‘Deuce’ is Loose, Kenny Garner: “This time there won’t be any mistakes!”

The relentless self-marketing machine, Kenny ‘Deuce’ Garner (7-3), returns to action inside the confines of M-1 Global’s five-rope ring on October 14th intent on making the most of a second shot at Europe’s leading MMA promotion’s heavyweight strap; the undefeated and reigning Champion Guram Gugenishvili (11-0) once again stands in Garner’s path to stardom. The battle from inside the new 5,500 seat Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix, Arizona can be caught LIVE on SHOWTIME starting at 11 p.m. ET/PT (Delayed on the West Coast).

Garner earned his second shot at the belt with a systematic destruction of decorated American wrestler Pat Bennett; the bout marked a repeat of the 2010 M-1 Selection Americas tournament finals with a near identical outcome as Garner knocked out Bennett just past the one minute mark of the bout’s second frame. With the cameras rolling on his celebration, Garner quickly called out Guram.

Talk is cheap in the fight game unless you back it up and Garner has been doing just that with his one-punch power that’s padded his record with five knockout wins. Hidden behind the heavy leather is also a potent submission arsenal and solid wrestling base which makes his rematch with Guram a potentially explosive outing for both men. Even though being choked unconscious by Guram in their first outing, Garner feels extremely confident; “I know where I made my mistake against Guram last time. I’m not making any mistakes this time. I’m stronger, faster and more technical. Guram better polish my belt because I’m taking it from him.”

Fans either love or hate the Port St. Lucie, Florida and American Top Team fighter but the fact remains Garner is making a name for himself in the State of Florida, who has him ranked as the #9 heavyweight. He’s dispelling critics who once saw him and his ‘in your face’ personality as just flash in the pan and proving to be the real deal, surprising fans, media and executives at every turn ; his convincing wins – three having him marked as a huge underdog – are proving that Deuce is a force to reckon with in M-1’s heavyweight division.

Prior to starting the Selections tournament, Garner’s manager, UFC veteran, Din Thomas, didn’t hold back when discussing the two early losses in Garner’s career; “He took a couple bad fights on short notice and when you take a fight without preparation – as a heavyweight – you pay the price.” Garner’s losses came at the hands of Chris Barnett and Tony Johnson Jr.; both by way of TKO in the late rounds which may have been attributed to questionable conditioning according to Thomas. In comparison, “Deuce” has shown exceptional performances when prepared as all seven of his victories have been total dominations.

Garner opened the Heavyweight brackets of the Selections tournament with a dominating victory over Matt Hopkins; from here, Garner was next slated to fight the imposing Russian favourite, Andre Kapilou, in a semi-finals bout he fighter wasn’t even given a ‘fighter’s chance’ of winning.

In the co-main event of the Semi Finals card, Garner shocked the crowd with a three-round war that neutralized Kapilou’s extensive reach and stand-up abilities. In a total reversal of predictions in front of Kapilou’s home-town crowd, Garner slid past his opponent’s striking damage-free to secure effortless take downs where the Russian’s weakness on the canvass became exposed. Without having an answer to Garner’s G&P and submissions other than a relentless will to survive, Kapilou endured the most painful 15 minutes of his fighting career with his face taking the brunt of the assault. Garner proved to doubters that he is not the one-dimensional fighter he was thought to be as he worked through three rounds to secure the unanimous decision nod from the judges.

Even with the win, Garner still wasn’t given the credibility he deserved heading into the Finals where he had another seemingly insurmountable task ahead of him: stop Pat Bennett and his proud wrestling pedigree. Not only did Garner neutralize the wrestling skills of Bennett by stuffing every takedown, he confirmed to fans why he should be considered one of the most-feared strikers in M-1’s heavyweight division.

After a brief exchange in the clinch, Garner revealed a lead hook that couldn’t miss; Bennett had no answer to the game that was being forced upon him as blow after blow crumbled his confidence and left him stumbling and disoriented. In an effort to fight back, Bennett reached for the single leg, got stuffed and ate a combination that sent him rubber-legging across the canvass and into the ropes. Although refusing to fall, Bennett was clearly unable to intelligently defend himself leaving referee ‘Big Dan’ Miragliotta with no choice but to stop the bout at 2:31 of the very first round, giving Garner and his precision striking the TKO victory.

With this win, Kenny Garner rounded out the five M-1 Selection 2010 Americas champions and was the first US fighter to be given the opportunity to fight for the M-1 Challenge championship belt in the headline bout at M-1 Challenge XXI against Guram Gugenishvili this past October in St. Petersburg, Russia.

In an eventful first round, Garner came out of the corner looking to press the action and stuffing Guram’s early takedown attempts. After being re-started when the pair broke through the ropes, Guram worked through an array of submission attempts and a wicked neck crank. Fighting from his back, Garner absorbed a left from up high which opened a gash dangerously close to his right eye, causing the referee to stall for a quick inspection by the ringside physician who gave the bout the green-light to continue. From here out, Garner worked bottom and top positions as he controlled the rest of the frame with the judges’ scorecards giving him a 10-9 round.

The tide only took 54 seconds to change as Guram dodged a looping right hand to start the second and caught the American in a head-and-arm choke; the pair then shuffled into the red corner where Guram locked in the standing guillotine and choked Garner unconscious forcing the referee to halt the bout.

Garner’s since locked that haunting memory deep within his subconscious and has come back more dangerous than ever before. Riding back-to-back wins that have resurrected momentum, he’s eager to culminate another Cinderella run by usurping the M-1 Global heavyweight championship belt. To Garner this second shot at gold is a dream come true; “I really want to thank M-1 GLOBAL,” said Garner. “I’ve been training hard and I’m not losing to Guram. I got to do better than what I’ve done before. This is MY opportunity to chase down MY belt!”

Expect a war on October 14th.

Tickets are priced at $35, $40, $50, $75 and $150 and can be purchased at www.GCUArena.com, charge by phone at 602-639-8999 or visit the GCU Arena Box Office located at 3300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85017

About William Smith

After watching the first Ultimate Fighting Championship I became instantly hooked. I’ve been a huge fan of the sport of MMA ever since. Haven’t missed a UFC event & thanks to fight pass I’ve witnessed some of the all time greatest fighter & athletes the sport through Pride, Strikeforce, WEC, Glory, Pacrase, EliteXC…………..

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