|Two Driller amateur straps on the line during A-Town Throwdown XI|
|Written by Ben Pherson|
|Friday, 17 March 2017 13:39|
Two amateur titles are on the line Saturday night during Driller Promotions' 11th show at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Austin.
A-Town Throwdown XI is set for a 5:30 p.m. start Saturday night in Spamtown. Tickets are still available through cagetix.com and at the Holiday Inn front desk. Cagetix will remain open through Friday; buying tickets through cagetix puts money in local fighters' pockets as all participating fighters get a percentage of any ticket they sell.
The 13-fight card features two title fights and one professional bout. It also marks the return of Minnesota's Deangelo Curtis, who's been out of the cage for more than two years.
Curtis returns in the night's lone pro fight against Wisconsin's Jonas Flok, who trains with Jake Klipp at Pura Vida.
Curtis, who trains at McCune's, has been focused on boxing over the last few years. But he's returning to MMA now. He brings a 3-6-1 record into the fight, but don't let the record fool you. Curtis took on many of the Midwest's top prospects before stepping away. Flok is 3-3.
"This is a good, even fight of two guys who are both better than their record would indicate," Driller's Jeremy Bjornberg said. "Deangelo has always been fun to watch. I suspect he'll come out firing in his first one back. He'll also be fighting with a heavy heart as his mother is ill. And Flok, I've seen him fight before as well, and he's another high-paced guy who will bring it for sure. He also trains with a great crew at Pura Vida, so I know he'll be ready for this. Good even fight for two guys who haven't always been given even fights in their career."
Pura Vida is bringing a whopping five fighters to Minnesota for A-Town Throwdown XI.
One of those Pura Vida fighters is in a 135-pound amateur title fight, James Krause-Simmons. He's taking on Minnesota's Eliot Jurries, who was a standout wrestler at Jackson County Central. Jurries trains at Namaste MMA and brings a 4-1 record into the title bout. Krause-Simmons is 4-0.
The fight is for the belt vacated by Sean Strube, who's turning pro. Strube trains with Jurries.
"Can you say fight of the year? I love this one," Bjornberg said. "I was happy it came together. Both guys are going places at 135. I'd say it's going to be a five-round war, but both are finishers. I expect non-stop action until someone falls over. Both are dangerous in all positions. Just a perfect fight to determine our new amateur champ. Krause-Simmons won his Minnesota debut for RFA, and he's a character for sure. Fans will love him. But Jurries is coming off of what should have been the knockout of the year ... it would have been had our cameraman hit play on his recorder for that fight. Brutal headkick KO. Don't blink, this is gonna be fun."
The night's other title fight features a strikers delight as current champion Juan Hernandez puts his 155 strap on the line against Imperial's Jay Paulson.
Hernandez is 9-3 as an amateur. He has devastating knockout power, and he's developing into a well-rounded fighter. Hernandez figures to be on the verge of turning pro.
Paulson stepped up on short notice for the title opportunity. He's another excellent, long striker who's looked fantastic since he started training at Imperial in Rochester. Most of Paulson's losses came in 2011 and earlier, before he started training seriously.
"Another fight I love, just two outstanding strikers, guys who are never in boring fights," Bjornberg said. "Someone is getting knocked out in this one. Both have power in both hands. Juan is our champ, and he's put in the work. You don't want to get hit by that dude. But Paulson is a tough matchup for anyone."
Another fighter stepping up on short notice is Jesse Hernandez, who just fought for the Driller 145 title. That bout happened just two weeks ago, but Hernandez jumped at the opportunity to get back in there. He's set to take on local product Bobbe Dulitz. Both are experienced amateurs who've been on the Minnesota fight scene for years. Dulitz is 6-7, while Hernandez is 8-6.
"Jesse stepped up late, but these are two guys who've fought all the toughest guys in Minnesota throughout their careers," Bjornberg said. "I love this fight. I can see both turning pro some time soon and making a dent in the pro scene. Jesse is a tough matchup, he's long and he's good off his back. Bobbe is a grinder, and he's usually in exciting fights."
Standout wrestler Weston Droegemueller is stepping into the Driller cage for the first time. Droegemueller is a six-time state entrant who wrestled briefly at Minnesota State, Mankato. But Foss is one of Pura Vida's top young prospects, and he's making his debut.
"Low key fight of the night candidate, I'm excited to see both, very talented young kids," Bjornberg said.
Giovanni Alvarado also is returning to action after a serious injury kept him away for a year. He was a title contender before the injury. Alvarado is taking on the always exciting Robert Confer, who stepped up on short notice after Alvarado's original opponent pulled out this week due to injury.
Local product Robert Andrews, who trains at Impact Martial Arts in Austin, puts his 1-0 record on the line against 1-0 Josh Ruiz.
"Ruiz vs. Andrews is one of the fights I'm most looking forward to; all the guys who come to us from Pura Vida are solid, and I know he's green but coaches speak highly of him," Bjornberg said. "Andrews looked incredible in his debut for us. I think he has what it takes to do very well in this sport. It's a great test for both guys, perfect."
Austin's Dustin Klapperick also returns to the cage, and he'll put his 2-0 record on the line against another unbeaten fighter in Ramiro Rivas, who's 1-0.
Klapperick trains with Jared Lange and the crew at 7th Street MMA in Austin.
"A lot of sneaky good fights like this one; Rivas was awesome in his debut f or us, and Klapperick has looked solid in both of his fights," Bjornberg said. "Klapperick is one of those kids who just has a will to win, he finds ways to get it done."
Nick Rogers product Cesar Mercado is set to make his Driller debut against Joey Hart, who's a rookie. Mercado is 2-3. Hart trains in Willmar.
Austin's Leon Delgado will attempt to even his record to 1-1 in a 185 showdown against newcomer Henry Pendleton, who trains with John Loeken in northern Minnesota.
"I love that one two, I think both have a future at 185; Leon lost his debut, but he looked good, and Loeken says Pendleton is green but improving every day," Bjornberg said.
Austin's Venith Khamphouy is set to make his MMA debut against another first-timer in Dillon Balbach, who trains with Juan Hernandez.
James Mundell also is trying to even his record to 1-1 in a 155 bout against Levi Milhausen, who's making his debut. He's a training partner of Hart in Willmar, and Milhausen has a wrestling background.
Finally, Pura Vida's Linzy Smith makes his debut at 190 against Gustavo Flores.
"Just super pumped for this show, so many matchups I love, and Austin is always a good time," Bjornberg said.