Rockford Cage Fights Ready For Rumble

Local MMA guys will go at it Saturday evening in a night of action put on by No Joke Mixed Martial Arts.
LOVES PARK-No Joke Martial Arts in Loves Park is serious about promoting and elevating the sport of MMA.  This Saturday the Club will turn some of it’s top young fighters loose in the cage.

Johnny Jackson of Rockford gets a rush out of stepping into the cage that he can’t find anywhere else.

"I can’t even begin to explain the feeling of euphoria that goes on in your body when the adrenalin is pumping as you’re stepping into the ring with somebody that’s equally skilled at hurting people," says Jackson.

Young combatants say it’s easy to get hooked.

"At first it was for fun, and then I got addicted to it," says MMA fighter Chand Tubio. "I like being competitive."

Jackson and Tubio are two Stateline fighters who will compete Saturday night at the Tebala Shrine Temple in the Rockford Cage Fights. There will be at least 12 bouts in all.

Promoter and No Joke coach Rich Whitenack says his young competitors have the tools and the drive, they simply need more experience and that’s what Saturday night is all about.

"You can’t tell what it’s like until you’re doing it," says Whitenack. "Getting hit for the first time with four ounce MMA gloves is quite a bit different than a sparring session."

Jamie Howard has 12 bouts under his belt. His record is 10-2. He has enough experience to know what’s important when he steps into the cage.

"Patience is a virtue," says Howard. "You’ve really got to control your pace. It’s a long fight. Attrition sets in."

"I think it’s the only test of athleticism and tenacity," says Whitenack. "Anytime you see live fights you get a lot of action going. You get the guys excited to be in there. You get to see it. It’s not scripted. Who knows what’s going to happen."

The first bout Saturday will begin at 5:30 p.m. The doors at the Tebala Shrine will open at 5 p.m.
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