NEPA Cagefight 27 Coming February 17th To The Woodlands In Luzerne County

Inside Danko's fitness center in Plains former UFC fighter Jimmy Hettes now trains the next batch of hungry athletes eager to step foot in the cage.

"Alright back leg. Notice that when I'm checking if I have my hands down. When he checks if his hands are down give him a little love tap," said Jimmy.

An amateur and pro card is set to take place at the Woodlands in Luzerne County on February 17th. Former Coughlin wrestler Malik Mahmoud fights for a 2nd time.

"To come back now and have him train you. What's that mean to you to help you in your amateur career? Oh! It means the most. Honestly I don't think that I could succeed without him. He's a technician. He's unbelievable. He is a good friend of mine now but if it wasn't for him probably wouldn't succeed at all," said Malik.

Jason Colarusso played football for the Riverside Vikings and Dave Rebar in 2004, and is (4-4) in the octagon. His training with Hettes has helped his game.

"He's helping me a ton. Jimmy is a great UFC vet. You can't really ask for better training than that. Talk about the Woodlands and what it's going to be like coming up on Friday February 17th? Probably pretty crowded, really energetic. They always put on a good card there," said Jason.

Kyle Reed from Plains is making his MMA debut and was a 6-time World Karate Champion. He trains here in Courtdale out of NEPA MMA. A lot of people from Luzerne County should be at the Woodlands on Friday February 17th to support Kyle.

"I started martial arts when I was 6 years old. I wanted to be an actual teenage mutant ninja turtle is why I started martial arts, and then after a while I started to get into the competitive side, and I traveled to Italy, Ireland, Spain and across the world," said Kyle.

Joseph Rivas is 35 and wants to turn pro. He fought at Montage Mountain in October and the Ashley native wants one more victory to achieve his goal.

"It's been a little bit of a rough ride for me. Except for my last fight an amateur fight of the year but before that it was rough. I wasn't getting the training I was supposed to be getting in and having solid camps now I got with Kyle and NEPA MMA ready to go," said Joseph.

Steve Lloyd reporting for Newswatch 16 sports in Luzerne County.