Sports

MMA returns to Blyn

That blood, sweat and tears? Yeah, that's homegrown.

The Throwdown in Jamestown II, a mixed martial arts event hitting the 7 Cedars Casino this weekend, features several local fighters.

And that's exactly how Bristol Marunde, show co-promoter and competitor, wants it.

"We want the base of the show to be local," says Marunde, a 2000 graduate of Sequim High School now based in Las Vegas.

The 6-foot 1-inch, 185-pound pro fighter with a 9-5 record is slated to go toe-to-toe with Tony King in the show's main event.

"When you know who you're rooting for (it) makes for a much more exciting show," Marunde says.

The most recent mixed martial arts event, the first "Throwdown in Jamestown" on Nov. 14, 2009, brought 854 spectators to the casino, said 7 Cedars marketing director Judy Walz.

"It tends to draw pretty well," Walz said of similar MMA events. "I know the UFC (Ultimate Fighting championship series) is really popular right now."

The second "Throwdown" event brings a total of 10 bouts to the casino, with six of those fighters coming from Sequim or Port Angeles.

Marunde and Tad Bremer of Cage Warrior Combat developed the show, talking to local gym owners to gauge talent and interest in putting the show together.

"We're only going to put local talent capable of fighting hard," Marunde says. "The fighting community is small. We know them or someone who works out with them."

Besides the Marunde-King main card, other highlights include Dustin Praxedes in his pro debut taking on Abel Trujillo, A.J. Weber defending his MMA title and a special appearance from MMA veteran Keith Jardine (see below).

"It's real strong," Marunde said of the world of mixed martial arts. "It's getting more legitimate, more competitive."

The first four preliminary fights are set for 7-8 p.m., followed by an intermission. The next four preliminary fights are set for 8:15-9:15 p.m., followed by a second intermission. The semi and main event title fights are scheduled for 9:30-10 p.m. (Schedule is subject to change).

The Cage Warrior Combat group is looking to bring another mixed martial arts event back to 7 Cedars Casino in July or August.

But first, it's a "Throwdown," part two.

"I expect the event to be much like the last time - the competition was awesome," Marunde says.

"People are going to get their money's worth. It's a fun party. Eat, drink, play some games at the casino."

But Marunde doesn't plan on playing many games. He's got a match with King on his mind.

"I don't know anything about him," Marunde says. "Honestly I don't care. Bring it on, whoever's in front of me.

"I love coming home, with a big party and a fight."



Jardine makes

special showing

The "Throwdown" event also features a special nonfighting guest appearance of Keith Jardine.

Dubbed "The Dean of Mean," Jardine is a professional mixed martial artist fighting as a light heavyweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship series.

He is scheduled to sign autographs and greet fans from 6-6:45 p.m. and during two intermissions.

Jardine, who has a number of notable wins to his name including victories against former UFC Light Heavyweight champions Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, trains with the Submission Fighting crew in Albuquerque, N.M.

"He's a big-name fighter - it's exciting to have him come and meet the fans," Marunde says.

In his most recent match, Jardine dropped a three-round decision to Ryan Bader at UFC 110 to run his record to 15-7-1.



"Throwdown in

Jamestown II"

What: Mixed martial arts event (10 bouts)

When: Saturday, March 6 (doors open at 6 p.m.; fights begin at 7 p.m.)

Where: 7 Cedars Casino events center, 270756 Highway 101, Blyn

Tickets: $40 general admission, $75 reserved seating (18 years and older, ID required)

More information:

683-7777, x617 or

www.7cedarscasino.com

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