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It’s going to be an all-out brawl this weekend when a handful of Siouxland MMA fighters step into the ring at King of the Cage.

Hosted by WinnaVegas Casino Resort, the mixed martial arts promotion series’ title middleweight match will place Daniel “El Leon” Hernandez against Matt Gabel from Le Mars, Iowa.

Gabel, a wrestler his whole life, said if he wins this bout against Hernandez, then he’s a world champion.

“The guy is ranked in the top 100 in the world – he’s a world champion,” said Gabel. “That’s what I want. It’s a big deal and a big fight.”

In preparation for the fight, Gabel hired a professional planner to give him nutritional advice and organize his strength and conditioning workouts. Gabel’s first MMA fight was in December 2008. Starting out as a wrestler, Gabel preferred to take down opponents for a ground and pound. His fighting style has evolved since then to where, he said, he’s perfecting everything.

“My standup is fine and I have good submissions,” said Gabel, 29. “I think I’m pretty well rounded.”

Gabel said he’s excited for his chance to win a world title. His previous King of the Cage fight in October 2014 pitted him against a very experienced fighter.

“I fought a tough guy with close to 50 pro fights,” said Gabel. “That went really well for me. I ended up landing a good punch and slamming him down. I ended it pretty quick.”

If Gabel defeats Hernandez, he said he’ll relax and enjoy a break for a little bit. But after that “it’s back to business.”

“Winning this will open up a lot more doors for me,” said Gabel.

King of the Cage’s co-main event will feature Pedro Velasco taking on Siouxlander John DeVall. DeVall’s initial opponent, Manny Vasquez, dropped out of the fight.

DeVall is already sporting his signature beard and mohawk – he’s ready to fight. The bantamweight MMA fighter said he hasn’t been training as rigorously for the last few weeks leading up to the fight to prevent hims from potentially hurting his body. Instead, he’s been keeping up with his cardio routine and maintaining his healthy diet.

The upcoming fight marks DeVall’s debut with King of the Cage.

“I’ve never fought for them before,” he said. “It will be the first fight of my three-fight contract.”

Also to debut is 37-year-old Chris Galinsky from Sioux City, who will fight in the featured bout against Andrew Gordon. Galinsky, a super heavyweight, maintained a 3-3 record as an amateur. He is coming into the professional fight with a blank slate of 0-0.

Galinsky said he’s not feeling any pressure for the debut fight and that unlike some fighters whose motivation lies in their emotions before a fight, his motivation to win is going to be looking at him at the other end of the cage.

The super heavyweight division features fighters over 265 pounds. Galinsky said he’s been training year round and has been “going hard these last three or four weeks.”

Galinsky said the super heavyweight fighters are not as quick but they are full of raw power.

“It’s two big guys fighting each other – they keep punching each other until one falls asleep,” Galinsky said with a laugh.

Other fighters at the King of the Cage match will include Shaine Moffitt, Ruddy Gray, Danny Black, Evian Rodriguez, Brad Scholton, Alex Rozman, Jesse Free, Jessy Ebrecht, Kyle Angerman, Jeff Eads, JayDee Carney, Mike Vasquez, Brady Novaha, Jeremiah Haig, Marshall Keothe, Alan Sehr, Casey Hanley and Eric Kemper.


Weekender reporter

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