Jesse “J.T. Money” Taylor and Denis Kang have been on a collision course for months. Now they’ll finally crash into each other.
The mixed martial arts combatants meet in the main event of Battlefield Fight League: Island Beatdown this Saturday (May 28) at Frank Crane Arena.
“Outside the UFC, this is probably one of the biggest fights you’ll see this year,” said Jay Golshani, president of Battlefield.
Taylor and Kang, two former UFC fighters, were supposed to meet at the last Battlefield show in Nanaimo in March, but Kang had to pull out of the fight due to an injury setback. Now, he’s fully recovered.
“I’m 100 per cent,” said Kang. “I am ready to fight.”
Taylor said the postponement two months ago was frustrating, but said he used the replacement fight with Clay Davidson as a chance to get better.
“I’ve been training for months for [Kang], so I’m really looking forward to it,” Taylor said. “I think it’s going to be very big for my career.”
Kang watched Taylor score a bloody, punishing win over Davidson at Frank Crane in March.
“He fought tough,” said Kang. “The tactics that he used in that fight, I think, is what he does every single fight. So it didn’t really show me anything new, rather it simply cemented the fact that he does come out with the same game plan basically every fight.”
Taylor said Kang has seemed to follow him around, watching him fight in Australia, Edmonton and Nanaimo.
“He knows my style, but he has to be thinking so much about it,” Taylor said. “If it’s in his mind, then I think that could negatively impact him, as well.”
Kang said he will try to focus more on his own game and dictate how the fight goes.
“I want to stand up with him, but I don’t think he’s going to stand up with me, he’s probably going to try to take me down so of course I’m not going to make it easy for him…” Kang said. “I don’t want to use pure defence, I want to use counter offence, which is basically using his offence as an opening for my attack.”
Taylor will try to be unpredictable, but will still rely on his wrestling ability.
“What I tell people a lot of times is ‘Try to stop it,’” he said. “But at the same time, I’m going to look to surprise him a little bit. I’m going to do whatever it takes to pick up the ‘W’ and perform well.”
Kang, who is from B.C., said he hopes the fans will be in his corner. Taylor, from California, said it doesn’t matter if the fans are cheering for his opponent – he can feed off negative energy.
“When I’m the outsider I feel like everyone’s against me so it brings out the best in me,” he said.
Golshani sees it as a “50-50 fight”, with each competitor having an equal opportunity to score the win. It’s a marquee main event, and it’s huge for Nanaimo MMA fans.
“The last time was unfortunate that I had to cancel,” Kang said. “But I think this fight will more than make up for it.”
FIGHT FACTS … The undercard starts at 5 p.m. with the main card beginning at 7 p.m. For ticket info, visit www.battlefieldfight.com. Tickets will also be available at the door … Nanaimo Impact MMA fighters on the card include Graham Spencer, Ryan Ballingall, Jer Kornelson and Eli Wyse.