Saturday night could prove to be one of the biggest nights of the year for mixed martial arts in Minnesota, as Driller Promotions and the Sterling Entertainment Group present Havoc at High Five in Burnsville, Minn.
The show, which is expected to sell out at the door, features an action-packed fight card, including the Driller Promotions amateur featherweight championship bout between Sean Richman and Nick Spina.
Richman spoke with Bleacher Report MMA after the weigh-ins on Friday afternoon and told us how he's feeling leading into the fight.
“I just can’t wait. The anxiety has set in and I’m just ready to fight and put on a good show,” he said. “The scale is generous, so I was even more under [the required weight] than what I had thought. I was at like 143. It was a zero pound allowance because it’s a title fight so I took it very seriously.”
As the younger brother of Bellator featherweight finalist Mike "The Marine" Richman, Sean Richman has been working to make a name for himself, but has certainly felt the pressure of living up to the expectations of carrying the family name.
“I feel like ever since I started, I’ve always had pressure on me," he said. "I have a huge hype to live up to with my brother and the success he’s had. Everybody looks at me and I’m supposed to be ‘the next’ him. Even my first fight was a co-main event."
With the amateur title fight and another co-main event slot, Richman is not quite as nervous going into this bout, and believes he can take whatever nerves he does have and turn them into a positive.
"I feel like with the pressure, I’ve kind of been able to shift that over into motivation and to seek out what I’m supposed to be, rather than let it eat me up and screw up my performance.”
Richman has been very successful thus far in his career—4-0 as an amateur—but still hasn't necessarily been satisfied with past performances. In his previous bout against Angel Pacheco in December 2012, he felt his conditioning wasn't at the level he wanted it to be at. He decided to change that and began working to correct that part of his game.
“My last performance wasn’t my best. I felt like I was a little gassed in that last fight, so I went to Horsepower in Fridley with Matt Miller, who’s helped me a great amount with my conditioning and strength," he said. “It’s going to show tomorrow night. I’m in phenomenal shape right now.”
He'll be up against Spina, one of the most experienced amateur MMA fighters in the state, who could give Richman the toughest fight he's had thus far.
“He’s very experienced, he’s 8-3-1. He’s a tough dude," Richman said of his opponent. “Maybe a little better ground game than anything else of his but we’ll see tomorrow what he’s got.”
Spina's ground game is something that has earned him quite a few wins already. In fact, half of his wins have come by way of submission on the ground, many of which have come from his back. Richman is well aware of the threats Spina brings, but believes he has the skills to win the fight.
“Wherever the fight goes, I feel like I have the advantage," he said.
The title fight will take place Saturday night, March 23, from the High Five Bar and Grill. A limited number of tickets are available, but those interested can also watch Driller Promotions / Sterling Entertainment Group "Havoc at High Five" on LiveStream.com.