Posts tagged: Heavyweight

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

Gonzaga, Ready for War Against dos Santos

Since his epic knockout of Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga Nogueira has faced very stiff competition, winning only three of his last six fights, and Junior dos Santos (10-1) will be no exception to this trend come UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones.

Gabriel Gonzaga

On Sunday, Gonzaga, 30, will have the chance to once again put himself atop the heavyweight division with a win over dos Santos in a fight that no one expects to go to a decision. The fight is scheduled as the co-main event of the evening at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colo.

Gonzaga is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Wander Braga, and holds championships in ADCC, CBJJO, Mundials and World Jiu-Jitsu Championship tournaments. In addition to being an accomplished grappler, Gonzaga is an elite muay thai practitioner: making him a very versatile fighter.

Currently holding a professional MMA record of 11-4, Gonzaga has won five fights by knockout or TKO, and the remaining six by way of submission. He has never had a bout reach a decision in his MMA career.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Gonzaga developed his MMA skills training at the Chute Boxe Academy and Macaco Gold Team. He now trains under Marco Alvan at Team Link in Ludlow, Mass. Formerly Macro Alvan BJJ, Team Link changed its name with the addition of Gonzaga in 2006.

In the co-main event of UFC 96, Shane Carwin (11-0) handed Gonzaga the first knockout defeat of his career. Gonzaga started the fight out strong, landing an overhand right and two right crosses that rocked Carwin, breaking his nose and forcing him to clinch. Gonzaga quickly took down Carwin and landed some ground and pound.

Gonzaga vs. Couture

Carwin got back to his feet in about 20 seconds and quickly landed a jab-cross combo that left Gonzaga out cold at just 1:09 into the first round. The knockout loss, although his first, revealed a weakness in the chin and standup game of Gonzaga. This factor could come into play in his next fight, especially considering that eight of dos Santos’ 10 fights have ended by knockout or TKO, including all four of his fights in UFC competition.

In his next fight, on the undercard of UFC 102, Gonzaga made quick work of UFC newcomer Chris Tuchscherer (18-2). After a stoppage due to a low kick to Tuchscherer, Gonzaga quickly landed a head kick, which dropped his opponent. He swarmed the downed fighter with ground-and-pound until the referee called for a TKO stoppage at 2:27 into the first round.

Gonzaga’s devastating kicks proved pivotal in his last fight, as they have in the past, and this technical advantage from the standup could prove extremely effective in his fight with dos Santos. However, dos Santos’ heavy hands are just as much of a threat if not greater from the standup. Dos Santos has also never been to a decision in his MMA career.

Dos Santos, a brown belt in BJJ, has yet to be tested on the ground in his UFC career. Gonzaga, the more experienced grappler, should have a clear advantage in the ground game should the fight turn into a grappling match. Gonzaga will likely force the fight to the ground if he gets rocked early on.

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UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones will air live on Versus at 9 p.m. EST

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)

Inside The Guard, A Versatile Position

Usually the starting point of grappling action in MMA matches, the guard is often overlooked by fans and even fighters, but a fighter using proper technique can prove the position dangerous.

Ortiz inside the butterfly guard of Griffin

The goal of the top fighter in the guard is to utilize ground-and-pound striking while aiming to improve their position. The top fighter also has the option of opening the guard and going for submission attempts.

The goal of the bottom fighter in the guard is most commonly to attempt various submissions off of their back or to escape using sweep techniques to return the fight to their feet. However, there are a few effective strikes from the bottom as well.

There are two basic forms of the guard: the closed guard and the open guard. In the closed guard the bottom fighter has their legs wrapped around the top fighter’s back, as well as their arms in cases. The aim of the closed guard is for the bottom fighter to keep the top fighter’s body as close to theirs as possible, limiting range in order to prevent devastating strikes and set up submission attempts.

In the open guard the bottom fighter uses his legs to control the opponent with the goal being to keep the opponent further away rather than close, because the bottom fighter becomes more vulnerable to strikes. The open guard can be used by the bottom fighter to set up submissions, but is most commonly used to create a sweep in order to return the fight to the feet or transition to the top position.

Alan Belcher trapped in Jason Day's rubber guard at UFC 83. Day lands 10 elbow strikes and 17 unanswered punches

There are various forms of the open guard such as the butterfly guard, the rubber guard, the x-guard, the spider guard, De la Riva guard and 50-50 guard. Arguably the most common in MMA are the butterfly and rubber guard.

The butterfly guard is a position in which the bottom fighter’s legs are hooked with their ankles inside the top fighter’s thighs. This allows for good control of the top fighter’s movements and distancing and allows for effective sweeps.

The rubber guard, created by Eddie Bravo, is gaining popularity and becoming more common in the MMA world. The bottom fighter uses a leg to trap the top opponent in their guard, opening up possibilities for submissions, sweeps and even effective striking from the bottom. Dream lightweight champion Shinya Aoki has developed one of the most effective rubber guards in MMA along with UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn.

The main goal of the top fighter in the guard is to advance his position. However, striking can be effective. Tito Ortiz is among one of the most effective strikers from the guard in MMA, in great part due to his devastating elbows. Elbows, hammer fists, closed fist strikes, and even Royce Gracie style palm strikes can cause damage from the guard.

Mousasi KO's Jacare via up-kick

Fighters inside an opponents open guard also have the option of standing in the guard to attempt various leg locks, such as knee bars, heel hooks and achilles locks. However, this can make them vulnerable to commonly the most devastating strike from the bottom guard.

Up-kicks have proven to be extremely effective in MMA and are a good tool for fighters on their back. Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi knocked out Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in dramatic fashion with a single upkick in the final round of the Dream middleweight grand prix at Dream 6 on September 23, 2008.

The bottom fighter has a clear advantage in the submission game from the guard. The most common submissions pulled off from guard are the guillotine, arm bar, triangle choke and kimura. Other popular submissions are the omoplata and gogoplata, but these techniques are most often used as a sweep to simply transition to the top or a standing position. However, they can be very effective when used from the rubber guard.

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The top fighter must aim to improve his position above all else while in the guard. A ground-and-pound fighter must move out of harms way against a submission specialist rather than being contempt to strike from the guard. Mark Coleman learned this lesson not once, but twice when he was submitted from within WAMMA and former Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko‘s guard during Pride FC competition in 2004 and then again in 2006.

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A Legend is Stopped, Others Rebound at UFC 110

Rising star Cain Velasquez defeated the legendary Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in dominating fashion in the main event of UFC 110 on Saturday to secure a spot as a top contender for the UFC heavyweight title.

Velasquez v. Nogueira

The two ground specialists exchanged in a brief standup battle in the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia.  Velasquez landed a combo, which sent Nogueira to the canvas and he quickly followed up with vicious ground and pound that left Nogueria unconscious.  Referee Herb Dean called for a knockout stoppage, putting an end to the contest at 2:20 in the first round.

“We’ll see what happens with Mir and Carwin – see who wins that – and if the guys come out unscathed, they’ll fight for the title,” said UFC president Dana White at the post-fight press conference.  ”If not, then Cain Velasquez will get that spot.”

Velasquez’s performance earned him “Knockout of the Night” honors along with a $50,000 bonus.

The co-main event featured another legendary brazilian fighter and Pride FC champion in Wanderlei Silva, who squared off against Michael Bisping.  The contest saw both fighters standing and exchanging for the majority of the fight.

Bisping took Silva down several times in the first and second rounds, but was unable to keep him down once on the ground.  Silva caught him in a tight arm-in guillotine off of a Bisping takedown attempt with about 15 seconds left in the second round, but was unable to force a tap.

Silva v. Bisping

Bisping landed two fouls which briefly stopped the action in the middle of the third round: first a kick to the cup of Silva and then a finger to the eye.  Silva took the offensive, coming out swinging for the fences in the last two minutes of the fight.  Silva rushed Bisping and landed a right hook to drop him just before the final bell.

Silva was awarded a unanimous decision with all three judges scoring the contest 29-28 in his favor.

Bisping disagreed with the official decision. “It’s a close fight, but personally, I thought I won rounds one and two,” he said during the post-fight conference.  He also stated that he would love a rematch with Silva in the future.

Australian native George Sotiropoulos defeated Joe Stevenson by unanimous decision in a thrilling and extremely technical match.  Sotiropoulos controlled the fight on the feet, dropping Stevenson in the second and put him in several dangerous situations on the ground utilizing his superior submission game.

All three judges scored the contest 30-27 in a dominant victory for Sotiropoulos.  The match was named the “Fight of the Night” and earned both fighters a $50,000 bonus.

The Ultimate Fighter season eight winner Ryan Bader took down and controlled Keith Jardine on the ground in the first round of the second main-card fight.  Jardine controlled the second round with strong punches and leg kicks and was able to stuff the takedown attempts of Bader.

Bader landed a right hand that hurt Jardine in the third and quickly followed up with a flying knee to the body and a left hook, which dropped Jardine to the canvas.  Referee Josh Rosenthal called for a knockout stoppage, putting an end to the fight at 2:10 of the third round.

Cro Cop v. Perosh

In the first main card fight Croatian legend and Pride FC champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic faced overmatched Australian native Anthony Perosh.  Cro Cop was originally scheduled to face former IFL champion Ben Rothwell who was forced to withdraw just days before the event due to illness.  Perosh took the fight on two days notice.

Cro Cop controlled the fight, landing devastating strikes in the standup and denying Perosh’s numerous takedown attempts.  Perosh continually went for the takedown only to end up in Cro Cops sprawl and to receive brutal ground and pound.

Cro Cop landed a powerful elbow from inside the guard, opening up a cut above Perosh’s eye with about a minute left in the second round.  Cro Cop was awarded a TKO (cut) victory at the end of the second round after a dominant performance.

The “Submission of the Night” along with a $50,000 bonus was awarded to Chris Lytle who countered a takedown from Brian Foster to lock in a kneebar, putting an end to the preliminary card bout at 1:41 of the first round.

UFC 110 marked the organizations first trip to Australia and proved extremely successful for the UFC.  The event saw the second-fastest ticket sell-out in the 16-year history of the UFC.  Dana White announced his intentions to return, to Melbourne, Australia for an event in 2011, during the post-fight press conference.

UFC 110 – FULL

Silva Looks to Rebound at UFC 110

This Saturday Brazilian striker Wanderlei Silva will meet Michael Bisping (18-2) in the main card of UFC 110 in Sydney, Australia.  Silva hopes to rebound from his recent losses in UFC competition and reform himself as an elite middleweight fighter.

Wanderlei Silva

Silva, known as “The Axe Murderer,” “Cachorro Louco” and “Mad Dog,” will make his middleweight (185 lbs) debut this weekend.  Previously fighting in the light-heavyweight division (205 lbs), Silva is the former IVC light-heavyweight champion, the first even Pride middleweight champion (205 lbs) (2001-2007), the 2003 Pride middleweight grand prix tournament winner, and was named the 2004 fighter of the year by Sherdog.

Fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil, Silva developed his devastating muay tai striking at Chute Box Academy under Rudimar Fedrigo.  Upon moving to the United States in 2007 to compete in the UFC, he has trained with Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.  Silva is currently training for his upcoming fight at his newly opened facility, Wand Fight Team Academy based in Las Vegas.

Silva holds a professional MMA record of 32-10-1, 1NC coming into his fight at UFC 110.  Despite his impressive record, against top-level opponents, he has lost five of his last six fights, including his last two inside the octagon.  However, Silva hopes to transform himself as a middleweight fighter.

With a strong background in muay tai as well as a black belt in brazilian jiu jitsu under Carlos Gracie Jr., Silva is a complete MMA fighter.  His muay tai skills have proven pivotal and at times devastating throughout his career.  Of his 32 career wins, 20 have come by way of knockout or TKO.

UFC 110 Open Workout

Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson knocked out Silva in their third professional meeting on Dec 27, 2008 at UFC 92.  Jackson landed a quick left hook that sent Silva to the canvas, leaving him unconscious, in the first round (3:21) of the light-heavyweight battle.  Silva was victorious by way of knockout and TKO in their first two fights, which took place in Pride Fighting Championship.

His next fight proved more competitive as Silva lost a unanimous decision to former UFC middleweight champion RichFranklin on June 13 in the main event of UFC 99.  It was a back and forth battle featuring both fighters on their feet striking for the majority of the fight.  The contest, which won fight of the night honors, was fought at a catchweight of 195 lbs.

Despite his reputation as a distinguished striker, Silva’s striking defense has been his most noticeable weakness in recent fights.  In his last six fights he has faced three knockout losses.  Of his 44-fight career Silva had never been knocked out and had only ever been TKO’d twice before this point, one due to a cut.

Silva’s muay tai skills will be extremely relevant in his fight with Bisping and will likely be utilized as often as possible.  Bisping is a striker as well, and is known for keeping the fight standing.   Of Bisping’s 18 career wins, 11 have come by way of knockout or TKO.  The match will likely be a stand-up battle, featuring two talented strikers relatively new to the middleweight division.

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Live pay-per-view coverage of UFC 110 will begin at 10 p.m. EST

Countdown To UFC 110 Video

Another title shot for Nogueira reigns possible

As Ultimate Fighting Championship hits Australia for the first time viagra cheap at UFC 110 on Feb. 20, 2010, heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira looks to add his 33rd win in MMA competition.

Nogueira vs Velasquez will occur at UFC 110

Nogueira (32-5-1, 1 NC), 33, represents Brazil as he takes a trip to Sydney to highlight the main card at UFC 110 against undefeated heavyweight United States figher Cain Velasquez (7-0-0).

Despite Velasquez’ winning record and fierce wrestling style, Nogueira, also known as Minotauro, brings experience to the table with a black belt in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo.

Although Nogueira only has five losses, one of those losses came in one of his last two bouts, and was not pretty for the Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil native. UFC 92 (12-27-2008) in Las Vegas, Nev. marked the end of a reign for Minotauro. When 3-1 underdog Frank Mir took the octagon, he immediately took control of the fight, knocking down Nogueria twice with boxing moves. In the second round, Nogueria tried to establish his jabs, but Mir continued to land the big shots, finishing off with back-to-back left hands and the referee stopping the fight. With 1:54 in the second round, Nogueria lost the bout and the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship.

Nogueira would fare better in his next fight, which occurred Aug. 29, 2009 at UFC 102. The event would have taken place about one year earlier had Randy Couture not retired in Oct. 2007. In the meantime, Nogueira would win the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship and become the first fighter to ever hold both PRIDE and UFC belts.

Couture and Nogueira squared off in what would be known as the “loser’s bracket” of the UFC’s mini heavyweight tournament. However, the fight also highlighted the event, being named “Fight of the Night” when all was said and done.

Couture opened the fight strong with some great avoidance and defensive tactics to remain in the stand up game. Eventually, Nogueira’s fists took advantage, taking Couture to the ground and allowing him to get a tight brabo choke on Couture. The second round saw Couture in one of his weaker states, the half guard, for most of the round. Finally, things slow down as Nogueira slowed down his offensive attacks in round three. Despite Couture’s late round efforts with some ground blows, it was not enough. Nogueira took the fight with a unanimous decision: 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.

Looking towards UFC 110, Nogueira sees that a win will likely earn him the right for a future title bout – an honor that his undefeated opponent, Velasquez, will not let go easily. Velasquez has built a reputation to be one of the most talked about heavyweights in the mixed martial arts world, today.

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If Velasquez has any chance of winning this fight, it is with a technical and sound game. Nogueira on the other hand would be best suited to stick to his normal routine, where he has proven that he can win over 80-percent of the time.

Coleman attempts to put Team Hammer House back on center stage

Mark “The Hammer” Coleman’s Team Hammer House has fallen on hard times as of late.  However, Coleman hopes to turn the trend around as he meets another MMA great and fellow UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture this weekend at UFC 109 Relentless.

Team Hammer House is a MMA team operating out of Columbus, Ohio, focused on amateur wrestling, and made up of mostly former NCAA wrestlers.  The team has cross training deals with notable fighters and camps such as Matt Serra, Pat Miletich, and Xtreme Couture MMA.

The main strengths of Team Hammer House are its wrestling and ground-and-pound.  Coleman is credited with being one of the first American MMA fighters to successfully use the strategy of ground-and-pound, which has earned him the nickname of the “Godfather of Ground-and-Pound.”

Coleman, the founder of Team Hammer House, holds numerous accomplishments in the world of professional MMA.  He is a UFC Hall of Famer, the first ever UFC heavyweight champion, and the winner of the UFC 10 tournament, UFC 11 tournament, and 2000 Pride openweight GP tournament.  Coleman, like many of his teammates at Hammer House, is a former NCAA collegiate wrestler.

Team Hammer House holds a roster with several prominent fighters, including four UFC veterans: two of whom are former UFC champions. The team’s notable fighters include: Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Wes Sims and Branden Lee Hinkle.  Phil Baroni, a UFC, Pride and Strikeforce veteran, is a former member of Team Hammer House.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman is a senior member of  Team Hammer House. Randleman, a former collegiate wrestler and two time Division I NCAA champion, was defeated by Mike Whitehead via unanimous decision in June of 2009 during his Strikeforce debut at Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields.  The fight marked his first fight in over a year due to a shoulder injury, as well as his first fight in America in nearly seven years.  In his most recent fight Randleman was defeated by Stanislav Nedkov via split decision at World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku 11.

Wes Sims, three-fight UFC veteran  and The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights cast member, recently fought Bobby Lashley on the main card of Strikeforce: Miami. Sims was stopped in the first round via technical knock out (2:06).

Branden Lee Hinkle, three-fight UFC veteran and NCAA Division II national wrestling champion, was stopped by Chris Tuchscherer in round 4 (4:43) of his most recent fight at SNMMA: Beatdown at Four Bears. Hinkle has lost four of his last five fights after going undefeated in his previous nine matches.

Coleman scored a unanimous decision victory over Stephan Bonner in his last fight at UFC 100 after falling to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via technical knock out in the third round (4:36) at UFC93.  He is currently training with Team Hammer House in preparation for his match with Randy Couture this Saturday Feb. 6 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV.

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Live pay-per-view coverage of UFC 109 will begin at 10 p.m. EST.

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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