By John D'Onofrio
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Who is the next great Lockport fighter? Is it Joe Taylor? Brandon Freiburger? Matt Harrison?
We could find out tonight when the Lockport Kenan Center Arena hosts a well-rounded professional kickboxing card that features several Lockport and Western New York fighters, produced by local company Lace Up Promotions.
Only general admission tickets remain for the fights, which are slated to begin at about 7 p.m.
Four main events are on tap, including Taylor's highly-anticipated return to the ring, following a first-round knockout victory by the Lockport semi-pro football running back last June in his kickboxing debut.
Taylor, who weighed in at 197 pounds on Friday, will take on Toronto's Satbir Bassi of Ultimate Martial Arts. That fight will immediately precede the final main event of the evening, with MMA great Marc Stevens of Syracuse taking on Buffalo's “KO Kid” Jay Bauman from Team Deleon.
“I don't know too much about him, but I know he's a kicker. It's going to be a good fight — a much more difficult fight than my first one I think,” Taylor said Friday. “But I'm fighting in front of my mom, my sister, my nieces, my cousins, in front of my Lockport Little Loop football team. There's a lot I'm fighting for.”
Taylor will be escorted to the ring tonight by his LLLF football team in jerseys waving LLLF flags. Among those attending the weigh-in was LLLF president Ritchie Blackburn.
Stevens said his vast UFC, Bellator, & Strikeforce experience will help him offset Bauman's power.
“My goal is to get back and take another shot at a UFC title run,” Stevens said. “I know Jay's a brawler and a tough guy, but I've fought a lot of tough guys before and I've beat up a lot of tough guys. He likes to brawl and swing for the fences, but I'm seasoned enough to go nine minutes with him. Being a tough guy will backfire on him.”
Tonight's impressive card from top to bottom includes several local fighters and trainers, led by Corey Webster's stable of Western New York MMA members that include Taylor, Harrison, Dan Dorfman, Quamaine Austin, Anthony Norton, Steve Horton, Scott Skinner and the Starpoint junior Freiburger.
United States Light Heavyweight Champion, Amer Abdallah and his team decided not to fight on this card due to the recent sale of Abdallah’s Lockport Athletic & Fitness club to the Jones family, who were also in attendance at Friday's weigh-ins.
WKA World amateur Middleweight champion and longest reigning knockout king, Kevin VanNostrand makes his return to Lockport in his second professional fight against Buffalo’s Jeff “Captain Caveman” Denz.
In a heavyweight showdown, Lockport’s Ali Kimmons will fight for the final time when he takes on Rochester’s Chuck Jewell. Kimmons said he will retire following the match.
“I'm just going to go right in on him. I want to take him out,” Kimmons said. “It's my last fight for sure and I want to go out on top.”
Webster's stable includes Buffalo's Quamaine Austin (174.2 pounds), just 18, who makes his debut against Mike “Hands of War” Moyer (173 pounds). Also making his debut is Starpoint junior Brandon Freiburger, who will take on Canadian Seir Aziz from Art of Muay Thai.
Middleweight Steve Horton from WNT MMA will take on Miguel Testa of Clinton Street Kickboxing in a rematch of a close fight earlier this year, won by Testa by split decision.
Among other fights, Lockport's Harrison (149 pounds) will fight Mark Diryas of Toronto; and popular MMA and Muay Thai champion, Luay Ashkar of Team Andrello is making his professional debut against Canadian lightweight champion Jordan Graham.
Community sponsors for the event include Local Edge, All Metal Works, KJ Motorsports, Mulvey Construction and Executive Landscaping.