For most people, a 40th birthday celebration might include time with family and friends, balloons and birthday cake. For Abbotsford’s Kultar Gill, it will include entering the ring and fighting in front of thousands of people.
The Abbotsford resident and man behind the popular Mamba MMA gym in west Abbotsford takes on a tough opponent in California native Anthony Ruiz, who most recently lost a first-round fight in Bellator 210.
Ruiz has a professional mixed martial arts record of 35-23, and has fought all over the globe. He made headlines in 2012 when he was wired $150,000 by Russian president Vladimir Putin after his performance at a Sochi event impressed the ruler.
Gill and Ruiz will be fighting at light heavyweight, and Gill said that he is a little sore from training so hard to prepare, but he is looking forward to the match.
“I respect the guy a lot,” he said. “We both want to have a good fight, and I really think we will.”
Gill has also fought all over the world, competing in both MMA and kickboxing. He said finishing up in his hometown will be a nice way to ride off into the sunset.
“I started fighting in Abbotsford when I was 12,” he said. “So it’s nice to finish in the same place I started. I always get so much love and support from everyone in Abbotsford.”
Interest in MFN6 has been notable, with all the VIP tables available for the event sold out in just five days. Gill said over 1,700 tickets have already been sold for the event, and he predicts at least 3,000 fans will pack Abbotsford Centre. He and his fellow organizers are aiming to try to get that number closer to 4,000 before the first bell rings.
“This is one of the biggest MMA shows in Canada every year,” he said. “And we always try to make it bigger and better. It’s a family event, so even if you’re not a big fan of fighting you will enjoy this show.”
Gill’s bout is one of over a dozen fights scheduled for the show.
Another highly anticipated match on the main card of the show is Port Moody’s Lance Gibson Jr. vs. Vancouver’s Myles Merola. Gibson’s father fought in the UFC, and Gibson himself is undefeated as a pro and was an All-American-level wrestler at Arizona State University. Merola (11-7) has not lost a pro fight since 2009.
Other matches on the main card include: Coquitlam’s Shawna Ram taking on Kaiyana Rian from Los Angeles, Abbotsford’s Simon Chahal vs. Ian Bajawa, Ontario’s Tony Theocharis vs. Saskatoon’s Ryan Moore, and Campbell River’s Herbert Moon facing Coquitlam’s John Dubois.
Another big match on the card is Abbotsford’s Konstantine Gaivoronskii vs. Coquitlam’s Blake Bird. Both fighters were trained by Gill in Abbotsford.
Plenty of other Abbotsford-based fighters will also be competing on the show, including Ashley Watkins, Jake Hyrcha, Ian Stuart, Dustin Parsons, Rory Gorton, Pola Sahota, Arbaaz Gill, Jerome Daron Karsenti, Ceasar Beatea and Niko Sahamis.
A weigh-in event occurs on March 7 at the Station House Pub in Aldergrove.
For the complete fight card, visit mfn.mambamma.com/MFN-card.html.