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Cage fighters are ready for showdown...

HUNDREDS of mixed martial arts (MMA) fans are expected to come out in force tonight for the cage fighters' first showdown in Bahrain.

Eleven match ups will be contested as UK-based Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (CWFC) makes its Bahrain debut at the Khalifa Sports City, Isa Town.

The event, which is the sixth to be held over the past two years in the Middle East, is being held under the patronage of Supreme Council for Youth and Sports first deputy chairman Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

Organisers expect a sold-out crowd of around 2,500, which is the maximum number of seats available in the vicinity.

Middle East promoter Shadi Tahboub said at a Press conference at Virgin Megastores in Bahrain City Centre last night that more than 1,500 out of 2,000 tickets offered for sale over the past two weeks have been sold.

"We just have a few tickets left and in the Arab world we acknowledge people leave it until the last minute to plan how to spend their weekend and those tickets will be available in Virgin and at the stadium," he said.

"Already 2,000 are expected, if we take the 500 promotional tickets and invited guests into account, only 500 tickets will be remaining."

CWFC talent relations director Patrick Vickers said that despite the fighting organisation being new as it is was established in 2001, there was a lot of following in the Middle East.

"We would like to thank Shaikh Khalid for inviting us here in Bahrain to showcase CWFC and we have lined up our best matches for the four hours 15 minutes show, which will see the championship defended," he said.

"CWFC fighters have been received well and were known to the Bahraini population and one of our fighters, title contender American Jesse (JT$) Taylor, has been asked to lecture in a local gym at a local fitness club so he will be staying longer.

"We are very happy to be here and even before our show starts plans are underway for us to come back again."

Mr Taylor will fight defending champion Frenchman Gael Grimaud, who pledged the main event would be a crowd-puller.

"My opponent is a veteran Strike Force and Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor so it will be a tough match, but I will certainly be on top when the match is over," he said.

"I appreciate the Bahraini fans' reception and I am happy to be here and hopefully we will celebrate together as I hold on to my belt.

"The belt has been on my waist for nine months and I have not lost for two years and since then I always bear in mind that I will go on being the champ for years."

However, Mr Taylor said despite the odds he has come to Bahrain to snatch the title.

"I am winner the moment I give my best and I am not worried about winning or losing, and the best results come when you believe you can," he said.

"I respect the toughness of the champ but that belt is mine in a day's time."

mohammed@gdn.com.bh

TONIGHT'S MATCHES

Amateur

6.45pm: Ouael Karkad vs Ramy Hassan

7pm: Walid Chaouli vs Ahmad brahim Aly

7.20pm: Houdhaifa Gdouda vs Jarrah Hussein

Professional

7.45pm: Ignas Petkus vs Allan Love

8.05pm: Olivier Pastor vs Dino Gambatesa

8.25pm: Alan Carlos vs Mike Ling

9.05pm: Tomas Penz vs John Phillips

9.25pm: Eddy Bengtsson vs Jay Mortimore

9.45pm: Ivan Buchinger vs Diego Gonzalez

10.25pm: Jim Alers vs Matteus Lahdesmaki

Main Event

Jesse (JT$) Taylor vs Champ Gael Grimaud

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:May 24, 2012
Words:625
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