Posts tagged: Welterweight

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.

Who You Callin' A Welterweight?

Ever since its advent in 1993, The Ultimate Fighting Championship has been the paramount battle ground for mixed martial artists. It has been and still is the event fighters participate in to prove their prowess and skill not just to themselves, but to the world. Greats such as Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture passed through this system and gained international fame by beating opponents into submission there.

So here we are, at UFC 104. Wow. One hundred and four contests. The proving grounds are no longer graced by the likes of Liddell and Couture however; the grounds of UFC 104 belong to Anthony Johnson and Yoshiyuki Yoshida…at least in the welterweight category.

Johnson, an American fighter known for his kickboxing style, owns an impressive 7-2-0 record, with both losses happening to have been in UFC events. His last fight was against American Luigi Fioravanti at UFC Fight Night 17 (taking place between UFC 94 and UFC 95) on February 7th, and the result was memorable: a four-and-a-half minute technical knockout of Fioravanti on punches. Watch the fight, and as you watch you’ll see Johnson’s a pretty intense fighter.

Yoshida is a Japanese fighter known for his Judo style and a solid 11-3-0 record. His last fight was in the welterweight division of UFC 98 on May 23rd against former Navy SEAL American Brandon Wolff. And guess what? Yoshida put the ex-military man in a Guillotine choke that would make even Dana White cringe. Don’t take my word for it though; check out the video and see for yourself. Anthony Johnson might want to make those last minute changes to his will sometime soon.

UFC 104 looks to be a great match-up, especially in the welterweight class. A battle between two fighters in their prime always makes for great TV, and you don’t want to miss it. UFC 104 airs live on Pay-Per-View Saturday, October 24th at 10 p.m. Get excited with the preview video below and be sure not to miss what your buddies will be talking about for weeks afterward. YouTube Preview Image

W1: HIGH VOLTAGE 10/10!

Warrior-1, presented by The Score, will come back fighting on October 10th at the Robert Guertin Arena in Gatineau, Quebec.  W1: HIGH VOLTAGE will feature Carlos “The Ronin” Newton versus “Mr. International” Shonie Carter as the main event in a showdown for the W1 Welterweight Championship.

W1: HIGH VOLTAGE will feature THE RONIN vs. MR. INTERNATIONAL Oct 10

W1: HIGH VOLTAGE will feature THE RONIN vs. MR. INTERNATIONAL Oct 10

Newton returns to W1 after making his debut in W1: INCEPTION where he defeated Nabil “The Thrill” Khatib by TKO to become the first ever Canadian UFC Champion at Welterweight.  Carter has won his last three matches and is looking to add this championship to his collection.

The co-main event features a match-up for Bantamweight Champ between undefeated Remi “Bam Bam” Moravan and the former TKO Bantamweight Champion Adrian “The Bully” Wooley.

Fighting begins at 6 pm.  Fans should visit Ticketmaster for tickets or w1mma.com for more information.

Styles Make Fights – DREAM 10: Zaromskis vs. High (Muay Thai vs. Freestyle)

In the finals of the DREAM Welterweight tournament, Marius Zaromskis completed his magical run in the tourney with a spectacular Crocop-esque head kick KO of Jason High to claim the DREAM Welterweight Championship.

Marius Zaromskis Koed all three of his tourney opponents en route to the DREAM WW title.

Marius Zaromskis Ko'ed all three of his tourney opponents en route to the DREAM WW title.

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Zaromskis, who defeated tournament favorite Hayato Sakurai in similar fashion earlier in the night to advance to the final, charged at High with a flying knee to start the title fight, but High put him on his back and tried to work the ground-and-pound. The fight made its way back up to the feet, and a lighting-fast high kick from Zaromskis flew out of nowhere and instantly put High to sleep.

It was a crushing defeat for High, who had earlier shown a great deal of heart in outlasting BJJ phenom Andres Galvao for a place in the final. Zaromskis, who was making his top-flight MMA debut in this DREAM tournament, has now become the exciting KO-machine champion that all promotions crave.

Styles Make Fights – TUF 9 Finale: Johnson vs. Wilks (Freestyle vs. Freestyle)

In the welterweight finale for TUF 9, a bad-blood-barnburner turned into a ground clinc as James Wilks ran through Demarques Johnson to capture the welterweight contract and ensure a UK sweep of TUF 9.

James Wilks dominated Demarques Johnson and finished the UK sweep

James Wilks dominated Demarques Johnson and finished the UK sweep

Both men came out swinging early, and Wilks got the best of the early shots with a jab and a knee. Wilks continued to relentlessly pressure Johnson with knees to the body until the fight went to the ground, with Wilks on top. A heelhook attempt by Wilks is foiled by Johnson, who works his way to top position. Wilks, however, kept working on the leg with “leg compression lock” (see Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Tyson Griffin for a visual), but Johnson escaped. Wilks then failed to finish again with a triangle, but continued to throw Johnson around the cage. Wilks tried to finish with a rear nake choke, and after a long struggle, Johnson got one of his arms trapped and tapped with seconds left in the round.

Like Ross Pearson before him, Wilks executed the perfect gameplan, coming out aggressive and getting straight into Johnson’s face. Johnson never found his rhythm and could only react to what Wilks was doing, eventually leading to the submission finish.

A Punch Above The Rest

Located in Los Angeles, California, Legends Training Center is one of the country’s premier mixed martial arts gyms. Besides being home to world famous trainers and coaches, who have guided the likes of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Kimbo Slice, mixed martial arts legends, like Bas Rutten, invest in and frequently train at Legends gym. Their training techniques and focus makes the Legends gym one of the most successful in the country and sets them apart from most of the rest. Legends is one in a handful of professional class gyms that can encompass all the aspects of mix martial arts into their training program, and is one of the foremost sought-out gyms for want-to-be mixed martial artists.

Owner Chris Reilly, who co-founded the gym with former UFC heavyweight champions and legends, Bass Rutten and Randy Couture, has a large professional background in boxing and kickboxing as well as an expansive amateur background in Karate, Tangsudo, Hapkido, and Taekwondo, claiming a black belt in all four martial arts. In 2001 Reilly won the “King’s Birthday,” championship in Thailand, being the only American to ever do so, and was crowned the IKKC Junior Middleweight Champion in 2003.

Eddie Bravo, Legends’ Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor, is a North America pioneer in Jiu Jitsu. Bravo is the founder of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu, a large chain of gyms, that have reached world fame. Bravo is attributed with evolving the sport of Jiu Jitsu to how it is used today in mixed martial arts. 10th Planet Jiu JItsu gyms are located all over the world from Toronto, Canada to Stockholm, Sweden. Bravo is the 2002 North American Abu Dhabi Combat Club champion, receiving “most technical fighter” honors, and is the 2000 Grappler’s Quest champion.

Peter Nylund cofounded the Bomb Squad Gym with Chris Reilly in 2002, the precursor to Legends, and teaches Muay Thai and Boxing at the Legends gym. Nylund was the 200 Swedish welterweight champion in shoot fighting, and in 2001 was the Swedish junior middleweight champion in Muay Thai. He is ranked as one of Sweden’s top 50 athletes.

The rest of Legends trainers and coaches are the best in the business, bar none, and their bios can be found at Who We Are.

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Legends has not just changed the way mixed martial arts is trained and studied inside the gym. The Legends mixed martial arts blog has changed the way people talk about and discuss mixed martial arts outside of the gym. Their blog is one of the premiere online sources for amateur and professional mixed martial arts on the West Coast.  the Legends blog gets interviews with up and coming fighters, and keeps fans updated on the latest mixed martial arts news from fight cancelations, to fighter affiliation, and covers the activity of almost all professional mixed martial arts organizations.

The Legends gym is one of the few gyms in the world to reach the iconic status, as a place where champions are bred. Only a few boxing gyms in America claim this status. Gyms such as the Kronk Gym in Detroit, Michigan, and the Wild Card Gym, in Hollywood, California. Even fewer mixed martial arts gyms have claim to this status. Legends, and a few others if any, are among those that have achieved such recognition.

The Ultimate Fighter 9 Big Board: Episode 12 – Wilks vs. Lester II

In the last episode of The Ultimate Fighter 9: US vs. UK, foes-turned-friends James Wilks and Frank Lester once again faced off, this time with a spot in the welterweight finale on the line. In the end, Team UK’s Wilks once again put Team USA’s Lester away to advance to the finale and face Demarques Johnson for TUF 9′s welterweight title. In the country-versus-country tally, Team UK enters the finale with a 3 fighters as opposed to USA’s single one.

TUF: Season 9 UK vs USA

TUF: Season 9 UK vs USA

The first round was a slow and tentative affair where Wilks used his reach advantage to pick away at Lester. The clinches against the fence provided nothing of note, while Wilks seemed fine with dropping his hands and inviting Lester to try and take a swing at him.

An accidental low blow started off the second round, but after that, Wilk’s straight jab continued to hurt Lester. Lester’s hands couldn’t match Wilk’s reach, and Wilks’ strikes continued to get through Lester’s defense. Lester managed to keep the fight standing and defended the takedown well enough, but Wilks was content to initiate and let the jabs add up on Lester as the round ended.

Lester came out swinging in round three, but Wilks caught him early and once again pushed Lester up against the fence. In a case of deja vu, Wilks made Lester feel his knees once again, until Lester could take no more punishment and was saved by the ref.

It was a well-executed game plan by Team UK and Wilks, who exploited Lester’s obvious lack of technique and fatigue from his previous fights. Wilks never tried too hard for the takedown, but was instead confident enough in his striking to finish Lester without taking much damage.

TUF Finale – With both finale matchups now set, who will walk out with the UFC contracts?

Lightweight

The Favorite – Andre Winner

The Underdog – Ross Pearson

Winner will enter the TUF 9 ligthweight finale as the slight favorite due to his size and experience advantage. In a battle between two strikers who can also finish with submissions, Winner will need to impose his will on the smaller man both standing and on the ground. For Pearson, the key will be to once again push the pace and try to harass Winner into losing his composure.

Welterweight

The Favorite – Demarques Johnson

The Underdog – James Wilks

Johnson will enter the finale as a slight favorite against Wilks. Johnson seems to have a complete game, but as his semi-final fight showed, he can be rattled by strikes that come fast and early. Wilks will have to bring some ruthless aggression and not let Johnson settle into any kind of game plan. Both men are good on the ground, so stand-up prowess might make all the difference in this matchup.

Styles Make Fights – UFC 99: Swick vs. Saunders (Freestyle vs. Freestyle)

In a welterweight fight which featured audible trash-talking between the fighters, Mike Swick continued his ascent up the ranks of 170 pounds with a KO of Ben Saunders at UFC 99: The Comeback

The fight was started off by Swick taking down Saunders against the cage. At one point on the ground, Swick asked Saunders …”are you going to hold on me all day?”, to which Saunders replied, “then lets stand up, bitch.”

Mike Swick doesnt like being called a bitch.

Mike Swick doesn't like being called a bitch.

That exchange was more exciting than any of the action in the cage, where Swick was content to take Saunders down until the referee would stand the fights up again. However, near the end of the second round, Swick suddenly exploded with quick hands, countering a Saunders kick attempt with a flurry of fists to the head which ended the fight.

It was a matchup between two lanky and similarly-sized fighters, but Swick’s hand speed and power made the difference against the TUF alum Saunders, who was unable to showcase much of his skills against his first quality UFC opponent.

Miguel Cotto vs. Joshua Clottey: Battle For The Throne

In a title unification bout, two-time welterweight champion and former undisputed light welterweight champion Miguel Cotto, hopes to defeat welterweight champion Joshua Clottey to unify the WBO and IBF welterweight titles and become once again, the king of the welterweights. Cotto was dethroned by Antonio Margarito last July in a grueling and hard fought bout. However, Margarito was found with a plaster-like substance on his hand wraps before a fight on January 24th of this year, creating suspicion over his most recent wins, especially his brawl with Cotto, in which Cotto had won most of the early rounds.

Cotto unified all the titles and beat the best in the business at the light welterweight division, defeating the likes of DeMarcus Corley, Paulie Malignaggi, and Lovemore N’dou. In 2006, after the Malignaggi win, there was nowhere else for Cotto to go, except to move up to the star-studded welterweight division in hopes of a superstar bout. He got one six months later, for the WBA welterweight title against Carlos Quintana. After the Quintana fight, and his biggest win at the time, Cotto put on what seemed to be a boxing clinic against a list of superstars in five fights over the next year and a half. In doing so, he claimed wins over Zab Judah, Alfonso Gomez of contender fame, and long-time welterweight “gate keeper,” Shane Mosley. Cotto is now poised and ready to be back on top. A win over Joshua Clottey would once again shoot him into the boxing stratosphere.

Clottey is no newcomer to the fight game.  Although he is not the favorite to win, he will be a stiff challenge for the former welterweight king. Recently beating Zab Judah for the vacant IBF title, Joshua Clottey is ready to seize the glory he failed to attain in a bout which he lost against Antonio Margarito in 2006. Clottey has been a long time welterweight contender, who is now breaking into the spotlight with notable wins over the likes of Carlos Baldomir and Diego Corrales.

No matter the outcome, the fight is sure to please. As the saying goes, “styles make fights,” and if that proves to be the case, which it usually does, these two men are in for a hard-fought bout, which means the fans are in for a night of excitement. Both men fight with a “leave it all in the ring” mentality. Neither fighter is scared to take two shots to give one. However, both are capable of and have demonstrated their abilities to turn a brawl into a boxing match and vise versa. Cotto is a little more affective when he fights inside, and is known for his vicious body shots, which many believe gives him the edge. It is hard to predict how these fighters will handle one another, but it is safe to say that in no way, shape, or form, will this bout be action-deprived.

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Their showdown at the Garden Saturday, June 13th, will prove to be one of heart, guts, and desire, and will be a true test and measure of champions. The bout will sell out the garden on the eve of the world famous Puerto Rican Day Parade, which is expected to be mostly comprised of Puerto Rican fans coming to cheer on Cotto.

Order the fight on Pay Per View, or follow the live round by round coverage on ESPN.

The Ultimate Fighter 9 Big Board: Episode 11 – Winner vs. Dollar, Pearson vs. Dent

Andre Winner submitted Cameron Dollar

Andre Winner submitted Cameron Dollar

The lightweight finale for TUF was set this week as Andre Winner and Ross Pearson punched in their tickets to an all-UK affair at the expense of Cameron Dollar and Jason Dent respectively.

In the first fight of today’s episode, Winner disposed to Dollar in quick and unexpected fashion with a triangle choke in the first round.

It was a sloppy fight initially, with Dollar swinging for the fences from the start while Winner responded with precision counter strikes. The decisive factor was Dollar’s inability to suck Winner into the ground game, as Winner muscled off Dollar’s takedowns and was unnerved by Dollar’s looping go-for-broke punches. Winner then took advantage of a desperate lunging takedown by Dollar to sweep into full mount. The mount was high, so the striker Winner switched to a triangle choke which hung dangerously loose for awhile. However, Dollar didn’t muster the strength to pull out of the hold, and Winner eventually locked it up and coaxed the tap from Dollar.

In the second fight, the veteren Dent finally turned up the heat against British slugger Pearson, fighting Pearson at his own game of non-stop striking in the first round. Pearson was up to the test and refused to back up, throwing strikes of his own which found their mark. Overall in the round Pearson landed more clean shots, but Dent ended the round with a strong flurry, making it a round nearly too close to call.

It was more of the same at the start of the second round, with both men exchanging punches and kicks. Pearson scored the first takedown of the match to escape a Dent flurry, but Dent made it back to his feet and continued to apply the pressure from strikes. However, a takedown attempt by Dent went wrong and Pearson ended the round by raining down blows from guard, taking away all the momentum that Dent had built up.

Ross Pearson won a decision over Jason Dent

Ross Pearson won a UD over Jason Dent

Convinced that Dent was behind on the scorecards, USA coach Dan Henderson implored Dent to finish the fight in the third and final round. However, Pearson came out of his corner full of confidence and brought the fight right up to Dent, hitting him with punches before taking him down once more. Pearson went on to punish the tired Dent from guard before grabbing side-back control when Dent tried to squirm back to his feet. From there it was all Pearson, who showed enough awareness to avoid all of Dent’s last-ditch submission attempts while still actively delivering strikes on the ground.  The fight ended with Pearson in dominant position, and while Dent finally showed what he could do, it was indeed Ross Pearson who took the unanimous decision.

Though the non-fight segments of the episode were kept short, listening to the Team UK fighters talk about what Jason Pierce had told them about Cameron Dollar’s striking tendencies was a nice reminder that trustworthiness is a factor when deciding which fighters you want in your camp.

TUF Finale Big Board

With only one episode remaining before the finale, both final fights look to be highly entertaining matchups.

Lightweight

The Favorite – Andre Winner

The Underdog – Ross Pearson

Winner will enter the TUF 9 ligthweight finale as the slight favorite due to his size and experience advantage. In a battle between two strikers who can also finish with submissions, Winner will need to impose his will on the smaller man both standing and on the ground. For Pearson, the key will be to once again push the pace and try to harass Winner into losing his composure.

Welterweight

The Favorite – Demarques Johnson

The Underdog – James Wilks/Frank Lester

No matter whoever wins the final fight next week, Johnson will enter the finale as a slight favorite against Wilks or a clear favorite against Lester. Johnson seems to have a complete game, but as his semi-final fight showed, he can be rattled by strikes that come fast and early. Lester, although tough as nails, lacks the technique to compete with Johnson, and Wilks will have to bring some ruthless aggression and not let Johnson settle into any kind of game plan.

Quote of the Show:

“I never suck my thumb in the house… only at nights… and sometimes in the van.”

Andre Winner, on his tendency to sometimes suck on his own thumb.

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