Mitch Clarke defies the odds heading into UFC Fight Night 63
Edmonton-area mixed martial arts fighter survives losses, injuries to again reach big stage
By: Curtis Stock, Edmonton Journal
"EDMONTON — Keijiro Noda is pleased.
"Leaning forward on a black, leather chair — his deep, mesmerizing eyes riveting and piercing — Noda stares through the ring ropes as he intently watches his student Mitch Clarke spar at Frank Lee’s Mixed Martial Arts studio.
“'Move your head. Move your head,' Noda says in an even cadence, his own dark as charcoal, mop-haired head perfectly still.
“'That’s it. Beautiful.
“'Now left hook and step to the side.
“'Nice. That’s it right there.'
"For what seems like an endless series of five-minute rounds, St. Albert’s Clarke punches, jabs, wrestles and kicks under Noda’s rapt gaze.
"Clarke’s grey SVPT Fitness & Athletics T-shirt is so soaked in sweat, it looks like he just ran through a car wash.
"One of just two Edmonton-area fighters to make the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s upper echelon — Sheldon Westcott, also from St. Albert, is the other to make it to the big show — Clarke will fight Michael Chiesa of Spokane, Wash., on Saturday in Fairfax, Virginia."
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