DONCASTER’S Jason Ball is not a man to be messed with - in or out of the ring.
The 27 year-old Mixed Martial Arts star, who is an exponent of several martial arts as well as boxing, faces one of the most important fights of his career at Wembley Arena tomorrow when taking on Leonardso Santos in an elimination fight for a BAMMA world title.
The Brazilian is a seven-time world champion in CBJJ and CBJJO. With an 8-3-0 record his losses take on a whole new light when you take into account his competitors.
Santos’s MMA debut was a controversial majority decision loss against devastating lightweight Takanori Gomi at less than three weeks notice.
Since then he has clocked up impressive wins ranging from an Arm Triangle against Christian Lopez in 40 seconds to a devastating head kick KO against Corey Edwards.
He makes his BAMMA debut off the back of a two-fight winning streak earned in the Sengoku Championships, and new Bellator signing, Marlon Sandro, in his corner.
A win for Ball, who boasts a record of 18 wins in his 26 fights, would catapult him up the rankings and put him in frame for a title shot.
The sport, in which pretty much anything is allowed - though there are rules - is huge in America and it is starting to catch on in this country.
Several thousand people are expected to attend tomorrow night’s show - tickets are still available through Ticketmaster - and the event will also be screened on several satelite channels.
Ball, who trains at the Manvers Fight Factory, is hoping that people tune in to see what the sport is all about.
“There is a lot more skill than in cage fighting,” he told The Star, “There are several types of martial arts and grappling and boxing plays a big part in it.”
In a sport where many of his rivals are keen to wrestle an opponent to the floor Ball’s favoured tactics is to remain on his feet.
The fight is scheduled for five five-minute rounds but neither man is expecting it to go the distance - not many do.
Ball will not be without support on the night but says he would like more.
“I have a lot of friends who are interested in what I do but as soon as you mention the price of a ticket - I think that they are £45 for the Wembley show - they all seem to disappear,” he said.
Ball also launched a professional boxing career earlier this season, and fights out of Carl Greaves’ stable.
Ball lost on his boxing debut at the Dome in December, but has since won three contests.
“My first fight didn’t go that well but I’m gradually getting more into it,” he said.
“There is a bit more money in boxing than Mixed Martial Arts in this country, though you can earn more by fighting in America which is something that I might look at doing,” he said.