Blog post

Legacy Fighting Alliance 39 – Ian Heinisch

By Lance Edwards


Ian ‘The Hurricane’ Heinisch (9-1) is well known to LFA fans, having competed on three cards previously. At LFA 39 he has a chance at redemption when he faces Brazilian Gabriel Checco (10-2) in a middleweight title fight. Heinisch had previously fought for the title against Marcus Perez (9-1) and fell short at LFA 22. This time, ‘The Hurricane’ is determined to step out of the cage the victor.

“In the fight with Perez, it was a lot of pressure, a lot of hype. I was looking past it to the UFC. I got caught; I wasn’t slippery like I should have been. I learned a lot, it really helped me. I was 15-0, 8-0 as a pro. I’m more of a complete fighter now. I made it about enjoying fighting, and getting back to why I fight.”

Heinisch bounced back at LFA 31 when he defeated the experienced Daniel Madrid (13-6), finishing him in the second round;

“That fight was great; it was the best performance of my life. He’s a good Jiu Jitsu black belt with good striking. I got some takedowns but didn’t play the Jiu Jitsu game with him. I made adjustments in the second round and caught him on the chin.”

Heinisch is familiar with his future opponent Gabriel Checco, in fact he has seen him fight in person;

“I cornered Adam Stroup at his last fight. Adam was picking him apart and dropped him a few times. He went to the ground and Checco got a knee bar. I’m no stranger to fighting black belts. These are the fights I like. I let my hands go and make strikes count.”

Heinisch was born in Denver and raised in Parker, CO. He competed in a variety of sports, karate, soccer, football and then wrestling. He started wrestling at eleven and boxing at twenty-three.  As a teenager he attended Northern Idaho with a full wrestling scholarship. He also competed in Muay Thai as his coach wanted to make him a better rounded fighter. A lot of wrestlers become over dependent on their wrestling and develop a sub-par striking game. Heinisch has worked hard to be able to stop his opponents on the feet or finish them on the ground. With a high level of MMA wrestling, Heinisch isn’t timid with throwing strikes;

“High level strikers usually have holes on the ground. As a result they don’t want to be taken down. If you use feints it makes them hesitate and when you do hit him with a shot as you’ve been doing level changes and he’s got used to it you take him down.”

As a result, Heinisch feels with his high level of wrestling, he isn’t worried about the takedown, as he can defend it, and should he be taken down he is confident in that space. Coming in to this fight, ‘The Hurricane’ feels he is in a better place than his previous title contention;

“I feel great. This is my destiny. I had my first shot and now get my second shot at the belt. Things are in my favor, but I’m not taking it for granted. I expect a war.”


His ultimate goal after being LFA champion is to make it to the UFC. Having fought some tough opponents, Heinisch is getting a level of experience that some fighters who get into the UFC don’t have;

“I’m definitely looking at the lower tier and where I see myself in comparison to them. I see myself climbing through the ranks quite quickly. I’ll be 10-1. It has allowed me to grow as a fighter. It’s frustrating to survive to fight at this level. I don’t have to work and am managing to survive without a real job. I sell myself and get sponsors. In the UFC I’d be making five times the money. As they say in our gym, winning solves problems. On May 4th I’ll solve some problems.”

Heinisch loves the outdoors, the mountains, scuba and practices yoga. He maintains a high level of fitness and believes it’s important for a fighter not to allow their weight to fluctuate too much;

“For this fight I’ve pulled in a few Jiu jitsu guys who are good at heel hooks and leg locks. I’m stopping that now as I’m getting closer to the fight. Near the fight it’s time to focus on what you are going to do not what he will do. Zak Cummings who is a shorter guy and a super good black belt has been helping and I found a few shorter southpaws. I feel I have a good gauge of him.”

Heinisch enjoys fighting and has harnessed that passion once again;

“We’ll be in Vale, CO; he’ll be coming from Vegas and its five rounds. It’s about 9000 feet; it’s almost double the height of Denver. It’s thin air; I’ll keep the pressure high and let nature do its work. As the rounds go later, the odds go up. I need to not go sloppy and get into doing a Jiu Jitsu game with him.

I’d like to thank my sponsors, Illegal Pete’s, Receptra Naturals CBD, Elder Auto, Northern Climate Control, Rad Roller, Hayabusa, In The Cut, Jamie Atlas and Jim Walter. Also the team at Factory X and Lando Performance.”