In just over a month's time, four Goulburn Martial Arts Academy students will step into the ring at the Storm Damage 13 event in Canberra.
Cheveau Apanui, Hayden Ellis, Dave Sturgiss, and Isaac Dean are currently working with GMAA head instructor Craig Harmer to hone their skills ahead of their fights on April 17.
For Apanui, Ellis, and Sturgiss, the event will mark their mixed martial arts debuts, while it will be Dean's third fight.
Just under six weeks out from the card, Harmer said all three debutants are making good progress.
"We're heading in the right direction," he said.
"Some guys could fight today, some I'd still like to do a bit of work with.
"I just want to clear their goals up, their game plans, and strategise and work for it. Do a bit more drilling and a bit more conditioning."
Apanui and Ellis will both fight in the featherweight division, while Dean will fight at welterweight and Sturgiss, the biggest of the four, will compete at light heavyweight.
While the two smallest men are already close to their target weights, the journey to make the 93 kilogram limit has been a long one for Sturgiss.
"I've got another six kilos to cut, and so far we're looking good," he said.
"I'm doing six BJJ [Brazilian Jiu Jitsu] training sessions a week, and then the four MMA sessions we do, plus sparring every second Friday and wrestling every other Friday. It's been full-on.
"I've had nearly five months to get down to weight. I started at 112 kilos and now I'm at 98.6."
Each of the Goulburn fighters on the card has their own plans for how they aim to approach the fight. While Sturgiss and Apanui aim to take a relaxed, 'see what happens' approach, Ellis is looking to get the fight to the ground.
"I'm going to concentrate on what I'm good at, which is grappling," Ellis said.
"The reason why I'm doing this is because I want to test my jiu jitsu. I'm going to go in there as a grappler, and this is the best test for it because when we do classes or when I compete in BJJ, there's no strikes involved.
"Sports jiu jitsu isn't the most realistic representation of what a fight's going to be like, and this way I can really find out what's going to be applicable with the skills I've learned in classes."
While many would be apprehensive about the prospect of their first MMA bout, Apanui said the fight can't get here soon enough.
"I've always had a spark for combat, for fighting," Apanui said.
"That's probably due to my grandfather, he told me a lot about our Maori history from New Zealand.
"Every day is a struggle to get to training, but I'm loving it. It's going to be worth it, I'm looking forward to the fight. I can't wait, I want it to be here now."
On Saturday, April 17, Storm Damage 13 will take place at the Tuggeranong Basketball Stadium.
On the card, Apanui will fight Eric Sourinkham, Ellis will face Bryan Rubalos, Sturgiss will go up against Mohamad Queik, and Dean will take on Henry Osborne-Price-Jones.
The doors will open at 6pm and the fights will get underway from 7pm.
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