HAYWARD, Wis. — Mike Cardosa of Carlsbad, Calif., didn’t even allow promoter Monte Cox to finish his sentence.
“I told him I had a guy drop out of the tournament and he said ‘I’ll do it,’ ” Cox said. “I didn’t even have time to ask him if he wanted to take the spot in the main draw… he was all over it.”
Cardosa was scheduled to fight in the alternate bout, but when Mark Bear of Tama, Iowa, pulled out the day before the fight, he had no hesitation. He will now face Dustin Hazelette in the opening round of the Extreme Challenge 68 tournament tonight at LCO Casino.
As luck would have it, Cardosa’s spot was also filled when Josh Smidt of Omaha, Neb., offered to step up. Smidt had come as a cornerman for Chad Reiner (10-0), the tourney’s top seed.
The Extreme Challenge tourneys at LCO Casino have produced many top level fighters and two UFC world champions. In EC 21 it was Matt Hughes and Dennis Hallman; In EC 29 Hughes was back, along with Dave Menne, Joe Doerksen, LaVerne Clark and Chris Lytle; In EC 63 it was Brock Larson and Ryan McGivern.
The EC 68 event features an 8-man welterweight tourney with a field that has combined to win 42 bouts, while losing only 8.
“We’re hoping to find the next Matt Hughes,” Cox said. “We did it before, so who’s to say we can’t do it again?”
Headlining the show is a battle between Jamie Toney (6-2) and UFC veteran Brian Gassaway (21-14).
But, the tourney always seems to steal the show.
“This year, we’ll do the first two rounds… then, the two finalists will return to fight for the title on Aug. 26,” Cox explained.
The tourney features: Chad Reiner (10-0) of Omaha, Nebraska; Dustin Hazlette (5-2) of Huntington, W.V.; Victor Moreno (16-5) of Des Moines, Iowa; Bobby Voelker (5-1) of Kansas City, Mo.; Mike Cardosa (0-0) of Carlsbad, Calif.; Justin Wilcox (1-0) of Erie, Pa.; Nick Sorg (4-0) of Findlay, Ohio; and Edward O’Daniel (1-0) of Dayton, Ohio.
Tickets are available at LCO Casino. Check out the website at www.lcocasino.com.
Special guests include former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver; current UFC star Jorge Gurgel, former UFC middleweight champion Dave Menne and former UFC heavyweight standout Andre Roberts.
Extreme Challenge 68
July 15, LCO Casino, Hayward, Wis.
Jamie Toney (6-2) vs. Brian Gassaway (21-14)
8-man Welterweight Tournament
Victor Moreno (16-5) vs. Nick Sorg (4-0)
Mike Cardosa (0-0) vs. Dustin Hazlette (5-2)
Bobby Voelker (5-1) vs. Justin Wilcox (1-0)
Edward O’Daniel (1-0) vs. Chad Reiner (10-0)
Jason Loucke (3-0) vs. Josh Smidt (2-2)
Jens Pulver, former UFC lightweight champion
Jorge Gurgel, UFC vet, Ultimate Fighter TV
Dave Menne, former UFC middleweight champion
Andre Roberts, 4-time UFC standout