Following the release of this story Alexi Argyriou suffered an injury, declaring himself ineligible to compete at the Nov. 5 AFC. The following story has not been adjusted to reflect this.
The kid is good.
So good, he’s had a pro mixed martial arts fighting contract in his back pocket since he was 16.
The only hitch is, 18-year-old Alexi Argyriou hasn’t actually fought.
The Camosun College student makes his long-awaited MMA debut at the Armageddon Fighting Championship No. 7: Break Out, Nov. 5 at Bear Mountain Arena.
Argyriou caught the MMA community’s attention early in 2010 when he signed a pro deal with the Maximum Fighting Championship in Edmonton.
Now Argyriou is set to take the first big step in what’s been a slow and careful journey.
“This is the new generation of MMA,” said coach Adam Zugec, gym owner and Zuma fight team manager in Vic West.
“Not only does Argyriou have the talent and skill as a well-rounded fighter, but (with Argyriou) you’re seeing the business side of things that fighters need to be successful.
“You need to understand the entertainment value of it all and not be afraid to showcase yourself, and, while Alexi is humble, he gets all that.”
Though the AFC is a professional organization with paid fighters, Argyriou’s bout against Brad Webb of Vancouver is of amateur status. They’ll fight at 155 lbs., the first scrap on an AFC card heavy with local talent.
“I don’t know much about (Webb), I’m just focused on my style and confident in my skills,” Argyriou said. “I’ve been looking forward to my first fight for a long time.”
The 2011 Mount Douglas grad will fight at least once more as an amateur, part of his steady buildup towards fighting in Edmonton, possibly as soon as 2012, Zugec said.
“MMA is one of those things, you never know (exactly) where a fighter is at. Argyriou is still so young with so much growth ahead, you want to allow him the opportunity to test his skills. He’s got so much time you want to be careful.”
Part of that progression is seeing how athletes handle the adrenaline rush of the ring. It’s often the difference maker, and it’s one of the things making Argyriou’s full-contact debut so special.
Argyriou spent the last year winning an assortment of wrestling and grappling competitions (MMA’s non-striking brother). He also joined the Victoria Bulldogs high school wrestling team as a grade 12 rookie and finished fifth in B.C. among 31 athletes in the 74-kilogram (163 lbs.) class.
It all adds up to an active year of Argyriou acclimatizing to the physical intensity of one-on-one competition.
Argyriou’s time at Zuma, one of the best-known Canadian MMA gyms and the home of former women’s world champion Sarah Kaufman, goes back to his days as a middle school student.
“I got beat up in Grade 6. I wanted to learn how to fight and learn self defence. As I got older I saw teammates competing in grappling tourneys and MMA, and doing well.”
Theses days Argyriou’s training has him rolling with regulars from the Zuma fight team like Connor Wood (155 lbs.), Nick Driedger (145 lbs.), Tariq Gabali (155 lbs.) and Diego Wilson (135 lbs.), not too mention Kaufman (135 lbs.), who is always willing to throw the men around.
Headlining AFC No. 7 is Victoria’s Derek Medler. The ex-CFL player is undefeated in six fights, ending all of them by stoppage. Medler draws Brian Grimshaw, with a tough reputation out of Chilliwack.
Tickets available through www.armageddonfc.com.
AFC Break Out
Derek Medler vs. Brian Grimshaw 170 lbs.Nick Hinchliffe vs. TBA 170 lbs.Karel Bergen vs. Adam Smith 170 lbs.Paul Cheng vs. Peter Nolan 265 lbs.Nathan Swayze vs. Brad Robinson 205 lbs.Tristan Connelly vs. Matt Trudeau 145 lbs.
Sanjeev Sharma vs. Jordan Howes, 170 lbs.Tyler Dolby vs. Shane Jung, 145 lbs.Tyler Lynk vs. Johnny Williams, 145 lbs.Alexi Argyriou vs. Brad Webb, 155 lbs. (Cancelled)Jean Marc de Groot vs. James Pratt, 130 lbs.Dillon Brown vs. Ron Pierce, 155 lbs.Stephan Bigawski vs. Chris Anderson, 170 lbs.Blake McVittie vs. Craig McLean, 140 lbs.Joel Conway vs. Alex Wilson, 145 lbs.