MATAR LO AND CHARLES JOURDAIN GO ALL-IN AT TKO42!
Since the return of TKO in November of 2016, we have seen many great storylines develop however it seems the featherweight division has been the epicentre for most. Come TKO42 on March 16th, that tradition will continue when Charles Jourdain (5-1-0, 4 KO) faces Matar Lo (3-1-0, 3 KO).
On the one side we have Jourdain, a young 22-year old who was basically the poster boy for TKO in 2017. However, his undefeated run was derailed in December when he was completely dominated by TJ Laramie in the main event of TKO41 at the Bell Centre, as he was forced to watch his Ontario rival be crowned the king of the 145 pounders. Looking back on that night, Jourdain noted “I didn’t get beat that night, I was held down by a guy looking to win a decision. No disrespect, his strategy worked, but I came to fight while he came to win.”
Questions have abounded of late as to how Jourdain would respond to such adversity. The ground game having been the difference in that fight, the young man had made it no secret that he has been working ardently on his wrestling although he doesn’t see himself requiring his newly refined skills in this upcoming battle with Lo, a competitor known for his striking skills more than his ground work. “I don’t plan on going to the ground. I have a striking plan and many tools to get where I need to go in this fight, even if one of them doesn’t work with Matar. He may have a reach advantage but I know how to work with that; he reminds me a lot of a more talented version of Wally Lidji (whom Jourdain defeated at TKO36) but I’m a lot better today than when I fought Lidji. My trademark has always been to give the fans the show they want and after my last fight, I owe them.”
When it comes to another shot at the title, Jourdain was very down to earth in his approach: “Of course down the line I want to be the champion but even in beating Matar, I don’t think fans will be clamoring for Jourdain-Laramie II. I’m taking 2018 one fight at a time.”
On the other side of this confrontation is Matar Lo, an incredible striker training out of Ottawa, Ontario who has gone undefeated in his last 3 fights since moving to featherweight, finishing all his opponents along the way, earning him the title of 2017 rookie of the year in TKO. There is quite a level of irony here as just one year ago, it was Jourdain who was the young gun chasing the more experienced fighters to make a name for himself. Now, the shoe is on the other foot, and it is the up and coming Lo chasing the experienced Jourdain.
“This fight is very important to me” Lo noted. “The challenges keep getting bigger and bigger but I keep getting better both mentally and physically.” When asked about the fact that fans are expect a standup war between the two young prospects, the humble 6’2 man, gigantic for a featherweight, intentionally remained vague, simply stating “I’m not sure how it’s going to go down but I’ll be ready for anything. I can’t speak to what his intentions are but I trained very hard and I’m coming to win.”
For Jourdain, this fight is not only important to get back on the right track, but he also feels there is an informal title at stake. “Let’s face it” he said, “if I beat him, I prove I’m the best striker in the division. I think I’m extremely versatile in that aspect of the game, I can come from the right or from the left. Yes he’s taller, yes he has more reach, but I’m confident I’ll be able to use it against him. I see a third round TKO coming.”
Bold prediction or not, this is one fight TKO fans will not want to miss as both Jourdain and Lo are on the ascent and cannot afford to lose this fight in order to avoid setting their careers back many months. It is a mission they will not decline and at which they cannot afford to fail.
TKO42: Nogueira vs Laramie goes down Friday, March 16th at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec. Tickets are on sale now at www.evenko.ca and the Place Bell box office. If you can’t be there in person, you can catch all the action live on UFC Fight Pass and in Canada on the Fight Network.
– Story by Patrick Lono, TKO