Chatham’s Tyler Kirk Looking to Ride Amazing Roll to MCL Title

Tyler Kirk (grey), grappling at a recent ICAD event - File Photo

Tyler Kirk (grey), grappling at a recent ICAD event - File Photo

Chatham athlete and Redemption MMA fighter Tyler “The Terminator” Kirk is in the midst of a mission to become a champion in all aspects of his life. The 22-year old Chatham-Kent mixed martial artist will be fighting local champion Dylan Fanslaw for the Michigan Combat League (MCL) 125-pound title on February 10th in Lincoln Park, Michigan.

Kirk is coming off an incredible 2011 of competition where he went 3-1 in his first four MMA fights, and he also recently won gold at the North American Grappling Association tournament in Toronto. His level of success in 2011 and to this point is a testament to his natural talent for the sport as he is still a novice in training.

“I’ve only been training seriously for just over a year,” Kirk told me via phone last week. I have seen his submission skills in action and his quickness and technical ability are impressive. All his wins have come via submission. I have also seen Tyler’s stand uop in training, but have not seen it in real competition. I asked him whether he is more of a submission fighter than striker and his answer revealed a great response.

“I just want the W in this one. I’ll do what I have to do to win. I’ll bang. I like to bang with anyone, but the submissions were just kinda there during the fights so I took them.”

That wisdom is what will lead you to success and longevity in the sport. In MMA, you go into the cage with a game plan sure, but you need to be fluent and well rounded enough to jump on opportunities when they arise. It is clear that Kirk knows that, and is being taught well by Redemption MMA owner and head trainer Chatham native, Chris Kimmerly.

“Chris is my main guy. He is always there helping and training me and I also have Steve Eldridge helping a lot too.” Kirk credited Eldridge with being a key to his victory at NAGA in December.

In turning our attention specifically to his upcoming title fight against Dylan Fanslaw, both Kirk and Kimmerly had nothing but respect for the man currently holding the title.

“I’ve seen him fight a couple times and he’s very well rounded. I think he is undefeated at 4-0 right now too. He recently defended against Mike Sindone and the Sindone brothers are very good.”

Fanslaw won that fight by choke and is a very lanky fighter. He appears to be the bigger fighter than Kirk but coach Chris Kimmerly believes Tyler’s edge comes elsewhere.

“Tyler’s hands and feet are very good and I think he is a much faster fighter than Dylan.” he said. “He has trained at Adrenaline Training Center and competed in smoker matches there and done very well.” A smoker match is like heavy sparring in kickboxing with no grappling or submissions allowed.

Kirk himself is also very confident in his hand power “I have always been a striker. I come from a hockey background and in any of my fights on the ice or if I had to get into a street fight situation I have always knocked guys out.”

In typical UFC fashion, I asked Tyler if he had a message for Fanslaw leading up to their big fight and he showed once again that he has the proper make up to succeed in this tough sport.

“I’m not really a chirper kind of guy or anything like that but I just hope Dylan does not take me or this fight lightly or underestimate me becuse I’m coming to win that strap.”

Kimmerly has stated that he wants to keep Tyler going while he is on this role and that he sees Kirk making big waves in 2012 eventually applying for a professional licence by the end of the year.

“I think a fight every two months is good if a fighter is healthy, especially at this age and level.” Kimmerly stated and Kirk pretty much agreed. “I had four fights last year but I also had a couple scheduled where the guy pulled out at the last minute so i could have fought more. Six fights is good I think.”

It is great to see Chatham-Kent athletes enjoying and excelling at this new and growing sport and let’s all wish Tyler a safe and successful title fight

The event is Friday February 10 2012 at the Michigan Combat League in association with Caged Animal Productions.. presents.. “Domination” 7pm ..Park Diamond Center..Lincoln Park

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