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Home MMA

MMA Editorials

Women’s Bantamweight Trinity

Women’s Bantamweight Trinity

The shakeup of UFC 196 sent high voltage shocks through the pacemakers of combat sports, and irregular pulses have fluttered in stout-hearted men in every division from flyweight to welterweight. Regardless, the men still have a roster of champions firmly nestled in their beds, with lists of contenders dancing in their heads. Despite Conor McGregor’s loss, an undisputed champions sits atop each of the several weight divisions with an heir apparent nipping at their heels. But with only two women’s weight classes within the UFC, the talent-heavy 135-pound weight class shows special promise. Nothing among the men’s ranks holds a candle to the suspense surrounding the Women’s Bantamweight Division.

Sorry, fellas, but this group of gutsy gals comprises one of the most compelling divisions in MMA - in part, because the star power of the division’s first champion rubbed off on her nemeses like a dousing of pixie dust from Tinkerbell. The splash was just enough to teach them how to fly - and fly they did. Between the celebrity conferred upon them by the media and their remarkable athleticism, these women may one day eclipse their masculine counterparts in pure star-power.

With Rousey’s previous wins over Tate, Holm’s KO of Rousey, and Tate’s submission of Holm, we have a trio of world-class champions atop the division. This creates some possibilities that were unthinkable only six months ago when “Rowdy” Ronda was running roughshod over her competitors. Those were simpler times – the days when gamblers and pundits felt comfortable with their predictions, and Vegas casinos had sufficient funds to cover long-shots that beat the odds. But now we have a whole new landscape to contemplate. Like a game of three-dimensional chess, each move takes on a new range of possibilities as the board is turned and viewed from a different angle.

Now that former Strikeforce Champion and perennial UFC contender Miesha Tate has the title, the question looms: What kind of champion will she be?

I’m going to speculate that Tate, much like Holm, is going to want to defend the title as soon as possible. Rather than wait for a former champion whose dedication and mental state remain in question, UFC 200 in July seems like the perfect venue to defend her shiny new belt. But … will she take the risk of a Holm rematch, or look to a less formidable contender for her first defense?  Holm would have granted Rousey an immediate rematch, had Ronda been ready. Will Miesha grant Holly the same unwritten courtesy? A lot depends on how much influence the UFC has in the decision. I suspect Dana White’s close relationship with Ronda will motivate him to pave a path of least resistance for her climb back to the title. But I could be wrong.

Each of these ladies is many steps from the Poor House. Ronda is said to be worth close to 9 million dollars and, according the Huffington Post, both Miesha and Holly have assets of approximately $2 million. Their careers are no longer about money, but about legacy. I don’t see competitors of their caliber looking to pad their records or choose an easy fight to get another payday.

The Contenders

If the UFC wants to avoid a rematch, who might they put against Miesha in July? Cat Zingano is the first name that pops into my mind. Her 2013 TKO win over Tate, her surreal 14-second loss to Rousey, and her 9-1 record put her squarely in the title picture. Her fight with Tate was one of the best women’s scraps on record and remained close until the end. Is Miesha as motivated to redeem that loss as she is to get some Rousey Revenge? 

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The Shockwaves of UFC 196

The Shockwaves of UFC 196

Last year was a year of upsets, and it appears the trend will continue into 2016. It took me a few days to recover from the shocking results of UFC 196 enough to write about it unemotionally. All of my expectations were blown out of the water in dramatic fashion. But such is the nature of the fight game.

There was an odd vibe surrounding this event which I can’t quite describe. It was a night of hesitant fighting until the main bout. Many of the fighters seemed a bit off their game, often being so cautious during the stand up portions of their fights that there was little back and forth action. The grappling, however, was much more eventful.

Amanda Nunes Wins Unanimous Decision Over Valentina Shevckenko

The Nunes-Shevchenko match was the only fight that piqued my interest outside of the two main events. Valentina Shevchenko’s dynamic Muay Thai striking is in keeping with her nickname “The Bullet,” and although “The Lioness” is an appropriate moniker for Amanda Nunes, I fully expected that Shevchenko’s extraordinary 12-year Kick Boxing career (56-2-0) would allow her to prevail. But such was not the case.

Both women started tentatively, with few exchanges in the first round. It was Amanda’s ground and pound in the 2nd, opening a cut over Valentina’s left eye, that changed the dynamics of the fight. Shevchenko’s MMA fights have lacked the in-your-face explosiveness seen in her Muay Thai bouts, but she finally unleashed in the third and stunned Nunes with an elbow strike to the head. But it was too little, too late, and Nunes won a unanimous decision. She continues her steady climb up the ladder and may be in title contention within the year.

Valentina Shevchenko’s fighting pedigree is undeniable. She showed a strong ground game against Sarah Kaufman and I expect her to make a strong comeback where she can display her full potential. Once she finds her stride, I predict a stellar career in MMA.
Miesha Tate Wins Over Holly Holm via Rear Naked Choke, Round 5

I must confess that I have been an ardent Holly Holm fan for over a decade, and despite the result of this fight, my high opinion of her as a fighter and role model remains undeterred. Seeing her lie unconscious on the mat, like Athena fallen from Olympus, struck me with a personal sense of grief, and it might be difficult for me to be completely objective.

That said, let me start by congratulating Miesha Tate. She’s one of the pioneers of the sport and should change her nickname from “Cupcake” to Miesha “Come From Behind” Tate. She has grasped victory from the jaws of defeat more than any female fighter I can think of. I fully expected Holly to pick her apart over the course of the fight and win by decision or late stoppage. But Miesha’s toughness and determination in pulling out a win by rear naked choke in the last moments of the fight was miraculous. She proved, once again, that her ground game is among the best in MMA. Once she has an opponent on the mat, she’s like an undulating Boa Constrictor, seeking the most vulnerable point from which to set up the kill. She doesn’t have the greatest skill-set in any single discipline, but true to the spirit of MMA, she has mastered each technique effectively enough to be a very dangerous fighter in every aspect of the game. Tate’s win over Holm, while not dominant, was unequivocal and creates another seismic shakeup throughout the Bantamweight Division.

 

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Judges or Scoring? Both Are to Blame

Judges or Scoring? Both Are to Blame

In the aftermath of the controversial Lawler/Condit decision in UFC 195, there has been a renewed debate about the viability of the 10-Point Must Scoring System used in boxing and MMA. It’s essential to acknowledge that all scoring systems are flawed, not necessarily because the system is wanting, but because human judges are ultimately responsible for the outcomes. There is currently no fixed, objective mechanism to accomplish a score strictly based upon a fighter’s “measurable performance.”

In the 10-Point Must System the judges must give the winner of each round ten points, with the loser receiving whatever the judges determine is appropriate. The vast majority of rounds in both boxing and MMA are scored 10-9.  In boxing, however, when any part of a combatant’s body - except the soles of their shoes - touches the canvas as a result of a punch, that fighter receives a one-point deduction. Since MMA does not score knockdowns, takedowns, clinches, grappling, and ground control in quite the same way, the determinations of the judges become much more subjective. It’s this subjectivity that results in some of the most catastrophic decisions.

As far as boxing is concerned, I’ve always preferred the Five-Point Must System. Rounds are rarely scored more than three points apart, and there are never ten degrees of separation between ring performances. If a fight is so unbalanced that it moves into the realm of 10-6, or lower, it’s usually stopped, even if the three-knockdown rule has been waived.

In MMA there are multiple ways to win, so there should be additional criteria for gaining or losing points. Thus, MMA would actually seem to be better adapted to a ten-point system, or even higher. But it’s how those points are deducted or attributed that makes the difference. Takedowns and knockdowns could be scored more as they are in boxing, with a one-point deduction for each. Fighters could retain points by controlling clinches and maintaining dominant positions on the ground, allowing a powerful ground game to be equally reflected in the scores. Again, it’s not only the scoring system that’s deficient, it’s the judges’ inability to discern and numerically characterize the dominance of one fighter over another in a manner that’s consistent and free of subjectivity.

Veteran referee Arthur Mercanti, Sr., was one of the most influential forces in clarifying the criteria used to judge boxing matches. He was a product of the days when referees also acted as judges. A ref’s proximity to the fight, and the ability to view it from different angles brought some of the best scoring boxing has known.

Mercanti and his contemporaries defined precisely what should be considered when scoring a fight. There are essentially four categories: punches landed, effective aggressiveness, defense, and ring generalship. MMA shares these considerations.

From a judge’s perspective, every fight should be broken into one-minute segments. In MMA, that means five one-minute blocks to be scored individually. If one fighter prevails in a majority of those segments, he wins the round.

Example: if Fighter A is dominant in 3 minutes and 30 seconds of a round, he must be awarded the round, regardless of Fighter B’s dominance in the remaining 90 seconds - unless such dominance includes knockdowns or takedowns sufficient to offset the other fighter’s score. However, what may be perceived as “harder punches” by Fighter B cannot, by themselves, override Fighter A’s 3 minutes and 30 seconds of dominance. This egregious misconception about the power of delivered punches - evident in both judging and fight commentary - can be accurately blamed for some of the worst decisions in combat sports.

Giving a fighter an advantage because his punches are perceived to be harder cannot be justified. Nobody except the participants can determine the power of a punch unless it results in a knockdown or knockout, or if one of the fighters is obviously stunned. The technology does not currently exist to place sensors on the contestants to scientifically measure the foot-pounds of energy generated by punches. Therefore, this subjective evaluation should be banished from combat sports, and judges who employ it should be drummed out of the fight game. If we are ever to have a fair, more scientific scoring system, Old School thinking must be discarded. The resistance will be enormous, but it must be accomplished, nonetheless.

This is where technology comes into play. Judges should have access to instant replay video and punch statistics before making a final determination. After all, they are only viewing the fight from one angle. While such a practice might delay decisions, it would go a long way toward more equitable conclusions. Photo finishes decide horse races and instant replays change the outcomes of football games. We use technology in every aspect of our lives to help us make better-informed decisions. It’s time to bring that technology into combat sports as well.Other essays and articles by Charles Long
can be found in the boxing and MMA
sections of Convicted Artist. 

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Carlos Condit Robbed in UFC 195

Carlos Condit Robbed in UFC 195

I can’t imagine which fight the judges were watching last night as two titans of the Welterweight Division met in the first great MMA matchup of 2016. Robbie Lawler met Carlos Condit for the UFC Championship in Las Vegas for a long-waited battle headlining UFC 195. While it was an extremely competitive bout, the outcome seemed apparent until the judges ruling was announced. I was speechless as “Ruthless Robbie” retained his title on a split-decision, despite being out-landed at a 3-1 ratio during their five-round brawl.

Condit was dominant from the first bell using lateral movement and strikes thrown from every angle imaginable. Regardless of the fact that the champion was coming forward, the challenger continued controlling the pace of the fight throughout.

The pace of a fight is not necessarily set by the perceived aggressor, but by a fighter’s “effective” aggressiveness. Robbie merely chased Carlos, while Condit peppered him with kicks and punches as he circled, piling-up points. The combatant controlling the fight is the fighter who determines when, where and how engagements occur - not necessarily the one coming forward. This is a frequent misconception held by casual observers - and obviously some judges.

Boxing is essentially judged upon three criteria: effective aggressiveness (punches/strikes landed), defense, and ring generalship. MMA has added elements like take-downs, floor control and submissions, but - except for one scramble - none of that came into play in this fight. It was a standup fight resembling a Muay Thai bout. It was all about striking.

By the end of the fourth round, Carlos Condit had easily taken three rounds. Lawyer indisputably won round two with a knockdown and dominant punching. Rounds one and four were Condit’s by virtue of an overwhelming ratio of strikes and superb defense. Round three was a close one, but “The Natural Born Killer” won it by being the busier fighter. Even though Lawler stunned Condit in the last 90 seconds of the final round, Condit dominated the first three and a half minutes with sharp combinations. Since Conduit was no more hurt in round five than Lawler was in the first, it could only be ruled an even round for Lawler, at best. I had the fight 3-1-1 for Condit, but could understand giving Lawler two rounds.

There is sometimes a rationalization among judges that a fighter who is out-struck can redeem himself/herself by landing the “harder punches.” This is a practice that should be shunned. Nobody except the participants can determine the power of a punch unless there is a knockout, a knockdown, or if one of the fighters is obviously staggered. There are no pressure pads attached to the contestants which can scientifically measure the foot-pounds of energy generated by the punches. Since no such technology exists, this subjective evaluation should be banished from combat sports, and judges who employ it as an excuse for incompetent judging should be run out of the fight game. Subjectivity is already too influential.

Still, hats off to Robbie Lawler, who - thanking the stars for a split-decision gift from the Gods - proclaimed that there were two winners last night, and suggested they “do it again.” I couldn’t agree more. But next time let’s get some objective judges.

Charles Long
www.convictedartist.com

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Immediate Holm-Rousey Rematch: A Bad Idea

Immediate Holm-Rousey Rematch: A Bad Idea

 

After Holly Holm’s astounding victory over Ronda Rousey in UFC 193 - which I’m proud to say I predicted - there are clamors for an immediate rematch. Dana White’s close relationship with Ronda makes it nearly impossible for him to accept the emphatic nature of her defeat, and his subjective desire to see it reversed is understandable. However, there are a number of things the Rousey camp, and those close to her, should consider before throwing her back into the octagon with Holm.

As I wrote last month in my article, ”Hail Holly!”, there is an old boxing axiom that goes, “When a fighter wins decisively, a rematch will bring the same result, only sooner.” Styles make fights, and as Miesha Tate noted, “… Holly has the style to beat Ronda. She’s Ronda’s kryptonite.” This observation is insightful.

UFC Commentator, Mike Goldberg, during his introduction to the main event, echoed Holm’s strategy. “Ronda has never been hit hard enough to throw her off her game plan …Tonight, (I) will do exactly that.”  The strategy worked. Ronda confirmed this in her December 8th ESPN interview. "I got hit in that first round. ... I cut my lip open and knocked a couple of my teeth loose. I was out on my feet from the very beginning."

Any objective pundit would have to acknowledge that Holly Holm’s forty-seven professional fights in boxing and MMA have created a stand-up game that is extraordinary. Her agility, speed and combination striking will be a formidable obstacle for any Bantamweight challenger. For Ronda to close the gap in her skill-set sufficiently enough to compete with Holly will take years to achieve - if ever.

Any fighter who has suffered a knockout will tell you that a replay of that agonizing moment runs continuously in the back of their mind for months after the fight. This is one of the most difficult things for a KO’d fighter to overcome when facing a rematch. Because of the enormity of the event, Ronda’s demise has been replayed on every media outlet in the world. The image of Holly’s leg colliding with Ronda’s bloodied face is now ubiquitous, creating an indelible image in the minds of fans and fighters alike.

While Ronda dealt with a defeat in her bid for the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics, the magnitude of that loss does not compare to the trouncing she took in Melbourne. If a rematch occurs, Holly’s first solid shot will bring memories of the knockout crashing into Ronda’s brain and create enough hesitation to allow Holm to reimpose the circumstances of the first fight. Only time will erase those instinctive neural pathways and give Ronda a chance to bring freshness to a rematch.

There are some who admonish Rousey for not attempting more take-downs during the fight. But the fact is, she did. If one systematically evaluates their November 14th clash, it’s obvious that Holly won every engagement - even the clinches. 

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Do Good Fighters Come From Wealth, Or Poverty?

Do Good Fighters Come From Wealth, Or Poverty?

Do Good Fighters Come From Wealth, Or Poverty?

The answer is simple, and while most people believe that it doesn't matter, and that it depends on how hungry the person is, there is a trend.

Imagine this, you are born in a lower class family, nothing has ever been given to you, and if you don't snatch an opportunity, there's no second chances. you are in a tough neighborhood, the first thing you will need to do is learn how to fight. This is already the first stage of that fighters life. You will be spending lots of time at the gym, training, getting better, sometimes you wanna quit but you keep pushing so you can better yourself. And eventually, you will, because you are so motivated.

Eventually, you are the toughest kid on the block, but during your training you learned that you must always respect your opponent, so even though you are the man, you wont want to go bully other people.

So now you decide you like boxing, and you start your career, you wont be instantly recognized, so you really have to work hard, and fight hard to get up. And after years, you just might, and at that moment you will realize you earned everything you have and can pat yourself on the back.

And now, for a moment, imagine you are a teenager and son of a wealthy family, you were spoiled from day one, when you wanted something, you got it, no questions asked. So one day you decide you want to be a boxer, You are easily able to be noticed because your family can easily pay for promoting you, you will also get training from the best because your family will hire them. However, there is a fifty-fifty chance you might realize you don't want to box anymore, that it wasnt what you thought it was. Plus you dont need wealth because you already have it. So having never been told no, you will likely quit boxing entirely and come back when you feel like it.

But lets say you decide to stay, you get put into a good fight against a fairly prestigious opponent, there is no question you will get hurt, but can you handle it? having never been hit hard before, you will be less resilient than your counterpart who had to fight three bullies on his way home from school each day.

The purpose of these two points of view is to show that it is actually harder for you to become a fighter if you come from wealth and being coddled, as opposed to being a tough guy with a tough past. While there are plenty of boxer who came from wealth, kudos to them, in fact, kudos to any boxer, for simply putting up with all they go through.

So to finish this off, remember, "Tough times dont last, tough people do."

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Hail Holly!

Hail Holly!

There are so many words that come to mind when I think of Holly Holm, but undoubtedly the most appropriate is “classy.” I was one of the few who predicted an upset in her November 14th UFC fight with super star Ronda Rousey. When I posted Team Holm’s “We Believe, Upset/Downunder” poster on my Facebook page, friends suggested I be institutionalized. Few, however, were as familiar with Holly’s boxing credentials as I was.

Holly Holm first came onto my radar when she upset Christy Martin in 2005. “The Coal Miner’s Daughter“ had slugged her way into the living rooms of boxing fans on the coattails of some notable male boxers, distinguishing herself by appearing on the undercard of Tyson-Bruno in 1989. Although her career was tapering off by the time she met Holly in the ring, Holm’s slick determination made it an easy fight against a still formidable opponent. Holly Holm displayed three things a great fighter requires: skill, patience and conditioning. I became and avid fan.

While the number of championships Holly has attained seems to differ depending upon the source, let it suffice to say she’s earned practically every accolade a female boxer could achieve during her years in the square ring - and all are well-deserved.

I was dismayed by her KO loss to French gargantuan, Anne Sophie Mathis, in 2011, but Holly’s championship heart drew her back to the ring six months later to outpoint Mathis and regain the title. Rarely do fighters who are soundly defeated reclaim the confidence to make a significant comeback, but Holly did, and she hasn’t lost a fight since.

When Holly announced she was switching to MMA a few years ago I got goosebumps. How would such a pure boxer fare in the brutality of the octagon? She had early kickboxing experience, winning the International Kickboxing Federation National Welterweight Title, and I wondered if Muay Thai might be a better choice. But even Jorina Baars, the undefeated Muay Thai welterweight champion with a victory over phenom Christiane “Cyborg” Justino, has languished in relative obscurity after 37 bouts. The fact is: MMA is the fastest growing combat sport in the world and its expanding fanbase is where today’s pugilistic glory lies. Holly’s decision was obvious.

Many pundits were unimpressed with Holm’s early MMA matches, but if you observed each one carefully, you could see that Team Holm’s approach was like building an elaborate jigsaw puzzle. Every fight included several essential pieces that were meticulously locked into place, and if you studied each one, there was a picture emerging. Like George Seurat’s technique of pointillism, at first it glance it only appears as a chaotic scattering of colored dots, but if you stand back and really look, a world of marvelous images is exposed.

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Nick Diaz: The Pioneer Blazer of a Movement

Nick Diaz: The Pioneer Blazer of a Movement

Funny little political circus they are stimulating in the combat sports arena these days. Using the fighter Nick Diaz as the poster boy for guilt and humiliation for using marijuana. It's too late though – we are now in a process of forward evolution in a changing conscious movement for the benefits and medicinal purposes of marijuana. Let's just face it, most all of us have been exposed or experimented with it. Some of us can't do without it. I know teachers, doctors and military very personally who smoke for the benefits that marijuana gives them. I know some that do even harder drugs and they are still very functional citizens and still damn good at what they do in their profession. This is a new era we live in and people now have a better understanding at what the marijuana benefits are.

Does the Nevada athletic commission seem to somehow believe that marijuana builds muscle and promotes athletic performance? How do you take away someone's livelihood for smoking a naturally growing plant that has so many great and beneficial healing properties for the human body? In this backwards society it's somehow more accepted for him to binge drink at a bar and destroy his liver than to take a puff of a plant that relaxes you and maybe gives you the urge to have the munchies. That's not legal, yet alcohol kills more people than cocaine and marijuana combined. Or is it because the doctors, or what I like to call the "drug pushers for the government," in Nevada don't have a proper monopoly on it yet and there is no actual way to tax it?

The next question is: Does Dana White have a personal vendetta against Nick Diaz? Does the commission get their little cut under the table from this egotistical Nazi promoter? This is strictly political and could even be a personal attack on this man's character. Ask yourself how this man that has put his ass on the line for your entertainment deserves to get 5 years. All this when other MMA fighters get a slap on the wrist for the use of cocaine and steroids. Have you ever once had the experience or even attempted a career of entering the ring or octagon to fight for your life? Could you imagine the courage and discipline of a full-time career at this gladiator sport? You wouldn't be able to take the discipline, dedication or mental toughness to last one week with these warriors of men.

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RONDA VS. FLOYD??

RONDA VS. FLOYD??

The internet has periodically exploded with rumors over who said what about boxing's most famous person.  Like him or not, Floyd Mayweather draws a crowd.  And he did so, simply by being good.  The attitude may make people within the biz write articles, but Broner shares that attitude, and due to his lack of A+ talent, he is not a mainstream name.  When someone becomes that famous, as Oscar De La Hoya found out before him, many people are going to try and tie themselves to your fame, for the crumbs of success that come along with it.

Some of the controversy is by design, from within the Money Team.  Mayweather knows exactly what he is doing when he questions Muhammad Ali's record, yet for the most part, fighters calling out Mayweather has been such an overdone practice, that it is almost drying up... as fighters do not want to appear like they are playing a broken record.  Also, now that Mayweather is supposedly retiring, it has left most of his serious boxing threats depressed and looking to question the past, rather than making their own future.  However, the most bizarre of all, has been the implied "feud" between Mayweather and Ronda Rousey.

Rousey has made her disdain for Mayweather open and well-known, since his conviction for domestic violence.  That is a hot button issue that people feel very comfortable speaking on lately, even when they do not have the facts oif an individual case  It would be one thing if that was where the controversy ended, but now, it has spawned the 'search for the quote'.  There have been alleged quotes attributed to Rousey saying she makes more money per second than Floyd (a commentary on her very fast wins, as opposed to Mayweather's 12 round victories).  

The MMA star has also been quoted mocking Mayweather's supposed lack of reading skills.  This is actually encouraging.  Even though with most people, nowadays, this would be considered bullying of a learning disabled person, it is some how allowed in this case.  Glad to see there are exceptions to the rule of the easily offended masses these days, even if it has to come at the expense of a fighter who has made himself the villain.  The most bizarre, however, has seen Rousey and Mayweather being matched together!  This is not tennis.  Billie Jean King and Jimmy Connors may have crossed the gender barrier to match skills, but that will not be happening in fighting sports.  

There is even controversy about trans-gendered athletes, let alone that big of a leap.  Not only that, but hey are not even in the same sport!  Of course Rousey would submit Mayweather, and of course Mayweather would dominate and knock out Rousey with gloves on.  What is there to even discuss?  To me, this is just what happens when any fighter is too dominant.  We search for the fighter that will beat them, and when that search yields nothing, we broaden the spectrum to the point of ridiculous.  That dominance may be the only thing these two people have in common, but apparently, that is all we need..

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Boxer vs. Mixed Martial Artist vs. Wrestler

Boxer vs. Mixed Martial Artist vs. Wrestler

There is no greater question in combat sports than which type of fighter is the most lethal. Some say boxer, many more say MMA fighter. And a few even say wrestler. Well, through careful research and study, you will learn right now who is the most dangerous, not in the ring, octagon or mat, but out in the real world.

To begin,  we will see about the boxer, trained to dodge and take hits, as well as deliver them. If a criminal decides he wants to get some easy money, he might want to rob someone. A trained boxer can take out a street punk by hitting him very hard, very often, as well as outlasting him in stamina, all while dodging every hit the guy throws at him. If he has a knife, the boxer can still dodge it better than the average joe, allowing him to escape.

An MMA fighter wakes up thinking about fighting, about delivering pain. So in the same situation, he would have a much larger arsenal than the boxer, he can punch, kick, or perform takedowns on the thug. He knows boxing, kung fu, taekwondo, karate and wrestling. Not to mention the fact that he too is trained to take hits and last a long time before tiring. The MMA fighter can out wrestle the knife wielding thug and reverse the attack.

A wrestler knows speed, and strength, he can lure the opponet into a trap and use his own moves against him. He will first reverse the gangster's attack, then take the thug to the ground, and put him in one of a vast arsenal of holds to where the thug will be helpless to escape. Armbar, headlock, he will get creative. We all know that these have a ton of respect pro fighters can beat the everday bully, but what about each other? What if a boxer pissed off a wrestler? Who would win?

Lets start with boxer vs MMA fighter, the two get into a fight in a bar, the cops are coming, not to much time to fight. The boxer might be able to take down the MMA fighter quickly, using only a few well placed punches, he also will dodge everything the MMA fighter has to give him right?  Wrong.

The MMA fighter can take him to the ground where he will have the advantage, and more often than not, its game over at that point. But heres where it gets twisted around, the boxer wont always allow the MMA fighter to take him down, he can actually use the fact that the MMA fighter is coming towards him against him. A good punch will place the boxer in the lead. So we know now, it can go either way, however, in most situations, the MMA fighter will win simply because he is trained to win fights, not score points. Plus the fact that he might already know boxing in addition to his other moves.

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Ognjen Topic: Chase a Muay Thai Dream

Ognjen Topic: Chase a Muay Thai Dream

Committing to anything outside of the mainstream makes it one of the most difficult decisions to make.  One must contend with an overall lack of local resources, along with the supposition that the chances of being financially successful will be slim.   For most, the security of steady income coupled with the availability of a chosen craft is tantamount with success.  Still, there are those few that forgo this logical equation in search of something more real: a passion.  Ognjen Topic is once such individual.  

The American is a top shelf professional Muay Thai technician that currently competes in his homeland and abroad, including the mecca of the discipline: Thailand.  Topic's fighting spirit first revealed itself at 14 years old.  Speaking from Thailand, where the American was finalizing his preparations for his next fight, Topic recalled "getting the fight bug" when he was in the sixth or seventh grade.  The American added that he enjoyed the challenge that boxing presented and asked his parents if he could join a boxing club.   However, "when I was a kid," Topic explained, "I had a couple of concussions so [my parents] didn't want me taking any shots in the head." After some negotiating, the young, aspiring fighter and his parents agreed that Tae Kwan Do would be a safer choice.

Topic showed natural talent and by age 18, he had achieved the level of black belt in the discipline.  Despite this great accomplishment, Topic came to terms with the fact that "Tae Kwan Do was just not for me."  Fortunately for the restless youth, Topic came across Muay Thai fights while watching ESPN which piqued his interest.  Topic recollected, "I had never seen Muay Thai fights before and I just fell in love with Muay Thai."  He had difficulty locating a nearby school, but located North Jersey Muay Thai and has been there "ever since."

His natural athletic talent helped Topic take to Muay Thai, assisting with quick growth with the discipline.  Looking to further challenge himself and propagate as a fighter, the American decided to train in Thailand where Muay Thai is practically the national sport.  "The first time I came [to Thailand] I was 22 years old and I had a fight so I stayed for one month," Topic explained.  "The second and third times I also had fights; I stayed a month each time.  I realized that I had to be serious so I quit my [graphic design] job to pursue fighting full-time and I've been in Thailand for almost seven months now."  In leaving graphic design, Topic clarified, "I loved my job and that was my career, but I had to quit because it was just too much to juggle.  I had to work 9 to 5 and then go to the gym and train from 5 to 9 so I started hating fight training camps.  Things are easier now as I can focus on just training." 

 

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Pete "Secret Weapon" Spratt: Texas MMA Legend Still Going Strong

Pete

Pete "The Secret Weapon" Spratt is a long-time Mix Martial Artist based in San Antonio, Texas.  At the age of 43, Spratt has been involved in 48 professional MMA contests, fighting elites like George St. Pierre, Josh Koscheck, Marcus Davis, Carlos Newton, Robbie Lawler, Chris Lytle, Matt Serra and Carlos Condit, along with a whole host of excellent MMA combatants throughout his illustrious career.  Although not always on the winning end of the big fights, "The Secret Weapon" was never an easy night for anyone.

 Born and reared in Texas, Spratt was a gifted athlete throughout his academic career.  The Sherman, Texas product was an All-American track and field standout as well as a football and basketball star.  His success carried into his collegiate career, allowing "The Secret Weapon" to tally a multitude of athletic accolades.  After a few tryouts with National Football League teams that led nowhere, Spratt decided to forgo further attempts and focus on moving forward with his life.  Speaking to Convicted Artist Magazine, the San Antonio resident said, "I didn't want to be one of those guys that, every time someone saw me, I would be telling them about the next [football] tryout I was going to have and I didn't want to play in Canada, so I decided to call it quits and move on."

By that time, Spratt had already been involved with martial arts.  Having taken some Taekwondo as a child, the Texan had a foundation but clarified that he "was not really involved with [Martial Arts] consistently until about 1993." Spratt explained that at that time, he became interested in the art of Kempo after seeing the movie "The Perfect Weapon" and decided to learn that style.  "There was a [Kempo] school right down the street from my house, so I stopped in and started learning."  He named American Kempo, kickboxing and boxing as his primary learned disciplines which he used to stay in shape during the college football offseason.  Spratt also specialized in the ancient art of Muay Thai, studying under world-renowned instructors.   

Always believing that education is important, Spratt completed his undergraduate work and continued onto a graduate program in athletics.  During this time, he continued to learn and excel in martial arts.  The Texan's initial instinct was to become a coach, but that decision changed after he became a graduate assistant at South Eastern Oklahoma State [football program].  

During this juncture in his life, Spratt asked himself, "What can I do that I enjoy, can still be considered a professional athlete, and get paid?"  

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Exclusive Interview with Elias “Smash” Garcia: From Civilian to Cage Beast in Four Years

Exclusive Interview with Elias “Smash” Garcia: From Civilian to Cage Beast in Four Years

Elias "Smash" Garcia is a character in every sense of the word: the Corpus Christi, Texas native and full-time Mixed Martial Artist (MMA) is a gregarious person with a quick wit and a zany nature.  One simply has to check out his Facebook page to understand that "Smash" has the kind of personality to become a bona-fide star in the sport.
 
But anyone thinking this playful approach outside of the cage translates to Garcia not being a force to contend with in a fight needs to immediately disabuse this notion; one does not earn the nickname "Smash" without good reason.  Speaking to ConvictedArtistMagazine.com, Garcia clarified that the origin of his cage name came after knocking out a fighter 40 seconds into the first round of Garcia's second amateur fight.  "I really laid the guy out pretty good and the medics came and took him out on a stretcher," Garcia said.  "The guy was out for a while so that's when everyone started calling me 'Smash.'"

Prior to 2010, Garcia's fighting experience was in the streets.  Bullied as a child due to his size, "Smash" initially resorted to mutual combat.  Garcia explained that he did not know "if it was puberty or what, but one day, I had a bully come at me and I just snapped - and it was on."  He added that he continued to get into minor scrapes; but unlike many of his blood sports brethren, Garcia did not partake in learning martial arts at a young age.  In fact, his journey to becoming a professional combatant began much later in his life, as Garcia recalled, "I always wanted to get into boxing but my mother never let me."  Garcia enlisted in the military in 2005, when he was forced to "mature quick." He added, "It wasn't until 2010 when I was in the Coast Guard (active duty) and I transferred out of a Fast Action Response team to a desk job that I started training for [MMA].  A buddy of mine invited me to train and I fell in love with it."

Six months later, "Smash" had his first amateur fight, and compiled a successful MMA amateur career with a record of six wins and two losses.  He is currently signed to a promotional contract with Legacy Fighting Championship, and his record stands at four wins and two losses (with Garcia dropping his last two contests).  Although many would be quick to question his viability as a prizefighter, Garcia assessed the situation by saying, 

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Exclusive Interview With: Roger "The Silverback" Narvaez

Exclusive Interview With: Roger

Corpus Christi native and recent Ultimate Fighting Championship signee Roger Narvaez is living a dream: the 6'3, 185-pound mixed martial artist from Texas is a loving family man, full-time fireman/paramedic and has reached the world-famous UFC Octagon.

Narvaez's martial arts path commenced at a young age, as his family always appreciated movies that involved the various disciplines which interested him.  Speaking to ConvictedArtist.com, "Silverback" recalled, "When I was in the first grade, my dad got me into Tae-kwon-do and I really loved it; I excelled at it.  I decided to take a break when I was 13 and by that time, I had already achieved my second degree black belt and qualified for the Junior Olympic trials.  Unfortunately, we didn't have the travel money to make that trip [to the Junior Olympic Trials]."  During his high school years, Narvaez took a break from martial arts "mainly because of football" but maintained that he "always loved martial arts."   

After high school was over, Narvaez eventually landed a job with the local fire department.  As a city firefighter, "Silverback" was focused on strength as opposed to conditioning. He explained, "I used to pump a lot of iron and eat a lot of food, but no cardio.  I was weighing 278 [pounds] and fighting fires [in that shape] was not easy. I was hurting."

Luckily, a friend from his teenage years would lead Narvaez back to the martial arts world and, eventually, to the cage.  "An old high school friend of mine named Hector Munoz was fighting and teaching [martial arts], so I went [to train] with him just to get in shape,"  Narvaez continued.  "I took up Jiu-Jitsu and I fell in love with it.  I was on the mat [training] for four to five hours on my days off.  I got my blue belt in eleven months and my purple belt right under three years."  

The environment of fellow teammates competing led to "Silverback" challenging himself via Jiu-jitsu tournaments. Seeing fellow stable mates enter the mixed martial arts cage further pushed Narvaez to the amateur circuit, eventually progressing to a professional career. "I couldn't get amateur fights after a while so I turned pro and, again, I found a lot of success," Narvaez reported.  "The Lord has blessed me with an injury free career up to this point and I've now accomplished being signed to the UFC."

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UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos Ends Henderson’s Title Hopes with a First Round Stoppage

UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos Ends Henderson’s Title Hopes with a First Round Stoppage

Tulsa, Oklahoma was the location for the latest installment of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Fight Night series.  The bouts were televised on the Fox Sports 1 network.  There were several exciting scraps as both new comers and octagon veterans excited the live crowd.  

The main event of the evening featured the UFC’s number one lightweight “Smooth” Ben Henderson (21-3) taking on the fifth ranked contender in Rafael Dos Anjos (21-7).  Henderson (USA), who is a former champion, came into the bout with a UFC record of nine wins and one loss.  For Dos Anjos (Brazil), the cage veteran came into the contest winning six of his last seven matches; he had racked up a total of ten wins under the UFC banner prior to last night.  Dos Anjos was a clear underdog as “Smooth” appeared to be at another level in his last few fights.  

As the battle got underway, Dos Anjos calmly stocked Henderson eating several hard leg strikes and punches for his trouble.  “Smooth” controlled the distance early and seemed to be at the peak of his power as he landed shots at will.  The Brazilian was able to land a hard leg strike to the body that stunned the American.  With less than three minutes left in the opening salvo, Dos Anjos began to find the range for his straight left-hand.  The underdog was able to detonate several concussive punches that clearly hurt “Smooth”.   Dos Anjos continued to do damage as bounced a double knee strike to the head of the American and followed up with a brutal straight left rocket that immediately dropped Henderson to the mat in violent fashion.  The referee jumped in and instantly stopped the challenge.  Henderson quickly came to his feet and protested but it was too late.          

During the post-fight interview, Dos Anjos confirmed that he “knew that my striking was better than his” and that the game plan was to “be patient in the first round but try hard; that’s what I did.”  The Brazilian chuckled at being the underdog in this fight stating, “I’m always the underdog…

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UFC Fight Night 47 Results: Bader Wins Decision; Pearson Stops Maynard in Bangor Maine

UFC Fight Night 47 Results: Bader Wins Decision; Pearson Stops Maynard in Bangor Maine

The Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine was the location the Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Night series.  The main card of the event was televised on the Fox Sports 1 Network.  The action was fierce and here is how it all went down:

The opening fight featured featherweights as Brazilian Thiago Tavares (22-5-1) met American Robbie “Problems” Peralta (18-4-1).  Known as a power puncher, Peralta was looking to bang early while the Brazilian searched for the cage floor.  Tavares took a full back mount and was able to ground-and-pound the American with no mercy. He controlled his adversary and was able to secure a rear naked choke submission with less than a minute left.  

The night continued with heavyweights when Shawn “The Savage” Jordan (15-6) and Jack “The Outlaw” May (7-1) met in the legendary Octagon for three go-rounds.  Initially, both big boys were tentative but the artillery finally started to fly late the in opening salvo.  Jordan, looking like he has not missed a meal ever, was constantly moving with “The Outlaw” stalking him around the cage.  “The Savage” managed a takedown in the last minute and was able to land some elbows. May was able to seriously hurt Jordan midway through the second and was landing at will, but “The Savage” was able secure another takedown to stop the assault.  Jordan grinded May while on the ground but was not able to secure a submission.  The final stanza saw “The Savage” get an early takedown, complete a back mount and ground-and-pound May with complete savagery.  The referee finally called a halt to the bout as May was getting brutalized.  

Welterweights Seth “Polish Pistola” Brczynski (18-9) and Alan “Drama” Jouban (9-2) kept the action going in scrap set for three round.   The fight was a slugfest with the “Polish Pistola” taking the early minutes of the round as he landed hard strikes and briefly decked Jouban.  “Drama” stabilized himself and began to return fire.  Jouban detonated a left hook that sent Brczynski to the mat; the “Polish Pistola” was out.  The referee immediately stopped the bout.  It was an impressive UFC debut for Alan Jouban.  

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UFC Fight Night: Lawler Earns Another Title Shot and Johnson Rumbles in San Jose, California

UFC Fight Night: Lawler Earns Another Title Shot and Johnson Rumbles in San Jose, California

San Jose, California was the site for the Ultimate Fighting Championship's legendary Octagon as the UFC provided MMA fans with yet another night of exhilarating fights.  The preliminary and main cards were televised on the Fox television network and both delivered plenty of frenzied action.

The main television port of the promotion began with two Americans lightweights dueling as Bobby "King" Green (22-5) faced Josh "The Punk" Thomson (20-6-1).  Both men traded kicks and mixed in a few punches early on in the opening round.  "The Punk" went from being aggressive to counting "King" with hooks and crosses.  Both fighters appeared to be looking to keep the fight erect.  A finger to the eye briefly halted the action.  When the fight resumed, it was more of the same: both traded kicks and punches.  Green ran his mouth and had a few shots in the second but Thomson landed the hard strikes and was more consistent throughout the round.  "The Punk"    managed a takedown but was not able to hold "King" on the ground.   The final go-round saw Thomson stuff a takedown attempt early; Green managed several hard punches while in the clinches.  "The Punk" continued using lateral movement while keeping  his distance and moving in with combinations when openings allowed.  Green landed his own shots and was aggressive at times.  The judges awarded Bobby Green a split decision victory.

 Featherweights Clay "The Carpenter" Guida (31-11) and Dennis Bermudez (14-3) matched up in a bout scheduled for three rounds.  Bermudez and Guida came out swinging for the fences, looking to end it with one punch.  "The Carpenter" was not able to take Bermudez down and Guida kept eating hard shots from his antagonist.  Bermudez brutalized Guida with terrifying knees to the face.  "The Carpenter" avoided some choke submissions but his face showed the damage of a hard round.  Guida had some countering success early in the second as Bermudez advanced flaying shots, recklessly.  Bermudez settled himself and went back to landing hard shots.  Bermudez managed a takedown, established a full back mount and then ended the match via a rear naked choke. 

The co-main event hosted veteran MMA warhorse Rogerio Nogueira (21-5) taking on Anthony "Rumble" Johnson (17-4) in a three round light heavyweight contest.  Nogueira (Brazil) was tagged early and often by Johnson (USA); he was badly hurt by hard uppercuts and hooks.  The referee immediately stepped in and stopped the bout. 

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Bellator 122 Results: Halsey Wins the Middleweight Tournament while Koreshkov Conquers the Welterweight Tournament

Bellator 122 Results:  Halsey Wins the Middleweight Tournament while Koreshkov Conquers the Welterweight Tournament

The Pachanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California was the location for the next installment of the Bellator MMA series.  The televised portion of the event was broadcast on the Spike Television Network.  Here is how the night went down:
The opening televised bout was a three round grudge match between welterweights Phil Baroni (15-17) and Karo Parisyan (23-10).    Parisyan made quick work of Baroni with a barrage of power shots that initially stunned Baroni, sending him to the canvas.  Parisyan followed up with non-stop punches which led the referee to stop the fight.  Parisyan predicted a quick win and delivered.

Undefeated rising light heavyweight striker Liam McGeary (7-0) battled Russian veteran Egidijus Valavicius (27-10) in a three round tournament semifinal bout.  McGeary had finished all seven professional fights by way of knockout and was looking to make it a quick night against his experienced adversary.  The opening minute saw the Englishman using his superior height and reach advantages to land heavy artillery.  When the fight became an inside affair, McGeary successfully used his knees to bloody Valavicius nose.  Once the fight went back to distance, the Englishman landed a hellacious uppercut that hurt the Russian.  McGeary quickly went to work, ending the fight by referee stoppage.  The win was an impressive one for the undefeated young man.

The television promotion continued with Americans Joe Duarte (10-3)  and Saad Awad (15-6) doing battle in the lightweight division.  Duarte’s undoing was landing an awesome overhand right which deposited Awad to the canvas.  As Duarte went in for the kill, Awad locked his opponent in a triangle and unloaded right elbow after right elbow with nothing coming back.  The referee had no choice as the defenseless Duarte was being repeatedly pummeled with no way to protect himself.     
us.  Koreshkov cruised to a decision victory and now sets his sights on defending champion Douglas Lima.   

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Legacy Fight Championship 33 Results: Jackson Wins the Title; Usman Impresses in Dallas, Texas

Legacy Fight Championship 33 Results: Jackson Wins the Title; Usman Impresses in Dallas, Texas

The Allen Event Center in Dallas, Texas hosted the Legacy Cage as LFC 33 provided plenty of fight action.  The card was filled with solid matches and headlined by a featherweight title tilt as veteran MMA fighter Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia (18-11-1) faced undefeated wrestler Damon Jackson (8-0).  The exploits were televised on the AXS network.

The televised portion of the promotion began with the welterweights, when Andrew Parker (4-0) took on Melvin Jordan (3-1) in a three round match.  Both men wasted no time in establishing contact. Parker took the advantage: the undefeated technician quickly took Jordan to the ground and managed to end the scrap via a rear naked choke.  It was a solid win for the undefeated Parker.    

The show continued with Kory Vialet (5-1) meeting Eli Tamez (7-0) in a three go-round bantamweight bout.  Vialet took to striking while Tamez shot in for the takedown early.  Vialet made several pre-fight comments about Tamez’s lack of overall quality.  Early on, Vialet was the one that seemed over his head as Tamez took a back mount and was working towards a submission via rear naked choke.  Vialet was able to avoid various attempts but was not able to get Tamez off of him.  Vialet had early success with his boxing in the second round but Tamez was able to get inside and worked the takedown.  Tamez managed some strikes and controlled the various mat exchanges.  Vialet was not able to get anything going.  The final round followed the same pattern of the first two. Vialet had some success during standup but Tamez managed a takedown and controlled the pace and the round.  Tamez was awarded a unanimous decision.

Ray “The Judge” Rodriguez (5-2) and Steven “Ocho” Peterson (10-4) battled at a catch weight of 140-pounds in a match slated for three salvos. Rodriguez and Peterson struggled to excite as Peterson sought the takedown while Rodriguez fought to stay on his feet.  The majority of the round was spent with the combatants exchanging body locks.  Peterson finally managed the takedown and Ocho was able to control the closing minutes of the round.  The second was primarily a mat battle as both fought for positioning and control.  Ocho was largely in control but the ground-and-pound employed by both fighters lacked sustained action.  The third was no different as the second as Rodriguez was just not able to stop the takedown.  Peterson took no risks and simply controlled his position and landed whenever possible.  The three judges awarded Peterson a unanimous decision.      

Middleweights Victor Reyna (4-1) and Evan “The Titan” Thompson (4-0) kept the night going in a scrap set for three stanzas. 

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UFC 175 Results: Rousey and Weidman Save a Lackluster Card

UFC 175 Results: Rousey and Weidman Save a Lackluster Card

The Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada was crowed as the location where Dana White's Ultimate Fighting Championship series would provide one of the best mixed martial arts cards in recent memory.  Along with White, most aficionados, "experts" and media concurred with this assertion.  The Pay-Per-View event scheduled five fights and featured defending middleweight champion Chris Weidman in the main event, along with the most marketable MMA fighter in the world, Ronda Rousey, in the co-main.  The preliminary bouts were televised on the Fox Sports 1 network.  Overall, the card as a whole failed to provide the kind of electrifying actions promised by the promotional company and expected by the public.
 
Leading up to the co-main event between defending bantamweight champion "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey and Canadian challenger Alexis Davis, the prelims and main card failed to deliver the live-and-death action and competitive fights heralded in the lead up to the event.   Outside of Uriah Hall's brave performance, which was made significant when he won despite having broken a toe in his right foot, there had been but a couple of rounds during the event of true sustained action via the television broadcast.  This would not matter as the mood seemed to change dramatically once Rousey, who truly is the face of the UFC, made her way to the legendary Octagon to face Davis.
 
Even during their cage walks it seemed that this fight would be a mismatch, as Davis appeared as happy as a kid in a candy store while Rousey wore the face of a caged and starved animal, ready to feast on the first piece of meat she could sink her hooks into.  The odds maker who made the Canadian a huge underdog was right on the money as once the fight got under way, it took Rousey all of 16 seconds to dispose of her title challenger; Rousey took Davis to the mat and pounded her mercilessly with right hands to the face which incapacitated the Canadian and prompted the referee to stop the massacre.  Davis was so out of it, her muscle memory evoked her body to continue to attempt to hang on even though her brain was on a break.  The bantamweight champion was one of the main reasons many paid and she gave the pro Rousey contingent what they wanted to see. 

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A Sad Ending for The World's Youngest Fight Promoter & Manager

A Sad Ending for The World's Youngest Fight Promoter & Manager

Sadly we go back in time. Proudly we now see that time is irrelevant as to the then and now of greatness. Respecfully and with  what we may consider timeless is having the past meet the future. In his short life along with his multi-talented brother, Hilary Sandoval, they gave El Paso the first ever world champions in combat sports. What with all the near champions in boxing and karate, it was this twelve year old teenage wonder and his brother Hilary who forever put the championship stamp on El Paso; a short time for the unfortunate Tony who died in a plane crash and decades for Hilary who carried on the sensational management and promotions with a heavy heart but a continued legacy in honor of his fallen brother under the banner of their company, ‘Battlestar Karatica.

 In the beginning, Tony was a very wise child. He was curious about the martial arts and the business aspects of the sport. While most pre-teens were still playing marbles, hop scotch, checkers, many fun childrens games or into youth sports like little league football, basketball, soccer, and track and field, Tony was into the martial arts and thinking business. To be fair, thousands of other kids had already joined various martial arts clubs and a few hundred were taking up boxing. Those kids and a few in their late teens or early twenties would soon provide Tony and his older brother Hilary a foundation for what would become one of the most supreme martial arts and kickboxing dynasty’s the world has ever known, ‘Battlestar Karatca.’ Though they were excellent martial arts students under Master Robert Nava, their good wits and unusual business acumen led them into the managing and promoting business.

Tony Sandoval was only twelve years of age when he and his older brother, Hilary Sandoval, eighteen years of age and only a few months out of high school, promoted their first professional kickboxing event. Special guests at that successful venture and many to follow included Chuck Norris, martial arts film stars Ernie Reyes Jr., Cynthia Rothrock, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, and Rudy Ruettiger, the subject of the hit Disney movie ‘Rudy’. In 1980, Tony and Hilary promoted the first nationally televised ‘World Kickboxing Championship’ in the state of Texas. With El Paso, Texas as their home base they also co-promoted events in Phoenix, Arizona, Dallas, Midland, and Houston, Texas. The brothers personally worked with or promoted twenty one (21) World champions along with Strike Force founder Scott Coker and several other prominent promoters. They produced many great world champions in the PKA (Professional Kickboxing Association), especially seven-time world champion, Cliff ‘Magic’ Thomas; and Hilary was one of the original founders of ISKA (International Sport Karate Association).

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UFC FIGHT NIGHT MAIN CARD RESULTS: Swanson Dominates Stephens; Gastelum Batters Musoke; Ellenberger, Hester and Lamas win in San Antonio, Texas

UFC FIGHT NIGHT MAIN CARD RESULTS: Swanson Dominates Stephens; Gastelum Batters Musoke; Ellenberger, Hester and Lamas win in San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas has recently cemented itself as the premier fight city in the Lone Star State.  After recently hosting multiple big-time boxing events, the home of the Alamo added the Ultimate Fighting Octagon to its resume.  The UFC event held the crowd's attention with exhilarating bouts.
 
 The opening main televised contest featured lightweight Joe "Excalibur" Ellenberger (14-1) facing James "Moonwalker" Moontasri (7-1).   Moontasri, a late replacement, came out brimming with confidence and challenged Ellenberger to stand and exchange punches.  Ellenberger obliged but this would be a mistake as "Moonwalker" landed a hard uppercut that rocked "Excalibur."  This fight was very much one of momentum as Moontasri landed the harder shots in the first round while Ellenberger controlled the second; "Moonwalker" was bleeding profusely from his nose and Ellenberger's right eye was closed shut.  The fight appeared to hang in the balance as the final stanza began.  "Excalibur" pushed Moontasri to the cage fence as Ellenberger was exhausted.  Moontasri was able to land a few punches and elbows to the side of his opponent's head.  Neither man clearly controlled the round: Ellenberger was the aggressor but was not successful with his attack.  "Moonwalker" landed more shots in the round but Ellenberger was somehow awarded a split decision victory.  Convicted Artist Magazine scored it 29-28 for James Moontasri.     
 
The action continued with middleweights when Clint "Headbussa" Hester (10-3) and Antonio Braga Neto (9-1) faced off in the UFC Octagon.  Brazilian Neto's tactic was clear from the start: take dangerous American striker Hester to the ground and look for submission opportunities.  The Brazilian worked hard to accomplish this early on as "Headbussa" defended well.  Neto was able to secure a takedown but the American kept his composure and would not expose his back to his foe.  The Brazilian ended the round still seeking a submission but looked spent as he expounded a lot of energy in the first. 

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The Wolves Den El Paso Texas

The Wolves Den El Paso Texas

Look Out El Paso! Boxing, MMA, and Wrestling Events Coming Soon! Introducing El Paso's New and Private Combat Sports Training Facility. The Wolves Den Gym is now Home of The El Paso Boxing & Martial Arts Hall of Fame "Wall of Fame" photos by Steven Arredondo

Wolves Den El Paso, Texas Combat Sports Training Facility - Introducing El Paso's New and Private Combat Sports Training Facility. The Wolves Den. Now Home of The El Paso Boxing & Martial Arts Hall of Fame "Wall of Fame"

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World Series of Fighting 10 Televised Results: Branch Makes Quick Work of Taylor; Aguilar Defends Title; Glenn Dethrones Karakhanyan

World Series of Fighting 10 Televised Results: Branch Makes Quick Work of Taylor; Aguilar Defends Title; Glenn Dethrones Karakhanyan

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada was the site for the next installment of the World Series of Fight.  The televised card featured three title bouts along with a solid supporting cast of matchups.  The event was televised on NBC's Sports Network.
 
The opening televised contest showcased featherweights as former All-American wrestler from Ohio State University Lance Palmer (7-1) faced Nick Lobasco (7-0).  Palmer wasted no time as he aggressively attacked Lobasco with strikes and took the undefeated fighter to the mat.  Palmer's superior ground game was evident as the former Buckeye began to pound the face of Lobasco, searching for a stoppage.  Palmer was able to complete a full back mount and managed a rear naked choke which caused Lobasco to tap out.  It was a great bounce back win for Lance Palmer.
 
Lightweights battled next as American MMA veteran Tyson Griffin (17-7) engaged Brazilian Luis Firmino (17-6) in a three round contest.  Both men attacked from the opening bell with Griffin winging bombs and Firmino countering his adversary's strikes with artillery of his own. The Brazilian seemed naturally bigger and stronger than Griffin and kept the submission pressure on throughout the opening stanza.  The American spent a good portion of the round on the cage floor but was able to defend against submission attempts.   Firmino showed solid striking abilities as he landed thunderous blows with his fists.  The second verse was the same as the first as Griffin swung for the fences and Firmino walked through the assault, taking the American to the mat.  Griffin managed to avoid submissions and came upright: The American landed hellacious uppercuts to no avail as Firmino just kept coming.  Griffin managed a full guard while on the canvas but the Brazilian kept his composure and soon took control.  The third round was a microcosm of the bout: Griffin found the mark with hard blows but Firmino's superior strength and ground game ultimately carried the round.   The judges scored a unanimous decision victor for Luis Firmino.

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El Paso Boxing & Martial Arts Hall Of Fame 2014 Photo Gallery

El Paso Boxing & Martial Arts Hall Of Fame 2014 Photo Gallery

The 2014 El Paso Boxing & Martial Arts Hall Of Fame was established as a means to preserve and honor the blood sweat and tears of the boxing & martial arts community. El Paso's most recognized boxers and martial artists were honored on Saturday June 14th for their outstanding accomplishments and devotion to the community. Several regional, national and world champion inductees took the stage and inspired a large audience with heartwarming stories about their careers in boxing and martial arts.

Heavyweight boxer David Rodriguez and top amateur boxing standouts Ysaias Zamudio, Enrique Estrada , Mike Uzeta, and Javier Munoz have been inducted into the 2014 El Paso Boxing Hall of Fame.  Francisco Jorge, Ricardo Reyna, Edward Elmer Wilkes, , Anthony Sandoval, Andrea Schmidt and Pablo Gerardo Rodarte Mendoza have been inducted into the 2014 El Paso Martial Arts Hall of Fame.Mauricio "Chito" Barragan will receive the boxing legends award and Colonel Mack Boone will receive the martial arts legends award.

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Interview with Sonny “Loco” Luque: The Fire Reignited in Monterrey, Mexico

Interview with Sonny “Loco” Luque: The Fire Reignited in Monterrey, Mexico

The setting was simultaneously simple and complex: Laredo, Texas MMA idol Sonny "Loco" Luque had lost his last two bouts and, turning 33 years old in a couple of months, was not sure if fighting was still for him.  After agreeing to face Mexican striking powerhouse Ricardo "El Loco" Arreola, Luque felt that it was time to prove to himself that there was still plenty of scrapping left in the tank.  "I made no secret about it; I was thinking about retiring," Luque said.  "This was a grueling camp for me but, for the first time in a while, I had no doubts."  Luque's resurgence culminated this past Saturday night in Monterrey, Mexico after he defeated the heavily favored, local product Arreola.  
 
Fighters find ways to motivate themselves, often digging deep into their pains and sorrows to demonize the past in order to justify the present.  For "Loco", the motivating factors for this particular camp boiled down to two things, Luque explained: "I've known [Ricardo Arreola] for a while and he never asked to fight me.  I drop my last two fights then all of a sudden, he calls me out?"  Luque added, "I felt disrespected and motivated to prove he made a mistake.  I also felt this was the camp of my life since I'm going to train at the All Star Training Center in Stockholm, Sweden [in July], so I really wanted to make a statement."
 
The statement was made loud-and-clear as "Loco" battered Arreola around the Combate Extremo promotional cage for three rounds.  Luque's superior strength and striking skills were on full display and Arreola's face and body were the evidence: by the third round, Arreola was a bloody mess, showing signs of Luque's precision attack.  "Loco" closed the show by achieving a full mount and grounding-and-pounding without mercy until the final bell.  "I felt so strong and knew that there was no way I was going to lose that fight," Luque recalled.  "I was fighting for the pride and honor of my hometown and my career, so I had to destroy Ricardo."  
 

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Televised Fight Results for Legacy Fighting Championship 31: Bush Retains Title; Page Submits Garcia

Televised Fight Results for Legacy Fighting Championship 31: Bush Retains Title; Page Submits Garcia

The Arena Theater in Houston, Texas was packed with rabid MMA fans as the Legacy promotional company brought the show to the Texas faithful.   The main event was a Legacy title bout as reigning middleweight champion Bubba Bush (7-2) met relative unknown battler Alfonso Gonzalez (6-0).  The main fights were televised on the AXS Television network.

 The broadcast opened with a welterweight tilt as Artenas "Chico" Young (10-7) dueled Charlie Ontiveros (4-2) in a three round fight.  The prefight bravado from both men claimed that each would go to war with the other.  Conventional wisdom said their natural countering styles would lead to a cautious affair.  The first round held evidence of the latter as neither Young nor Ontiveros committed to any kind of offense.  Ontiveros was slightly more active, landing the occasional leg kicks, but overall, the round was uneventful.  The second had the same flaws as the first: Ontiveros was (technically) the aggressor.  "Chico" had some success with the occasional strike but each man landed one shot at a time.  Ontiveros managed a few more strikes than Young prior to the close of the round.  Despite seeming to be down in the fight, "Chico" continued his lackadaisical approach in the third while Young remained in a defensive posture.  Ontiveros continued to control the distance and struck sporadically, scoring just enough to keep the round in his favor.  Young came alive in the final 10 seconds but it was too late: Ontiveros earned a lackluster unanimous decision.        

Featherweights kept the night going as Houstonians Eric Valdez (4-1) and Alex "Bet On" Black (6-3) locked horns for three go-rounds.  The action got going early as both men let their legs and hands fly; Black was a bit more accurate but Valdez was game.  Black was looking to control the distance and set up his ground game but Valdez's unorthodox attacks made this difficult; Valdez often landed winging right and left hooks.  After some vicious elbows from Valdez and a takedown attempt, Black managed to wrap his arms around the neck of Valdez, attempting a Guillotine submission, but Vasquez managed an escape.  The second continued with action as Valdez persisted with winging shots that occasionally found the mark.  Black attempted another choke submission but was also unsuccessful.  The match then turned into a clinch fest with both men having success landing inside.  Black went back to trying to maintain distance with kicks and punches but Valdez bullied his way inside.  Despite Valdez's solid effort, Black was still in the control going into the final salvo.  Black continued to survive the rushes of Valdez and was able to control his adversary on the case fence.  Both men seemed tired.  Valdez kept trying and was taken to the cage floor.  Black then took a full back mount looking for another submission.  Valdez struggled to get Black off of him as Black kept the pressure on.  Valdez managed to avert the submission but was not able to come to his feet.  Black secured his sixth consecutive victory via a split decision.

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UFC Fight Night Main Card Results: Live from Albuquerque, New Mexico

UFC Fight Night Main Card Results: Live from Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Ultimate Fighting Championship's Fight Night series hit Albuquerque, New Mexico for the first time, live from the Tingley Coliseum.  The preliminary and main event cards were televised on Fox Sports Net 1.  The results were of the main cards were as follows:
 
New Mexico-based fighter Erik "Goyito" Perez (14-5) took on Bryan "Kid Lightning" Caraway (18-7) in a three round bantamweight bout.  Perez, originally from Monterrey, Mexico, was his usual self as he came out on his feet with frenetic movement while winging punches and kicks.  Caraway, from Las Vegas, was calmly looking for spots.  Early on, "Kid Lightning" attempted a guillotine but Perez was able to escape.  Both men threw shots and Caraway managed another takedown in which "Kid Lighting" secured a back mount, looking for a rear naked choke.  "Goyito" continued great submission defense.  As the round came to a close, Perez began to land knee strikes and punches at will.  The second saw the Mexican shoot in for a takedown but Caraway managed to smoothly defend and pass into a mount in his favor.  "Kid Lightning" fortified a body lock and managed to force through Perez's guard, ending the fight with Goyito taping out via a rear naked choke.      
 
A pair of lightweights continued the night as Texas veteran Yves Edwards (42-20-1 with 1 no contest) met Piotr Hallmann (14-2) in a three round match.  Hallmann, hailing from Poland, had a tight guard as he pursued Edwards, looking to strike.  The Texan used lateral movement to keep his distance and was able to assault with his fists and legs.  There was a brief pause early after Hallmann thumbed Edwards's right eye.  Once the fight resumed, the Polish combatant was having trouble landing as Edwards continued moving.  Hallmann accomplished a few takedowns but the Texan came to his feet and continued to use distant and precision striking.  Hallmann continued working towards a takedown and successfully took Edwards to the mat; he secured a side mount.  Edwards was able to swing around and became erect as the round came to a close. Another thumb to the eye of the Texan caused another halt but, soon after, Edwards returned the favor.  The fight resumed with the Hallmann applying pressure with his strikes and searching for takedown opportunities.  After a flurry from the Texan, the Polish powerhouse took Edwards to the cage floor and began to maul his foe at will.  Edwards was able to survive to see the end of the round.  The final heat saw Hallmann continue to be aggressive and successful.  The Texan appeared gassed and was able to do little to keep his advancing nemesis off of him.  At the 2 minute and 30 second mark, Hallmann secured a rear naked choke which led to Edwards tapping out.  Submission ending is a specialty for the Polish born Hallmann and he did not disappoint.     

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Bellator 121 Fight Card Results

Bellator 121 Fight Card Results

Bellator returned with the "Summer Series" on the Spike television network.  The live event took place at the Windstar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma.  The card held several intriguing matchups and here are the results:
 
Light heavyweight tournament contestants Egidijus Valavicius (26-10), from Lithuania, took on Brazilian Carlos "Big Dog" Eduardo (11-3) in a three round bout.  It started off as a standup match but Eduardo, a Jiu Jujitsu black belt, took the Lithuanian down to the mat.  Eduardo kept the pressure on and managed a back mount while Valavicius defended well.  Eduardo managed to transition to a full mount with ease and was in control of the round.  Valavicius was able to turn things around and landed some ground-and-pound but the success was limited.  The second round began with both men landing punches; right hands were landing for each man.  The Lithuanian employed a stiff jab that created space and kept him safe from takedowns.  The second was mostly fought vertically and the Lithuanian had solid success with his striking.  An accidental clash caused a bad cut over the right eye of Valavicius.  The final stanza saw the Brazilian landing hard crosses and hooks early.  Initially, the Lithuanian seemed hesitant, but upped his aggression with about two minutes left, landing hard knees to the body and punches to the head.  Valavicius closed strong and secured a split decision.     
 
The light heavyweight tournament continued when American Terry Davinney (10-6) met Cameroonian Sokoud Jou (14-12) in the three round contest.  Jou came out putting serious pressure and was able to control Davinney early.  The Cameroon-born combatant managed a side mount and began to land horrific ground-and-pound shots.  Jou managed a full mount and continued to land hard punches, allowing Jou a rear naked choke that caused the American to tap out in the first round.
 
Heavyweights Eric "The American Soldier" Prindle (10-5) and James "The Colossus" Thompson (19-14) met in a three round scrap. Thompson aggressively secured a takedown quick in the opening round and managed a side mount.  "The Colossus" landed hard shots and knee strikes which left Prindle defenseless.  The referee quickly stepped in and stopped the bout as the 

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Interview with Ashe “The Archer” Bowman: Legends of MMA Hall of Fame

Interview with Ashe “The Archer” Bowman: Legends of MMA Hall of Fame

In essence, all major sport organizations dedicate a "Hall of Fame" to commemorate the athletes that transcended their particular genre and celebrate its history.  These locations are a "Holy Grail" for competitive athletes as it guarantees the one thing that all seek more than championships, money and fame: immortality.  Sure, one is able to sit in his or her home, show some pictures and/or videos of their battles, but outside of those who are within shouting distance, their names will be lost with time.  Securing a spot in a "Hall of Fame" ensures the name and legacy will live on for the future generations.  

The sport of Mixed Martial Arts is still relatively new when compared to its vastly older blood sport siblings, but there is enough history that a MMA Hall of Fame seems like a logical progression.

This is exactly the way that former MMA fighter Ashe “The Archer” Bowman felt when his combat career came to end.  After looking around, Bowman decided that the void of an MMA Hall of Fame needed to be filled so he, along with investors and partners, embarked on this venture in August 2013. Speaking to ConvictedArtist.com, "The Archer" said, "I got to thinking that, 'What do [MMA fighters] do when we hang-up the gloves?  What do we do if we don't run a gym but still want to be part of the sport I love and have a passion for?' I did some research and found that there is no MMA Hall of Fame, so I decided to do something about that."  

Although one would think that the concept would be universally accepted, it is common knowledge that MMA is much more of a business than a sport; this means that Dana White's Ultimate Fighting Championship is the brand often recognized as MMA.  With that kind of power, it is hard to establish anything without the UFC's blessing.  Regarding this, Bowman described the UFC as a "promotional company" and added that "Dana [White] has done a great job of branding his company but the sport of MMA is its own entity."

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UFC Fight Night Main Card Results: Miocic Blasts Maldonado with Ease; Peralta, Maia, Alves and Carlos Jr. get Victories in Brazil

UFC Fight Night Main Card Results: Miocic Blasts Maldonado with Ease; Peralta, Maia, Alves and Carlos Jr. get Victories in Brazil

The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Fight Night series continued its run with an exciting card televised live on Fox Sports 1 network.  The live event took place in Sao Palo, Brazil.  It was a great night of action and here is how it all went down:

Featherweights Rony Jason (15-4) and Robbie "Problems" Peralta (17-4) got things going on during the main card in a bout settled for three rounds.  Jason (Brazil) and Peralta (U.S.A.) focused on a vertical game early.  The American bullied Jason into the cage and worked knees.  After a brief trip to the mat, Peralta came quickly to his feet.  The Brazilian managed a hard spinning elbow but "Problems" took it well.  The American managed some solid leg strikes.  Both fighters grew tentative towards the end of the round.  Peralta opened the second with legs kicks that found their mark on Jason’s legs.    After a flurry from Peralta, Jason managed a takedown and was on top but had trouble securing the full mount.  The American saw a bit of trouble after Jason searched for a triangle but was not successful.  "Problems" managed to escape and come to his feet.  Again, the action slowed in the final minute but got heated with less than 10 seconds left.  The third featured more standup as both men attempted to take control.  Jason was determined but the American was able to secure a split decision victory.      

Welterweight s Demian Maia (18-6-1) and Alexander "Bad Boy" Yakovlev (21-4-1) continued the action in contest slated for three heats. Yakovlev, representing Russia, come out circling both sides while Maia, of Brazil, stalked.  Maia, a grappling wizard, succeeded a takedown and quickly held a full mount.  The Brazilian landed fists to the body and elbows to the face.  The Russian desperately wanted to escape but was not able to come to his feet, so Yakovlev survived to see the second.  Maia was able to take the Russian to the mat early in the second and again was in control via a full mount.  The Brazilian was peppering his foe with hard hammer strikes.  Yakovlev’s dexterity was evident as he escaped the grappler’s clutches and established his own mount.  The Russian managed some elbows but the round ended.

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UFC 173 Pay-Per-View Results: Dillashaw Shocks Barao via Stoppage; Henderson Losses to Cormier; Krause, Mizugagi, and Lawler Pickup Wins

UFC 173 Pay-Per-View Results: Dillashaw Shocks Barao via Stoppage; Henderson Losses to Cormier; Krause, Mizugagi, and Lawler Pickup Wins

Sin City was the site of the Ultimate Fighting Champion 173 as the ultimate MMA Octagon hosted a lengthy card for the Memorial Day weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Several UFC legends were showcased and the fans were treated to a great night at the fights.

The pay-per-view portion of the night kicked off with lightweights when Jamie Varner (21-9-1) met James Krause (20-5) in a three round match. Both men came out looking to box and holding high guards.  Krause managed to land early with hard punches to the face.  Inexplicably, Varner seemed to injure his left foot and went down; Varner managed to get up but did not appear stable.   Varner shot in for the take down but lost position to Krause.  Varner managed to turn things around and land some strikes.  When both combatants came to their feet, it was obvious that Varner’s left ankle was not holding up and possibly dislocated.  Varner could not put any weight on it but the MMA tough man kept trying to maintain his footing and win.  The corner wisely stopped the fight as soon as the first round ended.  It was an excellent stoppage as Varner’s left ankle could not take any weight and the fighter was severely compromised due to the injury.

Japanese bantamweight Takaya Mizugagi (19-7-2) and American Francisco “Cisco” Rivera (10-2) continued the action in a three round fight.  Mizugagi was tagged early by Rivera via a left hook.  Both combatants were looking to box early.  The Japanese warrior landed a hard combination that sent Rivera to the cage floor.  Mizugagi went for the ground-and-pound but Rivera defended well.  Mizugagi was not as active as recommended which allowed Rivera to come to his feet.  Rivera seemed to clear his head and went on the offensive, managing a knee to the body and managing a takedown.  Rivera continued to apply the pressure and ended the round in control.  The second continued the standup match with Rivera landing a hard kick to the head.  The American kept the pressure on and landed the harder shots.  Rivera attempted to take advantage of a takedown and failed at a guillotine.  The American let go after Mizugagi defended well.  Mizugagi then managed a back mount and attempted a rear naked which the American defended well. The last heat saw The Japanese combatant land a hard right that deposited Rivera to the floor.  The American defended well but Mizugagi was able to establish top control and did not take many chances.  Rivera seemed uncharacteristically boring throughout the fight. With less than a minute left, “Cisco” sold out with hard, winging shots.  It was too little, too late as Mizugagi was awarded a unanimous decision.

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UFC 173 Headliner: Barao V. Dillashaw

UFC 173 Headliner: Barao V. Dillashaw

This Saturday night, The MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada is the chosen sight for promotional vanguard The Ultimate Fighting Championship's next pay-per-view event.  Customarily, the UFC hosts marathon cards on Memorial Day weekend and this occasion will be no different: the event is stout with multiple-named UFC stalwarts like Robbie Lawler and Dan "Hendo" Henderson taking on tough, perennial MMA contenders in Daniel Cormier and Jake Ellenberger.  The preliminary bouts will be televised on the Fox Sports 1 network prior to switching over to the PPV fights.

The flagship fight of the night is a title tilt between reigning bantamweight boss Renan "The Baron" Barao (34-1) taking on the number four rated contender, T.J. Dillashaw (10-2) in a contest set for five heats.  This bout presents a common issue in the MMA world: the UFC unquestionably has the most talented fighters, but oftentimes there is such a gap in experience and due to limited amount of top tier battlers that the promotional outfit is left with no other choice.

In this case, Dillashaw is a great example of a talented combatant being placed in a situation where victory is unlikely due to his lack of overall experience.  Unfortunately for Dillashaw, he is a victim of circumstances, as Raphael Assuncao was to be the original challenger to Barao's crown but a rib injury did not allow Assuncao to partake in this event.  Furthermore, Weidman v. Machida, the original main event of UFC 173, was pushed back because Weidman needed time to recover from knee surgery. The UFC was not about to miss the Memorial Day weekend PPV opportunity, so Dillashaw was given the nod and is now faced with one hell of a mountain to climb.

Dillashaw is a capable prizefighter who has grown from a one trick pony into a competent technician.  His solid and aggressive wrestling is what got him into the UFC but it is Dillashaw's much improved striking skills that have allowed him to remain at the world level.

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Tito Ortiz and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson: Faded UFC Fighters Reign on Bellator’s First PPV

Tito Ortiz and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson: Faded UFC Fighters Reign on Bellator’s First PPV

For better or worse, Bellator’s first pay-per-view carried on as scheduled, if not with the original main event scheduled.  After the loss of the rubber match between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler, the promotional outfit soldiered on by banking on the name of former Ultimate Fighting Championship start, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.  The skeptics, including yours truly, voiced reservations about the legitimacy of the card; the event was a shaky PPV event, even with Alvarez v. Chandler as the centerpiece.  Still, Bellator is looking to finally step out of the shadow of the UFC and plant their flag in the MMA world as a world-renowned promotional company.   The actual numbers will not be known until a later date, but in looking back, one does have to wonder if the entity’s brain trust is concerned with the outcomes.
 
Although the PPV show hosted some solid bouts, the fact remains that the two fights that will be remembered the most were won by faded MMA stars once involved with the UFC.  This fact presents a conundrum for the promotional outfit as, like it or not, Bellator has to continue to showcase Tito Ortiz and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, even though it is completely obvious that both are well past their expiration date. 

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Bellator's First Pay-Per-View Hobbles Towards the Finish Line

Bellator's First Pay-Per-View Hobbles Towards the Finish Line

After making significant strides in the MMA promotional world that is under a strangle-hold by Dana White and his UFC brand, Bellator looked to cement its franchise as a premier product with its first official pay-per-view (PPV) event.  The card's success originally banked yesteryear MMA legends Tito Ortiz and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson meeting rising Bellator staples Alexander Shlemenko and Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal, supporting an anticipated prizefight between Chandler and Alvarez.  Jackson v. "King Mo" was upgraded to the main event after the rubber match between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler had to be scratched due to a last-minute injury to Alvarez.  This was a colossal blow to the PPV potential as the Alvarez v. Chandler championship bout was a highly anticipated war of attrition; these men had engaged in two brutal affairs with each having claimed a victory.  The third match was to settle it between the two warriors, and MMA fans around the world were looking forward to the projected carnage.

While definitely a risky move to continue the event as a PPV (considering what has been lost), it was not surprising when the Bellator brain trust chose to move forward.  This inaugural event is actually the second attempt at a PPV show.  The first, scheduled for this past November, had to be downgraded due to injury: Jackson was slated to face Ortiz but Tito had to pullout leading the card back to the Spike Television Network. Being subjected to a second failed endeavor did not appear to be an option for a promotional company that feels it is on the verge of worldwide acclaim.

With Chandler left to face a lesser opponent, Jackson v. Lawal has the daunting task of drawing fans to open their wallets and shell out PPV dollars.  The way the contest has been marketed, it really outlines the fact that outside of a "grudge" match, this fight has little in the way of value in the Bellator rankings and the MMA world at large. Still, Jackson possesses a name, and fans looking for a trip down memory lane might respond out of loyalty to see their man claim victory one more time before he calls it a career.

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South Texas Fighting Championship Results: Danny Salinas Ends Night with an Electrifying Knockout

South Texas Fighting Championship Results: Danny Salinas Ends Night with an Electrifying Knockout

The McAllen Convention Center in McAllen, Texas was frantic as the STFC promotional entity presented “May Day”: the card was packed with explosive bouts as many local and surrounding area favorites lit the night on fire.  The spectacle was capped off by a main event featuring Rio Grande Valley favorite “Dangerous” Danny Salinas taking on the always daring Booker Arthur. 

 The exploit was kicked off with one of two siblings competing tonight as Elias Urbina (younger brother of UFC TUF contestant Hector Urbrina) made his professional debut by locking horns with Josh Sharpless in a three round middleweight competition.  Urbina shot out of the gate seeking to strike and managed to land several early knees to Sharpless's face and body.  Sharpless blasted in looking for the takedown but the debuting fighter defended well.  He kept at it and managed a takedown, immediately securing a full mount.  Sharpless proceeded to ground-and-pound but Urbina kept his composure, coming to his feet.  Urbina managed some strikes but was taken back to the floor.  The second opened with Sharpless securing another takedown and the ground-and-pound this time caused serious damage as Urbina’s nose was severely compromised and gushing blood.  The bout was momentarily halted but once it proceeded, Urbina’s fury was evident as he attacked Sharpless with reckless abandon.  The blood splattered all over the cage and onto both fighters.  Urbina controlled the fight on the mat in the third round, as he back mounted Sharpless and successfully elbowed to the head and body.  In the end, the judges awarded Urbina his first professional win via unanimous decision. 

 The second battle of the night featured Texan Raul Ramos in his professional debut meeting Saltillo, Mexico native Eduardo Bustillos (2-0) in a three round featherweight contest.  Bustillos brutalized Ramos with knee strikes, punches, takedowns, and a few failed guillotine attempts.  Ramos was game but overwhelmed early.  The Texan managed to survive the onslaught.   The second stanza started out much like the first as the Mexican battered Ramos around the cage.  After a quick takedown, Bustillos finished Ramos via rear naked choke.

The Urbina family linage continued as Gilberto Urbina battled Salvador Gonzalez in their professional debuts during the third meeting of the show.  The match was scheduled for three rounds in the welterweight division.  Urbina came out jabbing and landed a hard right.  Gonzalez attempted to return fire but was quickly taken to the cage floor.  Urbina managed to control the round on the floor with consistent action.  The second mirrored the first as Urbina managed to continually take Gonzalez to the mat but neither fighter were really able to sustain any kind of attack.  Urbina attempted a rear naked choke but Gonzalez was able to avoid the submission.  

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“Dangerous” Danny Salinas: Headlining STFC on May 16

“Dangerous” Danny Salinas: Headlining STFC on May 16

There has been a recent uproar among South Texas MMA fighters as many are starting realize there is money to be made and careers to be had in the field.  Evidenced by the fact that two area fighters have been picked up by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), this recent surge has been hitting record numbers.  The South Texas Fighting Championship (STFC) series, a lesser known company contributing to this explosion, has two of its former combatants providing their services to the UFC.  This element has sparked even more excitement with Rio Grande Valley fighters of all calibers and disciplines, each one looking to be next one to become "world class."  Among these hopefuls is "Dangerous" Danny Salinas.

Born, reared, and continues to call the Rio Grande Valley his home, Salinas, who competes in the lightweight division, has been developed mostly under the STFC banner.  He has seen success in his venture as a cage battler and has helped the sport grow in his home province.  Although confidence about his cage abilities may ooze now, Salinas was not always this way.  Speaking from his home base, Salinas clarified, "I was kind of an awkward kid when I was growing up.  I mean, I was always competitive but didn't always fit in.  I thought I was a good athlete; I just liked competition."  

Salinas participated in several different sports during his childhood and adolescent years, and while the world of martial arts interested the South Texas native, it did not become a staple in his competitive diet until midway through his teen years.  Once he became active and dedicated to karate, Salinas flourished.  He explained, "I started [karate] training when I was about 16, but when I graduated [from high school], I really started focusing on mixed martial arts and boxing.  I've practiced kickboxing and jiu-jitsu also.  I won so many Rio Grande Valley Karate championships at the brown belt and black belt level."  Salinas added, "I also won national championship titles [in Karate] but to say that I was a 'national champion' is not completely accurate, as there are so many organizations in karate that is hard to say who really the national champion is.  Still, I did well in competitions." 

 After gaining experience in several areas of blood sport disciplines through competitions and education, Salinas looked to move to the professional ranks; the Texan felt ready to take on the MMA cage challenge.  Although not specific to one style of combat, Salinas trusts that he possesses multiple problems to anyone facing him in the octagon.  "I believe that I'm a well-rounded fighter," Salinas said.  "I know how to defend myself from takedowns.  

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Hulk Hogan Likes MMA

Hulk Hogan Likes MMA

TNA wrestling legend Hulk Hogan would have been interested in MMA when he was younger claiming he had experience from when he wrestled in Japan.  According to Hogan, there were a lot of Pride fighters he faced in 1977 when he started.

Hulk Hogan said he learned a lot from watching MMA and it reminds him of TNA. Hogan claims there was a 20-year period where he was playing to sellout crowds and that he sold out Madison Square Garden 56 times in a row. According to Hogan, The Wrestler movie was only accurate one-tenth of one percent of the wrestlers he knows. Hogan also claimed there was a time in his life he lived in his van for two years when he was coming up.

Photos by Steven Arredondo

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UFC FIGHT NIGHT 40 Main Televised Fight Results: Brown and Silva Engage in an Instant Classic

UFC FIGHT NIGHT 40 Main Televised Fight Results: Brown and Silva Engage in an Instant Classic

The Midwest was the site for the legendary UFC Octagon when the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio presented world-class MMA encounters.  The night held many bouts which thrilled fans.  Fox Sports 1 network hosted the main television fight card.

The Fox Sports 1 telecast opened with lightweights Chris “Kamikaze” Cariaso (16-5) facing Hawaiian Louis “The Last Samurai” Smolka (7-0) in a three round match.  Cariaso effectively countered as things opened up in round one.  Smolka was looking to grapple but “Kamikaze’s” defense was up to par.  The action was slow with the Hawaiian landing a few strikes whie Cariaso countered with knee strikes of his own.  Cariaso was able to keep some distance towards the end of the first and landed good leg and hand strike combinations.  Smolka smothered “Kamikaze” with less than one minute left and the Hawaiian landed knee strikes with success.  Cariaso wrapped his arms around the neck of Smolka with less than 15 seconds, looking for a guillotine but was not able to seal the deal.  Cariaso came out aggressively landing punches in the second.  Smolka looked to grapple but ended up on the floor with Cariaso having the advantage.   Smolka was able to mount but Cariaso almost submitted via arm bar.  Smolka was able to escape and did some good work but Cariaso countered well in return.  With less than 10 seconds left, Cariaso secured a ninja choke which looked to seal the deal but the bell sounded giving the Hawaiian another round.  “Kamikaze” kept landing shots at will and seemed to be in control.  With less than three minutes in the final stanza, Smolka was able to control on the ground and landed a solid ground-and-pound.  Cariaso gained his footing and preceded to land shots.  Smolka landed great punches but Cariaso was able to hold his own, landing some solid shots to the face as the round came to close.  The judges awarded Cariaso the victory via split decision.

The second contest of the night featured heavies as Soa “The Hulk” Palelei (20-3) met Ruan “Fangzz” Potts (8-1).  Palelei measured "Fangzz" early looking for his moment to explode on his less experienced foe. "The Hulk" slipped a punch and took Potts to the cage floor where Palelei immediately established a dominant position. "The Hulk" completed the mount and pancaked Potts with a left hand punch that put "Fangzz" to sleep with 2:20 minutes left in the first round.  It was a powerful, but predictable, win for Palelei.

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Bellator 119 Main Televised Bout Results

Bellator 119 Main Televised Bout Results

The Casino Rama in Canada was abuzz as Bellator 119 took center stage.  The main event of the night was the Featherweight Tournament Final with three more bouts televised on the chief card via Spike Television network.

The main televised bouts kicked off with heavyweights as undefeated Raphael Butler (8-0) took on Nick Rossborough (23-18) in a fight schedule for three rounds.  Both men are considered finishers and things got heated quickly: Butler and Rossborough came out swinging and ended up on the ground.  Butler had some ground-and-pound success but let Rossborough come to his feet.  This would be a mistake as Butler was hurt with a hook that sent him to the mat.  Rossborough was looking for the rear naked choke but Butler illegally butted Rossborough, causing which a halt to the action.  Even though the foul occurred while Bulter was on his back, the referee recommenced the fight with both combatants on their feet.  Rossborough hurt Butler again with a left hook but the round ended.  The second left Butler controlling the contest on the cage floor, executing some ground-and-pound mixed in with failed submission attempts.  The final heat saw Rossborough looking exhausted and hitting the canvas quick.  Butler was able to take control with a side mount and landed shots sporadically.  Butler lackadaisically searched for submissions.  It was an uneventful round but one that was most likely won by Butler.  The cards resulted in a majority draw: Butler remains undefeated but it was a disappointing performance.     

Welterweights Marius Zaromskis (19-8) from Lithuania and Canadian Vaughn Anderson (16-2-1) continued the night in a three round tilt.  Both contestants came out looking to keep the bout upright.  The Lithuanian's boxing kept Anderson at bay and Zaromskis circled and shot punching from a distance.  The Canadian landed a headshot that hurt Zaromskis; the Lithuanian was able to dance away from trouble.

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Bellator 119 Main Event Breakdown: Weichel v. Green

Bellator 119 Main Event Breakdown: Weichel v. Green

This Friday, Bellator makes a return to Canada as Casino Rama will feature Bellator 119.  The fight card will be headlined by the stalwart promoter’s Featherweight Tournament Final, highlighting finalists Daniel Weichel and Desmond Green in a battle slated for five heats.  The main televised spectacle will also host contests between featherweights Chris Horodecki and Marlon Sandro, welterweights Marius Zaromskis and Vaughn Anderson, and heavy weight Raphael Butler taking on Nick Rossborough.  The vast majority of the promotion will be televised on the Spike Television network.

Weichel (38-3), a Frankfurt, Germany native, arrived to the tournament final by defeating Scott Cleve by rear naked choke in the opening round and then vanquished Matt Bessette in the semifinal round via a three round unanimous decision.  The German grappling specialist is known for his pure strength, toughness and submission abilities: 20 of his 33 wins have come by way of submission.  Weichel is on a late-career tear as he has won 10 out of his last 11 bouts, including his last fight.  The German has also shown solid leg-striking throughout his career and can take a punch.  He has all of the tools to end the night with a victory but it will not be an easy one, as Weichel will need to be on the mark with his takedown defense when facing Green.

Desmond Green (11-2), a product of Buffalo, New York, is a well-conditioned athlete used to going in the distance in bouts.  His path to the final began with a unanimous decision victor over former tournament finalist Mike Richman, and Green followed up with another unanimous decision in the semifinals when he defeated Will Martinez. 

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Interview with Hector Urbina: Out of the Ultimate Fighter House but Still Looking to Rise in the UFC

Interview with Hector Urbina: Out of the Ultimate Fighter House but Still Looking to Rise in the UFC

In its heyday, Monterrey was considered the "Detroit" of Mexico: it was booming with all kinds of industries, including car manufacturing.  The massive Mexican city became a hotbed for all kinds of sports and held immense wealth in its coffers.  Unfortunately, just like Detroit, Monterrey began to lose ground and many of the families in that area looked to migrate north to the United States.
Hector Urbina, a participant in the current season of UFC's Ultimate Fighter reality show broadcast on the Fox Sports 1 network, was born in Monterrey.  The Urbinas soon made their way to the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas prior to heading out to Ohio.  It was in this Midwest state that Urbina began the journey that would ultimately define his professional life.  "I wrestled some in Ohio and MMA was the next best thing after my academic wrestling career was over," Urbina said from his temporary base of Mercedes, Texas.  "I was told that I could add punches [fighting in MMA], so I thought it was a sweet deal since you don't get in trouble for hitting people."

Soon after the revelation that he could utilize his love for wrestling and hitting people to make a living, Urbina embarked on his career as a cage fighter.  Regrettably, the South Texas product learned that making a living in the sport was a lot harder than he initially realized.  Feeling exasperated with his situation, Urbina took a break.  Like all other ironies in life, midway through his hiatus from the grind, the Mexican-American received the call that could possibly change his entire outlook.

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Bellator 118 Televised Results: Warren Becomes Ballator’s First Two Weight Division Champion

Bellator 118 Televised Results: Warren Becomes Ballator’s First Two Weight Division Champion

The Ovation Hall at the Revel Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey held Bellator 118.  The promotion was shown on the Spike Television Network, included many great bouts and was headlined by an interim bantamweight championship title match between talented combatants Joe Warren (10-3) and Rafael Silva (21-3).  Here are the televised results:
The opening bout featured a Light Heavyweights tournament opener as “Crazy” Mike Mucitelli (6-0) and Liam McGeary (6-0) locked horns.  The contest was scheduled for three rounds.  The fight was over in less than 20 seconds after McGeary landed a lightning-quick left hook bomb that put Mucitelli to bed.  The referee immediately stopped the bout after “Crazy” hit the floor as if he had been shot.  It was an impressive win for the undefeated McGeary.

Bantamweights followed as Thomas “The Diehard Kidd” Vasquez (7-0) and Marcos Galvao met in the cage for a three round bout.  Galvao, a former Brazilian Jiu-Jujitsu world champion, began as the stalker and after a few strikes, the Brazilian managed to take Vasquez to the ground.  Vasquez should good defense and managed to get to his feet.  Vasquez focused on keeping the fight erect as he moved in and out of range while scoring with punches.  The lighter "Diehard Kidd" used angles and tried to keep the distance.  Galvao managed to cut the escape routes and took Vasquez to the mat, but his success was limited.   

In the second, Vasquez kept moving and changing guards as he attempted to land punches.  He did not seem fully committed to landing anything with power and was more focused on just scoring.  Galvao kept stalking and was able to slam "The Diehard Kidd" to the cage floor.  Vasquez was able to defend well early but the fight lacked excitement as it needed sustained action.  The Brazilian managed to keep the fight on the mat, and though he had limited success with the ground-and-pound, Galvao was still in control as the round came to a close.  The final stanza was a microcosm of the fight: Vasquez attempted to keep it a boxing match but was ultimately take to the mat where Galvao searched for submission opportunities.  The contest came to an anticlimactic end and Galvao was awarded a unanimous decision by scores of 30-27.  

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UFC Prospect Frank “Sitkayan” Trevino: A Fat Boy's Accidental Rise to the UFC

UFC Prospect Frank “Sitkayan” Trevino: A Fat Boy's Accidental Rise to the UFC

The battle of the bugle consumes the American landscape with every possible fad diet and "do nothing but still lose massive amounts of weight" miracle pill out in the billion dollar market today.  With the chaotic lifestyles commonly employed by the average patriot of the Red, White and Blue, little time is spent achieving optimum health via traditional standards: healthy eating and daily exercising.  The very thought of this proven approach is enough to send most fellow compatriots into a tizzy tirade.  Still, there are those who decide to do things the old fashion way.  
For Frank "Sitkayan" Trevino, the undefeated MMA fighter and newly-minted UFC prospect, martial arts training was simply a way to get into shape.  The South Texas resident, who was born in Reynosa, Mexico, never planned or imagined that his weight plight would lead to a career on the cusp of stardom.  Trevino explained, "I used to be big, man; I mean, I was really overweight.  I just wanted to drop some pounds so I decided to start to exercise and got to training.  I started to learn Muay Thai; that was my first training.  I never thought about being a professional prizefighter.”  Trevino continued, “Even as a kid, I was never into boxing or anything like that.  I use d to like karate because of Bruce Lee, but [martial arts] didn't really interest me.  I had no motivation or drive for it.  That's why I always say that I accidentally became an MMA fighter, man.   I was just trying to lose some weight."

Things began to change about seven years ago when the Mexican-American striker's home gym had a visitor.  A young fighter, providing vague information, entered Trevino's training domain looking to get in some rounds and practice Muay Thai techniques.  This individual claimed to be inexperienced and, after Trevino agreed to do a "light" sparring session, the unknown man proceeded to attempt to take the South Texas native's head off.  Trevino recalled, "This guy claimed he was new, only had one professional fight, didn't have much experience and just wanted to get some work in on Muay Thai.  I agreed to help him and the next thing I know, it was on. I frustrated this guy so much that he was humiliated... he sucker-punched me after the first round was over.  We had another round and I held my own again; the guy left the gym [very upset].”  "Sitkayan" added, “We came to find out later that, if I’m not mistaken, his name was Robert Villegas and I believe at the time he was like 6 and 0. The [sparring] video got leaked out and after that, I started getting a lot of calls and people telling me I should consider being a professional MMA fighter because [Villegas] was a known MMA fighter.  I sat down and thought about it and decide to pursue it but I never thought I'd get far.”      Trevino’s choice to seek a career as a professional MMA fighter slowly began to manifest itself as the right decision.  His career being in August 2008 and "Sitkayan" fought his first 10 contests exclusively for the South Texas Fight Championship (STFC) promotional company.  Trevino went on to capture the STFC welterweight championship and was perfect as a professional.  

In his eleventh pro match that took place in November 2013, Trevino ventured outside of his comfort zone when he completed under the Legacy Fight Championship (LFC) promotional banner.  "Sitkayan" defeated Lester Batres via unanimous decision in his LFC debut.  After keeping his undefeated record intact, Trevino returned home to rest and wait for another offer from LFC.  When his manager called, "Sitkayan" received some bad news. 

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South Texas Fighting Championship “STFC 29: MAYDAY”

South Texas Fighting Championship “STFC 29: MAYDAY”

South Texas Fighting Championship MMA Cage Fights

The McAllen Convention Center will  host “STFC 29: MAYDAY” on Friday, May 16th. We return with 8 live MMA Cage fights from fighters from all across Texas.
The main event will feature former Texas Lightweight Champion and owner of the fastest Knockout in STFC history, “Dangerous” Danny Salinas fighting  Rusk, Texas’ own Booker Arthur in the STFC Lightweight division. Fans will see Pharr, Texas’ heavy handed Victor Martinez facing off with Edinburg, Texas’ muay thai whiz Adrian “True” Torres in STFC “Mayday’s” co-main event! Fans will also see Harlingen’s Jorge Cortez, Edinburg’s Mike Bustos, Saltillo, Mexico’s Eduardo “Teddy” Bustillos, Mission, Texas’ Leroy Martinez, Weslaco wrestling standouts Elias and Gilbert Urbina, Edinburg military veteran Salvador Gonzales, and many more!    

FYI: ALL MEDIA PASSES  WILL BE GIVEN AT WEIGH - IN (Fiesta Chevrolet Edinburg)STFC 28 Weigh - In and Press Conference Info:Location:

Fiesta Chevrolet In Edinburg
4002 South Expressway 281
Edinburg, TX 78541

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Exclusive Interview with Andreas Michael: Building Stars at All Stars Training Center in Stockholm, Sweden

Exclusive Interview with Andreas Michael: Building Stars at All Stars Training Center in Stockholm, Sweden

When one contemplates where the best MMA fighters are cultivated, groomed, and conditioned, most people would not consider Stockholm, the capital of Sweden.  It is the most populated city in Swedish kingdom, known as a hotspot for infinite industries, and is a central place for culture, economics, media, and politics.  In essence, it is the crown jewel of Scandinavia and vital to the region.  Professional blood sports were practically non-existent in the region until recently.  At the forefront of this emerging commodity in this Swedish community is the All Stars Training Center.

There are many involved with the All Star franchise, and the man at the center of this training facility is legendary Swedish boxing coach Andreas Michael.  Michael made his way to Sweden to study and began to educate boxers.  Michael, a former multiple amateur boxing champion and professional pugilist, suffered an arm injury that ended his fighting career.  Looking to make his bones as a trainer, Michael began to drill Swedish amateur fighters.  It would only take a few years before his coaching potential would be noticed at the national level.  This opportunity eventually led Michael to a career as a chief MMA trainer.  Speaking from his home base in Stockholm, Michael explicated, "After years of coaching, I created national champions and I was asked to coach the [Swedish] amateur boxing national team.  Once I was there, I got [MMA fighters] starting to come in to the club wanting to learn how to strike.  I quickly noticed that these guys were in shape; they worked really hard.  They would spar with boxers that were more experienced and, yeah, they got their asses kicked, but they kept coming."
Michael added, "I started teaching them the fundamentals of boxing and I saw the quick progress so I thought to myself, 'We really might have something here.'  I then started to have training sessions at an MMA club and it started to pull me in more.  I also saw that there was less politics in the MMA as compared to boxing: it was easier to mold a MMA fighter and get sponsorship without having to go through all the red tape.  MMA just made sense to me."

Although it was easier to advance in the MMA world, Sweden was still not up-to-date as far as blood sports were concerned.  There was no professional boxing business to speak of and the MMA infrastructure was in its infancy, at best.  Michael saw an opportunity to lay the groundwork and grow the sport in the region.  "MMA is popular now and we actually, singlehandedly, made the sport what it is today, here in Sweden," Michael recalled.  "Everyone around here was like a free agent, a lot like Las Vegas where everyone trains in like 300 different gyms.  I didn't agree with this approach and felt that everyone would be better off if there was a home base for fighters to work out of and bring the talent together."

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UFC 172 PPV Results: Jones Retains Title; Johnson Impresses, Holloway and Miller Impress in Wins

UFC 172 PPV Results: Jones Retains Title; Johnson Impresses, Holloway and Miller Impress in Wins

UFC 172 rocked the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland with an evening of bombastic MMA.  The preliminary bouts were televised on Fox Sports 1 network while the main card was on Pay-Per-View.  The results were as follows:

The PPV opened with a featherweight bout between young guns Max Holloway (8-3) and Andre “Touchy” Fili (13-1) scheduled for three rounds.  Holloway, hailing from Hawaii, came out looking to counter as Fili, out of Sacramento, was ultra-aggressive.  Both men had their moments in the opening round.  The Sacramento native’s striking seemed better as Fili effectively landed punches in bunches.  Holloway was patient and landed some counters but “Touchy” had the advantage.  Holloway came out in the second looking to up his aggression.  The Hawaiian began to land legs and knee strikes with ferocious intentions.  Fili appeared to be hurt and began to back off.  Holloway continued to be the bully: he pressed forward, keeping a lot of pressure on the young man from Sacramento.  Fili was able to take Holloway down with less than 90 seconds in the round but the fighters were brought to their feet after slow action on the mat.  The fight seemed to be on the line as the final round opened.  Both combatants landed some shots and Fili managed to get a takedown but was not able to hold the Hawaiian down.  With less than 90 seconds left, Holloway landed a great combination and was able to secure a guillotine on the ground, leading to Fili to tap out.

Lightweights Jim Miller (23-4-1), from New Jersey, and Yancy Medeiros (9-1-1), from Hawaii, met next in a three round fight.  Miller, a southpaw, was seeking the inside while Medeiros used his reached and struck with his legs from the outside.  The Hawaiian was in control until Miller landed a hard shot to the body which hurt Medeiros.  Miller grabbed his opponent by the neck and took Medeiros hard to the ground putting him in a guillotine.  The hard Hawaiian refused to tap out but was fading fast which prompted the referee to stop the bout awarding Miller a submission win.  It was a good win for the veteran.

Luke Rockhold (11-2) and Tim "The Barbarian" Boetsch (17-6) met in a three round middleweight bout.  Rockhold, the former Strike Force middleweight champion, came out measuring Boetsch.  "The Barbarian" shot in, looking to take Rockhold down but Rockhold managed to turn things to his favor, and locked Boetsch up in a triangle which led to a submission via a Kamura. Thus, Rockhold continues his climb towards a title fight.

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UFC 172 Main Event Analyses: Jones V. Teixeira

UFC 172 Main Event Analyses: Jones V. Teixeira

The Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland is the site selected to host UFC 172.  The full promotional card is stout with intriguing matches that are sure to electrify the audience, both live at the arena and those watching on television.  The Fox Sports network is scheduled to televise a few of the preliminary bouts while the main prizefights will be available on UFC pay-per-view.  The main battle of the night is a light heavyweight title match between the defending champion, Jon "Bones" Jones (19-1, 13-1 UFC), and the gritty Brazilian banger, Glover Teixeira (22-2, 5-0 UFC).   The titlist is on a 10-fight win streak while the challenger has won his last 20 cage matches.  The tilt is scheduled for five rounds.
 
Jones, a native New Yorker, is coming off an epic title defense from September 2013, when he was pushed to the limits by Swedish MMA monster, Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson.  In that bout, many felt that Gustafsson was winning but "The Mauler's" conditioning failed him in the last round and a half, giving "Bones" just enough momentum to pull out the victory by decision.  The physical beating the Swede handed Jones, who was believed to be invincible at the time, was brutal as Gustafsson was able to neutralize the champion’s most prized possession: his height. "The Mauler" punished Jones early and often utilizing great footwork, lateral movement and excellent boxing that befuddled Jones, the consensus pound-for-pound MMA ruler.  It will be interesting to see if there are any lingering effects for "Bones" from his war of attrition with Gustafsson.
 
The good news for Jones is that Teixeira is nothing like "The Mauler."  This is not to say that the Brazilian lacks skilled, but the fact is that Teixeira is not the type to stick and move.  That is where the good news ends for "Bones" as there is no question that Teixeira is a live underdog in this contest.  The 34-year-old MMA veteran is a bruiser: he grinds the opposition down with constant pressure and menacing bombs to the head and body.  The Brazilian is also known to be well-engaged and focused in the heat of battle.  His finishing ability is undeniable, as Teixeira ended 19 of his 22 victims inside before the final bell.  If Teixeira gets Jones in trouble, there is a solid chance that the American's title reign will come to an end.

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Sonny "Loco" Luque: Looking to Turn a Dream into His Reality

Sonny

Bright and early every morning, Laredo, Texas native Sonny "Loco" Luque clears the sleep from his head, splashes water on his face, puts on his running shoes (which also happen to be his everything-else shoes), leashes his European Doberman, Crixus, and heads out for a six mile run.  There is no entourage with him.  No run coach to speak of.  The miles simply fly by in humidity, just like every other morning, six days a week.  After the dawn gallop, Luque proceeds with his day: dieting, strength and conditioning, sparring and running his personal businesses; he is the owner and head trainer at the Laredo MMA Academy and provides personal training on the side.   For Luque, 32, this is life: a daily routine geared towards his dream of reaching the highest levels of the sport.
 
"Loco," like the vast majority of people in the hurt business, comes from meager beginnings that involved many struggles, mistakes and pain along the way. The main difference is that the lightweight striker, specializing in Dutch-style kickboxing, does not consider this to be worth mentioning.  Luque said, "Everyone has a sad story these days.  You always hear people talking about how they had it so hard and how life has been so difficult.  I've had a hard life, too, but it is what it is.  I'm just trying to make it [as a professional MMA fighter] and hard work and dedication will get me there - not my past."
 
The current hurdle for Luque is vastly more relevant, as the Mexican-American has been at the cusp of reaching the next level, only to be frozen out of the picture.  Things were looking prosperous when, after building himself into a legitimate draw in his hometown, Luque received a call from Bellator with an offer to fight.  After toiling for five years in obscurity, "Loco" felt that this would be his opportunity to appear in bigger arenas with an honest shot at competing at the world level.  In his first Bellator contest, Luque did not disappoint, as the fans were treated to an epic battle.  He followed up his Bellator debut with another stint in the promotional outfit's cage, and again, "Loco" thrilled the Bellator contingent on his way to victory.

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Fox UFC Main Card Results: Werdum Defies Conventional Wisdom with Victory; Romero, Cerrone and Tate Pick Up Wins

Fox UFC Main Card Results:  Werdum Defies Conventional Wisdom with Victory; Romero, Cerrone and Tate Pick Up Wins

The renowned UFC Octagon thrilled MMA fans in Orlando, Florida’s Amway Center with an evening of inordinate action with a throng of combats.  The event was televised on the Fox Television network.  

The main televised portion of the promotion opened with middleweight contender Hawaiian native Brad Tavarez (12-2-0) locking horns with Yoel "Soldier of God" Romero (7-1-0) in a three round engagement.  Romero, a Cuban Olympic Silver Medalist, is on a three fight winning streak while Tavarez has won his last five.  Things were slow for the first 90 seconds until the Cuban exploded with kicks, punches and then completed a takedown.  Tavarez defended the assault well and got to his feet, but Romero, showing his impressive wresting skills, tossed Tavarez back onto the mat.  The "Soldier of God" continued to smother Tavarez, and would not allow the Hawaiian to be erect for long.  Romero continued with groundwork early in the second and then opened a gash to Tavarez’s head via a right elbow.  The Hawaiian was able to keep the fight standing but was not having as much success as expected.  The feat picked up in the final minute as both warriors battled against the cage fence.  The third saw both men tired and, after some sloppy work early, Tavarez was able to find a home for his leg strikes and a few punches.  The Cuban was able to momentarily take his adversary to the ground but Tavarez quickly came to his feet.  The "Solider of God" ended the fight the way he started it: taking Tavarez to the floor.  The judges’ score cards tallied a unanimous decision for Romero by identical marks of 30-27.

Lightweights Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone (22-6-0), a Muay Thai Kickboxing specialist, and Edson “Junior” Barboza (13-1-0), a Brazilian striker, kept things going in a three round contest.  Barboza swung for the fences in the opening seconds and managed to hurt Cerrone.  "Cowboy" composed himself and took the Brazilian to the mat in order to buy himself some precious time.  The fight then settled to what it was expected to be: a match between two skilled and devastating strikers.  Barboza landed bombs with his fists while Cerrone found success with his legs.  "Cowboy" laid Barboza down to the mat with a hard left jab and followed up by jumping on his back; he submitted the Brazilian with a rear naked choke.  It was a dramatic end and a great win for Donald Cerrone.

The co-main event showcased a three round bout between bantamweights Miesha “Cupcake” Tate (13-5-0) and the “Girl-Rilla” Liz Carmouche (8-4-0).  Tate is the former Women’s Strikeforce Champion.  Both battlers came out boxing but "Cupcake" seemed the calmer of the two.  Carmouche bullied Tate to the cage wall and took her to the ground.  "Cupcake" held her back against the octagon fence and was able to get back to her feet.  Tate also landed elbow strikes where available. 

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UFC Breakdown: Werdum V. Bowne

UFC Breakdown: Werdum V. Bowne

This Saturday, Orlando, Florida will be the place to be for quality MMA as the UFC will commandeer the Amway Center for a night of spectacular fights.  A multitude of bouts will be televised via the Fox television network. The promotion is stout with talented, top-level combatants facing one another in the legendary UFC Octagon.  The entire spectacle is headlined by a heavyweight match that is as luxurious as any matchup could be: two-of-the-top-three heavies in the UFC world are doing battle.  Making the stakes even higher, the victor of the prizefight will face UFC maximum weight legend Cain Velasquez.  The prospects of this main event alone make this a must-see event.
 
The final bout of the promotion will showcase number two ranked UFC heavyweight Fabricio Werdum (17-5-1) taking on the third best UFC heavy Travis Browne (16-1-1).  The contest is scheduled for three rounds.  At first glance, this combat seems simple: jiu-jitsu master Werdum needs to wage a ground war, while Browne, a devastating striker, needs to keep the fight upright in order to get his shot at Velasquez.  This is not incorrect, as each warrior must be able to impose their fighting strengths in order to be in the best position to take the other.  The thing to remember is that both veteran cage contestants are well-schooled and capable of neutralizing the other’s attack.
 
This fight comes down to adjustments mid-bout, where Werdum may be at a disadvantage.  The two-time former Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion is a man of many disciplines and abilities.  Werdum is also schooled in Judo and Muay Thai, holding black belts in each.  His ground game is the centerpiece of his attack but the Brazilian has greatly improved his striking abilities as of late.  Werdum is on a three fight winning streak in which he conquered the likes of Roy Nelson (decision), Mike Russow (stoppage) and submitted Antonio Rodriguez Nogueira.  Although this streak is impressive, none of his three recent conquests compare to the Hawaiian-based American.
     
Browne is also streaking in both wins and knockouts.  The powerful Hawaiian has won his last three contests, all by knockout.  Striking has been the key to Browne’s career, as 12 of his 16 wins have been by knockout. 

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Bellator 117 Television Results: Lima Dominates in Title Win; Pitbull, Amoussou and Held Impress in Victories

Bellator 117 Television Results:  Lima Dominates in Title Win; Pitbull, Amoussou and Held Impress in Victories

Tonight, the Mid-Atlantic Center in Iowa was treated to an awesome night of MMA as Bellator presented a stellar promotional card that was televised on the Spike Television Network.  The event was capped off by a welterweight championship battle between Douglas Lima and Rick Hawn.  The televised undercard featured three exciting matches.  Here are the results:

The telecast opened with a three round lightweight tournament clash between Derick Campos (14-3-0) and Patricky Pitbull (12-5-0).  Both men came out looking to box with Pitbull flashing the faster hands and seemingly heavier blows.  Campos, a native Texan, heated towards the end of the opening rounds as he landed hard shots to the body and head.  The second opened with both men letting the leather fly: Pitbull landed the harder shots, to include a left to chin that deposited Campos on the cage floor.  Pitbull proceeded to ground-and-pound the Texan, leading to the referee halting the assault.  With the win, Patricky Pitbull booked his slot in the lightweight tournament final.          

The action continued with a three round welterweight bout between veterans Karl Amoussou (16-5-0) and David Gomez (16-7-0).  Amoussou shot out of the gate with lighting quick combinations that found their mark on Gomez’s face and body.  Amoussou was able to control the action and land at will as Gomez seemed hesitant to engage his faster adversary.  Amoussou continued vertical dominance as he doubled and tripled his jab, keeping the Mexican-American at bay.  Gomez aggressively attacked in the opening of the second stanza and was able to land but Amoussou was able to take his aggressor to the ground and almost submitted Gomez via heel hook but missed his opportunity. Gomez kept the pressure on and was able to land some serious artillery on Amoussou’s face but Amoussou returned fire and landed his own hard shots.  Both combatants had their moments in the final minute, making it a tough round to score.  Amoussou regained his distance in the final heat and started to land the more telling blows in the first half of the round.  Gomez, appearing exhausted, began to shoot wide blows that occasionally hit flesh but did not seem to have much power left.  In the end, the judges awarded Karl Amoussou a split decision by scores of 29-28 (twice) with the third card (29-28) favoring Gomez.  It was a close match, but ConvictedArtistMagazine.com agreed that Amoussou was the victor.       

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Bellator 117 Main Event Analysis: Rick Hawn Takes on Douglas Lima for the Welterweight Championship

Bellator 117 Main Event Analysis: Rick Hawn Takes on Douglas Lima for the Welterweight Championship

On April 18, 2014, Bellator will invade Iowa with a promotion that vaunts a welterweight championship main event dual between Douglas Lima and Rick Hawn amongst several other intriguing matches.  The televised portion of the card will host four matches that will be aired live on the Spike Television network. Although the bouts bolstered have plenty of potential to excite the masses; the crowning jewel of the night is one that has all of the makings of an instant classic.
 
Rick Hawn (18-2) vs. Douglas Lima (25-5)
 
This championship bout in the welterweight division features former American Olympian and Judoka specialist Rick Hawn (18-2) taking on Brazilian mauler and jiu-jitsu standout Douglas Lima (25-5). Both Hawn and Lima are highly accomplished prizefighters that possess heavy hands and an array of martial arts skills that are sure to make this fight one to remember.
 
This is not the first shot at a title for Hawn.  The American faced and was defeated by Michael Chandler in a lightweight championship contest. Hawn regrouped, moved up in weight and reeled off wins to capture the welterweight tournament crown, earning him the right to this title challenge.  The Judoka technician is a fierce striker with potent fight-ending power and awesome athletic ability.  He is also no slouch on the mat as Hawn can hold his own with most world-class fighters while on the cage floor.  The thing for Hawn is that, against Lima, the American will need to be in top form in order to have a shot at picking up the welterweight strap.

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UFC Televised Fight Results: Kennedy, Cote, Poirier, Laprise, Thodorou, and Noons Pick Up Victories

UFC Televised Fight Results: Kennedy, Cote, Poirier, Laprise, Thodorou, and Noons Pick Up Victories

Quebec City, Canada was treated to a great night of UFC MMA bouts.  The complete promotion held 13 bouts with Fox Sports 1 televising six contests.  It was an exciting night and her is how it went down:

The televised portion of the card opened with a three round featherweight contest between Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (15-3-0) and Akira Corassani (14-4-1).  Poirier was going for his eighth UFC featherweight victory, making him the most successful fighter in that weight class.  The contest got off to an exciting start as both combatants came out swinging.  The crowd was electrified with both fighters landing solid shots, rocking each other throughout the opening five minutes.  Poirier was able to end things quickly in the second stanza after he followed a left cross with a damaging right uppercut that caught the tip of Corassani’s nose.  Akira recently had his nose operated on and this blow seemed to have caused a break.  The fight was stopped.  With the victory, Poirier became the most victorious featherweight in the promotional outfit’s history.  

Undefeated Canadian welterweights kept things going as Chad “The Disciple” Laprise, hailing from Ontario, faced Olivier Abuin-Mercier (5-0-0), from Quebec, in a three round contest.  Both rookies opened with striking on their minds.  It did not take long for the blood to start flowing as the leather was flying early and often.  Laprise kept Mercier guessing as “The Disciple” utilized lateral movement and often flashed his left jab.  The round was not an easy one to score.  The second was similar to the opening salvo except that Mercier was able to get Laprise to the ground but the Ontario native as able to avoid a guillotine and escaped with minimal damage.  “The Disciple” was, again, able to control the distance and landed key strikes to the head and body.  As the bout headed into the last round, Laprise appeared to be in control and fought with the confidence of a winner.  Mercier was game and, again, attempted to take things to the mat but Laprise was able to escape and kept the fight upright.  Despite the fact that “The Disciple” seemed to be ahead on the cards; Laprise closed the final minute of the fight strong with hard combinations to the head of Mercier.  Laprise took a split decision victory by scores of 29-28 and 30-27 with the long dissenting vote scoring it for Mercier with a score of 29-28.  With the victory, “The Disciple” won the “Ultimate Fighter” contest, officially gaining a contract with the UFC.  

The next bout featured another “Ultimate Fighter” middleweight contest finale as Canadians Sheldon Westcott (9-1-1) and Elias “The Spartan” Theodorou (8-0) met in the cage in a three round clash.  Nervous energy told the initial minute of round one as Westcott and Thedorou came out shaking and juking with very little landing. 

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2014 Boxing and Martial Arts Hall of Fames Awards Banquet Agenda

2014 Boxing and Martial Arts Hall of Fames Awards Banquet Agenda

The El Paso Boxing & The El Paso Martial Arts Hall of Fames Present The 2014 Awards Banquet - Our 21st Anniversary - Saturday, June 14th 2014

6-9 P.M.
Region XIX
6611 Boeing Drive
El Paso, Texas 79925

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UFC on Fox Sport 1: Bisping Takes on Kennedy in Canada

UFC on Fox Sport 1: Bisping Takes on Kennedy in Canada

On April 16, 2014 the Ultimate Fighting Championship brings the show to Quebec City, Canada for the TUF Nations finale.  The complete card will host 13 bouts with the main event highlighting a five round middleweight tilt between top 10 contenders Michael "The Count" Bisping (25-5-0) and Tim Kennedy (17-4-0).  The main event, along with five other bouts, will be televised live on the Fox Sports 1 network.   

 This solidly matched main event brings two combatants together that have qualities that cause the other fighter problems. Bisping, hailing from England, has been out of the cage for about 11 months due to an eye injury.  The past few years have also seen "The Count" trade wins and losses.  While Bisping has lacked consistency, he is a rock star of sorts in the MMA world so any win keeps him relevant.  His counterpart, on the other hand, is on the rise: Kennedy, hailing from Austin, Texas, has won his last two fights after he knocked out Rafael Natal and then beat Roger Gracie by decision.

Based on their strengths, one has to favor Kennedy's ground game as he is the more accomplished floor technician.  The Texan has brute power and his cardio is second-to-none in the division.  This is not to say that Bisping is not a much improved floor combatant; the fact is, making the mat a primary focus in the fight would be a major mistake for the Englishman.

Bisping's advantage lies in his standup game: the Manchester native is a skilled striker and that is his primary methodology while in the cage (54% for his offense consists of striking).  His ground takedown ability has improved over the years but striking is where Bisping has the best shot to win.

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Bellator 116 Results: Ivanov and Volkov to Face Each Other for Title after Picking Up Wins in California

Bellator 116 Results: Ivanov and Volkov to Face Each Other for Title after Picking Up Wins in California

Temecula, California was alive with excitement as Bellator brought their brand of MMA to the Pachanga Resort and Casino.  The event was televised on the Spike Television network.  There was plenty of action for the fans in attendance and those watching via television.

The broadcast opened with a semifinal heavyweight tournament bout as Alexander Volkov (20-4) faced Siala-mou "Mighty Mo" Siliga (6-2) in a three rounds bout.  Former Bellator Heavyweight Champion Alexander Volkov came out using his substantial height and reach advantage, keeping “Mighty Mo” at the end of his kicks.  Siliga was able to bully his way in but Volkov’s strength allowed him to control the shorter Samoan.  The Russian ended the bout with a kick to the head with less than two minutes left in the round.  Referee John McCarthy noted that “Mighty Mo” was out cold and immediately stopped the fight.  With this win, Volkov earned himself another shot at the heavyweight title.

The night continued with another semifinal tournament match in the welterweight division as Nathan Coy (14-4) met Adam McDonough (10-0).  Looking to test the prospect early, Coy’s strategy was obvious as he immediately pressured the inexperienced McDonough.  McDonugh looked calm and was able to sprawl and escape Coy’s takedown attempts.  With less than two minutes left, McDonough foiled another takedown attempt by Coy, landed a quick uppercut, and preceded to ground-and-pound his exposed opponent.  Coy was seriously hurt but was able to hold on to see the end of the round.  This was pointless as McDonough ended quickly in the opening of the second round via a powerful left hook to the chin.  With the win, McDonough literally punched his way to a welterweight title shot.         

The third televised bout pitted two Americans as Richard Rainey (6-2) met Andy Murad (6-1) in a three round prizefight.   Rainey came out showing fast hands and quick leg strikes which kept Murad guessing early in the round.  Rainey just seemed to be the better fighter and found range for his right hand which seriously hurt Murad.  Once he was hurt, Rainey moved in and unloaded combination which caused the referee to halt the fight.  It was a good win for Rainey who was making his Bellator debut.

Vladimir Matyushenko (27-7) and Joey Beltran (14-10) kept things going in the Bellator cage.  Matyushenko was looking to go out with a win as the Russian had made it clear that this would be his last MMA fight. Stand and bang was the approach both combatants took as Beltran and Matyushenko let the leather and kicks fly,  both looking for the knockout.

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Nelson Lays Nogueira to Sleep via a Spiteful Knockout

Nelson Lays Nogueira to Sleep via a Spiteful Knockout

UFC Fight Night 39 from Abu Dhabi produced a highlight knockout result in the main event after Roy “Big Country” Nelson (20-9-0) ignited a right-hand to Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira (34-8-1).  The end came with less than two minutes left in the first round. The prizefight was scheduled for five heats but few, including Convicted Artist.com, felt that “Minotauro” would last the distance.

Nogueira’s tactical errors of leading with a lazy jab and holding his hands low were ill-advised.   The Brazilian legend drove his jab looking to set something up, but Nelson was able to defend well against the punch.  “Minotauro” often retracted the jab slowing, leaving him exposed for a big counter.  Within the first minute of the contest, Nelson found a home for his powerful right hand which dropped Nogueira.

The faded former Pride and UFC champion was able to get back on his feet but seemed unsure of himself.  Still, Nogueira kept trying to establish distance via a left jab only to find nothing but air.  Nelson continued to cover-up and worked his way inside.
Once there, the American found the Brazilian’s chin again; sending Nogueira to the cage floor.  Experience and pride brought “Minotauro” to his feet but it would be in vain.  Soon after the second knockdown, Nelson detonated a right hand haymaker that ended Nogueira’s night and possibly his career.  The MMA legend was brutally stretched by the punch forcing the referee to call a halt to the fight.     

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UFC Fight Night 39: Nogueira Facing Hard Night against Nelson in Abu Dhabi

UFC Fight Night 39: Nogueira Facing Hard Night against Nelson in Abu Dhabi

UFC Fight Night 39 will take place in Abu Dhabi with the main event featuring Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira (34-8-1) locking horns with Roy "Big Country" Nelson (20-9-0).  The prizefight is scheduled for five rounds in the heavyweight division.  Both combatants are ranked within the top 15 of the division.   

"Minotauro" is a 37 year old former champion and veteran of the cage trying to rekindle a career that appears to be past the best days.  In his last contest, Nogueira lost to Fabricio Werdum and has not been consistently victorious in over four years. In facing Nelson, Nogueria needs a flawless fight to have a shot at the win but this still might not be enough for the aged Brazilian at this stage of his career.

 Nelson is a punishing striker with knockout force in his fists and an iron chin to exchange with anyone in the business today.  The American is also a competent grappler that can hold his own in a ground fight. Add the fact that "Big Country" is one of the physically strongest heavies operating in the cage and Nogueria is definitely on the outside looking in.  "Minotauro" does have one thing going for him in this fight: experience.  The Brazilian has been in the cage with many a tough competitor.

 Nogueria is capable of rattling off combinations but it is imperative that he moves out of the way and does not admire his work; 

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Bellator 116: An Analysis of Televised Card

Bellator 116: An Analysis of Televised Card

This coming Friday from Temecula, California, the Bellator promotional outfit will host Bellator 116.  The episode will be televised on the Spike Television network.  The main event of the evening will be the heavyweight tournament semifinal match between Lavar Johnson (18-8-0) taking on Blagoi Ivanov (9-0-0), where the winner will move on to the final match.  The card will also host the other heavyweight semifinal bout as Siala-mou Siliga and Alexander Volkov will be battling to be on the other side of the cage for the tournament title.  Rounding out the televised portion of the event is a welterweight tournament semifinal match between Nathan Coy and Adam McDonough.  Also seeing action are light heavyweights Joey Beltran and Vladimir Matyushenko.Lavar

Johnson V. Blagoi Ivanov:
The Johnson v. Ivanov title is an interesting matchup, pitting a veteran UFC fighter in Johnson against a rising force in the MMA world in Ivanov. Ivanov, a native Bulgarian, is brutally strong and is as impenetrable as a nailed coffin.  Having recently survived a near fatal stabbing incident in his native Bulgaria, Ivanov is looking to make good on his second chance at life and a win over Johnson would certainly be a step in that direction.  As for Johnson, the UFC vet is looking to conquer the Bellator cage.  His striking power is undeniable but struggles when taken to the ground.  The fight breakdown is simple: if Ivanov can avoid a Johnson bomb from detonating on him, he will likely be the winner.  Should Johnson be taken to the ground and unable to setup his standup attack, then the Bulgarian will likely prevail.

Alexander Volkov V. Siala-mou "Mighty Mo" Siliga:
The other semifinal heavyweight tournament bout will also be contested on this card as Alexander Volkov (20-4) will face Siala-mou "Mighty Mo" Siliga (6-2).  Volkov is a former heavyweight titlist looking to get another crack at the trinket.  Volkov, a gangling Russian known for his striking abilities, has his work cut out for him as Mighty Mo is no joke.  The Samoan is a vicious powerhouse that has also showed impressive skills in his ground game.  This unlikely semifinalist has impressed the MMA world with his power and natural abilities.  The Russian's objective is not complicated: Keep the Samoan at bay by striking from a distance.

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