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Fists of fury will be flying

Winnipeg bantamweight Fisette makes MMA pro debut tonight

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Louis (PETIT PAIN) FISETTE will make the ultimate hometown debut tonight in the Cage Fighting Manitoba 1 mixed martial arts show at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

Fisette, 20, will turn turn pro in his first fight in Winnipeg on the card of the city's new MMA promotion.

It's a big day for Fisette, a Winnipeg native who has a 4-1 record in amateur MMA bouts, all of which were fought out-of-province because amateur MMA fights are illegal in Manitoba. He will fight Daniel Mark in a bantamweight bout.

"The timing was right for me to turn pro. It will be a bit different fighting in front of a bigger crowd and more family and friends but I'm ready to go," said Fisette, a kick boxing instructor at Professional Edge Fitness and Conditioning, where he does his conditioning training with Jordan Cieciwa and his MMA training with Curtis Brigham of the Winnipeg Academy of Mixed Martial Arts.

Brigham, local MMA pro Lindsey Hawkes and friend Mariusz Ksiazkiewicz will be in Fisette's corner.

"I'm really excited. This is a time where you've got to try to make a really good impression, have an exciting fight and to try to get noticed. To do that would be awesome."

Fisette, who studied to be a firefighter before he became committed to MMA, said he had gone as far as he could as an amateur.

"People started knowing my name and I had a really hard time finding my last couple fights. I must have had six opponents back out each time," Fisette said. "Turning pro is the only way I'm going to grow and develop. It's great this event is here. You're going to see a lot of young up-and-coming guys who aren't ready or can't get into bigger cards come here and show what they've got."

It's because of young fighters like Fisette and the opportunity to fill a void that CFM promoters Gabriel Santos and George Dizik decided to start their company.

"One of our very important goals is to give guys that are up-and-coming a chance to fight here in Manitoba, start out pro and get paid, instead of having to go fight in other provinces for free as amateurs," Santos, 37, said. Ticket prices are considered low at $25 for a seat at a table.

"Our goal is to get them more experience in town here and bring in good fighters to compete with them. This will provide the fighters a conduit to grow and get experience and maybe get into bigger organizations."

The main event features Jeff Monson, a former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title contender, against well-known Canadian trainer Lee Mein (4-8-0) who is back in the fight game.

Monson will volunteer his time on Saturday at Gojo Gym where he will run a clinic and seminar for a reduced cost of $30 per athlete. All proceeds go to the gym.

Mein fought in Winnipeg last October on Guiseppe DeNatale's Canadian Fighting Championship 6 (CFC) where he posted a first-round victory over Kyle Cardinal.

Santos was matchmaker for the now defunct Tony Condello's Ultimate Cage Wars company. He said there's room in Manitoba for both his CFM company and the CFC because the sport is growing.

"It's our first show so we're excited, we're nervous, but we know we're capable of putting on a good show for people," Santos said, noting ticket sales at the end of Wednesday were over 900. He said the usual draw for Ultimate Cage Wars shows was about 1,200.

Cage Fighting Manitoba 1

Tonight: Winnipeg Convention Centre

Doors open 6:30 p.m.; fights start 7:30 p.m.

Must be 16 years of age or older to attend

Daryle Pinter (Ont.) vs. Jessie Seberg (Alta.) 145 pounds

Michael Glover (Sask.) vs. Gary Espinar (Winnipeg), 135 pounds

Daniel Mark (Sask.) vs. Louis Fisette (Winnipeg), 135 pounds

Souriyaphone Thongpheng (NT) vs. Robert Rende (Ont.), 145 pounds

Leo Constant (Sask.) vs. David Macmillan (Winnipeg), 155 pounds

Chris Cunningham (Ont.) vs. Martin Trendota (Winnipeg),170 pounds

Mike O'Neill (Ont.) vs. Cory Houston (Winnipeg), 155 pounds

Chucky Mady (Ont.) vs. Phill Deschambeault (Sask.), 135 pounds

Lee Mein (Alta.) vs. Jeff Monson (U.S.), heavyweight

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 7, 2011 C5

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