Local fighters compete in Grand Junction | PostIndependent.com

Local fighters compete in Grand Junction

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado ” Tyler Rodgers wants the world to know that mixed martial arts (MMA) is about more than just people beating on each other.

“We’re not all just knot heads,” said the 20-year-old fighter, who trains at the Art of Defense MMA studio in Glenwood Springs.

Rodgers, who improved to 3-1 in his amateur career with a win over Ben Fox at Saturday’s Cage Wars, Chapter 2 event in Grand Junction, is pouncing on every chance he gets to promote MMA as the strategic, art-based sport.

The young fighter saw the aftermath of Saturday’s event as an opportune moment to spread his message.

“It’s just a really sad thing to see,” he said. “It’s so much more than beating hard on each other. You have to learn why you do certain things, why you punch like this.

Guys come in knowing the moves, but they don’t know the history of the art and it’s really disappointing. I’m trying to promote the art more and more. It’s a huge thing we’re trying to bring to the MMA world.

“People really should learn the art first, then apply the art. A lot of guys think it’s just beating up other guys. I do a lot of Muaythai, Jujitsu. Somewhere that’s been lost in MMA. We need to promote the art.”

On top of taking on this ambassador-type role for the sports, Rodgers is piecing together a solid young career in MMA.

The Glenwood Springs High School alum took another step in the right direction on Saturday, outlasting Fox in a three-round thriller that Rodgers called his toughest challenge to date.

“He’s the only person who stood up with me in a fight so far,” Rodgers said. “It was definitely a lot of fun. I definitely think I did improve. I got to stand him up at least. That was kind of the goal. All these wrestlers take me down and beat me up a lot.”

Rodgers wasn’t the only Art of Defense fighter on the card in Grand Junction.

Raymond Huffman of Battlement Mesa received by far the most grueling test of his five-fight career, forcing foe Trent Scheele to tap out in the second round to keep his career record unblemished.

In his previous four fights, the 32-year-old Huffman had spent less than a minute and a half ” total ” in the ring. On Saturday, he battled Scheele for more than four minutes.

“He definitely needed the time in the ring to be challenged,” Art of Defense MMA instructor Patrick Carmichael said. “He found out what it’s like to have a tough fight. Now he knows what to expect.”

Travis Ramirez of Glenwood Springs also fought at the Cage Wars event, losing to Andrew Yates by decision in what Carmichael dubbed “one of the best fights of the night.”

“Winning would have been better, but if you’ve got to lose, that’s the way to do it,” the 20-year-old said. “I easily could have won it if we were going five (rounds). (Yates) gassed out completely by the second round and was like wet blanket from then on. He basically just pushed me up against the cage and prayed I didn’t knock him unconscious.”

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