One of the top welterweight talents in the region, Jake Whitfield, returns to the cage on Saturday, October 24th at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. I recently caught up with Jake to find out the latest about this event and how his preparation is going:
Rich Wyatt: How are things going for you and your team at Triangle Jiu-Jitsu in Goldsboro?
Jake Whitfield: Things are going very well for us. We were supposed to have two guys fighting in August but unfortunately only one got to fight. His name is Pat Diamond and he won by rear naked choke in 1:11 of the first round. Dave Cavanaugh was supposed to fight on that show as well but his opponent backed out. The guy showed up and weighed in and everything then suddenly remembered that he had a concussion. Whatever. We all know he just got cold feet and didn't want to fight. We had Royce here in Goldsboro for a seminar September 3rd as well. That was great. We had about thirty people at the seminar. Then a couple of weeks later we competed in the Pendergrass Classic gi tournament. A lot of our better guys didn't compete but I think everyone that did compete won a medal. Seth Shamp, our Durham academy instructor, won the purple belt division and won both of his matches by submission. Seth's fantastic. He's like a purple belt under Roger Gracie. He has great basics and he goes for the finish. I could take him to the Mundial right now and I think he would win.
Rich Wyatt: Sounds like you guys have been busy. Now you have a CFP welterweight title defense scheduled at the October 24th Carolina Crown event at the RBC Center in Raleigh. How is training going for that?
Jake Whitfield: Training has been good. I never got too out of shape from the last fight so I honestly haven't had to do as much work for this one. My weight is good to go and I'm injury free so I'm feeling really confident going into this fight. I've been staying closer to home for this one, haven't been traveling as much. I've trained with my guys here in Goldsboro and my guys in Durham and I've gone up to Forged Fitness (formerly CrossfitNC) a few times but that's it.
Rich Wyatt: What do you know about your opponent Brian Keller?
Jake Whitfield: I know that he's a purple belt under Joe Hurst. He's 5-4 in MMA. He's supposed to be physically strong. That's about all I know. I'm sure he's going to be a tough guy but I'm focusing more on myself for this fight. I feel like this fight is more me against me. I have to show up in shape and focused but if I do that, I can't see him winning.
Rich Wyatt: How do you see this upcoming fight going?
Jake Whitfield: Submission in the second round. Rear naked choke.
Rich Wyatt: Are there any other Team ROC members competing on this card?
Jake Whitfield: There are a few but I'm not part of Team ROC anymore. I'm really good friends with most of the people on Team-ROC and they're also under Royce but Triangle Jiu-jitsu is separate from them. The two people I'm really excited about are Jon Owens and Billy Dowey. I love watching Jon fight and Billy is just ridiculous. Brandon Garner was supposed to be on this show but he injured his knee so he won't be fighting. That disappoints me a lot. Me and Brandon have fought on the same show 5 times and he's one of my best friends.
Rich Wyatt: Thanks for taking the time to give us an update. I hope preparations continue to go well. We'll check back in soon.