It's hard for Jeremy Bjornberg of Driller Promotions to hide his excitement surrounding this weekend's event in downtown Minneapolis.
Driller Promotions is taking over a new venue, and it's one Bjornberg believes could become the new hot spot for Minnesota MMA.
Driller is set to debut MMA at the Muse in Minneapolis. It's not a massive venue, but Bjornberg said fans will love the setup.
"It's a state of the art venue in downtown Minneapolis with two levels and even more space looking down into cage from upper level than Epic or Myth," Bjornberg said. "I'm super excited. It's going to be a fantastic place to watch MMA, and I think all the fans are going to love it."
Tickets for Saturday's show, which is scheduled to start at 6 p.m., are still available online through cagetix.com and from participating fighters. Doors will open at 5 p.m.
The event features one of Driller's most loaded pro cards of the year, including two pro title fights. There also is an amateur title fight.
"It's going to be a big, big night," Bjornberg said.
We caught up with Bjornberg this week to break down the entire fight card.
170 — NATE HOWE vs. BEN SMITH, title
Bjornberg's thoughts: "These two guys are fighters we work with regularly, guys we believe both have bright futures in the sport. It's a showdown fight with immediate big-show implications. If Ben Smith wins, he has a long-term Bellator deal waiting for him, and Howe isn't far behind. It's a classic stud wrestler (Smith) against a stud jiu-jitsu player (Howe). This fight can go either way, but it likely will be decided on the ground. I'm pumped for it. I like both guys, they're both friends, and I want to see them both do well. It's just an even, good fight that fans deserve to see."
145 — NICK COMPTON vs. JORDAN NEER, title
Bjornberg's thoughts: "These are two of the best 145-pound prospects in the entire Midwest. Neer signed a contract with MCC, but he took this fight just prior to that. He's 5-0 and he's got a crowd-pleasing style. He's super aggressive, and he may be the toughest fighter Nick Compton has faced to date. We want our champions like Nick to face the best competition they can, and Jordan certainly offers that. Nick trains hard and he's improving. He's trying to prove he deserves a shot with a big promotion as well."
155 — ROLAND LARSON vs. STARR ROBERTS
Bjornberg's thoughts: "Roland is a brown belt with unproven standup, and Starr is a fantastic kickboxer with an unproven ground game. Both guys will be looking to keep the fight in their wheelhouse. If Starr can keep it standing, he's gotten a definite advantage. If Roland can get it to the ground, he'll have the upper hand. These guys don't have the greatest records, but those records aren't indicative of how good these guys actually