For the second anniversary of the Florida-based Championship Fighting Alliance, promoter Jorge De La Noval decided to do something different.
Along with a great card of male fights, the CFA will launch the first round of a women’s 145-pound tournament on their upcoming show this Saturday night to be streamed live via UStream from Coral Gables, Fla.
De La Noval says the inspiration for the tournament came after watching one of the participants train. From there it was decided that to legitimize a champion in the division, the tournament would be the best way to go about it.
“To be honest, Kelsey De Santis was kind of the inspiration for it,” said De La Noval. “She is the type of fighter we were looking for and we’re very excited to have her.
“We need a champion. That’s why every time we do a tournament is to have a champion. We’re going to have eight girls and then the finalist will walk away with $20,000 and the championship belt. It’s a great way for them to showcase their skills, to get known and make some money.”
With help from managers such as Jason Ellis, De La Noval was able to put together a great mix of talent that will showcase a broad spectrum of skills in the tournament.
“A lot of these girls are on top of the game,” he said. “Some of great wrestlers, great boxers, great with jiu-jitsu; it’s a really mixed bag and we’re really excited to bring something different to the show.
“Any of these eight girls has the potential to win this tournament. Most of them have incredible amateur careers and some of them have really good pro (experience). I think whoever is more ready to move on and take on this challenge (will win the tournament).”
Along with the women’s 145-pound tournament, De La Noval told MMAWeekly.com he’s excited for the evening’s main event between James McSweeney and Dion Staring, as well as a couple fights on the undercard that could steal the show.
“You talk to these (main event) guys and they are like, ‘Jorge, I’m not going to hold back. I’m going to rip his head off.’ They both feel the same way,” said De La Noval. “They’re both strong guys and hit very hard, so I don’t see this fight going past the first round.
“Joey Rodriguez versus Shah Bobonis is kind of like new breed vs. old dog; they’re both hungry and want to prove a point, so I expect that to be a great fight. Oscar Delgado and Byron Bird I expect to be fireworks because neither holds back, they go in for the kill.”
As for the remainder of the year, De La Noval is targeting growth so that not only does the promotion do well, but the fighters will as well.
“We want to build some stars, we want to build the brand and have a network (deal), but to do that we have to have more fights,” said De La Noval. “If we can have eight or nine events that would be my goal, but if we can do seven solid events, I’ll be happy.”