by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Ross “Da Boss” Ebanez is one of Hawaii’s most beloved and exciting fighters. Entering his fifth year of fighting, Ross has fought almost exclusively on his native ground, gaining a reputation for being a high-energy fighter who – regardless of wins and losses – brings the fans to their feet with an aggressive style.
Now after almost two years since his last fight on the continental US, Ebanez looks to once again entertain the mainland crowd as he returns as part of Showtime and Gary Shaw’s new EliteXC promotion’s debut show on February 10th in Southaven, Mississippi.
Though relatively new to mainland fans, Ross is a veteran of 18 MMA fights, and is coming off his busiest year, which saw him go 4-1-1, with both close and dominating performances.
“My performances in my fights last year, most of it was good,” said Ebanez. “I just battled some injuries before the fights, just normal things, but overall I had a good year last year.”
Ebanez added, “I did get more fight experience setting up my punches and shots instead of just going in there and just brawling, going for the takedowns and just going all-out. It was more like a learning year.”
Ross’ continued maturation has apparently paid dividends, as he was chosen to participate in this coming weekend’s historic EliteXC, along side fellow Hawaiian fan favorite Wesley “Cabbage” Correira.
“I’m honored to be fighting on EliteXC,” exclaimed Ebanez of his upcoming Showtime debut. “It’s great coming from Hawaii and getting to travel and fight elsewhere and get some mainland exposure.”
“It’s a big show; I’m fighting a very good, tough guy named Mike Pyle. He’s got tons of submissions, is very good on the ground, he’s an all-around good fighter,” continued Ross.
Interestingly enough, Ebanez and Pyle are quite familiar with each other, as Ross explained, “We hung out a couple years ago. Maybe a year or two ago he was out here several weeks to a month to help BJ [Penn] train for a fight.”
Ebanez further commented, “We got a chance to train, hang out and become friends. [Having to fight each other] is nothing personal. He’s a nice, funny guy, it’s just this is just the way cards fell. People wanted to be on the show at 170 and somehow they just asked us to fight each other.”
As for what he expects in the fight, Ross knows that it’s going to be a tough match, but one he’s well prepared for.
“I’m willing to go anywhere the fight goes,” proclaimed Ebanez. “We train standing, on the ground – anywhere the fight goes – if it stays standing, fine, if it goes on the ground, I’ll fight on the ground.”
The only problem that may arise in the fight is the height difference, which inevitably leads to a reach advantage for Pyle. But as Ross explains, it’s something he’s already compensated for.
“He’s tall, he’s like 6’1″ I think and I’m 5’9″, so he’s going to have a little bit of a reach advantage,” said Ross of Mike. “The majority of people I fight at 170 are all between 5’11″-6’1″. I think I’m just average or a little short at 170. [Laughs]”
“It’s not a problem because I also train with a lot of tall guys too, like Charuto [Verissimo] and Jake Carter. Charuto is good with jiu-jitsu and standing and now he’s back in Hilo training, so I’ve been getting in a lot of good training with him,” added Ebanez.
Should all go well against Pyle, Ross hopes that his performance will give him the kind of exposure that has often eluded him by fighting almost exclusively on the islands.
“I want to get more exposed in the [mainland] States,” explicated Ebanez. “If all goes well, my name is out there more and I can fight again on Showtime or another show. I signed a two-fight contract, so hopefully I can come back on the show. If it’s not televised, hopefully the next one will be televised.”
One thing is for sure, when fans log on to www.ProElite.com to watch the live webcast, they can expect an exciting fight between Ross and Mike if both fighters perform the way they are capable of doing.
“They can expect explosiveness,” says Ebanez of the fans. “I have explosive strength, power, good stand-up and I’m aggressive. I’ll just take it to my opponent wherever the fight goes and show my skills that I fight standing-up or on the ground.”
Ross continued, “I just want to make another appearance in the States and get my name out there, so one day maybe people see my name on the fight card that people say, ‘Hey, I want to see this guy fight, because he’s pretty exciting and pretty tough.’”
Ebanez concluded by wanting to thank those who’ve helped him get to where he is and by wanting to remind the fans to check out EliteXC any way they can, because they’re in for an entertaining night of action.
“I just want to say thanks to all my training partners, everyone I’ve been training with getting ready for this fight: BJ, Charuto, Rudy and all those other guys in our camp,” closed out Ross. “Showtime is going to putting on some great fights and they can either watch it on the internet, TV or in person. Mike’s an explosive fighter like I am, so it will be a great fight.”