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Bedard ready for MMA appearance at Gwinnett Arena

The week before a fight, Jeff Bedard typically has lot of travel preparations. He has to deal with flying across the country, constant schedule changes and doesn't have the comfort of sleeping in his own bed.

For Saturday's mixed martial arts bout, Bedard's travel time will be about 15 minutes down Interstate-85 to the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

The Gwinnett County resident will fight Jason Georgianna in front of hundreds of family and friends in the main event of Fight Party presents Revenge. It's one of 12 MMA bouts scheduled at the Arena.

"Anytime I can stay at home and compete, I love it," Bedard said. "It should be a good crowd. I hope I don't get beat up."

Bedard is no stranger to fighting in Georgia. His last fight in the Peach State was a win at Wild Bill's Fight Night in Duluth in November.

"You never want to get beat up in front of your family and friends. I would say there's pressure just to do well and win," Bedard said. "I think this might be my last one, at least in Georgia. I'm going to play it by ear just because of the gym. It's just getting so hard now with the gym and training."

Bedard recently opened Elite Training Center, an MMA and wrestling gym in Flowery Branch, so his time has been split from training for Saturday's fight and teaching classes.

His fight against Georgianna (8-4) will be his first since claiming the Palace Fighting Championship welterweight title in January. Bedard defeated Shawn Klarcyk by submission and just a year ago Klarcyk beat Georgianna.

"I've only seen him fight one time. He was fighting the guy I beat for the title last May and he knee bared him," Bedard said. "He's a really scrappy, tough guy. He's only got four losses and they were all to good guys. He's a wrestler and he's going to fight."

Bedard (11-2) holds a strong wrestling background as well, winning three state titles in high school. He also wrestled and coached at the college level. He was an assistant coach on Collins Hill's state championship team last season.

Saturday's fight could mark the end of Bedard's MMA career. He started competing in 2002 sparingly. It wasn't until 2007 when he stepped down as head wrestling coach at Wesleyan after leading the Wolves to the Class AA state championship and was named the Daily Post's Coach of the Year than he pursued MMA full time.

Over the last two years he has fought in the WEC and claimed the PFC title in January. But at age 39 he knows his time his short in the combat sport, which makes Saturday's fight even more special. It may be the last one and it may be the last one in front of his family and friends.

"It's going to be a real competitive fight and it may be my last one here in Georgia," Bedard said. "I've never been one that hangs on for too long. I want to go out on top of the food chain. I can walk away and be content."

SideBar: Mixed Martial Arts

· What: Fight Party presents Revenge

· When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

· Where: Arena at Gwinnett Center

· Tickets: $25-50

· Noteworthy:

· Local wrestling coach Jeff Bedard (11-2) will fight Jason Georgianna (8-4)

· 12 fights are scheduled

· UFC fighter Cole Miller will make a special appearance