Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tecia Torres, after competing in Muay Thai recently began her MMA career. So far so good, two fights and two wins. Most recently she had a convincing 28 second TKO win over Rebecca Gruitza for the NAAFS. This win earned her a title shot for the NAAFS in December. She showed great striking, combining both power and speed with accuracy. At a young age, Tecia has a long and good future in the sport.
Q: To start, can you talk about how you got started in the sport?
A: I started with Tae Kwon Do. I ended up getting my Black Belt in Junior Tae Kwon Do and Freestyle Karate. After that I went to college and took off a year. I decided I wanted to continue my Martial Arts and started with Muay Thai, after 15 fights with Muay Thai and 2 and a half years of Jiu-Jitsu and getting my Blue Belt, I decided it was time to start MMA. I have had two fights and they have gone pretty well.
Q: Coming from Muay Thai, does not being able to head kick in amateur MMA bother you?
A: It doesn't bother me, but it surprised me that I couldn't head kick. I understand we have no shin guards on so its a safety factor. But, it's ok, I like kicking to the head, but I can do just as much damage kicking to the legs and stomach.
Q: You just fought Rebecca Gruitza, going in, did her height advantage worry you?
A: No, not at all. I am a strong girl for my height, so I am confident in every fight I go into. I fought two or three girls who were 5'7" in Muay Thai and I did well. It was an advantage factor, but I wasn't worried about it.
Q: Was the plan to come out aggressive or did you just see an opening?
A: I saw the opening. Once I hit her one time, I saw her face change and knew I could keep going and it would be over with. I usually feel out my opponent and see what they are going to do, and actually I like to be a counter fighter. But I saw the opening and went for it, and it worked.
Q: I am sure I know the answer, but overall how satisfied were you with your performance?
A: I was very satisfied with my performance. Going into the fight I was confident and coming out I was very happy with the win. Fighting in Ohio for the NAAFS, potentially will lead to great things, and is leading to great things already, so I am happy they brought me and my team down there.
Q: What did you think of the people involved with the NAAFS?
A: The whole event was awesome. I liked the set-up, the venue was nice, the people were nice, Nichole (Long) was nice, my opponent was nice, so it was all together really good. I look forward to coming back in December and bring my teammates so they can showcase their skills.
Q: You and Rebecca have been really respectful with each other. Is that something important to you?
A: Yes, before and after the fight I am always respectful to my opponent. I look at it as fun, we both know we are going to get hit. But after the fight....its a win lose situation, someone wins and someone loses. You might as well be happy with the outcome. You put your effort into it, it takes a lot to step in there, as a woman and a fighter. No point in being angry, you learn from your performance.
Q: With that win, you get a title shot, are you excited to get a title shot with a big company, that quick into your career?
A: Most definitely. I didn't see it happening this quick, but since it's happening, I believe I am ready. I am so thankful I took the time to get a great stand-up background and a great Jiu-Jitsu background before I went to MMA. I didn't just jump in. I feel like I can hang with those girls on top in the 115 division, and make my way up that little 30 list they put out there. I am making my way up one step at a time.
Q: You have a big trip to Ireland coming up. Can you tell people what that is about?
A: Yep! I recently fought at the IPF World Tournament in Orlando. I've been fighting there the last three years. The last two, I won the tournament. There were people there that saw my fight and liked what I was doing. They offered me the 114 spot on Team USA, to fight in Dublin Ireland for the World Kickboxing Championships. I gladly accepted and will be fighting November 18th through the 28th for Team USA. First time out of the country, so I am excited to test my skills against the top 114 pound girls.
Q: As someone involved in Bodybuilding, one of the first things I noticed was your physique. Do you do a lot of weight training?
A: Actually, not at all. I do maybe one strength and conditioning routine, but its not weight lifting based, more body weight stuff. I do that very Sunday, but besides that, I am just going off genetics right now, and doing Martial Arts since I was 5. I think that's where my muscles come from. In the future, on my list of things to do, is compete at a fitness competition. But it's expensive and something you have to train for, and I am training for fighting right now.
Q: Do you feel because of your looks and size, people may underestimate you?
A: That's a hard question, depends on who you ask. If you see me walking around, usually wearing a tank top and shorts, and the arms are the first thing they see and they say "What do you do? How much do you bench?" and I don't lift weights, I am a fighter. It's something that tones your body. The only thing that makes me maybe underestimated is when I come out, it's different from other girls. I like to come out girly, smiling the whole way there. But as soon as the fight starts I turn into a little pit bull and do what I love, fighting. No sense in being something I'm not. I am a girly girl, I like to wear make-up and dress up.
Q: Do you have any long term MMA goals?
A: Definitely! Right now I wanna take it step by step, work my way up to the top of the amateur 115 division. I would like to go pro with MMA and Muay Thai in the next year. It seems like it's going well right now. Once I go pro I would want to get to the 105 class, because I walk at 120, and a lot of the girls drop to make 115, so at 5'1" I believe 105 would be awesome, but I would have to change my eating habits, that's the one bad thing, I love food. At this point I rely on dieting off the weight, but once I get a good diet I will be able to do that in the future.
Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: My gym, Knuckle Up Fitness, My manager Christopher "CJ" Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org 404-731-082) My sponsors,
Brazen, Tussle Fight Gear, Revgear, Chiro 101, Sutra Lounge, O'Kelly Promotions, Black Eye Athletics, Cartunes. Also, visit my Facebook Fan Page https://www.facebook.com/TeciaTheTinyTornadoTorres
Sunday, October 16, 2011
On October 15th NAAFS put on Caged Fury 15. With the highly anticipated Travis Clark vs Forrest Petz fight being canceled due to an unfortunate injury to Clark, it would seem to have hurt the card, but in fact, it was one of the more entertaining shows NAAFS has put on since I started covering their shows. The amateur fights were the semi-finals of the Amateur series, so winners moved on to the finals at Night of Champions. There was a alrge amount of decisions, but that happens when there is so much talent. Everyone showed up and there was some great fights. A couple people like Dan Straus, Jeff Hughes, Jay Olson, Dave Lastafka, Tommy Deroia and Tecia Torres really impressed me. Interesting enough, to me, the fighter who stood out was Francis Healy. It is interesting because he actually walked away with only a draw. Francis easily won rounds 1 and 2, and the 3rd was close. Could have gone either way, but Healy was deducted a point for hitting the back of the head, but never even received a warning. So by scoring it 10-8, it left Healy with only a draw. But I believe we saw Francis Healy look his best yet.
1. Amateur Featherweight
Russ Brletrick (6-4 Independent Crew) vs Sean Serfass (4-1 Evolve MMA)
RD 1: They clinch and move to the cage. Serfass is trying to get the takedown. They drop down with Brletrick looking for a guillotine. They stand back up and Serfass lands a nice hook. Again they drop down with Serfass on top. A punch lands for Serfass. Brletrick does a good job avoiding damage. Hammer fist by Serfass. More shots for Serfass.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Serfass
RD 2: Leg kick by Serfass, but Serfass seems to have possibly hurt his own leg on it. They go to the ground with Brletrick looking for a triangle. Shots to the body by Serfass. Serfass gets side control and then back to guard. Not much action here. Brletrick tries for a triangle but can't get it. Shots to the head by Serfass. Brletrick hooks a triangle, but Serfass holds on till the round ends.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Brletrick
RD 3: Hook by Serfass. They clinch against the cage. Brletrick is trying for a guillotine. Serfass throws body shots trying to fight off the choke. Finally Serfass goes out.
Result: Russ Brletrick by TKO (Guillotine) at :43 of Round 3
2. Amateur Featherweight
Mike Putnam (4-2 Team Titan) vs Francis Healy (7-2 Mad Dog Fight Team)
RD 1: Both fighters land hooks. Healy drops him with a hook and looks for a guillotine when Putnam gets back up. Putnam escapes. Cross by Putnam. Nice takedown by Putnam, but they quickly stand. Cross by Healy. They clinch on the cage. Healy gets a double leg takedown. Healy stands but Putnam pulls him back down. They stand and Healy lands a leg kick. Putnam tries for a double leg and gets it. Body shots by Putnam.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Healy
RD 2: They clinch and move to the cage. They drop down with Healy on top in guard. Healy gets his back and lands body shots. Putnam stands but Healy still has his back. Putnam escapes. Both land jabs. Nice hook by Healy and then a jab. Putnam lands a hook. Putnam gets a double leg takedown, but Healy is up quickly. Healy gets a takedown. Short shots to the head by Healy. Healy gets his back but the round ends.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Healy
RD 3: Putnam tries for a takedown. Healy defends well. They drop down with Healy on top. Healy gets his back and lands shots to the body. Healy is deducted a point for hitting the back of the head. Putnam seems hurt and the doctor comes in to check him. They resume and Putnam lands a jab. Putnam shoots and gets a nice takedown. Healy gets up quick. They clinch and move to the cage. Putnam is trying hard for a takedown. Healy looks for a guillotine. Putnam escapes and gets a takedown. Healy is working hard to get up and does. Healy gets his back and drags him down to end the round.
I scored RD 3: 10-8 Putnam
My Score Card: Draw 28-28
Result: Majority Draw: (28-28/28-28/ 29-27 (Healy))
3. Amateur Lightweight
Khama Worthy (6-2 PTT) vs Josh Kallai (3-0 Evolve MMA)
RD 1: Leg kick by Kallai. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the body by Worthy. They go down with Kallai in side control. Head shots by Kallai. Worthy pulls guard. Kallai postures up and lands shots. Kallai let's him up. They clinch on the cage and both land shots. Kallai tries hard for a takedown with Worthy landing punches. Kallai still trying hard for the takedown. Knee to the body by Worthy. Nice takedown by Kallai to end the round.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Kallai
RD 2: Both fighters land hooks. Jab to the body by Worthy and then another. Kallai shoots but Worthy sprawls. Cross by Kallai. Uppercut by Worthy. Hook to the body by Worthy. Kallai is shaking his left hand, may have injured it. Cross by Kallai and then a leg kick. Another leg kick by Kallai. Cross by Worthy. Leg kick by Kallai. Worthy drops him with a hook but Kallai is right back up. Leg kick by Kallai. They trade hard hooks.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Worthy
RD 3: They are trading hard shots. Leg kick by Worthy. Hook by Worthy. Kick to the body by Kallai. Cross by Worthy. Kallai shoots but gets stuffed. Kallai looking for a takedown against the cage but Worthy defends well. Leg kick by Worthy. Hook to the body by Worthy. Cross by Worthy. Hook by Worthy and then a jab. Both land jabs. Kallai shoots but cant get close enough for the takedown. Cross by Kallai. Leg kick by Worthy.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Worthy
My score card: 29-28 Worthy
Result: Khama Worthy by Unanimous Decision (29-28/29-28/29-28)
4. Amateur Lightweight
Frank Sloan (9-1 Warrior Concepts) vs Kenny Jackson (7-4 Evolve MMA)
RD 1: Leg kick by Sloan and another. Sloan gets a takedown and side control. Short punches by Sloan. Jackson scrambles and gets on top. Sloan tries for an arm. Jackson lets him up. They clinch against the cage and Sloan lands shots. Battling for position. They separate and Sloan lands a hook. They clinch again as round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Sloan
RD 2: Leg kick by Sloan. Hook by Jackson. Hard hook by Jackson. Nice slam by Sloan. Sloan gets his back. Head shots by Sloan. Sloan trying to set up a rear naked choke. He is trying hard for the choke but Jackson defends well. Head shots by Sloan.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Sloan
RD 3: They clinch against the cage. Knees to leg by Sloan. Sloan gets a takedown against the cage. They stand and Jackson tries to take it back down. Good battle for position. Jackson trying hard to get the takedown. Body shots by Sloan. Hook by Sloan. Hook by Jackson. They trade shots with Sloan ending it with a jab.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Sloan
My score card: 30-27 Sloan
Result: Frank Sloan by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/30-27)
5. Amateur Welterweight
Todd Bevan (6-0 Bullpen) vs Bill Morosetti (7-3 H2O MMA)
RD 1: They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Morosetti but they are up quick. Slam by Bevan. Morosetti looks for a triangle but can't get it. Body shots by Bevan. Morosetti gets guard. Head shots by Bevan and now body shots.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Bevan
RD 2: Leg kick by Bevan. Bevan shoots and gets a takedown. Bevan gets mount. Morosetti gets up and they clinch on the cage. They move to the center and Bevan gets a takedown. Bevan gets side control and lands body shots. Not much action here. Morosetti tries to scramble as round ends.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Bevan
RD 3: Leg kick by Morosetti. They drop down and Morosetti gets his back. Bevan scrambles and gets on top in guard. Now Bevan has north south position. Bevan lands body shots. Morosetti tries for a leg bu Bevan pulls out and is in half guard. Morosetti tries for an arm but can't get it. Bevan gets side control. Now he stands and drops down hard punches. Morosetti gets on top but the round ends.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Bevan
My score card: 30-27 Bevan
Result: Todd Bevan by Split Decision (30-27/28-28/29-28)
6. Amateur Welterweight
Dave Gabig (5-2 PTT) vs Nick Kilian (7-2 Relson Gracie Cleveland/Strong Style MMA)
RD 1: Hard hook by Gabig. They drop down but Gabig stands right up. They clinch on the cage. Head shots by Gabig. They separate and Kilian shoots in but can't get the takedown. They clinch in the center of the cage and Gabig takes him down. Gabig is warned for hitting the back of the head. Knee to the body by Gabig. They stand and clinch in the center of the cage. They move to the cage and Gabig lands knees to the leg. They drop down and Gabig lands more knees.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Gabig
RD 2: Hook by Kilian. They drop down but right back up. Gabig takes him down. Gabig lands a knee and they stand. Kilian hurts him with punches and takes him down. Gabig gets half guard. Kilian gets side control and then back to half guard. Kilian lands shots to the head and then gets mount. Body shots by Kilian.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Kilian
RD 3: They clinch on the cage. Head shots by Gabig. Knee to the body by Gabig. They separate and drop down with Gabig on top. Sweep by Kilian to get on top. They stand and Kilian lands a hook. They clinch on the cage. They separate and Kilian lands two jabs.
I scored RD 3: 10-10
My score card: Draw 29-29
Result: Dave Gabig by Split Decision (29-28/28-29/29-28)
7. Amateur Middleweight
John Burbol (5-3 Griffon Rawl) vs Dave Lastafka (4-0 Vanyo Fight Team)
RD 1: Leg kick by Latafka and then another. Another leg kick by Lastafka. Uppercut by Burbol. Leg kick by Lastafka. Hook by Burbol. Lastafka looks for a guillotine and has it tight and gets the tap.
Result: Dave Lastafka by Tapout (Guillotine) at 1: 52 of Round 1
8. Amateur Middleweight
Cory Bresson (5-2 Warrior MMA) vs Steve Burton (6-1 Evolve MMA)
RD 1: They clinch and drop down. Burton lands body shots. More body shots by Burton. Not much action here. Knees to the body by Burton. Punch to the head by Burton. Burton gets side control. Burton looks for a guillotine but the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Burton
RD 2: They trade hard shots with Bresson getting the better of it. Burton shoots but good sprawl by Bresson. They clinch against the cage. Knee to the leg by Burton. Burton trying hard for a takedown. Knees to the leg by Burton. Burton finally gets the takedown. Burton is bleeding pretty good from the nose. Knees to the leg by Burton. Punches to the body by Burton. Bresson tries for an arm as the round ends.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Burton
RD 3: Hard hook by Burton. Takedown by Bresson. Punches by Bresson. nice job bu Burton to get on top. Head shots by Burton. Bresson tries to kick of the cage to sweep. Burton gets side control. Knees to the body by Burton. Now punches to the body. More knees to the body by Burton.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Burton
My score card: 30-27 Burton
Result: Steve Burton by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/29-28)
Nathan Bryant( 8-5 Ground Zero) vs Jeff Hughes (8-2 Evolve MMA)
RD 1: Jab by Hughes. Hughes drops him with a hook for the knockout.
Result: Jeff Hughes by Knockout at :11 of Round 1
10. Amateur Heavyweight
Nick Dowe (3-2 Kim's Martial Arts) vs Jay Olson (4-1 Evolve MMA)
RD 1: Leg kick by Olson. They trade shots and clinch. Dowe takes him down. Dowe gets side control. Olson scrambles and gets up. They clinch on the cage. Knees to the body by Olson. Olson drops him with a hook to end it.
Result: Jay Olson by Knockout at 1:37 of Round 1
11. Amateur 115 Pounds
Tecia Torres (1-0 Knuckle Up Fitness) vs Rebecca Gruitza (2-1 Team Bundy)
RD 1: Torres lands a hook. Push kick by Gruitza. Torres hurts her with two hooks. Torres lands several hard shots against the cage and drops her. Torres lands a couple more and the ref stops it.
Result: Tecia Torres by TKO at :27 of Round 1
12. Amateur Light Heavyweight National Title
Ryan Walls (6-3 Peak Submission) vs Tommy Deroia (6-0 Evolve MMA)
RD 1: They clinch against the cage and Deroia takes it down. Deroia gets his back and lands hard shots. More and more hard shots by Deroia till the ref stops it.
Result: Tommy Deroia by TKO at :57 of Round 1
13. Pro Lightweight
Julian Lane (9-6 Wreck Room Athletics) vs Victer Crenshaw (4-1 Vision MMA)
RD 1: They trade shots and Crenshaw goes for a takedown. Nice sprawl by Lane and Lane holds him down. They stand up and Lane shoots but Crenshaw gets the takedown instead. Lane is trying for an arm. They stand and clinch on the cage. Slam by Lane who lands in side control. Crenshaw rolls and gets on top. Crenshaw lands body shots. They stand and Lane takes it back down. Crenshaw looks for a guillotine but Lane pulls out. Lane gets his back and then north south as round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Lane
RD 2: Two jabs by Crenshaw. Cross by Lane. Lane tries for a single leg and gets it. Lane gets north south and then lands knees to the body. Crenshaw scrambles and get up. Hook by Crenshaw and then a jab. Takedown by Lane. Crenshaw tries to stand but Lane pulls him down. Body shots by Lane. Head shots by Lane. Lane gets a guillotine and the tap.
Result: Julian Lane by Tapout (guillotine) at 3:47 of Round 2
14. Pro Middleweight
Tyler Beckley (4-1 Demolition Fight Team) vs Kevin Zalac (10-1-1 Next Level Jiu Jitsu)
RD 1: Jab by Beckley. Zalac gets his back standing and takes it down. Head shot by Zalac. Beckley gets up but Zalac still has his back. Zalac pulls him back down but they stand quickly. Clinch and hard knees to the body by Beckley. Takedown by Beckley. Beckley gets side control. Elbows by Beckley. Zalac scrambles and gets mount and lands shots. Beckley gets back on top. Zalac is bleeding bad from the nose. They stand and clinch on the cage. Zalac gets him down and has his back. Zalac lands hard shots. Now Zalac gets side control and lands shots. He gets his back again and lands more.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Zalac
RD 2: Kick to the body by Zalac. Zalac goes for an arm and they drop down. Beckley is on top and landing punches. Both fighters trying for a leg. Beckley gets the leg but Zalac pulls it out. The ref stands them. They clinch and Beckley lands punches to the body. Knee to the body by Zalac. Beckley gets a takedown and side control. Beckley lands punches. Zalac scrambles and gets on top. Elbow by Zalac. Body shots by Zalac. Zalac stands and drops a hard punch. Elbows by Zalac.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Beckley
RD 3: Kick to the body by Zalac. They clinch against the cage and Beckley takes it down. Beckley gets north south. Zalac scrambles and gets half guard. Zalac fights his way up and Beckley takes him back down. Beckley gets the rear naked for the tap.
Result: Tyler Beckley by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:10 of Round 3
15. Pro Lightweight Title
Dan Straus (22-5 Vision MMA) vs Jason Dent (22-11 Griffon Rawl)
RD 1: Leg kick by Dent. He tries another by Straus catches it and takes him down. Dent pulls guard. Body shots by Straus. Two elbows by Straus. Another elbow. Body shots by Straus. More body shots. Hard shots to the body now by Straus. Two head shots by Straus. Straus gets side control and lands knees to the body. Dent gets half guard.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Straus
RD 2: Leg kick by Dent. Head kick by Straus. Straus gets a takedown. Elbow from the bottom by Dent. Body shot by Straus. More body shots and now head shots. Dent throws punches from the bottom. More body shots by Straus. Dent lands elbows from the bottom. Straus lands elbows. Dent is trying for an arm but Straus pulls out.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Straus
RD 3: Hard hook by Straus. Leg kick by Dent. Hook by Dent. Jabs by Straus. Straus shoots in and they clinch on the cage. They separate. Jabs and cross by Straus. Head kick by Straus. Superman punch by Dent. Straus shoots and gets a takedown. Body shots from the bottom by Dent. Dent tries to stand but Straus pulls him back down. Elbow by Straus. Body shots by Straus. More body shots to end the round.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Straus
RD 4: Leg kick by Straus. Hook by Straus. Leg kick by Straus. Head kick by Straus. Jab to the body by Straus. Leg kick by Dent. Uppercut by Dent. leg kick by Dent. Straus shoots and gets a takedown. Dent goes for a triangle but Straus pulls out. Short punches by Straus. Dent works hard to stand but can't. Body shots by Straus. Elbow by Straus. Straus stands and drops back down. Dent is able to stand but round ends.
I scored RD 4: 10-9 Straus
RD 5: Jab by Straus. Cross by Straus. Leg kicks by both. Straus shoots but good sprawl by Dent. Straus gets a takedown. Dent tries for an arm. Body shots by Straus and then an elbow. Body shots from the bottom by Dent. Straus gets the mount and lands short head shots. Dent pulls guard. Body shots by Straus.
I scored RD 5: 10-9 Straus
My score card: 50-45 Straus
Result: Dan Straus by Unanimous Decision (50-45/5-45/48-47)
Submission of the Night: Dave Lastafka
KO of the Night: Tecia Torres
Fight of the Night: Khama Worthy vs Josh Kallai
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Forrest Petz was days away from his fight with Travis Clark. Unfortunately due to an injury, Clark was forced to pull out of the highly anticipated bout. Already with 3 wins this year against quality opponents, Petz was hoping to ride the momentum to a win and an NAAFS title. Even with that fight out the door, Petz, A UFC veteran with an impressive resume was someone I was anxious to get an interview with.
Q: You were scheduled to fight Travis Clark this coming weekend. Clark had to withdraw due to an injury. How frustrating is that to have it happen so close to the fight?
A: It sucks. I mean, I still hope to get a replacement. As long as I fight somebody I will be alright. Having trained specifically for Travis, its a bummer, but that's how the fight game works sometimes.
Q: Any word on a replacement?
A: I just heard about Travis last night so its pretty new right now. I got my fingers crossed.
Q: You have a lot of experience and a great resume. Does that make it harder to get a short notice replacement?
A: It might, I don't know. I don't know what they are looking to pay my opponent. Because I am fighting at 185 maybe a guy will see me coming up in weight and think I am not as dangerous, so who knows. I have taken fights on short notice, been on that end, so I know its an opportunity for some guys to jump on, a good stepping stone.
Q: That's where I was going next. Could someone look at it like "Hey, its Forrest Petz, he fought in the UFC, this is a big opportunity"?
A: Yeah you can look at it as an opportunity. Depending on where he is in his career and how bad he needs a fight right now.
Q: Had the fight with Travis happened, how do you feel you match up with him?
A: Well, I was planning on winning obviously. I felt I could have stopped him inside the distance. The biggest issue I would have with him is his size because he is a natural 185 pounder. He has a goofy kickboxing style that causes problems for people because its unorthodox, but fighting guys like like that isn't a big issue with me. Wrestling wise, I felt I had enough to negate his takedowns or at least get up off the floor. My wrestling, offensively, has never been anything to write home about, but is pretty good defensively. So I felt I could have had a stand-up war with the guy and come out on top.
Q: You have three wins this year, with that kind of momentum, does it make you more anxious to get back in the cage?
A: Yeah, sometimes when you are on a roll you wanna keep on rolling. That's how I feel.
Q: Not only you, but Strong Style has been a roll lately. Does teammates having success motivate you more?
A: Yeah, it gives you confidence, that the guys are fighting tooth and nail, and if they have success on a National level, you must be pretty good to. So, we all keep each other sharp and everyone is at their best now.
Q: I interview other Strong Style fighters, and they always mention working with you. Does that give you your own sense of pride when others have success and mention you?
A: I mean, its cool, but the thing is, we all work together so everyone wants to throw around credit. Guys like Chris Lozano, Brian Rogers and John Hawk, with or without me they are gonna do some damage. Its nice they mention me, but I cant take any of the credit for what they do.
Q: Long term, is the goal to get another shot with UFC, or is it more of "if it happens it happens"?
A: Yeah, I mean I am just taking one fight at a time. I went 0-2 on my last run, my first run I went 2-3. So, in all honesty, that's never impressive. I gotta do something. In order for them to take a look at me, I have to do something pretty impressive. I am three fights into a win streak right now, I have to add on to that in order for that. Fight guys who if you beat them, you make some noise. I can do that, my last run in the UFC I didn't put my best foot forward. I am capable of a lot better and can compete on that level. Right now, I have to find my way back. if it happens, that's awesome, but I am not counting on it. Right now I am just trying to take fights and win and see where it gets me.
Q: That being said, would the NAAFS title be a help towards getting back there?
A: It would be great to have a title around here. Its like the best fighter in Ohio, which is cool to hang your hat on. But I look at it as a fight. Just a win over Travis Clark. The title is cool to bring to the gym and have it there, but I just want solid wins. This would have been a good one. A win over Travis Clark would have been a solid win. My last 3 guys all had winning records, fought at bigger shows, Travis hasn't, but he is undefeated, so a win over him for a title would have looked pretty impressive.
Q: Looking back, is there one fight in your career that you are most proud of or meant the most?
A: There are a few. When I beat Sam Morgan, my first time in the UFC, I went out and beat the guy. One judge had it 30-23, which is the most lopsided score they ever had in the UFC in a three round fight. There are others that have personal meaning. I had a fight in 2006 against Daniel Moraes, he wasn't a big name, and it wasn't even that great of a fight, but a lot of circumstances around the fight, and coming out on top, made it special. The one with Dan Hardy, if you have ever seen the fight, it was one where I had to dig deep, and was a kick ass fight. The other one I liked was when I fought Taiwan Howard at Fight Night in the Flats. That is one of my favorites times fighting. After it was over having friends and family there. I had bounced back from a two fight skid and felt good to win that one.
Q: Does being a ref give you any perspective on fighting that maybe you didn't used to have?
A: I don't know. Not really. If there is one thing, as a fighter, when the crowd boos it messes with your head and makes you do things you shouldn't do. When you are a ref, you get booed all the time. Calls are unpopular or you make a bad call. It rolls off my back now, and as a fighter I don't even hear it.
Q: Being a fighter, when does it give you better perspective to tell when a fighter has had enough?
A: For sure. Being a fighter makes you a better ref than being a ref makes you a better fighter. Just knowing whats going on. For sure that's helped me.
Q: Where did the name Meat Cleaver come from?
A: My old roommate, he was goofing around. At the time I fought for King of the Cage, there was a promoter that used me a lot named Cory Fisher, and he called me the Hit Man. In my mind, the only Hit Man was Thomas Hearns, the boxer, he retired the nickname. My Buddy Joe said " We gotta give you something different, something people will remember, the Meat Cleaver". Even then I just joked around with it, didn't think ti would be my nickname. I was filling out my info for a fight, and my buddy filled it out while I was getting my medicals, I had no idea he wrote that nickname down.
Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank?
A: All the dudes at Strong Style, Marcus and everyone. This is a team sport, you fight individual, but there is a group of people who get you ready. My friend John Lennon has helped me out, and Intimidation Clothing always sponsors me to, so gotta give them a shout out.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
On October 8th NAAFS presented Combat Challenge 16. Some very good fights by young fighters, some making their debuts, and some exciting finishes. A very pro Evolve MMA crowd went home happy as both their fighters got wins and looked impressive in doing so. Definitely a good show to get people warmed up for the big one next week.
1. Amateur Welterweight
John Gunther (2-0 Fight Farm) vs Josh Squires (2-0 Team Go 2 Sleep)
RD 1: Two jabs by Squires. Gunther shoots and gets a takedown. Squires sprawls but can't escape. Body shots from the guard by Gunther. Gunther postures up but quickly falls back into guard. More body shots by Gunther. Squires tries to wall walk but can't. More body shots by Gunther. Gunther tries to mount but Squires defends. Gunther gets side control and goes for an arm. He has the armbar but Squires holds on till the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Gunther
RD 2: Hard hook by Gunther hurts him. Gunther takes him down and gets side control and then mount. Body shots by Gunther. Shots to the head now by Gunther. Gunther gets his back and looks for a rear naked. He holds the position for awhile but doesn't have it tight enough. Gunther starts dropping hammer fists till the ref stops it.
Result: John Gunther by TKO at 2:00 of Round 2
2. Amateur Light Heavyweight
Dan Stevenson (0-0 Dojo Fight Club)) vs Nick Adkins (1-0 Team Impact)
RD 1: Stevenson shoots and takes him down. He gets mount and lands punches. Stevenson gets his back and the rear naked for the tap.
Result: Dan Stevenson by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at :32 of Round 1
3. Amateur Bantamweight
Josh Killion (0-0 VIP D-Boyz) vs Matt Campbell (2-0 Team Pedro Sauer)
RD 1: They clinch and move to the cage. They separate and trade punches. Both land nice hooks. They clinch and Campbell pulls him down in guard. They quickly stand back up and trade hard shots against the cage. Campbell drops down and pulls Killion into guard. Now he is in half guard. Killion stands and drops punches down. They stand back up and both land hooks. Uppercut by Campbell followed by a jab. Leg kick by Killion. Nice uppercut by Killion. They trade punches. Killion drops him with a hook and gets on top but the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Killion
RD 2: Spinning back fist by Killion. More hard shots by Killion. Campbell drops him with a hook. They trade hard shots. Hook to the body by Killion. Both look tired as they trade shots. Killion gets a takedown and lands in guard. Campbell goes for an arm but nice escape by Killion. Campbell tries for a triangle and now an armbar. Killion escapes and gets side control and lands a body shot to close the round.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Killion
RD 3: Hard cross by Killion. Campbell shoots in but Killion goes for a guillotine. Nice escape by Campbell. Body shots by Campbell. The ref stands them. Both land jabs. Campbell tries to pull guard but can't. Hard shots on the cage by Killion. More shots and he has Campbell hurt. Takedown by Killion. He lands punches from the top. Killion gets his back and goes for a rear naked and gets the tap.
Result: Josh Killion by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:49 of Round 3
4. Amateur Heavyweight
Steve Thom (4-6 Elite Fight Team) vs Larry Shuck (6-4 Independent)
RD 1: Shuck drops him with a hook and gets side control. Shuck tries for a key lock but can't get it. He tries again but still can't get it. Shuck lands body shots. Thom gets half guard. Not much action here. Shuck gets the mount and gets an armlock for the tap.
Result: Larry Shuck by Tapout (Armlock) at 2:03 of Round 1
5. Amateur Flyweight
Ray Yanez (Fight Farm) vs John Darling (4-5 Dragons Den)
RD 1: They trade shots and clinch. The move to the cage. Knees by Darling. Yanez hooks and guillotine and gets the tap.
Result: Ray Yanez by Tapout (Guillotine) at :40 of Round 1
6. Amateur Featherweight
Brian Brooks (1-0 Relson Gracie Cleveland) vs Josh Burr (1-1 Team ATA)
RD 1: Jab by Burr and then a hook. Another hook by Burr. Brooks shoots in but gets stuffed. Hook by Burr. They clinch on the cage. Brooks looks for a guillotine but Burr escapes. Hooks by Burr. Jab by Burr. Brooks shoots and gets a takedown. Brooks gets the mount. Burr tries to sprawl and almost escapes. Brooks gets an armbar and Burr taps.
Result: Brian Brooks by Tapout (Armbar) at 2:06 of Round 1
7. Amateur Welterweight
PJ Palmer (1-0 Uniontown Fight Club) vs Tyrann Ried (0-0 Rock hard MMA)
RD 1: They trade hard hooks. Clinch in the center of the cage and Palmer takes it down. Palmer gets his back and goes for a rear naked but can't get it. Ried gets half guard. Palmer lands punches. Palmer postures up and lands more shots. Ried is able to escape and get up. Two punch combo by Ried. Ried takes it down but Palmer gets on top in guard. Palmer postures up and slams him back down. Body shots from the bottom by Ried.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Palmer
RD 2: Hook by Ried. Ried takes it down by Palmer gets on top in guard. Two shots to the body by Ried from the bottom. Palmer gets the mount and lands punches. Palmer gets his back and lands punches. Ried gets it back to half guard and then full guard. Palmer pushes him against the cage. The ref stands them. Palmer shoots in and eats punches before completing the takedown. Ried lands from the bottom.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Palmer
RD 3: Palmer shoots in and eats punches but gets the takedown. Ried lands from the bottom. Palmer lands punches. Palmer gets mount and lands several punches. Palmer lands more and more shots. Ried tries to escape but can't. Ried gets half guard. Palmer gets mount again and lands punches.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Palmer
My score card: 30-27 Palmer
Result: PJ Palmer by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/30-27)
8. Amateur Heavyweight
Adib Nour (0-0 Dojo Fight Club) vs Seth Sharp (0-1 Zahans Martial Arts)
RD 1: They clinch and go to the ground. Nour is on top and pushes him to the cage. Nour stands and drops into half guard. Nour gets the mount and lands hard shots till the ref stops it.
Result: Adib Nour by TKO at 1:12 of Round 1
9. Amateur Featherweight
Brandon Leininger (0-0 VIP D-Boyz) vs Vincent Bullard (2-0 Evolve MMA)
RD 1: Leg kick by Leininger. Hook by Bullard. Bullard gets a takedown. Bullard gets side control and lands punches. Leininger scrambles and gets on top. Bullard uses good wrist control to avoid damage. Bullard goes for an arm and gets the armbar for the tap.
Result: Vincent Bullard by Tapout (Armbar) at 1:57 of Round 1
10. Amateur Featherweight
Mark McDonald (4-4 Rusty Cage Fight Club) vs Rich Cantolina (6-5 Fight Club Pittsburgh)
RD 1: McDonald shoots and they clinch against the cage. They drop down and McDonald is on top in guard. Battling for position. Cantolina goes for the triangle. McDonald is holding on. Finally McDonald goes to sleep.
Result: Rich Cantolina by KO (Triangle) at 2:12 of Round 1
11. Amateur Bantamweight
Corey Simmons (2-1 VIP D-Boyz) vs Ryan Arce (2-0 Evolve MMA)
RD 1: Hook by Arce answered with a hook by Simmons. Leg kick by Arce. Cross by Simmons. Both land hooks. Arce lands a beautiful hook. Leg kick by Simmons. Leg kick by Arce. Arce shoots in but Simmons goes for a guillotine. Arce pulls out and is on top. Body shots by Arce. Now hard shots to the body by Arce.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Arce
RD 2: Leg kick by Arce. Hook by Simmons. Another hook by Simmons. Leg kick by Arce and then another. Jab by Arce and then a hook. Two hooks by Simmons. Nice uppercut by Arce. Leg kick by Arce. Arce drops him with a hook and the ref stops it.
Result; Ryan Arce by TKO at 2:13 of Round 2
Submission of the Night: Ray Yanez
KO of the Night: Adib Nour
Fight of the Night: Josh Killion vs Matt Campbell
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Rebecca Gruitza will step into the cage for the NAAFS on September 15th with Tecia Torres. With a win, Rebecca will get to fight for the 115 pound Amateur series title. After losing her first fight, Rebecca has rebounded with two straight wins. With the title shot looming, she is not in any way looking past Torres in what looks to be an exciting bout.
Q: In past interviews we have talked about how you got started training. So this time, let's talk about how and why you decided to fight?
A: I'd always done kickboxing tournaments and grappling tournaments since I started training, but never stepped in a ring or cage. A year ago I wanted something to kick up my trainign a little bit. So I thought I would try a kickboxing match.It wasn't the best weight class for me cause I was still losing weight. I wanted to start fighting and test myself and see if I could do it. Then I wanted to try MMA, and I liked it better than kickboxing, cause I can utilize my ground skills. I had been training so long and I had the experience, so it was time to put it to use.
Q: You lost your first fight, and lost pretty quick. Did that hurt your confidence at all?
A: No it didn't. I was nervous for the first time. Nervous I was going to to use my hands and feet and know what to do. When I got in there, I was able to do exactly what I was telling myself to do, I just got caught. I hate using the phrase "I got caught", but it can happen to anyone. I was in a position I shouldn't have been and once I got caught I panicked. But until that point, which was only about a minute, I was controlling the fight. It didn't shake my confidence cause anyone can make a mistake and get caught in a bad spot. If anything it helped my confidence.
Q: You won your last two. What was different about you in these two fights?
A: My confidence. Each time I got more prepared, cage time helps, you can train all you want, but when you get in there and fight it is the best experience you can have, and cross training with people you don't normally train with helps. I am calmer and smarter. I don't think I am different physically just a little sharper a little smarter.
Q: You are fighting Tecia Torres, what do you know about her?
A: Not really too much. I know that she is a fairly decorated kickboxer which should be fun cause I like to stand. I don't usually like to do too much in depth research on opponents, cause how she fought her last opponent may be different than how she fights me. I don't stalk my opponents so to speak. She won her first and only MMA fight. I am not taking her lightly, she will be my toughest yet. I look forward to it. She is a kickboxer and has some ground game so it should be fun.
Q: With her having good kickboxing, if it is a three round stand up fight, are you confident you can stand with her?
A: Yeah! I am confident my stand up can go with her regardless of height and reach difference but I am 5'9" and she is 5'1". I am not worried about it. Like I said, I am not taking her lightly, it will be a good fight, she wont be easy.
Q: Is there a key for you in this fight?
A: I think the one thing that is key, and has been key, the past couple months I have had a lot going on in my head and personal life. It affects what you do on the mat. I think keeping my head together and calm against someone with her experience, only one fight but a lot of kickboxing experience, is key. Keep my head straight, do my best, and there wont be any problems.
Q: If you win, you get a title shot, is it hard to block that out and focus on this fight?
A: Not really. Everyone keeps jumping the gun with the title shot and not treating this fight like it should. I have to win this so I have no problem blocking it out. I wont take her or this fight lightly.
Q: This will be the biggest crowd you fought in front of. Will that have any affect on you?
A: I don't think so cause I tend to block that out. We will see when I get there haha.
Q: Do you have a prediction on how it ends?
A: I have no idea how it ends. Usually shorter girls wanna go to the ground, we stand and they go back to the ground. This girl is the best kickboxer I ever fought, but she has some ground game. I believe she is a Blue Belt in BJJ. I will be interested to see her game plan. I have some plans of my own, but we will see how it pans out. None of my fights have ended how I thought they would, so I am ready for anything.
Q: You are from Pennsylvania, but have become friends with the group of Ohio female fighters and trained with them. Does that make Ohio feel like your home when fighting?
A: Absolutely! I mean, I live in between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Its an hour to Pittsburgh and an hour to Cleveland. I do not know one female fighter from Pittsburgh. They are all from Ohio, so yeah. I train in Ohio, so yeah.
Q: One of those girls you have trained with is Jessica Eye, who is ranked number 10 in the sport at her weight. How has that helped you?
A: Significantly. I haven't gotten to as much as I would like to. We have plans to do it more once her cut heals and she is back. But Jessica and the time at her gym and sparring, is great. It emulates an actual fight. You get nervous but each time it helps you in your fight. No disrespect to anyone I have or will fight, but they aren't Jessica Eye, so training with her prepares me for anything.
Q: Assuming you win, is there anyone you would want to fight for the title, or is it whoever they put in front of you?
A: There has been names thrown out, but I am not sure. Whoever they find. Nichole (Long) has done a good job, been fair, each one is tougher, so whoever she finds would be good. I cant think of anyone I wanna call out necessarily. Whoever she finds. She knows what she is doing.
Q: Anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: Absolutely. I think this interview more than others has caught me at a time in my life where I have made some changes. I am no longer working at the company I worked for, looking for something different. Going through personal things and changes. Its been a roller coaster. They say it takes a village to raise a family, and I believe it takes a village to raise an MMA fighter haha. I wanna thank my teammates and coaches at Team Bundy, my family for sacrificing there time and watching my little ones, a lot of friends not in MMA that have been super supportive and that's hard to find. My friend Allana who runs with me and keeps my head on straight, my friend Sarah, and in the MMA world, my teammate Ashley Hawkins, Jessica Eye, and this is your interview Jason, but Jason Adams for helping with my diet, this is a hard weight for me to get to, so I appreciate that. The NAAFS as a whole, Nichole Long who is a great matchmaker, person and one of my best friends. My sponsors, my primary sponsor had been Scrap Soldier, and I thank them for their support. We made a little switch and Foundation Fight Company is now my primary sponsor, and the owner Kody has been supportive and kept my head on straight. he does my mouth guard, and I like pretty teeth cause I am a girl. And Sun City Tanning has been great, its nice to be tan. People in general, the energy from people in my town, I moved back here a year ago, some people come, some cant cause they have families and are busy but they are supportive. People are always asking about it regardless of if they come.