MMA returns to Ontario with plenty of local talent


Canadian Josh Hill appeared on TUF 18 and has fought for WSOF. (Al Powers/Zuffa LLC/Getty)

Mixed martial arts is back in Ontario.

While the UFC mulls over a potential return to Toronto later this year, Global Warriors FC 2 takes place Saturday night from the Central Arena in Burlington, Ont. Along with a main event featuring two former World Series of Fighting title challengers, the card is loaded with some of this country’s most talented fighters. Let’s take a look at the event.

Josh Hill vs. Josh Rettinghouse

In the main event, TUF 18 castmember Hill looks to bounce back from the first loss of his career when he battles fellow WSOF 135-pound fighter Rettinghouse. Both combatants are coming off a loss to current WSOF bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes. The Hamilton native Hill has an exceptional wrestling game, but has improved his standup immensely since spending time down in California with Team Alpha Male. Rettinghouse hasn’t competed since March 2014 and prior to the Moraes loss had won six of last eight fights. An impressive victory for either fighter could propel them back into a WSOF title picture very soon.

Adrian Woolley vs. Cleber Junior

In the flyweight division, 32-year-old hometown favourite Woodley looks for back-to-back wins for the first time since 2010 as he welcomes Brazilian fighter Junior. Woolley’s last loss was a controversial split decision against current UFC flyweight Chris Kelades last July at ECC 21. He’s coming off a unanimous decision victory over Eric Wilson this past October at XFFC 5 and will no doubt look to make a statement in hopes of a UFC contract. Junior hasn’t competed since May 2014 and is coming off a third-round knockout loss to Felipe Jesus.

Alex Ricci vs. Kyle Prepolec

It’s a battle between Toronto and Windsor, as Score Fighting Series veteran Ricci locks horns with PFC fighter Prepolec. Ricci has been on the cusp of a UFC callup for a few years now, but setbacks to Ryan Healy and most recently Darrell Horcher have halted those aspirations. Now the M-1 Thai Boxing product looks to get back in the win column and steal the momentum of his younger adversary. Prepolec, a product of the Maximum Training Centre in Windsor – where UFC strawweight Randa Markos honed her skills for years – looks for his fourth win in a row. At 25 years old, taking out a savvy veteran in Ricci could land him on the fast track to a UFC call up. This bout has “Fight of the Night” written all over it as neither combatant is afraid to stand and trade.

Lyndon Whitlock vs. Mike Hernandez

Bantamweight fighter Whitlock looks for his third win in a row when he goes to war with Michigan Top Team product Hernandez. The 30-year-old Hamilton native is coming of back to back wins over Ryan Connor and Michael Spoenlein and aims for his first three-fight win streak since 2011. Hernandez has won three in a row including his last bout, a unanimous decision over Thomas Vasquez at Bellator 124 last September. Both fighters are well versed in all areas but its likely Whitlock will want to take this fight to the mat and earn his fifth career win by submission.

Ryan Dickson vs. Jason Witt

Dickson, one of Canada’s top prospects, aims to get back on the winning track when he meets Titan FC veteran Witt in a catchweight affair. The 25-year-old had won four straight before suffering a unanimous decision loss to Bellator veteran Jason Fischer in March at Hard Knocks 42. His opponent, Kansas City native Witt, has won two in a row and primarily likes to fight on the ground where he boasts four of his five wins by submission. That’s not a problem for Dickson, who also has an exceptional ground game with eight of his 10 wins coming by way of submission.

Denis Puric vs. Josh Rich

“The Bosnian Menice” is back in action and looks for the first three-fight win streak of his career when he meets fellow Canadian Rich. After a three-year layoff from the sport, the 30-year-old Puric returned to action this past November, knocking out Heili Alateng at Kulun Fight 13 in China. His opponent, 35-year-old Rich has kept his unblemished record intact earning all three of his career victories by finish. Through a combined 11 career fights, neither of these fighters have gone the distance, so don’t blink in this one.

Jason Meisel vs. Taylor Solomon

Caledonia native Meisel looks to win two straight fights when he meets Iroquois MMA product Soloman. After losing back to back fights to UFC lightweight Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Keven Morin, Meisel bounced back last May, earning a unanimous decision victory over Remy Bussieres at Bellator 119. “The King” meanwhile hasn’t fought since November 2012, where he defeated Christopher St. Jean at Wreck MMA – Last Stand.

Here’s a look at the full Global Warriors FC 2 fight card:

— Josh Hill (10-1) vs. Josh Rettinghouse (10-3)
— Ryan Dickson (10-3) vs. Jason Witt (5-2)
— Lyndon Whitlock (9-4) vs. Mike Hernandez (7-2)
— Adrian Woolley (9-4) vs. Cleber Junior (9-3)
— Alex Ricci (8-3) vs. Kyle Prepolec (8-3)
— Denis Puric (5-3) vs. Josh Rich (3-0)
— Adam Assenza (4-3) vs. John Schulz (5-2)
— Jason Meisel (5-3) vs. Taylor Solomon (4-5)
— Paul Jalbert (3-1) vs. Zach Fears (3-0)
— Dave Hale (1-2) vs. Josh Taveirne (1-0)
— Oliver Vadnais (1-1) vs. Kyle Post (0-1)

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