Hooksett's Filkins set for MMA battle on national telecast
On Friday night, the brawler from Hooksett will fight on national television when he takes on Jonas Billstein as one of the featured fights in Bellator Fighting Championships 81 on MTV2 at 8 p.m.
"I want to beat him in every aspect of the game," Filkins said. "I believe that I'm better than him every way possible. The game plan is to go in there and just take the fight to him."
Filkins is one of the rising stars on the local mixed-martial arts scene. He is 6-1 and last fought on Jan. 27 when he knocked out UFC veteran Louis Taylor in the first round at Combat Zone 40 in Salem. He has won four fights in a row and last lost to Cornelius Murray in a decision in January of 2011.
Billstein, a 21-year-old German, is 10-2 and has lost two of his last three fights. The bout will take place as one of four fights broadcast live from the Ryan Center at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I.
Both fighters are strong strikers and their records are evidence of that. All six of Filkins's wins have been by knockout, as have seven of Billstein's 10.
Filkins, 24, said he doesn't expect the fight to go the distance.
"I expect to go out there and do what I want to do to him," Filkins said. "That's what I trained for. I hope to go in there, impose my will on him and make it quick."
Filkins trains under Ed Carr at Tokyo Joe's in Hooksett and fights for Team Link. He said Bellator caught wind of the local buzz he was creating over the summer and offered him a three-fight contract in August.
He has been training seven days a week since, as well as working a full-time landscaping job, and now Carr feels Filkins is ready for anything.
"This is probably the best shape he's been in in a long time," Carr said. "He's bigger, stronger and he hits like a truck."
They both view this as a great opportunity to take the next step in the world of MMA. Filkins has done his time on the local scene and is now getting a little of the spotlight. The obvious next move would be the UFC, but for now his focus is on Billstein and Friday night.
"It's a big step for me," Filkins said. "It's definitely going to open a lot more doors. It's national, so a lot of people are going to see it. A lot of people are going to start knowing who I am. It's the beginning of something bigger."
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Mark Quirk may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.