Latest update for Friday’s Epic Fighting 11 MMA Show

March 22, 2012 No Comments

Could one of these gals be the next Cris Cyborg or Ronda Rousey? Mixed Martial Artists (L to R) Lena Hellqvist of Skellefteå, Sweden, Vikki Marlow and Tamara Iglesias of San Diego take a break from their workout in preparation for Friday's Epic Fighting 11 MMA show at the 4th and B Concert Theatre. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Friday evening, Epic Fighting MMA returns to Downtown San Diego with a show at the 4th and B Concert Theatre. It’s their 11th installment in the Epic Fighting series. The most recognizable names on the fight card are Gibran Alvarez, Ty Holder, Arch Angel, Marco Neri, Sean Najjar, Andrew Lagdaan and Jaime Reyes.


In gyms throughout Southern California, MMA fighters have been honing their skills for this 12 bout event with two bouts featuring the ladies. As in the past, this fight card has already changed four times. In preparing for such a show, often times you’ll hear a fighter suffering either a foot injury or a facial cut in sparring. It’s all part of the game.

Latest Bout Sheet after Thursday’s weigh-ins:

The 28 year-old physician, Dr. Ryan Desmarais is scheduled to make his MMA debut on Friday night. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Dr. Ryan Desmarais is shown hitting the heavy bag at the Victory MMA Gym in Point Loma, San Diego, CA. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Note well, Dr. Ryan Desmarais, who is making his MMA debut and has been training in the Martial Arts (mostly Muy Thai and Jiu Jitsu) on and off for 10 years, is set to go against Andrew Jackson, not to be confused with the former President. Desmarais is confident he’ll be able to hold his own against anyone, regardless of their lineage.

The doctor’s specialty is orthopedics and he mentioned, “After we get through, I’ll probably be seeing my opponent as a patient.”

Jackson is hoping the good doctor will be doing a self assessment.

Coaches, Johnex Alves and the esteemed Dean Lister have been working with Desmarais for a little over two years. Desmarais, a transplant from Boston, moved here in 2008.

On Saturday, St. Patty’s Day, Desmarais was missing his old stopping grounds, a place where sports (the Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots) are paramount in one’s life.

When asking coach Alves if Desmarais was ready for his debut, he seemed certain, “I’ve got confidence in him. Confidence he can pull the trigger. As long as the other guy doesn’t have three hands and three legs, we’re not scared.”

(L to R) Lena Hellqvist of Skellefteå, Sweden, Vikki Marlow and Tamara Iglesias of San Diego take a break from their workout in preparation for Friday's Epic Fighting 11 Show at the 4th and B Concert Theatre. Photo: Jim Wyatt

The other first timers to Epic Fighting are San Diego’s Tamara Iglesias and Lena Hellqvist of Skellefteå, Sweden, both train at Victory MMA, both are coached by Tony Palafox and Dean Lister, both are Flyweights (115 pounds) and get this, both are nurses. 

Mixed Martial Artist Tamara Iglesias. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Iglesias, who is 38 years-old, but looks 10 years younger, is scheduled to fight Kaiyana Rain and the 28 year-old Hellqvist will face Debbie Micev of Undisputed North Park.

Hellqvist is like an exchange student. Her hometown, Skellefteå is a long way from Stockholm (almost 9 hours by car) and an even longer way (5,317 miles as the crow flies) from San Diego. Stieg Larsson, the author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is from her hometown.

To show you how serious she is, Hellqvist, who’s now 28, started training in the Mixed Martial Arts when she was 13. Her coaches appear to be extremely proud of her development. She’s in top condition and when she throws a punch or a kick she’s always well grounded to use the maximum leverage.

Iglesias, a Navy veteran of 8 years, has played almost every sport imaginable from baseball (with the boys) to soccer. She’s a remarkable athlete who is fearless and goes nonstop. Like other Mixed Martial Artists she does have a bad habit of dropping her guard, especially the left hand and doesn’t show enough head movement. Her kicks and ground game look topnotch.

As mentioned this is her first Epic Fighting bout, but she did fight once before, a recent decision win over Hellqvist up in LA. That was before they started training together.

With all the new talent being introduced and the reputations of the coaches on the line, Friday’s show looks to be intriguing.

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