by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy EliteXC)

At February 10th’s EliteXC show there will be a multitude of fights that could have exciting endings. Perhaps most exciting could be the heavyweight match-up of two of California’s top prospects, Bo “Redrum” Cantrell and Tim “Big Perm” Persey.

Fans of the Gladiator Challenge shows will instantly recognize Cantrell’s name. He’s the promotion’s reining Heavyweight Champion for over a year and went undefeated in that time, dominating his fights.

“I feel I had a pretty good year last year,” said Bo of his 2006. “I went 5-0 and defended my Gladiator [Challenge Heavyweight Championship] belt five times against pretty tough opposition. I got my knockouts in quick fights that I trained hard for.”

Cantrell added, “I think I might have had a total of six minutes [fighting] in five fights I had. That’s just showing my tenacity and aggressiveness. When I fight I try to end it. I’m not trying to look pretty, I’m trying to end the fight the quickest way I can, and that’s what I think makes me an exciting fighter.”

The year was Bo’s busiest, and according to him, the consistent schedule was a welcomed change that paid big dividends.

“I stayed busy and kept my momentum up the whole year,” exclaimed Cantrell. “In the past I was fighting once every three-to-four months and so I stopped training so I could spend some time with my family and then have to get back in the swing of things.”

“This time, I pretty much trained the whole year and it was a big reason for my success. I was in tip-top shape the whole year and didn’t let myself get lazy, not once,” continued Bo.

That training comes under the watchful eye of Tim Marinoble, one of the sport’s emerging premier trainers, having worked with the likes of WEC 145lb Champion Urijah Faber and UFC veteran James “Sandman” Irvin.

Under Marinoble’s tutelage Cantrell feels he’s able to grow on a daily basis, something that not many fighters get an opportunity to do.

“When I train, I train everything – jiu-jitsu, stand-up, defending the takedown, on my back – I think as a fighter I’m growing every day and learning,” commented Bo. “Mr. Marinoble is very good about teaching me something every day that’s new to me, and that’s why I like him. I feel like at the end of the day that I picked something up that I can use in my arsenal.”

It’s Cantrell’s impressive arsenal that has helped him land a spot in EliteXC, MMA’s newest and possibly next big promotion, to be carried on the Showtime, one of pay-television’s biggest networks.

Having an opportunity to fight on such a stage has Bo, a former Marine helicopter machine gunner, feeling blessed and genuinely excited to be able to showcase his skills at the next level.

“I feel privileged and I appreciate it,” obliged Cantrell. “There’s so many shows out there with talented, good, up-and-coming fighters, so for me to get my break – and earned it – when they could have called so many other fighters, it’s an honor.”

Bo further commented, “MMA has grown and more big shows are going on and it’s good for the fighters that have been paying their dues for years. To be part of something like the first primetime MMA show on Showtime, it makes me feel so grateful and privileged to be part of something like that, it’s huge.”

At EliteXC Cantrell will be matching up with fellow Californian heavyweight prospect Tim “Big Perm” Persey. Tim is a one-time training partner of current UFC star Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and is a member of Team Oyama, headed by elite trainer Colin Oyama.

Coming from the same state, Bo is familiar with his opponent and even had the opportunity to see him fight up close and personal.

“I’ve actually seen Big Perm fight in person,” explained Cantrell. “I saw him fight Rocky Batastini on a Gladiator Challenge show; I was actually judging that fight. He’s a big, strong man and seems pretty confident when he’s in there. I think it’s going to be an interesting fight.”

“I think he will stand up with me and I think he’ll bring it. I know he trains hard. He had a stint with Quinton Jackson, so he’s got good wrestling and has a good camp. I know he’ll be ready I’m looking forward to one hell of a fight,” continued Bo.

With his success on a local level already cemented, Cantrell is looking to use EliteXC to break onto the national level, and should all go well against Persey, continue to move up the ranks to the worldwide stage.

“I’m not looking past Big Perm at all, but I’ve thought about that,” admitted Bo. “I know as you grow as a fighter that the challenges ahead of you become tougher. I’m just curious to know where I’m at. You’re only as good as the people you train with and the people you fight. I want to be, one day, one of the fighters that people talk about as one of the best in the world.”

Bo added, “Hopefully MMA gets to a point where it’s not just the UFC or PRIDE, I mean, I want to be on all stages. Call me greedy, but I want to be able to fight everywhere. I’d love to fight overseas, like in Japan, they love fighting and have a lot admiration for the fighters, so to be part of that would be fine with me.”

So when fans login to www.ProElite.com to checkout the live undercard via streaming video, be sure to not to miss what could be a heavyweight explosion when Bo Cantrell and Tim Persey match-up. As Cantrell himself says, it’s not going to be a fight you’ll want to miss.

“I want give a shout-out to: Roseville Hyundai, The Body Shop, Full Contact Fighter, Fairtex, Marinoble’s – Dave Marinoble – my trainer, my wife, my son Xander, my daughter Lilly, my entire family and my fans,” said Bo. “The show’s going to be worth the money, it’s going to be worth getting Showtime if you don’t have it just for that.”

“It’s going to be worth it, because I don’t know about the other fights, but our fight [Bo vs. Big Perm] is going to be one of the most exciting fights on the show. I hope he brings it, because I’ll bring it. It’s not going to a decision, it’s definitely going to end before three rounds [are up],” concluded Cantrell.