Pride Gym fighters get tune-up in Lethbridge

AM Ford Fight Night on April 16 in Trail.

The final countdown is on for the 2011 AM Ford Fight Night.On April 16, a stable of Pride gym fighters will step into the ring at the Cominco Arena for an event that has attracted over 2,000 fans for the past five years.A quintet of Pride Gym fighters was put through their final tune-up before the big night two weeks ago in Lethbridge for the annual Rumble in the Cage.Two Pride Gym mixed martial artists – C.J.Bagg and Jordan Knippleberg – stepped into the ring for main event pro bouts.Bagg, fighting in his fourth professional bout, showed his experience in outlasting Calgary’s Mark Maruzs with a second-round submission.After a fairly even first round, Bagg eluded a takedown attempt and locked Maruzs in a triangle chokehold that secured the victory.Knippelberg also scored a second-round submission win with a triangle choke against Tim Tamaki of the hometown Lethbridge club.This one went in Pride Gym’s favour from the outset as Knippelberg went on the attack.Tamaki survived the first round but more pressure from Knippelberg eventually put the Lethbridge fighter in a hold he couldn’t break.Three other Pride Gym fighters – Jake Rudniski, Chris Leuning and Chelsea Bronaugh – fought in two-round amateur bouts.Rudniski, a rare Pride Gym heavyweight, still yielded 30 pounds to his opponent Lance Doore of Calgary, who tipped the scales at a whopping 260 pounds.Rudniski showed his style in trying to gain the upper hand on Doore in the first round. However, in the second round, Rudniski wore down Doore scoring valuable points and winning the unanimous decision.Leuning went up against an experienced fighter in Lethbridge’s Maged Hammo. Hammo used his ring savvy to keep the pressure on Leuning in the first.Leuning tried to keep Hammo at bay with jabs in the second round.See THREE, Page 10FROM PAGE 9Hammo eventually scored the takedown he wanted and submitted Leuning by triangle hold as the round wound down.As usual, the women’s bout provided some of the best action of the night. Bronaugh went toe-to-toe with Calgary’s Christine Blanchette for two full rounds.It came down to the judges’ cards, which saw Blanchette lose a point for illegal blow. The end result gave Bronaugh the decision.While three of the five fighters rest up for the 13th annual fight night in Trail, Leuning and Rudniski will join Sandy Bagg for fights in Spokane this weekend.