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Hometown Pride

May 8, 2019 GMT

Anything can happen when the Avi Resort & Casino opens its doors to a full mixed martial arts and kickboxing fight card featuring both professional and amateur fighters for WFC 104.

MMA incorporates multiple fight disciplines, including boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, for fans who enjoy no-holds-barred combat sports by young fighters looking to make a name for themselves.

Winners and losers will be declared when 24 warriors put everything on the line for this 12-bout card on Saturday, May 11, in the Avi’s Grand Ballroom (doors open 7 p.m., fights start 8 p.m.). Tickets start at $30.

Fort Mojave Indian Tribal member Shane Mapatis is usually the headliner for the World Fighting Championships held locally a couple times each year because he was born and raised in Needles and has connections to the community, but he won’t be in the cage this time.

“Shane is injured and won’t be competing,” said Matt McGovern, president of World Fighting Championships. “We have a big-name fighter in J.J. Ambrose, who is a local high school star who is coming back to fight in Laughlin for the first time in five years.

“WFC 104 at the Avi Resort & Casino is headlined by J.J. Ambrose. J.J. is a big-time fighter who’s fought for the biggest fighter promotions all over the world. He’s originally from Laughlin, and he’s really looking forward to fighting in front of his friends and family in the cage on May 11,” McGovern added. “These will be action-packed fights.”

Ambrose will take on Darren Smith Jr., in the 170-pound professional division.

“Getting the opportunity to fight in Laughlin in front of my friends and family means the world to me,” Ambrose said. “This town has been behind me from the start and I want to make them proud come May 11!”

The second pro fight in the 170-pound division will see Ryder Newman vs. Tom Morales.

While Mapatis is sidelined for the time being, the tribe still will have representation when Mayhi Medrano steps into the ring for his first MMA fight. This big-time prospect shows a lot of promise and McGovern said he expects great things from Medrano’s debut, and Medrano doesn’t want to disappoint.

“May 11 is the start of my journey in MMA,” Medrano said. “I’m thankful I get to showcase all of my hard work at the Avi.”

Medrano takes on Roger Atchley in the 165-pound amateur division.

Other fighters from Laughlin include Cristian Molina, Mikey Green and Matt Huffman.

Up and coming contenders to watch out for — Wesley Bailes, Corey Daniels, Christian Beyers and J.J. Nelson.

The remaining amateur fight card is shaping up as follows:

- Wesley Bailes vs. Jesse Herrera, 145 pounds;

- Corey Daniels Jr. vs. Cole Faylor, 155 pounds;

- Christian Beyers vs. Trent Phillips, 125 pounds;

- Matt Huffman vs. Treston Kaneao, 185 pounds, Jiu-jitsu discipline;

- Breona Vaughn vs. Kelsey

Wickstrum, 155 pounds, MMA discipline;

- Mikey Green vs. opponent TBD, 155 pounds, Jiu-jitsu discipline;

- Rex Hazuka vs. opponent TBD, 185 pounds, MMA discipline;

- J.J. Nelson vs. Jeff Sutton, 160 pounds, MMA discipline;

- Timmy Cuamba vs. opponent TBD, 145 lbs., MMA dicipline;

As always, the card is subject to last-minute changes.

Tickets are $75 cage side; $50 reserved and handicapped seating; $30 general admission and they can be purchased at AviCasino.com or Yapsody.com. All ages are welcome to attend.