Julian “Juicy J” Erosa will put his lightweight championship on the line against former titlist Justin “Ruckus” Harrington in the main event of CageSport 45 at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Wash. on Saturday.
The five-round championship fight marks one of the most highly anticipated rematches in the Pacific Northwest MMA history.
“The energy for the first fight was off the charts,” said promoter Brian Halquist. “Both of these fighters are UFC quality and have a ton on the line. I can’t wait to see the crowd’s energy when Erosa and Harrington enter the cage once again on Saturday.
Erosa, who trains out of Rich Guerin’s Yakima MMA, defeated Harrington by first-round submission in the first meeting to capture the CageSport lightweight title before a frenzied crowd.
“I actually think it’s easier to face an opponent for the second time,” said Erosa, a finalist on UFC’S The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber. “You’re able to adjust accordingly from the first fight. At the same time, I know that for (Harrington), losing will either make him content with losing again to me, or light a fire under him and he comes back stronger. That’s what I’m prepared for. I’m ready for the best Justin Harrington there is.”
Tickets are available through the EQC box office and all Ticketmaster outlets. Preliminary bouts start at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Erosa brings a record of 18-4 into the championship fight. He has fought a record 15 times at the Emerald Queen Casino with 13 victories. Between 2014 and 2015, Erosa became a two division CageSport champion, defeating Harrison Bevens for the vacant lightweight title and immediately following up with a win over Drew Brokenshire for the featherweight title, which Brokenshire had successfully defended four times in a row before the defeat to Erosa.
Erosa defeated Marcin Wrzosek on the UFC – The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale on Dec. 11, 2015 before losing to Teruto Ishihara on the undercard of UFC 196 – McGregor vs. Diaz.
Harrington (9-3), who trains out of Jeff Hougland’s Enumclaw Combat Sport and Fitness, will look to become a three-time CageSport champion in the rematch. In Harrington’s second reign with the title, he defeated Harrison Bevens in July of 2015 to reclaim the title and successfully defended the title against Bobby McIntyre and previously undefeated Bryan Nuro.
“My approach coming into this fight is same as any other – move forward, not backwards. It wasn’t a long enough fight to make any adjustments. My game plan will stay the same,” Harrington said. “I was able to figure out his movement and I got a chance to feel his full power. Other than getting caught in the triangle the only negative I took from this last fight was I didn’t capitalize on my cage control and dominance.”
CageSport MMA – Saturday, April 22, 2017
Emerald Queen Casino, Tacoma, Wash.
Main Event – 5 Rounds
CageSport Lightweight Championship
Justin Harrington (9-3) vs. Julian Erosa (18-4)
Undercard – 3 Round Bouts
265-pounds: Jose Rocha (debut) vs. Tyree Fortune (2-0-0)
140-pounds: Jake Blaski (0-2-0) vs. Justin Hugo (1-2-0)
126-pounds: Jacob Romero (debut) vs. Joey Elzea (2-0-0)
171-pounds: Fay Bursell (1-1-0) vs. Dominique Smith (debut)
138-pounds: Sean Gee (2-3-0) vs. Jose Hernandez (0-1-0)
156-pounds: Matt Coble (10-7-0) vs. Jacob Tampos (4-1-0)
*Two additional bouts TBD