Brian Hayden and Denys Shaleav will bdgin their amateur careers on the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) scene at the Gathering in Bloomington Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.
MMA uses techniques that incorporate striking and grappling as well as ground fighting. This type of fighting mixes jujitsu, western wrestling and other various types of combat training.
Shaleav will enter the fighting arena first. He will be fighting in the third match against James Hoover. Shaleav is a native of Russia and has only been in the states for about a year.
He has had training in karate and kickboxing totaling five years but this is his introduction into this type of competitions and is eager to prove his skills in the ring.
"I'm a little scared but who knows," Shaleav responded with a smile.
Shaleav isn't looking too far down the road but is excited to get a couple of fights under his belt.
Brian Hayden is a former sprint car driver and local business owner that has been training at All-American Karate for the past three years and will compete in the 10th match of the night against Jason Hall.
A former high school wrester, Hayden believes that will be an asset in the ring.
"It's similar. The body mechanics are very similar to wrestling,' he said, referring to MMA.
"I want to have a couple of good fights then leave it alone and train others," he added.
Hayden suffered an arm injury during training but plans to be ready for the weekend.
St.Pierre, a former progressional kickboxer, knows a little something about competition.
"You live through the bumps and the bruises," he said. "You're never 100 percent."
St.Pierre talked about training and the necessity of being a strong competitor.
"You always have to be thinking. Good core training is essential," St.Pierre said.
His advice for people thinking of competing in a tournament such as this, is to get in touch with a gym that teaches all the basics of martial arts.
"You must be well rounded. If they are in the area, they can call us," St. Pierre said
All-American Karate will continue to offer the MMA class and will look to add additional instructors as needed.
"We're starting a good MMA program and we've got a good core of guys here," St.Pierre said.
For tickets for this weekends competition or class information contact All-American Karate at 765-655-1300.