Cage fighting comes to the Pontchartrain Center

Hilia Fights will host its first Mixed Martial Arts cage fighting event in the Greater New Orleans area Friday, April 26. Hilia Fights is the largest MMA promotional company that has showcased an all-professional MMA event in the Greater New Orleans area with the exception of the Ultimate Fighting Championships and Bellator Fighting Championships.

Hilia Fights will feature regional and national MMA talent. The event will also be broadcast live throughout the United States and internationally in more than 20 different countries.

“I wanted to give the New Orleans fight fans fights they would not be able to see anywhere else from any other event in the area,” Jeremy Augusta, matchmaker for Hilia Fights at the Pontchartrain Center, said. “I researched every fight to make sure that they were going to be as competitive as possible, so much so, that I expect most fights to be three rounds of nonstop action.”

There are 10 scheduled professional MMA fights on the card with New Orleans MMA fighter Chaz “The White Shadow” Morgan (5-0) vs. Sammy “Crash” Smith (3-1) from Texas as the main event. The winner of this bout will be crowned the first Hilia Fights super heavyweight champion.

“These are two giant and athletic men who are both going to be stars,” Augusta said. “This will be a war between the two throwing punches so hard the crowd will hear them.”

Smith, a previous powerhouse in arena and semi-pro football, has now found his place in MMA. This 28-year old; 6-foot, 3-inch; 300-pound super heavyweight has been training for five years in mixed martial arts, and his nickname “Crash” has become prominent in his victories in the sport. Of his three wins, Smith has finished all in under 26 seconds by technical knock outs.

“I want to be one of the best in this sport,” Smith said. “I am excited to fight someone with more experience than I have this early in my fight career. I hope the fight turns out in my favor, and I am looking to put on a good show for everyone.”

Morgan is not intimidated by Smith’s technical knockouts. If anything, it motivates him more to get into the cage this Friday.

“I have watched his fights, and he seems to overpower his opponents with his weight,” Morgan said. “There are not too many people that can do that to me. He will have to beat me by technical skill.”

Morgan has been training in MMA for over five years, focusing on being a well-rounded fighter. He played high school and collegiate football and found himself in limbo after a football injury. Once recovered, he saw that his “street fighting” friends from his younger days were becoming successful at MMA. Morgan dove into training to satisfy his need for competition.

“I have always been a fan of the UFC since I was younger,” Morgan said. “Once the sport started getting mainstream and I saw my friends who I grew up with on the streets becoming successful at it, I saw it as God’s plan for me.”

From the streets to the cage, Morgan has found his home in the sport, rising to the top in the region as one of the most talented super heavyweights, remaining undefeated at five wins and no losses.

Doors open to the Hilia Fights at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner on April 26 at 5:30 p.m., fights start at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.

Official Fight Card

Thanh Lee vs. Justin Durand

John Hernholm vs. Michael Rosenberg

Marcus Andrusia vs. Richie McCloskey

Erick Jordan vs. George Hinojosa

Nicholas Jackson vs. Jermayne Barnes

Allen Smith vs. Alex Book

Tony Kelley vs. Michael Smith

Johnathan Mackles vs. Jonathan Lopez

Jeff Humphries vs. Sky Moiseichik

Chaz Morgan vs. Sammy Smith Jr.

Fight card subject to change