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Rutherford set for title fight at Wild Bill's

Bernard Rutherford will make his 10th mixed martial arts fight tonight when he fights Rob Wince at Wild Bill's Fight Night 10.

While Rutherford only has nine sanctioned fights under his belt, he's actually got a long history of fighting.

In the early 90s while at a club in Southwest Atlanta, Rutherford was attacked by a group of men at the bar. A fight ensued and Rutherford was eventually stabbed in the arm and leg.

But Rutherford kept fighting.

"I choked one of them, pinned the other one against the bar and hit him with a beer bottle," Rutherford said. "I tried to get the other one, but he ran away."

When the dust settled, Rutherford had the respect of the club and many of its patrons. He was given a part-time security job at the club and the nickname "Ruffneck" which he still goes by today.

So needless to say, the 5-foot-10, 205-pound Rutherford (7-2) is used to a little pain when it comes to fighting.

His fight tonight against Wince, an Ohio native, is for the National Fighting Championship Eastern heavyweight title belt.

"I'm excited," Rutherford said. "When I got into fighting I always wanted to win a belt. This will give me that opportunity."

Since that bar fight in the early '90s, the former Marine has worked as a prison guard on death row in Jackson, but now lives a more subdued life as a personal trainer.

Rutherford was a reserve on Team Shamrock of the newly formed International Fight League. His fight at Wild Bill's likely will be his last before joining Team Shamrock when the IFL starts up again next month.

"He's not the best fighter in the world, but he's certainly one of the most entertaining," Undisputed Productions fight promoter David Oblas said. "He likes to knock guys' heads off."

His opponent is pretty tough, too. As a former bull rider Wince has had his ribs broken, shattered his arm and busted his knee. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Wince holds a 15-7 record.

"He's strong and has good stamina," Rutherford said. "But the thing is I like to push the pace and capitalize off my opponent."

The title fight is one of 11 scheduled fights on the card with several fighters having local ties.

"For the first time ever at Wild Bill's all the fights are pro fights," Oblas said. "People at Wild Bill's recognize that we put on good fights and I think that's why they keep coming back."

Rutherford is one of two fighters who trains at Knuckle Up in Gwinnett. The other is Ben Morrell (3-1), who lost his last fight at Wild Bill's, but will fight Scott Harper (8-5) at 225 pounds tonight.

"He had one of the better fights we've had," Oblas said. "It was a three-round war. He was covered in blood and had to go to the hospital. It's the kind of fight people want to see, which is why when he asked to come back after the fight we said yes."

Other fighters with local ties are Dave Mewborn (4-0), who fights out of the Hardcore Gym in Athens and will take on Willie Smalls (1-0) at 185 pounds. Former Georgia Southern fullback Tim Gehrsitz (2-1) will fight Frank Milsap (6-2) at 170 pounds.

SideBar: Fight Night

' What: Fight Night 10

' When: Today, 8:30 p.m

' Where: Wild Bill's, Duluth

' Tickets: $25

' Web site: www.undisputedproductions.com or www.wildbillsatlanta.com