We’re in Launceston. It’s fight day. The Black and Green Army assembles in the hotel lobby. Fighters, coaches and friends. The fighters had done the hard part yesterday, they made weight. This means the first treat of the day is an all you can eat breakfast and the army is hungry.
It was smiles all round after C-Tat made it 3 from 3 for Team Westside.
Everyone treats fight day a little different. Some like to stay active and sight see, others like to keep to themselves and relax. Such was no different in this case. On one side of the spectrum were those who went to the museum, played at the arcade and viewed the monkeys at Launceston City Park. At the opposite end of the spectrum were those that settled in to watch tv, enjoy a massage and nap.
The team has been allocated the blue corner change-rooms and takes their piece of territory in one of the front corners of the room. The room is fairly spacious and has an equally large warm up area for the fighters. There are fighters from various teams here and a lot of mutual respect in the room. There is a great energy. After a quick overview of the rules in the ‘Fighters Meeting’, it is time for the first fighters of the night to begin having their hands wrapped. The focus intensifies. The Black and Green Army’s first soldier is about to go to war. This will set the team vibe for the night to come. In step Junior Milo.
Junior arrives at the side of the cage. He thanks his coaches and training partners for the help in preparation and proceeds to enter the cage. Opposing Junior stands tough veteran Stephan Friedrich. The bell sounds and the fighters begin to swing limbs. They tie up against the cage. It looks as though it may be a grind and grapple affair. Junior manages to get his opponent to the floor and immediately implements a knee ride. Junior transitions to mount and lands some strikes. He is briefly able to take the back before his balance gets the best of him and winds up on bottom. Junior begins to threaten from the bottom. Utilizing his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu he keeps Friedrich on the defence. The round ends. A few quick tips from the coaches, a mouthful of water and the fighters are back on the frontline. They clinch up and both land strikes using some ‘dirty boxing’. Junior is able to get Friedrich to the ground and take his back. Friedrich begins to defend and attempt to shake Junior off. The fight is taking place in front of the blue corner and the coaches are talking Junior through each step. There are thirty seconds left of the round. Junior is able to isolate an arm. He transitions to arm-bar. He squeezes as though he needs to keep this limb to survive. Friedrich taps. Junior Milo via arm-bar. Round 2. The good vibes continue.
Junior landing strikes early before taking the game to the ground.
The Army reunites back stage in the change-room. A quick celebration ensues. Just as quickly, the focus returns. Jordan’s walk-out music has began to play. Jordan stands in octagon. He paces back and forth waiting for his opponent to enter the cage. He looks a little unfocused. A late sickness in his camp has left him feeling unprepared. The coaches deliver the right words to reinvigorate him. The fighters touch gloves and trade strikes. Jordan comes out southpaw and has some success with the left roundhouse kick to the liver. His opponent, Ben ’50 cal’ Barrett, pushes through and pressures Jordan. A straight left connects and Barrett is momentarily seated on the ground. The fight continues. Barrett continues to apply pressure and grinds Jordan to the ground. He looks heavy. Jordan works hard to reverse the position and land some strikes to finish out the round. The second round begins similar to round one. Barrett pressuring forward and Jordan aiming to land at range. Once again, Barrett pressures to the fence and wrestles Jordan to the ground. Jordan defends from the bottom before reversing Barrett to gain top position. Jordan postures up and hears a clap. There are ten seconds left of the round. Hammer-fists begin to rain down. Barrett cannot do anything but shell up. The fight is close to being stopped. Saved by the bell. Both fighters are breathing heavy. Last round. The crowd is cheering loudly. Barrett, again, pressuring forward. The round is beginning to take the shape of the previous two. Jordan recognizes the trend. He shoots for a double leg. Success. Jordan stays heavy as Barrett is known for his slick submissions. As the final bell is about to sound Barrett’s determination allows him to lock in a ‘Kimura’(arm-lock). He uses it to sweep. Barrett ends the round on top. Both fighters sit arm in arm in the octagon. They are exhausted. The judges give their verdict. The winner by decision. Jordan Wallace.
Jordan secures a single leg and gets the takedown.
The boys continue their celebration in the change-room. Barrett enters the change-room and approaches the team with a packet of Tim-Tams. Win or lose, post fight, we all celebrate. One more fight for the team to conquer Launceston. Away from the luxury of a Tim-Tam, the final soldier, ‘Creepy’ Christina Tatnell is hitting pads. She begins to tune in to the fighter's mindset. The energy of the crowd is at a high as she enters the octagon. Christina focuses. She is looking at her opponent, Belinda Sedgwick, as a predator would prey. The bell sounds and Christina swarms on her opponent. Christina backs Belinda up against the fence and lands a heavy knee. The flurry of strikes continue. Heavy right hands. A left rip to the body. A beautiful left elbow lands flush. The referee begins to move towards the fighters. Christina lands a couple more punches before the fight is stopped. Winner via TKO. Christina Tatnell. Flawless victory.
The crushing knee that was the beginning of the end in this bout.
The team would once return to the temporary base camp of the Blue corner change-room. The hard effort, the discipline and the sacrifices have paid off. It was time to enjoy the fruits.
Not too many fruits though. We had a plane to catch.
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