Teddy Holder will finally make his debut next weekend for World Series of Fighting. Holder will step into the cage to face Jake Heun on March 28th in an important bout in the promotion’s light heavyweight division. The show will take place in Phoenix, AZ and air live on NBCSN.
Matt Hamill vs. Thiago Silva and Rony Markes vs Dave Branch will determine who fights for the inaugural WSOF 205 belt later this year. Meanwhile Holder vs. Heun will serve as a light heavyweight tournament reserve bout. If one of the four men in the tournament gets hurt, the winner of Holder vs. Heun will get the opportunity to fight for the title.
Long considered the top light heavyweight in Tennessee not in the UFC, Holder (8-1) originally signed with WSOF in Decemeber 2013 but will finally make his debut 16 months later after 2014 was a year of stops and starts. “Hitman” was rumored to face Matt Hamill last summer before the UFC veteran announced his retirement. Then Holder was scheduled to face Misha Cirkonov in October. That fell apart after the promotion had concerns over an illegal possession of alcohol charge on his record from when he was a teenager that might prohibit him from entering Canada. But now a week out from the fight he’s finally ready to step into the cage.
“I’m ready,” said Holder. “I haven’t fought in a year and a half but I’ve had a good camp and once the cage door closes and adrenaline starts pumping I’ll be ready to go. I know Jake is a game opponent and it’s not going to be an easy fight. I just have to go out there and impose my will and look for the finish.”
When Holder steps into the cage he will be looking at Jake Heun. “The Honey Bear” is 7-3 and has won five out of his last six. Training at American Top Team Heun is one of the only fighters to get a shot on two seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. During season 17 Heuron was submitted by Adam Cella but returned in season 19 and lost again to Todd Monaghan. In his last fight he knocked out Ron Fields in just twenty seconds.
After starting his professional career with a loss Holder quickly made a name for himself in the southeast after finishing eight straight fights in the first round. In his last fight in August 2013 Holder knocked out former Bellator light heavyweight tournament participant Chris Davis. What’s even more impressive is that he took the fight on short notice.
After a year of sitting on the sidelines Holder was told he’s be in the WSOF light heavyweight tournament but after the promotion signed Thiago Silva and Vinny Magalhães the Tennessee native was placed as an alternate. Now with a win over Heun Holder can jumpstart his career and could find himself in position for a title shot even if he doesn’t get to compete in the tournament as an alternate.
“The talk of a title shot is a little premature,” explained Holder. “I have to get through Jake first then see what happens. I just want to fight and stay active. I’m pretty sure World Series is aware of that. I told them I’d fight Tyrone Spong, Hamill, Vinny Magalhães, it doesn’t matter. I just want to fight the best guys and see where I’m at. I’m not saying I’m the best guy on the roster but I want an opportunity to fight the best. I was initially told I’d be in the tournament but then I got bumped when they signed Magalhães. They said I didn’t have enough experience to be in the tournament. Then Magalhães fell out with a contract dispute and they put the middleweight champ (Branch) in to face Markes. It is frustrating, but it is what is. Winning cures all man. If I keep winning they have to keep putting me in there. But first things first. I have to beat a very tough Jake Heun Saturday.”
WSOF 19 takes place at the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix on Saturday, March 28th and airs on NBCSN at 9 p.m. ET.