Gladiators, a mostly amateur event presented by Kathy’s Pub, is almost upon us. Fights are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Saturday in Rochester at Olmsted County Fairgrounds (Building No. 41). Check back later today for updates on this event. Here’s a full breakdown of the current matchups (please keep in mind these picks are for fun ... I know somewhere between nothing and very little about most of these fighters, other than what the promoters and other fighters have told me):
170 (amateur) — Cody Furlong (0-0) vs. Nick Bussell (0-0)
This amateur fight features a pair of first-timers. Furlong is training with Kevin Garlitch and Team Crazy, while Bussell is with Logan Clark and Rochester MMA. It’s hard to have any idea what to expect, because both are very new to the fight game. They should be evenly match, and while a fight like this doesn’t usually provide much in the way of technique, fans can at least hope for a slugfest. But I have a feeling it's going to be ugly!
MNMMANEWS pick: Furlong by first-round TKO.
160 (pro) — Bruce Johnson (2-13) vs. Mike McIntyre (1-0)
Johnson keeps getting in the cage, but he hasn’t improved much since the first time I watched him years ago. It’s been about a year since I’ve watched him fight, so I’m hoping to see some improvement. But Johnson has made it out of the first round just once in his career. McIntyre is a scrappy guy with a good chin. He’s also solid on the ground. This could be the first knockout of the night.
MNMMANEWS pick: McIntyre by first-round TKO.
205 (pro) — Jeremy Lafferty (10-11) vs. Jeff Meyer (0-1)
I’ve seen Lafferty fight at 155 pounds, and he’s fighting at 205 for this one. That should be interesting. At 155, Lafferty was always entertaining. He trained occasionally with Team Crazy, though I’m not sure if that’s where he’s at now. Lafferty is OK on the ground, but he swings for the fences on his feet. The last time I watched Lafferty fight was a disappointment, but it’s the first time he hasn’t put on a good show (he used to have great battles with Aaron Vold). I don’t know much about Meyer. He recently lost his MMA debut, but the promoters say he’s been training down with Houston Alexander’s camp in Omaha (no idea if that’s true, but it’s what they said). Even 50 pounds over his ideal weight, Lafferty’s experience should carry him. But the longer Meyer can make this fight, the more his chances improve.
MNMMANEWS pick: Lafferty by rear-naked choke in first round.