BONNYVILLE – Heavyweight fighter Tanner Boser is dedicating his third UFC fight to Jake Sansom, his first jiu-jitsu coach and one of two men killed outside of Glendon earlier this year.
When the Bonnyville-native steps into the octagon on June 27 in Las Vegas against Philipe Lins, he'll have Sansom in mind.
Sansom, along with his uncle Maurice Cardinal, were found shot to death on a rural road outside of Glendon on March 28. On April 2, RCMP announced Anthony Bilodeau of Glendon was charged with two counts of second-degree murder. Bilodeau is scheduled to appear in St. Paul court on June 18 to set a date for a preliminary inquiry.
“(Sansom) helped me a lot during the start of my career when I trained in Bonnyville for my first two fights,” Boser told the Nouvelle. “He wasn’t there for my first fight, but for my second fight he worked with me a lot, me and my brother, and he taught us the fundamentals of jiu-jitsu when we didn’t know what we were doing.”
After winning his second fight thanks to a submission hold Sansom had taught him, Boser moved to Edmonton and started training at a professional gym.
“Having that foundation and Jake helping me and my brother learn some grappling martial arts when we were very green, it helped kick-start things for me and it was good for the martial arts scene in the Lakeland as a whole. My brother, Landon, still teaches jiu-jitsu at High Energy Gym. So Jake has a bit of a legacy there.”
This will be Boser’s third time stepping into the UFC octagon after signing a four-fight contract.
His first match ended with a win against Daniel Spitz in the fall, while he lost by decision against Cyril Gane in December. The six-foot-two, 249-pound fighter was supposed to have a match in March, but it was cancelled due to the coronavirus.
Boser expects to walk away from his fight against Lins with the win.
“I think Lins is a good striker, but I’m also a good striker and I think this fight is going to be exciting. I think we’re reasonably similar, but I think that I’ll match up alright against him. I think I’ll have the edge in certain aspects of it.”
Training looks a little bit different this time around due to gyms being closed, but Boser hasn’t let that slow him down.
“I didn’t get out of shape. I’m ready to fight and I’ve maintained my shape and I’ve just used the time to get stronger and get in better shape,” he said.
That’s not the only impact of the coronavirus in the bout. While the event will be on television, COVID-19 protocols mean there won’t be UFC fans screaming and cheering within the building.
“It will definitely be different because you won’t hear the noise from the crowd,” noted Boser, adding he and Lins will be able to hear everything the other cornermen say in between rounds.
“A lot of the other times too, the commentators that are talking are almost giving advice to the fighters, like saying what needs to be done differently and fighters have changed it and even given them credit for it after the fight. It’s kind of interesting and a different environment.”
With the fight quickly approaching, Boser is eager to step back into the octagon and show what he’s all about.
Win or lose, Boser will be required to complete a 14-day quarantine once he’s back home under provincial regulations.