Burien native set to fight

Halquist Productions is once again setting up at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma to put on their 23rd installment of the Northwest’s premier MMA promotion, CageSport, featuring two title matches and some of the best fighters in the region . Headlining the 10 bout card will be Burien native and current Kirkland resident Brent Knopp (3-0), in a rematch against Darrio Mobley (2-2) for the CageSport Middleweight Title.

Tickets for CageSport XXIII, scheduled for Feb. 16, are still available and can be purchased through Ticketmaster or at the Emerald Queen Casino box office.

Knopp trains at one of the most recognized MMA gyms in the country, AMC Pankration, located in Kirkland. AMC is headed by world renowned trainer Matt Hume, who trains numerous UFC and DREAM fighters. Such fighters include: Josh Barnett, Chris Leben, Hayato Sakurai, Matt Brown, Rich Franklin and Demetrious Johnson. Johnson fought on UFC’s latest promotion, UFC on FOX: 6 in the main event to defend his flyweight championship for the first time and came out victorious in an action packed battle with John Dodson.

An electrical engineering graduate from the University of Washington, Knopp was also a backup defensive lineman with the Huskies during the 96’-01’ seasons, which included the year that they went to the Rose Bowl in 2000.

In the ring, fans refer to him as Brent “Mankill” Knopp due to his fierce style of fighting and intimidating nature. He’s backed up his moniker with an undefeated start to his professional MMA career by going 3-0 and finishing all of his opponents before time has run out. So far he has been able to stop all of his opponents in the second round with either a KO or TKO. Due to the match being a title fight, the rounds will be increased from the usual three rounds to five rounds, a first for Knopp.

The lack of a professional track record can be very deceiving. Knopp had been fine tuning his ability in the amateur ranks for quite a while and racked up an amateur record of 24-2. Many pro MMA fighters only get a handful of amateur fights before they turn pro.

The experience that Knopp brings to the cage is a big reason why it’s been somewhat difficult for Knopp to find an opponent to get in the cage with him. He was scheduled to fight on CageSport’s last show in December for a title, but his original opponent fell out and no one else would step up to take the fight. Knopp was invited into the ring during the show’s intermission and invited every fighter in the area to take him on. Darrio Mobley was the only one to step up.

This is much more than a title fight for Mobley. It’s his opportunity to avenge his loss to Knopp at CageSport XX. In the first round of that fight, Mobley came out strong and was able to cut Knopp above his left eye and control the round. The momentum completely changed in the second round when Knopp was able to get Mobley on the ground and throw a relentless attack of fists that caused the ref to stop the fight. Mobley will look to sustain momentum while Knopp will look to finish the fight even faster.

In Knopp’s last fight, he took on Team Quest’s Brandon Pitts at CageSport XXI which was televised on the regional sports network, ROOT SPORTS. Knopp was also able to finish Pitts with a second round ref stoppage due to Pitts not being able to defend the ground and pound.

Drew Brokenshire (6-2), who also trains out of AMC Pankration and the Academy of Brian Johnson in Lacey, will also be on the card to defend his featherweight title for the first time against MMA veteran Enoch Wilson (14-8-2). Eight other action packed bouts are scheduled throughout the night including a female fight between Thea Wolfe and Sarah Lagerstrom, who are both making their professional debuts. For more information on CageSport XXIII and all other Halquist Production events please visit www.halquistproductions.com

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