Sunday, July 31, 2011

Jessica Eve Richer Interview

Q: You started with Jiu-Jitsu obviously and doing tournaments. What got you interested in that?
A: I was playing competitive ice hockey at the time. I was looking for something to do off season conditioning wise that was not hockey related. I was watching UFC at the time and learned about Jiu-Jitsu thought that and it looked interesting. I knew everyone who fought was in wicked good shape. So I thought it would be great to do for cross training. They opened up a Gracie Barra by my house. I checked it out and made friends with everybody and after my first session I got completely hooked on it.

Q: You recently made your MMA debut. Was there a reason you decided to try MMA?
A: After my first tournament it made me want to train that much harder. SO competing in Jiu-Jitsu made me train Jiu-Jitsu harder and I saw MMA as the next evolution of that. It took my training level to a whole other place. It was about the challenge.

Q: Your first fight with Nikita Njetles, granted it didn't last long, but when it was standing, you seemed comfortable. Is that accurate?
A: Yeah! We trained kick boxing a lot in my training camp preparing for that fight. Not that we were expecting a stand-up war, but in the sense that my background was Jiu-Jitsu so we wanted to bring up the level of the rest of my game. So we spent a lot of time training stand-up and stand-up transitions to the ground game. So I was confident in that coming in.

Q: You submitted her, but being known for Jiu-Jitsu so much, was there a part of you who wanted to show there is more to you than Jiu-Jitsu?
A: Absolutely. I definitely did want to hit her. Its funny you say that because my kick boxing coach said "I wish I got to see all the stuff we practiced." When I had her on the ground and had her back half of me thought I can't believe all the kickboxing we trained and I only got to throw two punches. So there was a part of me that wanted to show that a little more. Not that I wanted to sand and get beat up a lot or get into a brawl or anything. But I was a little disappointed I didn't get to stand on my feet a little longer.

Q: Transitioning to MMA, what has been the biggest adjustment you have had to make?
A: Mixing it up. I've been training kickboxing a year and a half. I haven't had any fights, but I've been training it long enough o I am comfortable with it. I train wrestling on its own and am comfortable with that, and obviously I train Jiu-Jitsu on its own and am very comfortable with that. So the hardest thing to do is learning to mix it up. Like the individual sports you train combos and set-ups for things. MMA is a whole sport within itself. It's not doing one thing and another thing and another thing, its putting it together and building a game out of that.

Q: Do you think your Jiu-Jitsu can be an advantage and get in someones head, where they say "I can't let her take me down"?
A: I would say it depends on the opponent. I think there's two kinds of fighters. Fighters that focus on the opponent and train to their game and I would say that would get in someones head. Then there are fighters who train to their own game and kind of say "I don't care who I am fighting, this is what I am gonna do and to hell with the fact she can do Jiu-Jitsu". So it would depend on that.

Q: You're fight coming up is with Allanna Jones. Do you know anything about her?
A: I know she is out of the same camp as Nikita and fought on the same card as I did, but I did not stay to see her fight. She finished her fight with a 1st round TKO which is impressive. She finished hers in the same amount of time as I did. She lost her debut fight to a girl who is pretty tough and it was a decision so she went the distance with her. So I know she is tough and will come out hard. She fought at 170 and I fought at 155 so she may be a little bigger.

Q: When I interviewed her she said if it goes to the ground she is confident she can hang there, reversing it, if it stays standing are you confident you can hang with her?
A: Like I said, I am confident wherever the fight goes. I train everything equally hard. It's not like I just practice Jiu-Jitsu, I am a well rounded fighter. I only have one MMA fight, and it was only 1:50 long so people haven't had the opportunity to see it, but I am confident wherever the fight goes?

Q: Is there one thing you feel you have to do to make sure you win?
A: Strategy wise no, but its keep moving forward, its staying focused and playing my game and do what I do. Don't get into her rhythm, stay in my rhythm and take the fight where I want to take it.

Q: How does this fight end?
A: With my hand getting raised.

Q: This is your second fight, both with NAAFS. Is there any reason you want to fight with them again?
A: They took good care of me the first time. Nichole Long is phenomenal to deal with. I spent almost a year getting my first fight. I am from New York, the one stage I can't fight, and the promoters on the east coast aren't female friendly. So it was trying to find a promotion that was female friendly and I am 155lb and there's no girls that size on the east coast. The promotions on the east coast who do have females are all like 125lbs-135lbs. If they could make a fight at 155 it was gonna be like a warm-up deal. So dealing with a promotion that is female friendly with a pool of 155lb fighters, it meant more to fight in an organization like that. I felt like it would be good exposure and I would have room for growth with it.

Q: A lot of promotions treat female fighters as side shows, while NAAFS treats them as fighters. Does that make it more enjoyable to fight for them?
A: Absolutely! That is the main reason I am staying there. I wouldn't want to fight for a promotion that can get you on a card and not talk of a title fight in the next fight. I have talked to promoters who say "We are doing a title fight on are next card, do you wanna fight for a belt" and I had no fights and am fighting someone with no fights, so it doesn't mean anything. So being in a female friendly organization that respects you as a fighter is more of a sport and more competitive.

Q: You mentioned you train at Gracie Barra, which is a great gym. What are the benefits of that?
A: My head trainer Joe Scarola is 4-0 as an MMA fighter so has MMA experience in addition to being a Jiu-Jitsu black belt. So his game translates well into what I do. He came from a Jiu-Jitsu background and translated that into MMA, which is the same way I came up. That's been beneficial to me as opposed to going to a gym that doesn't have a Jiu-Jitsu background, he knows how to develop a game plan around Jiu-Jitsu strengths. Barra attracts higher level fighters. We've got a plethora of people I can train with, my training camp is good because of that.

Q: Any idea whats next, or one thing at a time?
A: I respect every fighter I fight and I have to fight the fight in front of me. So I have to focus on Allanna Jones and that's it. But if this fights goes well, like I said, with the NAAFS there is potential for growth, there is a belt at 155 that has meaning. It would be a great honor to keep moving forward with them and achieve something. Fighters from there are moving on to bigger promotions, so I feel like I am in the right place to do big things if things keep going the way they are going.

Q: Anyone you want to thank or mention before we finish?
A: VersaClimber has been with me since the beginning of last year. They sponsored me for Jiu-Jitsu tournaments and now this MMA fight. North Country Athletic Club Wrestling, RevGear, Defense Soap, Furi Jiu-Jitsu sports and ToughChick. My trainers, Gracie Barra Long Island, BC Kickboxing and Combat Trainer.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Joe and Sammy Callari Interview

Q: Can you start out talking about how you got involved with fighting?
J: I got started when my coach now, my Jiu-Jitsu coach, came up to me, we were talking about the GSP and BJ Penn fight, and asked me if I ever trained and I said no. He told me to stop by his house one Saturday and made me tap out for the first time, and that's when I fell in love with the sport
S: I have kind of a funny story. My first fight was scheduled before I even got into Mixed Martial Arts. I believe it was in December, this past December, my brother had just got my cousin Sam a fight and me and Joey, we work together, I saw him at work that day and said "Joey, can you get me a fight, what if you train me?". He called the promoter, we were scheduled to fight for Dan Bobish, he called him up and he said he could use a fighter for April 9th. Eve since that phone call 7 months ago, Joey's been teaching me, been my best friend, my hero, my right hand man and taught me everything I know about this sport. Looking back it was one of the greatest decisions I ever made. Joey's pushed me and the results are showing.

Q: Everyone has teammates, but what are the benefits of having a brother as a teammate?
S: I'll take Joey over anybody else. Just cause your brother knows you, he has been living with me my whole life. Its a weird brother bonding way to beat the crap out of each other. It has paid off because we live in the same house, when we aren't in the gym we train together in the basement, wrestling or boxing. Even at work together we talk about fights and go over strategies. Its the little things that matter, we are constantly doing something, always around the sport and talking about it. Pushing each other is one of the greatest things I have done in my life.
J: We are both competitive so that helps a lot. Always seeing who hits harder or taps the other out first.When we first got into it, rolling with Sammy was easy, not I am lucky to make him tap out once. We know each others strengths.

Q: Joe, describe Sammy as a fighter?
J: Hard hitter and someone that doesn't give up. The first fight he had, he had three months of training and had to get down twenty pounds, and that was hard cause he wasn't used to cutting weight. He didn't know anything about his opponent and the opponent came out south paw and broke his nose, and he just made it a battle. The second fight against a pure wrestler, he never gave up and in the third round got a nice guillotine on him, and even though the kid got out, you could see as the round went on, Sammy had the hear to push through.

Q: Sammy, describe Joey as a fighter?
S: He's what I want to be. He's got everything, the work ethic, the discipline, seeing him in the cage, I would not want to be the opponent. The only way to take him out is kick him in the groin. He works his butt off, when I am at work and come home, he is working out getting better. He is always striving to get better and never admits he is at his peak or his best. Always getting better, always watching fights. His boxing is tremendous. I have a broken nose because of it. His ground game is underrated. We haven't really seen that in his fights yet, but when the upcoming fight goes to the ground, people will see that. He is what I am trying to be just like.

Q: Joe, you fight Bob Bianchin in this next fight. Do you know anything about him?
J: Ya know, I always do my home work on every fighter, but its also a good thing not to know to much about an opponent. I know his wins, his losses, his strengths and his weakness. But that's all I need to know. I wanna put on a good show for the fans. If he takes me down and not do a lot of action, I will look for the submission. Most likely I wanna beat him at his strength to make a point. I want to put on a good show.

Q: Is there one thing you have to do to beat him?
J: Well, in my head I always say knockout, but I want to get a submission on my record.

Q: How does the fight end?
J: I'm liking the gogoplata from mount or a key lock.

Q: Sammy, you are not fighting due to the injury. You still didn't have an opponent. Does that get frustrating, training with no opponent?
S: I don't think its frustrating at all. Nichole Long does a great job. NAAFS is well known and puts on great shows. We are so happy to be a part of it. I can see a fighter getting frustrated but I don't care who my opponent is. I just don't care. We work our butt off every day. My last two fights, with my weight cut I did a horrible job and it showed. I was dehydrated and starved. This time I took a different approach and ate super healthy, still building muscle but losing fat. Till yesterday I felt great, she could have given me anyone, I got to fight, not just stand up, not just wrestle. So not having an opponent is no big deal. She could have given me someone the night before and I would have taken it.

Q: Does knowing Nichole is so good at what she does, knowing she will find someone, make it easier?
S: Yeah I think it does. We only fought for two promotions. Both matchmakers named Nichole. Nichole Long puts in the hours to find good fights. After my last fight I said I didn't feel comfortable against a wrestler, with no wrestling background. Now I thought about it and that's the easy way out. I want a challenge. I feel confident in who Nichole gives me and my brother. We are always up for a challenge

Q: Assuming you come watch Joe, is now not fighting going to make it harder to sit and watch?
S: No! I sat through two of his fights already. Me being next to him the weeks prior, right no, I m still training, just really careful. It's not gonna be an issue. I will wrap his hands, be his corner man. I am very confident in him. Not hard at all.

Q: Are you guys more nervous for your fights or your brothers fights?
J: I get more nervous when Sammy is about to fight cause generally, I like to get hit. Even practicing, people get upset, but it brings a smile to my face. It's rare I will get knocked out so when Sammy is about to fight it is nerve racking but also amazing knowing what you helped create in a short time.
S: With me, I don't get nervous when I fight and don't get nervous when Joe fights. I remember my first fight, I was actually nervous that I wasn't nervous. I was fine and calm. I think the credit goes to God for putting that in me to always trust him, and Joey and our team that we work with, that the prep they give me is calming. I am never nervous when I fight and can't get nervous when he fights. I know he will do a great job.

Q: Are there any fighters you enjoy watching and learning from?
J: I really enjoy watching Cody Garbrandt. He did a great job against Saltsman and his take down defense and hands. He is a good friend of mine so that was nice watching him. Brian Rogers, he fought on one of my cad. Me and Sammy drove to Columbus for his Strikeforce fight, he is impressive.
S: I am the same as Joey. We know a lot of Strong Style guys a lot of GriffonRawl guys a lot of Evolve guys. Seeing them and their success preps us for our training and what we accomplish.

Q: Two years from now, where do you see yourselves in the sport?
J: I see myself going pro. I think that if I can put enough amateur fights in and be comfortable in the cage. Fighting amateur is a disadvantage for me because I fight with a lot of head kicks and knees. When I turn pro it will be better cause I am a Muay Thai guy so will have tricks up my sleeve.
S: I don't necessarily see myself going pro, but helping Joey go pro. Always sticking around MMA. Every sport since I did MMA bores me. So sticking around, fighting in amateurs. I have only done this 7 months. With no background. The sky is the limit. I put in the work and have the heart. But my goal is to see Joey succeed. If it happens that I have a chance to go pro, then we will think about it. But in two years I see myself pushing Joey and making him better.

Q: Is there a reason you like fighting for NAAFS?
J: Yeah, the fights are on Sports Time Ohio, its a big name. I had an opportunity to train in Florida and people there knew it. So when Florida knows NAAFS its saying something.
S: Like he said, NAAFS is huge, you see guys taking off, Jessica Eye, Brian Rogers, Stipe Miocic, Donny Walker. Everyone who fights goes on and puts in the work and goes to new levels. I can see Joey doing that for sure. It's growing and not gonna stop growing.

Q: You guys are both very humble. Is that something you make an effort to do?
J: Yeah, as we progress in the sport, its always good to be humble, be the quiet guy. If you walk down the street and someone says you look like a fighter, that's is not a good thing. Don't be the guy looking for fights. Help others and improve others.
S: Yeah, I thank God. He allows us to be humble. I thank our parents. They raised us well, very respectful, putting others first. We don't go around saying we do this and you don't. Pride always come before your fall. Keeping that in our heads will make us better. We see the goals in front of us and wont let over confidence stop us from those goals.

Q: Anyone you want to thank or mention?
J: Thanks to God first off, our parents, Sammy, cause we push each other. He is my greatest motivation. Dan Buell my Jiu-Jitsu coach, Scott Smith to help with wrestling, and Mark Erickson my Muay Thai coach.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Allanna Jones Interview

Q: Can you start out talking about how you got into the sport?
A: I have always had an interest and my brothers actually were doing it I found out there was a gym where I lived and just started going. First I was gonna do it just for training, but caught an interest in fighting to.

Q: Is there something specific that got you interested in fighting?
A: Just the whole excitement about it, the rush I guess.

Q: Your last fight, you finished Faith Townsend. How satisfying was that coming off a lose in your first fight?
A: I was super happy. Especially to win in Ohio was a good feeling.

Q: Is there something you learned from the first fight you were able to use to your advantage this last fight?
A: Yeah, the first fight I really didn't know much about who I was fighting, just went in there and gave it my all. I won the second fight giving my all and came out with a good result.

Q: Your next fight is vs Jessica Richer. What do you know about her?
A: I've seen her fight. Her first fight was against a friend of mine. I know she is really good at Jiu-Jitsu. So I know she is good on the ground. That's all I know so far about her.

Q: Knowing she likes the Jiu-Jitsu, would your preference be to keep it standing?
A: Yeah that would be my preference.

Q: If she does get it down, are you confident you ca hang with her?
A: Yeah, I'm confident. If it goes to the ground I have to make a few adjustments. But I'm confident I can hold my own on the ground if it goes there. I prefer to keep it standing, that's my strong point. I'm a striker.

Q: The first fight with Maria Messer, she spent two rounds trying to submit you. Knowing she was unable to, does that give you confidence against someone like Jessica?
A: Yeah, it definitely gives me a lot of confidence. My trainer and me work a lot on defending submissions. I am just real determined and don't like to tap so I will fight as hard as I can to get out of it.

Q: Going back to that fight, granted she won, but where I was sitting a lot of people were actually talking about you. Does that give you satisfaction even though you lost?
A: Yes because it let's me know that even though I didn't win, I did a great job and fought a good fight. I was satisfied with the way I performed. I do wish I got out of the triangle a lot sooner, but I have no regrets and feel I did a good job.

Q: In the fight with Jessica, is there that one thing you feel you have to do to win?
A: Not really. It's not one specific thing. Its a lot of things that I wanna make sure I do. My main point is she is real good on the ground so I want to keep it standing as long as I can and if it goes to the ground, do what I need to do to get it back standing or get control of her. It's not really a specific thing. My game plan is to go in there and do what I have to do to come out on top.

Q: How does the fight end?
A: If I had to guess, it might end on the ground. But its hard to tell, I don't really.... I don't know. I don't have a specific thing.

Q: Assuming you win, any idea what you want next, or just focused on this fight?
A: If I win, not really a specific thing, just keep training and get ready for the next opponent.

Q: This is your third fight for NAAFS Why do you like fighting for them?
A: There are a lot of tough girls there and I like fighting tough girls. It lets me know where I am and what to work on to get farther. In Michigan there is not a whole lot of fights, so I like fighting down there.

Q: Knowing NAAFS treats women as fighters as opposed to a side show, does that make it more enjoyable to fight for them?
A: Yes it definitely does.

Q: This year they will probably do their all female Eve of Destruction card. Is that something you want to be on?
A: Yes definitely!

Q: Are there any fighters you like to watch and learn from?
A: I like to watch Cyborg.

Q: Let's say someone is going to this show and sees you for the first time. What can they expect?
A: They can expect a real good fight, see me putting 100 percent into it. Expect a lot of standing and banging. A good show. I give 100 percent and my all in every fight.

Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank?
A: I want to thank my trainer Glen Bailey, American Muscle MMA, the guys who help me train.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

NAAFS War on the Shore 5 Report

July 23 the NAAFS put on War on the Shore 5. The fights were good, until the skies opened up and we got a storm. So the pro bouts and remaining amateur bouts have been moved to Rock N Rumble, making that card a can't miss. While it ended up being an abbreviated card, the fights that did take place were really good, so the night was not a total loss.

1. Amateur Heavyweight
Chris Atkinson (0-0 Independent) vs Brian Lawhead (0-0 Independent)

RD 1: Front kick by Atkinson. Both fighters land hooks. Lawhead then lands a hard hook. They trade shots and then clinch on the cage. The separate and Atkinson lands a hook. Leg kick by Lawhead. They clinch in the center and Atkinson pushes to the cage. Both trade hard hooks. Lawhead lands a cross. They clinch against the cage to close the round.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Lawhead

RD 2: Cross by Lawhead. They clinch in the center and move to the cage. Lawhead lands a knee and then another. Nice spinning backfist by Atkinson. Lawhead gets a takedown and mount. Lands ground and pound till Atkinson holds him close. Lawhead postures up and lands punches.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Lawhead

RD 3: Both fighters look tired and not much action to start the round with lots of feints. Lawhead lands a hook and Atkinson a jab. Lawhead with another hook and Atkinson counters. Lawhead with a nice hook to the body. Leg kick by Atkinson. Jab by Atkinson. Atkinson with a spinning back fist and then a cross. They clinch on the cage as round ends.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Atkinson
My score card: 29-28 Lawhead

Result: Chris Atkinson by Split Decision (30-27/28-29/29-28)

2. Amateur Light Heavyweight (Over 35 Division)
Chris Jones (0-0 S.A.F.E.) vs Jacen Huss (1-0 Independent)

RD 1: Jab by Huss. They clinch and move to the cage. Jones lands punches to the body. They separate and Huss lands a front kick. Huss lands a hook. They clinch on the cage and have a nice battle for position. Knee to the body by Huss. Huss lands more knees to the leg. Jones lands two knees and they separate. They again clinch and Huss lands knees.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Huss

RD 2: Two punch combo by Huss. Leg kick by Jones. Huss lands a jab and then several more punches. Body kick by Huss. Huss lands a push kick. They clinch against the cage and Huss lands knees. Huss with a nice body shot and then a knee. Huss gets his back and takes him down and lands hard shots to the head.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Huss

RD 3: Both fighters land hooks. Clinch on the cage and Huss lands punches to the body. Huss lands a knee to the leg More body shots by Huss. Huss with a knee to the body and then another. Huss gets a takedown. He gets north south position but Jones pulls guard and avoids damage as round ends.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Huss
My score card: 30-27 Huss

Result: Jacen Huss by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/30-27)

3. Amateur Heavyweight
Steve Thom (4-5 Elite Sports Academy) vs Windom Craig (3-2 Strong Style)

RD 1: Two punch combo by Craig. Leg kick by Thom. Thom lands a jab to the body.Craig lands a hook and Thom a hard cross. Craig lands a couple punches. They clinch on the cage and Craig lands knees to the leg. They separate and Thom lands a hard hook. Craig is cut under his eye. Thom lands a hook and then they trade hard shots. Craig lands a hook and then hurts him with more punches. Craig drops him with a hook and lands ground and pound.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Craig

RD 2: Thom is now also cut under his eye. Both land jabs. Craig lands a cross and then a hard hook. They clinch and Craig lands punches to the body. Thom lands a nice shot to the body. Craig with a knee to the leg. They separate and Thom hurts him with punches but Craig comes back with hard shots. Hook by Thom. Hard hook by Craig drops him. Craig gets on top and traps an arm but then gets his back. Craig gets mount and then his back again. Craig decides to stand. Craig drops him with a hard shot and lands ground and pound till the ref stops it.

Result; Windom Craig by TKO at 2:35 of Round 2

4. Amateur Bantamweight
Josh Burr (0-1 Team ATA) vs Jake Peterjohn (0-0 Strong Style)

RD 1: Leg kick by Peterjohn. Burr lands a hook. Peterjohn lads a hook of his own. Both trade shots with Peterjohn getting the advantage. Burr is bleeding from the nose. Peterjohn lands a jab and then another. They both miss punches and then Peterjohn lands a nice jab. Both land nice hooks. Peterjohn with another nice hook.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Peterjohn

RD 2: Burr hurts him with a punch and then drops him with a hook. Burr lands a few more shots and the ref stops it.

Result: Josh Burr by TKO at :28 of Round 2

5. Amateur 165 Pounds
DeDe Justice (1-0 Elite Sports Academy) vs Lalani Malley (4-0 Team 1)

RD 1: Leg kick and a hook by Malley. Malley lands a kick to the body. Malley catches a kick and takes her down. Malley gets her back and gets hooks in working hard for the choke. Justice tries to roll out but Malley hangs on and gets the rear naked for the tap.

Result: Lalani Malley by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:45 of Round 1

6. Amateur Welterweight
Aleksey Itunin (Independent) vs Dustin Wolfe (2-0 Strong Style)

RD 1: Kick to the body by Itunin. Jab by Wolfe. Another kick to the body by Itunin. Wolfe gets a takedown and mount. Wolfe lands ground and pound and then gets his back and looks for a rear naked. He had it but Itunin pulls out. Wolfe looks for it again and now lands punches to the head. Itunin manages to get up. Wolfe lands punches and then drops down and gets a takedown. He gets his back and again looks for the rear naked. Wolfe lands head shots.
I scored RD 1: 10-8 Wolfe

RD 2: Kick to the body by Itunin. Wolfe lands a hook. Itunin with a nice kick to the body. They clinch on the cage and Wolfe lands a knee to the body. They separate and Itunin lands a cross and kick to the body. Wolfe gets a takedown and gets his back and looks for the choke. Wolfe begins landing punches till Itunin taps.

Result: Dustin Wolfe by Tapout (Strikes) at 1:48 of Round 2

7. Amateur Lightweight
Kyle Dolan (5-2 Independent) vs Dan Farnworth (4-1 GriffonRawl)

RD 1: Body kick by Dolan. They clinch on the cage and Farnworth gets a takedown. Dolan looks for a guillotine from the bottom, but Farnworth pulls out. Farnworth lands punches to the body. Farnworth tries to get his back but Dolan rolls and gets on top. Farnworth defends well. Dolan begins landing hard punches and gets his back. Dolan stands and lands punches.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Farnworth

RD 2: Leg kick by Farnworth. Farnworth drops for a takedown but Dolan drops punches down on him. Dolan is looking fro the choke. Now he gets mount and lands punches. He gets his back but Farnworth escapes and gets on top to close the round.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Dolan

RD 3: Leg kick by Farnworth. Farnworth hurts him with punches and drops him. Dolan gets on top but Farnworth hooks a triangle for the tap.

Result: Dan Farnworth by Tapout (Triangle Choke) at :30 of Round 3

8. Amateur Welterweight
Dave Vandevelde (5-0-1 Kim's Martial Arts) vs Andrew Law (6-2 Evolve MMA)

RD 1: Body kick by Vandevelde. They clinch on the cage and both lands knees. Rain and thunder stops the fight.

Result: No contest

Submission of the night: Lalani Malley

KO of the Night: Windom Craig

Fight of the Night: Aleksey Itunin vs Dustin Wolfe

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

NAAFS Proving Grounds 9 Report

On July 16th NAAFS put on Proving Grounds 9. I believe it was the best Proving Grounds card yet. Some really good match-ups that really delivered. I saw several fighters on this card who have potential to be really good in the near future.

1. Amateur Featherweight
Derek Schultz (0-1 Ohio BJJC) vs Zach Forrester (0-1 PA Brawlers)

RD 1: Jab and uppercut by Forrester. Forrester lands another jab followed by a nice uppercut and kick. Forrester lands a knee to the body. Both land nice jabs. Hard leg kick by Forrester. Both land hard punches. Schultz gets a takedown and lands punches to the body. Forrester does good avoiding damage. Schultz now starts landing punches. The ref stands them up. Leg kick by Forrester who then lands a few punches. Forrester drops him with a hook.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Forrester

RD 2: Two punch combo by Forrester. Jab by Schultz. Forrester lands an uppercut. Schultz gets a takedown. Forrester avoids much damage. Schultz lands some shots to the body. The ref stands them and Forrester lands a two punch combo. Schultz misses a punch and Forrester tries for a guillotine as the round ends.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Forrester

RD 3: Uppercut by Forrester. Takedown by Schultz. Forrester again does a good job avoiding damage. Forrester pushes him off but Schultz gets back on top. Schultz stands and Forrester lands a great punch from the ground. Schultz gets on top in mount. Schultz looks for a choke and then gets side control, then goes back to mount and lands shots to the head. Schultz gets a sweep as the round ends.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Schultz
My score card: 29-28 Schultz

Result: Zach Forrester by Unanimous Decision (29-28/29-28/29-28)

2. Amateur Heavyweight
Alex Schultz (1-1 USA Martial Arts) vs Andi Iftiu (0-1 Brickhouse MMA)

RD 1: Leg kick by Schultz and answered by Iftiu with a leg kick of his own. Schultz shoots and gets stuffed. Iftiu lands punches in north south position. They stand and clinch on the cage. Knee by Schultz. Schultz gets a takedown and mount. Now gets his back and an armbar for the tap.

Result: Alex Schultz by Tapout (Armbar) at 1:49 pf Round 1

3. Amateur Welterweight
Matt Holland (2-1 Demolition Fight Team) vs John Whitten (5-6 CMA)

RD 1: Cross by Holland. hey clinch against the cage and Whitten goes for a guillotine. Holland escapes and Whitten gets a takedown. Holland has guard and holds him close. Holland gets a sweep to get on top and is in half guard. Holland lands body shots and then gets mount. He goes for the guillotine and gets it for the tap.

Result: Matt Holland by Tapout (Guillotine) at 2:04 of Round 1

4. Amateur Welterweight
Emmanuel Kangah (0-0 Shaolin Kung Fu) vs Will Johnson (0-0 Brickhouse MMA)

RD 1: Jab by Johnson. Leg kick by Kangah who then lands a hard leg kick. Both land leg kicks and hard punches. Kangah misses a back fist and Johnson gets a takedown. Kangah lands a leg kick. Johnson gets a takedown and gets mount and lands punches.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Johnson

RD 2: Leg kick by Kangah. Kangah tries for a takedown but can't get it. Two jabs by Johnson. Kangah lands a cross. Kangah hurts him with punches but Johnson gets a beautiful takedown and gets mount. He lands hard punches then moves to side control. He tries for an arm but cant get it. They stand but drop back down. Johnson gets mount but the round ends.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Johnson

RD 3: Johnson ducks a punch and gets a takedown into side control. Now in half guard he lands punches. Kangah gets up. Two hard jabs by Johnson and they clinch on the cage. Johnson is trying to get a takedown and finally gets it. The ref stands them. Kangah looks real tired. Johnson lands shots as Kangah moves away. Johnson shoots and gets a takedown to close the round.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Johnson
My score card: 30-27 Johnson

Result: Will Johnson by Split Decision (30-27/28-29/29-28)

5. Amateur Lightweight
Danny Doverspike (1-0 Evolve MMA) vs John Rodriguez (1-2 Fight Fit)

RD 1: Rodriguez lands punches and Doverspike clinches. Rodriguez takes it down and looks for a choke. Doverspike escapes and gets mount. Rodriguez lands from the bottom. Doverspike lands a nice punch from the top to end the round.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Rodriguez

RD 2: Takedown by Doverspike. Doverspike lands body shots, but Rodriguez defends well. Not much action here. The ref stands them. Leg kick by Doverspike followed by a real nice second leg kick. Rodriguez lands two kicks and Doverspike lands a nice cross.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Doverspike

RD 3: Spinning back fist by Rodriguez and Doverspike takes him down. Doverspike gets side control and then mount. He lands punches to the head and then the body. He continues landing even more to the head, then more to the body. He takes a second and then lands more head shots. He goes for an arm as the round ends.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Doverspike
My score card: 29-28 Doverspike

Result: Danny Doverspike by Unanimous Decision(30-27/30-27/30-27)

6. Amateur Bantamweight

Jordan Espinosa (3-0 Demolition Fight Team) vs Aaron Aravantis (2-0 USA Martial Arts)

RD 1: Aravantis charges in and Espinosa throws him down and lands punches. He gets up and Espinosa lands more punches. Leg kick by Aravantis. Two punches by Espinosa. They clinch against the cage and Espinosa lands punches in the clinch. Espinosa lands a knee and takes it down, but lets him up. Both land kicks. Espinosa lands a jab. Both land leg kicks and a jab by Espinosa. Body kick by Espinosaa. Espinosa lands a nice push kick.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Espinosa

RD 2: Two leg kicks by Aravantis. Nice cross by Espinosa. Leg kick by Espinosa. Jab by Aravantis. Front kick by Espinosa answered by Aravantis with a hook. Espinosa lands a kick low stopping action. They resume and Espinosa lands a jab answered by Aravantis with a cross. Aravantis lands a leg kick. Leg kick by Espinosa. Nice two kick combo by Espinosa. Another leg kick by Espinosa followed by a jab. Aravantis tries for a takedown but Espinosa gets on top and lands punches.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Espinosa

RD 3: Jab by Espinosa. Leg kick by Espinosa. Two more leg kicks by Espinosa. Espinosa lands a jab and Aravantis lands a kick low stopping the action. They resume and and Espinosa lands a jab and uppercut. Espinosa lands a knee to the body and then a hook. Body kick by Espinosa. Two punch combo by Espinosa.
I scored RD 3:1-9 Espinosa
My score card: 30-27 Espinosa

Result: Jordan Espinosa by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/30-27)

7. Amateur 140 Pound
Emily Easton (0-1 Independent) vs Ashley Hawkins (1-1 Team Bundy)

RD 1: Both land punches. Easton takes it down. Hawkins pulls guard. Hawkins does a great job avoiding any damage. Hawkins lands punches from the bottom. Easton lands shots to the body. Hawkins gets up and then gets on top. Easton holds her close. Hawkins lands body shots. Hawkins stands and throws kicks. Hawkins gets back on top and lands body shots. Hawkins postures up and lands more shots.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Hawkins

RD 2: Leg kick by Hawkins. They clinch on the cage. Nice uppercut by Hawkins. Knee to the body by Hawkins. Easton gets a takedown and side control. Easton not active from top while Hawkins works hard for a sweep. Easton lands a hard punch but Hawkins lands more from bottom.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Hawkins

RD 3: Cross by Hawkins. Body kick by Hawkins. Hawkins hurts her with punches. Easton shoots by nice sprawl by Hawkins. Hawkins gets side control and lands punches and knees to the body. Hawkins tries for the mount but gets blocked. Hawkins lands more shots. The ref stands them. Leg kick by Hawkins to end the round.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Hawkins
My score card: 30-27 Hawkins

Result: Ashley Hawkins by Unanimous Decision (29-28/29-28/29-28)

8. Amateur Light Heavyweight
O.J. Vickers (5-10 AMS) vs Ryan Walls (5-3 Central Block MMA)

RD 1: They clinch and Walls gets a takedown. Vickers gets on top. Great grappling and battling for position here. Walls goes for and gets the rear naked choke forcing Vickers to tap.

Result: Ryan Walls by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:59 of Round 1

9. Amateur Featherweight
Russ Brletrick (5-4 Independent Crew) vs Mike Velasquez (3-0 USA Martial Arts)

RD 1: Two jabs by Brletrick. They clinch on the cage and Brletrick gets a takedown. Velasquez goes for a heel hook but Brletrick pulls out. They stand and clinch and quickly separate. Leg kick by Brletrick followed by a knee to the body. They clinch and both land knees. They separate and Velazquez lands a jab. They clinch against the cage and Velasquez lands a knee. They separate and Velasquez lands a jab and leg kick.. Brletrick lands two punches and gets a takedown and gets his back as round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Brletrick

RD 2: They clinch against the cage and quickly separate. Brletrick lands two punches and Velasquez gets a takedown. Brletrick gets up and lands a leg kick. Brletrick lands a nice cross. Brletrick throws him down and lands kicks to the leg. He lets him up. Velasquez is cut under the eye. More punches by Brletrick and then a leg kick. Brletrick lands a jab and two more punches. They clinch on the cage and Brletrick lands punches.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Brletrick

RD 3: Cross by Brletrick. Velasquez shoots but gets stuffed. Uppercut by Velasquez. They clinch on the cage and quickly separate. Two punch combo by Velasquez. Leg kick by Velasquez. Brletrick hurts him with a punch. Brletrick lands a jab and Velasquez a hook. Brletrick lands an uppercut and gets a takedown. He lets him up. Velasquez drops him with a punch. Brletrick gets up and shoots and takes it down.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Velasquez
My score card: 29-28 Brletrick

Result: Russ Brletrick by Unanimous Decision (29-28/30-27/30-27)

10. Amateur Bantamweight
Jordan Baldwin (1-0 Evolve MMA) vs Jerrell Hodge (1-0 Brickhouse MMA)

RD 1: Hodge drops him with a cross. Baldwin gets up quick. The clinch and Hodge takes him down. Good grappling here. Baldwin avoids damage. Hodge stands and they clinch on the cage. Hodge trying for a single leg and gets it. Hodge is in side control. Baldwin pulls guard. Baldwin tries for a triangle and Hodge lands punches to the body.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Hodge

RD 2: Baldwin drops him with a leg kick. Hodge gets up and lands a leg kick and cross. Baldwin is bleeding from the nose. Baldwin hurts him with punches. They clinch against the cage and Baldwin lands a knee to the body. Hodge drops him with a hook and gets his back and the rear naked for the tap.

Result: Jerrell Hodge by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:51 of Round 2

11. Amateur Bantamweight
Brett Gruber (4-3 Ohio BJJC) vs Nate Mango (12-6 Independent)

RD 1: Body kick by Mango. Jab by Mango. Gruber shoots in but eats two punches, Body kick by Gruber. Gruber tries to get his back but gets taken down. They stand back up. Body kick by Mango and Gruber answers with one of his own. Leg kick by Gruber. Gruber takes him down will a guillotine for the tap.

Result: Brett Gruber by Tapout (Guillotine) at 1:23 of Round 1

12. Amateur 120 Pound
Rachel Sazoff (1-1 Ricardo Almeida) vs Rebecca Gruitza (1-1 Team Bundy)

RD 1: Leg kick by Gruitza. Sazoff clinches on the cage. Knee to the leg by Sazoff and Gruitza lands one of her own.Gruitza lands punches. They separate and clinch again. Knee to the leg by Gruitza. The ref separates them. Both land leg kicks. Jab by Gruitza. Leg kick by Gruitza and then one to the body. Sazoff lands a cross and gets a takedown. Gruitza defending well. Sazoff postures up and lands a punch.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Gruitza

RD 2: Jab by Gruitza. Cross by Sazoff and then a body kick. Gruitza lands several punches. Gruitza lands a jab and Sazoff charges in but misses. Leg kick by Gruitza. Both land leg kicks. Gruitza lands a jab and Sazoff lands a cross. Sazoff clinches and Gruitza lands good punches. They separate and Gruitza lands a jab. Sazoff clinches and Gruitza lands a kick to push her away. Sazoff lands a jab. Gruitza hurts her with punches to close the round.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Gruitza

RD 3: Leg kick by Gruitza. Two punches by Gruitza. Body kick by Sazoff and then a leg kick. Gruitza lands a jab and body kick. Sazoff lands a body kick. Gruitza lands two kicks to the body and then several hard punches. Both are now landing hard shots. Sazoff with a nice jab to the body. Gruitza lands to leg kicks. Sazoff with a kick to the body and Gruitza answers with a kick to the body. Both trade hard shots and they clinch on the cage.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Gruitza
My score card: 30-27 Gruitza

Result: Rebecca Gruitza by Split Decision (29-28/28-29/29-28)

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

RD 1: Lots of feints by both. Both land a cross. Slam by Graf. Graf lands punches from the top. Tipinski looks for a triangle but Graf pulls out and lands a punch. Graf tries for mount but can't get it. More punches from Graf. Tipinski gets up and drops a couple punches. Graf lands an up kick to the head and pokes him in the eye.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Graf
Tipinski says he can't continue, so since it was ruled from an illegal blow, it is called a no contest.

Result: No Contest

14. Amateur Welterweight
Zac Gobel (6-3 Dragons Den MMA) vs Nick Kilian (6-2 Relson Gracie Cleveland)

RD 1: Leg kick by Gobel. Gobel gets a takedown. He looks for a choke but Kilian defending well. Kilian gets up and takes Gobel down. Kilian drops hard punches. He then lands more hard shots. Gobel looks for a triangle but Kilian moves to side control. Kilian lands punches and moves to mount and lands more punches. Kilian gets his back and the rear naked for the tap.

Result: Nick Kilian by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:33 of Round 1

Submission of the Night: Brett Gruber

Knockout of the Night: No knockouts

Fight of the Night: Emmanuel Kangah vs Will Johnson

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rebecca Gruitza Interview

Q: To start, for those who missed your first interview, can you talk about how you got started in the sport?
A: Well about 8 years ago when I was living in New York City attending graduate school. I signed up my then 2 and 1/2 year old for Tiger Schulmann's MMA, he was a little Tiger Cub, and after about two weeks of watching him take classes, one of the instructors pulled me aside and said "You should try it." So I thought it looked like fun and I wanted to get in shape, so I started training and it turned into more than just a workout. I really got into it and started training 4, 5 sometimes six days a week. I was hooked right away.

Q: Before we talk about your next fight, lets talk about your last one. You got a TKO over Gaily Lapitan. How did you think you did overall?
A: Overall, I wont the fight and got at TKO so I should be happy about that. I am disappointed about a few things. I don't think I showcased my full ability in that fight. I know I didn't showcase my ground ability because I should have submitted her. I had a lot of opportunities to armbar or triangle her. Going back and watching the video, there were a lot of mistakes that were made that I am disappointed about. I feel in the second round, even though I did TKO her, I feel like my punches were short and sloppy. I was a bit tired but I feel like if I had used my true capability I would have gotten a knockout not a TKO. I am happy with the win, but feel I could have done better. So there is pressure now to really show what I can do.

Q: You mentioned being tired in round 2. Do you think spending so much energy for the submissions in round 1 played a part in that?
A: Absolutely, 100 percent. Its funny, if you watch the video you can see the conversation that my coach and I had between rounds. He said "How do your legs feel?", and I said "Like jell-o" and he said "don't kick for awhile", then he said how do your arms feel?" and I said "like jell-o", and he said "well you're gonna have to punch so get over it", and I kind of laughed and rolled my eyes. I kind of played around with her in the beginning of the 2nd round and after about 20 seconds my arms and legs did come back a little bit. So I think I was tired because I was I was pulling and holding those submissions, trying so hard. But I was also resting when I was down there. There were times using my legs to hold her in a certain way, or holding her with my arms and resting my legs. Trying to be smart about it. But I also think she used way more energy trying to escape my submissions and that's why her arms were down and why I was able to land punches. So I don't think it was the punches that won me the fight, I think it was the Jiu-Jitsu in the first round that won me the fight.

Q: You sort of answered my next question. Clearly she had nothing left for round 2, but did you go into that round, knowing you could finish her?
A: Yeah absolutely. I saw it in her face. I saw it in her face when we came up and I put my arm out there showing her my reach. I knew when I showed her my reach and she didn't shoot again that she didn't want to go to the ground. One of her corners, Meghan Joyce had defeated me via guillotine in my previous fight. So I know in their heads they think "she has no wrestling, she has no Jiu-Jitsu, you don't have to worry, you can go to the ground with her", I knew that's what they were telling her. Clearly they had no idea I was going to be that good on the ground, but surprise surprise. I think that when she came out in that second round, her face had fear written all over it. She didn't wanna go to the ground, didn't want to stand, she just wanted to dance around and clinch up a little bit. So I knew she was tired so as soon as I saw her backing up and her hands dropping, I knew I could finish it. It energized me a little bit.

Q: After the fight you got a little emotion. Was there a reason for that, maybe just getting the first win?
A: Yeah, you know I don't like the fact I got emotional and probably will never do that again. The big reason was everything that had gone into the fight with Lauren from my home town with her cancer and we were doing this for her. I'm still bringing her into the cage with me whether I talk about it or not. There was a lot of pressure I brought on myself cause how do you tell a little girl you didn't win. I was just emotionally and physically... just let it all out. I don't like showing emotions so will try and be more solid. But I'm a girl, it is what it is.

Q: Your next fight is Rachael Sazoff. What do you know about her?
A: I try not to look too much into who I'm fighting. I haven't seen any videos, I know there are a lot out there. I know she trains in New Jersey in Ricardo Almeida's gym. So I think Jiu-Jitsu is pretty much her game. I'm not sure, maybe she's a blue belt. I'm not really concerned with it to be honest with you. It's gonna be pretty much the same game plan, if she wants to take me down, we go down and if she wants to try and get around my legs, let her try it.

Q: If it goes to the ground, you are confident you can hang with her?
A: Absolutely. I have been cross training with Team Balance in Pittsburgh with Jimmy Cerra, so I've gotten a little bit more into different Jiu-Jitsu styles, different grappling styles. Ashley Hawkins train all the time, her ground game is solid. Not to mention the guys in my gym. You can never be 100 percent prepared but I'm not afraid of her blue belt. I will be testing for mine in November and we will be even. So I'm not really concerned. I have long legs and she should be afraid of those.

Q: If there was one thing you would say you have to do to win, what would it be?
A: Well, I have pretty much been in fight camp for a year now. Getting read for kickboxing and as soon as it was over, getting ready for my MMA debut, and then another MMA fight. So I got myself in fighting shape. Not going into details, there has been a lot going on in my life, so keeping my head where it needs to be is what I have to do to win. You and I both know, I am having a little problem with weight, and stress has to do with that. I normally don't have to cut weight, I walk around at my fight weight. So I am a little irritable, which might help me when i am in there case I will be a little pissed off. I have a good support system. Coach Bundy knows so well how to work with me and keep my head on straight. Even my mom making me go run or eat healthy. Instead of soccer mom sticker, she should have an MMA mom sticker. Keeping the right people around me this week and focus and cutting the stress. If my head is straight, that's most important. Physically I am there.

Q: How does the fight end?
A: I can see a knock out or submission. I can see her wanting to go to the ground and getting caught. If it goes to the ground like it did before, which could happen, I'm not gonna fight it. Then I can see it ending in a submission.

Q: You mentioned Ashley Hawkins. She fights the same night. Does it help having a teammate go though camp with you?
A: Abso-freaking-lutely. We have been through it all together. We car pool every day, and we get to the point where we are physically and mentally exhausted. We get on the mat and just start laughing. We have a huge support for each other and it makes it easier. It makes it more fun to. Not too many people have that. And we aren't too far off in weight either. We can train together and not many women have that so we are lucky.

Q: So far all your fights are for NAAFS. Is there a reason you stay with them?
A: Well I am lucky to live where I live. Closer to their events. Girls are coming from New Jersey, Maryland, even further. Aisling Daly came from Ireland. They are the best at what they do. Not just locally, but nationally. You see so much locally and regionally of cards being canceled, promotions shutting down, screwing over fighters and NAAFs doesn't do that. All my experiences have been more than positive. They are like family. Nichole Long is an amazing matchmaker. She could find me anybody to fight but she makes sure to find people that will be a good fight and not unfair on either side. If another opportunity somewhere else comes along, I will be leery cause I don't know if I can trust for them. So I want to fight more for NAAFS. After this, probably Eve of Destruction.

Q: So Eve of Destruction would be your goal next?
A: Yeah I think so. Its in September, so there won't be female fights till then. I will do Jiu-Jitsu in West Virginia in August, but as far as MMA I will be gearing up for Eve of Destruction..

Q: You mentioned earlier, and were in depth last interview about Lauren. Can you update how she is doing?
A: She is doing really well. She likes to be kept very busy. She just did Relay for life and was the ambassador. Locally she is a mover and a shaker. She is responding well to her treatments. We are all really thrilled. I am keeping the same walk out gear with Team Lauren on it. So she will be back in the cage with me. I went to see her after my last fight and wanted to get a picture of us facing off with our hands up. Her mom said "Lauren you have to look mean", and she was laughing saying "I can't". We tried for five minutes and she kept laughing saying "I cant cause I am too happy right now." Those words gave me chills up my spine. What an amazing person and her attitude will help her beat her disease.

Q: Before we finish anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: I would like to thank my family who basically make it possible for me to train, my cousin Stacia Guitza. My team and coaches at Team Bundy, and Jimmy Cerra at Team Balance in Pittsburgh. My sponsors, Ron at Scrap Solider, Foundation Fight Company, still keeping my teeth in my face, and they are sponsoring Ashley which is fun. Sun City Tanning for keeping me from being pasty. Nichole Long and Greg Kalikas, and you Jason. There a re still a lot of people out there that still don't give women's MMA any respect, so when we have somebody like the above mentioned who are supportive and get our stories out there, and what we do and that we are athletes, not running around in skimpy gear and throwing pillows, its important to thank them. Jessica Eye, even though I don't get out there often, her and her coaches at Strong Style are amazing. As long as my schedule allows it I plan to go out there more and train. Also a special someone whose name I would rather not put out there, but he knows who he is, for being a special person, supporter, and friend.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ashley Hawkins Interview

Q: For those not familiar or who didn't see my first interview with you, can you talk about how you got involved in the sport?
A: I always wanted to box when I was little, but you know, protective mothers, "You don't wanna do that, you don't wanna get hurt, you don't wanna get hit in your pretty face". But I've always been athletic, I played softball my whole life. Traveled in summers, basically had no life in summer except softball. That's how fighting is, you have to give it your life. Is tarted working out all the time and bought a heavy bag and started training on that and doing jump roping and MMA exercises. I finally started training at Team Bundy and got my first fight last September and been fighting ever since.

Q: Before we go to your next fight, let's talk about the last one. You lost a majority decision to Trisha Barr. But overall how did you feel you did?
A: I felt I did really really well but I'm my biggest critic, and always feel I could have done better, could have done other things. But you can't think that way, you just gotta leave it in the past and use it as motivation for the next fight. But I though I did really good. Sadly it didn't go my way, but I didn't lose that much out of it because she had more experience. I only had one fight and she had a lot more fights. But it's ok. Next fight I just cant leave it in the judges hands.

Q: Looking back is there anything you wish you had done different?
A: I wish I would have used my striking and kicking more. She came out wild and I clinched with her. After I clinched, instead of staying in the clinch I should have pushed off, threw some punches, threw some kicks, kept the distance.. Other than that, I had a takedown, it was stood up but I felt like I was trying to situate myself and break her guard and posture up. The ref stood us up and I cant control that. Other than that I wish I sued my striking more instead of clinching.

Q: The saying is, you learn more from a loss than a win. Is that accurate?
A: Basically going into that fight I was originally supposed to fight someone else. But a few days before I got a new opponent, Trisha. But I went into it just saying I wanted to fight, I don't care who it was. Even though I lost, I felt I gained more experience fighting with her because she has fought a lot more than I have.

Q: What did you think of Trisha?
A: She was really good. I read her interview with you where she was a kempo black belt or something. She was a really good fighter. She had a good clinch. She was pretty strong.

Q: I asked you this before, but you are fighting Emily Easton, what do you know about her?
A: I know that she is a little shorter than me so I will try and use that to my advantage and use my reach. I know she is a blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu. I know she lost her first fight to I think it was a guillotine. That's all I know about her.

Q: She was supposed to be your last opponent. Does her backing out so close make you want to fight her more?
A: Sort of. I was trying to study her school a little bit cause she comes from a Jiu-Jitsu school and I was trying to see what kind of style they are known for. I had a game plan going in and figure she would try and use her Jiu-Jitsu s lot. Its hard to have your mind set on fighting one person and they back out and it's like "wow I have to have to a totally new game plan". So I guess it kind of does since I had my mind set on fighting her.

Q: What do you have to do to win this fight?
A: I just have to keep it standing and use my striking. I feel that's my biggest strength. I hit pretty hard, I use good technique. If she tries to shoot on me I am just gonna sprawl, if I get her down I am gonna try and pass her guard get mount and use ground and pound. If she give me an opportunity to submit her, I'll submit her. It's hard to say cause you can have your mind made up on how you want it to be, but once you get in there it goes out the door. I just wanna fight my fight and keep it that way, not fight someone else's fight.

Q: How does the fight end?
A: I'm just gonna try and fight my fight. I'm not gonna fall into her game plan, I'm gonna keep it my game plan. Hopefully leave it standing or take her down and ground and pound. If I can get a submission, get a submission. As long as I win, it doesn't matter really.

Q: Your teammate Rebecca Gruitza fights the same night. Does that make it easier when a teammate is going through training camp with you?
A: Yeah cause we're training Monday through Saturday with each other. She has the same feelings I have, making sure we stay on weight, giving each other motivation. It's like someone is in the same mindset, same emotions and feelings as you. It's cool to have someone to talk to about the fight and how we're feeling. Its good cause we both wanna train good and win. It gives you a support system.

Q: Going back to the fight with Trisha, a lot of people said it was one of the better fights of the night and they see potential in you. How does that make you feel?
A: It gives me motivation definitely. I am a highly motivational person and it makes me feel good. Its kind of like fan cheering you on. Its nice people think you are good and see and realize your hard work. Makes me want to continue training and working hard so more people will think I have potential.

Q: I told you before I can see you fighting for an amateur title at next years Night Of Champions. Do you see that as a possibility?
A: Yeah definitely. I train really hard and have my mind set on training. Every day I am in the gym, even when I don't have a fight. I train and know every day there will be improvement. I wanna train hard and get as many fights as I can and keep doing better.

Q: There have been some people give opinions on your weight.I think 135 is perfect for you. You agree?
A: Yeah I am happy at 135. My very first fight I fought 145 and I weighed in at 138. Even though I won against a bigger and taller fighter I just thought if I fought at 145 and weighed 138, why not fight at 135. The lowest I would go is 130 but there is really not a class at that weight. I don't wanna lose the strength I have. A lot of people go down and cut weight and lose strength. I don't wanna do that. I feel I am good where I am now. I'm just trying to work out and get as strong as I can at 135. That's all I can do.

Q: After this fight, would your hope be Eve of Destruction?
A: Yeah definitely. My first fight was Eve of Destruction and it was amazing to see an all girls card which is rare. Usually there's just 1 or 2 girl fights on a card. It makes me feel good people want to promote women's MMA and see women fight. Makes me feel good about the future for women's MMA that people want to have all female cards.

Q: You just got your first sponsor. Want to talk about that?
A: Yeah, makes me feel good someone sees talent in me. I definitely want to thank Foundation Fight Company and Kody Tuttle. He made me a mouth guard and is providing my walk out shirts and putting the logo on clothes. Make me feel good that someone sees talent in me and wants to put my name out there.

Q: Before we finish anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: Yeah. Like always I thank you for everything. You always give me words of motivation and give me a chance to do interviews, that's always awesome. Everyone at Team Bundy, Coach Bundy, Coach Micah, my teammates that help me train and cheer me on. it helps having good teammates who push you. I wanna thank everyone that supports me, my family, thank you everyone. And anyone I don't know who likes to support me.

Brett Gruber Interview

Q: Can you just start out taking about how you got started in the sport?
A: I've been in martial arts since I was 11 years old. I started out in Tae Kwon Do. I was little and smaller than everyone else and my folks wanted me to be able to take care of myself. It grew into a real love for the sport. It just kinda steamrolled into what it is today.

Q: Was there something specific that made you decide to fight?
A: Actually once I moved to Ohio I decided I wanted to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I was very taken with that art, I was very taken with the ability to be able to submit you're opponent and not damage them. To just make them want to quit and tap out. When I found Chris Chard I fell in love with our gym, the coaches and training partners. I started going every day and just loved it. They were doing the MMA stuff and Muay Thai to and said "Hey why don't you come up to an MMA class" and I said "alright" and started going. Like 4 months after doing MMA Chris was like "We gotta put you in the cage".

Q: That first fight, were you nervous at all?
A: Actually I was pretty ready for it. I grew up playing ice hockey and soccer in front of a lot of people. I knew what to expect, I had walked out to the cage many times, I knew what I was getting myself into. I had to wait a little longer than most guys at our gym because of a severe neck injury I sustained, so I was ready to go. My first fight didn't go so well. It only lasted 17 seconds and I didn't get the W that day.

Q: Next week you fight Nate Mango for the NAAFS. What do you know about him?
A: I'm pretty familiar with Nate. I've seen a couple of his fights. He fought a training partner of mine, RJ Buck. So I know a little about him. I know he likes to box and is pretty adept on the ground as well. It should be a great fight. I'm expecting it to be a real test for me. I am looking to go pro after this fight, so I think it's a step in the right direction for me. I'm not taking him lightly, but I don't think he's fought anybody quite like me. I know we have a number of opponents in common and it should be a great fight.

Q; The new NAAFS rankings have him ranked 4th. How big a win would that be for you?
A: You know I'm not really looking towards the rankings this year like I did last year because I intend on going pro after this fight. But every guy I fought last year was Nationally ranked to. So it doesn't scare me, I'm not afraid of that, I think it's great he got himself in the rankings at his new weight like I did last year. I really think it will be a hell of a fight, I really do. I'm sure he's training hard just like I'm training hard. As far as the rankings, its good for him, it would probably put me in the rankings even though I haven't fought this year, but I'm not concerned with that.

Q: If there was one thing you had to pinpoint that you have to do to win, is there that one thing?
A: I'd say I need to keep my head on a swivel and be ready for anything. I don't know if he is gonna prefer to box with me or prefer to go to the ground. With that being said I'm comfortable wherever. Everybody has labeled me as a Jiu-Jitsu guy, and there's no doubt I like to finish guys on the ground, but I'm not afraid to stand there and bang either. I bang with guys that are 30, 40, 50 pounds heavier than me at the gym. I've done a lot of sparring this training camp with Nick Duell, my striking coach, and also Forrest Petz and those guys are much much bigger than me, have more experience than me, and are top of the heap around here as far as I'm concerned. So I'm unafraid wherever the fight goes.

Q: That leads to my next question. People refer to you as a Jiu-Jitsu guy, so with striking, does that lead to your advantage?
A: I think maybe a lot of people underestimate my stand-up, maybe rightfully so. But a lot of my fights I haven't need to use it as much as other guys. But my fight against Bhrandon Poindexter I proved I will stand there. I will take a good shot, put myself in harms way to set myself up to get the W Cause I am a guy who always looks to finish, it doesn't matter where the fight is, where it goes, how hurt I am what round it is, how tired I am. I'm always looking to finish and put on a good fight for the fans cause they spend hard earned money to come watch us do what we do. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be there.

Q: Any prediction on how it ends?
A: I'm not much for predictions. I plan on getting the W obviously and train accordingly. But we will see how it goes. It could end quickly or be a three round bar burner. I'm kinda known for both. I'm not afraid to go three rounds. I've gone three rounds a number of occasions and most of his fights have ended in the 1st or 2nd round. But we'll see. I'm excited though. It's been awhile since I've fought. I haven't fought since December when I fought Isaiah for the belt. I took some time off, re-tooled some things, worked on holes in my game. I'm excited to get in there and shake the rust off so to speak.

Q: You mentioned not fighting since December, which is a lot of time off. After this would you like to be more active the rest of the year?
A: Yeah, I'd really like to go pro and fight again in September. That's my goal at this point, but we'll take one fight at a time for now.

Q: A lot of fighters say there style is more made for pro rules. Do you think that applies to you?
A: Yeah. I'm a boney skinny guy. I've been working on the pro rules since December, which is why I was nervous to take another amateur fight. I like to kick, there's no problem, I like to kick. And I am excited to throw elbows some day. I'm a pretty good boxer to, I will box with guys. I'm pretty well rounded at this point, I train in all areas, boxing, wrestling, kick boxing, Jiu-Jitsu. I like to do it all, I like to train it all, I like to train out of bad spots in the gym. There's not anybody you throw me in the cage with whose gonna put me in some spot I've never been in. A lot of guys like to train where they're strong, I like to train where I'm weak, where I'm gonna get beat up the worst. So I'll be ready.

Q: This fight is for the NAAFS. What about them makes you like fighting for them?
A: I've had nothing but good experiences with them. A major part of my success I attribute to Nichole (Long), she's always had faith in me, always given me tough guys who will push me. When I got started that's what it was all about, to see how far I could take this. She's a huge part of why I am the fighter I am today. Greg (Kalikas)and everybody has always treated me well. They are established, well recognized, and they are a proving grounds for guys who want to make a career out of this and go to the next level. That's why I wanna fight for them. I love fighting for them and will always fight for them. But obviously if I ever get called up to the bigger show, UFC, I would obviously take that opportunity. But I never forget where I come from and take it to heart that they always treat me well and will always fight for them.

Q: Everyone knows everything I do with the interviews I run by Nichole. When I told her I was interviewing you, her response was "Such a nice guy". Is that something you make a conscious effort to do?
A: Yeah, I always try to be an ambassador for our sport, my gym, the NAAFS, in and outside the cage. Because we do have a bad reputation and don't deserve it. Most of the guys that I've fought, that I've met, that I've become friends with, we're not a bunch of meat-heads. Most of us are well educated, grounded people who like to compete and do our thing. I don't consider myself a fighter per se, I consider myself an athlete and Martial Artist. That's how I try and carry myself everywhere, in and out of the cage. I'm very honored to fight for the NAAFS, I'm very honored to fight for Ohio BJJC, Chris Chard and Nick Duell. I try and compose myself at all times so people will look up to me, because at the end of the day, people see me fight and they will want to come to our gym. And some day I would like to teach as well, and that's the best way to do that. Get your name out, people see you, see how good you've become, see where you came from, and they wanna train under you as well. So I always try and be an ambassador for our sport.

Q: You mentioned Ohio BJJC, a respected gym.What are the benefits of training there?
A: We have top level guys on the ground, we have a lot of strong tough guys who like to strike and wrestle as well. A lot of people don't realize, we've had somebody nationally ranked and fight for our belt, I wanna say the last six years in a row. We take that to heart, we train hard. We're not a big gym, we don't have a huge pool of guys to choose from when it comes to MMA. But we get enough guys in there and have enough equipment that we make the best of it. We really value our time in the gym and all train hard and push and support each other. That's a huge thing for me is support. I don't have much of a support system at home, so I get it at the gym. I love my family very much and they understand why I do it, but they don't necessarily agree with it though. Support is a huge huge thing for fighters and you gotta have some kind of support system, whether you get it from you're gym, or family, or a wife or girlfriend. It's a huge part of it.

Q: Let's say next week someone is going to see Brett Gruber fight for the first time. What can they expect?
A: Well hopefully they can expect to see a good show, a good fight, cause that's what I aim to do. My first fight was booed, and I took that to heart. They weren't booing me personally but it didn't make me feel good as a martial artist and fighter. So hopefully they feel fulfilled, that they spent their money wisely and had a good show. I always like to please the fans, so hopefully they get a good show from my fight. Win or lose I come to put on a good show. I don't feel bad shedding my blood, sweat or tears for the NAAFS and the fans. I wouldn't do it if I didn't love it.

Q: Hard to predict the future, but say, two years from now, where do you see yourself in the sport?
A: Hopefully still fighting. I'm not as young as a lot of these guys anymore. But I plan to stick in it as long as my body will hold up. Hopefully making a little bit of money at it, if not a lot. You can never plan for that, you never know, but I think there's enough talent and I have enough years left that I can make a little money at it. But I'm hoping..... hoping maybe someday UFC will have a Bantamweight Ultimate Fighter show. I would love to try out for that and would jump at that opportunity if ever given to me. I'm the type of guy that I take what's given to me and try and make the most of it and try and seize the day.

Q: Before we finish anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: Yeah, my coaches at BJJC, Chris Chard, Nick Duell, Rob Justine my conditioning coach. Brecksville Rehabilitation and Chiropractics. If it wasn't for them I couldn't do this. Beyond that, my family, and all the fans that come out and buy tickets, cause like I said if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have anything to do.

Bhrandon Poindexter Interview

Bhrandon Poindexter is coming off of two losses. The last loss was a decision that
some feel he should have won. Bhrandon has constantly been fighting the top guys in the division, and he himself is one of the top guys in the division. Bhrandon is one of those guys who I think with Pro rules will be a better pro when he does turn pro.

Q: First, can you just talk about how you got started in the sport?
A: I got started about 4 or 5 years ago when I came home from college and my buddy Mario Micale was training. Everyone should know him, Super Mario. We started going to Pain Headquarters, and I just got into it to get a workout in, it was something different, it was hot on the streets. I just fell in love with this Muay Thai thing and Muay Thai turned into MMA and I have taken it to the highest point I can go right now.

Q: You said you fell in love with Muay Thai, so is striking what you picked up quickest was striking?
A: Oh yeah. I had been striking since I was a kid doing boxing with my uncle Lorenzo and things like that. So to get back in the gym and sharpen my skills up and do some more stand-up was refreshing and it all came back and made me fall in love again.

Q: I want to go back to your last two fights. First the Tyler Saltsman fight. There was a lot of talk between you two leading up to the fight. Was there a reason for that?
A: There is no reason behind talking ever in a fight. We were just gonna fight each
other. I just didn't like the way the kid carried himself. He's not professional in the sport. I want to take my career to the next level and I just feel like he's always bashing the sport of MMA. He's very disrespectful to everyone, not just me, to every one of his opponents. I don't know if he gets a kick out of it or what. But it was just a little trash talking and letting him know I'm not scared of him and this MMA thing is a business first.

Q: Looking back, you obviously wanted to knock him out. Do you think going in so
determined to get the knock out hurt you?
A: Oh yeah, most definitely I believe it did. I was thinking too much. I wanted to win too bad instead of going out there and fighting my fight. I guess I can say he did get in my head a little bit, I'll be a man about it. He didn't get in my head as much as I wanted to smash the kid to show him that he's not that great.

Q: Do you think under pro rules a fight between you two would be more suited for you?
A: Oh yeah, of course. I wouldn't have any restrictions, I wouldn't have to stand there and throw a one two to the head without head kicks, knees, flying knees, elbows, things of that nature. Everyone knows I am an explosive athletic fighter and for me to have limitations on my striking really hurts me. I train with Ryan Madigan, one of the top kick boxers in the world and we head kick and everything. So it's kind of different when
ou get in that cage and you're being restricted.

Q: After the fight there was some stuff that happened in the cage. Do you regret any of that?
A: No not at all. I never regret anything I do. I say what I mean and mean what I say at all times.

Q: Then we had the Russ Brletrick fight. I said you won rounds 1 and 2, is that accurate in your opinion?
A: Oh yea, for sure. Coming off of a fight two weeks before that one and then hopping right back in there. It was a little soon, but like you said, I felt I did enough to win the first 2 rounds, of course anyone who fights back to back like that is gonna have gas issues, so I guess I can say I was gassed out a little in the third and didn't do enough for the judges. But felt I won the fight and can't get over the hump right now.

Q: Is it frustrating when the read the decision and you feel you won, but they give it to the other person?
A: It's a little bit frustrating. It just makes me want to get back in the lab and the gym and do more work. I don't really hang my head on losses, I'm an amateur, I never really get down on myself in any sport. I played every sport all my life. I just let things go, I just try and improve myself to get that win. I don't need to be embarrassed or anything, it just makes me work harder.

Q: Is there anything you can look back on and say "maybe if I did this
A: Definitely. If I wouldn't have been that wrestler everyone thinks I should be, and stood with the guy and been my natural self I probably could have gotten a couple more points or did something for my advantage instead of being this wrestler. My coaches before the fight were telling me "you can take this guy down, if you see you're shot, take it". Which I feel now, looking back I shouldn't have done. I should have been my fighter. Like Is aid, back to the alb and improve my striking and not become this wrestler, just have that in my arsenal.

Q: That kind of answers my next question, but coming off of two losses, is there
something you want to really improve?
A: Not really. I have an all-around game, people just don't get to see it. Match-ups
happen and things like that. I've fought the top guys in my division my whole career and each guy is different. As you know, at this level, you get match-ups that the crowd wants to see, not so much as if it's a good fight for you. As far as improving, I can improve in everything. I'm still young, my Muay Thai, my wrestling, my Jiu-Jitsu, I just want to improve in everything so I can have an all-around game when I do go pro.

Q: You mentioned you have fought all the top guys. Do you take that as a sign they
obviously believe in your talent?
A: Yeah, I definitely do. Like I say, your resume speaks in this sport. If you don't
fight anyone in your amateur career, it will show as a pro no matter what. If you turn pro and have a terrible amateur record you might be a terrible pro, but then again you have to look at your amateur fighters, who did you fight, who was he against.

Q: Along those lines, NAAFS, seems to usually put you on the big shows. Do you take that as a compliment?
A: Definitely. I appreciate it each and every time. It shows that I'm an exciting
fighter, I sell tickets, and people like to see a great striker, a good fighter, and I try and be that and stay humble.

Q: You come from a great gym in Evolve. What are the benefits of training at a gym like Evolve?
A: The benefits are having every piece of equipment, anything I need is provided by John Cook. He does a great job opening the gym at all times. The classes we provide are literally seven days a week. I don't know any other gym outside of the top level UFC guys that can go to a gym and train seven days a week and get various styles. That's what are gym offers. We have everything to suit MMA. Not just boxing, not just Muay Thai, Not just Jiu-Jitsu, not just wrestling. We kind of strive to make every aspect of our game good and that's what I live about Evolve.

Q: One thing I like about Evolve is that it's one of those gyms where teammates really genuinely want to go root for a teammate, not doing it just out of responsibility. is that accurate?
A: Oh yeah. It's like a big family. We all train each other through are camps, each guy is going through something and we all go through it. John and Clint (Musser) try and implement a buddy system, where if a guy is cutting for a fight, grab another guy and get him to work out and cut with you. It becomes a big family bond. Everyone is there for everyone. If you don't have a great team, you don't go far.

Q: Let's say Nichole Long comes to you and says you can pick your next opponent, who
would you pick?
A: I really try and avoid calling people out, but I would really like to fight Drew
Schottenheimer or R.J. Buck. They both got good names and their resumes speak as well as mine. I think they would be a good match-up for me. There both local guys, so I would pick one of those two. Doesn't matter which one, but they are the only two in my division I haven't fought yet and I have a good chance of beating them.

Q; Have you given any thought to when you want to turn pro?
A: Definitely. We talk all the time, the coaches at the gym, my uncle Lorenzo and John Cook. The plan was to take one or two more fights, but I had to win. So we are getting back into the lab and more than likely take one more amateur fight and make my pro debut sometime next year.

Q: You fight for NAAFS. Is there a reason you like to fight for them?
A: I like fighting for them because of the exposure, and the matchmaker Nichole Long is a great woman. She takes care of all her fighters, she looks out for us. She doesn't have the best interest of one fighter, she looks out for both fighters. I know her on a personal level and she is a great woman. It's a great organization.

Q: Seems like maybe they are leading to Isaiah Chapman vs Cody Garbrandt. If that fights happens who would you pick?
A: I would have to go with Garbrandt. I've trained with the kid. He works hard, his hands are fast. Isaiah to me, he has a great record, but he reminds me of GSP, he just keeps winning. I don't know how he wins, but he keeps winning. The kid is good but I think Garbrandt has the upper hand mentally.

Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: I want to thank my sponsors, Head Shot, Feel The Fight, Evolve, John Cook, my two
biggest fans, my girlfriend Shannon Floyd and my mother Amy Poindexter, my whole Evolve family, everyone who supports me, my fans and you of course for the interview

Sarah McLeod Interview

Q: Can you start out telling how you go into the sport?
A: I was training for a Bikini competition and going to the gym all the time. That was gonna get me to set a goal and work out. I decided that was the next step would be to further challenge myself. Just like how you train for bodybuilding, kind of the same physically demanding workouts that MMA people have to do. So I felt the crossover would be the next challenge for me. I started searching and everyone kept laughing at me so I never joined an MMA gym cause no one wanted to take me n and teach me. I met someone who said "sure I can get you in the cage in 12 days" and I convinced someone I had a black belt in athleticism and was in the cage 12 days later doing my first fight with no experience or training. Just weights and cardio at the gym. So I did my first fight that was and it was a draw but I fell in love with the sport and that's how I got to do it. The first year, 2010, was just sticking to weights and cardio. I was stubborn to start at a gym cause everyone laughed at me when I told them I have the heart and dedication to do it. No one took me seriously and would teach me what I had to learn.

Q: Looking back, do you wish you trained a little more before the first fight?
A: Not really. If I trained a bit more I feel the result would have been different, but its what I needed to do, just get in there and see what I need to learn. I find that every fight is when I find out what to work on and learn. I'm the kind of person that will fight all the time and its better I train now. But now that I look at it.... it's just the way it went. It's hard to answer. It is what it is. But I think the result would have been different had I trained. Its just good to see how far my heart will take me and how much determination I have. The start of my career has built my confidence and shown how much heart and determination I have. If that can take me as far as it has, a lot of training can take me a lot farther.

Q: You just beat Ronda Gale. Did you avhe a game plan for the fight?
A: I took the fight on two weeks notice. I wasn't planning on fighting in June, preparing for my July 30th fight, which I still don't have an opponent. Usually my plan for any opponent is to stand and bang. It doesn't matter what my opponent likes to do. I prefer to stand but I do have a pretty good ground game. But once the bell rings, its just something in me, I like to stand and bang. My plan was to stand but if it went to the ground I had a couple techniques I would try, like getting on top or just stand right back up. But I was planning on standing. The research I did on Ronda is that she liked to stand so I figured it would be a striking match.

Q: Was there a point where you knew you could finish her?
A: Yeah there were a couple times I thought I should have finished her but I find when I fight sometimes emotion gets involved and I back off and kind of start looking at my opponent like "ooohh am I kind of hurting her?" and I back off. That's one thing I was thinking afterwords is that I shouldn't let emotions get involved and continue to be aggressive. That's something I gotta work on, she is trying to beat me up as much as I am trying to beat her up. I think I should have been on top of it more and more aggressive and I would have finished her earlier.

Q: Is it safe to say she fought as you expected?
A: Yeah. I thought she would stand and bang cause she is a striker and tough. I thought that I would be a bit too powerful for her cause my reach is longer and my punches are strong and I have good aim. I was thinking she may shoot in for takedowns, so I was surprised she didn't even look like trying to take me down. Maybe it was just my reach.

Q: You have told em you really respect Ronda. Why is that?
A: When I came to Ohio in December I saw her fight Marcia May, one of her memorable fights. A good brawl. She was just a tough lady and I read your story on her having a family, kids, a full time job and a hard worker. She got into MMA cause people said she cant. I can relate to her. I think a lot of females can relate to her in that people tell us we cant so we are showing we belong in the sport and are capable of challenging ourselves like guys to. So I have been following her fights ever since and any woman who gets in the cage I respect. I admire her for being 35 or 36 and having a family and juggling that all.

Q: You had to come without your team. But had great cornermen in John Hawk and the Rock Hard MMA guys. How much did that help?
A: Its always great to have people in your corner, especially I had a boxer and John who is a striker. They were helpful preparing me for the fight and told me how to strike. I took it last minute so I couldn't arrange for my trainer to come so I had to explain my game to John and Corey and they were experienced. Once you are in the cage its one on one so I can only hope my corners understand my game plan. They were helpful warming me and keeping me calm so I didn't get anxious or excited.

Q: The win put you in the top five for NAAFS ranking and it the title chase. Is that something you think about?
A: Yeah. that's a huge accomplishment to me. Its amazing to me. I was just looking at that. I know NAAFS has a huge women's league, the biggest I know of. Its an honor to be a part of the NAAFS family now and I'm hoping to work up to that title.

Q: How was your first NAAFS fighting experience overall?
A: I thought it was amazing. Everyone I met treated me with respect. The fighters were great, it was a great crowd. I don't have one complaint. Its professionally run and an organization I want to stay with.

Q: Would fighting on Eve of Destruction be a goal?
A: Definitely. I 100 percent want to be on that card.

Q: If you read comments on your fight, people make comments on your looks. Would you rather they focus on your skills?
A: Yeah. With any female fighter, they are admirable. I think the female fighetrs are beautiful just because we take care of ourselves and are fit. I think that in any case, a lot of fighters will get attention on their looks. But I prefer focus on my talent. As I fight more I think the focus will shift to my talents as a fighter.

Q: Nichole told me to ask, how you enjoyed the horror movies?
A: Haha. It was great. I watched horror movies with Nichole the night before the fight to take my mind of food and water for weight cut and I enjoy horror movies haha.

Q: For those who know me and you, did you ever think me and you would have this interview?
A: I always have positive hope for true friends. Always gonna be falling outs in life but I believe in positive energy. Any kind of negative energy is nothing I want to be part of. So I am glad we patched everything up.

Q: Before we finish, you know I love you to death, you are my little sister and so proud of you. Anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: You for doing this interview. Nichole is an admirable woman and great asset to NAAFS. She took great care of me and set me up with her home and everything. It was very comforting. My corners, John and Corey. My gym, Mid-America Martial Arts, they give me all the tools I need. And Endless Possibilities, my strength and conditioning gym.
I have a popular blog covering women's MMA and fitness called Promoting Real Women. Through that I have become able to cover local MMA, mostly with the NAAFS. I had recently began writing for an MMA site, mainly doing my interviews. No hard feelings toward that site because I liked it, but I feel I do better on my own. So I decided to do this. This will be my interviews with local fighters, fighters who come here to fight, and sometimes other fighters. Also it will feature news about local fighting. Mostly it will cover the NAAFS. Why? Because Nichole Long and Greg Kalikas have been good to me. They let me do what I love, and will be letting me make my debut in December.
I will allow comments on the posts, but anything that is disrespectful will be deleted. So I hope you enjoy this blog.