American Kombat Alliance is building a reputation of delivering competitive exciting fights involving the region’s top prospects. At the Ark-La-Tex Konflict 1 event, being held in Bossier City, LA the promotion promises to deliver on their aim to present action packed exciting fights. Michael Stahl (2-1) represents the kind of fighter AKA is interested in promoting. A tough heavyweight with stopping power in his hands, Stahl will be facing professional debut fighter Texas’ Jhun Boniaby in a Louisiana versus Texas showdown.
Stahl is originally from Shreveport, La. As a youth he played football, and only got involved in combat sports when he was older;
“I first got involved in MMA when a guy I knew brought me to a Muay Thai gym in Vivian, La. After two months of training I had my first MMA fight in Hot Springs, AR.”
Stahl gained experience as an amateur, and quickly got a reputation for being able to finish his opponents;
“I went 7-3 as an amateur. After I had my last amateur fight in Baton Rouge for WFC my trainer Aaron Phillips said it was time to make that next step in my career.”
Headkicks MMA in Lafayette, La is where Stahl trains, and he maintains a diligent training regime, always seeking to hone his skills and develop as a fighter;
“On Monday’s and Wednesday’s I have Muay Thai and no-gi practice. Tuesday’s and Thursday’s my day starts bright and early with strength and conditioning and then in the afternoon I have BJJ (Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu) and sparring. Friday’s I go to the open mat and roll for an hour straight. Saturday’s I have Muay Thai and BJJ and on Sunday’s I have wrestling practice.”
The ability to adapt is key for a fighter. Many fighters are successful as amateurs but then peak and don’t continue to develop as a fighter to be competitive at a professional level. That is something Stahl doesn’t look to do;
“I guess I would describe myself as disciplined. For years I would say that my striking was one of my biggest strengths but now I would have to say that my ground game is one of my biggest strengths and I’m not known for it yet. I’ve never really had the chance to display what I can really do on the ground.”
The heavyweight division allows some variety in weight, with the lowest end of the weight class being 206 lb and the highest 265 lb, quite a variation. Stahl walks around at between 260-270 lb, but has stepped into the cage in the 240 lb range in the past. Confident in his ability, Stahl isn’t fazed by his opponent Boniaby;
“I don’t know a lot about him. I watched his amateur fight he had with Juan Adams, and nothing I saw in that fight impressed me or my trainers too much. He did have a very good ground game and I’ve heard he has some boxing experience and if that is the case I hope he brushed up on it a little bit more because he’s going to need it. I don’t see this fight getting out of the first round; and if it does, I hope he’s been working his cardio.”
A win for Stahl will see him have two wins back to back and see him starting to build momentum in his professional career. It’s important as a fighter to understand when you need to recuperate mentally, as fighting has such an important mental aspect;
“After this fight I plan on taking a little bit of a break. I’ve been hard at it for over a year now and haven’t had much time to do anything else. I’d like to spend some quality time with my fiancé and making myself a better fighter.”
As with most fighters early in his career, Stahl fits training and fighting in around life;
“When I’m not training I work a regular job where I put in 10-12 hours a day. I also love playing my Xbox when I have the chance.”
Standing 6’3” tall, Stahl has some 3 inches on his opponent in height. Not only does Boniaby have to watch out for his heavy hands but Stahl has an additional warning for the Texan;
“I hope he knows how to check leg kicks and someone need to be sure I have some cold beer for me after I’m done handling my business in the cage.
"I’d like to think several people. I’ve been a part of this sport for almost 10 years now and I’ve have a lot of great trainers and mentors. First off I’d like to think my head coach and friend Aaron Phillips. If it wasn’t for him I never would have fought again. He truly is one of the hardest working coaches I’ve ever had the chance to learn under.
"Second I’d like to think my Strength & Conditioning coach Tyler Latiolais for pushing me to the limits every session.
"I’d like Brent Mason for always putting in the work with me during my time with him. What I love about Brent is that he’s not in it for the money he just wanting his fighters to be great.
"I’d also like to thank Chad Leonhardt and Dan Arnette. These two guys helped me become the fighter and the man I am today. They were my measuring stick. Over my years with these guys I always thought that if I can get to their level then there would be no one in the world that could stop me. They were and still are my daily inspiration.
"Lastly I’d like to thank my beautiful fiancé for putting up with the long hours I’m at the gym and for helping me deal will high and lows of this sport. You are an amazing human being babe and I love you.”