By Dwight Wakabayashi
The Maximum Fighting Championship will finally grant the little guys some respect this weekend when they introduce the bantamweight division and the first 135-pound fight in the promotion’s history as Anthony Birchak will take on fellow American Ryan Benoit in the main event of MFC 37: True Grit Friday in Edmonton.
Both young fighters are really looking forward to making a name for themselves in a well-established promotion.
“To be the first fighter signed is a huge opportunity and I knew they set the bar at the top right away. I feel like that puts me as the favorite to be the first champion as well.” Birchak stated.
The 26 year-old wrestler out of Tucson, Ari., likens his game to one of his favorites, UFC welterweight Johny Hendricks.
"He's been one of my favorites for a long time now just with the way he uses his wrestling to set up everything in his game. He can change levels and make it hurt because guys are so scared of his wrestling".
Birchak comes in to this fight with nine wins and one loss in his professional career with three TKO wins in a row, and stated shortly after he signed in an article on maximumfighting.com that he trusted that MFC president Mark Pavelich would not sign any "punks" to fight him.
He was right in that trust with whom Pavelich signed as his first opponent, Ryan Benoit.
Benoit is a young, heavy-handed wrestler out of Dallas who is just as excited to get his run to the MFC title going.
"I'm really excited for this opportunity. The MFC is one of the top promotions in the world and I have had my eye on it for a long time." Benoit told sportsnet.ca.
"The MFC is a great place to face tough guys and make a name for myself. It's like a dream come true for me, and I'm ready to make it count."
Like Birchak, the base of Benoit's game is wrestling, but he has a pretty good idea of what he can bring when he steps in the cage.
"I keep saying it but I'm not comparing myself to him. I fight like Chuck Liddell,” Benoit said. “I love to knock people out like he does."
The addition of the 135-pound weight class to the longest standing MMA promotion in Canada is an exciting burst of new talent that will add life to a somewhat stale and unstable roster of fighters. Birchak is signed to a four fight deal and hopefully the MFC can lock up more young talent to multi-fight deals.
Due to a failed medical, Chris Barnett has been pulled from the main event title fight with Smealinho Rama and Birchak vs. Benoit has been bumped to the main event. The fight card will also feature the first brother on brother professional fight as Mike and Thomas Treadwell will settle their family feud in the cage.
MFC 37 will be the promotions second show of 2013 and will feature Canadian talents such as Alberta's Luke Harris taking on Jason Zentgraf and Saskatoon's Kurt Southern facing Mukai Maromo.