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Cage battles feature area groups fighters
Extreme Fight Night includes talents of churchs mixed martial arts team
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Gainesville Extreme Fight Night XI

When: Doors at 6:30 p.m., fights start at 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Georgia Mountains Center, 301 Main St., Gainesville
How much: $15-$35
More info: 770-534-8420

For the first time, local mixed martial arts group Faith Mixed Martial Arts will show a Gainesville audience its skills on waiting opponents at Gainesville Extreme Fight Night XI.

The local mixed martial arts group is a Christian-based MMA team that uses its spirituality to spread God’s word through the sport. The team will be one of several fighters taking part in the Fight Night event on Friday at the Georgia Mountains Center.

"If you have never been to a mixed martial arts event — I would say especially if you have kids or you want to see it — this is the perfect setting to come and check it out," said Micah Goss, the team’s trainer.

"Most of these fights are going to be novice mixed martial arts fights. They are going to have shin pads on; they are going to have 7-ounce gloves. It is a lot cleaner than a lot of shows that you will go to."

But the fighters will be fighting in cages.

"It gives it whole different draw ... it really does work toward the wrestler’s advantage," he said. "He can really get more aggressive with the take-downs and control their opponent against the cage or on the ground."

Faith MMA is a competitive group of about 30 people from Lanier Hills Church who worship, train and compete all over the Southeast. Faith MMA fighters use martial arts along with wrestling, boxing and other combat sport techniques to win matches.

Team member Amanda Edmonds, 17, will compete for the first time at Extreme Fight Night.

"Right now I am pretty excited," said Edmonds, who will compete in the 120-pound class.

"I’m sure the nerves will hit me in a couple of days when it gets closer to my fight, but mainly I’ve just been drinking a lot of water and keeping my body healthy, doing a lot of conditioning and getting my mind prepared."

Edmonds is set to take on another local fighter, Stephanie Garcia, from Gainesville.

"She has never fought before, so it is both of our’s first fight, and I don’t know a lot about her style or her technique ... but I like to stay on my opponent pretty close and put pressure on them. It just helps me fight better," Edmonds said.

Goss added that Edmonds has a good shot at winning her first match.

"We know Amanda is going to have the height advantage," he said.

"So when we spar we try to get some shorter people to spar with her and work a game plan around using our reach advantage."

Kurtis Kline also will compete for the first time in the 170-pound class and, according to Goss, has lost 22 pounds in preparation for the fight.

Chase Thomas (145-pound class) and RD Garcia (155-pound class) are veteran fighters and are prepared to show their skills for a local audience.

"We most definitely feel like we have the home-court advantage," Goss said. "We presold already 125 tickets and 80 of them are on the floor, so we’ve got a huge cheering section coming; and we are so blessed and thankful for the support that we’ve got for this."