By Paul Fladten of US Combat Sports
The most impressive stretch within the career of Jimmy Zidek could reach new heights tomorrow night in Minneapolis as Wisconsin's rapidly improving bantamweight squares off against Minnesota standout Nick Kirk at Downtown Showdown 9.
Following a slow start to his mixed martial arts career Zidek has hit his stride having rattled off five victories over his last six appearances inside the cage. Most recently, "The Daywalker" earned a split decision victory over Josh Sterry at Madtown Throwdown 27.
Fighting out of Highland Fights Systems, Zidek has done a remarkable job at salvaging his career following a rough start that saw him drop five of his first seven bouts. Since a disappointing first round submission defeat to Brian Lean back in 2010, the Sheboygan-native has earned wins over respected opponents such as Morgan Sickinger and Jake Omen.
But standing in Zidek's way of another win is the ultra-tough Kirk. The Academy fighter holds a record of 8-1 since turning pro back in March of 2010 with his only career loss coming at the hands of David Harris at Bellator 67 earlier this year.
Up to this point "The Big Hurt" has made a living off of defeating adversaries from Wisconsin including Matt Gaffney, Brian Learn, Tony Belvedere, and Chris Befera. While MMA math is usually pointless, both Learn and Befera submitted Zidek within the first round.
In an interview with Ben Pherson of Minnesota Mixed Martial Arts News, matchmaker Jeremy Bjornberg described the importance of the fight for both competitors.
"This is a super tough fight for both guys," Bjornberg told Pherson. "Jimmy's record doesn't show how tough he is. He's like 6-3, but he's only fought tough guys, and he's beaten tough guys. For the last year, he's really been on a tear. He will give Kirk all he can handle. But Kirk needed a tough fight. He wants to earn his way back into Bellator. He needs to look good in this fight. It's going to be tough. Zidek is a tall, athletic dude, and he's tough to take down."
Over the past two years the progression of Zidek has been undeniable. But whether or not the well-rounded striker has improved enough in order to stop someone of Kirk's caliber remains to be seen.