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Barstow MMA fighter Eric Anderson, left, and coach Gilbert Martinez of U.M.A. Karate in the Barstow Mall.

Anderson fights for King of the Cage

BARSTOW • One of Barstow’s own is getting set to go back in the cage.

The last time mixed martial artist Eric Anderson took on Ronnie Moore in a King of the Cage match, Anderson won by TKO in the second round. Since then, Moore has wanted a rematch with the Barstow fighter, which has been scheduled, as he and Anderson will face off once again next Friday.

Anderson trains out of U.M.A. Karate in the Barstow Mall. He met his coach, Gilbert Martinez, when Martinez ran the Pound-for-Pound MMA team in town. That team broke up four years ago, but Anderson still trains with Martinez at U.M.A. Karate.

“I’ve put Pound-for-Pound on the shelf for now,” said Martinez. “I had 12 guys on the team at one time, and I expect a lot of that to start happening again.”

Toward that end, Martinez recently began Team Evolution, of which Anderson is a member.

“I call it that because it’s an evolution of Pound-for-Pound,” he said. “Eric’s been with me the whole time. I’m currently coaching five team members.”

When the coach first met Anderson, he was most interested in boxing. Boxing, however, is just one aspect of mixed martial arts, which also includes kickboxing, wrestling and jiu-jitsu/submission.

“To be really good, you have to excel in all four areas, that’s what makes MMA such a challenge,” said Martinez. “Boxing is still Eric’s first love, but it’s a thrill to allow fighters to let go and see what they’re really good at.”

Anderson will again compete in the King of the Cage match, will be held on Jan. 10 at the Edgewater Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada. Tickets are available at U.M.A. Karate in the Barstow Mall, or by calling Martinez at 760-577-1128.

In the meantime, the coach has high hopes for Team Evolution.

“Pound-for-Pound was a good team, but I think this one will be even better,” he said. “They’re all good athletes, no one individual is the best. They all have different strengths and can all learn from each other.”

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