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NOTEBOOK: Big-show veterans will square off in Owatonna Print E-mail
Written by Ben Pherson   
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 08:55

The biggest fight in Driller Promotions history will go down April 12 in Owatonna as part of O-Town Throwdown I at the Four Seasons Centre.

Two big-show veterans, including one of the sport's most experienced fighters, will clash in the night's main event.

Travis "Diesel" Wiuff is returning home for the first time since 2003, and he's getting a big test in his backyard.

Wiuff is set to square off with Bellator veteran Terry Davinney (10-5) of Michigan.

Wiuff holds one of MMA's most decorated resumes. He is a veteran of virtually every big promotion, including the UFC, Pride, Bellator, Sengoku, IFC, Moosin, IFO and the IFL. Wiuff holds wins over guys like Keith Jardine, Josh Hendricks, Matt Horwich, Sean Salmon, Chris Tuchscherer, Ricco Rodriguez, Kaz Fujita, Jeff Monson and Christian M'Pumbu.

In all, Wiuff has 69 career wins and 18 losses for a total of 87 professional fights over his storied MMA career.

Wiuff has the opportunity to earn career win No. 70 back in his hometown. He's a former Owatonna High School wrestler, who went on to wrestle at Rochester Community and Technical College and Minnesota State, Mankato. Wiuff was an All-American at both RCTC and MSU.

This will be Wiuff's first fight in Owatonna in more than 10 years; he last fought Royce Lueck in O-Town in 2003.

If Wiuff is going to get win No. 70, he'll have to earn it. Though he's just 27 years old, Davinney brings an impressive resume to Minnesota.

Davinney has shown good knockout power in his MMA career, and he's coming off of the biggest win of his career. He got the call from Bellator and delivered in prime time, scoring a 15-second knockout win over four-time Bellator vet Matt Van Buren (6-1), who trains with Brandon Vera. That win came during Bellator 82.

Davinney brings a four-fight winning streak to Minnesota. He trains with Team Shoot in Michigan.

Wiuff also is coming off of a big win; he took out Brett Murphy, who's considered one of Minnesota's top heavyweight prospects, during a New Year's Eve show in Minneapolis, hosted by Jim Clark and Valhalla Cagefighting.

O-Town Throwdown is April 12 in Owatonna, and tickets are available now online at www.cagetix.com and from participating fighters.

Several other fights for O-Town Throwdown will be announced in the coming days, including the field for the first 135-pound Grand Prix.

Already committed to the card are pro fighters like Chad Curry, Mark Sainci, Chris Hassing, Brandon Abrego, Dan Monette and Mikey Waverek, along with amateurs Richard Rodriguez, Dana Gostomczik, Christina Jobe, Paul Burgin, Calvin Grube, Joe Willson, Adrian Harris, Jared Lange and many, many more.

***

Minnesota Martial Arts Academy product Ben Smith scored a big win over the weekend in Iowa.

Smith, Minnesota's No. 2-ranked 170-pounder,competed as part of the Xplode Fight Series promotion. The organization is based out of Chula Vista, Calif., but has expanded to the Midwest.

Smith took on Militich Fighting Systems product Jason Louck (16-11) for the XFS 170-pound title.

After dominating the opening round, Smith shot for a takedown in Round 2. He lifted Louck up off the ground and slammed him to the mat with violent force, knocking Louck out cold.

The win put the strap around Smith's waist and moved him to 11-1 as a professional. Smith has now won three straight since his loss in RFA.

Smith will get another big test back here at home on April 26.

That night Smith will take on Nate Howe in the main event of the Driller Promotions debut the Muse in downtown Minneapolis.

"We're very excited to be working with Muse, and this is a main event I think Minnesota should enjoy," Driller's Jeremy Bjornberg said. "Ben is on the verge of signing with a big-time promotion, and Nate has looked amazing since returning to the cage and he seems to get better each time out now."

A big amateur showdown also has been added to that April 26 show in downtown Minneapolis.

Nick "The Inspiration" Palmer will make his return to MMA against Ash Majek, who's on a tear.

Palmer is becoming known as a knockout specialist, and of course, he does it all with one hand. He was awarded the MNMMANEWS Knockout of the Year for 2013.

Majek is 5-2 as an amateur, and he's won three straight. That doesn't include his exhibition win over Dustin Murphy during the 145-pound Grand Prix in Austin, where Majek missed weight.

After starting his MMA career 0-4, Palmer brings a three-fight winning streak into the fight with Majek. His last two wins were by speedy first-round KOs.

Tickets for Driller's debut at Muse are on sale now at www.cagetix.com and from participating fighters.

***

Zach Juusola is set to make his RFA debut in March, and teammate Dan Moret also will be returning to RFA on that same event.

RFA 13 is scheduled for March 7 in Lincoln, Neb. Tickets for this show already are nearly sold out at the Pershing Center.

The event will be televised live on AXS TV, and both Juusola and Moret will be part of that broadcast.

Moret (6-0) is scheduled to meet a fellow unbeaten prospect in Luke Sanders (6-0).

Moret won his RFA debut over Jose Pacheco in June in Milwaukee. He followed that up with another win over Pacheco, this time finishing the 145er at Caged Chaos 4 in December.

Now, Moret will get the biggest test of his career in Sanders, who also won his RFA debut last summer. Both Moret and Sanders will be considered RFA title contenders with a win in March.

Juusola was scheduled to meet Cody Pfister on this show, but he has a new opponent in E.J. Brooks.

Brooks is a big-show veteran, winning four straight Bellator fights before suffering a KO loss at Bellator 77. Brooks lost his RFA debut by split decision to Johnny Case at RFA 10 in Iowa last October.

Juusola is the state's top-ranked 155-pounder. He has a 10-2 record and is coming off of wins over Codie Kahler and Billy Christianson.

***

King of the Cage is returning to northern Minnesota on Saturday. KOTC is back at Northern Lights Casino in Walker. If info is provided, Minnesota MMA News will preview the event later this week.

We also plan to catch up with now UFC veteran Tony Martin to talk about his big-show debut. Martin suffered a unanimous-decision loss two weekends ago in the UFC, but he showed a well-rounded game despite the setback. Martin is healing now from a knee injury, but he's chomping at the bit to get back in the cage.