Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Candian Lightweight Mitch (Danger Zone) Clarke Healthy Again and Ready to Fight

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Candian Lightweight Mitch (Danger Zone) Clarke Healthy Again and Ready to Fight

Article excerpt

Clarke healthy again and ready to fight


Fifteen months after losing a unanimous decision to Michael Chiesa, Canadian lightweight Mitch (Danger Zone) Clarke returns to action Thursday.

The Saskatoon native, who fights out of Edmonton, had the worst of the first two rounds against Chiesa but rallied in the third with some solid striking.

Lessons were learned. While he lost, Clarke says the experience has made him focus more on the mental skills of fighting.

Still he is proud of the tenacity he showed against Chiesa, especially in defending repeated attempts at a choke while on the ground.

"I think I showed a lot of heart when I probably could have just given up," Clarke said. "I wasn't willing to give up. I was trying to win that fight .. I wasn't ready to cash the chips yet."

Chiesa, meanwhile, has won two fights since and now ranks 10th among lightweight contenders.

Clarke (11-3-0) meets (Irish) Joe Duffy (14-2-0) on the main card of Thursday's Fight Night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. It's the first of three UFC cards in Las Vegas during the UFC's international fight week that culminates Saturday with UFC 200 at the new T-Mobile Arena.

Restored to health after a laundry list of ailments, the 30-year-old Clarke spent the last six weeks of his training camp in Albuquerque, N.M., to train at elevation with renowned trainer Greg Jackson.

Duffy, who trains out of Montreal's Tristar Gym, is coming off a January loss to Dustin (The Diamond) Poirier.

Lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos meets No. 2 contender Eddie Alvarez in Thursday's main event. Montreal lightweight John (The Bull) Makdessi tackles France's Mehdi (The Sultan) Baghdad on the undercard.

Clarke and Makdessi are the only Canadians competing on the three cards.

Clarke's body has taken a beaten in recent years. He injured his knee seconds into his second UFC fight against Anton Kuivanen, tearing a patella tendon when he kept going. Knee surgery followed.

Clarke has to spend four months rehabbing his elbow after it popped out while stopping (Raging) Al Iaquinta in May 2014 with the first D'arce choke from the bottom in UFC history. …

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