Posts tagged: Boxing

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Mir Focused on Carwin, but Lesnar rematch is Big Picture

It is no secret that UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and contender Frank Mir have a bitter relationship, to say the least. However, Mir will have to get through heavyweight powerhouse Shane Carwin (11-0) at UFC 111 before he can enact his dream of regaining the undisputed heavyweight title from Lesnar.

Frank Mir

On Saturday, Mir will have the chance to guarantee himself the next shot at Lesnar with a win over Carwin in a bout, scheduled for five rounds, for the interim heavyweight championship. The fight is scheduled as the co-main event of the evening at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev., Mir is a former UFC heavyweight and interim heavyweight champion. Mir, a black belt in kenpo karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, currently trains with Team Sityodtong in Boston, Massa., under owner and head trainer Mark DellaGrotte. He earned his black belt in BJJ under Ricardo Pires after only five years of training.

Currently holding a professional MMA record of 13-4, Mir is an accomplished grappler and renowned submission artist whose standup has drastically improved with each appearance in the octagon. He is the 2007 NAGA absolute division champion. Of his 13 victories, eight have come by way of submission.

After winning the UFC championship in a match with Tim Sylvia at UFC 48 in 2004, at the age of 25, Mir faced a potentially career ending injury. He was left with a broken femur and torn ligaments in his knee after a motorcycle accident, and was told that he may never walk again, let alone fight. Mir was stripped of his title after 14 months.

In 2006, nearly 2 years later, Mir returned to the octagon. In 2008, Mir shocked the world by submitting rising star Brock Lesnar in the first round at UFC 81, in a match in which he was clearly outsized and not favored to win.

Mir vs. Lesnar I - UFC 81

After running through Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the interim heavyweight championship at UFC 92, Mir faced Lesnar in a rematch for the undisputed heavyweight championship in the main event of UFC 100.

Lesnar, a NCAA national champion wrestler, took Mir down with ease in the first round and smothered him, landing effective ground-and-pound. In the second round Mir landed a left elbow followed by a flying knee that rocked Lesnar, but he gave up the takedown in doing so. Lesnar continued to land brutal ground-and-pound from the top position until the match was stopped at 1:48 into the second round via TKO.

In the co-main event of UFC 107, Mir faced off with muay thai and kickboxing ace Cheick Kongo. Mir beat Kongo at his own game, dropping him with a lead left hook less than a minute into the fight. Mir then locked in a guillotine and choked Kongo unconscious, ending the fight at just 1:12 into the first round.

Carwin, a NCAA division II national champion wrestler and boxer with incredible knockout power, presents a huge challenge to Mir. In Carwin’s 11-fight MMA career, he has earned six victories via knockout or TKO and 11 first round stoppages.

With all of his losses coming by way of TKO, Mir is not known for his ability to take a punch, especially while fighting off of his back. Carwin’s wrestling background and powerful punches could prove dangerous to Mir. However, Mir’s submission game will present a threat to Carwin should the fight go to the ground, and Mir is perhaps the more technically sound striker. Mir recently stated that he believes that Carwin is a more dangerous version of Lesnar.

Carwin showed a good chin in his last fight against Gabriel Gonzaga and was able to get off of his back in a matter of seconds. With his 11 career fights lasting just over 12 minutes, it will be difficult for Mir to study Carwin for weaknesses, so he will likely stick to his normal training regimen.

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Live pay-per-view coverage of UFC 111 will begin at 10 p.m. EST

Frank Mir on ESPN – 3/25

Countdown to UFC 111

Dos Santos continues streak at UFC on Versus

Dos Santos vs. Gonzaga

In the midst of a five-bout winning streak that spanned all the way back to March of 2008, BJJ and boxing specialist Junior dos Santos added to his streak at the very first UFC on Versus. He now holds an 11-1 record, professionally.

The heavyweight faced off against Brazilian Gabriel Gonzaga (11-5), who he was supposed to face at UFC 108 in January of 2010 in Las Vegas, Nev., but could not compete due to a staph infection.

The two finally got the opportunity to fight this past Sunday, March 21, in Broomfield, Colo., where after a few moments of feeling each other out, dos Santos was able to gain control through jabs and a vicious left hook. Dos Santos finished the match off with a ground and pound on top to knock Gonzaga unconscious. The fight was ruled in dos Santos’ favor via TKO at 3:53 in the first round. Dos Santos won the bonus of Knockout of the Night.

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In his previous fight at UFC 108, where Netherlands competitor Gilbert Yvel (36-14) replaced Gonzaga, dos Santos, also known as “Cigano” (or “Gypsy”), put his opponent away in an even more aggressive manner, which has been a staple in the fighting style of dos Santos for his entire career, winning all but two of his bouts in the first round.

Cigano had no remorse for Yvel, as he immediately delivered some blows to the chin and body, and followed up soon after with a left hook counter punch to an attempted head kick. The fight was stopped at 2:07 in the first round after dos Santos mounted his opponent and pummeled him with hammer fists.

Hailing out of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, dos Santos holds a brown belt in BJJ. He trains with Team Blackhouse, located in both Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Los Angeles, Calif. Cigano trains among the elite in mixed martial arts, including Anderson Silva and Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera.

Dos Santos has not yet been scheduled for his next fight, but certainly looks to continue using an aggressive-knockout style, which has won him nine of his eleven bouts via knockout.

Vera To Play The Role of Gatekeeper at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones

Brandon “The Truth” Vera (11-4) broke onto the scene five years ago as a young, up-and-coming heavyweight prospect with intentions of proving himself by beating the best competition that the UFC had to offer.

Vera ran through opponents in the two years that followed, but was denied his title intentions due to defeats from more experience UFC veterans.

Brandon Vera

On Sunday, for the first time, Vera will play the role of “the gatekeeper” when he faces young, up-and-coming light-heavyweight prospect Jon “Bones” Jones (9-1) in the main event of UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colo.

Fighting out of San Diego, Calif., Vera is a former WEC heavyweight champion. Vera, a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, currently trains with both Team Lloyd Irvin and Alliance MMA in San Diego. He has also trained at Linxx Academy and Hybrid Academy.

Vera gained experience wrestling in high school and continued wrestling at Old Dominion University, and then with the United States Air Force. However, he is best known in the MMA world for his effective muay thai skills.

Through the first four years of his MMA career Vera went a perfect 8-0, with seven of his wins coming by way of stoppage and four earned in UFC competition. Arguably his most impressive performance came at UFC 65 when he stopped Frank Mir at just 1:09 into the first round via TKO (punches).

In his next two matches Vera saw a step up in competition, losing a decision to Tim Sylvia and a TKO to Fabricio Werdum. These back-to-back losses, to much larger opponents, prompted Vera’s move to light-heavyweight competition. Vera now holds a 3-2 record as a light-heavyweight. His two losses came via close and controversial decisions.

Vera vs. Fabiano Scherner

MMA veteran, TUF cast-member and UFC newcomer Krzysztof Soszynski (19-9-1) went the distance with Vera at UFC 102. Vera won a unanimous decision by controlling the fight, avoiding the takedown and dominating on the feet with strong kicks and combinations.

Vera saw a step up in competition in his next fight as he went the distance with UFC Hall of Famer and five-time UFC champion Randy “The Natural” Couture in the main event of UFC 105. Couture controlled the fight from the clinch utilizing dirty boxing while Vera dominated the striking from the feet, hurting Couture badly with kicks and combinations in each round.

Vera was caught in Couture’s clinch, fighting off the takedown, for the majority of the competition. However, Vera landed very effective strikes from the feet. He dropped Couture in the second round, but was unable to finish him. After bearing an assault from the clinch Vera landed a series of body kicks that hurt Couture in the third round and followed up by taking him down and transitioning to full mount. The fight ended with an intense exchange.

All three judges scored the bout 29-28 in favor of Couture. The ruling surprised Vera and was very controversial.

Jon Jones is a young (22 year old) prospect with impressive striking and wrestling skills. Vera’s muay thai skills will be much more relevant in his upcoming fight than in his last two, which saw him trapped in his opponent’s clinch for the majority of the fight. However, Vera, a BJJ brown belt, will likely have an advantage in the unlikely case that the fight goes to the ground.

Vera has been in Jones’ situation a number of times early in his UFC career. Jones will face the toughest test in his young MMA career at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones. For Vera, a victory will likely put him back in the title-mix.

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The event will air live on Versus at 9 p.m. EST

Wolfslair Academy, Growing Roster and Reputation

Quickly established as arguably the top facility and fight team in Europe, Wolfslair MMA Academy is now gaining a strong reputation as one of the leading gyms in the MMA world today.

Michael Bisping training at Wolfslair

Wolfslair Academy is a gym located in Widnes, United Kingdom, which has both produced and recently signed several UFC stars and other elite level fighters.

Co-owners and managers Anthony McGann and Lee Gwynn established the fight team as MMA fans with the goal of creating the top MMA facility in the U.K. They quickly achieved their goal and the facility continues to grow.

The gym gained notoriety primarily due to its signing of U.K. based UFC star Michael Bisping. Bisping’s appearance as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) created recognition for the gym, because several of its staff members were featured as trainers on the show.

With the recent signings of former UFC light-heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and heavyweight Cheick Kongo, the gym added two huge names and talented fighters to its roster. These signings have attracted new fighters to the gym for training purposes, as well as more publicity, and sponsorship and endorsement opportunities.

Rampage and Dave Jackson

The trainers at Wolfslair Academy are not internationally recognized MMA figures like the staff of many top-level gyms in the U.S. However, the team’s trainers are extremely experienced and have many achievements within their fields, making them very effective coaches and gaining them praise from fighters.

Wolfslair’s talented training staff, access to the public, and its appeal to traveling fighters and prospective fighters in Europe are its main strengths. These factors contribute greatly to the gym’s rapid growth and success as a business.

The head coach at Wolfslair is Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo black belt Mario “Sukata” Neto. Neto, the gym”s jiu-jitsu coach, is a one-fight UFC veteran and holds a 10-5 professional MMA record against top-level opponents. Neto has many accomplishments in the world of martial arts, including winning the grand masters in BJJ, winning a Vale Tudo championship in Russia and earning a third-degree black belt in BJJ. He was featured as one of Bisping”s coaches on TUF.

Boxing coach Tony Quigley and his son Tony Quigley Jr. are an integral part of the gym”s coaching staff. Rampage was impressed by the instruction of online casino Quigley and his son upon coming to train at Wolfslair, and now spends a substantial amount of his time working with them. Junior Olympic gold medalist Tony Quigley Jr. is a professional boxer with a record of 13-2.

Rampage and Kongo with Tapout members in Wolfslair apparel

Thai boxing coach Dave Jackson is renowned within the muay thai community for his expertise as a coach and his uniquely effective style of muay thai. Jackson has worked extensively with Rampage and Kongo. Kongo was very impressed with Jackson”s style of muay thai and instruction while initially training at Wolfslair, and he has now refined his skills training under him. Jackson was featured as one of Bisping”s coaches on TUF.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and 3-1 professional MMA fighter Kazeka Muniz is Wolfslair”s wrestling coach. Gwynn is the gym”s strength and conditioning coach in addition to being a co-owner.

The gym currently holds a roster with several UFC veterans, including Michael Bisping, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Cheick Kongo, Paul Kelly, and Mario “Sukata” Neto. Other notable fighters include Alex Cook, Tom Blackledge, Lukasz Les, Henrique Nogueira, Curt Warburton and Abdul Mohamed. Many top-level fighters travel to Wolfslair for training purposes, including Andre Arlovski, Ian Freeman, Dean Lister, Tiki Ghosn and Ricco Rodriguez.

Rampage recently took a leave from the UFC to star in the upcoming film, “The A Team.” A dispute with UFC President Dana White also contributed to his decision. Rampage coached the most recent season of TUF along with Rashad Evans. The two light-heavyweights are scheduled to fight on May 29 at UFC 114 in Las Vegas, Nev.

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Paul Kelly is 1-1 since making the move to the UFC lightweight division. Kelly looks to improve his record when he faces Matt Veach on April 10 at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi.

After going 9-2 since his UFC debut, Cheick Kongo has lost his last two fights to top heavyweights Cain Velasquez and Frank Mir. Kongo hopes to avenge his losses and get back in the title picture with a win over Paul Buentello in the upcoming UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones on Mar. 23 in Broomfield, Colorado.

Cheick Kongo Training with Michael Bisping & Teammates @ Wolfslair (2008)

Asylum Fight League, Gaining Success and Recognition

Asylum Fight League (AFL), the premier amateur MMA promotion on the East Coast, is quickly gaining fans and a growing reputation in the MMA world with each event. The promotion’s success is largely credited to martial arts school owner turned promoter Carl Mascarenhas.

AFL Fight Action

Following New Jersey’s decision to sanction MMA competition, Mascarenhas opened his first promotional company named New Breed Fighters. In 2008, Mascarenhas had a falling out with his business partner in New Breed and decided to go in a new direction with his promotional efforts, thus spawning Asylum Fight League.

Asylum Fight League was established as a promotion “created by fighters, for fighters.” Mascarenhas is the president and promoter of AFL, as well as a retired MMA fighter and former World Champion Kickboxer. He participated in three World Cups with the U.S. World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO) team, winning gold in 1995.

Mascarenhas created AFL as a training ground for amateur fighters of the Northeast region to build their records and gain recognition as potential professional-level athletes while getting the respect and understanding of businessmen who have been in their shoes.

AFL has promoted events since April of 2008 and has gained considerable popularity, routinely drawing sell-out crowds in major venues, such as the Trump Marina Casino. AFL promotes events in the New Jersey and Philadelphia areas. Of the promotion’s last six fights, three were held in Atlantic City along with the last event, which took place at the Trump Mariana on Feb. 27.

Carl Mascarenhas

The legalization of MMA competition in Pennsylvania, which took effect on Feb. 27, 2009, proved extremely favorable for AFL in exposure, recruitment of fighters, buildup of fan base, and expansion of venues and sponsorship. AFL held its first event in Pa. on Oct. 17, 2009 at The Arena in Philadelphia. Its next event, Asylum Fight League XXVII, will take place at The Legendary Blue Horizon in Philadelphia on Sat, Mar. 13 at 7 p.m.

In addition to putting on displays of MMA competition to an audience at venues, the AFL also provides a live online stream of its events at www.asylumfightleague.com or gofightlive.tv.

AFL has been very effective in marketing itself to sponsors and advertisers. The promotion has a detailed sponsorship plan, which has attracted numerous sponsors, including Everlast, The National Guard, Sirius Satellite Radio, Ring of Combat, Knockout Athletics and others.

The league promotes events featuring a variety of different weight classes (13) ranging from super featherweight (126-129.9 pounds) to absolute (250 pounds and above). Of the 13 weight classes, there are six titleholders. The other weight classes currently have vacant titles.

The success and gained notoriety of the league have had effects on its talent and led to changes in the promotion. Due to the number of its fighters turning professional, AFL has recently decided to promote cards featuring both amateur and professional bouts. At AFL XXI, the promotion’s debut in Philadelphia, the card featured four amateur fights and four professional fights.

Asylum Fight League Promo Videos

AFL’s next events are scheduled for Mar. 13 in Philadelphia and Mar. 20 at Club Abyss in Amboy, N.J.

Fighters, Trainers at Black House, 'All Part of The Family,' says Ed Soares

Black House MMA is home to some of the most accomplished and promising fighters in all of MMA. Tough Media’s Ed Soares and viagra super active Jorge Guimaraes founded the private facility, based out of Los Angeles, CA, in order to provide a place for the fighters they represent to train when in the area.

Tough Media is a management company headed by Soares and Guimaraes, co-owners and operators of Black House MMA.

Guimaraes and Soares are extremely influential and successful figures in the MMA world.  Guimaraes came to America with the Gracie family and quickly became an ambassador for the sport of MMA.   Guimaraes has worked with Pride and the UFC and in 1997 launched “Passing The Guard,” a show focused on MMA news and coverage: the first of its kind.  Soares, owner of Sinister Brand Clothing, joined Guimares to produce the show on American television in April of 2004.

Ed Soares and Anderson Silva

“Black House is not so much a team, but a facility for all the fighters,” said Ed Soares in a recent interview via telephone.  ”Each fighter has a different set of trainers, depending upon who they’re fighting next and their strategy.  Each fighter has a camp tailored to his needs.”

Black House hosts an impressive list of MMA superstars including, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Junior Dos Santos, Pedro Rizzo, Paulo Filho, Wagney Fabiano, Thales Leites, Diego Nunes, Chase Gormley, Andre Galvao, Fabricio Camoes, Glover Teixeira, Mario Miranda and Rafael Cavalcante.

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Black House fighter and UFC heavyweight contender, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, has an upcoming match-up against Cain Velasquez on Feb. 21 in the main event of UFC 110. Nogueira left Brazilian Top Team to train with Black House in 2007 and has gone 3-1 in the UFC since.

Rodrigo Nogueria with trainer Luiz Alves

Nogueira is currently training in San Diego with training partners Mark Munoz and Junior Dos Santos, according to Soares. Nogueira is working with his boxing coach Luiz Dorea and his new muay tai coach Billy Schiebe in preparation for the fight.

Nogueira’s regular muay tai coach since 2000, Luiz Alves, suffered a stroke and crashed his car into a post in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on Jan. 26. Alves, president of the Brazilian Muay Thai Federation, remains hospitalized. The accident marks a huge blow to Nogueira’s camp.

Dominant UFC middleweight champion and arguably the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Anderson Silva, is in preparation for his main event title defense against Vitor Belfort on Apr. 10 at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi. Silva is currently training with coach Josuel Distak, a former trainer of Belfort, for his upcoming fight, according to Soares.

Anderson Silva's Training Crew

Silva is working with his muay thai coach Daniel Woirin, stregnth and conditioning coach Rogerio Camoes and boxing coach Cesario in preparation for the fight. He often works on his boxing with legendary trainer Freddie Roach as well.

Silva is working with his training partners, Andre Galvao, Rafael Cavalcante and Ronaldo Souza. Silva and Nogueira often train together as well.

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“It’s not so much the coaches. It’s the group of people he trains with. Anderson is different. He puts on a good camp,” said Soares.

Fighters Shine at Strikeforce, Team Continues to Gain Credibility

Strikeforce: Miami saw a nice reception in the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. The Showtime spectacular featured many up-and-coming fighters, but one team, and one particular fighter, is standing out.

Rated as the number one grappling competition team in Florida since 2000, and, according to UFC commentator Joe Rogan, “the best MMA camp in the country,” American Top Team (ATT) continues to grow.

American Top Team Facilities. Image Courtesy of ATTAltitude.com

American Top Team Facilities

With a headquarters in Coconut Creek, Fla., ATT has over 1,000 members, including names like Jorge Santiago, Hector Lombard, Kimbo Slice, Mike Brown and former professional wrestler, Bobby Lashley. To top it all off, the team is built around a core group of instructors with impressive resumes – a defining factor in the notoriety and credibility of ATT.

Founded by former Brazilian Top Team members Ricardo Liborio and Marcus Silveira, and financed/oversaw by Dan Lambert (a hotel executive), ATT built a 20,000-foot headquarters, and has expanded to 20 franchises and affiliate gyms. Liborio, a NAGA Grappling hall-of-famer, remains the Head Instructor. He is backed by 1976 Olympic Gold Medal boxer, Howard Davis Jr. (Head Boxing Coach), Strength and Conditioning coach Stefane Davis, who has a masters degree in Strength and Conditioning Preparation of Elite Athletes, and BJJ instructors Jonatas Gurgel and Marcos Da Matta.

Da Matta, along with Lashley and two other competitors were recently sent to Strikeforce: Miami to compete.

In the undercard, two welterweights from ATT competed, splitting 1-1. Sabah Homasi (2-1-0) was defeated for the first time by John Kelly via submission on a rear naked choke in the second round (2:48).

Also in welterweight action was Hayder Hassan (3-1-0), who handed Ryan Keenan his first professional loss with a technical knockout in the second round (2:42). All three of Hassan’s victories have come by technical knockout, showing his fine ability to pummel his opponents with his hands.

In featherweight action, Da Matta, who was undefeated prior to the event, fell to Pablo Alfonso, submitting to a straight armbar in the first round (1:47). Da Matta was able to bring the fight to the ground, but was quickly put in the defensive, where Alfonso moved from a guillotine choke to the armbar that decided Da Matta’s fate.

Finally, and most notably, Bobby Lashley competed in the heavyweight main card event, squaring off against Wes Sims, who was most recently featured on the television series The Ultimate Fighter. Lashley (5-0) remains undefeated after taking Sims out with a technical knockout in the first round (2:06). The fight was stopped after Lashley put Sims in the defensive and delivered a round of blows.YouTube Preview Image

U of Combat will surely be following ATT competitors very closely in the coming months, as they are proving to be among some of the elite in the nation. You can visit their website by clicking here.

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