Lance Surma is no stranger to Bellator MMA.
The Munster High School graduate is hoping the third time is the charm. He was scheduled to fight for the mixed martial arts promotion in Hammond in March 2012, but his scheduled opponent had a warrant out for his arrest that was learned about the day of weigh-ins, and the fight was scrapped.
The second time, things were a little more painful. He was booked for his debut, again in Hammond. But in his bout against Ruddy Gray at Hoosier Fight Club 12, he broke his foot in the first round and had to pull out of the Bellator fight.
He hasn’t fought since, but Surma (3-0) will make his return next month against Darrion Caldwell (3-0) at Bellator 112 at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino.
When he broke his foot, he continued to fight – and won a split decision. But he said fighting through that injury gave him confidence moving forward.
“It made me believe I could win, regardless of what was wrong with me,” Surma said. “I’m not a quitter, and the last thing I wanted to do was throw in the towel in front of all my family and friends who believe in me.”
Surma said he’s been busy since the injury, despite not having a fight. He’s helped UFC featherweight Darren Elkins train for his last three fights and cornered him, and he had a tryout for “The Ultimate Fighter,” despite not making the cut to get on the show. He also became a dad.
Against Caldwell, finally on the biggest stage of his career, he’ll have his biggest test, as well – by far. Caldwell won an NCAA wrestling title in 2009 for North Carolina State.
“You cant win an NCAA title without being a great athlete,” Surma said. “That being said, I’m not any more worried about him than any other opponent. I’m a great athlete and a very high-level wrestler myself and I’m not intimidated by him at all.
“Between my amateur run and now pro, I’ve probably had 25 fights. I’ve paid my dues and put in work that there is no way he could have done in the short time he’s been in this sport.”
Surma and Caldwell are part of the Bellator 112 preliminary card on March 14.
HFC RETURNS IN JUNE: Hoosier Fight Club, fresh off its 19th show, will hit a milestone in June with HFC 20.
A promotion source confirmed to The Times that HFC 20 will take place June 7 at Porter County Expo Center in Valparaiso. Although a headlining bout has not yet been determined, HFC 19 headliner Tom Shoaff is expected to fight on the card, as is the promotion's first champion, women's amateur atomweight titleholder Anne Malinoff. The source said, though, that Malinoff's fight is not guaranteed to be a title fight.
After her win over Elane Santiago at HFC 19 to win the title, Malinoff, a Team Colon product, said she might turn pro for her next fight. If that happens, she would vacate her amateur title.
Shoaff's appearance on the card will come following a fight matchmaker Paul Vale called the best in the promotion's history, a unanimous decision win over Austin Tweedy at HFC 19 that kept the Team Colon fighter unbeaten as a pro.
TORRES BACK ON TRACK WITH UNAMIMOUS-DECICION WIN: For the first time in more than two years, former World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champion Miguel Torres had his hand raised.
Torres (41-7), fighting in the Hammond Civic Center for the first time in more than seven years, picked up a unanimous decision sweep of Giovanni Moljo (4-6) at a United Combat League event this past Saturday.
Torres had lost three straight fights and four of his past five. His loss to Michael MacDonald in April 2012 was his last in the UFC. He signed with World Series of Fighting, but lost both of his fights there before getting back on track against Moljo.