By Ray Hamill — Three Hoopa fighters will take center stage at next weekend’s Bear River fight night, as each of them takes the next step in their MMA careers.
Headlining the first fight night of the decade here on the North Coast will be pro fighter Orion Cosce, who will look to take his record to 6-0 when he battles Wally Wester in a welterweight fight.
And joining him on the card are a couple of younger Hoopa fighters, brothers Jacob and Robert Hodge, each of whom is also expected to turn pro in the near future.
“They have lights out power,” trainer and fight night promoter Brian Wilson said of the Hodge brothers. “They’re both explosive with a good wrestling background. And their fights are very exciting to watch.”
Both also are following in the footsteps of two other brothers, Orion and Louis Cosce, who have taken the local MMA scene by storm over the past couple of years and are both expected to have a serious impact in the sport well beyond the North Coast as they come into their prime.
“Orion and Louis are the best fighters in the area,” said Wilson, who has trained both sets of brothers at the Lost Boys Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, a popular local gym for MMA fighters in Arcata. “And they put on an exciting show and always dominate their opponent.”
They certainly have done that.
Louis, aged 24, is 6-0 as a pro and has ended all six of his fights in the opening round, four of them last year, including an 18-second beatdown of Art Hernandez at the recent Combate Americas in Stockton.
He is the 18th ranked pro welterweight in California, according to tapology.com, and is expected to be back in the cage soon.
Orion has been just as dominant, and Wilson says next weekend could be the last time local MMA fans get to see him in action locally.
“I’d be surprised if we see him here again,” Wilson said of the 25-year-old.
According to the trainer, both fighters’ reputation has worked against them in one way and it’s been difficult to schedule fights because no one wants to fight them.
“We had to fly a guy in from Aruba to fight Orion,” Wilson said of Wester, an experienced fighter with a record of 5-2.
The Hodge brothers, meanwhile, are each slowly building momentum as amateurs and preparing for the leap to the pro ranks.
“Jacob is very similar to Louis and Orion in that he’s ended several fights very quickly,” Wilson said of the 21-year-old.
Jacob, who is 4-1, including a 15-second first-round TKO in his last fight, will be fighting for the Bear River/Hard Fought Productions 155-pound title on Saturday.
Robert, who also fights at 155 pounds, is 2-2, and Wilson sees a bright future for him and his brother.
“As hard as they work, their potential is very high,” he said. “Every fight they’re improving every time.
“They both have a lot of upside. We just need to fine tune some things.”