On March 4th, in Joplin, Missouri, Ryan Erickson, of Southern Impact Martial Arts, made his debut as a professional mixed martial arts fighter. Erickson was matched against another debuting pro and hometown favorite, DeAlan Hicks. Hicks’ strength was his boxing, as he was the boxing coach for the Victory Gym in Joplin, Missouri and his proficiency in the discipline was evidenced early when he landed a solid right hand that dropped Erickson flat to the canvas in the first minute of the first round. Erickson was able to regain his senses and his feet and pressure Hicks against the cage before Hicks forced distance between the two and unleashed with a barrage of strikes that again had Erickson in trouble. Due to sheer heart and determination however, Erickson was able to weather the early storm and force Hicks against the cage before picking him up and planting him firmly on his back. From top position, Erickson landed a steady flow of punches and elbows to end the first round.
The beginning of the second round saw Hicks slow down and Erickson pick up steam as he forced Hicks once again to the cage and easily picked up Hicks on his shoulder and thunderously slam him to the canvas. Erickson then resumed his top position ground and pound game until, due to a controversial stand up by the referee, the fighters were brought back to their feet to resume the bout. This stand up only proved to be a disadvantage to the boxer as Erickson landed some of his hardest punches of the night on Hicks before tying him back up and dragging him to the ground. Erickson continued his dominating ground assault as he landed more and more heavy punches and elbows until the referee was forced to stop the fight at 4:57 of the second round, declaring Erickson winner by Technical Knockout.
This successful debut makes Erickson the only professional MMA fighter raised in and based out of Mena. He is a trainer at Southern Impact and credits his team and the Ouachita Mountain Martial Arts team for helping prepare him for his bout and encourages anybody who wants to train MMA, learn self defense, or just get into shape to contact Southern Impact at 479-216-0602 or on Facebook.