FACE OFF: Moments away from Gympie cage fighter's showdown
MMA: She's just hours away from one of the most important fights in her mixed martial arts career, but this time Gympie's own Arlene "Angerfist” Blencowe has taken everything in her stride.
The 36-year-old former Amamoor local touched down in Oklahoma, USA earlier this week to enter final preparations for her Bellator 224 showdown with women's featherweight counterpart Amanda Bell, and weighed in at 145.3 pounds (65.9kg) at the official weigh-ins on Friday morning Aussie time.
Beating Bell after recording a thrilling TKO of Amber Leibrock last September would give Blencowe a clear run at realising her dream of overcoming current champion Julia Budd and claiming Bellator gold, but Blencowe said the bigger picture could wait for now.
GYMPIE'S FIGHTING SPIRIT
After a tense but fair face-off with Bell, and the chance to mix with MMA royalty like Conor McGregor's head coach John Kavanagh, Blencowe makes the walk into the cage full of confidence.
"It's the third or fourth time I've really pushed for a fight, and Bellator gave it to me,” Blencowe said. "I'm a contender in this division, I'm the fight these girls should be pushing to have.
"I'm coming off a good win and against good opposition and I'm facing more good opposition now, she's probably thinking she can stand and bang but this fight could end up anywhere.
"I'm not taking this fight lightly at all, I hope it's a really good showcase.”
The powerful striker said she was using her latest opportunity to truly take in the full pre-fight experience, exhaustive training camp included.
Training out of Zoo Fitness in Penrith, mixing her demanding daily training regimen with coaching junior MMA classes, Blencowe said she felt as if she'd found the right balance before her showdown with Bell.
"I've been really working on a lot of things, and my mental preparation,” she said.
"I'm truly grateful for the opportunity. I've been focused on not taking things for granted and enjoying every aspect of it, working, training and coaching.
"It's important to enjoy this, you never know how many times you'll get to do it.”
Blencowe v Bell takes place this morning as part of Bellator 224.