Talion Sports and Entertainment, the parent company TKO MMA, hosted a major press conference last Thursday, officially launching the activities leading up to the biggest event in company history, TKO41: CHAMPIONS. A large amount of local and national media outlets as well as fans attended the session which saw 17 fighters take the stage to discuss their upcoming fight, field questions and face off with their foes.
As had been previously announced, TKO returns home to Montreal’s Bell Centre on Friday, December 8 for an event that will feature 13 fights, 5 of which will be championship bouts. The current configuration of the venue seats approximately 4,000 fans however this number can increase up to 9,500 should ticket sales require it. As has been the case since November 2016, the event will also be broadcast live around the world on UFC Fight Pass as well as coast-to-coast in Canada on Fight Network. Replays will then be available in Quebec on RDS2.
At the press conference, TKO President Stephane Patry confirmed that Charles Jourdain and TJ Laramie would headline TKO41 as they clash to determine who will reign as champion in the featherweight division. These young men, aged 21 and 20 respectively, were very respectful of one another yet remained confident that they could take home the victory. Jourdain is undefeated thus far in his young career and is viewed as TKO’s franchise player. On the other hand, Laramie has proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with and will undoubtedly do everything in his power to cement his status as the top 145-pounder in the country. The clash between these two prospects has been anticipated for over one year and is now a mere 7 weeks away.
In the co-main event, Strahinja Gavrilovic will get his long-anticipated rematch with Quebec City’s Marc-Andre Barriault. The rivalry between these two stars has been intense over the past months and the fans will finally get to see them fight once again, this time with the middleweight crown at stake. Although they will have to wait until December 8 to trade blows in the cage, the two exchanged verbal jabs, much to the delight of all those in attendance. The decibel level is likely to be off the charts when they square off.
The lightweight championship bout will also feature a rematch as UFC veteran Jesse Ronson takes on Derek Gauthier, a man he defeated by third round TKO last April. The man known as The Body Snatcher is thought by many to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the organization, but will need to live up to that moniker if he intends to take home the gold as Gauthier feels he is making the necessary adjustments to ensure a different result this time around.
In one of the most intriguing matchups on the card, Adam Dyczka will take on Bakary Sakho for the TKO heavyweight championship. Dyczka has earned legions of fans over the past year as he decimated any and all competition in his weight class. Sakho is a late arrival to the party but the charismatic man from Senegal appeared extremely confident when addressing his next opponent in front of the media. Highly unlikely these two will require the full 25 minutes to determine a winner.
The final championship at stake at the Bell Centre will be at 135 pounds and the announcement of the matchup came as a surprise for the fans. Dimitri Waardenburg definitely deserved a title fight however all the top contenders in the division have had issues in recent bouts. Suitable competition was required and found in the form of Calgary’s Jesse Arnett, a very talented fighter who may arguably be the best bantamweight in Canada.
To this already stacked card was added many dream matchups for TKO fans for what the organization has promised will be the best event it has ever produced. When one reviews the roster of talent signed for this event from top to bottom, it isn’t hard to expect that promise to be delivered.
Tickets are available now at the Bell Centre box office, by calling 514-790-2525 or online at www.evenko.ca.
Confirmed bouts for TKO41: CHAMPIONS
Main Card – TKO Featherweight Championship
TJ Laramie (6-2) vs Charles Jourdain (5-0)
Main Card – Middleweight Championship
Marc-André Barriault (8-1) vs Strahinja Gavrilovic (7-4)
Main Card – Lightweight Championship
Derek Gauthier (8-7) vs Jesse Ronson (18-8)
Main Card – Heavyweight Championship
Bakary Sakho (1-0) vs Adam Dyczka (6-0)
Main Card – Bantamweight Championship
Jesse Arnett (13-4) vs Dimitri Waardenburg (13-8)
Main Card – Featherweight bout
TBA vs. Alex Morgan (7-3)
Main Card – Lightweight bout
Michael Dufort (4-2) vs Kevin Genereux (4-2)
Main card – Bantamweight bout
Keith Lee (2-1) vs Frédérik Dupras (1-0)
Swing bout – Featherweight bout
Charles Hupperhetz (2-1) vs Matar Lo (2-1)
Prelims – Flyweight bout
James Clarke (1-1) vs James Mancini (3-3)
Prelims – Welterweight bout
Collin Baikie (1-2) vs David Daigneault (2-0)
Prelims – Women’s Flyweight bout
Griet Eeckhout (3-2-1) vs Corinne Laframboise (1-1)