What causes more concern, the known or the unknown? The fight at LFC 25, between newly minted European Champion, Jolene 'The Valkyrie' Hexx [17-5-1] and Black Team newcomer C.J. 'Ice Cold' Kellerman [13-3], has a bit of both. Not much is known about Kellerman at this point, but Hexx will be prepared for the unexpected in this co-main event rumble. However, Jolene is bringing a new energy and purpose that adds uncertainty to her own profile. She tells me, “My training is going well. After recovering from a surgery in December, I feel like I’m in better condition than before and ready to prove it.”
What we do know, is that Kellerman is a boxer; who along side Cali Cat [4-0] is the only other boxer in the LFC. If she plans on mixing it up and staying close to the champion, the fight is on, but if she is going to try to fight from a distance and is adept at it then she can cause frustration for Hexx, who needs close contact for her fighting style, Krav Maga, to flourish. Although the title is not on the line, it is very telling that Kellerman is fighting a champion in her LFC debut. Not too long ago, Jolene entered the league in a similar way, when she saw herself fighting for Feather Hadden’s title at LFC 20. The matchmakers were counting on Hexx to deliver a solid performance, and while things did not exactly go her way that night, she did take it to Hadden with an opening bell knock-down of the champion, and later in the round was briefly in an aggressive mount. First-night jitters against a formidable force may have caused her not to be 100%. She unwisely flipped into a facedown cover-up, giving up her back (and the match) to a punishing finisher in Hadden.
Since that first match, Hexx has found herself locked into a bitter, three-fight war with Andreea 'The Storm' Vladoi [11-4-1]. All the matches were close and went the three round distance. It is easy to switch the wins and losses from one fighter to the other; even the outcome of the draw looks different after repeated viewings. That rivalry is taking a break for now, as both Hexx and Vladoi have other opponents to prepare for. Hexx is confident that she will be ready to take on the LFC new-comer. Is Hexx concerned about being matched against Kellerman? It does not sound like: “All I know about her so far is what I’ve seen on social media. I’m very curious to tie up with her in the cage. Curious (not worried).”
Jolene 'The Valkyrie' Hexx [17-5-1] back in action for a non-title fight after being crowned European Champion
Jolene’s only other opponent was against Danielle St. Pierre, who looked over-matched, in spite of her giving a valiant effort. Hexx traded blows and holds in a very tight first round, before making it all business as she submitted St. Pierre with a powerful guillotine.
Krav Maga draws on so many styles and is very potent; it is easy to imagine a fighter putting it on cruise control as they shuffle through their repertoire of combat skills. Hexx certainly is able to combine fists, knees, and legs in a menacing display of firepower.
With the LFC rules prohibiting strikes to the face while in stand-up, Kellerman needs to have more weapons than just boxing, and fortunately for her, she does with an extensive background in wrestling/grappling. Discussing the road that has brought her to the LFC, she tells me, “I’ve been an avid athlete for years; competing in sports that are dominated by men. LFC gives me the opportunity to showcase my athleticism and feministic sexuality.”
The rawness/immediacy of the cage, can have unwanted consequences, but C.J. is not ducking the opportunity to step up to the challenge. “I’m a hard worker and full of fire; rough around the edges and always ready to throw down,” she says. The fact that she hails from the rugged state of Alaska only strengthens her case for being tough and “Ice Cold”.
C.J. 'Ice Cold' Kellerman [13-3] debuting at LFC 25 against a very tough opponent in Hexx
Kellerman wants to do well and make the most of her introduction into the LFC; first impressions carry so much weight and she knows this. Her feelings about LFC 25 are, “to take on opportunity as it comes and dominate the fan base; also, to have fun and kick-ass.” She sounds ready to enter the cage, but, in spite of her background, I find myself still wondering about how her boxing fits into a sport that favors the takedown.
Fans, consider yourselves lucky. The stranger we are going to see in the ring might just have what it takes to take down a champion. The flip-side is that fan favorite Jolene Hexx will be ready, hungry, and capable of denying her opponent any success in her LFC debut. Jolene, after her medical issues, is in a new, inspirational place these day. She made a point of saying, “I’m back to fighting shape. I found my new limitations and smashed them.” Welcome to the LFC, C.J., This one will unforgettable!
LFC 25: Showdown At Sam’s Town takes place on Friday, March 16 in Las Vegas – Tickets available HERE
Hope to see you there!