Sunday, April 29, 2012
On April 27th the NAAFS returned to West Virginia with a solid pro card highlighted by Travis Clark defending his middleweight title against Hector Urbina. The card also featured some good up and coming talent including Isaiah Chapman, Jason Cardillo, and the pro debut of Mark Cherico. It was a great chance to see several former amateur series champions fighting early in their pro careers.
1. Pro Lightweight
Victer Crenshaw (4-2 Strong Style) vs Rhett Northcraft (9-5 Independent)
RD 1: Hook and uppercut by Crenshaw. Jab by Northcraft. They clinch and Northcraft gets a takedown. Northcraft gets his back, but Crenshaw does a good job to be able to stand. The clinch on the cage and Crenshaw takes it down. Northcraft attempts a triangle but is unable to get it. Crenshaw gets his back and lands punches. Nice scramble by Northcraft to get Crenshaw's back. Now Crenshaw scrambles and stands. Leg kick by Crenshaw. Northcraft shoots in but Crenshaw gets the takedown. Crenshaw lands head shots. Elbow from the bottom by Northcraft. More head shots by Crenshaw and then body shots.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Crenshaw
RD 2: Leg kick by Northcraft. Takedown by Crenshaw. Northcraft is defending well on the bottom. Crenshaw lands head shots and Northcraft pulls him close to stop the shots. Crenshaw begins landing shots to the body. Hammer fist by Crenshaw. Crenshaw gets his back but Northcraft pulls guard. Crenshaw lands head shots. The ref stands them. Leg kick by Northcraft. Head kick by Northcraft. Jab by Crenshaw. Northcraft seems to be tiring. Leg kick by Crenshaw. Kick to the body by Northcraft.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Crenshaw
RD 3: Crenshaw gets a takedown and lands body shots. Northcraft goes for an arm. Short body shots by Northcraft and then head shots. Crenshaw pulls the arm out and lands punches to the head. Crenshaw lands a few to the body. Now they are both landing strikes on the ground. Scramble and Northcraft goes for a leg and then an ankle lock. Crenshaw pulls his leg out. Northcraft lands head shots.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Northcraft
My score card: 29-28 Crenshaw
Result: Victer Crenshaw by Unanimous Decision (29-28/29-28/29-28)
2. Pro Featherweight
Isaiah Chapman (13-1 Rock Hard MMA) vs Joe Wagner (9-1 Independent Crew)
RD 1: Leg kick by Wagner. Hard hook lands for Chapman. They clinch against the cage and Chapman takes it down. Wagner lands head shots from the bottom. Chapman stands and lets Wagner up. Head kick by Wagner. Chapman lands a nice head kick that puts Wagner out.
Result: Isaiah Chapman by KO at 1:57 of Round 1
3. Pro Featherweight
Kevin Rothacker (7-3 Strong Style) vs Josh Baker (8-1 Bullpen)
RD 1: They trade shots and then clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Rothacker. Baker tries for a double leg and gets the takedown. Rothacker stands by Baker still has his back. Baker lands knees to the back of Rothacker's leg. Takedown by Baker. Head shot by Baker and then more head shots. They stand and Baker still has his back. They separate and Baker lands a leg kick. Rothacker lands a leg kick. Jab by Baker and a cross by Rothacker. Rothacker knocks him down with a leg kick and lets him up. Hard hook by Baker. They trade leg kicks. Clinch against the cage and a takedown by Baker. Body shots by Baker.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Baker
RD 2: They trade hard shots and clinch against the cage. Rothacker takes him down but they are up quick. Clinch on the cage and Baker takes him down and gets his back. Rothacker shakes him off and lands head shots. They stand and Baker lands a jab and then another. Rothacker lands three jabs. They clinch on the cage and Baker takes him down but Rothacker gets up quick. Baker takes him down again and Rothacker gets up again. Another takedown by Baker who gets his back. Now Baker gets mount and Rothacker holds him close. Rothacker gets half guard and lands body shots.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Baker
RD 3: Two hooks by Rothacker. Baker shoots in and gets a takedown. Baker gets side control and lands head shots. Rothacker gets up and lands a leg kick. Baker gets a takedown and lands body shots. Rothacker works hard to stand and is able to. Rothacker gets a takedown. Baker looks for the triangle and lands elbows to the head. Body shots by Rothacker. Rothacker escapes the triangle and drops down hard punches. Rothacker stands and drops down hard shots. Elbows by Rothacker.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Rothacker
My score card: 29-28 Baker
Result: Josh Baker by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/30-27)
4. Pro Featherweight
Jeremy Czarnecki (5-3 Murcielago MMA) vs Justin Steave (13-6 (H2O MMA/Fight Club Pittsburgh)
RD 1: They trade jabs and clinch on the cage. Knees by Steave. Now Czarnecki lands knees. They drop down but stand back up still clinched. Head shots by Steave. Knee by Czarnecki. They trade knees. Steave lands more knees. They drop down and Czarnecki looks for a rear naked. Head shots by Czarnecki. Czarnecki lands more head shots. Czarnecki looks for the choke again. Steave lands punches throwing them backwards.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Czarnecki
RD 2: Steave lands a hook. Hook to the body by Steave. They clinch on the cage. They separate an trade leg kicks. Clinch on the cage and Czarnecki looks for a takedown and gets it. Czarnecki lands punches in guard. Steave tries for an arm. The ref stands them. Steave lands a nice hook and gets a takedown. Hard head shots by Steave.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Steave
RD 3: Body kick by Steave. Czarnecki shoots and gets a takedown. Two head shots by Czarnecki. Czarnecki postures up and lands head shots. Steave pulls him close. Elbows by Czarnecki. Steave lands shots from the bottom. Elbows by Czarnecki. The ref stands them. Nice hook by Steave. They clinch on the cage and Czarnecki takes him down. Steave looks for a guillotine by Czarnecki pulls his head out. Bod shots by Czarnecki.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Czarnecki
My score card: 29-28 Czarnecki
Result: Jeremy Czarnecki by Unanimous Decision (29-28/29-28/29-28)
5. Pro Welterweight
Ian Rammel (11-5 Team Elite) vs Micah Bender (9-6 Team Bundy)
RD 1: Leg kick by Bender. They clinch on the cage. Body shots by Bender. Nice takedown by Bender. Bender gets side control. Head shots from the bottom by Rammel. Body shots by Bender and then head shots. Bender stands and Rammel lands a nice up kick. Bender drops into Rammel's guard. Nice sweep by Rammel to get mount. Bender gets half guard. Bender is able to stand. They clinch on the cage and Rammel looks for a guillotine. Knee to the body by Rammel. Bender pulls his head out an they are still clinched. Knees to the body by Rammel. Bender drops down and gets a double leg takedown. Rammel tries for an arm as the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Bender
RD 2: Jab by Rammel. Body kick by Bender. Jab to the body by Bender. Uppercut by Rammel. They clinch against the cage and Bender gets a takedown. Rammel is avoiding damage. Head shots from the bottom by Rammel. The ref stands them. Jab and body kick by Bender. Rammel is cut under his eye. Clinch against the cage and Bender tries for a takedown and gets it. Rammel sweeps and gets on top. Rammel gets a kimura for the tap.
Result: Ian Rammel by Tapout (Kimura) vs 3:53 of Round 2
6. Pro Middleweight
Adam Sepulveda (7-5 SVT) vs Chris Goldbaugh (9-3 Bullpen)
RD 1: They clinch and move to the cage. Takedown by Sepulveda. Head shots by Sepulveda. Goldbaugh tries for an arm. They stand and trade hard shots. Goldbaugh goes to a double leg. They separate and Goldbaugh lands two punches. They clinch and Goldbaugh tries for the double leg. Knee by Goldbaugh. Hook by Goldbaugh. Hook by Sepulveda. Push kick by Goldbaugh. Two hooks and a knee to the head by Goldbaugh. Goldbaugh landing punches and drops Sepulveda and the ref stops it.
Result: Chris Goldbaugh by TKO at 2:37 of Round 1
7. Pro Welterweight
Dequan Townsend (8-4 Murcielago MMA) vs Jason Cardillo (7-0 Fight Club Pittsburgh)
RD 1: Cardillo shoots in by Townsend moves away. He shoots in again but Townsend sprawls. He tries again and gets the takedown and side control. Townsend pulls guard. Townsend ding good to avoid damage. Cardillo stands and drops back into guard. Head shots by Cardillo. Now Cardillo lands body shots. Cardillo stands and drops into side control. Cardillo stands and Townsend lands an up kick. Cardillo drops into guard and lands head shots.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Cardillo
RD 2: Body kick by Townsend. Cardillo shoots in and gets a takedown. Body shots by Cardillo. Cardillo gets side control. Townsend scrambles and almost gets up. Cardillo pins his arm down and lands punches. Townsend pulls guard. Body shots by Cardillo. Head shots by Cardillo and then more body shots. The ref stands them. Hard hook by Townsend.
I scored RD 2: 10- Cardillo
RD 3: Cardillo shoots in but Townsend sprawls. Cardillo keeps trying and finishes the takedown. Cardillo gets side control. Elbow to the body by Cardillo. Cardillo tries for an arm and almost gets the kimura. Body shots by Cardillo. Elbows to the body and then the head by Cardillo. Townsend tries to scramble but can't escape. Head and body shots by Cardillo. The ref stands them. Takedown by Cardillo into side control. Two elbows to the head by Cardillo.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Cardillo
My score card: 30-27 Cardillo
Result: Jason Cardillo by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/30-27)
8. Pro Featherweight
Dante Adams (3-3 Sud'n Impact) vs Mark Cherico (9-0 Fight Club Pittsburgh)
RD 1: Cherico shoots in and gets the takedown. Cherico gets side control. Nice sweep by Adams to get on top. Cherico scrambles and gets his back. Cherico gets his hooks in and the rear naked for the tap.
Result: Mark Cherico by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at :56 of Round 1
9. Pro Bantamweight
Richard McDole (7-3 Team Elite) vs Ronell Green (7-1 Bullpen)
RD 1: Leg kick by Green. They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Green. McDole looks for an arm and has a tight armbar but Green pulls out. McDole gets on top and has north south position. McDole moves to side control. McDole gets mount and lands punches. Elbow by McDole and then another. Punches by McDole. McDole goes for a guillotine and has it tight but Greene escapes and is on top. Head shots by Green. Green gets his back and goes for a rear naked but McDole escapes. Green has mount and lands punches. Green gets his back. McDole turns into him and is in guard. Hard punches by McDole. McDole gets an armbar and gets the tap.
Result: Richard McDole by Tapout (Armbar) at 4:51 of Round 1
10. Pro Heavyweight
Adam Milstead (10-3 Fight Club Pittsburgh) vs Nathan Bryant (8-7 Ground Zero)
RD 1: They trade jabs. Jab to the body by Milstead. Leg kick by Milstead. Body kick by Bryant. Clinch on the cage and Milstead lands a shot to the head. Knee to the leg by Bryant and then another. Knee to the body by Milstead. They separate and trade shots. Clinch against the cage. Two knees by Milstead. Milstead tries for a guillotine by Bryant escapes. They are still clinched. Milstead tries again for a guillotine by Bryant takes him down. They are up quick and still clinched. Elbow by Milstead. They separate and Milstead lands a hard leg kick. They clinch on the cage and Milstead lands a knee. Two knees by Bryant and one by Milstead. They separate and trade hard shots. They clinch and move to the cage. Knee by Milstead. Knee to the leg by Bryant. They separate and trade wild shots.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Milstead
RD 2: Leg kick by Milstead. Clinch against the cage and Bryant tries for a double leg and then a single. Knee to the leg by Bryant. Knee to the body by Milstead. They separate and Milstead lands a hook. Leg kick by Bryant. Clinch against the cage and Bryant tries for a single. Head shots by Milstead. They separate and trade hard punches. Takedown by Milstead. Milstead gets his back and looks for a rear naked. Bryant escapes. Milstead stands and Bryant is slow to stand. As Bryant tries to get up Milstead hits him with a hard punch and lands two more till the ref stops it.
Result: Adam Milstead by TKO at 3:14 of Round 2
11. Pro Middleweight Title
Hector Urbina (16-6-1 Team Eltoro/Team Wolfpack) vs Travis Clark (12-0 Evovle MMA/Wolfs Lair)
RD 1: They clinch and Clark looks for a takedown. They drop down and Urbina hooks a guillotine for the tap.
Result: Hector Urbina by Tapout (Guillotine) at :16 of Round 1
Submission of the Night: Richard McDole
Knock out of the Night: Isaiah Chapman
Fight of the Night: Richard McDole vs Ronell Green
Sunday, April 22, 2012
On Saturday April 21st the NAAFS put on Combat Challenge 20. A good card with some good young talent. In the Main Event Nick Browne and Josh Kallai put on a great fight where you didn't want to see either fighter get a loss on their record. Both brought their A games and showed they have great potential in the sport. In the nights lone women's fight, Jessica Gold looked great in her debut and Trisha Gerus showed a great deal of improvement since I last saw her as they had a really good fight. Another entertaining fight was Devontai Moore vs Niles Hootman as they put on a fight that got the crowd into it. Here is my play by play.
1. Amateur Bantamweight
Nick Espinosa (1-0 Brown Pride MMA) vs Roosevelt Archie (2-4 PA Brawlers)
RD 1: Jab by Archie. Leg kick and hook by Espinosa. They trade a couple jabs. Archie lands a leg kick and Espinosa lands one as well. Leg kick by Archie followed by a cross and then a jab. A hook by Espinosa. Nice hard leg kick by Archie. Espinosa lands a hook. Espinosa shoots in but can't get the takedown as the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Archie
RD 2: Hook by Archie. Archie accidentally pokes Espinosa in the eye stopping action. They resume and Archie lands a hook. Espinosa gets a takedown but Archie gets on top and then Espinosa gets back in top in Archie's guard. Espinosa then gets mount and Archie does a good job avoiding damage. Espinosa is unable to do much here and Archie pulls off a nice escape to stand. Espinosa takes him back down in side control. Short punches by Espinosa.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Espinosa
RD 3: Nice slam by Espinosa. Espinosa gets side control. Archie avoids damage and pulls guard. Archie reverses and gets Espinosa's back. Archie lands punches to the head. Archie looks for a rear naked and then lands body shots. Espinosa rolls and is in Archie's guard as the round ends.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Archie
My score card : 29-28 Archie
Result: Roosevelt Archie by Split Decision (29-28/28-29/29-28)
2. Amateur Lightweight
Kevin Harrison (0-0 Fighters United) vs Kyle Fenton (1-0 Team Impact)
RD 1: Leg kick by Harrison. Fenton throws a kick by Harrison catches it and takes him down. They get right back up. Beautiful slam by Fenton and they get right back up. Hook by Harrison. Leg kick by Fenton. Inside leg kick by Fenton. Harrison shoots in and they clinch on the cage. Takedown by Harrison who gets mount and then gets his back. Harrison looks for a rear naked but Fenton is able to roll into Harrison's guard. They stand and Fenton tries for a takedown but the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Harrison
RD 2: Leg kick by Fenton. Hook by Harrison. Takedown by Harrison. Fenton tries for an armbar but can't get it. Harrison is in Fenton's guard. Harrison lands a punch. Fenton rolls and gets his back. Fenton flattens him and looks for a rear naked. Fenton lands head shots. Harrison working hard to stand but Fenton gets mount and then his back again. Head shots by Fenton.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Fenton
RD 3: Kick to the body by Fenton. Hard hook by Harrison. Leg kick by Fenton. Harrison lands a jab and then another. Hard leg kick by Fenton followed up with a hard hook. Leg kick by Fenton and then another. Nice hook lands for Fenton. Harrison land a hook. They trade leg kicks and then trade hooks. Jab and a hook by Harrison. Leg kick by Harrison. Uppercut by Fenton. Fenton looks tired. They clinch on the cage and Fenton gets a takedown.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Fenton
My score card: 29-28 Fenton
Result: Kevin Harrison by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/29-28)
3. Amateur Bantamweight
Ralph Pastories (0-1 Independent) vs Seth Shaffer (1-0 Instigator Fight Team)
RD 1: Kick to the body by Pastories. Jab by Shaffer. Leg kick by Shaffer. They clinch and Pastories lands knees. They separate and Shaffer lands five straight punches. They clinch and Shaffer lands knees, but one goes low stopping the action. They resume and Shaffer lands a leg kick. Pastories lands a leg kick. Nice hook by Shaffer. Leg kick by Shaffer. Hook by Shaffer. They clinch and Pastories lands a knee and an uppercut. They move to the cage and Shaffer lands nice body shots. Shaffer lands a knee to the body. Shaffer lands punches and Pastories turns away and the ref stops it.
Result: Seth Shaffer by TKO at 2:13 of Round 1
4. Amateur Heavyweight
Justin Spikes (0-0 Triple Threat MMA) vs Paul Zimmerman (0-0 Independent)
RD 1: Leg kick by Zimmerman. Spikes drops him with a hook and gets on top in mount. Spikes gets his back and lands shots till the ref stops it.
Result: Justin Spikes by TKO at :50 of Round 1
5. Amateur 175LBS
Ron Richards (0-0 Independent) vs Larry Merriweather (0-1 Instigator Fight Team)
RD 1: Lg kick by Richards. Push kick by Merriweather. Hook by Richards followed by a leg kick. Merriweather lands a leg kick. Merriweather lands a jab and then they trade hard shots. Both land leg kicks. Three more leg kicks by Merriweather. Richards drops him with a hook but the round ends before he can follow up.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Richards
RD 2: Leg kick by Merriweather. Hook by Richards. They clinch and Richards looks for a guillotine. Knee to the body my Richards. Richards drags him down still holding the guillotine and Merriweather taps.
Result: Ron Richards by Tapout (Guillotine) at 1:22 of Round 2
6. Amateur 145LBS
Jessica Gold (0-0 B&G Gym/Hahns Martial Arts) vs Trisha Gerus )9-2 Lion-Do)
RD 1: Gold comes out landing punches. Gold clinches and lands punches from the clinch. They separate and Gold lands a hook. More hard punches by Gold. Jab by Gerus. Hook by Gerus. Two crosses by Gold. Jab and a hook by Gold. Jab by Gerus. Two more jabs from Gerus.Gold charges in landing punches. They clinch on the cage and the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Gold
RD 2: Hook by Gold Superman punch by Gold. Gerus lands a jab. A hook lands for Gold. Gold is bleeding pretty bad from the nose. Jab by Gerus. Kick to the body by Gold. Jab by Gerus. Gold lands a nice kick to the body. Gerus lands a jab and Gold lands a few punches. They clinch on the cage and Gold gets a takedown and gets mount. Gerus holds her close. Gold lands some punches. Gold goes for an arm but the round ends.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Gold
RD 3: Several punches by Gold.They clinch against the cage. Action stops as Gold's corner actually left an ice pack under the back of her shirt and it leaked water all over the cage. They resume and Gold lands a kick to the body. Gold lands a jab. Gerus lands a jab and then another. Hook by Gold. They trade jabs. Two more nice jabs by Gerus. They trade hard shots. Three more jabs by Gerus.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Gerus
My score card: 29-28 Gold
Result: Jessica Gold by Unanimous Decision (29-28/30-27/30-27)
7. Amateur Light Heavyweight
Gary Rice (0-0 Burkey Jiu-Jitsu) vs Damian Reighard (0-0 Instigator Fight Team)
RD 1: Hook by Rice. They clinch on the cage and Reighard looks for a takedown. He gets the takedown but Rice is looking for a guillotine and gets on top. They quickly stand. Reighard hurts him with a hook and they clinch against the cage. Knee to the leg by Reighard. Another knee lands for Reighard. Reighard looks for a guillotine and then lands hard shots that has Rice hurt. Rice lands a kick low stopping action. They resume and Reighard drops him with a hook and gets on top but the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Reighard
RD 2: They trade leg kicks. Reighard hurts him with a hook and then gets a guillotine for the tap.
Result: Damian Reighard by Tapout (Guillotine) at :20 of Round 2
8. Amateur Bantamweight
Roger Blankenship (5-7 Team Black Dragon/Warlords Gym) vs William Freedson (2-3 Vanyo Fight Team)
RD 1: They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Blankenship and he gets mount. Nice job by Freedson to stand back up. They clinch and Freedson hooks a guillotine for the tap.
Result: William Freedson by Tapout (Guillotine) at 1:31 of Round 1
9. Amateur Welterweight
Devontai Moore (2-2 Team Black Dragon/Warlords Gym) vs Niles Hootman (3-0 All Out Assault Fight Team)
RD 1: Leg kick by Moore. Moore hurts him with punches and takes him down. Hootman reverses and gets on top in mount. Nice sweep by Moore to get back on top in guard. Now Hootman sweeps and gets on top in guard. Body shots by Hootman. More does good at avoiding damages. The ref stands them. Leg kick by Hootman. Hook by Moore. Moore lands a leg kick. Moore drops him with a leg kick and lets him stand back up. Leg kick by Hootman.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Moore
RD 2: Hook by Hootman. They trade body shots. Leg kick by Hootman and then another. Nice leg kick by Moore. Hootman knocks him down with a hook and gets into side control but Moore pushes him off. Hootman kicks the legs of a downed Moore. The ref stands Moore up. Moore drops him with a hook and gets on top. Sweep by Hootman to get on top as the round ends.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Hootman
RD 3: Moore gets a takedown. Moore is trying to get mount but can't. Moore is in guard and Hootman tries for a triangle. Body shots by Moore. Hootman gets on top and lands punches. Moore escapes but Hootman is now looking for a guillotine. Hootman lands body shots.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Hootman
My score card: 29-28 Hootman
Result: Niles Hootman by Split Decision 29-28/28-29/30-27)
10. Amateur 150LBS
Brandon Odom (3-5 All Out Assault Fight Team) vs Dave Graf (3-4 Brick House MMA)
RD 1: They trade jabs. Leg kick by Graf. Jab by Graf and then a leg kick. They trade jabs. Leg kick by Graf. Hook by Odom. Leg kick by Odom. Leg kick by Graf. Hook by Graf. Hook by Odom. Odom shoots and gets a takedown but they are up quick. Hook by Graf. Leg kick by Graf and then another.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Graf
RD 2: They trade jabs. Hook by Graf and then another. Nice jab by Graf. Graf lands a hook. Odom lands a jab. Leg kick by Graf. Jab by Graf. Push kick by Graf. Odom drops him with a hook but doesn't follow up. Graf lands a jab.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Graf
RD 3: Push kick by Graf. Graf lands a hook. Leg kick by Graf and then another. Jab by Odom. They trade jabs. Graf lands a leg kick. Hard body kick by Graf. They trade jabs as the round ends.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Graf
My score card: 30-27 Graf
Result: Dave Graf by Split Decision (30-27/28-29/29-28)
11. Amateur Welterweight
Jarred Zarlingo (5-2 Wrecking Crew) vs Alex Brown (4-3 Team Black Dragon/Warlords Gym)
RD 1: They clinch in the center of the cage and drop down with Zarlingo on top. They quickly stand. Leg kick by Brown. Zarlingo drops him with a hook and gets on top. Zarlingo gets mount. Brown is avoiding damage. Punch by Zarlingo. The ref stands them. Jab by Zarlingo. Leg kick by Brown. They clinch and drop down with Zarlingo on top in guard. Zarlingo stands and drops down punches. They stand and Zarlingo takes him back down. Zarlingo lands a punch low and the ref takes a point as the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 9-9 Even
RD 2: They trade jabs. Takedown by Zarlingo. Zarlingo gets a rear naked for the tap.
Result: Jarred Zarlingo by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:11 of Round 2
12. Amateur Lightweight
Nick Browne (2-0 Uniontown Fight Club) vs Josh Kallai (3-1 Evolve MMA)
RD 1: They trade leg kicks. Hard hook by Kallai. They trade hard shots. They clinch on the cage but quickly separate. Browne lands hard shots. They clinch on the cage and Kallai lands knees. Head shot by Kallai. More punches from Kallai. Knee by Kallai. Kallai tries for a takedown and Browne lands punches. The ref separates them. The clinch in the center with Kallai looking for a guillotine. Browne slams him but Kallai keeps the choke on.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Kallai
RD 2: Superman punch by Browne. Hook by Kallai. Jab by Kallai. Hook by Browne and then a leg kick and jab. Leg kick by Kallai. Cross by Browne. Hook by Browne. Jab and a hook by Browne. Browne lands another hook and then a jab. Kallai lands a cross. They trade hard shots. Browne lands a hook and then another. Browne lands a kick low stopping action. They resume and Kallai shoots for a takedown and they clinch on the cage. They separate and trade hard shots.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Browne
RD 3: Jab by Kallai. Hard shots by Browne. They clinch in the center and quickly separate. They trade shots. Hook by Browne. Uppercut by Browne. Jab by Kallai. Uppercut by Browne. Kick to the body by Kallai. Jab by Kallai. Kallai shoots in and gets the takedown. Kallai lands body shots.
I score RD 3: 10-9 Browne
My score card; 29-28 Browne
Result: Nick Browne by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/29-28)
Submission of the Night: Damian Reighard
Knock-Out of the Night: Justin Spikes
Fight of the Night: Nick Browne vs Josh Kallai
Kevin Rothacker is known for his Fight of the Night performances. A Kevin Rothacker fight can have one round that is a stand-up war followed by a round displaying great grappling. The Strong Style product returns to the cage on April 27th at NAAFS Caged Fury 17 against Josh Baker. Rothacker is coming off his first pro loss against the undefeated as a pro Baker. With West Virginia fans new to getting to see MMA fights live, there may be no better fighter than Kevin Rothacker to show them how exciting an MMA fight can be.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started with MMA?
A: I started doing Jiu-Jitsu in 1998 and it led to MMA. I was and still am good friends with Pablo Castro and he came to Strong Style as the Jiu-Jitsu coach. He called and said "you gotta come check out this gym". I came over and walked in and said "where do I sign up?" I've always been interested in martial arts and competing and having a place to train helped focus on that and give it direction.
Q: You are coming off a decision loss to Tony Castillo, looking back is there anything you wish you had done different?
A: Yeah, I probably would have taken a week off work and let my body recover a little bit. I felt a little warned out and not myself. But no excuses, I went in and fought and I lost, what are you gonna do?
Q: You are known for having exciting fights, especially the Doug Kulbis and Matt Montalvo fights, is there a part of you that feels you have to live up to that and have exciting fights?
A: You always wanna be exciting for the fans and put on a great show, but at the end of the day its all about winning. That's what matters most to me. I didn't plan on having exciting fights and don't feel I have to live up to it. I am the one doing it and I am the one who has to live with it. I just go in there and try to win.
Q: This fight is against Josh Baker, how do you feel you match up with him?
A: I know he has a Wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu background, so I feel like the match-up should be good. I feel like my stand-up is better. I don't know a ton about him, but I feel confident. We always train hard at Strong Style.
Q: You mentioned stand-up, and I was gonna say I think that's probably your biggest advantage in this fight, would you agree?
A: Yeah absolutely. I feel confident with it. From the little I know about him he's more of a ground game. I have confidence in my ground to, but why go there if I can win it on my feet?
Q: Is there a key for you to winning this fight?
A: Probably just stop the takedowns.
Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: I feel like I am going to be victorious. I think I can win on my feet or win on the ground. You never know, it could go either way.
Q: Any idea what you want next or just focused on this fight?
A: I take it one fight at a time. Right now its all about this next fight. I don't like to get ahead of myself.
Q: You have several teammates fighting for UFC and Bellator, is that the long term goal for you?
A: Yeah, that would be great to get into a bigger organization and move on with my career. That would be a goal I am looking forward to. But I live by the motto "win the fight and everything else will take care of itself".
Q: With them having success in the bigger organizations, has Strong Style proven its an elite top level gym?
A: Absolutely! I think we have some of the best all-around training. Great training in every aspect of the game.
Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank?
A: Yeah, Strong Style Mixed Martial Arts, Marcus Marinelli, Pablo Castro, John P. Lennon, Intimidation Clothing, Tru Assassin, and all my teammates, friends, family and fans.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Nathan "Bamm" Bryant returns to the cage for the NAAFS in West Virginia on April 27th's Caged Fury card. Bryant made his pro debut at the NAAFS last West Virginia card. After winning round one, Bryant says he got cocky and it led to being knocked out in round two. This time out Bryant will be fighting Adam Milstead, a fighter who had a great amateur career and lost in his only pro fight. This time Bryant promises to stick with the game plan in what could be one of the night's most exciting fights.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the sport?
A: Really, I did Wrestling in high school and then college football. After football I wanted a way to keep competing. I always enjoyed Wrestling and was passionate about it. MMA is the closest thing to it as you can get without being in an athletic program. So I went the route of MMA. After my first two fights I really liked it and stuck with it.
Q: A lot of fighters have nicknames, but you are one of the few who is more known by the nickname than your first name, where did the name come from?
A: It came from my high school wrestling coach. It was joke at first, he said I looked like Bamm-Bamm from the Flintstones. Him and the other guys were calling me Bamm-Bamm and ripping on me about it. I started doing well in wrestling and it stuck and wasn't a joke anymore.
Q: You have two young kids, is it hard to balance training with raising them?
A: Oh my God, its extremely hard. I have to work full-time,so I don't have the luxury of working part time or like some fighters taking time off work and focus on fighting. I have to have an income to provide for my wife and kids. I would love to say "screw work, I'm gonna focus on this". You've hard the stories of fighters living in their car and barely having money for food and living off the bare minimum and working at the gym to pay gym dues. I can't do that, I have a wife and two kids, I have to provide for them and find ways to get my workouts in. A lot of times I get up at 3:00AM or 4:00AM to go running and lift, then work an eight to twelve hour shift and then go to Jiu-Jitsu or Boxing, and then come home and spend time with the kids before they go to bed.
Q: Your last fight was your pro debut against Rick Day. You were controlling the fight, was it a case of just getting caught?
A: Its more than I got caught. I did get caught, but in the second round I got cocky. The game plan was in the first round to keep the pressure on him and stay inside, get it to the ground if I can cause we knew I had better grappling. The second round, honestly, I strayed from that plan and looked for the knock-out. I saw the goose egg on his head and was like "this guys done". So I strayed from the game plan and you should never do that. I got over confident.
Q: Does that fight make you feel that with this one you have something to prove?
A: I think every fight you have something to prove. If you don't feel like you have something to prove then you aren't fighting the right people. I don't fight "bums" or whatever. I fight people like Adam Milstead, as an amateur he only lost two fights and me as an amateur I am 8-6. We are both 0-1 as pros, but he has a pretty solid amateur record. you should never have easy fights, always move up the ladder and fighting better competition.
Q: Outside of his record, what do you know about Adam Milstead?
A: I look at it as he is a more athletic version of me. He isn't particularly great at any one thing. If it goes to the ground he is o.k. on the ground, if it stays standing, he is o.k. standing. He is comfortable in both situations just like me, I don't care where the fight goes. I don't stand-out in one area, I am o.k. on the ground and o.k. standing. He's a 205LBS version of me coming up for a heavyweight fight.
Q: Whee would you say you have the biggest advantage?
A: I think on the ground. He is fairly decent on the ground but I think I have a little higher level Jiu-Jitsu. Even in stand-up, I feel its probably pretty equal. He isn't a crazy striker but he isn't a sloppy striker. I don't feel I am sloppy but I am not the best striker in the world. On the ground I feel I have slightly better Jiu-Jitsu.
Q: Where does he pose the biggest possible threat?
A: I think he has outstanding cardio. Looking at his fights and talking to people, they all say its his cardio more than anything. When opponents tire out, he takes over fights. I think his cardio is the biggest threat and that's why I am working on mine.
Q: So does that make it important to not come out overly aggressive and gas out?
A: Definitely! I try not to do that. The one time I came out overly aggressive I paid for it in a major way. It was two fights ago against Jeff Hughes. The first time I fought him I wasn't aggressive enough and it went to a decision, I felt I fought not to lose instead of fighting to win. So the second time I went out to give it my all and came out overly aggressive. Eleven seconds inI came out throwing punches and he steps inside and hooks me and knocks me out. So I don't plan on being overly aggressive. Jeff Hughes fight showed me not to do that.
Q: Whats the key to winning this fight?
A: The key is sticking to the game plan as long as its successful and if its not, change it on the fly. We have watched a lot of film and have a solid game plan. With my last fight I messed up coming out over confident instead of sticking to the plan.
Q: Does fighting basically at home put more pressure on you?
A: It's a whole lot of pressure and stress. Its one thing if you are not a father and husband and just trying to get people to believe in you. But I got my little ones looking at me and you don't want your kids to view you as a loser. So it puts more stress on you.
Q: Last fight there were so many people behind you and yelling for you, do you try and block that out?
A: No, I try and embrace it. That kind of pumps me up. I told some people before last fight that it would be different, in Ohio no ones knows me and I get boos. It puts a damper on it. I don't like to feed of hatred or take things personal. People behind me motivates me more than boos. It is like I have the power of the people so to speak.
Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: I am not really one to make predictions, but I am going for the finish in the second round. His cardio is too good to do it in the first round but I think I can finish him in the second.
Q: Any idea what you want after this?
A: What I would like is I read Bellator is coming to West Virginia in June. I know NAAFS co-promotes with Bellator from time to time. I would like to get on that card, which I am sure has a lot to do with whether I win this fight. I would like to keep fighting for NAAFS.
Q: Why have you enjoyed fighting for NAAFS?
A: They treat me well. Greg (Kalikas) has been great. If I have problems I can call him, where as other promotions you cant get ahold of them, its like pulling teeth. Nichole (Long) has been great to work with. They treat fighters great.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My sponsors, Morgantown Fire and Security, Mountaineer Contracting Inc., Mountain State Medical Specialties, High Life Lounge, Foundation Fight Co., Kody has been there from the beginning, and Remember the Miners, which is a non profit I am associated with. My family, wife and kids. My wife goes through hell and is here by herself and its got to be rough. My friends, coaches, and everyone who supports me. My sponsors stand behind me as a person not me as a fighter and that's neat. The guys from my gym Ground Zero and also the guys from Bullpen who let me come up from time to time. I am probably forgetting people, but thanks everyone who has been behind me.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
NAAFS Light Heavyweight champion Dan "The Dragon Spohn comes into his third Bellator fight on April 20th after suffering his first professional loss, a decision to Kelvin Tiller. He will be facing Attila Vegh this time out. While Spohn doesn't make excuses, its fair to say that a hand injury he believes was suffered in round one, may have played a part in the loss. Spohn will definitely have the crowd on his side against the experienced Vegh in what can be expected to be a great match-up.
Q: You are coming off your first pro loss, to Kelvin Tiller. How long did it take to get over your first pro loss?
A: You never fully get over it. It will always drive me to be better than I was. The only way I will ever really get over it is to get a rematch and vindicate it.
Q: You injured your hand in that fight, what happened?
A: I believe it happened in the first round. I connected in a way that I broke it in seven places.
Q: Did that maybe play a part in the outcome?
A: I am not big on excuses, but i feel it played a big part in how the fight went. I wasn't able to use my right hand a lot. I had to get creative and figure out other ways to fight. It played a part in my performance.
Q: Safe to assume you are one hundred percent now?
A: Yeah its definitely back to one hundred percent?
Q: Sometimes people come back from an injury and fight differently out of fear of re-injuring it. Do you worry about that?
A: No, cause even if I had that fear, as soon as I get in there, I loose my common sense and start hitting anyway. So it doesn't bother me.
Q: Coming off the first loss, does it make you feel you have something to prove with this fight?
A: I guess yes and no. This fight is to prove I can hang with the best in the world. At the same time I don't feel I have to prove to much. I know I lost but I feel I can establish myself whether I win or lose.
Q: Last Bellator fight in Ohio, you had a big highlight reel knock-out. Finishes like that one don't happen often, but do you feel it gives you something to shoot for, to exceed that?
A: As far as that goes, I try to always do better, so I hope to perform in a fashion as grand and that gives me a good highlight.
Q: You are fighting Attila Vegh. He has a 23-4-2, what do you know about him?
A: He has a lot fights and experience. He is an aggressive fighter. Most of his fights are in Russia or something. He is a counter striker but aggressive at the same time.
Q: Sometimes people come to the U.S. and it can be a culture shock, can that affect him?
A: Yeah it could. I know for sure it would affect me for the first time going somewhere. If it does it will just go good for me in the fight.
Q: Where do you old the biggest advantage against him?
A: This fight, I am gonna try and dictate the fight as much as I can, but I feel comfortable in all aspects in this fight. I don't feel worried about getting submitted or knocked out or anything like that. Wherever it goes, I'm happy.
Q: Where does he pose the biggest possible threat?
A: I am not too worried about it actually. Whatever he has to bring he can bring.
Q: Whats the key to winning this fight?
A: The only key really is just improve. I have had time to work and get better. The only real key is to go out there and win.
Q: With the crowd support you will have, do you have to remind yourself not to get caught up in the emotion of it?
A: No, usually I am pretty mellow. I am just focused on fighting.
Q: Could that in some way affect him?
A: I don't know. He has experience so probably wont mind the crowd and more concerned with the fight.
Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: My only prediction is coming out with a victory.
Q: You seem to have settled in at Gurgel's. Does it help to have people like Jorge and Zoila and others who have big promotion experience?
A: Oh yeah! It makes you better at handling it yourself. They share their experience and you learn from their mistakes so you don't make mistakes.
Q: Any idea what you want next, maybe the tournament?
A: The ball is in Bellator's court. See what they offer me and talk to my management and go from there.
Q: You still hold the NAAFS tittle, would you like to still defend that?
A: Yeah if at all possible I would love to do that and represent NAAFS.
Q: There are a lot of Ohio fighters getting opportunities lately. Has Ohio proved it is a legitimate top state for MMA?
A: I think so. Ohio has proven its right there at the top. A lot of great fighters coming up.
Q: Anyone you wanna thank?
A: Jorge Gurgel, Rick Franklin, everyone at Gurgel's MMA, Chris, Tommy, all the guys who help me. My manage Jeff. And Luke Jernigan at Intimidation Clothing.
Monday, April 9, 2012
One of Ohio's most popular fighters, if not it's most popular fighter, Jessica Eye returns to the cage for Bellator on April 20th. Her originally scheduled opponent was a rematch with Aisling Daly, but as you will read, there is a change.
Q: Originally you were scheduled to fight Aisling Daly, but that has changed, can you explain what happened?
A: Obviously we were getting ready to fight Aisling Daly, and we were prepared to fighter her fight. With her pulling out, all its done is change our mindset and made us realize we are ready for whoever. We were ready for Aisling and are ready for Anita Rodriguez.
Q: Was the fight with Aisling more about a rematch to avenge your loss or getting the title?
A: The fight wasn't for me anymore. it was for the fans and everyone else. That loss made me better and I don't wanna take that away.
Q: You are fighting Anita Rodriguez, what do you know about her?
A: Not much. I know she was gonna fight Cat Zingano at Invicta, but Cat got hurt and she is fighting me. I know she was a boxer and has submission wins. Like every female, learning the sport and getting better.
Q: Does this make you change your training at all?
A: No I just keep going the way I have been going. Train twice a days, making myself better in every avenue. Just working on everything.
Q: Your stand-up, especially kicks and angles has been improved, did you make a conscious effort to improve that?
A: Yeah, I feel I am growing as a fighter and learning more. learning to use more things under pressure. Its making it fun to realize all the things I practice are coming together.
Q: From what you know about her, whats your key to winning?
A: Stick to my game plan and make her fight my style. Stick to my own game plan.
Q: When you come to Ohio and fight Jessica Eye, you are gonna get booed out of the building. Can the pressure get to her?
A: If she is a true fighter it wont bother her one bit. The crowd behind you is an awesome thing, but its gotta be a motivational thing. I wouldn't wanna get booed but I would feel just as much positive energy from it as the negative.
Q: Four Strong Style fighters on the card, whats the benefits of so many people at the same gym peaking at the same time.
A: the camaraderie is the best thing. All of us are in complete understanding of each other, helping each other, picking each other up, knowing we are getting ready for something big. We are each trying to win for different reason.
Q: Do you have a prediction?
Q: I asked John (Hawk) this and will ask you. Is a card like this a chance to show Strong Style is a top level gym.
A: Absolutely! I think Strong Style deserves its respect. Its a remarkable place to be and there is so much positive from being involved with it.
G: Any idea whats next or just focused on this?
A: Just this then figure it out. I got things with sponsors coming up. Might take time to learn more and get even better and show people I am working hard.
Q: You made your cornering debut for Ashley Hawkins recently, did you enjoy it?
A: I had a great time cornering Ashley. It was unreal, I truly enjoyed it. Words cant explain how cool it felt to help someone and to be trusted. She did everything me and Pablo (Castro) asked of her. I would definitely do it again for her.
A: Anyone you wanna thank?
A: Chick-O-Stick, Fast Graphics, Intimidation Clothing, Defense Soap, Hasz Automall, Catastrophic Ink and John P. Lennon.
Friday, April 6, 2012
After a disputed decision loss to Danny Chaves, Justin Steave brings a 1-1 record into his fight with Jeremy Czarnecki at NAAFS Caged Fury 17 on April 27th. Steave will be returning to the organization where he had some great amateur success with wins over some talented opponents. If you attend the card, make sure to pay attention to this one and see why I have said Justin Steave is one of my favorite fighters to watch.
Q; First, for those who may not be familiar, can you talk about how you got started in the sport?
A: I got started basically cause I was a fan since I first started watching it. I wanted to learn a little bit. Branden Hinkle was a UFC vet and I told him I wanted to start training, and that's how I started.
Q: Your last fight you lost a decision to Danny Chaves in a fight most think you won. How frustrating was it to not get the decision.
A: It was real frustrating, but I didn't throw all my tools in the basket. I went out there basically trying to win a decision cause I took the fight on six days notice, so wasn't sure about my cardio, so I didn't use all my weapons. That's what happens I guess when you hold back too much.
Q: Does stuff like that make you more cautious about traveling far for a fight?
A: Yeah it definitely does. It opened my eyes up big time. You go to South Florida and fight the home town kid, you have to win decisive, it cant be a close fight. You have to go out there ready to take him out.
Q: Even though most people think you won, does the loss make you feel like in this fight you have something to prove?
A: Yeah I think so. People think, I don't wanna say washed up, but they think things. I am ready to show what I bring on April 27th.
Q: You had a lot of amateur success with the NAAFS, are you excited to fight for them again?
A: Yes I am really excited to fight for them. Their pro fights are nationally televised events. A lot of exposure with those guys, and they are good guys and like family.
Q: You are fighting Jeremy Czarnecki, what do you know about him?
A: I don't know much about him. Seems like a wrestler and tough kid from what I have seen. I don't really know. Tough kid, might be a war and might not, you never know haha.
Q: He is 4-2 as a pro, but seems you are maybe a step up in opponents for him, would you agree?
A: I don't wanna say that. I have only had two pro fights. Pro rules are a lot different than amateur, there are a lot more tools you can use.
Q: From what you do know, where is your biggest advantage?
A: Standing and my Jiu-Jitsu. His wrestling is probably the same I would say, but I don't think he has an advantage on me anywhere.
Q: Where does he pose the biggest threat, would it be his wrestling?
A: Yeah, I guess you could probably say that. Its probably his best option I would think.
Q: Whats the key to winning this fight?
A: Just be ready when the bell rings.
Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: Getting my hand raised at the end.
Q: You come from a good team at Fight Club Pittsburgh. Lot's of talented fighters, how much does that help you?
A: It helps tremendously. The amount of talent we have, Mark Cherico is there, Jason Cardillo, Adam Milstead, we are all fighting on the same card together, and we have a had a couple guys like Eddie Alvarez come in. Its a great atmosphere there, its like a family.
Q: With others from the same team on the same card, how much does it help to have them going through a camp with you?
A: It's amazing. Training as hard as you can with guys at their peak also, instead of guys not being there two or three weeks, everyone is putting in the work and pushing each other.
Q: I see you corner guys and you get genuinely excited when they win, when you are on the same card as a teammate, do you get more nervous for your fight or for them?
A: My teammates because I have no control in the outcome.
Q: Any idea what yo want next, or are you just focused on this?
A: I am focused on this right now. But I will be ready to win this fight and be ready for whoever else.
Q: Would you like to keep fighting for NAAFS and maybe earn a title shot at some point?
A: Yeah that would be awesome. We will talk to Greg (Kalikas) and Nichole (Long) after the fight and see what they wanna do.
Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank?
A: I wanna thank Fight Club Pittsburgh for helping me through everything. Scott Umberger at Umberger Performance for my conditioning. My management agency CSA, Big Time and BG. My teammates, friends and family. My sponsors SDC Nutrition, Intimidation Clothing, Thick As Thieves clothing. I wanna thank you Jason for interviewing me, I really appreciate it.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
"Big" John Hawk is coming into his Bellator fight on April 20th off of a split decision loss to Roger Hollett that many, if not most, thought he won after controlling the second and third rounds. This time, in Cleveland, there is no worry of losing a home town decision, but Hawk has no plans of going to a decision against Marcus Vanttinen. On a loaded card with several big fights, Hawk has a chance to back up his claim and show he is one of the top light heavyweights around.
Q; Before we get into this fight, your last fight you lost a split decision in your last fight to Roger Hollett, in what seemed like a home town decision. How surprised were you when they announced him as the winner?
A: I was very surprised when he was announced as the winner. If you go back and watch the video of the fight, you can see where I won the third round and I raised my hands and he looked straight down like he had been defeated. My hands were up, I thought I won. He may have had more finesse, but hell, he hit me one or two times the whole fight. I could have been more active on the cage but he was strong and kept me against the cage. I was working, throwing knees, he was strong as hell, so I can't deny that. In the third round when he was weak, that's when I could open up, I cut him up good. I thought I won the second and third round easy. I guess it was a home town decision, he was the number one prospect in Canada, Bellator had him ranked like number six, and they were pumping this kid up. He was 13-2 with thirteen knockouts and I was supposed to get knocked out, and I went in their and I thought took the victory away from him. All my losses seem to be split decisions. I think maybe I have done something to the judges or they don't like the way I fight, but things are going to change from now on?
Q: You said you easily won the second and third, I gave you all three, but the first was close. Do you think it's a case of them scoring his occasional hard shot as opposed to all the work you did on the cage that wasn't as obvious?
A: I think so. Shit, Jason, you know me, I got a good ass chin, I can take a punch. When I watch the replay, he literally spun my head around. He hit me one good time I remember. I have never been dazed in a fight, I have been hit hard but never dazed. He hit my hard and my head spun around, but I was coming forward, so I took a punch but was still pushing the action. With my cage control, he had no answer, he was strong and had good takedown defense, so I couldn't take him down. It's MMA, it should be scored all around not just boxing. He didn't do anything to me, I controlled the cage, I controlled the pace.
Q: Does the loss put more pressure on you to win this one?
A: Yes and no I guess Jason. I'm 6-4 so my people see my record and its deceiving. I know I am better than a 6-4 fighter. I was finished once and that was my first fight at 205. The others were split decisions where I feel I wont the fights, against Spohn and Hollett. So, to me, I just don't know, I am at the point now where I am gonna suck "fuck it". I have great endurance so now am gonna be more explosive. I am not gonna wait three rounds, I am gonna finish you. So fuck everybody, you will see a new Hawk on April 20th.
Q: You are fighting Marcus Vantinnen on April 20th, he has a 21-3 pro record, but it doesn't look like he has fought anyone like you, would you agree?
A: Of course! I am not trying to have a big head or anything, but at the same time I feel like I am one of the better 205 pounders out there. I will fight anyone at 205. Look at him, on Sherdog he is 21-3, he has four times as wins as I do. I'll take anyone. He has fought mostly in M-1, overseas. They fight a little different, as Americans, we fight a little harder, we are more MMA fighters than anyone else. He never fought anyone like me who will put the pressure on you, push the pace. I have cardio for days, so bring it.
Q: Do you think there is a chance he comes in, sees your record, and under estimates you?
A: I think there is. Anyone, even locally, locally its hard to get a fight. I am 6-4 and people still don't wanna fight me. People locally know who I am, they know I am a dangerous fighter, so I am glad they are flying someone in from Finland. He will come in and look at my record, and think I am a jobber. I am not a jobber. They thought I was against Hollett, and I proved myself. I think they are bringing me in again as a jobber. Against a guy who is a top prospect, but I will fight whoever and take any challenge. I wanna fight the best so when I showcase my skills they know I am legit. He will think I am a pushover and after the first minute he will have an "oh shit" face.
Q: Are you hoping they put you one early or later or do you not care?
A: I would rather be before. At first, I was supposed to be on the main card. It was supposed to be Eddie Alvarez, Jessica Eye, me and maybe Dan Spohn. Then they added Brian Rogers and the tournaments and it bumped me off the main card, which is fine with me. If I am not on the main card, I would love to be in the first four fights. Get in there and get it done.
Q: From what you have seen, where is your biggest advantage?
A: I don't know. The kid is well rounded, boxing, kickboxing, good takedowns, he is tall, uses his reach. My advantage is my cardio, pressure and cage work.
Q: Where is his possible biggest threat?
A: None! I think I am a better fighter, training every scenario. I think I am better on the ground and I know I am a better boxer. If he wants to stand and bang that's fine, if he wants to go to the ground that's fine, we will see some elbows on the ground.
Q: Is there a key to winning, maybe pushing the pace?
A: It's not even pushing the pace cause half the judges don't understand MMA. Lately its all about a knock-out. You can't go into a fight looking for a knock-out cause you'll never get it. They just happen. I have to be more aggressive. I'll push the pace but with a lot of throwing and everything.
Q: You are known for your stand-up, but does part of you want to fight someone who will go to the ground so you can show you do have a ground game?
A: Yes and no. I like to bang so don't get me wrong. People like to see big guys throwing. But I would love to fight a guy who does all that stuff. But at the same time, prepare for everything. I gotta be well versed in everything I do.
Q: You have a few teammates on the card. Does so many people getting ready at the same time have any extra benefits?
A: Yes and no. With Brian Rogers getting ready its nice cause he is just a weight class below me so we can train more together. Basically for this fight, Stipe (Miocic) is a perfect training partner cause he has the height of my opponent. This guys striking and grappling isn't close to what Stipe's is. But at the same time it's nice to work with someone explosive like Brian. It's always nice to have teammates on a big card. In the home town there is a little more pressure, but not much because I am expected to be beat, but I am gonna prove people wrong.
Q: Is this an opportunity to show people that Strong Style is a top level gym?
A: Oh yeah for sure. I always considered Strong Style one of the best gyms in the area and damn near Nation. You get people who leave there and always wanna come back. Strong Style is a tough place to be, we work hard and have some of the best fighters in the area and even Nationally. Its a chance to showcase it on a big show. With me, Brian Rogers and Jessica Eye already established in Bellator, its nice to establish us more there, especially since next year Bellator will be bigger. With Stipe in the UFC its another thing, opens more options for everyone.
Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: I am looking for a TKO by round two.
Q: After this fight, any idea what you want next, maybe the Light Heavyweight tournament, or you just thinking about this?
A: I am focused on this, its a big fight for me. I'd love to get in the tournament. I want a good victory and go from there. I am not under contract, so make a statement and go from there. I love Bellator, they treat me well. It's my first fight since November, so I would like to fight again in June. So get this victory, take a couple days off and get back in June. I wanna be active this year.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Of course, my teammates at Strong Style, Marcus Marinelli, Pablo Castro, Joe Delguyd. My sponsors, John P. Lennon, Intimidation Clothing, AKI Fight Gear, Tru Assassin, Cal Crowell Diverse Training System, he is the best strength and conditioning coach around. Also my girlfriend for the support. It's not easy being with someone going through the training and weight cutting, so it means a lot for her to stick by me.