King of the Cage returns to the Ute Mountain Casino on Saturday night to present Underground 67.
Former Dove Creek wrestler and local favorite Grant Hobbs (4-2) will look to increase his record to 5-2 in the 125-pound bout against Luis Fernandez of Colorado Springs. Hobbs, 21, trains as an amateur fighter out of Durangos Vicious Strength Mixed Martial Arts.
Hobbs won his last fight by knockout over Rudy Kennedy of Gallup, N.M., at KOTC Underground 65 on Jan. 22 at the Ute Mountain Casino. Hobbs had a large contingent of fans last time and said he feeds off that energy, which gives him a decisive advantage over his opponents.
Its all about just coming out and being ready to go, Hobbs said. That mental focus is where I feel like I win most of the time. I look at the other guys getting in the cage, and they look scared for their life. Im getting in there with no pressure.
Fernandez also won his fight at KOTC Underground 65 over Vicious Strength MMA teammate Dusty Dasugo at 135 pounds.
Hobbs was able to scout that fight and get some information on Fernandez from Dasugo, who had firsthand experience with him.
I want to get my hands involved. Thats how I do it, Hobbs said about his upcoming fight. I want to get them involved where Im standing. Ive always been a dominant ground fighter. I want to prove to people that I can stand.
Hobbs has been training one-on-one more with his boxing coach Victor Crawford to prepare for this fight. They have focused on finding the best fighting combinations and to get comfortable with those.
With his training and crowd support, Hobbs feels very confident against his competition.
He hasnt fought somebody that is well liked, like me in an area. Hes in for a world of hurt in my mind, Hobbs said about Fernandez.
Hobbs would like to recognize his sponsors and Crawford for their help.
First-time fighter and Vicious Strength MMA amateur teammate Nick McNulte, 18, will make his MMA debut at 135 pounds. Hell take on Hobbs last opponent, Kennedy.
Its the ultimate test to see if this is something I love. I feel great, McNulte said.
McNulte has been doing a lot of skill and technical training to get ready for his fight on Saturday. But feeling first-fight jitters, McNulte is working on his mental toughness as well.
Winning his debut fight is something that McNulte greatly covets.
Everything, McNulte described what it would mean to win his first fight. I worked so hard. I would prove a lot to myself. If I lose, I will have to come back and train harder.
Fighters from Cortez include Cory Jager and Dominic Gustamantes, who fought each other at KOTC 65 with Jager winning at 170 pounds.
Doors open at the Ute Mountain Casino on Saturday at 6 p.m. with the fights beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased through the Ute Mountain Casino Gift Shop or by calling 800-258-8007. Its an all ages event, but children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at firstname.lastname@example.org.