On the road to the UFC

By Mike D'Amour

June 15, 2017 12:00 AM

Puttin' in the work Left: Trainer Garrett Tepper, owner of Lloydminster's Fight Farm, is atop lightweight MMA fighter Andrew Mavridis during a recent workout in preparation for an upcoming King Of the Cage fight in Lethbridge, Alta., and right: 155-lb Mavridis teaches a bag a lesson. PAUL FORGES LLS PHOTOS

To realize a life dream, it’s a given one must put in the time and work.
Nowhere is that more true than in combat sports, especially mixed martial arts (MMA).
Andrew Mavridis, 26, of Lloydminster, is more than aware of that fact, and right now he’s putting in the time to realize his dream of fighting in the UFC, the promotional top of the heap in the MMA world.
“I see a fighter with an unparalleled work ethic,” said Garrett Tepper, owner of Lloyd’s Fight Farm and Mavridis’ trainer.
“I’ve been around the fight game for close to 30 years, and he ranks up there as one of the top working guys I know,” he said.
“The UFC is at the top of Andrew’s mind (and) he’s on the right track ... he is goal driven.”
But before he hears ring announcer Bruce Buffer call his name at a UFC event, 155-lb lightweight Mavridis first has to get by Nick Badura, his opponent tomorrow on the King Of the Cage card in Lethbridge, Alta.
Having his hand raised after that three-rounder would give Mavridis his second amateur win, a must on the road to turning pro.
Mavridis’ first amateur win was back in March when he faced off with Michael Ngo in Cold Lake, Alta.
That fight went to the judges and Mavridis was declared the victor in a split decision.
Mavridis got his start in the combat sports game when he was a teen and began watching televised fights.
“I tried taking judo for a couple of months, but it really didn’t satisfy that itch,” he told the Source.
“Then I found the Fight Farm here in Lloyd, decided to walk in one day and have been there ever since.”
Right now, though, Mavridis is concentrating on his fight tomorrow against another MMA tyro and fellow Albertan, Nick Badura, whose record stands at 0-1-0 (win-loss-draw), as a result of his lone fight back in September; a full three-rounder that was also decided by a split decision.
Mavridis isn’t taking Badura lightly, and has been in fight camp for the past six weeks preparing for the bout.
“I feel good, healthy going into this fight,” he said.
Mavridis has a plan going into the scrap, but may have to play it by ear depending on what happens during the fight.
“I would surprise myself if I flash knocked him out—I really don’t see myself with that kind of power,” he said.
“I plan to win by just outworking him, causing him to get tired and him giving up, either standing up or by submission.”
Mavridis said he will feel Badura out for the first round to see what his hands are like, and if he gets the better of him, he’ll keep the fight standing.
If he doesn’t like what Badura’s hands are doing, Mavridis said he’ll take it to the ground as quickly as possible.
All in all, it will be another step in his climb to the top.
“The end game plan is to turn pro,  hopefully that will be sooner than later,” said Mavridis.
“I’m talking to my coach and he doesn’t want to rush anything,” he said, adding he wants to have five or six amateur fights if possible before making the leap.
Tepper will be along for the journey as much as possible, and he sees great things in his fighter.
“I’ve coached (former UFC fighter) John “The Natural” Alessio (34-18-0, who last competed in Bellator’s Lightweight division), who worked real hard too, but I would say Andrew works harder,” Tepper said.
“The kid’s just really self-driven when it comes to fighting.”
Tepper admits Mavridis doesn’t have the heaviest hands, but he can still pull off spectacular wins.
“Andrew is no knock-out specialist, but he’ll grind you to death,” Tepper said.
“He’s one of those fighters ... he’s such a great student of the game. He has really nice kicks—he’s stopped guys with liver kicks.”
Tepper noted his fighter’s ground game is good, but he can pick you apart standing, too.
“His first (amateur) fight was with a pretty high-level good jiu jitsu guy and all round pretty good striker, but Andrew was definitely getting the better of the guy who wanted no part of Andrew in the stand up trade offs,” he said.
“He would try to engage the clinch right away, which was bad news for him, because in the clinch, Andrew is pretty strong.”
Tepper said he and his team are “working 100 per cent” to get Andrew into the pro ranks.
“That’s our big goal, and I know it’s been his since the first day he walked into my gym.”
But, like Mavridis, Tepper is concentrating on the upcoming fight.
“I expect to see a more violent, aggressive Andrew,” said Tepper, adding Mavridis is such a nice guy it sometimes carries over into the ring.
“We’re changing his mindset: turning that switch on, become an ass——, to become one of those guys who gets the job done and then just turn it off.”
Pick up next week’s Lloydminster Source for fight results.

More News

LCSD hosts archbishop

The Lloydminster Catholic School Division (LCSD) had a special guest this week, as Archbishop Richard Smith toured multiple schools. more »

Falk talks first session in House of Commons

Battlefords-Lloydminster member of Parliament Rosemarie Falk is back in her constituency for the summer. She held a summer office open house this week for people to have a tour, drop by for a conversation,… more »

Health council opens channels

We have your back on healthcare. That’s what the Yellowhead East Health Advisory Council (HAC) told local and area residents during its latest meeting at the Lloydminster Hospital on June 20. more »

more »