Fighters at the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) have been very busy in the past month, many making a name for themselves, as fighters, in mainstream MMA, and others hope to improve their reputation in upcoming months.
The American Kickboxing Academy is a gym located in San Jose, California. AKA’s training staff members have diverse sets of martial skills and come from very different backgrounds. This diversity is the gym’s greatest strength, because it allows for the development of more well-rounded and intelligent MMA fighters.
AKA gained notoriety due to its talented and experienced training staff, as well as Javier “Thunder” Mendez’s success as a kickboxer and MMA trainer. Mendez, the owner and head trainer at AKA, is a former ISKA World Kickboxing champion and Martial art practitioner with over 25 years of experience in various martial arts.
One fight UFC veteran “Crazy” Bob Cook is the head MMA trainer and head manager for MMA fighters at AKA. Cook holds a 5-0 undefeated record in MMA. His last fight was at UFC 24 in March of 2000 in which he submitted Tiki Ghosen by rear-naked choke.
Head grappling coach David Camarillo is a black belt in both judo and brazilian jiu jitsu. Camarillo holds various accomplishments, including winning several high-caliber grappling competitions and even winning the 1998 Folsom Free Fighting Challenge, a no holds barred fighting competition.
The remaining instructors at AKA vary in discipline and experience from professional MMA fighters to former professional boxers and kickboxers, muay tai practitioners and grappling specialists. They include Jerome Turcan, Travis Johnson, Mike Sotelo, Andy Fong, Derek Yuen, Josh Thomson, Gary Owens, Stacey D. Dupree and Daniel DeTagle.
AKA holds a roster with considerable talent and a diversity of fighters in terms of martial strengths. Its current roster includes numerous UFC veterans, including Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Mike Swick, Phil Davis, Josh Thomson, Cain Velasquez, Paul Buentello, Trevor Prangley, Christian Wellisch, Richard Crunkilton, Bobby Southworth and Kyle Kingsbury. AKA also has many Strikeforce veterans, including former Middleweight champion Cung Le, Herschel Walker, Billy Evangelista, Daniel Puder, Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold, Justin Wilcox and Nate Moore.
AKA trains several fighters, competing in top-level organizations, who hold undefeated records. These fighters include Phil Davis, Cain Velasquez, Billy Evangelista, Daniel Puder, Daniel Cormier and Herschel Walker
Heisman trophy winner and 12 season NFL veteran Herschel Walker made his MMA debut on Jan. 30 at Strikeforce: Miami at the age of 47. Walker took down and pummeled Greg Nagy, achieving a technical knock out in the third round (2:17).
Penn State graduate and NCAA wrestling champion Phil Davis won his UFC debut on Saturday at UFC 109. Davis controlled the fight, dominating Brian Stann on the ground, and earned a unanimous decision victory.
Cain Velasquez will face off against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the main event of UFC 110 in Sydney, Australia on Feb. 21. The winner will likely be a top-contender for the heavyweight title.
UFC welterweight contender Jon Fitch is scheduled to meet Thiago Alves at UFC 111 in Newark, NJ on Mar. 27. Fitch is on a three fight win streak after losing a unanimous decision title match to Georges St. Pierre in August of 2008 at UFC 87. Fitch defeated Alves by knock out in the second round (4:37) of their first meeting at UFC: Ultimate Fight Night 5 in June of 2006.
UFC welterweight contender Josh Koscheck is set to fight Paul Daley at UFC 113 in Montreal, Quebec on May 8. Koscheck and Daley each hold a two fight win streak in the UFC coming into the fight.