Arnett hopes to continue to make his father proud

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Aug. 5—Legacy and continuing to make his father proud.

Those are two driving forces for Austin Arnett (17-7) as he prepares to fight Nathan Stolen for the lightweight championship at Front Street Fights 24 at Idaho Central Arena in Boise on Saturday.

The championship match is the main event of a seven-match card and will be contested in three five-minute rounds.

It is the first fight for Arnett since March 20, 2021, in Abu Dhabi against Daniel Vega. Arnett was victorious with a third-round TKO.

COVID-19 issues canceled a second fight for Arnett in Abu Dhabi, but made it difficult for him to return home. Injuries and setbacks also have gotten in the way of Arnett's return to the cage, but he says he is ready to go.

"I'm fast, athletic and have a good counter strike," Arnett said.

Arnett praised his opponent, who has fought in Bellator 205 and 220.

"(Stolen) is tough and has been around for a while," Arnett said. "(He is) a pressure fighter who will look for big punches and takedowns."

Stolen (9-5) lost in his two appearances in Bellator, but is coming off a victory almost 10 months ago at Front Street Fights 22 against Darrell Flores via a rear-naked choke submission.

Arnett, who runs Arnett's Martial Arts America, has looked to his teammates, along with some outside help, to prepare for the fight.

Arnett credited Brian McElroy for being a strong pillar in his training.

"We are close, man," Arnett said. "We train together five (to) six times a week."

The 30-year-old also has brought in help from Spokane.

Michael Chiesa and Brady Hiestand each have UFC experience and Arnett said the two have become vital partners in his training.

"You develop a rhythm with training partners," Arnett said. "Being able to bring in other partners gives you an element of surprise, kind of like how the fight will be."

Arnett started martial arts and combat sports at the age of 15 and has fought in every calendar year since he began.

Although this is the first fight Arnett has had in the United States since a loss to Shane Young at UFC 234 in 2019, he said there is no extra pressure or nerves.

This also will be his first fight stateside since the passing of his father, Frank Arnett, in 2020. Arnett said his father is always on his mind, especially when he gets ready to fight.

"I try to turn it into a positive," Austin Arnett said. "I fight now and fight for him."

The title contender will not be alone, as he said most of his team is going to southern Idaho with him, and he has sold around 100 tickets himself.

"Martial arts brings a unique bond with friends, and it becomes a family thing," Austin Arnett said. "They are hard training sessions. When you both make it through that training session, there is a level of respect."

Selling tickets is something Austin Arnett is good at as his next promotion, Clearwater Combat, will take place Nov. 5 at the Clearwater River Casino.

Isbelle can be reached at sports@lmtribune.com, (208) 848-2268 or on Twitter @RandyIsbelle.