CARBONDALE - The Battle at the Blast 6 at the Sports Blast featured many fighters who were making their mixed martial arts debut, and for Johansson Lundstrom, you could say he came a long way in a short amount of time.
Lundstrom was one of four fighters trained by Matt Hughes' H.I.T. Squad out of Granite City, which was part of the 32-fighter card put together by Sports Blast's Dirk Borgsmiller and veteran fight matchmaker Mike Camp.
"I'm a big Matt Hughes fan," Lundstrom said. "I looked on the Internet for camps where I could develop my skills. We have great camps in Sweden, but not as good wrestling. So when I saw a Matt Hughes camp, I called and spent my own money to move here and train."
Lundstrom, a 19-year-old from Uppsala, Sweden, has only been in the country six weeks and was ready to make his amateur MMA debut in record time.
"I was mainly a grappler in high school, and there are no MMA fights in Sweden, whatsoever," Lundstrom said. "I want to go as far as I can go in this sport. This is just the beginning of, hopefully, a long, successful career."
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In his fight, Lundstrom put Justin Rider, a St. Michael's Warrior fighter out of Centralia who was also making his octagon debut, into an arm bar and held on until the referee called the fight with 42 seconds remaining in the first period.
"I caught my breath and starting hitting him with elbows to the body," Lundstrom said. "I took the other arm and he couldn't get out of that arm bar."
The event started with 19-year-old John Martin of Centralia beating 42-year-old John Mayberry of Elkville on a tap out by strikes at 2:36 of the first period. Jason Harms of Murphysboro was tapped out at 1:36 by H.I.T. Squad's Lucas Wideman, and another H.I.T. Squad fighter Joe Thompson finished in a draw with Steve Saunders from the Central Illinois Combat Club because of penalty point given for grabbing the fence when Saunders was pinned against it.
Sports Blast went silent for a minute in honor of the recent death in Afghanistan of Staff Sgt. Jordan Emrick from Hoyleton the lights went up and the first bout of sixth edition of the Battle at the Blast began.