By: Justin Schneewind, Contributing Writer
HOUSTON, TX, October 4, 2012 – Luis Lara and Angelus McFarlane will fight in their first mixed martial arts title bouts at Legacy Amateur Series 10, but that will not be the only firsts they will experience.
Lara, who will face Leroy Vasquez for the 155 lbs. belt, and McFarlane, who will take on Joel Garcia in a non-title bout, will have their first MMA fights in a ring at the Oct. 6 event.
The inclusion of Muay Thai fights on the Legacy Amateur Series 10 card necessitated the move from the standard cage into a ring.
The shift caused some shuffling on the card as several fighters with a heavier emphasis on wrestling either declined fights or pulled out of competition after being informed that the fights would take place in a ring.
Those fighters’ decisions resulted in a card loaded with strikers, said Legacy’s matchmaker for amateur fights.
“From top to bottom, these are all bangers,” said Collin Cantrell, who serves as the promotion’s ring announcer in addition to his duties as amateur matchmaker. “This may be the most exciting amateur event we have ever put on.”
The primary contrast comes with takedowns, which become more difficult without a cage keeping an opponent steady.
“It does meter the way a fighter prepares,” McFarlane said. “We did definitely change a few things.”
The ring measures 20 feet by 20 feet, with an area of 16 feet by 16 feet inside the ropes.
“It’s going to be action packed,” Cantrell said. “There’s not a lot of room to run.”
The presence of Muay Thai fights on the card forced the change to the ring because the state mandates any boxing or kickboxing event to be held in a ring.
The rings may become a more common feature at Legacy’s amateur events. The success of the Muay Thai fights at Legacy Amateur Series 10 will weigh in the decision to plan more combined cards, but Cantrell hopes to have at least two MMA/Muay Thai amateur events a year.
“This Saturday will be telling, but even if it is a stellar event, it still won’t be every time,” Cantrell said.
Without MMA experience in rings, Lara and McFarlane will lean on the experience they do have in rings.
For McFarlane, that includes boxing bouts and competitions in a variety of martial arts in addition to the in-ring training he has been doing at 4 Oz. Fight Club.
Lara’s experience comes from his training in the ring at Metro Fight Club.
Lara admits that training and fighting in a ring has differences, but he said they are not as pronounced as he expected them to be.
“I was thrilled they offered me a title fight, but it raised some questions when I found out it would be in a ring,” Lara said. “I was initially skeptical, but there are some similarities. It’s not so dramatic a difference that you wouldn’t know what to do.”
He still prefers training and fighting in cages, but he expressed optimism that the inclusion of Muay Thai events could increase the interest in Legacy events and cited the importance for a fighter to be able to compete in any environment.
McFarlane also saw advantages in being able to compete outside of a cage.
“I’m excited about the ring. I truly am,” McFarlane said. “It’s a new and exciting challenge for advancing my career in MMA, and I’m grateful.”