Organizers of Saturday night's mixed-martial arts Cage Fighting Xtreme event at the Target Center say the lineup features the largest contingent of Minnesota fighters ever to compete at the same event.
Twin Cities promoter Gavin Rydell says about 30 of the fighters are home-grown, with others coming from surrounding states. Three Minnesota fighters will square off against professional competitors from Japan.
It's an unusually large fight card in a growing sport that combines wrestling, boxing, and martial arts. But Rydell says the international flair is what really makes the matchups unique.
"It's taking the best we have here in Minnesota, and putting them up against best fighters in the world, instead of the best fighters in the U.S.," he said. "The guys get the chance to travel around the U.S. and fight for different promotions pretty regularly. It's very rare that we get Japanese fighters coming to the United States to fight our guys here."
The bouts will showcase different fighting styles.
"We produce a lot of wrestlers here. And the wresting background in Minnesota has created dominant ground fighters. For Japan, they produce a lot more judo-style fighters and strikers," he said.
"We produce a lot of wrestlers here. And the wresting background in Minnesota has created dominant ground fighters. For Japan, they produce a lot more judo-style fighters and strikers."