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Burbank-trained Jared Papazian faces friend John Robles in return to cage

Mixed martial arts: Fighter will battle Saturday in second bout at World Series of Fighting event in Ontario.

August 08, 2013|By Grant Gordon,
  • Mixed Martial arts fighter Jared Papazian, who trains at Gracie Barra Gym in Burbank, will fight friend John Robles in a three-round, bantamweight bout Saturday at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. (Raul Roa/File Photo)
Mixed Martial arts fighter Jared Papazian, who trains…

Jared “the Jackhammer” Papazian is quick to toss out thank-yous to people.

People like his trainers and training partners, such as lead corner man Alberto Crane of Burbank Gracie Barra, where Papazian trains among other Southern California locales. He’s always quick to pay thanks to his manager Darin Harvey and, on Wednesday, he went out of his way to give thanks to his mom for all that she’s done for him, along with her friends.

Papazian is also thankful for an opportunity that came to fruition due to his friend John Robles. On Saturday, though, Robles will be Papazian’s foe, as the two square off in a World Series of Fighting preliminary bout at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.

“This is the first time I’ve fought somebody I’ve trained with and consider a friend,” Papazian said.

Papazian (15-10) and Robles (7-1) will go to battle in a three-round, bantamweight (135 pounds) bout in which both enter with plenty of familiarity, having formerly trained together at PKG (Punch-Kick-Grapple) Training Center and developed a friendship that still stands today.


“They were my brothers, they were my first family that brought me into this,” said Robles of the likes of Papazian, Chad George, Mac Danzig, Jeremy Umphries and Dominic Clark at PKG. “There were plenty of times that I looked up to [Papazian] and picked his brain.

“We really had a tight-knit group. It was a big part of where I’m at.”

Thus, when Robles’ initial opponent, Joe Murphy, was forced to withdraw due to a rib injury and Papazian was presented as an opponent, Robles was hesitant to accept.

“When it came to fighting a friend, it’s just never been my vibe,” Robles said. “You develop a bond with these guys.”

Robles had a conversation with Papazian and then Robles talked to his manager and father. Eventually, his thought process changed, realizing a great opportunity was at hand and that he could put the friendship aside and fight as aggressively as he would against any opponent. So he called Papazian back up.

“He called me and said, ‘You wanna have some fun?’” Papazian said.

Said Robles: “No matter what, we’re gonna shake it out, have a drink together after it’s over.”

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