Cody Williams is ready for the biggest fight of his career. That fight will take place on Saturday, July 7, when the 27-year-old Beaumont native climbs into the cage to fight Todd Martarona for the IXFA bantamweight title in the Event Center at Delta Downs in nearby Vinton, La.
“Your next fight is always the biggest,” said Williams. “The title really has no implications on how big this fight is for me. I don’t want to lose two fights in a row.”
Williams, now 3-2, last fought in May and lost to Ryan Benoit (4-1) via submission at Legacy FC in Houston. Since then, the single father of one, 4-year-old son Colton, has transitioned into a full-time fighter.
“You have a lot more riding on each fight,” said Williams of leaving a day job and focusing his attention on fighting. “Everything relies on fights and sponsorships.” This means training even more.
Williams trains regularly at American Top Team-Beaumont, but recently spent a week at the American Top Team headquarters in Coconut Creek, Fla. “It was super exciting,” he said. “I stayed with Cole Miller (UFC) along with his brother Micah, who is also a pro MMA fighter, and their dad Tim. They gave me a couch to sleep on. You woke up, trained four hours, got a few hours for a break, then go back for two or three more hours of training. It was a great experience to train with world champions. From kickboxers to world-class Brazilian Jiu Jitsu guys, it was what I needed and was also great timing. I literally got the dog crap beat out of me. I look forward to more trips to Florida.”
Williams will face a guy who will be making his professional MMA debut, Todd Martarona of DeQuincy, La.
“I know he is a ground fighter and has skill in Jiu-Jitsu,” said Williams. “I’m sure he will be looking to take me down. I don’t think he is going to want to stand and trade punches with me too long. I’m ready for any and everything. I know what I have to do to win. Both of my losses were minor mistakes. I’ve yet to lose a round in my pro career, and that shows that you have to be perfect to win a fight. I’ve prepared, and I’m ready to do the dance.”
Williams began his career in the IXFA when he defeated Gerzan Chaw back on April 23, 2011. “Scott Dawson (promoter of IXFA) does a great job of taking care of fighters and putting on a good show,” he said. “It’s going to be fun to fight for them again.”
Dawson echoed those statements in return. “He is one of the most exciting up and coming fighters around,” said Dawson. “We’ve been watching him since he was an amateur. When we heard he wanted to go pro, it was a no-brainer to put him on the card then and now I fully expect to see him in the UFC within the next year or so. He brings it every fight, and you can’t ask for much more than that.”
Dawson says the fans can expect at least 10 fights, with a mixture of both pro and amateur fights.
On the pro side, undefeated Josh Quayhagen is slated to compete. Quayhagen of Lake Charles is 4-0, with three wins coming in Bellator.
“We got plenty of excitement, including Chris Reed,” said Dawson. “Chris (3-2) fought for us in 2007 then retired in 2009, and I actually brought him on as a partner in the IXFA. Chris has the itch to fight again, so he’s coming out of retirement versus Jeremy McCombs (0-1) of Denton.”
Also scheduled in the 205-division is Justin Ledet (4-0) of Alvin vs. Jordan Clissold (0-3). “Justin was 3-0 as an amateur and 4-0 as a pro,” added Dawson. “Clissold has fought in the IXFA three times, and each fight has been against a top-tier fighter.”
Former heavyweight Rakim Cleveland (2-2) of nearby Dayton will make his debut in the light heavyweight division against Aaron Davis (3-3) of Lake Charles. “Aaron is one of the top grapplers around,” said Dawson. “He competed in the ADCC, which is the biggest and best grappling event. He won a medal at 185 and fights up at 205 pounds. Rakim is a big boy, and it’s going to be hard to take him down. This is going to be an interesting fight.”
Stephanie Alba (1-1) of Houston will fight Cristina Crist (1-3) of Dallas and in the ammy division; Taylor Montgomery (3-1) of Beaumont will square off against Charles McClendon (1-0) of DeQuincy, La.
A few tickets remain for $65 or $55 at ticketmaster.com or charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000. Fight fans must be 21 years or older to attend the fights, and doors open at 7 p.m.
“Out of all the venues we’ve hosted a show at, this is our favorite venue,” said Dawson of Delta Downs. “The venue seats 1,200 people but comes off as a small arena. The hospitality at Delta Downs is phenomenal, and it’s just a great venue to do it at. We hosted a show there in 2009 and we’re glad we are coming back.”
Chad Cooper can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 241, or by e-mail at cooper [at] theexaminer [dot] com.