May 13, 2002 11:00 pm
BRING IT ON: Eastern's Mike Kyle fights for the "King of the Cage Super Heavyweight World Title Friday. (Tom Supnet photo).
BRING IT ON: Eastern's Mike Kyle fights for the "King of the Cage Super Heavyweight World Title Friday. (Tom Supnet photo).

By Raenelle Kwock

Observer Staff Writer

Mark the calendar and get home early for the ultimate fighting event on television Friday.

Eastern Oregon University sophomore football player Mike Kyle will be fighting for the "King of the Cage" Super Heavyweight World Title at the Silver Legacy Casino in Reno, Nev., live on Pay Per View.

Standing in his way is the current title holder, 330-pound Dan Bobish from Ohio.

"Solid," Kyle chuckled. "I'm only 275, so I'm giving up ... almost 55 pounds."

"Grappling" and "Ultimate Athlete" magazines — which feature Kyle in the May issues — list him as the underdog, even though he has a 6-0 record and is the Idaho super heavyweight mixed martial arts champion.

Kyle got interested in ultimate fighting as he trained with a good friend in high school, who graduated two years ahead of him. He found out about Muay Thai for his shins and elbows, Jiu-jitsu for his submissions and mixed those with boxing.

Kyle graduated from Nampa High School in 1998 and had his first pro fight in Boise at 18 years old and has been fighting ever since.

"I like it 'cuz it's a mixture of martial arts," he said. "I mean it's not just boxing, it's not Muay Thai. You have to be an all-around fighter to do good at this, you know. A lot of wrestlers get in the ring ... they're really good at taking you down, but can they finish you? That's why you take the Jiu-jitsu to work on things, you need to know."

Kyle hopes his strategy for Friday's fight works.

"I'm going to avoid his takedowns and (not) get pinned up against the cage," he said. "I'm going to stay away from the cage."

Kyle would not mind fighting on the ground, where he has an advantage.

"I'd like to get a knockout up top," he said. "That's what I do best."

Kyle said he likes to outbox heavier opponents up top because of his hand speed.

Fighting comes in handy during the football season. It gives Kyle, a fullback, extra confidence and helps him with one-on-one situations and techniques. Kyle will move to tight end this fall.

As if Kyle didn't already have his hands full, he is balancing 17 hours this term and travels a lot.

"I got a 3.0 (GPA) still," he said.

Kyle took 20 hours this past summer to get more credits.

He goes twice during the weekdays to Boise to work on Jiu-jitsu and boxing. On weekends, he takes road trips to Seattle or Boise to work on submissions and grappling.

Kyle's Friday fight is the main event. There will be two title bouts and seven other fights. Digital Cable users can order the fight. The Pay Per View fights start at about 6:30 p.m.

Reach Raenelle Kwock at rkwock@la grandeobserver.com

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