So, I thought I would share some info on a local fighter from my area who is climbing the ranks to some bigger shows. Tyler "Thunder" Toner is a coach and teammate at Easton BJJ Boulder/Denver and he fights at 145lbs. Currently he is the Ring of Fire 145 lb. Young Guns Champion and you might have seen him smash Ricky Johnson in Strikeforce-Payback, the last HDNet Strikeforce broadcast. Tyler is currently 8-1 in mma, with his lone loss coming by decision and is a BJJ Purple Belt.
What spurred me to write this, is that yesterday Tyler pulled off a huge upset, the kind that could lead to some bigger opportunities for him. A couple of weeks ago, his Muay Thai coach, Duane "Bang" Ludwig, was scheduled to fight at ShootBoxing Champions Carnival at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. Ludwig opted to return to Strikeforce to take on Lyle "Fancypants" Beerbohm, thus leaving an opening on the ShootBoxing card. As is often the case, Duane's student was offered the slot and he accepted, despite having only a full week to train for a fight against the 2006 ShootBoxing World Superwelterweight Champion, Kenichi Ogata. Ogata is a veteran of over a hundred fights and against some of the best kickboxers in the world. Not only that, but Tyler would be fighting a style of fight that was new to him and at a weightclass above his normal weight.
Toner arrived at the weigh-in at the agreed upon 158 pounds, but was told that it was instead, at 156 pounds. He went back and cut the extra 2 pounds only to discover that what was once a title fight, would now be just the main event of the card, despite several other title fights. After getting a few problems settled, the fight was on.
Tyler entered the ring, widely considered to be a huge underdog. Several minutes and a big head kick later, he emerged the victor! 2:57 of the first round and the 2006 champion lay defeated on the mat.
As we see more and more promotions, reality shows and schools emerging, we need to realize that these are the type of fighters that we will be watching in the UFC and others in the near future. Get out and see some of your regional shows and keep your eyes open for the next wave of champions on their way to the big time.
Congratulations to Tyler and I look forward to seeing him further his fight career in the future. Yet another product of the Mile High Air that trains alongside Ludwig, Eliot Marshall and many others.