Saturday night will be a first for many things concerning the sport Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). For starters, Nutty Jerry’s Entertainment Complex in Winnie will host their first MMA event when the IXFA comes to town on April 23 and 26-year-old Cody Williams will make his professional debut when he steps inside the cage to fight Gerzan Chaw of Houston.
Williams will also carry the tag of being the first MMA fighter from Beaumont to become a pro competitor. The area is known for producing pro boxers, but Southeast Texas has yet to have a pro MMA fighter until now.
The West Brook graduate leaves the amateur ranks with an impressive 6-1 record and trainer Mike Berryhill of American Top Team Beaumont said Williams is ready for the big step up.
“He has handled the transition very well,” said Berryhill. “He is literally a machine. He is handled the weight very well, which he will be fighting at 135 pounds and he is very disciplined, especially the mental aspect of it and that makes training a lot easier.”
Berryhill described the transition as the same training regimen, but just much more of it.
“We step it up,” he said. “More training time, longer rounds, less breaks and more class days. We train specifics towards strengths and weaknesses and his opponent’s skills. It’s basically harder, faster, stronger then adding to it.”
Williams opponent will be 23-year-old Gerzan Chaw, who trains at Bushi Ban International in nearby Pasadena. He has a professional record of 1-1 and had an amateur record of 3-2.
“We’ve been able to watch several of Chaw’s fights,” said Berryhill. “I probably have studied him more and know him more than Chaw knows himself.”
Berryhill claims Chaw’s biggest strength would be his wrestling skills and ground work and his weakness would be the way he holds his hands and the fact his has been knocked down to the mat.
“His hips are really good and stays on his opponents while he’s on the ground,” said Berryhill. “But standing up is a different story. He drops his left hand a lot and he’s been knocked down.”
Fight fans are encouraged to attend the event not only to see good MMA fighting, but to support Williams. I’ve personally seen him not only fight, but had the privilege to attend many training sessions at Texas Karate Academy in Beaumont, also known as the headquarters for American Top Team Beaumont. You won’t find a harder working fighter.
“He wants to be an exciting fighter,” said Berryhill. “Behind all of this, he juggles many things in his life. He is a great dad and holds down a good job plus he comes in and helps teach others.”
“This guy is top shelf Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu,” said Berryhill. “Not only is he coming down for a seminar, but he will be in the corner of Cody on Saturday night. American Top Team is a family and they support all of their fighters.”
Also scheduled to make a guest appearance is UFC Hall of Fame fighter "The Iceman" Chuck Liddell.
The remaining fight card is Humberto Deleon (5-4) vs. Jimmy Flick (2-0), Justin Ledet (2-0) vs. Alexander Pappas (2-5), Dale Mitchell (1-3) vs. Rakim Cleveland (1-1), Brian Lightfoot (2-3) vs. Jared Taylor (5-7), Lane Yarbrough (10-8) vs. Reynaldo Trujillo (8-3), Joshua Foster (2-2) vs. Edgar Verdin (1-1), Rashon Lewis (1-0) vs. Justin Murray (2-1), Marc Ramirez (2-1) vs. Alden Herbert (3-0) and Lester Batres (3-3) vs. Evans Cutts (4-1).