Richie Hightower weighs-in for The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
LEMOORE - It’s been a long time coming, but on Thursday, March 20th the Palace Fighting Championship will finally be able to crown a World Welterweight Champion.
Arizona’s Richie Hightower (7-2) takes on Bakersfield’s Bryan Travers (9-1) for the vacant welterweight crown at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore at PFC 7.
And the PFC fans have been waiting for this day for a while, as at least one welterweight showdown had not materialized on previous cards.
“I can’t think of a more compelling fight than Richie Hightower versus Bryan Travers for our vacant welterweight title. Both guys bring varying skill sets, Hightower likes to stay standing and use his kickboxing, clinch and elbows,” PFC President Christian Printup said. “Travers can stand and trade but probably would look for the takedown to utilize his wrestling and jiu-jitsu. It’s a very competitive fight and we’ll be proud to have either guy as our PFC Welterweight Champion.”
Both are entering the showdown very confident.
“I’ve never been the type to predict fights, but I’m going to implement my game plan, which is adapt and overcome,” said Hightower, who was a contestant on Spike TV’s The Ultimate Fighter 6. “I’m going to prevent him from getting in any kind of groove or allow him to implement his game plan.”
Hightower is also a PFC veteran, defeating Andy Maccarone at PFC 2 by knockout. Hightower’s stoppage of Maccarone in just 33 seconds is considered one of the best KOs in PFC history.
“I know exactly what everybody else knows about Hightower, due to his being on TUF. I’ve seen a lot of film, I even got tape of his fight before going on the show, I think it was PFC 2, so I have a lot to go on getting ready for this fight,” said Travers, who is a former NCAA wrestler and Gladiator Challenge Light Heavyweight champ. “We will both have game plans. I think I’m bigger, stronger and skills to better enforce my will during this fight. I think he’s going to try and set the pace but I am going to crank it up even further.”
Knowing Travers wrestling prowess, Hightower has worked in his takedown defense, while continuing to sharpen his already lethal stand-up skills.
“I’m pretty well-rounded. I work on everything. I know he is a wrestler, so I’ve been working on my takedown defense a little more,” Hightower said. “But I’m also comfortable on the ground. I try and be as well-rounded as possible.”
Travers has also been hard at work.
“My training camp for this fight was ridiculous. Sparring over 20 rounds a week with a barrage of styles. Everything including professional boxers, kick boxers and MMA fighters of the highest caliber,” Travers said. “I was lucky enough to bring in Brian Cobb the Gladiator Challenge Lightweight champion and UFC superstar Jon Fitch to train in preparation for this fight. This was on top of my already stellar training camp at Eric Nolans XTC. Eric Nolan for Muay Thai, Dan Camarillo for Brazilian jiu-jitsu and all while still wrestling with Division 1 powerhouse Cal State University Bakersfield’s wrestling program.”
Also on the card is a showdown for the PFC World Light Heavyweight belt, as champ Jeromy Freitag (6-5) of Sacramento will defend his title for the first time against Brazil’s Jorge Oliveira (2-2-1).
In a middleweight eliminator fight, Newport Beach’s Justin Levens (9-8) will battle Merced’s Phil Collins (5-3). The winner will get a rematch with Lemoore champion Kenny Ento (9-3). Ento holds victories over both Levens and Collins.