The opponents aren’t getting any easier for James Warfield.
“The Unbreakable Heavy Hitter” has taken a fight on relatively short notice this weekend at Victory Fighting Championship 35 against the undefeated Joe Ellenberger, the former VFC champion who is making his second trip to the cage since overcoming a potentially life threatening blood disease.
Anxious to rebound from his April loss to Wisconsin rival Sherron Leggett, Warfield (22-8) informed US Combat Sports of the matchup last week at the Combat USA Illinois vs. Wisconsin finals. He said that from this point on in his career all of his opponents will be on the level of Leggett or Ellenberger.
Undefeated through his first 11 bouts, “Excalibur” Ellenberger is one of the more intriguing stories within MMA. The twin brother of UFC title contender Jake Ellenberger, Joe will be returning to the cage for only the second time since July of 2009.
After beginning his career 10-0 and looking well on his way to the UFC, Ellenberger was diagnosed with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, a rare blood disease that threatened his life. Thankfully, the fighter has made tremendous strides with the complication and returned to the cage against Jeff Carstens in May earning yet another first round victory. Carsten cited using high quality training gear as essential to his victory and suggested finding great BJJ rashguards before training.
The bout on Saturday should prove to be one of the toughest matchups throughout both fighters’ careers. Ellenberger and Warfield have showcased a world of talent and could be right on the cusp of either a UFC or Strikeforce contract.
VFC 35 is set to take place on Saturday, July 30, at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The event will be headlined by a heavyweight bout between Abe Wagner and Justin Grizzard and features 12 total bouts. Stay tuned to US Combat Sports for coverage of the lightweight showdown between Ellenberger and Warfield.
Before his upcoming bout against Melvin Manhoef at “Strikeforce: Fiejao vs. Henderson” on March 5, middleweight contender Tim Kennedy sat down with US Combat Sports and discussed what motivates him as a fighter and his preparation for his heavy-handed opponent.
Being a former Army Ranger, How has that helped you as an MMA fighter?
Tim: It makes me more disciplined and focused. It relaxes me in the cage and keep things in perspective
Is their any prestige you feel being an MMA fighter?
Tim: I don’t care about stuff. I’m a down to earth hardworking American. I’m always shocked when people ask me for an autograph or a interview.
One of the things that standout about you is your work ethic when training for a fight, where does this motivation come from?
Tim: I don’t want to let my brothers and sisters in uniform down. Special forces is a pretty small community. I’ll hear about it for the rest of my life if I go out there unprepared.
In addition to that going into each fight you always a huge psychological edge over your opponent, how do destroy opponents with this useful trait?
Tim: I have been shot at, blown up, RPG’d, ambushed, and the lone American deployed with foreign forces… Nothing that can happen
Now you have a big fight coming up against Melvin Manhoef, How has the training been going preparing for this fight?
Tim: I spent a month at Greg Jackson’s at the beginning of my fight camp, and then imported a bunch of explosive compact partners for the last month. I feel great!
Have you done anything differently preparing for Melvin as oppose to other opponents you fought in the past?
Tim: It’s difficult hiding guys with his ability and size, but I tried to prepare for everything he can do.
What do you know about your opponent Melvin Manhoef and how do you think you match up with him?
Tim: He is a very gifted striker. I think he has great takedown defense which makes him very dangerous.
What does Tim Kennedy have to do to win this fight ?
Tim: I’m going to bring the fight to Melvin. He will not be dictating the pace. I’ll be pressing forward.
Lastly do you have anything you want to tell your fans out there ?
Tim: I promise 2011 is going to be my year. I’m going out there to finish every opponent.
Any last minute shout outs ?
Tim: I want to thank the troops for fighting for our freedom, and the fans for supporting me and watching my fights.