Blood & Sand VIII is ready to hit the cage inside the Mississippi - - The News for South Mississippi

Blood & Sand VIII is ready to hit the cage inside the Mississippi Coast Coliseum on Saturday

By A.J. Giardina – bio | email


BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -Sports fans love the competitive nature of Mixed Martial Arts cage fighting. 17 bouts will take the spotlight Saturday night featuring two heavyweights, Justin Wren against Roy Nelson.

Local fighter Harris Stephenson of Long Beach will make his pro debut in a 165 pound match. The 2007 Long Beach High School graduate competed in football, soccer, ran track and cross country and missed the competition. He said. " After high school man, there's not much to get into, so I went to the gym, find MMA. I like it, stuck with it and here I am today."

Stephenson posted 7 wins and 2 losses as an amateur. He stated that he's now ready for his first professional fight, "Of my 7 wins, 4 knockouts and three submissions. First pro fight, Saturday. It's going to be a good one, real tough guy. It will be a good test for me."

Stephenson steps into the cage against Tony Godbold, a veteran MMA fighter. Godbold's professional experience, doesn't scare Stephenson. He added, "Godbold already head ten pro fights. He has a lot of experience on me, but I think I've got the fight because I think I've just trained a lot harder for this fight. I don't see him out training me." He added, "I've watched his video, seen him fight. He's got heavy hands but that's about it. I think I'm well rounded."

Promoter Ricky Derouen says he loves the winning attitude of Stephenson who comes to fight. Derouen said, "Harris is dedicated to the sport. He trains everyday. He wakes up in the morning, he lives this sport all day long until he goes to bed at night." He beamed, "That's the kind of fighters I love to put on this show."

Win or lose, Derouen says Stephenson will erase that fight and will get ready for the next one even if he loses, saying, "He'll be back in the gym on Monday, starting over, working towards his next fight. He's going to show up and give a hundred percent, there's not a doubt in my mind."

Stephenson says while he lacks pro experience he has one advantage over Godbold, "I think my ground game is really going to really standout in this fight, especially. I'm pretty sure he doesn't train much ground game."

Tickets for "Blood & Sand VIII" cost $25.


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