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Written by Ben Pherson   
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 10:58

Driller Promotions returns to Canterbury Park on Saturday night with another loaded fight card, including one of the most anticipated local showdowns in years.

The night's main event will see a war of words come to an end when Valhalla's Damion "The Wolverine" Hill squares off against Jordan "Pretty Boy" Parsons.

Hill (9-2) is the No. 3-ranked 145-pounder in Minnesota, while Parsons (9-1) is ranked No. 2. They'll meet at a catch weight of 150 pounds.

Fights are scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are available from participating fighters and online at cagetix.com

Minnesota MMA News sat down this week to speak with matchmaker Jeremy Bjornberg regarding every fight on the 16-bout card.

(It should be noted that the Mikey Zimmer vs. Frankie Johnson fight has been called off due to a death in Zimmer's family. The fight has been moved to the Jan. 11 Driller card at Epic in Minneapolis.)


No. 3 DAMION HILL (9-2) vs. No. 2 JORDAN PARSONS (9-1)

Bjornberg's thoughts: "This fight has been in the making for a long, long time. It was supposed to happen months ago, but injuries happen. Now it's finally going to happen, and I couldn't be more excited. I've heard some people say it's an easy matchup for Jordan, but they're idiots. Anyone who thinks Damion Hill is an easy matchup ever is a fool. It's going to be

a great fight. Damion can knock out anyone. But Jordan has been working very hard the Academy. He's a well-rounded fighter. ... The war of words has been fun to watch, too. But I really believe this is a UFC or Bellator level fight."


No. 1 DAN MORET (5-0) vs. JOSE PACHECO (5-5-1)

Bjornberg's thoughts: "This fight is a rematch of a fight that took place in RFA. Dan wasn't able to finish Pacheco in that fight, and it's a fight he felt like he should have finished. Considering the heat and the condition of the ring, it was tough for anyone to finish that night. Pacheco felt like he could have beaten Moret. I'm really excited about this fight. Pacheco is unpredictable and he's a gamer. Moret wants a finish. It's going to be interesting."

VICTOR MORENO (30-19) vs. No. 4 BEN SMITH (7-1)

Bjornberg's thoughts: "Moreno has 50 wins between his pro and amateur career. He's fighting out of Iowa, and he's been a fixture down there for years. He comes out of Josh Neer's gym. I wouldn't say he has a style, he's just a really tough guy who's been around a long time. He fought Kyle Jensen back in the day. Ben is at the Academy, and he's looking great. He's got a big title fight coming in February, but he's got to get past Moreno first, and I think he'll give him all he can handle. Ben is a wrestler, but he's improving in all areas."

No. 10 MARCELO NUNES (0-0) vs. NATE HOFFMAN (1-5)

Bjornberg's thoughts: "Nunes is a high-level black belt in jiu-jitsu. I'm very excited for his pro debut. He obviously has a lot of potential. Nobody would step up to fight him, even though it was his debut. But Nate Hoffman was the guy. He gave Chase Waldon all he could handle. Hoffman has the experience, and he's a tough dude. With Marcelo, obviously, the fight can end any second on the ground. I think Nate will want to keep it standing and make it a brawl."

No. 7 NATE HOWE (5-2) vs. JESSE MIDAS (5-6)

Bjornber's thoughts: "I love this fight. It's an old-school type fight. Howe has just one win since he came back, but he looked very good the last time out. He looked way more in shape. Jesse is training very hard, too. To me, it's a pick 'em fight. Jesse has serious pop in his punch, and Nate has great jiu-jitsu. On the feet, I'd give it to Jesse, but on the ground, Nate has the clear advantage. So if Jesse can keep it standing, he's in great shape, but if it hits the mat, Nate has the ability to finish quickly."

No. 8 GARRETT OLSON (7-5) vs. No. 1 REESE HERNANDEZ (11-3-1)

Bjornberg's thoughts: "Man, this is a fight I'm really looking forward to. I think it's going to be a great fight, maybe the best on the card. It's a fight that, if it goes well, we'll be grooming the winner for a 185 title shot. Last time out, Garrett lost with a quick guillotine against Chase Waldon. I know he wasn't happy about his performance. Then he had a title fight against Marzett Turner fall through, and that really got under his skin, so he's been working his ass off. He's chomping at the bit for this opportunity. Reese is fighting as light as he's ever been. He's in the best shape of his life, and he's making a serious run at this thing. He's going to be tough to beat at 185. He was a tough beat at heavyweight, now he's looking even better. I really think this is an underrated fight on the card. It has a lot of potential."

No. 6 MATT LARSON (2-3) vs. SHANE DEZEE (15-21)

Bjornberg's thoughts: "Both guys need a win, for sure. Dezee has to prove he can step up and win some fights and just be competitive, and Larson is looking for a big win to get things going for him. He's fighting Kevin Asplund on Feb. 22, but he's got to get this out of the way first. There's a lot to prove for both guys."


Bjornberg's thoughts: "We lost several opponents for Mark. He was cutting to fight at 125, but we lost another opponent this week. It's been tough. But Dale stepped up, and that was huge. He's doing us a big favor, and I know he'll bring it the best he can against Mark, who's very talented. I'm excited to see Mark fight as a pro. Everything can change when knees and elbows are involved, and the fights start to count."



Bjornberg's thoughts: "I love that fight. It has potential for fight of the night. Rogge has lost some fights, but he's on the rise, and he's always exciting. I'm excited to have him on the show. Wannemacher is a great guy to work with, and he is one of the better boxers in Minnesota MMA. I know the rest of his game is improving, too. If Jesse wins, he's fighting Sean Richman for the title in February, so there's a lot on the line for him."


Bjornberg's thoughts: "Anozie is with Lifetime MMA, and he's a stud. He was a good wrestler. He was stuck behind Destin McCauley in the Apple Valley lineup, but the kid can wrestle. Francis stepped up, and he's got plenty of experience. It's a good test to find out where Anozie is."


Bjornberg's thoughts: "Mackiel is at Spartan, and Murphy is at the Academy. They're mid-level guys trying to work their way up. Both are working hard, and I hear great things about what they're doing in the gym. Both come to bang, too. I think this has potential as a fight of the night."


Bjornberg's thoughts: "This is another fight I'm looking forward to. Renville really has improved a lot in the last year. He's no joke. Grube is a good wrestler out of Iowa. I've heard great things. I've seen him on video, and he looks like a good prospect. We're excited to have him on the show and see what he can do, and I think Renville is a perfect test for him. We'll see where he's at quickly."


Bjornberg's thoughts: "He's out of Steve Berger's Red Nose MMA in St. Louis. That's a real up and coming gym. We're going to work with them a lot here in the next year. It's a great gym with lots of quality fighters. Newman is 2-0 and his brother is like 14-1 as an amateur. He's very talented, so we're excited to see what he can do. Huntley wanted a tough fight, and he wants to fight for a belt at some point. This is the type of fight he needs to win to get that title shot. The winner of this fight is getting a shot at Mitch White on Feb. 22. Huntley is working out of the Academy. And he's always fun to watch. I'm sure this will be another war."


Bjornberg's thoughts: "Walsh trains out of World of Self Defense/Combat Jiu-Jitsu in Minneapolis, and Shover is with American Top Team in Savage. Both are making their debut. The Savage guys really like Shover. He's older at 42, but he's solid. I don't know a ton about either guy, but I've heard good things from their gyms."


Bjornberg's thoughts: "I don't know anything about either, but again, going by what their coaches say, this is a perfect fight. Jokondo is at the Academy. He did a kickboxing fight and got caught by Luke Rudberg. Jokondo was fighting up a weight, though, and now he's at 125, where he should be. Gomez is a tough kid; he doesn't have a lot of experience, but I think it's a good start for both guys."

JASON WONG (1-2) vs. JOHN MELINA (2-10)

Bjornberg's thoughts: "Wong started 0-2, but he looked great on our last show. We asked him back right away. I was impressed with his composure in the cage. He's another Savage guy. John has been around the block. He always brings it, especially early in fights. I think he'll give Wong all he can handle and push the pace early on."





150 -- Damion Hill vs. Jordan Parsons

145 -- Jose Pacheco vs. Dan Moret

170 -- Victor Moreno vs. Benjamin Smith

190 -- Nate Hoffman vs. Marcelo Nunes

175 -- Nate Howe vs. Jesse Midas

190 -- Garrett Olson vs. Reese Hernandez

Heavyweight -- Matt Larson vs. Shane Dezee

145 -- Dale Bennett vs. Mark Sainci


150 -- Jesse Rogge vs. Jesse Wannemacher

170 -- Tony Francis vs. Charles Anozie

145 -- Darrien Mackiel vs. Dustin Murphy

150 -- Marc Renville vs. Calvin Grube

125 -- Erik Newman vs. Jason Huntley

185 -- Brian Shover vs. Michael Walsh

125 -- Marc Gomez vs. Michael Jokondo

170 -- Jason Wong vs. John Melina