By Bill Foley
Ariel Beck knows the role very well.
The Butte mixed martial arts fighter will again be the villain Friday night when she takes on hometown favorite Kathina “Kill Switch” Catron during Legacy 63 at the Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“That’s how Legacy works,” said Beck, who takes a 4-3 professional record into the bout. “They find a crowd favorite and find somebody to fight her. I’m that somebody.”
The bout will be part of a fight card that will be broadcast live on AXS TV (DirecTV 340, Dish 167) at 8 p.m. Mountain Time.
Catron, who is from Tahlequa, Oklahoma, takes a 6-9 record into the 130-pound bout, which will be Beck’s second with Legacy. The Deer Lodge native fell in the third round to Andrea “KGB” Lee last December in Louisiana. She also lost a split decision to Rachael Ostovich in an Invicta Fighting Championship fight in Costa Mesa California in May.
Beck broke her hand in the second round of that three-round bout.
That hand has finally healed, and Beck said she is ready to go. She flew to Oklahoma Wednesday morning.
“I feel great going into the fight,” Beck said. “I don’t have to cut those extra five pounds, which is great.”
Beck typically fights at 125 pounds, but she welcomes the chance to fight in the “catch weight” this time around. She said the fight is a 130-pound bout to accommodate Catron.
Beck said she’s not overly concerned about fighting a bigger fighter, and figures she will have more energy because she won’t have to rapidly lose weight in the days before the fight.
“She’s not the last two girls I fought,” Beck said. “So I felt comfortable taking on that extra weight.”
Beck has had a chance to study Catron.
“She’s been around,” Beck said. “She’s a vet in the MMA world. She’s fought some tough people. She likes to stand up, throw some big punches and get ahold of you. I have to play my game plan, not hers.”
Beck’s game plan still very much revolves around boxing, her first fighting love. She has, however, been working hard on her ground game.
“We’re finally starting to grasp it,” Beck said of her ground game. “It definitely has come a long way since my last fight. I’m starting to understand (wrestling). I’ve actually gotten some take downs in practice.”
Beck trains mostly against male fighters in Butte and Bozeman. She also went down to train briefly in Colorado. All that added up to a confident Beck as she heads to Oklahoma.
“It’s been a really good camp,” she said. “I’m ready.”
The Beck-Catron bout is part of a seven-fight main card. Aaron Cobb taking on Gerald Harris at 170 pounds is the main event.