Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sarah McLeod Interview

Earlier this year Sarah McLeod made a lot of new fans in her NAAFS debut with a TKO win over another good fighter, Ronda Gale. Sarah is coming off a disputed loss to the home town favorite in her last fight. McLeod is knowing for her always forward stand and bang style. At Eve of Destruction she brings that style to the cage against undefeated Amber Ignatowski. Sarah will for sure be Amber's toughest opponent to date. This fight has fight of the night written all over it.

Q: Your first fight with NAAFS you made a good impression and a lot of fans have wanted you to come back. How does that make you feel to have people wanting you back?
A: It feels great. It feels great to have a new fan base and it feels like I am almost a home town fighter there. I love to be able to come back. The NAAFS is a great organization and I am proud to be a part of it and have a fan base there.

Q: As a female, how does it feel to get to fight on an all female card?
A: Its amazing to be a part of an all female card and I am grateful for the opportunity. I am real excited to see all female fights.

Q: Is shows like this a step in the right direction for female fighters getting more respect?
A: Oh definitely. There's not many all female cards. This is one step in the right direction for Women's MMA and I think the fans will love to see it. I am sure women in the crowd will be influenced to maybe try it and get Women's MMA more popular.

Q: You are fighting Amber Ignatowski, do you know anything about her?
A: I have watched video of her online. She is very aggressive and a powerful striker. I haven't seen much ground game, most of her fights are stand-up. She has finished all of her opponents so she is no joke, a very tough opponent. I am excited for the challenge.

Q: It looks like she has fought all inexperienced girls, would you say you are a step up for her?
A: I definitely think I will be her toughest challenge and I think she will be one of mine also. I think its a challenge for both of us and test our abilities.

Q: No secret, you like stand and hit hard. If you catch her with something do you think she will want to keep standing or maybe try and go down?
A: Because we both prefer stand-up I think we will find ourselves in a stand-up brawl. I am confident that once I tag her she will have to look for other options. I don't think she will want to stand with my punches. I am definitely looking for a knock-out.

Q: Whats the key for you winning this fight?
A: The key is to be calm and patient. I have to pick her apart and find my openings.

Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: Not really. Its hard to predict a fight. It can go either way. I would like a knock-out, but I have been working on my ground and if it goes to the ground I am excited to test my skills. It would be nice to get my first submission but I am happy with a knock-out as well.

Q: Do you think people can look at your record and not realize how much you have improved, and maybe underestimate you?
A: I definitely think I could be underestimated. But I am improving and fighting tough opponents. Every fight I get better. Every fight I have ever done I am proud of and learn a lot. I am going into this as a whole new fighter, like I do every fight. I could really surprise her.

Q: You are coming from a distance so don't have your coaches, but have these two awesome guys to corner you....
A: Haha

Q: Does that make traveling easier knowing you have people to take care of you?
A: I do travel a lot for fights, so I usually am on my own and have to find people to corner me. It's great to have friends in Ohio that I feel comfortable with and know my style and are able to coach me. I will feel comfortable and like I have my teammates with me practically.

Q: Any idea what you want after this?
A: Right after my fight in Ohio I am flying to Portland and training there for 3 to 4 weeks and looking for an opponent on January 13th for GFL in Portland.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A I want to thank you for the interview. My gym, Mid-America Martial Arts,my coach Aaron Cerrone, all my teammates for supporting me, my strength and conditioning coach Bret Carter from Endless PossiblitiesNichole Long for all the work and help she has done for me. I want to thank you and John Hawk for cornering me while I am there. I am real excited to see all my friends and fans there.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Meghan Joyce Interview

At Eve of Destruction 2 Meghan Joyce steps into the cage with Heather Bess. Meghan has not fought since her debut win over Rebecca Gruitza in March after having a couple fights fall through. While she says she likes to stand, her fight with Gruitza showed she obviously is skilled on the ground. Wherever this fight gores, Meghan Joyce is sure to entertain you.

Q: For those who may not be familiar with you, can you start out by telling how you got started with the sport?
A: I started about a year ago when my brother started training at Nutter. He came back from one day of training and was sore and said "Oh my gosh it was a great workout", and he knows I am into sports and like to work out, and he said "Meghan you should try it", and I was like "are there any girls there", and he said "no". I went and fell in love the first day. I never thought I would fight, I just did it to work out and stay in shape, and that's how I started. I have enjoyed it from day one.

Q: What made you decide to fight?
A: One of my trainers thought I was a fighter before I went. He said "Where else do you train" and I said "nowhere". Within like two months of training they thought I was ready to do a kickboxing tournament, which I didn't want to do cause I didn't understand kickboxing. So they threw me in that and I ended up losing cause I was throwing her and doing MMA things that we cant do in kickboxing. They said "You need to do MMA", and then Nichole Long came up to me and said "I think you should try MMA". She got me a fight and I fell in love with everything about it.

Q: Your first fight, you beat Rebecca Gruitza in the first round, safe to say you were satisfied with that one?
A: Yes I was, I was very satisfied.

Q: What does it mean to you to fight on an all female card?
A: To me a fight is a fight. Whether it's an all girl card or not, I am just happy to be involved. I know its hard to come by girls, so Nichole putting on an all female card, I really appreciate it. I will fight on a female card, male card, it should be equal. Girls should be on any card, we have the same rights guys do. An all girl card is great, but we should be able to fight on a guys card as well.

Q: Are cards like this a step in the right direction for female fighters getting treated with more respect?
A: Yes absolutely. I really hope its a good turnout. We all have a good support group following us who will come. So I hope other people think its neat and come and see we are capable of doing it just as much as men are. So it is a step in the right direction for us females.

Q: You are fighting Heather Bess, what do you know about her?
A: I don't know much about her. try and Facebook stalk her, but that didn't get me far haha. I know she has a Karate background and has done some grappling tournaments. So I am not sure how I am gonna go about fighting her. I am more of a stand-up, I know I beat Rebecca with a guillotine, but that kind of fell into my hands. I am gonna try and stand up with her because she does have grappling and her gym looks like ti does ground work, which makes me nervous cause the ground is anyones game. I think I have a better stand-up and boxing background, where she is more of a kickboxer, so my boxing skills will come in handy for me.

Q: If she does get it down, are you confident you can hang with her there?
A: Absolutely! I am pretty comfortable on my back and on top. I have good defense I have been working on at my new gym. Working on ways to get out of submissions cause she will be well educated on Jiu-Jitsu and grappling. So I am working on defense and doing it repetitively, cause that's how you educate yourself. Maybe she will stand-up, so I gotta be ready for everything. She is a good fighter from what I have heard, so I gotta be ready and am excited for the challenge.

Q: A lot of times, in someones first MMA fight, they come out wild, are you expecting that from her?
A: Not with her. I think she will be comfortable because she has done a lot of grappling tournaments and other competitions. I am sure she will have nerves but wont come out wild. She seems educated on her skills, so I don't expect that from her.

Q: Its been awhile since your fight with Rebecca, all things considered do you wish you had fought more recently before this?
A: Yeah! I had a few fights lined up but they didn't fall through. But as a fighter you have to respect that and keep training. I took a break and didn't know if I would continue cause Nutter closed down. But I found my new gym and it all came back and I knew I could continue this.

Q: What is the key to you winning this fight?
A: Conditioning and not looking tired, not letting her get away with things like takedowns. I wanna stay on my feet and not let her get those points. My biggest fear is losing a decision, because its not up to the judges. When we go in there we should be able to win before the third round is over. We trained so hard, one of us should have the upper hand. If its a great fight and goes the distance, then that's what happens. I think my goal is to win by TKO or submission, but I have a fear of the judges and what they are scoring.

Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: No I don't. With Rebecca I did. I had this weird feeling I was gonna get a submission in the first round. I knew with Rebecca being so tall, I didn't want to stand because she is so tall and has such a big reach advantage and her legs are long. With Heather we are shame height, weight and body shape. So I don't have a prediction. i hope it goes well on my behalf but you never know. But I am excited for a great challenge.

Q: Any idea what you want next?
A: I did get an offer to fight Tecia Torres for a title fight. I told them to let me see how this goes. I know Tecia is wild, I saw her fight and was intimidated by it, so its a big step. If I do well, I will take that into consideration. She is in my future and is a great fighter. If I beat her that would be great for me cause she is a great fighter.

Q: In 2012 do you want to be more active?
A: Absolutely! If I continue to pursue this, I would like more fights in a year. I was disappointed this year. If I continue then I want more fights. Win or lose, I won't lose and be done, its if I continue, then I want more fights in a year>

Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank?
A: I definitely want to thank Nichole Long for being so helpful and getting me fights. She is a great person. All my fans and every fighters fans for supporting us. My family and friends who support me. Of course the NAAFS and all the other girl fighters who step in the cage and want to prove a point like we all do.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ashley Hawkins Interview

Ashley Hawkins steps into the cage with Paige Farley as Eve of Destruction 2. In three fights, posting a 2-1 record, Ashley has improved each time out. For this fight she has been able to train some with top ten ranked Pro, Jessica Eye to help improve her game. And at only 22 years of age, Ashley should have a long successful career in the sport.

Q: What does it mean for you to get on an all female card like Eve of Destruction 2?
A: It means a lot to me, and to I think most of the girls on the card. There a re a lot of all guy cards, so its cool to have a card with all girls to show off our talent and hard work.

Q: Your last fight was a decision win over Emily Easton, how are you a better fighter from that fight till now?
A I think I definitely try to improve on my strengths and make them better and things I could have done better in that fight.

Q: What do you think you could have done better?
A: I think I could have put a lot more pressure on her. My last two fights I haven't gotten to do a lot of my stand-up and kicking that I like to do in sparring.

Q: You are fighting Paige Farley, what do you know about her?
A: I don't know too much really, besides info from Her record is the same as mine, but my advantage is every girl she fought, it has been their first fight, so she hasn't fought anyone like me.

Q: You have told me you really want to finish, why is it so important to you?
A: I don't know. I feel like going all three rounds in all my fights is good cause I know I have the capability to go all three rounds without a problem. But it would be nice to finish someone just to give myself a sense of being able to get a ko or submission. Everyone likes to see a KO or submission, at least I do. But sometimes fights that go three rounds are some of the best fights.

Q: For this fight you have gotten to train with Jessica Eye and Strong Style, how has that helped you?
A: It helped a lot. Everyone has their own techniques and things they like to do. Training with different people gives you different experiences. Especially training with Jessica Eye. She is a pro, a top ranked pro, so training with her is awesome because you cant get much better than that. She is so good at what she does, and so is everyone else there.

Q: Whats the key to winning this fight?
A: Definitely sticking to my game plan, doing what I want to do, controlling the fight from the touch of the gloves. I don't want to do what I did against Trisha Barr, getting into her game plan. Fight my fight and strengths. Make sure I control it from the first second, and constant pressure.

Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: No! Haha. Fights are hard to predict, you never know whats gonna happen. All I can say is I am gonna win. You have to have confidence in a fight. No one goes in expecting to lose.

Q: If you don't finish, but get a dominating decision, will that satisfy you?
A: Definitely! Knowing I can dominate all three rounds is still a good feeling. To know you won every round and did the best you could.

Q: You seem to have improved your confidence lately, is that accurate?
A: Yeah I feel I have. Like you said, training with Jessica Eye and everyone at Strong Style and with Jessica Dinch at Team Impact, and getting to use a cage. I feel like from my first fight till now I have improved every aspect of my game, wrestling, striking, Jiu-Jitsu, everything.

Q: We talk a lot and it seems your goal is a title fight at next years Night of Champions. Is that the case?
A: Definitely! I just wanna keep improving and winning. Winning is awesome haha.

Q: It is? Haha
A: Haha it is definitely. Even when I win I look back and think what I could do better. So keep that mentality, improve my strengths and improve my weaknesses. Fighting for a title would be awesome. To some its an accessory, but its an accomplishment. I have won trophy's at softball and its nice to look back at.

Q: Assuming you win, whats next?
A: Just keep training. Find a spot where I can train full-time and not hop back and forth. Keep training and training. Its hard being a student worrying about tests and finals and studying and money. But it will be ok, I will keep getting better.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Yeah definitely. There are a lot of people I am thankful to have in my life. Thank you Jason, you do a lot for me and are sponsoring me with your blog. So everyone check out for interviews, event coverage and stuff like that. Kody Tuttle and Foundation Fight Co., my new walk-out shirt is awesome, also designing it was Rob Hileman. Everyone at Strong Style, Jessica Eye, Jessica Dinch for helping me train at Team Impact. Friends family, everyone who supports me, NAAFS, Nichole Long, Greg Kalikas, for helping sell my shirts, everyone who bought shirts and tickets from me and helps support me. I am very thankful, without people supporting me it would just be me by myself.

Rosanna Garcia Interview

Rosanna Garcia made her NAAFS debut in April of this year with an impressive first round Guillotine submission over Emily Easton. While the fight was short, she made a big impression and showed some really good potential. She returns on December 17th at Eve of Destruction 2 to face Rebecca Heintzman. If you are unfamiliar with Rosanna, this is one fight you want to see as she takes on the grappling specialist in one of the anticipated bouts on this card.

Q: This is your second fight with NAAFS, what about them makes you want to come back?
A: They really believe in my skills and that is something I appreciate. It is nice to be appreciated. They like me, so I guess I will keep coming as long as they like seeing me. I will put on a show and I know that's what they want.

Q: What does fighting on an all female card mean to you?
A: To me, an all female card is a great way to showcase women's skills. At the same time I wish it didn't have to be an all female card once a year to showcase women's skills. I think there is a lot of talent out there and every card doesn't need to have one or two women's fights, it should be a mixture, because there is a lot of talent out there waiting to show their skills. There is no difference except gender, no difference in skills.

Q: Is a card like this a step forward for Women's MMA?
A: Yeah! Because things aren't at that point yet, it is great to have an all female card, because it does showcase female fighters and proves that point. They can say "Look at this last female fight card, look at all this talent, we should have more female fights". At the same time, while I wish we were at that point, I think its great NAAFS is putting this on to let the world know about the talent.

Q: Is there any pressure on all the fighters to put on a good performance and show people that women do have that skill level?
A: I think at the end of the day, the pressure is just to perform at the best of your ability. To go out there and not leave anything behind, know you did everything you could, didn't give up, pushed the pace, everything you could to win. I don't step in there thinking how I can prove I am a great woman fighter, I do it to prove I am a great fighter.

Q: With all the females on the card is there any pressure to try and be the one who steals the show, who everyone remembers?
A: I think that's how I feel about every fight. Whether an all female card, a mixture, I am always trying to give my best performance.It's great if it steals the show, is a three round slug fest, or a ten second knock-out, I always try and put on the best show. That's what we always want to do, make sure we put on a great, show, cause winning is by default what we want.I need to put on a performance where people see "You see that girl Rosanna, she did this, she won like that". Its about giving people a great performance.

Q: You are fighting Rebecca Heintzman, what do you know about her?
A: I know she is a grappler, she has been placing first and second in her tournaments. I have done some research, I haven't seen any video. I am sure she will bring everything she has to the table. I am prepared for that and working with great coaches on my stand-up and ground. I know I am gonna be ready.

Q: As you mentioned, she is a grappler. Is it safe to say if it goes down, you are confident you can hang with her?
A: Yeah! I am a well rounded fighter, I am confident standing, on the ground, confident if it goes all three rounds. You have to be strong in everything. Or else they can take you down and control you there and get punched. Grappling is different. You go to a tournament you grapple, in a cage you get punched in the face while you grapple.

Q: Do you expect her game plan to be to try and take it down?
A: Since I haven't seen her fight, that could be her game plan or it could be to stand. The better thing to say is I am prepared if she takes it down or doesn't. I will have my game plan as well.

Q: What is they key for you to winning this fight?
A: Smile!! It's a mentality.

Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: No, I don't try and do the psycic thing. I visualize a lot. I visualize how I will win, and see it in my head.

Q: Your last fight here, you impressed people and other girls are looking forward to seeing you...
A: Really!

Q: Yes really. How does that make you feel?
A: I am very grateful that people want to see me and enjoy the performance I put on. It's amazing to be believed in and does something when you have a hard training day. Everyone has those rough days, and when people believe in you it makes you push to a whole different level. People coming to see me with the holidays coming up means more than I can say out loud. I am so grateful and its why we train, to show people what we can do.

Q: If someone is going to see you for the first time, what can they expect from Rosanna Garcia?
A: Non stop action. There is no stopping.

Q: Assuming you win, what do you want next?
A: I am focusing on one at a time, but keep fighting. Talk to my coaches, Master Mike. He knows best so I leave it up to him.

Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank?
A: My parents, Evolve Academy, Soldier Fit, Master Mike has believed in me and made a difference in my life, My coaches, all the people who push me to the brink, and everyone who is coming, it means so much and I can express that enough. It is a blessing to have people have my back.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jessica Eve Richer Interview

In her last fight, Jessica Eve Richer wanted to show she was more than just Jiu-Jitsu, and she accomplished that in her fight with Allanna Jones. Now Jessica will be fighting Lalani Malley at Eve of Destruction. A win over top ranked Malley would make a big statement. In this battle between two talented, well-rounded fighters, you are sure to see some real skill displayed.

Q: In your last fight with Allanna Jones, you said you wanted to show you had stand-up, do you feel you accomplished that?
A: Yes! We spent quite a bit of time on our feet in that fight.

Q: That fight went three rounds, while everyone wants to finish, with it being your second fight, was going three hard rounds like that good for you as a fighter?
A: I think it was a good experience for me and I am glad that I have been the distance. It gives me the confidence to know that its not a problem for me. I trained pretty hard with the cardio and conditioning so it was nice to ave it tested in battle. While I would have liked to finish the fight, I am glad I know I have no problem going the distance.

Q: You are fighting at Eve of Destruction, how does it feel to main event an all female show?
A: I'm excited! I am excited to fight on an all female card, I'm excited to see what the other talent is and meet some of the other female fighters in the NAAFS. It's an honor to be the main event on such card, so I'm excited.

Q: Are cards like this a sign of a step forward for Women's MMA?
A: I hope it is. I think its a sign that there are promotions willing to showcase the women. That's what its going to take to continue to grow depth in the division. Whether its a step forward is going to b a matter of who the talent is and whether the women put in the effort.

Q: With it being an all female card, is there pressure to be the one who steals the show and makes an impression?
A: I would say whether it's an all female card or not I want to be in the fight that steals the show.

Q: NAAFS is a well known company, what would a title with them mean to you?
A: An amateur title would mean I go pro my next fight. This would be a gateway to the next step.

Q: In our last interview you mentioned you didn't like how some organizations bring in girls with no fights and give them title shots. Does a title with NAAFS mean more than one with those organizations?
A: I think it means everything in the world. I makes all the world of difference. That's why I keep dragging my butt out to Ohio to fight instead of staying here in Atlantic City.

Q: You are fighting Lalani Malley, what do you know about her?
A: I know she is a tough fighter, well-rounded. She has gone 5-0 and never been the difference, so finished all her opponents. She is big, strong, tough and well conditioned so I expect it to be a good fight.

Q: If it stays standing the whole time, is it safe to say you feel you can hang with her there?
A: I am one hundred percent I can hang with her anywhere the fight goes.

Q: In her interview she said if it goes to the ground she can not only hang with you, but submit you. Do you have a reaction to that?
A: I expected her to say that. She is a Blue Belt in Jiu-Jitsu, she is not untrained on the ground. Anyone who fights knows that in MMA, Jiu-Jitsu isn't Jiu-Jitsu, its MMA. So the game is different.

Q: What is the key for you in this fight?
A: The key is going to be strategy and game planning. I don't think there is one area where I have a significant advantage over her or her over me. I think we are well matched and it will come down to game planning.

Q: She is currently ranked number one for female in NAAFS. What would a win over her say about you?
A: It's going to be a true test of where I stand I think. It's an opportunity to jump up the chart a little bit.

Q: With her being ranked number one, any chance of her over looking you?
A: I hope so haha. No, I don't think she is a cocky fighter, she has done her homework. There is plenty of footage one me, and she has done her home work like I have done mine.

Q: Any prediction on how it ends?
A: With my hand raised.

Q: Assuming you win, you mentioned going pro, is that for sure the plan?
A: It would depend on what organization was making an offer. I wouldn't take a pro fight just to take a pro fight, but for the right offer, I would take a pro fight.

Q: NAAFS does pro fights, are they one you would want a pro fight with?
A: It would definitely be something to consider. It would have to do with the contract offer.

Q: Anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: My trainers, Joe from Gracie Barra, BC Kickboxing, my sponsors Versa Climber, Furi Jiu Jitsu Sports and North Country Athletic Club Wrestling Camp.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lalani Malley Interview

Lalani Malley is fighting Jessica Eve Richer at Eve of Destruction on December 17th. Lalani has had several impressive wins in the NAAFS which explains her being the top ranked female. Lalani is a well rounded fighter. So much so that if you ask five different people what Lalani's strength is, you could get five different answers. With plans to turn pro soon, a title with the NAAFS could be a great way to lead into a pro career.

Q: How does it feel for you as a fighter to be the main event of all female show?
A: The main event? It's alright. Its like any other fight except I am the last person to go out and have more time to get cold.

Q: What do shows like this mean for Women's MMA? Is it a step in the right direction?
A: I'm actually not much for all women cards. I like uni-sex cards because I believe it gives us a 50/50 chance and helps us to see me talent and women talent. I don't like all men cards or all female cards, I like everything to be equal. S its not a big deal but does get people aware there is Women's MMA and that's a positive thing. It don't matter to me, I am only here to fight.

Q: It's for a title, so what would the title mean for you?
A: What does a title mean for me? Again, no big deal, it's just another fight. It would be nice to have it and so forth, but its just an accessory. It's great but just an accessory.

Q: You are fighting Jessica Eve Richer, who is known for her Jiu-Jitsu. If it goes to the ground you are confident you can hang with her correct?
A: I'm confident not only that I can hang with her, but I can submit her and control her.

Q: You are a step up in competition for her. Do you feel she is ready for someone of your caliber?
A: I don't feel I am that much higher than her. I definitely can see that her hands might not be there, but she is a hard worker. Possibly she will push me with my cardio. I am pretty sure she is just going to try and take control of the cage, but with my experience I don't think she can hang with me with hands or on the ground honestly. I just think I am a more well-rounded fighter than her. She does have better take downs than me, but everything else leans towards me being the better fighter. But that's just my opinion.

Q: Can you point to one think that is your biggest advantage I this fight?
A: My biggest advantage is that I am complete, I don't lack in anything, I am well-rounded. That's how I feel, that's how a lot of guys feel at the gym. A lot of females who come and train with me say I am better than some pro fighters because I might not be super great at anything but I am a complete fighter.

Q: In the past she has said she wants to show she has more than Jiu-Jitsu and can stand. That being said, if it's standing and you are getting the better of it, do you expect her to try and take it down?
A: Of course! I expect her to basically try and push the pace by doing a simple one-two, and when she gets right handed by me, she is gonna wanna shoot in. A lot of Jiu-Jitsu people do that. Their strategy basically is to push with the hands and as soon as I make a move they duck under and do a shot. Of course I want her to know that her saying she wants to prove she has hands is not true. It would be a way to distract me, but in reality she will do whats she does best which is Jiu-Jitsu.

Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: Honestly, since I haven't had any real proper training for this fight, I am pretty sure it will be a decision or a third round knock-out.

Q: When I talk to people about you, some say your strength is Jiu-Jitsu, some say striking. Is that a compliment in the sense that if different people say different things, it means you are well-rounded?
A: It definitely is a compliment. This is my opinion, I think I am a Jiu-Jitsu person, but as you noted, my hands have gotten me places, they finish fights. In my opinion, people under rate my ground game more than anything. I take it as a compliment. It's nice to see that the thing I think I am weakest at is what people think I am strongest at. I also think it's cool that what I think I am strongest at, people think I am weaker at. So I guess it's a compliment.

Q: You come up to Ohio to fight, and you have friends who fight here and a lot of the local fighters like you. Does that make it easier to travel and fight?
A: Definitely! I am always happy to drive up to Ohio, it takes me out of my element. I like to travel to fight. Sometimes I feel like Ohio is my home. A lot of people in Ohio have mentally supported me and told me I can do it. Even in states like Pennsylvania. They support me a lot more than my team sometimes I feel like, so I appreciate everyone of them. It's like a second home for me, and I thank them for being friends and fans.

Q: Assuming you win this, any idea what you want to do next?
A: I plan on going pro regardless of what happens. Whether I win or lose, this fight will show me what I need to improve on. I feel that I am getting to the point where I wanna show I have kicks, wrestling, better cardio. I really wanna fight in big promotions so I wanna go pro in January or February. Then I want to start looking for a new camp and progress in my skills and be my best as a fighter.

Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: I want to thank Jason Adams.

Q: I love that guy.
A: He's hot and was my boyfriend for a couple months and really supports me.

Q: You know I am putting that in there right? HAHA
A: Yeah haha. I wanna thank my boxing coach Fred, my Jiu-Jitsu coach Mario, everyone that has helped me from the first day, I am not gonna say they all believed in e, but thank you for showing me this is what I want to do, even if I learned the hard way. Jesus Christ of course, my Grandfather, my brothers and all my friends. That's a lot of people. My sponsors Freedom Fighters and Diamond Thieves tattoos.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

NAAFS Combat Challenge 17 Report

On December 3rd NAAFS presented Combat Challenge 17. With only the all Female Eve of Destruction left on the schedule for 2011, this was the final card of the year for the male fighters. And the NAAFS ended the year with a great card. Some great fights and some incredible finishes. Windom Craig, Adam Bosley and Devontae Smith made good impressions and for the second time in two fights I was very impressed with Adib Nour.
In addition to my own scoring, I have included the scoring of my new writer Landry Yankle.

1. Amateur Featherweight
Josh Flowers (0-0 Bullpen) vs Brandon Leininger (0-1 VIP D-Boyz)

RD 1: Jab by Flowers They clinch and a takedown by Flowers. Leininger lands from the bottom. Flowers tries to posture up but can't. Flowers now is able to posture up but doesn't do any damage. Flowers stands and lets Leininger up. Two hard hooks by Flowers and Leininger pulls him down with Flowers on top. Flowers gets side control but Leininger pulls guard. Leininger tries for a arm but Flowers lands hammer fists to get the arm out.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Flowers
Landry scored RD 1: 10-9 Flowers

RD 2: Leg kick by Flowers. They clinch and move to the cage. Takedown by Flowers. Head shot by Flowers. Leininger tries for an arm but can't get it. The ref stands them. Push kick and takedown by Leininger. Flowers tries for an arm but can't get it. Leininger looks for a guillotine but Flowers pulls out. Hammer fists by Flowers. Flowers looks tired here.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Leininger
Landry scored RD 2: 10-9 Leininger

RD 3: Hard hook by Flowers. They clinch and Leininger lands knees. Takedown by Flowers. Flowers gets side control. Knees to the body by Flowers. Leininger gets guard. Leininger uses wrist control to avoid damage. The ref stands them. Hook by Leininger. Takedown by Flowers. Flowers lands a punch. Flowers stands. Leininger jumps into him and pulls guard. Both fighters appear exhausted. Flowers stands. Push kick by Flowers followed by a takedown.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Flowers
Landry scored RD 3: 10-9 Flowers
My score card: 29-28 Flowers
Landry's score card: 29-28 Flowers

Result: Josh Flowers by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/30-27)

2. Amateur Heavyweight
Adib Nour (1-0 Dojo Fight Club) vs Zack Byrd (0-1 Damage Inc.)

RD 1: Hard hook by Nour drops Byrd. Nour lands two more shots on the ground and the ref stops it.

Result: Adib Nour by TKO at :06 of Round 1

3. Amateur Bantamweight
Dustin Bertch (0-0 Jamestown MMA) vs Jose Alvarado (0-0 VIP D-Boz)

RD 1: Leg kick by Alvarado. Takedown by Bertch. Bertch postures up and lands shots. Bertch pushes him to the cage. Punches by Bertch. Alvarado gets an armbar but Bertch pulls him up and slams him to break the hold. Bertch gets his back and a rear naked choke for the tap.

Result: Dustin Bertch by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:44 of Round 1

4. Amateur Lightweight
Derrick Hill (0-0 Dojo Fight Club) vs Nick Brown (0-0 Uniontown Fight Club)

RD 1: Both land leg kicks. Jab and hook by Brown. Clinch by Hill and he lands a knee. They separate. Punches by Brown. Takedown by Hill. They stand right back up. Hard hook by Brown. Takedown by Brown but Hill is looking for a guillotine. Body shots by Brown. Brown escapes the guillotine and lands hard punches. More hard shots by Brown. Brown gets his back and lands more shots. The ref stands them. Clinch in center of the cage and a knee by Brown.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Brown
Landry scored RD 1: 10-9 Brown

RD 2: Clinch on the cage and the quickly separate. They clinch again and quickly separate. Brown lands punches. They clinch against the cage. Hill is cut and bleeding pretty bad over his eye. The doctor comes in to check the cut and they stop the fight.

Result: Nick Brown by Doctor Stoppage at :51 of Round 2

5. Amateur Heavyweight
Josh Fox (0-0 Dojo Fight Club) vs Tim Miller (1-0 Bullpen)

RD 1: Leg kick by Miller. They trade hard shots and clinch against the cage. Body shots by Miller. They separate and a hard hook by Miller. They drop down and Miller stands and drops hard shots. More hard shots by Miller. Miller continues landing hard punches. They stand and clinch against the cage. Uppercut by Miller and they separate.
I scored RD 1: 10-8 Miller
Landry scored RD 1: 10-8 Miller

RD 2: Uppercut by Miller. They clinch against the cage Body shots by Fox. They separate and Fox lands a hard hook. They clinch on the cage and Fox takes him down and get his back. Now he tries to get his hooks in. Hard punches by Fox. Miller rolls and gets on top but the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Fox
Landry scored RD 1: 10-9 Fox

RD 3: Leg kick by Miller. Cross by Miller hurts him. Fox tries for a takedown but a sprawl by Miller. Body shots by Miller and they stand. Fox tries for a single leg and finally gets it and then gets his back. Miller gets on top and pushes him to the cage.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Miller
Landry scored RD 3: 10-9 Miller
My score card: 29-27 Miller
Landry's score card: 29-27 Miller

Result: Tim Miller by Unanimous Decision (30-27/29-28/29-28)

6. Jason Gomez (0-0 Independent) vs Seth Schaffer (0-0 Instigator Fight Team)

RD 1: Leg kick by Gomez and another. Kick to the body by Schaffer. They clinch on the cage and quickly separate. Gomez shoots in and slams him. They scramble and stand. Clinch against the cage and a hook by Schaffer. Spin kick by Gomez. Gomez tries for a single and they clinch on the cage. Body shots by Schaffer. Knee by Schaffer. Gomez drops down and Schaffer gets in his guard. Schaffer stands and drops down a body shot and then gets his back. Body shots by Schaffer and then head shots. Schaffer hooks a rear naked and gets the tap.

Result: Seth Schaffer by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:54 of Round 1

7. Amateur Middleweight
Ben Meese (0-0 Caldwells Fight Club) vs Nick Corp (0-0 Evolve MMA)

RD 1: Both fighters doing a lot of circling and feinting. They clinch and move to the cage. Takedown by Corp. Corp gets mount and lands lots of punches till the ref stops it.

Result: Nick Corp by TKO at 1:10 of Round 1

8. Amateur Bantamweight
Corey Simmons (2-2 VIP D-Boyz) vs Tim Enright (3-1 USA Martial Arts)

RD 1: Jab and cross by Simmons. Enright shoots but gets stuffed. Leg kick by Simmons. Takedown by Simmons. Simmons gets side control. Enright pulls guard. Simmons stands and lets Enright up. Jab by Enright. Leg kick by Enright. Slam by Enright into side control. Enright is trying for a choke and then moves to mount and lands punches.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Enright
Landry scored RD 1: 10-9 Enright

RD 2: Both land shots. Leg kick by Enright. Enright goes for a single leg but Simmons hooks a guillotine for the tap.

Result: Corey Simmons by Tapout (Guillotine) at :55 of Round 2

9. Amateur Lightweight
Devontae Smith (0-0 Brickhouse MMA) vs Jon Looft (0-0 Evolve MMA)

RD 1: Push kick by Smith. Takedown by Smith. Hammer fists by Smith. Smith stands and drops punches and Looft is out cold.

Result: Devontae Smith by KO at :30 of Round 1

10. Amateur Middleweight
Travis Rivers (0-0 Empire Academy) vs J.T. Miller (0-0 Strong Style Fight Team)

RD 1: Hook by Rivers. Jab by Miller and he gets a slam. Miller gets side control. Rivers gets half guard. Rivers holds him close to avoid damage. The ref stands them. Slam by Miller into side control. Knee to the body by Miller. Rivers pulls guard. Miller gets his back and then gets mount and lands punches.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Miller
Landry scored RD 1: 10-9 Miller

RD 2: Punches by Rivers. Leg kick by Miller. Miller shoots in but can't get the takedown. Miller shoots in again and gets caught in a guillotine. Miller escapes and is in half guard. Two body shots by Miller. Rivers holds him close. Miller gets mount and lands shots. Miller gets his back and lands punches to the head. Miller gets a rear naked for the tap.

Result: J.T. Miller by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:44 of Round 2

11. Amateur Light Heavyweight
Darryl Chajon (0-0 Strong Style Fight Team) vs Jacen Huss (2-0 Uniontown Fight Club)

RD 1: They trade shots. Huss lands a kick low but the ref missed it. Jab by Huss. Jab by Chajon. Hook by Huss and another. Both land jabs. Leg kick by Chajon. Jab and cross by Chajon. Leg kick by Chajon. They clinch on the cage and both land knees. Foot stomp by Chajon. Knees by Chajon. Two knees by Huss. Body shots by Huss. Knees by Chajon.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Chajon
Landry scored RD 1: 10-9 Chajon

RD 2: Leg kick by Chajon. They trade hooks. Jab by Huss. Cross by Chajon. Hook by Huss. Front kick by Chajon. Body shots by Huss. Kick to the body by Huss. Took by Huss. Jab by Huss. They clinch on the cage and Chajon lands a knee. Punch to the leg by Chajon. Body shots by Huss. Knee by Huss. The ref separates them. Jab by Chajon.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Huss
Landry scored RD 2: 10-9 Huss

RD 3: Hook by Huss. They clinch on the cage. Both land knees. More knees by both fighters. Body shots by Huss. They separate and trade hooks. Leg kick by Huss. Takedown by Chajon. Two body shots by Chajon. Huss tries for an arm but Chajon pulls out. Chajon stands and both land hooks.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Chajon
Landry scored RD 3: 10-9 Huss
My score card: 29-28 Chajon
Landry's score card: 29-28 Huss

Result: Darryl Chajon by Split Decision (29-28/28-29/29-28)

12. Amateur Lightweight
Estabon Cordova (2-0 Jamestown MMA) vs Adam Bosley (3-2 Uniontown Fight Club)

RD 1: Jab by Cordova. Takedown by Bosley. Head shots by Bosley. Cordova tries for an arm. Cordova pulls guard. Body shots by Bosley. More shots by Bosley. Bosley pushes him to the cage. Head shots by Bosley. They stand. Bosley goes for a takedown and gets it and the ref takes a point from Cordova for holding the cage. Head shots by Bosley. Bosley is bleeding pretty bad from the head.
I scored RD 1: 10-8 Bosley
Landry scored RD 1: 10-8 Bosley

RD 2: Jab by Bosley. Kick to the body by Bosley. Takedown against the cage by Bosley. Head shots by Bosley. Body shots by Bosley. Bosley lands two elbows to the head, clearly not intentional, but the ref misses them. More body shots by Bosley. The ref stands them. Leg kick by Bosley. Hard hook and uppercut by Cordova. Takedown by Bosley.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Bosley
Landry scored RD 2: 10-9 Bosley

RD 3: Uppercut by Cordova. Takedown by Bosley. Cordova looks for a choke but can't get it. Hard shots by Bosley. More hard shots. Cordova tries to wall walk and get up but can't. The ref stands them. Bosley is bleeding from the mouth. Cordova looks exhausted. Bosley shoots in and gets a takedown. Not much action here. Knee to the body by Bosley.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Bosley
Landry scored RD 3: 10-9 Bosley
My score card: 30-26 Bosley
Landry's score card: 30-26 Bosley

Result: Adam Bosley by Unanimous Decision (30-26/30-26/30-26)

13. Amateur Featherweight
Luke Burdette (2-4 Gracie Pittsburgh) vs Bhrandon Poindexter (6-7 Evolve MMA)

RD 1: Leg kick by Poindexter and another. Takedown by Burdette. Head shots by Burdette. They stand and Poindexter lands a leg kick. Body kick by Poindexter. They trade hard shots. Hard kick to the body by Poindexter. Hard punches against the cage by Poindexter has Burdette hurt. Burdette clinches but Poindexter pushes him off. Burdette drops him with a hook and gets on top but the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Poindexter
Landry scored RD 1: 10-9 Poindexter

RD 2: Both lands hard shots and clinch on the cage. Takedown by Burdette. Body shots by Burdette. Head shots by Burdette. More to the body by Burdette. Burdette gets north south position but Poindexter is able to stand. Burdette takes him back down. Head shots by Burdette. They stand and clinch on the cage. Burdette drops down and gets a double leg and lands shots to the head.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Burdette
Landry scored RD 2: 10-9 Burdette

RD 3: Kick to the body by Poindexter. Leg kick by Poindexter. Cross by Poindexter. They clinch against the cage. Burdette trying hard for a takedown and finally gets it. Not much happening here. Body shots by Burdette. Poindexter pulls him close. Head shots by Burdette. Burdette gets side control. Poindexter is able to stand. Burdette clinches and takes him down. Poindexter tries for an arm but the round ends.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Burdette
Landry Scored RD 3: 10-9 Burdette
My score card: 29-28 Burdette
Landry's score card: 29-28 Burdette

Result: Luke Burdette by Unanimous Decision (29-28/29-28/29-28)

14. Amateur Featherweight
Chris Dunn (7-2 Team Genocide) vs Wes Hanson (4-0 Butch Hiles MMA)

RD 1: Hard hook and takedown by Hanson. Hanson gets side control and then mount. Great scramble by both fighters. Dunn is bleeding bad. Dunn pulls guard. Body shot by Hanson. Great scramble by Dunn to get up. The doctor is checking Dunn's cut and they stop the fight.

Result: Wes Hanson by Doctor Stoppage at 2:09 of Round 1

15. Amateur Middleweight
Zac Gobel (6-4 Dragons Den) vs John Lepovich (3-1 PTT)

RD 1: Leg kick by Lepovich. Takedown by Gobel into side control. Gobel gets mount and lands head shots. Lepovich holds him close. Gobel gets his back and a rear naked for the tap.

Result: Zac Gobel by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:05 of Round 1

16. Amateur Heavyweight
Ashford McQueen (2-2 Team Genocide) vs Windom Craig (4-2 Strong Style Fight Team)

RD 1: McQueen charges in and they clinch. McQueen drops him with a hook and gets on top, but Craig reverses and gets on top. McQueen is looking for a guillotine but Craig pulls his head out and gets mount. Craig lands head shots. McQueen gets up and they clinch. Craig hurts him with punches and a hook drops McQueen to end it.

Result: Windom Craig by KO at 1:55 of Round 1

Submission of the Night: Zac Gobel

KO of the Night: Devontae Smith

Fight of the Night: Ashford McQueen vs Windom Craig

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NAAFS Night of Champions Report

On November 23rd NAAFS put on Night of Champions. Night of Champions is a great chance to see the top amateur fighters in the area all in one night. Throughout the year they fight their way to this point, to fight for the amateur series National Championships, and they delivered on this night. Many great fights. Plus there were some great Pro fights as well. There were some three round wars and some fights that ended quick but with exciting finishes.

1. Amateur Welterweight
Keith Dugan (0-2 Hollywood MMA) vs Emmanuel Kangah (0-1 True Roots MMA)

RD 1: Leg kick by Kangah. Kangah hurts him with a hook and jumps on him. Kangah drops him with punches and lands ground and pound till the ref steps in.

Result: Emmanuel Kangah by TKO at :27 of Round 1

2. Amateur Bantamweight
Roosevelt Archie (2-2 PA Brawlers) vs Jarrel Hodge (2-0 Brickhouse MMA)

RD 1: Leg kick by Archie. Hodge drops him with a hook and cross and jumps on him landing ground and pound till the ref stops it.

Result: Jarrel Hodge by TKO at :20 of Round 1

3. Amateur Lightweight
Bob Tipinski (5-5 Independent Crew) vs Dave Graf (3-3 Brickhouse MMA)

RD 1: Graf lands a kick low stopping action. Tipinski seems really upset by the low blow. They resume and Graf shoots but gets stuffed. Graf keeps working and gets on top. Graf lands body shots. Graf stands back up and lands a push kick that Tipinksi says was low, but ref doesn't call it. Tipinksi drops him with a hook and lands ground and pound forcing Tipinksi to tap. Tipinski yells a Graf afterwords.

Result: Bob Tipinski by Tapout (Strikes) at 1:08 of Round 1

4. Amateur Lightweight Title
Frank Sloan (10-1 Warrior Concepts) vs Khama Worthy (7-2 PTT)

RD 1: Jab by Sloan. They trade crosses. Jab by Worthy and then another. Hook by Sloan. Kick to the body by Sloan. Leg kick by Sloan. Jab by Worthy. They trade hard shots. They clinch but quickly separate. They clinch against the cage but again quickly separate. Hook by Sloan. Jab by Worthy. Another jab by Worthy. Sloan shoots in but gets stuffed. Kick to the bod by Worthy. Worthy drops him with a hook for the knockout.

Result: Khama Worthy by KO at 2:59 of Round 1

5. Amateur Welterweight Title
Todd Bevan (7-0 Bullpen) vs Dave Gabig (6-2 PTT)

RD 1: Leg kick by Bevan and another. Kick to the body by Bevan. Bevan tries for a takedown against the cage but Gabig defends it well. Bevan really trying hard for the takedown. He finally gets the takedown and lands a punch to the head. Bevan gets his back. Shots to the head by Bevan.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Bevan

RD 2: They trade shots with Gaig getting the better of it. Bevan gets a takedown. Punches to the head by Bevan and then a couple more. Bevan gets his back. Gabig turns into him and now Bevan has him pushed against the cage. Gabig gets up but Bevan takes him right back down.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Bevan

RD 3: Leg kick by Bevan. Hook by Gabig. Bevan tries for a takedown and gets it. Knees to the body by Bevan. Gabig pulls guard. Gabig sweeps and gets on top. Gabig postures up but Bevan pulls him close. Head shot by Gabig. Body shot by Gabig. Great job by Bevan to avoid damage. Body shot by Gabig. Bevan gets up and they clinch on the cage as the round ends.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Gabig
My score card: 29-28 Bevan

Result: Todd Bevan by Unanimous Decision (29-28/29-28/29-28)

6. Amateur Middleweight Title
Steve Burton (7-1 Evolve MMA) vs Dave Lastafka (5-0 Vanyo Fight Team)

RD 1: Hook and body kick by Lastafka. Burton gets behind him and brings him down. Lastafka pulls guard. Lastafka goes for an arm. Knee to the body by Burton. Lastafka still trying for the arm. Burton pulls his arm out. Burton stands and drops down punches. Burton goes for a heel hook. Lastafka punches his leg to try and escape. Burton still trying for the heel hook. Lastafka escapes and stands. They trade hard shots.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Burton

RD 2: Lastafka has him backing up with a hard shots. Hard hook by Burton and Burton takes him down. Lastafka tries for an arm. Knee to the body by Burton. Burton stands and drops punches down. Burton trying for a heel hook. Lastafka lands punches. Burton still trying for heel hook and Lastafka still landing punches. Lastafka pulls his foot out and lands shots. Lastafka thinks the ref stopped it but it was just the end of the round.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Lastafka

RD 3: Burton shoots in but can't get the takedown. Lastafka lands punches. Burton gets him down but Lastafka gets right up. They stand and Burton takes him back down. Lastafka tries for an arm from the bottom. Now Burton goes for a leg. Lastafka stands and Burton stays down and holds Lastafka's leg. Lastafka drops punches. Burton drags him down and gets side control but the round ends.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Lastafka

Result: Dave Lastafka by Unanimous Decision (29-28/29-28/29-28)

7. Amateur Bantamweight Title
Tyler Saltsman (6-2 Team Titan) vs Isaiah Chapman (11-1 Rock Hard MMA)

RD 1: Both and jabs. Hook by Saltsman. Another hook by Saltsman. Saltsman shoots in but gets stuffed. Jab by Chapman. They trade shots against the cage. Leg kick by Saltsman. Hook by Chapman. Jab by Chapman. Saltsman shoots but good sprawl by Chapman. Hook by Chapman. Cross by Chapman.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Chapman

RD 2: Leg kick by Saltsman. Jab by Chapman. Hook by Chapman. Saltsman lands a hook. Hard hook by Chapman. Saltsman shoots in but Chapman sprawls. Leg kick by Saltsman followed by a jab. Hook by Chapman. Hook by Saltsman. A hook lands for Chapman. Both land jabs. Chapman drops him with a jab, but it was just a case of Saltsman being off balance as he gets right up. They clinch on the cage. Knees by Saltsman. A couple hard punches by Saltsman.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Saltsman

RD 3: Two punch combo by Chapman. Saltsman shoots but Chapman moves out of the way. Saltsman shoots again and eats punches. He shoots again but Chapman sprawls. They drop down. Saltsman is trying to put him on his back. Body shots by Chapman. Saltsman hanging onto a single trying to put Chapman on his back. Saltsman stands with Chapman upside down on his back. Chapman is trying for the submission from the position while Saltsman tries to shake him off. Chapman is landing body shots from this position. Chapman gets off his back. Body kick by Saltsman.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Chapman
My score card: 29-28 Chapman

Result: Isaiah Chapman by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/30-27)

8. Amateur 135LB Title
Evva Johnson (4-1 Team Balance) vs Rachel Dovidio (5-1 Instigator Fight Team)

RD 1: Jab by Dovidio. Johnson clinches against the cage. Johnson trying hard for takedown. Knee to the body by Johnson. Knee to the body by Dovidio followed by another. Knee to the leg by Johnson. Hard knee to the body by Dovidio. They trade knees to the legs. Nice throw by Johnson and she gets side control. Short head shots by Johnson. Johnson gets an armbar and forces Dovidio to tap.

Result: Evva Johnson by Tapout (Armbar) at 2:48 of Round 1

9. Amateur Featherweight Title
Russ Brletrick (7-4 Independent Crew) vs Mark Cherico (8-0 Fight Club Pittsburgh)

RD 1: They come out throwing shots. Double leg takedown by Cherico and he gets side control. Brletrick gets half guard and hold Cherico close. Brletrick gets full guard. Cherico postures up but Brletrick pulls him back down. Punch to the head by Cherico. Now a couple more. Punch from the bottom by Brletrick.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Cherico

RD 2: Cherico gets a takedown and side control.Brletrick holds him close to avoid damage. Brletrick tries to scramble and gets half guard. Punches to the head by Cherico. Cherico gets mount and lands shots. More shots by Cherico. Cherico looks for an armbar but Brletrick defends it well. More shots by Cherico.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Cherico

RD 3: Leg kick by Brletrick. Cherico slams him down and gets side control. Two short head shots by Cherico. Cherico gets mount and lands punches. Now he lands harder shots and the ref steps in.

Result: Mark Cherico by TKO at :48 of Round 3

10. Pro Featherweight
Kevin Rothacker (7-2 Strong Style) vs Tony Castillo (10-3 Instigator Fight Team)

RD 1: Clinch against the cage. Takedown by Castillo. He lands two shots and Rothacker gets up. Up kick by Castillo who is still down. Castillo stands. They clinch against the cage. Knee to the head by Rothacker. Takedown by Castillo. Rothacker has guard. Punch by Castillo. More punches from Castillo. Rothacker tries to stand and Castillo gets his back. Head shots by Castillo. Rothacker gets up and they clinch on the cage. Takedown by Castillo. Rothacker back up and they are clinched. Knee to head by Castillo. Takedown by Castillo to end the round.
I scored RD 1: 10-8 Castillo

RD 2: Push kick by Rothacker. Hook by Castillo. Superman punch by Castillo. They clinch on the cage and Castillo gets a takedown. Rothacker stands and lands a nice hook. Cross by Rothacker. Castillo tries for a takedown but Rothacker throws him off. Body kick by Castillo. Hook by Rothacker. Leg kick by Castillo. Clinch on the cage and Castillo looks for a takedown. Knee to the leg by Castillo. Slam by Castillo. Punch to the head by Castillo. Rothacker stands and gets Castillo's back. Hammer fists by Rothacker. Castillo stands and they clinch on the cage. Takedown by Castillo. Rothacker pulls guard. Two punches by Castillo.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Rothacker

RD 3: Hard hook by Rothacker. Takedown by Castillo. Castillo lands head shots. They stand and Rothacker lands some nice punches. Hook by Castillo. Takedown by Castillo. Rothacker stands but Castillo takes him down again. Castillo postures up but Rothacker avoids damage. Castillo gets his back and lands knees to the body. Rothacker stands and lands a hook. The trade hard shots. Castillo gets a takedown against the cage. Castillo gets side control. Rothacker gets up. They are clinched on the cage. Knee by Castillo. takedown by Castillo. Head shots from bottom by Rothacker.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Castillo
My score card: 29-27 Castillo

Result: Tony Castillo by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/30-26)

11. Pro Heavyweight
William Penn (7-3 Team Deadly) vs Josh Hendricks (18-7 Superior Health Club)

RD 1: They trade hooks and clinch on the cage. Penn gets a takedown. Hard punches by Penn and Hendricks is bleeding bad. More hard shots by Penn and the ref stops it.

Result: William Penn by TKO at 1:15 of Round 1

12. Pro 125LB
Jennifer Scott (2-1 4OZ Fight Club) vs Jessica Eye (9-1 Strong Style)

RD 1: Push kick by Eye and another. Hard hook by Eye. Leg kick by Eye. Hard cross by Eye. Leg kick by Eye. Jab by Eye. Push kick by Eye. Leg kick by Scott. Cross by Eye. Jab by Scott. Hard leg kick by Eye. Hook by Eye. Jab to the body by Eye. Jab by Scott. Hook by Eye. Jab to the body by Eye. Leg kick by Eye. Jab by both fighters. Leg kick by Eye. Head kick by Eye. Both lands hooks. Jab by Eye. Hard cross by Eye. Jab by Eye.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Eye

RD 2: Two jabs by Eye. Leg kick by Eye. Hook by Scott. Jab by Eye. Two hooks by Eye. Body kick by Eye. Jab to the body by Eye. Jab by Scott. Jab by Eye. Hard hook by Eye. Scott lands a hard hook. Leg kick by Eye. Jab to the body by Eye. Two hard jabs by Eye. Push kick and hard hook by Eye. Cross by Eye. Push kick by Eye. Hook to the body by Eye. Leg kick by Eye followed by another. Leg kick by Scott. Push kick by Eye. Hook by Eye. Two more leg kicks by Eye and then a hook. Scott's leg looks hurt. Hook by Eye. They trade hard shots and Eye has her hurt on the cage as the round ends.
I scored RD 2: 10-8 Eye

RD 3: Two jabs by Scott. Hook by Scott. Body kick by Eye. They clinch in center of the cage. Knee by Eye and they separate. Jab by Eye. Leg kick by Eye. Hook by Eye. Leg kick by Scott. Hook by Eye followed by a head kick. Leg kick by Eye. Jab by Scott. Cross by Eye. Leg kick by Eye and then another. Two hard hooks by Eye. Leg kick by Eye. Jab by Scott. Both lands hooks. Leg kick by Eye. Another leg kick by Eye. Scott looks tired. Cross by Eye. Hook by Scott. Push kick by Eye. Jab by Eye and Scott is looking hurt. Two hooks by Eye. Leg kick by Eye and another. Both lands jabs. Head kick by Eye.
I scored RD 3: 10-8 Eye
My score card: 30-25 Eye

Result: Jessica Eye by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/30-27)

13. Pro Welterweight
William Kuhn (XP Sports) vs Nick Duell 18-5-1 Strong Style)

RD 1: Leg kick by Duell and another. Hook by Duel. Takedown by Kuhn. Duell holds him close to avoid damage. Duell tries for an arm but Kuhn pulls out. Duell gets up and Kuhn takes him down again. Kuhn stands and drops down punches. Kuhn tries to get his back. Duell shakes him off and gets on top. Elbow by Duell and then another. Hard punch by Duell. Duell stands and lets him up. Spinning head kick by Duell. Hook by Kuhn. Body kick by Duell. Kuhn tries for a takedown and Duell defends well. Kuhn still trying for the takedown and gets it but Duell is right back up.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Duell

RD 2: Cross and head kick by Duell. Leg kick by Duell. Another leg kick by Duell. Kuhn takes him down against the cage but isn't doing anything. Duell gets up and Kuhn takes him down again. Duell gets back up. Two hooks by Duell. They clinch on the cage and Duell lands punches. Takedown by Kuhn. Duell gets up and takes Kuhn down. Hard punches by Duell.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Duell

RD 3: Kuhn is really tired. Cross by Duell. Takedown by Duell. Duell lets him up. Leg kick by Duell. Head kick by Duell and another. Clinch on the cage. Duell backs off and hurts him with a kick to the body. Kuhn tries for a takedown but Duell hooks a guillotine. Kuhn pulls out and is in guard. Duell gets up and Kuhn tries to pull him down. Kuhn gets him back down. Duell lands elbows from the bottom. Kuhn is on top but doing nothing. Duell sweeps and gets on top. Hard punches by Duell. More shots by Duell. Duell stands and lets him up. Kuhn is exhausted. Leg kick by Duell.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Duell
My score card: 30-27 Duell

Result: Nick Duell by Split Decision (29-28/28-29/29-28)

14. Pro 125LB Title
Kelly Warren (12-3 Jackson's MMA) vs Aisling Daly (12-2 Straight Blast Gym)

RD 1: Both come out throwing hard shots. Clinch on the cage. Knees to leg by Daly. Daly tries for a single leg but can't get it. They separate but clinch again. Knee to the leg by Warren. Daly trying hard for a takedown. Hard shots by Warren. Daly still trying for the takedown. They drop down with Warren on top. Daly using wrist control to avoid damage. Head shots by Warren. Warren gets her back and lands shots. Daly is able to get up but Warren still has her back. Knees to the leg by Warren. Warren drags her down but Daly gets up. Takedown by Warren.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Warren

RD 2: Hook by Daly. Daly rocks her with a hook. Warren clinches on the cage. Knee to the head by Warren. Knee to the leg by Daly. Both land good knees. Real good battle for position. Daly tries for a takedown but Warren defends it. Daly tries for a single but Warren defends and gets her back. Daly gets half guard and Warren lands punches. Warren postures up and lands more shots. Daly gets full guard. Daly tries for an arm and gets an armbar. The ref says Warren tapped and Warren protests.

Result: Aisling Daly by Tapout (Armbar) at 4:39 of Round 2

Submission of the Night: Evva Johnson

KO of the Night: William Penn

Fight of Night: Steve Burton vs Dave Lastafka

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rachel Dovidio Interview

I try and be impartial whenever I can, but there are certain times I simply can't be. One of those times is when talking about Rachel Dovidio. Rachel isn't just a fighter I cover, she is a close friend, in fact even my occasional lifting partner. I was with her for the days leading up to her last fight and was amazed at how hard she worked having to deal with a bad weight cut. But she cut and she won. Now she is just days away from her 135 pound amateur title fight at NAAFS Night of Champions with Evva Johnson. This is a fight Rachel has earned and worked hard for, and fighting in her home town of Canton she gets the chance to make her mark on the WMMA world.

Q: Can you start out by just talking about how you got started in the sport?
A: I worked at Ladies First Fitness as a manager and a girl asked me if I would be interested in Tae Kwon Do, her name was Vickie, I said "Sure I'll try it". She took me to Victory, I sat in on her Tae Kwon Do class and hated it. I thought it was boring, but the class afterwords caught my attention. I asked what it was and they told me, and I said "That's what I wanna do". So I started coming and fell in love with it.

Q: For someone who may have never seen you fight, describe Rachel Dovidio as a fighter?
A: Describe me as a fighter........I'm not... I guess technical. I'm not a very technical fighter. I get in and get the job done. It may not look pretty, but it's how I am.

Q: You just got to spend time training in Las Vegas, can you talk about that?
A: It was fantastic. Jordan McDonald always invited me to come out and I finally took her up on it. We went to Dysdale's for Jiu-Jitsu. Tyson Griffin, Frank Mir and other fighters were very helpful. Robert Drysdale was helping Frank Mir and took his attention away from the big UFC fighter to walk across the gym and tell me what I was doing right and wrong. It meant alot. He is not about making money and having an image, he wants everyone to be good. Frank Mir invited me and Jordan to his gym, it was a great experience. I got to see him train and his coaches. They were willing to help us. I went to Wanderlei Silva's gym and got the crap kicked out of me in Muay Thai class. It was non-stop kick the crap out of you. If you get tired, too bad, suck it up and keep coming. It was one of the best experiences.

Q: You are fighting Evva Johnson, what do you know about her?
A: I've watched very little on her. I had a few people tell me some things about her, you being one of them. That she is more of a ground girl and he Jiu-Jitsu is pretty good. From what I have seen and looking at records, she hasn't fought anyone that seems to challenge her. It doesn't make her not a good fighter, I just think she hasn't been pushed yet and this fight she will get pushed because I know what I am doing, I have a winning record, the other girls didn't. I don't think she has been pushed and this fight will let her know if she is on her game or needs to go back to the drawing board.

Q: What would winning a title in a company like NAAFS mean to you?
A: Having a title for me personally means a lot cause I am not sure if I am gonna go pro. This may be one of my only opportunities. Last year no one would fight me for this, I had to wait a whole year to get this opportunity, so it means a lot to me. 135 is becoming as I get older to make, we all know this. So I am not sure how my fighting career is gonna continue, if I continue at 135 or move to 145, or what am doing. So this opportunity means a lot and for it be be with NAAFS who is a no shit and big name company it means a lot to even have an opportunity with them.

Q: A lot of people say how they would love to fight in their home town, you have before and get to do it again, whats that like?
A: Nerve racking haha. Very nerve racking because who wants to lose in front of their friends and family. I know that if would lose a fight my friends and family would be very supportive and then you have those ass holes who rub it in your face that you lost. Those are things you have to overlook, when its in your home town you have to deal with it a little more. I know I am a good fighter, but I also know there are girls out there who are better than me. I don't think I am the best by far. I am tough and can handle my own but there are always fighters better than you. You have to prepare and hope that you are ready, cause its a challenge whether in your home town or not. It does motivate me because you don't wanna lose in front of friends and family. It means a lot to make them proud of you.

Q: Can having all those people their rooting fro you help you?
A: I think..... like I said, it motivates you to want to win more. You know they love and support you through everything. But you know they are there if you do lose to pick you back up. After the fight your friends and family will be there saying you did great. It is nice to be surrounded by people who do love you if you lose because they do believe in you. Especially good friends like you who always believes in me Jason.

Q: For an opponent, can the crowd supporting you so much intimidate her?
A: I think ti does weigh on them a bit, but at the same time it may motivate them. They wanna prove that they earned their spot and say "You may not like me, but I am here and am here to destroy your home town girl". It could go either way depending on the person. It would motivate me.

Q: What do you expect from her?
A: Just because I think she is a ground girl, she might wanna come out and bang. Leave the ground for later to prove she is more than just a ground girl. So I honestly can't completely prepare for that. I fought Sara McMann who is a total wrestler, and her whole plan was to come out throwing and use the wrestling when she needed to. So who knows. If she is a ground person and wants to stand with me and feels my heavy hands, instinct might kick in and she may decide to go to the ground. If that's where she wants to go, I might not be the best Jiu-Jitsu person, but I am strong and know enough to get out of there or make it boring enough to make it be stood up.

Q: Whats they key for you in this fight?
A: Everyone knows if they have seen my fights that I like to bang. I am not scared to get hit or eat a punch from you to get close to do what I need to do. But I have been working with Tony (Castillo) on my wrestling and working more with my kicks, getting my confidence up. So I might be willing to branch out a little bit, but like I said instinct kicks in, and my instinct is to beat your face in. So I cant say I have a huge strategy, I hit her, test her out, see how she likes it and if she don't like it, I hit her some more haha. Keep my distance, if she does try and take my down, try and defend it, and if she does I am confident and not worried about being down there.

Q: Any prediction on how it ends?
A: I would love love a KO, that would be ultimate. But honest to God I don't see it going all three rounds. If it does, its slack on my part cause I feel much better than my last fight. So either she is one tough son of a bitch or....I don't know. I see it ending in first round or beginning of the second.

Q: Assuming you win, any idea what you want next?
A: If I win this fight, since I got my weight cut under control, I was thinking of doing Eve of Destruction at 135. After that I am not so sure on the weight situation. As I get older 135 is getting harder. I might go to 145.

Q: I am friends with a lot of female fighters as you know, many of the young ones, like an Ashley Hawkins, mention you as a fighter they like or respect or look up to. Does that mean anything to you?
A: Honestly, I don't think I am good enough to look up to. I appreciate it but ya know..... I grew up kinda in the ghetto, grew up with all boys ya know. I grew up tough. I am not a very technical fighter, if you look up to me, don't always do what I do. I am not always in there doing it correctly, getting wrapped up in the hands. But I appreciate it and am willing to train with anyone if they wanna train with me and show them what I know and learn from them cause you can always learn something, even if they didn't do it as long as you.

Q: Anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: There are a lot of people. First and foremost, I have to thank Jason Adams. You always get jipped. Every time we get to mention you its taken aways from us or mention you in the paper they leave it out, its quite frustrating. My last fight you were there for me through everything and did everything with me and I really wanna thank you and never got my opportunity. So first and foremost I want to thank you. You always support me and do everything for me and when I doubt myself, you never do, which means a lot to me. For this fight I have to thank Todd McGonigal and Jimmy Mikstay, two guys from Powerhouse gym who have been in my ass about my weight, they remind me of you. "Where is your weight, why didn't you come for help". In my ass and supportive, the nicest people in the world. Of course Victory for taking me back. I was gone for a couple years, and they took me back with open arms and let me where the Victory logo and represent them. They didn't have to cause I have only been back a couple months. Pat Schottenheimer is gonna corner me as well as I believe Terry Blackwell. They put in good work with me along with Tony, Josh Kissinger has helped with my hands. Strong Style for letting me come train with Jess (Jessica Eye)and thanks to Jess. She beat the shit out of my legs haha. It showed me I can take it and don't want to take it haha, so learned to defend it better. My sponsors, Freedom Fighters and Tussle for sponsoring me this fight. Thanks to Nichole (Long) for that one. Nichole is not just my manager, but one of my really good friends and means the world to me. NAAFS for giving me this opportunity. If I left anyone out I apologize but there are so many who have helped me.

Tony Castillo Interview

Tony Castillo is determined to prove that the fighter you saw in what he says was his only legitimate loss, to Terry Blackwell, was not the real Tony Castillo. He gets to try and do that when he fights Kevin Rothacker at NAAFS Night of Champions. To improve his game he now trains with Blackwell at Instigator/Victory. With two guys known for being in exciting fights, this one could a highlight on a big show.

Q: Can you start out by talking about how you got started in the sport?
A: I started back in 2008, one of my buddies wrestled at Cleveland State, he said that a gym in Toledo was looking for fighters for the first MMA fights in Toledo. I went and checked it out and trained for I think it was two weeks. The guy who owned the gym said to fight on his card. It was short notice, and I went and did that and fought like 10 fights in eleven or twelve months.

Q: For someone who has never seen you fight before, how would you describe yourself?
A: Definitely my strong point is my wrestling background and ground and pound. Doesn't mean I won't stand and bang, it's just second nature to go to the ground. Coming up from where I came from, always getting in trouble, its not a big deal to stand and bang with someone. It depends on how it goes and who I am fighting. No matter what you are gonna get a fight out of me, on the ground or the feet.

Q: You are fighting Kevin Rothacker, what do you know about him?
A: From what I have heard and seen a couple times, he actually just fought one of my homeboys, Matt Montalvo at Rock-n-Rumble, and that was the first time I saw him in person. A lot of people respect his ground game and jiu-jitsu. After seeing that fight I was like, he beat my buddy, and it was on opportunity to fight at 145 and fight someone who has a lot of respect in the area.

Q: He has a reputation as someone who takes a lot of damage but people are not able to finish him. Does that give you incentive to not only with, but be the guy who is able to finish him?
A: Definitely. It's my goal to finish him. I am trying to make a statement in my weight class. Try and put him out and make a statement.

Q: What do you expect out of him?
A: I don't see him having a game plan. My personal opinion, I don't think he can stop my takedowns. My takedown defense is a big part of my game. So I don't see him going for a takedown and if he does its not in my worries. I see him just trying to grind it or stand and bang. I will work on my technique and finesse. I am not looking to get into a dirty fight, I am looking to use my ground and pound and bang away.

Q: What is they key for you to win this fight?
A: Really, I don't have too much respect for his cardio. Yeah he goes rounds, but I feel I just have to press him.

Q: A big show for a big organization, would this be your biggest fight?
A: I don't know if I would say its my biggest fight. As of right now, its an important fight. From lightweight to Featherweight, coming off my last fight for NAAFS which was a loss. The importance level, letting everyone know that this is now, and the best shape of my life.

Q: You are getting married at the end of the year. Has it been hard to block that out and focus on training?
A: Haha, to be honest Nichole (Long) has been very supportive. Twelve or thirteen weeks ago we kind of came to the decision that all wedding plans had to be handled cause my camp was gonna start. We ran a ten week camp and when it started it was time to focus. The last two weeks I have been in the gym seven days a week. So me and her handled it the best way we could and I am confident and glad the camp went the way it did.

Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: I am definitely guaranteeing a W. Going in and fighting for Victory and Instigator. It's the way I am and Victory is. I went there after losing to Terry cause he is my only legitimate loss. I am going to come off of that and learn from that. I am gonna give even more, so whether it be knock-out, tap-out, whatever, I will win. I am coming out to represent Victory.

Q: Assuming you win, any idea what you want next?
A: Take it one step at a time. I liked my weight cut, wasn't as hard as I thought. I will see how it works, how I feel. See what my body is like. Definitely want the number one contender spot at 145 or 135 and making a statement.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Definitely my gym Victory/Instigator, my sponsors, the NAAFS and Greg (Kalikas) for letting me show everyone that the Tony they saw last time in Canton isn't the Tony they will see this time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Steve Burton Interview

One of the exciting fights at NAAFS Night of Champions will be Steve Burton vs Dave Lastafka. Both fighters agree it is like a striker vs grappler. But its striker in Lastafka who has a ground game and a grappler in Burton who can striker. Burton is coming of some very good wins against some talented fighters and is very confident heading into this fight.

Q: Can you start out by talking about how you got started in the sport?
A: In 2009 I was coaching high school wrestling and Brian Dressler was fighting out of Wooster and training for one of his fights. I saw him working out at a high school and talked to him about it. I went down on a Saturday and started training with him and haven't looked back since.

Q: You have had some quality wins over good fighters lately. How has that helped you improve as a fighter?
A: They build a lot of confidence you know. Burbol is a very big name, comes from GirffonRawl. I have known about him since I started fighting, so he was a big opponent for me. Bresson has been in the semi-finals twice now and was ranked number one twice. Going all three rounds with those guys helped me build confidence and helps on a mentality level.

Q: How important is having that confidence going into a big fight like the one you have coming up?
A: I think confidence is huge. You have to be confident in your skill set, your coaches and your training. If you aren't confident you start doubting. Stick to your game plan and having a lot of fights and three round battles and coming out on top, you are ready for anything at that point.

Q: When I interviewed Dave Lastafka he said this is basically a striker vs a grappler. Would you agree?
A: Yeah, he comes from Vanyo which is primarily a stand-up place. So definitely a striker vs grappler. He has a couple wins by submission, so it can go standing or on the ground.

Q: To be referred to as a grappler, does that underestimate your striking?
A: Yeah, I believe he is going to underestimate my striking a lot. Since I have moved to Evolve for the last two fights and now for this one, working with Ryan Madigan and Steve Traczyk, my stand-up is miles from what is used to be. He's seen me fight Burbol and Bresson, and my game plan for them is different from what it is for him.

Q: On a night with many big fights, I think this fight can steal the show, would you agree?
A: Yeah, there's a little bit of history with this fight, a little big of personal stuff. So I don't think this fight will make three rounds. A lot of fireworks and a big ending.

Q: What are you expecting out of him in this fight?
A: I expect him to fight like he did against Burbol, throw his jab a lot, backing up, trying to keep me away with push kick, keep me at a distance and try and close in hard when he does.

Q: He said he is confident if it goes to the ground, is it safe to say if it stayed standing you are equally confident?
A: Yeah, I would have to agree with that. I am confident I am going to control where the fight goes and the pace.

Q: What is the key for you in this fight?
A: It's no secret where I want the fight to go. Eventually I want the fight to go to the ground. Like I said, I am gonna control where it goes and how it goes. Put him against the cage and take him down or take him down in front of the cage, either way, he is going to end up on the ground.

Q: Do you have a prediction on how it ends?
A: Either a submission or TKO.

Q: Its for a title, what would a title with NAAFS mean to you as a fighter?
A: It would mean a lot. A NAAFS title holds a lot of credibility. A lot of publicity, winning that title puts your name out there, your gym out there. Winning a title for Evolve through NAAFS really publicizes your name and helps out your career.

Q: What makes you want to keep fighting for NAAFS?
A: I like the opponents. If you want to fight the best, that's where you wanna go. They are organized and Nichole Long knows what she is doing. Its a good organization, real quality.

Q: Have you given any thought to when you want to turn pro?
A: I have thought about next year sometime. But I just fight, I leave that up to John Cook, Ryan Madigan, my coaches. I just do what they tell me and go into the cage and fight.

Q: Speaking of Evolve, obviously a great gym. What are the benefits for you as a fighter training there?
A: Different fighters. There are thirty some amateurs and a handful of pros. You have your strikers like Madigan and all the others, your ground and wrestling with Clint. So you get different looks every day. So many coaches there to, Madigan, Steve Traczyk, Musser, your pros, there is always someone who can help you.

Q: One thing I like about Evolve is they have what I call the Evolve train. Even if there is only one guy on the card, it seems the whole gym shows up to walk out with him and support him. How much does it help to have that much support from teammates?
A: Its big, its huge. Like you said, when you are the only fighter and you have thirty guys behind you walking out for the fight it shows everyone we are for real. Even if its one guy we travel together. We travel together and we fight together.

Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: Intimidation Clothing, Muscle Basix, Accenture, friends, family, teammates. And Dave Lastafka thanks for the pizza, after this fight the pizza is on me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dave Lastafka Interview

Dave Lastafka's record speaks for itself. Five fights, five wins, five finishes. At NAAFS Night of Champions he faces his toughest opponent yet, Steve Burton. With a win and an amateur title, Dave would cement an incredibly impressive year. One thing is for sure, this should be a great fight between two tremendously talented fighters.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the sport?
A: Actually when I first got started, my dad would have me watch old UFC videos, I watched them with him. Then I was involved in sports but in May 2010 a buddy of mine egged me on to train with him. I trained two Saturdays in a row with him and he asked me in my now coaches organization. I took the fight on two weeks notice and ended up beating him in the 2nd round.I started training again in December and haven't looked back since.

Q: That first day you trained, did you ever think you may actually fight?
A: I've always took a big interest in it. I always said I wanted to. I didn't realize it would be two or three weeks after that first day of training.

Q: After your first NAAFS fight, matchmaker Nichole Long said you had potential and could make it to the tournament finals. Did you think that was a possiblity?
A: Yeah, she expressed a lot of interest in me after that first fight. She has been doing this awhile and she is real genuine. I believe I have the potential to make it to the highest of my abilities. I will do everything I can to win the finals and then go on from there.

Q: To borrow a college football phrase, you travel well. You have a lot of people come and support you. Is that support a big help to you?
A: Yeah, its a huge support. Whether its the littlest of kids, my moms friends kids, my friends, their brothers and sisters, to random people I meet at any NAAFS event. Like you said they travel. My second fight I filled half the place up with just my fans. They are a huge support and one of the reasons I do this. This is a sport for the fans so I gotta do what I can to make them happy.

Q: On the flip side, does it put any pressure on you?
A: Not really. I mean, I've been doing sports since I can remember, and there have been fans, whether a big stadium, small stadium. I get ready to walk out and I get tunnel vision, I don't see the fans till after their fight. Then I start shaking hands and taking pictures, its something I like to do.

Q: Do you think that it can be intimidating for an opponent?
A: Maybe sometimes. If he sees I have a big following or a big crowd he might go "wow". I guess it depends on the guy. I don't think the guy I am fighting will be affected by it, but you never know. For me personally, whoever is there is there, they are there to watch fights. A lot of people there, whether they like me or hate me, so I am prepared for anything and I hope my opponent is as well.

Q: Coming into this fight with Steve Burton you have had some impressive wins, has that helped your confidence?
A: Yeah, having five fights and finishing all five, really boosts my confidence. All the guys I fought have had winning records and that's a good thing. I don't wanna fight a guy that cant help me cause in my mind I can beat anybody. Always good to fight a guy with a winning record and finishing him is what I wanna do. People come to watch a fight not see guys lay on the ground and not doing anything. Not saying it cant happen, but I like to finish guys.

Q: Being undefeated and finishing all your opponents, do you think it maybe puts a target on your head, people wanting to give someone their first loss?
A: I guess you could say a target, but its also good because it means I will pull out the best in each competitor that I fight. I hope they want to give me my first loss because that means they bring what they can. When I beat them they cant say I lost because of this or that.

Q: How do you feel you match up with Steve Burton?
A: I would say almost like a striker vs a grappler match. I have watched his last two fights, I believe he has won a unanimous decision his last four fights. He likes to lay on the guy from what I saw. I feel like I have the explosiveness. If it does go to the ground, I am comfortable on the ground. I believe I am the better all around fighter than he is, but we will see in the cage on Wednesday.

Q: What do you expect out of him in this fight?
A: I don't think he is gonna want to stand with me in all honesty. I think what he is gonna try and do is come out and touch gloves, feel each other out and try and press me and look for a shot and try and take me down and grind me out, but its not gonna happen if I have anything to say about it. He's a strong guy, good wrestler, has a 7-1 record for a reason, but I am gonna go in there and impose my game plan.

Q: What s the key for you in this fight?
A: Probably just working my jab, keeping my distance and finishing fights like I always do. Everyone has a game plan till they get in there and it actually happens. So we will see what happens when we get in there.Whether I take the first punch or he does, anything can happen after that.

Q: What would winning the title mean to you?
A: Oh man, its huge. Every fight in my eyes is a title fight, every fight is the biggest fight for me. But always being known as the 2011 NAAFS Amateur Champion is huge. Its one of the biggest organizations in Ohio if not the Nation, all these guys going to Bellator and UFC. If your not fighting to go to the big show, there is no reason to be in the cage. I would love to represent the NAAFS as their champion.

Q: Do you have a prediction on how it ends?
A: Yeah, with my hand raised. Whether its a KO, TKO, submission, I don't plan on going to the judges. If it has to, then it does, but I plan on finishing this fight one way or another.

Q: Have you given any thought as to how many fights you want before you turn pro?
A: I think probably 8-10 amateur fights cause I am still young in this sport. I wanna get a couple grappling and kickboxing matches in there to round my game.

Q: You are someone a lot of other fighters seem to like. For example, Jessica Eye at your last fight said "you are a nice guy and humble", is that important to you?
A: Yeah, I mean, its a contact sport, we hit each other. Whether you like each other or not, I believe you should be respectful and humble. There's nothing like getting in there and getting hit and hitting a guy, but sharing a drink afterwords is always a great feeling. I am friends with four of the five guys I fought. Being humble I follow from my family. My mom raised me to be a good kid.

Q: You train with a great team at Vanyo, whats the benefit of being with them?
A: We have a lot of different styles. Anywhere from Tae Kwon Do to others. Mr. Vanyo is very knowledgeable, he has been around the block. A wide range of fighters, they aren't just a team, but a family. That's why I am there, they aren't a team, they are my family.

Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: Yeah, like you were saying before, my family and friends, my team, and guys who have really helped me like my buddy Ray. Intimidation Clothing for sponsoring me and giving me free stuff, gotta love that. Thank yo, I appreciate the interview. And the NAAFS for giving me a shot at the title, Cant wait to get in there on the 23rd.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Francis Healy Interview

Francis Healy is coming off a majority draw with Mike Putnam. While most feel Healy won 2 rounds to 1, Healy was deducted a point for hitting the back of the head, leading to the draw. With a win, Healy would have moved into the finals for the NAAFS Amateur Series title. While the draw and not getting into the finals is surely frustrating, Healy was able to put on a great performance and show that is among the elite in his class.

Q: You are coming off of the draw with Mike Putnam. How did you feel about the decision?
A: I felt that the decision wasn't quite right. Taking nothing away from Putnam of course, he's a tough kid and it was a good fight. I did feel the fight was more one sided though, and the point taken too quickly.

Q: Did you think any of the shots were in fact to the back of the head?
A: Yea some stray shots are bound to land past the ears in that situation. You have a guy who doesn't want to get hit turning away from a guy who wants to win. A couple shots probably drifted that way, but I should have gotten more of a warning. I've been in that exact situation many many times and have never been deducted.

Q: Did the ref give you any warning?
A: I sort of got a mumble right before about watching it. It wasn't what I consider a 'warning'.

Q: You were scheduled for a rematch with Putnam correct?
A: As most of you have already heard I am not fighting Putnam for the rematch December 3rd. There is a long list of reasons as to why I decided against it.

Q: Does it bother you not being able to advance to the finals, mainly because of a point deduction?
A: The decision to keep us out of the finals does get under my skin a little. I had it as a goal for the year to keep my training on track. The reality is the title was nothing but exactly that, to keep me on track. The title itself means nothing to me. I have goals far beyond any amateur title and this situation won't cause any delays in that dream.

Q: You are someone who seems equally confident standing as on the ground, is that accurate?
A: I work on every area equally, and put emphasis on my weakest links. I believe being well rounded is better than being great at any one area of fighting. The future of mma is an intelligent fighter who excels in mixed martial arts as a whole.

Q: Have you given any thought as to when you want to turn pro?
A: I think around this time next year. I've only been competing for going on 2 years now. I want to be sure there are no questions left unanswered before I make the leap. There are a lot of boxing matches and jits tourneys I'm going to compete in this year to round out my game.

Q: Any idea what you want to do next?
A: I'll probably look into fighting an mma event in January. With some other competition before that. I never take a break, been in the gym since the fight getting better.

Q: You train at a good gym, Mad Dog, what are the benefits of training there?
A: There are a lot of benefits in training/fighting for Mad Dog. Dave Suchevich and my boxing coach Bedo Jones have my back to the end and are always looking for ways to make me better. We go hard at Mad Dog. The coaches are really open to cross training as well so I'm always getting work in with the best Pittsburgh has to offer.

Q: Anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: I wanna thank my coaches at Mad Dog Gym. Beau Clark at Flow grappling, who basically taught me everything I know in Jiu Jitsu. All my sponsors from my last fight Boot Prints, Sadistic Athletics, Counter Culture Tattoo. All of my training partners, my Family. Also keep an eye out, my next fight I'll have a new sponsor Hooligans United.