, which is regarded as the world's top MMA company.

"If you want to go to the UFC, you fight for (TKO)," Soszynski said. "If you win their title, you'll fight in the UFC. That's usually the way it works."

Soszynski certainly proved his UFC worth Saturday night at Bell Centre in front of 7,000 screaming fans, who were rooting for the hometown favourite.

"Let's put it this way: 7,000 people were chanting 'Icho! Icho! Icho!' throughout my fight, so it was pretty fun to hear while I was kicking his butt," Soszynski said.

Soszynski went after Larenas from the get-go, battering him with punch after punch. Larenas got Soszynski on the canvas in the final minute of the first round, but Soszynski survived.

Soszynski continued to deliver blow after blow in the second round, and the fight doctor declared Larenas too cut up to continue at the start of the third.

"His face was pretty badly disfigured," Soszynski said. "He probably had to go for about 20 to 30 stitches after the fight. I cut him open a couple times.

"I beat him up for 10 minutes straight."

Soszynski was born in Poland, but his family moved to Winnipeg when he was 10. He played high school football at Maples Collegiate and then turned to bodybuilding when he was 19.

After a brief wrestling career, during which he trained with former WWF star Bad News Brown, Soszynski got into jiu jitsu.

"He showed me a couple things when I was training with him, and I got hooked," Soszynski said. "I quit wrestling, took up Brazilian jiu jitsu here in Winnipeg, and the rest is history."

Soszynski has trained with Doerksen and was in the latter's corner for one of his UFC fights. Soszynski's manager and trainer, Shawn Tompkins, will now try to land his client a UFC contract of his own.

"UFC's the goal, and so is Pride in Japan," Soszynski said. "Those are the two biggest promotions in the world. That's where everybody wants to be, and I am very close to that."


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