Expat Jeff Achison was one of the first to buy a ringside seat to Saturday’s Fight Night America mixed martial arts competition at the Jefferson Perez Coliseum.
“When I lived in Atlanta I was a big UFC (Ultimate Fighting Champsionship) fan and went to as many fights as I could,” says Achison. “I always wanted to be ringside to get a close-up, personal view of the action. You almost always get splattered with blood so I wore old clothes.”
And there will be blood, according to promoters of the Cuenca event. “The fighters are very skilled martial artists and they will be here to win no matter what it takes,” says Wilmer Sánchez of Publipaís. “We model the event after UFC. The fights are in the octagon and there is no way out for the fighters. It’s not a fight to the death but it can be very brutal.”
Construction of the octagon, which will be covered with mesh for the fights, was almost complete on Wednesday afternoon. On Saturday night, the octagon it will surrounded by premium seats which sell for $40 each.
The fight card includes 12 matches, three of them for titles in the 70 kg, 57 kg and women’s categories.
Although the fights can be bloody, Sánchez says he does not expect serious injuries. “All the fighters are highly trained athletes who have won awards in their martial arts fields,” he says. “They know how to inflict pain on their opponent but they also know how to protect themselves. We want spectators who appreciate the artistry and skill of the fighters. We are not looking for people who like violence.”
Among the main events Saturday are a 71 kg. bout between Alfredo “Pitbull” Molina from Quito and Jerry Ortiz from nearby Cañar, and a 57 kg. match between Brazilian Igor Rocha and Pabo Suntaxi from Guayaquil.