Dukes Up

Many MMA fighters have that warrior spirit within them, but not all of them know how to use it to their full advantage. Shane Mapatis not only knows how to use it, it is part and parcel of who he is. It is in his DNA and he relies on it to guide him to victory each time he steps into the octagon.
His spirit comes from his ancestors who were part of the history of the Colorado River area. Mapatis is a Native American, born and raised in Needles, Calif., as a member of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe.
At only 23 years old, he is undefeated with 11 wins to his credit as an amateur fighter with World Fighting Championships. He is the current Heavyweight Champion and ranked No. 1 by the WFC.
Mapatis will defend his title at WFC 95 in the Avi Resort & Casino’s Grand Ballroom on an 11-bout card on Saturday, Sept. 8.
“(Mapatis) has proven himself as WFC’s Champion, taking on any and all comers,” said Matt McGovern, president of World Fighting Championships. “The one thing I love about our champ is he loves to entertain the crowd!”
Mapatis will face Devonte Bennett (3-2) in the heavyweight division as one of the main events of the evening.
The quiet, mild-mannered champion isn’t a big talker—Mapatis prefers to save his energy for the octagon. But he did divulge a bit about why he became an MMA fighter in the first place.
“I guess it started when my ‘professor’ Rick Lucero came to town and started up his jiu-jitsu club and was recruiting members,” Mapatis said. “I didn’t have anything else to do. I was 15 at the time, and I was like, ‘I might as well go and try it.’ I’ve been a fighter all my life, from when I was a kid to when I was a teenager. Yeah, I fought a lot.”
Mapatis also trains at the Tommy Ramirez Boxing Club in Mohave Valley.
He learned focus and acquired the skills that continue to propel him up the MMA ladder.
“I like the cage because you have more opportunity to take stuff to the ground. I’m a grappler, I like taking stuff to the ground,” Mapatis said.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner isn’t resting on his laurels as champion, knowing there are hungry fighters eager for the title.
“I try not to let that get to me,” he said. “I just keep trying hard, keep training. It does put a little bit of pressure to stay on top because there’s always someone trying to take my belt from me.”
His future plans include taking his career to the next level by going pro next year. In the meantime he is all about putting his energy into his fight Saturday night.
More than anything, Mapatis’ hometown pride is at stake, but, his family and friends will be in his corner.
“It is part of the legacy of my tribal people to come and support me,” he said.
In addition to Mapatis vs. Bennett, the card includes a professional bout, along with the amateur fights. As always, the card is subject to last-minute changes.
Tickets are $75 cage side; $50 reserved; $30 general admission and they can be purchased at AviCasino.com or Yapsody.com. All ages are welcome to attend. Doors open at 7 p.m., the fights start at 8 p.m.
Mixed Martial Arts incorporates multiple fight disciplines, including boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, for fans who enjoy no-holds barred combat sports by young fighters looking to make a name for themselves.
The welterweight professional bout features Kaine Marzola vs. an opponent to be determined.

WFC 95

Grand Ballroom at the Avi

Saturday, Sept. 8 (8 p.m., doors open 7 p.m.)

See “Showtimes” for ticket info