Pick'em Leagues: THE BIG SHOW CASUAL BEST OF THE REST Single Event PvP: FANTASY POOLS Betting Leagues: THE BIG SHOW BEST OF THE REST
Sign In
Username:

 
Password:

 
Keep me logged in

MMA Blog @ MMAPlayground

 

Pages:   [1]   2   3
 
Nam Phan Talks Short-Notice Fights
 
Posted by pmoney 12/6/12
 
Nam Phan is certainly a favorite among MMA enthusiasts. A long time veteran of the sport, he puts on an exciting show every time he competes. He has won “Fight of the Night” Honors in two of his five previous UFC fights. And he has certainly endeared himself to the Zuffa brass, taking his fight this weekend against Dennis Siver on short notice.

Just days before making weight for his UFC on Fox 5 bout this Saturday, December 8th, Nam was generous enough to give us at MMA Playground some of his time and talk to us about short notice fights, and the preparation that comes with them.
___________________________________________________________________
P$: With only a couple of weeks to prepare on short notice, time is of the essence. As such do you focus more on your opponent, watching tape of his previous fights, or more on yourself and your own technique and conditioning?

Nam Phan: You HAVE to do both. You can't go in there blind, not knowing who you are fighting. I studied what I could in the short time I had and I tried to get my conditioning up as much as I could in such a short time.

P$: Siver has moved down from Welterweight, to Lightweight, and now he is meeting you at Featherweight. As other fighters filter down to 145, have you noticed the division getting physically larger?

Nam Phan: Yeah definitely. There are a bunch of tough guys coming into the division, Frankie Edgar, Clay Guida, Dennis Siver. Everybody is moving to Featherweight man, making my job tougher!

P$: Has that affected you in the gym as far as the things you work on?

Nam Phan: Oh yeah, definitely. I'm always trying to keep up to date with the trends within MMA. When I can I always try to train at Alpha Male. Those guys are amazing and always show me great stuff, so I'm trying to learn what I can with the time I have left in the sport.

P$: Do you spend most of your time training at Team Alpha Male?

Nam Phan: No, I only go there when I'm training for a fight. Most of the time I'm back home in Orange County, where I train at my own gym (Nam Phan MMA Academy). I also spend some time at Anaheim Boxing.

P$: If you could book your own schedule, how many fights a year do you feel is the perfect amount for you?

Nam Phan: I think about 4 fights a year is good. It's not too much. It's just about right.

P$: You're coming off a big win against Cole Miller. Are you feeling good taking that momentum in to this fight?

Nam Phan: Yeah it definitely feels good. A win is always important, especially coming against someone as tough as Cole Miller. So hopefully that gives me the confidence to come in and beat someone up like Dennis Siver.

P$: You've been in the sport for a decade. What aspect(s) of the sport do you feel have changed the most?

Nam Phan: Definitely the transition from jiu-jitsu to wrestling. In the very beginning jiu-jitsu was dominant, but now wrestling has really taken over. With everyone having good boxing and takedown defense, submissions have become more rare these days.

___________________________________________________________________

It was great chatting with Nam, big thanks to him from MMA Playground!

You can follow Nam Phan on Twitter @NamPhanMMA and visit his website at IamNam.com.

Nam would also like to shout out his sponsors Hayabusa and The Ally Restaurant in Westminster, CA.
 
An MMA@Work (powered by MMAPlayground) Interview with UFC Bantamweight, Byron Bloodworth
 
Posted by gartface 3/30/12
 
Byron Bloodworth is a bantamweight fighter for the UFC, who debuted in October against 135 pound standout Mike Easton. He lost his debut fight, but doesn't seem set on letting that bring him down.

Byron recently took time to answer some questions.

* * *

MMA@W: Byron, first of all, we'd like to thank you for taking time to speak with us.

It's been a while since we've seen you inside the Octagon. What have you been doing to keep busy?

BLOODWORTH: Besides teaching and spending time with the family. I've been training to stay sharp.

MMA@W: Do you have an upcoming fight in the works that we can start getting excited about?

BLOODWORTH: There's a good chance I'll be fighting in June, but nothing has been confirmed.

MMA@W: Obviously losing to Mike Easton had to have been disappointing, but a lot of fighters tend to draw inspiration from losses. Is that the sort of mentality you took after the fight in October?

BLOODWORTH: Absolutely! It drives me nuts to have that loss on my record. I want to stay in the UFC. If I'm to do that, I have to win. Plain and simple.

MMA@W: Let's step back for a moment. If you wouldn't mind, would you give our readers a little background info on you? Where are you from, how'd you get into MMA? That sort of thing.

BLOODWORTH: I mostly grew up in North Carolina and then moved to Atlanta in 2007. I remember watching the early UFCs with my brother and being a big fan from the beginning. When I was in college a friend told me about a local gym that did MMA and Jiu Jitsu. I went to check it out one day and was hooked right away. I started training twice a day. Shortly after I started competing in grappling tournaments and amateur MMA fights. Turns out I was pretty good. So when I was done with school I moved to Atlanta to pursue a pro career.

MMA@W: Where are you training at these days? Who are some of the guys you train with on a daily basis?

BLOODWORTH: I train at a gym run by Brian Stann, called WarriorLegion. Guys like George Lockhart, Jucao, Rapheal and Freddy Assuncao are some of the monsters that train there.

MMA@W: What's a day in the life of Byron Bloodworth consist of?

BLOODWORTH: Training, Teaching, and being a new Dad. Pretty simple.

MMA@W:What's the journey been like for you, having gone from fighting up the road from me in Duluth at Wild Bill's, to the moment you got your name called by Bruce Buffer?

BLOODWORTH: The journey has been crazy. It's hard to believe I do what I do for a living sometimes. I just want to make the most of the opportunity.

MMA@W: A number of fighters have gone on record, saying that they don't watch a whole lot of MMA in their free time. Do you watch much? If so, who are you favorite fighters to watch?

BLOODWORTH: I watch most of the UFC events. But I'll miss one every once in a while. Any of the UFC fighters are exciting to watch.

MMA@W: If you could fight anyone in the world, any weight, any moment in history, who would you like to test yourself against?

BLOODWORTH: Bruce Lee.

MMA@W: What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of mixed martial arts?

BLOODWORTH: I love to cook and fish.

MMA@W:Finally, what are your goals for 2012? What can we expect from Byron Bloodworth?

BLOODWORTH: I want to get some wins in the UFC! You can expect to see a motivated fighter at the peak of his game!

MMA@W: Byron, thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us. We look forward to seeing you back in the Octagon. Do you have anything else you'd like to add, or anyone you'd like to thank - sponsors, family, friends, etc?

BLOODWORTH: I'd like to thank my management, SuckerPunch Ent. and my friends and family for their support.

* * *

For more great Sports-at-Work Mixed Martial Arts Coverage, make sure to check out our podcast - MMA@Work (powered by MMAPlayground)

Also make sure to follow us on Twitter - @MMA_at_Work
 
Fights to Make Following UFC on FOX 2
 
Posted by Budgellism 2/2/12
 
The UFC held its’ second event on FOX on Saturday night. The main event and the co-main event of the evening both featured number one contender fights.

Rashad Evans and Phil Davis squared off in the main event for a chance at Jon Jones’ Light Heavyweight title. There was a lot of trash talk leading up to the fight that caused many to believe they were in for a war. That wasn’t the case though.

Right from the opening bell it was clear who the better man in the cage was. Evans was able to best Davis in every aspect of the game. He was able to pick him apart striking, stuff his All-American takedowns, land some of his own, and completely dominate him with his grappling abilities. The only thing Rashad wasn’t able to do was finish the fight. Davis found himself stuck in some precarious positions throughout the fight, including being stuck in a crucifix two different times. When the fight finally concluded Evans was announced the winner by unanimous decision (50-45 on all scorecards).

The co-main event featured two of MMA’s largest villains, Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping. The fight was made after Sonnen’s original opponent, Mark Munoz, suffered an injury and was forced to pull out of the fight. Bisping was scheduled to fight Maia but jumped at the opportunity to become the next title challenger.

Sonnen started off strong, landing a takedown early in the fight. He was unable to hold Bisping down though and spent the majority of the round battling back and forth with him up against the cage. When the two exchanged on the feet Bisping was able to land much more than Sonnen. The 2nd round saw much more offense from Bisping. He was able to fend off the majority of Sonnen’s takedowns and land more consistently with his punches. The 3rd round was all Sonnen’s. He was able to take Bisping down and hold him there for the majority of the round. He was also about to take his back and work for a choke. Bisping was able to work his way back to the feet and even take Sonnen down himself, but it was a case of too little too late as the fight came to a close. Sonnen was declared the winner by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).

I am now going to go through my thoughts on where each fighter on the main card broadcast should go from here.

Winners

Rashad Evans – Evans appeared to be too much for the inexperienced Davis. He showed how much his wrestling and his striking has come along since beginning his journey in the sport. He was able to dominate a four-time All-American, proving that credentials don’t mean everything when you’re in a fight. Evans’ next fight has already been booked. He will be fighting Jon Jones at UFC 145 for the Light Heavyweight championship. He’s going to have his hands full in that match up to say the least.

Chael Sonnen – Sonnen has been on a tear since losing to Demian Maia nearly three years ago. He has run through Dan Miller, Yushin Okami, Nate Marquardt and Brian Stann. He even beat up Anderson Silva for the better part of a 5 round fight before succumbing to a triangle. He was supposed to run through Bisping in this fight but that wasn’t the case. In fact, many fans, including Dana White, believe that Bisping actually won this fight. It was very close but regardless of what people think, Chael Sonnen will be fighting Anderson Silva once again for the Middleweight championship sometime this summer.

Chris Weidman – Although his performance wasn’t exactly stellar, you have to factor in the circumstances surrounding this fight. Weidman came in on 10 days notice and had to cut a total of 31 pounds. This was also hands down the toughest fight of his career over a man with much more MMA experience than himself. He showed an improved stand up game and the ability to outwork Maia on the ground. He has a very bright future in the sport and can only go up from here. Rushing him into a title shot isn’t a good idea. He deserves a full training camp to display his talents against a fellow top contender. I believe Rousimar Palhares fits that bill nicely. They could potentially fight it out to determine who fights for the title next after Sonnen.

Losers

Phil Davis – I believe Evans was too much too soon for Davis. He’s still very young in the sport and has quite a bit to learn before he’s ready to be fighting for the title. That’s not to say he won’t reach that point though. This is a great learning experience for him and, like Weidman, I only expect big things from him in his career. For his next fight I think a match up with Forrest Griffin would be intriguing. Griffin is 2-3 in his last five fights, but is still relevant enough for another top 10 opponent. He’ll find that in Davis.

Michael Bisping – Bisping saw his 4 fight win streak come to an end at the hands of Chael Sonnen. He put on an excellent performance in defeat though. Not a lot of people were giving him much of a chance against Sonnen and despite losing he still proved a lot of people wrong. He made it very difficult for Chael to take him down. Even when he did manage to get taken down he was extremely difficult to keep down. It wasn’t until the 3rd round that Sonnen was able to capitalize on his takedowns. Even then Bisping ended the fight by taking Sonnen down. He’ll have to work his way back to the top, but there’s a good chance we’ll see Bisping fight for a title eventually. I’d like to see Bisping in a stand up battle. It’s been a little while since we were treated to one of those from him. I think Alan Belcher would make for the perfect opponent. Those two would only produce fireworks.

Demian Maia – Maia did not look good. He was on the losing end of a fairly dull decision and his cardio gave out rather quickly. He has completely shied away from his jiu-jitsu roots for his newfound love of striking. I believe he needs to work on mixing both parts of his game together. He has shown some of the best ground work in the game in the past and I miss that. Maia is going to have to go back to the drawing board after this fight. Court McGee and Constantinos Philippou are fighting at UFC on FX 2 in March. I think the winner of that fight would be an excellent way for Maia to get back on track or to determine a new Middleweight contender.
 
Fights to Make Following Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine
 
Posted by Budgellism 1/13/12
 
Fights to make following Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine

Strikeforce held its first event of 2012 on Saturday. The main event of the evening featured Luke Rockhold, defending his Middleweight title, against former UFC fighter Keith Jardine.

Rockhold was coming off of his biggest win to date, a 5 round unanimous decision against top 10 fighter and the former Middleweight champion, Ronaldo Souza. The decision, albeit a somewhat controversial one, was the best performance of his career. Jardine, on the other hand, was coming off of a controversial draw against Gegard Mousasi in the Light Heavyweight division. Many people thought Mousasi won, even with his point deduction. This lead many people to believe that Jardine had no business receiving a title shot against Rockhold, especially since this was also his Middleweight debut.

Both men took the center of the cage rather quickly. They traded shots until Jardine pushed for the takedown about a minute into the fight. Rockhold was able to avoid the takedown, shove Jardine’s back against the cage, and push away. This is where the momentum began to swing in Rockhold’s favor. He landed a beautiful spinning back kick half way through the fight and unleashed a plethora of kicks and knees. His striking had clearly improved training at American Kickboxing Academy. Jardine landed a few shots of his own, but the champ took the punishment and continued pushing forward. With roughly a minute left into the bout, Rockhold landed a powerful right hook while he was backpedaling. Jardine was on Queer Street from that point on and Rockhold unleashed a flurry of punches that put an end to Jardine’s night.

I’m going to go through my thoughts on where each fighter on the main card broadcast should go from here.

Winners

Luke Rockhold – Although Jardine wasn’t the opponent Rockhold wanted, he did provide a stern test that Luke was able to pass with flying colors. The thing that impressed me most about this performance was the variety of strikes Rockhold was able to throw and land. Before this victory he had only one TKO win on his resume; A 1st round TKO over UFC veteran Paul Bradley. He won that fight by dropping Bradley two different times with right hooks and landing vicious knees to the body. He continues to grow as a fighter and has become very well rounded in the last few years. Following his win, Luke said he only wants to fight the best his weight class has to offer. He’ll find that competition in the UFC, but I still believe he has unfinished business in Strikeforce. In my opinion there are two options for him right now. He could have a rematch with Ronaldo Souza or a fight with the number one contender, Tim Kennedy. I would like to see the latter. Kennedy has earned his shot at the title after convincing wins over both Melvin Manhoef and Robbie Lawler.

Robbie Lawler – In the co-main event of the evening Lawler again showed why he is one of the most dangerous strikers in the world. After being taken down early in the fight Lawler was hit with an illegal knee while trying to stand up. Moments after the restart, he leapt into the air and hit Amagov with a grazing flying knee that dropped the Russian and left him open to some powerful ground and pound. Although the finish was spectacular Robbie was taken down rather easily right off the bat. That doesn’t bode too well for him if he wants to earn another shot at the Middleweight title. If Keith Jardine wants to stick around at Middleweight, I think a fight with Robbie Lawler would be an excellent fight.

Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal – King Mo was out to prove something on Saturday night. He took it to Larkin early landing a takedown and keeping the fight there with ground and pound until the referee made a poor decision and stood the fight up. The second round was much of the same. King Mo found an opening and pounded Larkin repeatedly for several moments before the referee finally stopped the fight. Lawal has now earned two impressive stoppage victories in his last two fights and has most likely earned a shot at the vacant Light Heavyweight title. Although nothing is finalized, he will most likely be fighting Gegard Mousasi. The two fought once before with King Mo earning a unanimous decision.

Tyron Woodley – Woodley spent the majority of his fight with Jordan Mein in the top position. He wasn’t able to amount much of an offense beyond that point though. The judges ended up awarding him a split decision based on his efforts. Woodley has beaten the majority of Strikeforce’s Welterweight division and considers himself the uncrowned champ. His next fight should be for the vacant belt that Nick Diaz left behind. The question really is whom would he fight? The winner of Paul Daley and Kazuo Misaki seems like the likely choice even though Woodley has already beaten Daley.

Tarec Saffiedine – Saffiedine was in trouble early on against Stinson. He was getting tagged repeatedly and seemed to be fighting on heart alone. Near the end of the first round Stinson caught Tarec with an armbar that had him in a lot of trouble. The 2nd and 3rd round belonged to Saffiedine though. He began working his game plan, scoring takedowns and pushing the fight to Stinson. He managed to come out on top in a great back and forth battle. Saffiedine later revealed that his arm was broken in the 1st round. Although Tarec showed a ton of heart, he didn’t make a strong case for a shot at the title. A fight with Jason High could be a good fight for both men.

Losers

Keith Jardine – Jardine did not look good. He managed to land a few punches and some leg kicks but other than that Rockhold handled him. Like I said above, I think a fight with Robbie Lawler would be a great fight. The match up guarantees fireworks from start to finish and would look very good as a co-main event on an upcoming Strikeforce card.

Adlan Amagov – Amagov started off his fight with Robbie Lawler in impressive fashion. He was able to take Lawler down early but a miscommunication may have lead to his downfall. The illegal knee he hit Lawler with looked nice, but it was a clear violation of the rules and led to a stand up and a point deduction. I would like to see him grow a little more before he is given another difficult challenge. A fight with Derek Brunson could provide the test that both fighters need.

Lorenz Larkin – Larkin looked small against King Mo. He was also beaten rather convincingly and put to sleep in the first loss of his career. Although he’s found success at 205 pounds so far he needs to drop down a weight class to truly be successful in my opinion. Lumumba Sayers is coming off a big win against Antwain Britt and could use an opponent. It would be a good first fight for Larkin at Middleweight. If he wants to stay at Light Heavyweight I’d like to see him fight Marcos Rogerio De Lima.

Jordan Mein – Woodley took down Mein at will in their fight. He did show an active guard though; unleashing elbows and never letting Tyron take a dominant position. If Mein wants to progress to the next level of the sport he’ll need to work on his takedown defense. I’d like to see Mein against Tyler Stinson next. Both men match up well.

Tyler Stinson – Stinson came out very strong against Tarec. His striking looked great and so did his ground work. Even though he wasn’t able to finish Saffiedine with that armbar, he did manage to damage it severely. As the fight went on Stinson seemed to fade and he needs to address that in his training. As I stated above, a fight with Jordan Mein is a great match up.
 
Fights to Make Following UFC 141
 
Posted by Budgellism 1/5/12
 
2011 was a huge year for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and what better way to close it out than by pitting two goliaths together in the octagon?

The main event of the evening featured the long awaited return of MMA’s largest pay per view draw, Brock Lesnar. Lesnar had been out of action since his loss to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 and was coming off of a second battle with Diverticulitis. His opponent, the former Strikeforce Heavyweight champion and K-1 Grand Prix champion Alistair Overeem, was making his debut with the UFC after a very successful transition from the Light Heavyweight division to the Heavyweight division. Both men weighed in at an astonishing 529 pounds combined, making this one of the largest fights in recent memory.

When the fight started Overeem quickly took the center of the octagon. Lesnar came out with a very anxious-looking stance, bouncing up and down quickly on the balls of his feet. Alistair stayed calm, picking his shots wisely and throwing powerful shots whenever he saw an opening. Brock’s first two strikes thrown were kicks, showing he had been working on adding a new weapon to his arsenal. He didn’t attempt a takedown until a minute into the fight and when he did he was shrugged off without too much effort. Overeem’s game plan became obvious early in the fight. He targeted Lesnar’s body, landing several powerful knees and a couple of kicks until he eventually finished the fight with a devastating liver kick followed by a few follow up punches. Following the bout Lesnar announced his retirement from MMA, leaving many fans questioning his mindset heading into this fight.

I’m going to go through my thoughts on where each fighter on the main card broadcast should go from here.

Winners

Alistair Overeem – Whether Brock’s head was in this fight or not, Overeem still looked very impressive. It’s hard not to rank him one of the 3 best Heavyweights in the world right now. His stand up looked great as always but the thing that impressed me most was his takedown defense. He latched on to Brock’s neck quickly then shrugged him off. That’s a high caliber wrestler he was doing that to. His next fight is already confirmed. He’ll be fighting Junior Dos Santos for the Heavyweight title sometime near the middle of the year, setting up what could be the biggest fight of 2012.

Nate Diaz – I think it’s safe to say this was Nate’s most impressive performance to date. He took the action to Cerrone early and often. He repeatedly landed shots to Cerrone’s face and managed to set a Compustrike record in the process, landing 82% of his strikes throughout the fight. Since returning to Lightweight, Diaz is 2-0 and has never looked better. I would love to see him fight the winner of Joe Lauzon and Anthony Pettis. Those two are set to fight on next month’s Japan card and would provide a stern test for Diaz.

Johny Hendricks – What can I say about Hendricks? He defied the odds. He became the first man to finish Jon Fitch in the UFC and only the second man to defeat him. His only other loss was to the Welterweight Champion, Georges St-Pierre. Johny made short work of Fitch, finishing him off in 12 seconds with a vicious left hook. Hendricks is on a three-fight win streak that includes wins over T.J. Waldburger, Mike Pierce and now Jon Fitch. The win propels him to the top of the division. He should now be one fight away from a shot at the title. I would like to see him fight the winner of Jake Ellenberger and Diego Sanchez next. Those two are fighting in the middle of February.

Alexander Gustafsson – Gustafsson looked great in his fight with Matyushenko. His height and reach advantage continued to frustrate Vladdy throughout the short fight. So much so that he made the mistake of running into one of Gustafsson’s punches, dropping him and ending his night off quickly in the first round. The UFC is holding an event in Sweden in April. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gustaffson headline that card against a big name. I think he should be fighting Lyoto Machida on that card. It’s the perfect step up in competition and could prove to be a very entertaining fight.

Jimy Hettes – Hettes came into the bout being relatively unknown. He made a name for himself Friday night when he put a beating on the former Ultimate Fighter competitor, Nam Phan. Hettes began his onslaught early in the fight, taking Phan down and unleashing a flurry of ground and pound and submission attempts that didn’t let up until the round was completed. The rest of the fight looked similar to the first round. Hettes was able to take Phan down at will and control him the entire fight. It might be a little too early to say Hettes will eventually hold a belt at Featherweight but he’s well on his way. I would like to see him fight someone that will test his wrestling and I want to see what he can do on his feet. Mike Brown would be the perfect opponent.

Losers

Brock Lesnar – The man said it himself; He’s retiring and good for him. He accomplished a lot of great things in his short MMA career. One can only wonder how good he could have been if he entered the sport earlier in his career.

Donald Cerrone – Cerrone threw his game plan away very early in his fight with Nate Diaz. He seemed to be fine with getting punched repeatedly in the face and trying to return the favor. He was able to sweep Diaz at will in the 2nd and 3rd rounds but he never decided to follow him to the ground. He ended up losing a unanimous decision after previously winning his first 4 fights in 2011. I’d like to see Cerrone go to war with Jeremy Stephens. Both guys match up very well.

Jon Fitch – Fitch didn’t get a chance to do anything in this fight. He’s been waiting for a rematch with St-Pierre for years, but he’ll be back to the drawing board now. I think Rick Story would be a good fight for Fitch. Both guys are coming off losses and match up well style wise.

Vladimir Matyushenko – Vladdy was coming off of two quick knockout wins. He was unfortunately knocked out quickly himself in this one though. He didn’t have a very good showing in this fight. He seemed to have trouble dealing with the reach of Gustafsson. At 40 years of age he doesn’t have much time left in the sport and he’s already had a lengthy career. I wouldn’t be against him retiring but I would like to see him go out on a better note. A fight with Anthony Perosh keeps coming to mind.

Nam Phan – Nam can’t seem to get a string of wins together in the UFC. He had a very poor showing against Hettes but he did show he has a ton of heart. He has definitely earned another fight with the UFC. Dennis Siver is making the drop to Featherweight. I think those two would match up perfectly.
 
2011 MMAPlayground.com Awards
 
Posted by emfleek 12/15/11
 
Voting for the first annual MMAPlayground.com Awards is now underway. These awards have been nominated by you, the user and will also be voted upon by you as well.

The staff at MMAPlayground.com would like to thank each and every one of you for your contributions to the site. Without you, the Playground would cease to exist as would the innaugural MMAPlayground Awards.

Thanks to all who participated in the nominations process. A special thanks to grappler0000 for designing the logo you see at the top of this page.

We encourage you to spread the word on Facebook and Twitter as well. Copy and paste the following link(s) to your Facebook and Twitter accounts to share:

FACEBOOK: http://www.mmaplayground.com/forums/forum16-1.html
TWITTER: http://bit.ly/t1xGZh

You're allowed one vote per person per category. Voting is open to the public and will remain open until 11:59pm ET on December 31, 2011. Winners will be announced shortly thereafter.

Thank you!
MMAPlayground.com Staff
 
CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT: Win a copy of the UFC Encyclopedia!
 
Posted by emfleek 11/10/11
 
Want to win a copy of the UFC Encyclopedia ($50 Value!)?

Follow @MMAPlayground on Twitter and Retweet our posts about the contest! It’s simple…

Go to: Twitter.com/mmaplayground and click “Follow”. We’ll be tweeting about the contest on a regular basis over the course of the next 30 days. All you have to do is Retweet comments about the contest for us to be entered into the drawing (must be a real Retweet and not an "RT")! If you're not sure of the difference, go here: LINK

There are a few rules/guidelines and they are:

1- You must be a member of MMAPlayground.com. You do not have to be a Premium member to win.
2- You must follow us on Twitter at @mmaplayground
3- Your MMAPlayground account must be in good standing. In other words, if you’re currently banned from posting or have a history of questionable behavior, you will not qualify.
4 - Each Retweet will count as one (1) entry! One entry per member, per day! 30 entries is the maximum you may have.
4 - The contest starts today (11/10/11) and runs through December 10, 2011. The drawing will be held on or around December 11, 2011.

* Rules and guidelines are subject to change at any time.

(Special thanks to TWITA for donating the a copy of the UFC Encyclopedia for the contest!)
 
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 13 ("Rowdy" Ronda Rousey)
 
Posted by Kpro 11/8/11
 
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.

In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.

Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.


For anyone familiar with Women's MMA, you've likely heard the name "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey before. If not, you most certainly will. Rousey's MMA record stands at 3-0-0 with all 3 wins coming by way of submission (armbar). And get this...the total combined time of those three fights? 99 seconds - nearly the same amount of time it took me to do the math...

Rousey was kind enough to spare some of her personal time and agreed to participate in the MMAPlayground Interview Series with our own, Kyle Galvin (aka Kpro). The full interview is below.


* * * * *

MMAPG: Ronda, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions! You're scheduled to take on Julia Budd on the Strikeforce Challengers card on November 18th. How is your training going?

ROUSEY: Training is going great. I'm in the best shape of my life, and after competing in two Olympics, that's saying a lot.

MMAPG: For readers who may not know, you've won multiple Judo gold medals at the Pan American games and also became the first female American to medal in Judo at the Olympics. As you could have easily continued training for the 2012 Olympics, what made you decide to turn to MMA?

ROUSEY: I just wasn't happy with the lifestyle required to be a world class judoka. I reached a point where I knew what it would take to win the Olympics, and I just wasn't willing to be miserable for 4 years so I could be happy on one day. Doing MMA, I enjoy every day of training, love where I live, love the team of people working to help me win, and am just a more content person in general.

MMAPG: Where are you training for this fight and who is helping you prepare for your upcoming bout?

ROUSEY: I'm training at Glendale Fighting Club with Edmond Taverdyan; at Hayastan MMA with Gokor Chivichiyan and Gene Lebell; at Results Personal Training and Sk Golden Boys Wrestling Club with Leo Frincu; and at Dynamix MMA with both Henry Akins and Anthony Hardonk.

MMAPG: Julia Budd has a Muay Thai background and you've never shied away from fighting opponents of any style. Has your training been different for this fight than any others?

ROUSEY: My training for this fight has actually been a lot like our camp to prepare for Charmaine Tweet, who is Muay Thai world champ at 155 lbs. We expect Julia to approach the fight with a similar strategy, as they have the same fighting style.

MMAPG: I'm cautious of my arms as I type this because in your amateur and pro career you are 6-0 with 6 armbars in a total of just over 3 minutes! I can't imagine opponents have been lining up and knocking down your door for a fight. Has it been hard to find opponents?

ROUSEY: It has been very difficult finding opponents since the beginning. Luckily, I have Darin Harvey, a very persistent manager that would still keep trying even after a dozen or so girls agreeing to fights and then pulling out. But, now that I'm signed with Strikeforce, we don't have to worry so much about finding opponents.

MMAPG: What motivates you to put in the hours in the gym and compete at the highest level of the sport on a daily basis?

ROUSEY: The way I was raised was that you can pick whatever you want to do in life, just try to be the best in the world at it. I'm a very proud person and if I'm putting my pride on the line every time I fight, there's no way in hell I'm going to allow anyone else to work harder than me. Plus, I love to train now. When I have to take a break I'm bored out of my mind. I don't know what to do with myself when I'm not fighting. It's my niche - it's just what I'm meant to do.

MMAPG: For our readers, would you mind giving us a rundown of what a day in the life of Ronda Rousey is like during training camp?

ROUSEY: I wake up at the ass crack of dawn, eat the most bomb oatmeal concoction in the world, feed my dog and brush my teeth. Then I jump in the car and go to Coffee Bean, bullshit with my favorite "beaners" till they finish making me the biggest coffee in the world. I then blast the music in my car and drive an hour to Glendale from Venice, train for an hour and a half in striking, then jump back in the car (music up again) and drive to Sherman Oaks for strength and conditioning and do that for an hour. Then I shower and jump back in the car, turn up the music again and drive 45 minutes home. I walk in the door, make out with my dog for a few minutes and then eat lunch, take the dog for a walk, make phone calls and answer emails, maybe take a nap. Usually, 5 minutes after I lay down for a nap, people start calling me and by the time I get done talking to those people I sleep for one minute and my damn alarm goes off. Then I get up and go grapple for over an hour and drag my ass out the door and then go grab some dinner. I walk in the door to my house, several dogs start getting slobber all over my pants ‘cause I'm carrying food and then I sit down to eat and talk to my roommates. Most of our conversations consist of me complaining about how sore I am and then I go to sleep and wake up in the morning and do the whole thing all over again with a slight variation in the workouts the next day.

MMAPG: It's been talked about that you may be the next 'face' of women's MMA. How would you feel about that?

ROUSEY: I feel like what women's MMA needs is a cast of "faces." People talk about sports like it’s their favorite TV show. Yeah, there might be a main character, but everyone has their favorites. I feel like me and a few other girls like Miesha Tate, Tay Stratford, and of course Gina Carano (just to name a few) are more than capable of filling those roles and making WMMA interesting for the fans. As for how I feel about it? I feel like after two Olympics I have plenty of experience and am more than capable of handling the responsibility and pressure that comes with being a public figure and representative for the sport.

MMAPG: Do you have a certain amount of professional fights or time-frame in mind before you'd like to challenge, for instance, a Cris Cyborg?

ROUSEY: I would like to have 6 or so pro fights before I make a run for the 145lbs title. The thing is, a fight against Cris would be the most important of my career, and though I know I am capable of winning that fight today, I want to be at my absolute peak, as I would for an Olympic Games, when that fight happens. People forget I have only been doing MMA for one year and have only a little over 3 minutes of experience in the cage. I am improving every day and still feel like I can keep getting better. When my management and coaches say it’s time, we'll take the fight.

MMAPG: Are there any other fighters out there that you'd like to face or have plans of facing?

ROUSEY: I would love to fight both Gina Carano and Miesha Tate. I think both fights would get a lot of great attention for women's MMA, not to mention do a lot to progress my own career.

MMAPG: You were a vegan at the time of the Olympics in 2008 and many fighters these days are. Are you still vegan? Do you have any guilty pleasures when you're not on a strict diet preparing for a fight?

ROUSEY: I was vegan for 8 months after the Beijing games. Unfortunately, I was working 2-3 bartending jobs at once during that time and didn't have many options in the vegan genre besides Jameson Whiskey and sweet potato fries. After 8 months of that highly nutritious diet, I caught Bronchitis and had a lot of trouble getting healthy. I returned to my old diet and made a promise to myself to give veganism another try after I was done competing and do it right this time.

MMAPG: When you are not training, what do you do with your free time? Any hobbies or interests?

ROUSEY: Well, when not training I'm usually too tired to move. So anything that is entertaining and doesn't require movement I'm in favor of. Stuff like watching movies, playing Pokemon, and wasting time online. I used to surf a lot, but my training schedule is so gnarly these days I just don't have the energy.

MMAPG: If you weren't competing in Judo or MMA for a living, what would your dream job be and why?

ROUSEY: Well, after the last Olympics I narrowed down my options to becoming an MMA fighter or a rescue swimmer for the US Coast Guard. I still think that would be a badass job, I love swimming in the ocean and I'm not afraid of heights, so jumping into crazy, stormy water from a helicopter for a living seems like a cool way to make a living.

MMAPG: Where do you see yourself, and women's MMA, 10 years from now?

ROUSEY: I see women's MMA being like a less "proper" version of women's tennis; with just as much respect and coverage as the male athletes. We got a lot of work to do still, but I am a big believer in manifesting things, and to steal a line from Susan B. Anthony: "Failure is impossible." As for me, I see myself probably running a gym and coaching, maybe doing stunts for movies sometimes. So many people have spent the time to help and teach me, it seems selfish to not pass that on. And after years of taking falls for judo, I happen to be a professional "faller" and stunts are fun!

MMAPG: As MMAPlayground.com strongly supports women's MMA, give a shout out to your sponsors!

ROUSEY: I wanna give a biiiiiiig thank you to Citizens of Humanity Jeans, Mizuno/Fuji, BasRutten.com, Clinch Gear, Recon 1, Polanti Watches.... and whoever I'm forgetting that will be pissed off after reading this interview!

MMAPG: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us Ronda. I'm sure you've just gained many new fans! We'll all be cheering you on November 18th when you face Julia Budd on the Strikeforce Challengers card! Do you have any final words?

ROUSEY: Yes. Here's a quote from Will Rogers: "Women are not the weak, frail little flowers that they are advertised. There has never been anything invented yet, including war, that a man would enter into, that a woman wouldn't, too."

And here's a quote from me: DEMAND WOMEN'S MMA!

* * * * *

Follow @RondaRousey on Twitter
"Rowdy" Ronda Rousey on Sherdog.com

DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.
 
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 12 (Michelle "The Karate Hottie" Waterson)
 
Posted by Kpro 10/31/11
 
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.

In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.

Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.


Michelle "The Karate Hottie" Waterson is the subject of this week's interview. MMAPlayground's own, Kyle Galvin (aka "Kpro") recently had a chance to interview Waterson who currently sports a mixed martial arts record of 8-3-0.

Check out the interview below to read Waterson's thoughts on training while raising a newborn child, what she thought of Jon Jones' victory over Quinton Jackson, and more!


* * * * *

MMAPG: We really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us, Michelle. How did you get interested in transitioning from point sparring in Karate to competing in combat sports on a professional level?

WATERSON: It was a challenge for me and I wanted to see if I could overcome that challenge. Plus it was a major adrenaline rush.

MMAPG: When did you first have the idea that you may become an MMA fighter?

WATERSON: When I realized that I could make a career out of it, and do what I loved for a living.

MMAPG: After returning from Thailand and transitioning from Karate to Muay Thai you began working with Donald Cerrone. How do you feel training with Cerrone has impacted your career?

WATERSON: It gave me the exposure I needed to by known in the Martial Arts world. I was able to get fights quicker and people kind of already knew me. It was a great starting point in my career.

MMAPG: How has training at Jackson's Mixed Martial Arts differ from any other training you've had?

WATERSON: It's a wonderful training environment. Everyone cares for each other and wants to see each other get better. I have so many training partners and they all bring something different to the table. It's like my second family.

MMAPG: You mentioned wrestling as your weakest link in the past, but have thanked Melvin for the practice in wrestling. As I'm assuming it's Melvin Guillard, has his joining Jackson's MMA helped hone some of your skills there in preparation for your next fight?

WATERSON: Melvin is among one of many who have helped me in preparation for my fights. Every one of my teammates is always there to offer advice and support.

MMAPG: How have you adapted, if you needed to, to the pressure of performing at an elite level in front of so many people? Was it something that came naturally or did you have to work at it?

WATERSON: It was a little intimidating at first, but I realized that I sweat and bleed just like they do, and if they can become champions so could I. I try to train as hard as they do. All the elite guys inspire me to train hard.

MMAPG: Where were you and describe your reaction when your teammate Jon Jones defended his belt against Rampage?

WATERSON: I was watching it at a friend’s house. I was super excited to see Jon win. He is such a good person and a hard worker. Before he left, we had a team meeting and he told us all that he was gonna bring the belt back home for the team. He told us all that the belt belonged to the team, and that we were all champs! It was super inspirational.

MMAPG: Who do you spend most of your time training with?

WATERSON: Julie Kedzie, Heather Clark, Nohime Dennision, Kelly Warren, Holly Holm, Emily K, Jodi E! Thanks to them I train hard everyday.

MMAPG: With you having grown up in Colorado, I still have to ask, what sports teams do you root for if any?

WATERSON: My fiancée has converted me into a Cowboys fan!! (laughs)

MMAPG: It's the most fitting nickname in women's MMA but how did "The Karate Hottie" come about?

WATERSON: I started off in karate, but I was doing a photo shoot for a bikini company and they gave me that nick name. When I had my first MMA fight, the promoter Google’d my name and "The Karate Hottie" popped up! He used it as my fight name and it has stuck ever since.

MMAPG: You had a 15 second flying armbar submission last year. I can't even put my pillowcase on in 15 seconds! Describe how that felt, and was it something you trained for that fight if your opponent was to catch one of your kicks?

WATERSON: It was an in the moment move. She caught my kick and I knew we were going down, so I decided to try to get the more dominate position by going for the armbar! It worked and I was super pumped!

MMAPG: Congratulations on giving birth to your daughter Araya earlier this year! I remember years back in an interview you mentioned you had no extra time as MMA consumes your life, How has your training, and life, changed since giving birth less than 6 months ago?

WATERSON: My life is CRAZY...but I love it. My daughter Araya is so beautiful, and she makes me smile every day. I really have no time for anything. I train when I can, or when she lets me, but I know with time I will learn how to balance my career and motherhood.

MMAPG: If it's possible, when training full time with a newborn, what do you do for fun?

WATERSON: Sleep!!! (laughs)

MMAPG: What motivates you in the gym and in the ring/cage to be one of the top female mixed martial artists?

WATERSON: My daughter. My new family! I need to provide for her now. I want her to know that I went after my dreams! That I didn't let obstacles get in my way and that you can do anything you put your mind to!

MMAPG: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

WATERSON: Fighting for a belt in the UFC (when they get that women's division going, Fingers crossed) and hopefully owning my own gym, doing what I love to do! Martial Arts.

MMAPG: You've mentioned you're hopefully fighting November 19th in North Dakota recently but weren't sure of the opponent. What promotion will you be fighting for and do you know your opponent yet as the event is only 6 weeks away?

WATERSON: Unfortunately, the card got pushed back 'til next year so I'll have to wait a little longer to fight.

MMAPG: As MMAPlayground strongly supports Female MMA, give a shout out to your sponsors!

WATERSON: No sponsors at the moment:( but I would love to thank my family, coaches and teammates, and my manager Jahani Curl! They all believe in me! and I just opened a twitter account, I'm not too good at it but if anybody is interested in following I'm @karatehottiemma.

MMAPG: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, I'm sure you've just gained many new fans!

* * * * *

Follow @karatehottiemma on Twitter
Michelle "The arate Hottie" Waterson on Sherdog.com

DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.
 
MMA@Work (powered by MMAPlayground.com) Ep. 2 w/Eliot "The Fire" Marshall
 
Posted by emfleek 10/27/11
 
Join hosts Josh Webb and Tim Herb for this week's episode of MMA@Work (powered by MMAPlayground) tonight at 6:30pm EST.

This week's guest is none other than UFC fighter, Eliot "The Fire" Marshall. Eliot is set to square off against Brandon "The Truth" Vera at this weekend's UFC 137 pay-per-view event in Las Vegas, Nevada.

To listen LIVE, CLICK HERE.
 
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 11 (Pablo "The Scarecrow" Garza)
 
Posted by gartface 10/25/11
 
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.

In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.

Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.


Pablo “The Scarecrow” Garza is a WEC and UFC veteran who has fought in both the lightweight and featherweight divisions. He was the first featherweight, along with Fredson Paixao, to compete under the UFC banner. He is also the first fighter in UFC history to pull off a flying triangle submission. He’s a versatile fighter, a humble man, and a closet nerd.

Garza is scheduled to take on fellow UFC featherweight Dustin Poirier on November 12 on UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos.


* * * * *

MMAPG: Pablo, thanks so much for taking time to answer some questions. You’re scheduled to take on fellow featherweight Dustin Poirier at UFC on Fox 1. How are you feeling right now? How’s your training going?

GARZA: My training is going good and I’m feeling great!

MMAPG:You’re coming off two of the most spectacular finishes in the UFC in the past year. You’ve received submission of the night and knockout of the night in back-to-back fights. Which one did you find to be more rewarding?

GARZA: I think the flying triangle was more rewarding. Some people thought that I just got lucky in landing a flying knee against Paixao. A lot of people questioned whether I belonged in the UFC at all. So after I landed the flying triangle in UFC129, I felt like people finally saw that I actually hold my own in the UFC.

MMAPG: Where are you training right now, and who are you primary training partners?

GARZA: I’m training at my normal training camp which is the Academy of Combat Arts in Fargo, North Dakota. My main training coach is Dylan Spicer, who is one of Greg Nelson’s prodigies. But I'm also doing part of my training at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy in Minneapolis. Down there I get to train with the likes of other UFC guys such as Nick Lentz, Jacob Volkmann, Paul Bradley, and the master himself Greg Nelson.

MMAPG: Are flying triangles and flying knees things you guys work on regularly?

GARZA: We work on what feels right for my body to do. If I can replicate a move with great body mechanics then I'll adapt it to my arsenal.

MMAPG: For our readers, would you mind giving us a rundown of what a day in the life of Pablo Garza is like during training camp?

GARZA: First thing in the morning I head out to meet my strength and conditioning coach Zack Cahill for lifting. Then I head to work at the University of North Dakota. There I teach kick boxing and Muay Thai classes. After that I go do my own training, Wrestling, Muay Thai, Jits and then off to do some pad work with my coach.

MMAPG: I probably should have asked his earlier, but could you give our readers some background information? Where did you grow up, how did you get involved in MMA, etc?

GARZA: I was born in California and from there on out my family moved around a lot, from Texas to Iowa to Minnesota and North Dakota. My parents settled in a small town of about 5,000 called Grafton ND where I came to grow up in. I got started in MMA when I became interested in boxing. I tried getting some amateur boxing fights but nobody would fight me, so after a while I moved on to MMA and decided to try my luck in a professional fight. I won, and decided to do it again, I won the next fight and after that it just started snowballing. The rest is history.

MMAPG: This is a question I love asking fighters – If you could fight anybody, from any weight class, at any time in MMA history, who would it be, and why?

GARZA: I have two fighters actually. I would love to fight Kenny Florian and if I could make weight I’d love to fight Miguel Torres. Both really tough fighters who I believe I can hold my own against. Our styles mach up great and the fights would be fireworks all the way through!

MMAPG: Let’s take a step back from fighting, and talk about life.

Outside of the cage, and training, what are your hobbies or interests?

GARZA: Well I'm a college basketball player, turned college graduate turned personal trainer, turned Pro MMA fighter. I'm a huge gamer and closet nerd! Whenever I'm not training or hanging out with my wife I'm down in the man cave playing PS3! Usually playing Call of Duty or Dragon Age. And if I'm not gaming it up I'm usually watching science documentaries like Ancient Aliens, or watching shows like The Universe and Planet Earth. I'm totally into space, planets, black holes, wild life and nature! I got other hobbies like drawing. One of my biggest hobbies was martial arts, but I guess we can safely say that’s now my job.

MMAPG: Let’s say you weren’t a mixed martial artist, and you had the choice to do any job that you wanted, what would your absolute dream job be? Why?

GARZA: Man that’s a tough one! Like I said I watch a lot of space documentaries so I would love to be an Astronaut. Being in space would probably be one of the most surreal experiences ever! In the near future there's going to be a manned mission to Mars, so how awesome would it be to be the first human on another planet! Also when I was a kid I loved watching Animal Planet. I used to want to be that guy hiding in the bushes scoping a tiger in the wild or a pride of lions.

MMAPG: Do you have someone or something that inspires you on a daily basis to perform at your best?

GARZA: God, my family and my child hood. I grew up poor and everything I had I earned through hard work. My parents dropped out of high school for work, they worked for farmers just about all their lives. We would go out to their fields and hoe their fields to rid them of weeds. I started working in the fields when I was only in 4th or 5th grade to help out my family. I remember working 8 to 9 hour days all summer long. I hated that with a passion! I didn't want to live like that or for my kids to grow up that way so I made sure to go to college. And God, having faith kept me from giving up a lot of the time. When times were hard, my faith was a major help.

MMAPG: You have one blemish on your record in your professional career. How much would you like to avenge that loss to Tie Quan Zhang?

GARZA: It actually doesn't bother me at all. I feel that I have moved passed it and that I have proved I'm better than what that fight tells. I believe the fighters I have beaten lately are far better than him. That was my first fight in the big show with only 5 days notice. My head wasn't in it, and being in the spotlight for the first time was a huge psychological barrier for me. Since then I have become an all round better fighter.

MMAPG: Since your switch to featherweight, you seem unstoppable. Are you more comfortable at 145? What spurred the switch?

GARZA: The TUF 12 show did. After I fought on the show I realized that everyone else was just bigger than I was. I also knew that to make it to 145 wouldn't be that hard of a cut, so 45 is the best class for me.

MMAPG: One last question and I’ll let you get back to doing your thing. Does the word legacy mean much to you? Have you given thought about how you want people to remember you 8-10 years down the road?

GARZA: I can honestly say that I didn't intend to set a legacy in the UFC. But one thing for certain is that I was the first person in the 145 weight class to fight in UFC history, and also first 145er in the UFC to get a KO. I'm also the first person to have a flying triangle sub in the UFC! So I think I’ve made some type of a legacy and that’s probably what people will remember me by. From the "who is this kid"-kid to the "how did he do that"-kid

MMAPG: Thanks again, Pablo for lending some of your time to us. We appreciate the interview. Do you have any last words to share with our readers?

GARZA: Thank you for having. Thank God for all the success that I've had and all the great things he's allowed me to have, and thanks to my coach, teammates, wife and family for all the support.

* * * * *

Follow @PabloGarzaMMA on Twitter
Pablo "The Scarecrow" Garza on Sherdog.com

DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.
 
Check Out The New MMA Radio Show!
 
Posted by DoTheMMAth 10/21/11
 
In case you missed the live transmission, make sure to join hosts Josh Webb (BlueSkiesBurn) and Tim Herb (gartface) for MMA@Work, a podcast brought to you by Sports-At-Work and MMAPlayground.com. Michael Chandler, who will be squaring off against Bellator Lightweight Champion, Eddie Alvarez, on November 19th at Bellator 58 in a Lightweight Championship Bout is the inaugural guest.

MMA @ Work - 10/20/11 edition
 
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 10 (Chris "Kamikaze" Cariaso)
 
Posted by emfleek 10/20/11
 
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.

In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.

Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.


Chris "Kamikaze" Cariaso is a 5-year mixed martial arts veteran and can currently be found competing in the Bantamweight division of the UFC. His current record stands at 11-3-0 with 4 stoppage victories and 7 wins by decision.

Cariaso is currently scheduled to face Vaughan Lee at UFC 138 in Birmingham, England. Read the interview below to find out why he thought he won his most recent fight against "Mayday" McDonald, what to expect at UFC 138 and more!


* * * * *

MMAPG: Thank you for the interview, Chris. How’s training going for you?

CARIASO: Training is going great. I have expanded my team. I have been working with strength and conditioning specialist John Pena at Power and Physique. I have spent the last month training in Montreal with Firas Zahabi, the Tristar Team and John Chaimberg.

MMAPG: You’re currently scheduled to fight Vaughan Lee at UFC 138 on November 5th, in Birmingham, England. Can you tell us a little bit about him? He’s a relative unknown in the US. Have you been able to find much to research?

CARIASO: I don’t know much about him. There is not much video on him; just a few videos on YouTube. He looks strong and has some submission skills.

MMAPG: Have you ever been to England? Do you plan on spending any time there after the fight?

CARIASO: I have never been to England. Unfortunately, I won’t spend any time there after the fight. Training camp has been long and I am ready to get back home to my wife and kids.

MMAPG: Going back to UFC 130 and your fight with Michael McDonald…is that a fight that you feel you did enough to win? Would you change your game plan up at all in the event of a rematch?

CARIASO: I feel like I did enough. I think if I fought him again, I would use more wrestling and grappling in the fight.

MMAPG: Can you give our readers some insight as to where you grew up and how you got into MMA?

CARIASO: I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am a life long martial artist. I started doing traditional martial arts at age 5. I started doing Muay Thai when I was 11 and had my first fight. I turned pro in 2005 in Muay Thai and had a couple fights. MMA was on the surge, so I decided to take a stab at it. I fell in love with it.

MMAPG: Were you always involved in sports growing up?

CARIASO: I was always into extreme sports. I started racing BMX when I was 8. As a hobby I ride mountain bikes and snowboard.

MMAPG: At what point did you know for a fact that MMA was the right choice for you? When did it all come together for you?

CARIASO: It was after my first MMA fight. I knew it was for me.

MMAPG: Do you have any hobbies you enjoy when you’re not training or fighting?

CARIASO: I really enjoy fishing, camping, and just spending time with my family.

MMAPG: Do you have a favorite movie?

CARIASO: Not really, I love a good comedy.

MMAPG: What about a favorite band or musician?

CARIASO: I love hip-hop. Depending on my mood, I like Eminem, Jay-Z , some old school Snoop Dog and DMX.

MMAPG: Where do you spend most of your time training these days and who are you training with?

CARIASO: I have had a couple changes in my life. I come from Fight & Fitness and Ralph Gracie in San Francisco. I just moved my family to Tucson, Az. I am training at Power and Physique with John Pena and MMA coach Rainy Martinez. My sparring partners are UFC featherweight George Roop and Bellator bantamweight Ed West. I have moved my fight camp to Tristar gym with Firas Zahabi. At Tristar I get to train with some of greatest fighters in the world. The list is long to name them all.

MMAPG: Are there any fighters in your gym that are on the cusp of “breaking through” or maybe they’re flying a little under the radar?

CARIASO: There are a couple guys at Tristar who are gonna be amazing. Aiemann Zahabi and Louie Sanos are going to be sick.

MMAPG: Looking back at your own resume – which win do you cherish the most and why?

CARIASO: The fight I cherish most is my first MMA fight. That is when I decided that I loved fighting MMA.

MMAPG: Would you ever consider fighting one of your teammates? Sorry, it’s a hot topic in the sport these days!

CARIASO: I would definitely not want to fight one of my teammates. These are the guys that help get to where I am.

MMAPG: What can we expect to see on November 5th?

CARIASO: You can expect to see a great fight. I am gonna be going for the finish.

MMAPG: Okay, Chris…again, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. Good luck against Vaughan Lee at UFC 138. We look forward to seeing you in the Octagon again! Any final words?

CARIASO: Please tune in and watch my fight on Nov 5th. I would like to thank my wife Jen for supporting me. My teammates for helping me, my coaches John Pena, Rainy Martinez, Firas Zahabi, everyone at Tristar gym, Jon Chaimberg, Crispim Alexander, and everyone at Fight and Fitness in San Francisco. I would also like to thank my sponsors: Headrush, Warrior Mist, Clinch Gear, Lexani and Cardinale Way.

* * * * *

Follow @chriscariasomma on Twitter
Chris "Kamikaze" Cariaso on Sherdog.com

DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.
 
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 9 (Rich "The Raging Bull" Attonito)
 
Posted by gartface 10/17/11
 
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.

In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.

Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.


UFC welterweight contender, Rich Attonito, is a seven year veteran of mixed martial arts. He’s best known for his stint on the eleventh season of the Ultimate Fighter. Attonito is coming off a successful welterweight debut against Daniel Roberts in June. He is currently scheduled to take on Claude Patrick at UFC 140. The Raging Bull took some time to answer some questions for us.

* * * * *

MMAPG: First of all, thanks so much for taking time to answer some questions, Rich! I’m sure you have to be one busy man. I know it’s late, but congratulations on your victory over Daniel Roberts back in June. That marked your welterweight debut? What was your motivation to drop down, and how comfortable are you feeling at 170 lbs?

ATTONITO: Thanks, I still appreciate the congratulations. That was my first fight at welterweight and I felt great. It's the weight class I should be competing in. When I was fighting at middleweight I felt short and undersized compared to most of the guys in the division, so that's why I decided to drop down.

MMAPG: So you’re scheduled to take on Claude Patrick in December. How are you feeling right now?

ATTONITO: I feel good. After my last fight I only took a short rest and then was back in the gym working on getting better. I've had a lot of time to develop and improve my skills since a few months ago.

MMAPG: How do you feel about having to fight Claude in his hometown of Toronto, of all places? Is that something you think makes a big difference?

ATTONITO: It doesn't really make a difference to me who I fight and where I fight them. It's just him and I in the cage, that's all I need to concern myself with, everything else is secondary. I will say that being in his hometown I know I have to win the fight decisively, you can never leave anything up to those screwy judges. So I’m gonna do everything in my power to avoid letting them have anything to say about the outcome.

MMAPG: How is your training camp going so far? Are you adding anything new that you can share with us?

ATTONITO: My life is a training camp, one big never ending training camp, I’m always training and working on improving myself as an athlete. I'm fortunate I get to do what I love. Everything is good, in recent months we've gotten a bunch of new talented guys at the gym and it’s been great to get some different looks from new training partners to help me develop some aspects of my game.

MMAPG: Do you have a prediction for the fight?

ATTONITO: I leave the predictions to the gypsies with the crystal balls. I will tell you this, I’m not taking a trip from Florida up to Toronto in December just to feel some cold weather.

MMAPG: Would you mind, for our readers, shedding a little light on your background and your road to a career in mixed martial arts?

ATTONITO: I was born and raised in New Jersey. I grew up playing football, and started wrestling in High school. I continued wrestling when I went to college at Hofstra University. After graduating I started training some BJJ and was encouraged by a lot of peers to try my hand at MMA. So I started boxing and took my first fight in February of 2004. After that I became more and more intrigued with the sport and wanted to continue competing in it.

MMAPG: You gained a lot of notoriety during your stint on the Ultimate Fighter. What positives did you take away from your time on the show? Was it a good experience for you?

ATTONITO: It's been a great experience for me. A lot of positive things have come from being involved with the show and it created the opportunity for me to fight in the UFC, which was a major goal of mine since I began fighting.

MMAPG: On the flip side, were there any negatives during your time on the Ultimate Fighter?

ATTONITO: That would definitely be when I broke my hand. I lost my shot at winning the show and all of the rewards that come with accomplishing that. But I made the most of it and have turned it into a positive experience.

MMAPG: Let’s be honest here for a second. You would have won the show if you hadn’t broken your hand, right?

ATTONITO: I feel like I had a very good shot at winning the show, no doubt about it. But there were still some very tough motivated guys I would've had to beat to get there. I'm not gonna disrespect any of the guys who worked hard to get where they did, nor minimize any of the things those guys were able to achieve by sitting back and saying I'd definitely win if I didn't break my hand.

MMAPG: So you’re training at American Top Team, right? How’s that experience been for you? Who are you primary training partners there?

ATTONITO: The list of training partners is too long, you gotta go to ATT's website and look at the list of guys we have over here. As far as training at ATT, it’s been an unbelievable experience for me. It’s almost six years ago now that I packed my car up and drove down from Jersey to Coconut Creek, it’s transformed so many aspects of my life and I’m forever grateful. The success I’ve had is a direct result of the time and effort my coaches, teammates, and I, have put in through the years. The hard work is definitely been paying off.

MMAPG: If you wouldn’t mind, run our readers through what a day in the life of Rich Attonito is like during training camp.

ATTONITO: I train twice a day, morning and night. I do a lot of specific drills and technique mixed with live training and sparring. There is always a conditioning component involved in my training as well. I usually have a private client or two that I train at some point during the day. I also teach the MMA night class at ATT. Other than that I focus on my nutrition and getting proper rest throughout the day.

MMAPG: If weight wasn’t an issue, and you had the option to fight any fighter, in any weight class, from any period of MMA history, whom would it be? Why?

ATTONITO: Art Jimmerson just came to mind. Something seems appealing about beating up a guy wearing one boxing glove. Or maybe Emmanuel Yarborough, could you imagine taking on a guy that size?! I'd have to learn the art of the Tiger Palm from Keith Hackney.

MMAPG: A good bit of fighters have gone on record, saying that they don’t watch a whole lot of MMA in their free time. Do you watch much? If so, who are you favorite fighters to watch?

ATTONITO: I've always loved fighting so I like to catch the fights when I can. I really enjoy watching my teammates fight, it's a chance to see them do their thing after all the hard work they put in at the gym.

MMAPG: Who or what has been your biggest influence in life and in your career?

ATTONITO: My family has definitely been the biggest influence in my life.

MMAPG: One last question, I swear, and we’ll let you get back to doing your thing. Where do you see yourself in the next year or two? Where will we be seeing Rich Attonito?

ATTONITO: I'll be fighting in the UFC. I see myself becoming a main card fighter and someone to watch for, so I guess you'll be seeing me on TV!

MMAPG: Again, thanks so much for taking time to answer questions, Rich! Also good luck against Claude in Toronto!

* * * * *

Follow @RichAttonito on Twitter
Rich “The Raging Bull” Attonito on Sherdog.com


DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.
 
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 8 (DaMarques "Darkness" Johnson)
 
Posted by emfleek 10/14/11
 
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.

In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.

Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.


TUF Veteran, DaMarques "Darkness" Johnson has been fighting professionally since 2005 and was recently scheduled to fight Clay Harvison at UFC Fight Night 25 before being pulled from the card due to injury. DaMarques recently agreed to participate in a Q&A with MMAPlayground. The transcript can be found below.

* * * * *

MMAPG: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview, DaMarques. How’s the injury rehab coming along?

JOHNSON: My back is getting better. There’s a lot of mileage on my back between my years of jumping out of planes in the military, but it’s coming along well.

MMAPG: Seth Baczynski recently stepped in as your replacement against Clay Harvison at Battle on the Bayou. Things didn’t go so well for your original opponent (Harvison) as Baczynski choked him out in the 2nd round. Is a fight with Harvison one that you’re still interested in or is there someone else you have in mind? Baczynski, perhaps?

JOHNSON: Seth is an awesome guy and I can’t think of a win in the UFC going to anyone more deserving. Picking my fights is Lerenzo’s and Monte's job. I would love to make good on the fight with Clay, though.

MMAPG: Going back to the time you spent on the Ultimate Fighter, what benefits did you reap from your time spent training with Dan Henderson and his coaching staff? Do you feel that any specific area(s) of your game improved dramatically as a result of the training you received?

JOHNSON: Dan helped me in a lot of ways; more so in a sense of the mental toughness. From a technical aspect, a lot of his GNP (ground and pound) theory I try to apply.

MMAPG: Do you still talk to any of the guys that you shared the house with?

JOHNSON: I haven’t in a while. Sometimes we chat it up on twitter but, other than that, not so much.

MMAPG: What about Michael Bisping? There seems to be a lot of hate for the guy amongst a good portion of MMA fans and even some fighters. The two of you weren’t exactly the best of friends throughout the course of the show. Where do you stand now? Has your beef with each other been squashed?

JOHNSON: Dude, what are you talkin’ about? We are pretty much super best friends (grinning from ear to ear). Honestly, there is no beef between me and Bisping. That was 3 years ago. We both have more important things to tend to. I doubt I’m even a blip on his radar.

MMAPG: Where are you training these days and who are you training with?

JOHNSON: I have been traveling a lot and learning lots from people far better than me. I just came back from a camp with BJ Penn, Matt Hughes, Jeremy Horn, Robbie Lawler, Matt Pena and Pat Militech. I worked with Ryan Bader, CB (Dolloway), Aaron Simpson, and yes Seth B., and the rest of the fellas down at PowerMMA in Arizona. And some ground stuff with Jeff Glover out in Santa Barbara.

MMAPG: How did you end up there?

JOHNSON: By seeking out the knowledge and meeting the guys when I have been around. I love our game and I’m always trying to get better at it.

MMAPG: What lead you to get involved in mixed martial arts in the first place?

JOHNSON: God strategically placing pockets of suck and nuggets of awesome in my life.

MMAPG: What would it take for you to accept a fight against one of your teammates? Quite a few fighters have the stance that fighting a teammate is out of the question. Would you say that’s the case with you, as well?

JOHNSON: Personally, I think it’s much like a fist fight with your brothers. You would have done it for free before when you got pissed. So why not get paid? At the end of the day, it is just a fist fight. Dana isn’t taking the losers out back and shooting them in the face...

MMAPG: Would you consider yourself to be a fan of any particular fighter (or fighters)? Who do you enjoy watching the most?

JOHNSON: I’m just like you guys. I love watching guys bring it and guys who are technically skilled. BJ Penn, Robbie Lawler, Evan Dunham, Martin Kampmann, Nick Diaz…

MMAPG: Which win on your resume would you call the most satisfying?

JOHNSON: Good question. It’s hard to say because you take away a lot from each fight win or lose. If it’s which win…I would say Ray Elbe because I was the unknown and he was the tough guy that was supposed to be some kind of killer when we were fighting to get into the house.

MMAPG: Is there any particular reason why?

JOHNSON: Because that is when I actually started to believe a little bit that I was actually kind of good at this.

MMAPG: If you could only pick one loss to avenge, which one would it be and why?

JOHNSON: Honestly, every ass whippin’ I have taken, I pretty much had coming. They were better that day. I’m not a huge rematch guy but two that I would take in a heartbeat, if they were offered? James Wilks and Amir Sadollah. I know I didn’t present the best version of myself that could have been presented against those guys.

MMAPG: Finally, how do you want to be remembered as a mixed martial artist? How do you want a young DaMarques Johnson fan to describe you when he talks about his favorite fighters of all-time?

JOHNSON: As a guy who comes to fight; a fighter that puts on entertaining and technical shows.

MMAPG: Thanks again for taking time from your day for this interview, DaMarques. We look forward to seeing you back in the octagon once the injury heals. Do you have any final thoughts or comments?

JOHNSON: Peace, love and hair grease! I’m out!

* * * * *

Follow @DaMarques_UFC on Twitter
DaMarques "Darkness" Johnson on Sherdog.com
DaMarquesJohnson.com

DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.
 
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 7 (Brian Foster)
 
Posted by gartface 10/11/11
 
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.

In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.

Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.

Brian Foster is a mixed martial artist who is also a five time UFC veteran. He has recently recovered from some terrible setbacks in his health, and has successfully resumed his career with a victory against Jack Mason at Cage Warriors 44. Brian was granted two tune-up fights by the UFC in preparation for his return. He will be taking on Laverne Clark at CCCW 7 on Saturday October 15. He took time out of his training schedule to answer some questions.

* * * * *

MMAPG: Brian, thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions. First off, congratulations on your win last weekend against Jack Mason. You’re coming off some brutal setbacks. How are you feeling, and how good did it feel to get back into the cage?

FOSTER: It felt great! It's a good feeling to get a win after overcoming some injuries. I mean it sucks it wasn't for the UFC but a win’s a win not matter the organization.

MMAPG: The UFC has granted you the opportunity, given your long lay-off, to compete in a couple “tune-up” fights. That’s not something you see a whole lot in the UFC. How did the idea come about?

FOSTER: I think it had a lot to do with my coach as well as the UFC. They wanted to make sure I was totally healthy and capable of competing at a high level without being such a liability to the UFC.

MMAPG: According to reports, you’ve got another week and a half until your next fight. How’s training going for that?

FOSTER: It's going great! I'm going into this fight with some good momentum and I’m looking to utilize all my tools in this one! I feel great!

MMAPG: So let’s backpedal for a moment. I probably should have asked this sooner, but if you could, give our readers a glimpse into your background. Where did you grow up, and how did you get into MMA?

FOSTER: I grew up in a little hick town in Oklahoma. Sallisaw, Oklahoma! It's a pretty big wrestling town and we have produced some good wrestlers. I got my start in 2006 when a buddy I used to wrestle with in grade school asked if I would like to start training MMA. My brother had just passed away and I had some aggression I needed to get rid of, so I opted to give it a try. I fell in love with the sport; it totally healed me. I had my 1st and 2nd pro fight June 14, 2006. It was the start of it all.

MMAPG: Do you have anyone that has inspired or motivated you in your career?

FOSTER: My little brother that passed that year has always been my inspiration, and my sons are my motivation. I want to give them a better life than I had and in my situation I just have to beat people up to do that! I love my job!

MMAPG: If you don’t mind, could you give our readers an idea of what a day in the life of Brian Foster is like?

FOSTER: 6 hours of crazy training and a reasonable amount of rest and rehab!

MMAPG: Where are you training at these days? Who are some of the people you train with on a daily basis?

FOSTER: I train out of Marc Fiore's new gym Fiore's MMA with some of my old training partners from the Hitsquad. One of my great friends and training partners, Dustin Jacoby, just got signed by the UFC the other day so I'm surrounded by some great guys.

MMAPG: Let’s step away from fighting for a second. What are some of your hobbies? What keeps you occupied through the day when you’re not training or fighting?

FOSTER: I train hard so if I'm not in the gym while I'm in camp I'm resting up for the next practice. If I'm not in fight camp then I enjoy all the time with my sons that I can get. Wrestling tournaments, football games, etc.

MMAPG: Let’s say that you have access to a time machine. What would you do with it?

FOSTER: I wish I knew the things I know now when I first started fighting. If I could go back I would train properly for the fights that I lost early on.

MMAPG: If you weren’t a mixed martial artist, what would be your absolute dream job?

FOSTER: Wrestling coach for my son’s team! I love watching and helping him anyway possible. The kid’s super talented and he loves it when I'm there.

MMAPG: Are you a mixed martial arts fan? Do you watch a lot of events? If so, who are some of your favorite fighters to watch?

FOSTER: I’m a huge fan! I watch all the events I can. I don't have a particular fighter that's my favorite! I like styles and I think the more well-rounded fighter always has the advantage.

MMAPG: Okay, we’ll let you go after one more question. I know you’re probably crazy busy. If you could avenge one loss on your record, with whom would it be against?

FOSTER: Chris Lytle! Just because I know he likes battles and I really feel like I could have given him a better fight than I did. I'm sure he doesn't feel the same I mean after all he did get the submission of the night award!

MMAPG: Thanks again for taking some time to talk with us, Brian. We’re all eager and excited to see you back in the Octagon. Good luck in your next fight! Is there anything else you would like to add?

FOSTER: Thanks, it's always a pleasure! I would like to extend some gratitude to my family for putting up with me during the down time I had. I’m sure it wasn't easy having to watch me mope around because I couldn't train or fight. My Coach, Marc Fiore and my teammates for the preparation. The MMA Clinic in London for their help here recently, and last, but definitely not least, the fans that hung in there and believed in my return and urged me to keep moving forward! Thanks Everyone!

* * * * *

Follow @BrianFoster170 on Twitter

DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.
 
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 6 (Brian "Bad Boy" Ebersole)
 
Posted by gartface 10/6/11
 
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.

In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.

Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.

Brian Ebersole is a veteran mixed martial artist, who after years on the other circuits, has finally found his way to the UFC. He is 2-0 in the Octagon and is coming off two impressive performances against Chris Lytle and Dennis Hallman. Brian recently sat down to answer some questions from MMAPlayground.

* * * * *

MMAPG: First of all, thanks for taking time to answer some questions. I’m sure your schedule must be hectic. Also, we’d like to congratulate you on your win against Dennis Hallman in August. How are you feeling since that win?

EBERSOLE: I came out healthy, so I'm very pleased. A quick return to the Octagon (3-6 weeks later) would have been possible, but as it stands, I've had to wait quite a while. So now, I'm feeling fat because dieting proper for that long is just not in my nature.

MMAPG: You’ve been around the sport for quite some time now. How and when did you start getting involved in mixed martial arts? Was there something in particular that piqued your interest?

EBERSOLE: Can I point you to previous interviews? Teasing.... I saw UFC 1, like most teenagers in 1993. I had my first submission grappling experience at 15 years old and continued ever since. I was a wrestler, so it appealed and was a simple/natural extension of thought/technique/goals/rules from what I'd always done.

MMAPG: Having fought all over the world, in numerous promotions, you’ve had quite the journey to the UFC. Could you describe your journey for our readers?

EBERSOLE: I'm a lifelong athlete. Some people want to act amazed at the fact that I'm in the UFC after so long. Well, what other plausible result was there? I'd fought more than a few top guys, have had numerous "losses", I'd been submitted just enough to learn the lesson, but had never been beaten up. My experiences had to lead me here, eventually. I trusted that, even when it seemed improbable. If I could sum up my journey, simply.... I'd say that the sport has been motherly to me. I could always depend on it for support and as a source of guidance, education, and self-improvement. The gym/sport was always there, I felt. And I loved it, so even when my life's circumstances kept me from training/competing for stretches at a time --- I always drifted back "home".

MMAPG: How gratifying is it after your long journey, to finally be part of the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the world?

EBERSOLE: It certainly puts a nice touch on the overall story, doesn't it? I could have retired, happily, having had a good run of wins outside the UFC (I was on a 8-fight streak before UFC 127). But it's every fighter's goal to compete in the Octagon. One win there is worth the weight of countless wins in other organizations.

MMAPG: Who or what is your greatest inspiration in life? Is there someone or something that drives you to succeed?

EBERSOLE: What else is there to do in life? Fail? I feel that I'm "average", but that's based on the fact that I've won matches/bouts all my life. Why shouldn't I continue to win? I'm yet to impress myself, and I think that attitude is what allows me to strive, progress, and compete with myself on a daily basis.

Greatest inspiration in life? Hard to say. I've seen members of my family work very very hard at jobs that they do not enjoy. Mostly, with little complaint. That said, I feel lucky to be in the position I'm in. And I find inspiration each day in the fact that I have choice and opportunity. Inspired not to waste opportunities, you might say.

MMAPG: At 30 years old, you’re still really young for having competed for over 11 years, and in over 60 fights. Do you feel like you’re just now hitting your peak?

EBERSOLE: Hard to say. I don't know what I'll feel at 33 or 35 years old. I may unlock talents and abilities that I never thought I'd have. What if I develop a wicked Rubber-Guard, eventually. Maybe that'll combine with my current talents and people will say that I'm better for it.... That I'm the best Ebersole that they've seen.

All I know is that I feel a continued depth of knowledge, being accrued. And a continued depth of soreness and prolonged recovery time, post-workout (as opposed to the University-aged Ebersole of 1998).

MMAPG: You’re riding a very impressive 9 fight win streak over the past three years, with your only loss coming to one of the best middleweights in the world, Hector Lombard. You hear a lot of fighters talk about how much they’d love to avenge a loss or two. Is there a loss that you’d absolutely love to avenge more than the rest?

EBERSOLE: Yeah, Lombard. I could have beaten him that night, and I wish I would have. I don't like seeing him walk around like a tough guy all the time, knowing I could be jeering him and poking fun at him had I beaten him.

But really, all of my losses burn me. Not one of them WASN'T my fault. And I only give Ed Herman credit for actually taking initiative to beat me, via triangle choke. The others, I gave away whilst suffering acute onset CSS (Chael Sonnen Syndrome).

MMAPG: You’ve fought in quite a few weight classes throughout your career. Is welterweight where you plan on staying?

EBERSOLE: Most likely. I would fight at Middleweight. And for the right reasons and given time, i could probably trim to Lightweight again.

MMAPG: If you weren’t a professional mixed martial artist/coach, what would be your back up? Any dreams or aspirations outside of the ring?

EBERSOLE: I would be a History teacher and Wrestling coach at a USA high school, most likely. That's all I'd ever really wanted to do, be a wrestler. I've found a way to do it all-year around now, with it being part of the curriculum in martial arts gyms. Call it BJJ, No-Gi, MMA, Wrestling, etc. I've found myself being able to coach wrestling 12 months of the year, instead of 3 or 4.

If not for sport, though, I'd probably run an ashram in India or a brothel in Thailand.

MMAPG: You have an interesting ritual including body hair. Could you explain to our readers what that ritual is, and why exactly you do it?

EBERSOLE: The Hairrow is an arrow sculpted of chest-hair. It points to my chin, a simple target. It's cheeky, it's fun, and it's something to talk about.

MMAPG: You set up shop in Australia for quite a while. Are you still living and training there? Who are some of the guys that you train with on a daily basis.

EBERSOLE: I travel almost the entire time I'm in Australia. I don't have a hometown, per se. So I don't have an everyday team or training partner. I frequent Sydney and Melbourne most often, and do have my favorite local joints.

Sydney - KMA Martial Arts. I'm able to train alongside Corey Nelson and Shabe Kafo, there. Shane Nix comes in at 7am to grapple, often. I've been lucky enough to work with Jamie TeHuna a few times, and BJJ BB Richard Sargeant trains us a few times per week with a private session and a regular class time.

In Melbourne, I spend time with Ed Bavelock and Kimekai Martial Arts. I have camped at ESS Performance, for conditioning and recovery.... And ESS is within walking distance of Dominance MMA which houses BJJ BB's and 2011 ADCC competitors Cam Rowe and Dave Hart. They have a formerly world-ranked freestyle wrestler that teaches on Monday nights, and a 3x Judo Olympian that now competes in Muay Thai. So there's a great place to play...

Next week, I'll have a group of Australia's best WW talent coming into ESS Performance/Kimekai. UFC Countdown is coming to film, and I will have Shane Nix, Ben Alloway, Shaun Spooner, Dylan Andrews, Corey Nelson, and Gokhan Turkyilmaz all in for an Aussie super-camp.

There's the rumor that the UFC will have an England vs. Australia TUF. I know the talent in Australia and WW is our only weight class with any depth to speak of. I'm hoping that the UFC takes note, and that these young guys are able to get an opportunity to head to Vegas. I'd love to travel there and coach them, but either way, I'm happy to have played (and will continue to do so) a part in their journey forward.

MMAPG: During training camp, what does a day in the life of Brian Ebersole consist of?

EBERSOLE: Training first thing in the morning, when I go 3x/day. Breakfast first thing, if it's a 2-workout day.

Then I read and work online, keeping my forward schedule in-line and staying on top of things best I can (I fall behind plenty).

Midday, training. Food. And most often, a nap.

Evening training, dinner, and a cuddle with my partner (or phone call, if she's not travelled with me).

When at ESS Performance, I have the luxury of a sauna, ice baths, and hot tubs for recovery.

MMAPG: You and Dennis Hallman seemed to have a great time with each other during the lead up, and during the actual fight. There are often a lot of stiff personalities in MMA. Do you think fighters, for the most part, take themselves too seriously?

EBERSOLE: Some fighters are a$$h@les, yes. If not for the opponent, what would you do? The opponent is integral to the competition. Most often, he's a guy just like you. I can understand guys that "know" each other and did not enjoy their previous encounters. But if you don't know a guy, why the drama? Fight, then share a beer. If you don't like the guy's attitude, don't share another one with him.

MMAPG: So you and Rory MacDonald have agreed to touch ‘em up in December. It’s great to see that you’re already getting back in there before the New Year. How’s the lead up going so far? Have you started training camp?

EBERSOLE: Just starting camp now. And I have that overly-talented, under-publicized group of Aussie Welterweights coming in next week. I'm hoping to stay healthy through some tough sessions with them, and then I head to Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand.

MMAPG: This fight is likely going to be touted as a “veteran vs. youngster” type of fight. Is that how you’re looking at it? What do you feel are your keys to victory in this fight?

EBERSOLE: Yes, vet vs. youngster. Those are the facts and statistics, aren't they? You media folk make me laugh sometimes, playing Captain Obvious. Keys to victory? Don't get hit in the mouth, don't get more tired than him, don't give him a head start on a scramble, and don't tap out. If I can do that, I reckon I'll win a decision at worst.

MMAPG: Once again, thanks again for taking time to answer some questions! We wish you the best of luck in the lead up and in your fight with Rory MacDonald.

EBERSOLE: Follow me @TwasEbersole on Twitter, and check out www.BrianEbersole.com to browse through my videos, recent and worldwide MMA news, and my sponsor links.

* * * * *

www.BrianEbersole.com
Follow @TwasEbersole on Twitter

DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.
 
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 5 (Nik "The Carny" Lentz)
 
Posted by gartface 10/4/11
 
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.

In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.

Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.

Nik Lentz is a mixed martial artist hailing from the great state of Minnesota. He's a veteran of seven fights undre the UFC banner, and is still yet to surrender a loss. He is currently 5-0-1-1, with a draw coming against Thiago Tavares and a no contest being rendered after the controversial fight with Charles Oliveira which saw him take an illegal knee while downed, breaking his eye socket. Lentz has recovered, and he took time out of his busy schedule to answer questions.

* * * * *
Interview Started

MMAPG : Nik, first of all, thanks for taking time out of what must be a ridiculously busy schedule, to talk to us. We really appreciate it.

LENTZ : Yeah, no problem. Anytime I get a chance to reach a wider audience, I enjoy it. Thanks for interviewing me and thanks to everyone else for reading.

MMAPG : You’re a few months removed from your controversial fight with Charles Oliveira. How are you feeling physically? How’s your training going?

LENTZ : I feel normal. The eye healed quite quick, the neck is still a little sore, but it is strong and back to normal. The pain does not really matter, all that matters is that I can work out and fight properly, which I can now.

MMAPG : Do you harbor any resentment toward Oliveira for that illegal knee? How relieved were you that the PSAC overturned the decision?

LENTZ : No, I don’t really think of him as an individual. I don’t think of people I have fought really as people at all. They are more like objectives or things that I have to overcome. Once I'm done with the fight I will analyze what went right and wrong, but I don’t care or choose to look into what they are like in their everyday life. So no, I have no hard feelings, I really couldn’t care less about Oliveira until I'm scheduled to fight him again. At that point, I will just know that once he sees that I don’t get finished as easy as everyone else, be ready and watch out for his illegal tactics. I'm very glad that the decision was overturned, but I think who is allowed to be a ref should really be looked into and fixed.

MMAPG : So you’re gearing up to take on Mark Bocek in December. You guys are two of the most underrated fighters in the lightweight division. What threats does Bocek pose to you, and how are you going to handle them?

LENTZ : He’s a good fighter, well rounded, good top game, ok wrestling.....as far as how I'm going to handle them.....I guess you will just have to wait and see.

MMAPG : I know it’s a ways away, but do you have a prediction yet on how the fight will go?

LENTZ : With my hand raised, getting yelled at by his hometown. (laughs)

MMAPG : Let’s backpedal for a second, and let’s talk about your history. Could you give our readers a glimpse into your background and your path to wrestling and eventually, mixed martial arts?

LENTZ : I wrestled in high school, but I started in 9th grade so I was really behind. I won everything my senior year but that was not enough to get any scholarships to any great D1 schools. I walked on to the University of Minnesota wrestling team. After one year I had a starting spot and scholarship. I didn’t really like how the U of M coaches treated the guys or their style of coaching, so I had a falling out with the team. I decided to try an MMA fight, and I guess the rest is pretty much known.

MMAPG : Is there something in your life that inspires you on a daily basis to compete in this sport?

LENTZ : My fiancée, my two dogs and two rabbits, and my family.

MMAPG : For someone who is undefeated in seven UFC fights, you sure catch a lot of flak from writers and fans alike. What is your reaction when your fighting style or your game plans come under scrutiny? After all, the only thing that matters is the W, right?

LENTZ : Wrong, that’s not how the fight game works. It’s the people that sell tickets that stay around. Look at all the current fighters and watch if they lose how fast they get cut. Some fighters get cut instantly, while some can lose upwards of five times in a row and still be around. That’s not to say that it’s right or wrong, it’s just a fact. The UFC is a business, and Dana and the Fertittas know that, which is why the UFC is the number one fighting organization. I realized that and have changed the way I look at many things in that area. My last two fights have been fan favorites. I also received FOTN (Fight of the Night) and was close to SOTN (Submission of the Night), but got beat out by a Twister at four minutes and fifty-nine seconds...(which I mean, come on, I can't really beat that) So, the idea that I'm boring is pretty much erased. The only people left that hate on me are trolls that hate everything in life, and English people....... ¯\_(?)_/¯ As far as writers, I'm not going to lie, I don’t really read the MMA websites or forums. I work out and train constantly. I literally think about fighting in the shower. I really try to separate myself as much as possible from MMA when I have free time. Otherwise I would go insane. The only writer that I have ever not liked was some guy on Bloody Elbow called AJB. I have that write-up* on my computer still. He is the only guy that has really pissed me off.

* "Let's keep in mind, here, that his opponent, Nik Lentz is no world-beater. This isn't a young guy out of nowhere who will set the world on fire in the future. Nik Lentz is the definition of a middle-of-the-road fighter. Fickett, on the other hand, was at one time one of the highest regarded welterweights in the game. He is responsible for one of only three losses on Kenny Florian's record, defeated Josh Neer and Josh Koscheck in the UFC, and beat Dennis Hallman back when it still meant something. Flat out, Fickett is too talented to be losing to Nik Lentz at a backroads casino show in North Dakota." (http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2009/3/24/809352/fickett-falls-mmaa-rises-n)

MMAPG : Minnesota Martial Arts Academy boasts quite an impressive crop of fighters, most of which are outstanding wrestlers. Who gets the best of whom during training? Be honest.

LENTZ : Me.

MMAPG : What does a day of training at Minnesota Martial Arts consist of? What’s your daily training camp routine?

LENTZ : I can give you guys a basic layout of how my training is. There are a lot more details and finer points that are worked on and trained each day, but it’s something like this.

M,W,F
Wake up - 8am
Run 2.5 miles (3 miles 8 weeks out, 3.5 miles 6 weeks out)
Eat
Grapple 10-5 min rounds
5-5 min rounds Thai pads
Short break, eat
Lift weights focusing on different body parts each day
Go home

Night workout
20min jump rope
20min Heavy Bag
20min Speed Bag

T,Th
Wake up 7am
Run 2.5 miles (3 miles 8 weeks out, 3.5 miles 6 weeks out)
Eat
Spar 8-5 min rounds (timing)
Conditioning
Small break

Explosion training (weighted vests, ladder, vertical jump vest, ect........)

Gi grapple for around 1 hour

Night workout
20min jump rope
20min Heavy Bag
20min Speed Bag

I’m a vegetarian during the day, and eat 1 meal at night with high protein low fat meats (fish, skinless chicken, once a week beef)

MMAPG : As you continue to progress through the UFC ranks, is there any desire to take a rematch with Thiago Tavares or Charles Oliveira? Is there one that you would love to take more than the other?

LENTZ : No, I fight who the UFC says. Whoever they want me to fight, that's who I fight. I can't say that I wouldn't have a little smile on my face signing those two contracts though.

MMAPG : So on Twitter and your website NikLentz.com, you post quite a bit about video games. Is this one of your biggest passions? What got you so interested in gaming?

LENTZ : I love gaming and everything to do with it. I'm a true nerd. Every once in a while I will hear that some other fighter is a gamer or a nerd, and I will be like "wow, really!?" but it always turns out the they play something like CoD (Call of Duty) or Halo, which are not really good or competitive games. They are casual and for casual players, which is not a bad thing, but it does not make you a gamer. I have a full interview about gaming here: http://wellplayed.org/forum/articles/thread/wellplayed-interviews-nik-the-carny-lent

MMAPG : What is your favorite video game of all time?

LENTZ : Starcraft.

MMAPG : What’s your most anticipated game coming out?

LENTZ : Its out, Starcraft 2.

MMAPG : Console or PC? Why?

LENTZ : PC, it’s where all the competitive games are. There are just so many more things that can be accomplished on a PC. Consoles are just cheap little rip offs of computers. That’s why the Nintendo was really called the Famicom. Not to say that I don't own every one of them and have played through almost every good classic game there is, but the PC will always be the Superior gaming device.

MMAPG : Let’s get back to fighting! Do you watch a lot of MMA? Who are your favorites to watch compete?

LENTZ : No, like I said before, I’m constantly around it. The last thing I want to do when I get done with training is turn on the latest MMA fight. I always find out the results and watch the important matches or people who are good in certain areas in the time I dedicate each day to what I guess would be called "film" study. I spend about an hour a day watching other fighting videos and highlights to learn what the most talented fighters are doing so I can not only understand it, but learn how to reproduce it.

MMAPG : What are your goals for the future in the UFC? What do you want your legacy to be? Is that a word that means something to you?

LENTZ : I want to and will be the champion of the UFC. The legacy is something I don’t think about. much like your nickname, you should never write or try to produce a legacy. That’s what comes after you have done your job right.

MMAPG : I know you must be busy, so I’ll let you go, but I have just one last question. What is up with the Vikings!? Does Frazier give demotivational half-time speeches, or what?

LENTZ : It’s a sad and odd feeling being a Vikings fan. I will probably die 10 years younger because of it. I have no idea what’s going wrong, but if I had to guess, it would be that the team is getting tired.

MMAPG : Thanks again for taking time to answer some questions Nik. We wish you the best of luck in your bout with Bocek. Take it to him!

LENTZ: One Last thing, I just want to say thanks for all the support I have been getting not only about my career, but with everyone checking on my health. It really is a big deal that so many people went out of their way to see if I was alright. I'm eternally grateful for it. Thank You!!! Also, follow me on Twitter (@NikLentz) and watch me beat Mark Bocek on December 10th at UFC 140. Thanks again! Live long and Prosper.

Interview ended
-------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *

NikLentz.com
Follow @NikLentz on Twitter

DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.
 
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 4 (Julie "Fireball" Kedzie)
 
Posted by emfleek 9/30/11
 
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.

In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.

Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.

Julie “Fireball” Kedzie is a female mixed martial artist fighting out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a current record of 16-9-0. Kedzie has never been one to turn down a fight, which is apparent with a single glance at her resume where one can find such names as Gina Carano, Tara LaRosa and Jan Finney, among others.

Julie recently took time out of her busy schedule to sit down and answer a few questions for our MMAPlayground.com Interview Series. Read below to find out why she’d love to be matched up against Floyd Mayweather, how she got the name “Fireball” and more!

* * * * *

MMAPG: We appreciate you taking the time to chat with us, Julie. How’s the rehab coming?

KEDZIE: Much better, thank you! I have been taken very good care of and am able to (finally) jog again. I will hopefully be back in sparring and grappling fully in the next few weeks.

MMAPG: Can you give the fans some insight in to how it happened?

KEDZIE: Ha! The REAL answer is that I didn't show enough respect for my body and over-trained to the point of injury. Don't ever do that - train your ass off but take the time to recover! I'll try to explain these the way they were explained to me, although you have to bare with me because I get hit in the head for a living. The long of the short of it is that I originally suffered a patella subluxation (my kneecap popped out) in training and tried to push through it to the point of stupidity. My coach and manager subsequently cancelled the fight (and rightly so, although I whined a lot about it). I tried very hard to prove that I could come back from the injury too quickly and last week I suffered a fall in training that led to a shoulder AC injury and another subluxation, this time in my collarbone (which is one of the most painful injuries I have ever experienced). I am VERY fortunate that none of these injuries have required surgery and have been in extremely good hands during my recovery. Basically I've been told to do my exercises, rest, and I'm allowed to jog.

MMAPG: Germaine De Randamie is who you were booked to fight before you were injured. Is that a fight you’d still like once you’re healed?

KEDZIE: I'd love to fight Germaine, but really I'll fight whomever Strikeforce says.

MMAPG: Is fighting your full-time job or do you have a day job as well?

KEDZIE: My full-time job is actually that of Greg Jackson's personal assistant, but because that means being in the gym all day and concentrating on MMA, I would definitely say that fighting is my full-time job. (laughs)

MMAPG: How do you spend your days off? Do you have hobbies that occupy your time?

KEDZIE: I'm pretty boring. I love to read and hang out with friends and I watch way too much television. I go to the zoo a lot.

MMAPG: You were born in Chicago, a city that’s very rich in tradition when it comes to sports…are you a non-combat sports fan at all? If so, what teams do you support?

KEDZIE: I love sports a lot, although I'm not any sort of expert. For football, I was born in Chicago, so yeah, total Bears fan, but I was also raised in Indiana, so I cheer for the Colts and really like to watch basketball. I also get to see a few Isotopes games here in Albuquerque, so I'm gaining a lot of appreciation for baseball. Am I an expert fan of any of these teams or sports? Nope, but I'll tune in and get excited when they score.

MMAPG: Back to fighting…when you wake up the morning of a fight, can you give the fans some insight in to your pre-fight ritual? What does your routine consist of, if you have one?

KEDZIE: I don't like to sleep in my braids, so I usually eat breakfast and get my hair done first thing. I do a pre-fight shake-out after that to turn my engine on and then play the "hurry up and wait" game.

MMAPG: Win or lose, do you ever take time off after your fights or are you right back at it on Monday morning?

KEDZIE: That really depends on where I am fighting and how much damage I take, I guess. I have a weird-ass body/mind connection that dictates that I have to be physically active pretty much every day or I get depressed. I prefer to be right back in the gym and that is totally possible when I fight at home. After my last fight I spent some time in the Midwest with family. I got to try some power-lifting routines with my sister instead of fighting stuff which was kind of fun.

MMAPG: For the fans who don’t know, can you tell us where you spend most of your time training and who you spend that time training with?

KEDZIE: I train at Jackson/Winkeljohn's Mixed Martial Arts in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I always sound like a damn name-dropper when I do this, but I want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of my teammates and coaches whenever I can! We are a camp deeply blessed with great talent and I generally train with Greg Jackson, Mike Winkeljohn, Mike Valle and also Izzy Martinez, Igor Araujo and Jon Chaimberg when they are in town. Some of the amazing fighters I train with include boxing champion Holly Holm; jiu-jitsu champion Kelley Weatherford; Michelle Waterson, Jodie Esquibel, Nohime Dennisson, Heather Clark, Emily Kagan, Kelley Warren and Gina Carano when she is in town. I love the women on our team, but we also train with the men. I sort of prefer sparring or grapplng with the ones that are 155 and under, including Jonny Dodson, Aaron Riley, Issac Valle-flagg, Matt Leyva, Damacio Page, etc. See? I sound like a name-dropping jerk!

MMAPG: What would you consider to be the driving force behind what you do?

KEDZIE: I'm a little crazy. (laughs) I'm sorry, I wish I had a better explanation than that. You know that Ali quote, "...Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision...”? There is a craziness in me; some voice in me that drives me to push myself to my limits daily and although I'm learning these days not to overdo it (I hope), I'm not putting that voice on mute until my goals are accomplished.

MMAPG: Your nickname is “Fireball”…what’s the story behind that?

KEDZIE: Ha! I'm addicted to those atomic fireball candies and I also have a temper that has come out a couple times inappropriately. One of the first times I was sparrring Coach Jackson, he footswept me and teased me when I dropped, which made me furious. Who the hell did this guy think he was? So I rolled up and punched him in the balls. He told me he liked my spirit and nicknamed me "Fireball”.

MMAPG: If you could play matchmaker for a day and match yourself up against anyone, regardless of gender, who would that fight be against and why would that be a fight you’d want to take?

KEDZIE: Oh, God! So many! We're talking all disciplines, right? (Manny) Pacquiao, (Floyd) Mayweather, Sugar Ray Robinson, Rickson (Gracie), Fedor (Emelianko), (Lucia) Rijker, Cyborg (Santos), Wanderlei (Silva), Marcelo Garcia, Dan Gable...etc. Name 'em and know I want them. Look, anyone can see my record and understand I've taken my lumps. At this point, I don't give a shit about the win/loss ratio after my name; the public can think whatever they want. I am a professional fighter that wants to be tested to my limit and if we are placing no constraints on my imagination here, I can freely say that I would face all those people and more. In my opinion, you can create a legacy by your choices; my choice is to make myself face my inner fears and doubts and climb in the cage or ring and forge greatness out of myself by trying to beat the best.

MMAPG: We’ve all heard the expression, “You learn something new every day.” Does that apply to life in the gym as a professional fighter?

KEDZIE: Yes. In reality not a day goes by in my gym that I am not surprised by something new.

MMAPG: What part of your game frustrates you the most and what are you doing to improve it?

KEDZIE: The worst part of my game is my confidence. I train with the best of the best, which means there is always someone in the room better than me in any discipline at any given time. The solution to that is pretty easy: to just keep showing up!

MMAPG: When can we expect to see “Fireball” back in the cage?

KEDZIE: I am REALLY hoping to fight again before the end of the year, if Strikeforce allows it and I don't do anything else stupid to myself.

MMAPG: Well, until then, take care of yourself and good luck with your training, Julie. Thank you so much for taking time away from your schedule to chat with us. Any closing comments?

KEDZIE: Thank YOU! I would just like to thank my team, coaches and training partners for their continued support! If anyone is interested in me me for potential sponsorship/bookings, please email Jahani Curl: jahani@machisport.com

* * * * *

Follow @julesk_fighter on Twitter

DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.
 
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 3 (Nam Phan)
 
Posted by gartface 9/27/11
 
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.

In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.

Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.

Nam Phan is an Asian American fighter, who has also competed as a professional boxer. He is most known for his time spent in the Ultimate Fighter household during the twelfth installment of the series. He failed to reach the final, but impressed enough to earn a shot in the Octagon, facing Leonard Garcia and losing what is widely regarded as one of the biggest robberies in recent mixed martial arts history. With a recent loss to former featherweight champ, Mike Brown, Phan was given what he wanted. On October 8, in Houston, Texas, Nam will get a chance to step into the cage and exact his revenge on Garcia.

Phan caught up with us while in his gym, gearing up for some kickboxing.

* * * * *

MMAPG: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Nam. You have a fight scheduled right around the corner against a familiar opponent in Leonard Garcia. The look on your face when the decision was announced the first time around pretty much expressed what pretty much everyone was thinking…you got robbed. Do you plan on switching up your game plan this time around? I know you don’t want to go in to much detail, but did you go back to the drawing board in preparation for a rematch with Garcia or did you just fine tune your previous strategy?

NAM PHAN: I always try to show some support! The only thing is I gotta try to finish this fight. I feel like if I don’t finish this guy in 15 minutes, just count it as a loss.

MMAPG: How do you feel about the judging in the Garcia fight, and how the judges seem to award his aggressiveness so much?

NAM PHAN: It kind of pisses me off. You gotta be aggressive, it’s cool, but you gotta score points. It’s frustrating.

MMAPG: Care to make a prediction on the outcome?

NAM PHAN: I don’t want to predict anything. It’s always bad luck. I just have to finish him.

MMAPG: Okay...going back to the time you spent on The Ultimate Fighter...did you enjoy it? Looking back, did the good outweigh the bad or vice-versa? What did you gain from your time in the house?

NAM PHAN: I think I benefitted a lot from the show. The guys I trained with really helped with my exposure to the mixed martial arts world- Koscheck, Fitch, Dave Camarillo, Javier Mendez, Daniel Cormier, and Teddy Lucio. And it helped me get into the UFC as well.

MMAPG: Yeah, if there’s one guy to learn wrestling from, Cormier’s the guy.

NAM PHAN: Exactly!

MMAPG: Certainly there were some negative aspects, as well. Care to share those if you had any?

NAM PHAN: I love my coaches, but all of my teammates were jerks. I remember in the beginning, the team was like “we’re a lot closer than the other team. We’re always together, they’re never together.’ At the very end, everyone was against me, and I couldn’t have been more far apart from my teammates.

MMAPG: What about your coach on the show, Josh Koscheck? He’s said before that the “character” he plays is a lot different the Josh Koscheck the person. Would you say that’s true? Did he, at any point, rub you the wrong way?

NAM PHAN: He’s a super cool guy. He wasn’t a jerk to me at all. He was super down to Earth. He’s very playful.

MMAPG: Where do you do most of your training and who are your regular training partners and coaches?

NAM PHAN: Most of my training is done at my academy now. I train with my students. I have black belts come out and help me train. I go to a boxing gym in Anaheim.

MMAPG: Walk us through the day of a fight. When Nam Phan wakes up in the morning on the day of a fight, what’s the routine? Does it change for each fight or would you consider it a ritual?

NAM PHAN: I try to get as much sleep as I can. I try not to stay up late. Try to get a lot of rest. I really don’t know what part of the day I’m going to be fighting. I’m not a main event type guy. I’m Nam Phan from Garden Grove. I also try to eat a lot of pasta.

MMAPG: On the flipside…what consumes you in the days (or weeks) after a fight? Are you right back in the gym the next day or do you take time off? What do you enjoy doing in your down time?

NAM PHAN: I’m a pretty boring guy. I drink a lot of tea. I’m not really into traveling. I like to relax. I take a week off. I’m still at the gym, just hanging out. I eat a lot of bad food. No alcohol, I don’t drink alcohol or smoke or anything. Just a lot of soda and bad food.

MMAPG: Some fighters…”Rampage” Jackson, for instance…have gone on record stating that they don’t watch much MMA in their free time. Are you one of those guys?

NAM PHAN: I don’t watch a lot. I watch the Ultimate Fighter. I try to watch the PPV, and watch as much as I can. It’s interesting, especially when my friends are fighting. I always try to support.

MMAPG: What fighters do you enjoy watching the most?

NAM PHAN: All the champions, GSP, Silva, Cain, Aldo, Edgar. My favorite fighter is Chael Sonnen right now. He hypes up the fight real well, and when he fights, he brings it.

MMAPG: Chael Sonnen, huh? That’s interesting. He’s kind of a polarizing figure. Either you love him or you hate him.

NAM PHAN: I met him in person a few times and I think he’s a really cool guy. It’s very entertaining. Also what I like, he doesn’t cuss when he talks to people, and he’s just really witty and picks his words very well. All of his trash talk is witty comments. They’re very good comebacks. Very intellectual man.

MMAPG: If weight classes weren’t an issue, which fighter (or fighters) would you most like to test yourself against?

NAM PHAN: Man, so many great guys, right? I’d like to fight Sakuraba in his prime.

MMAPG: I probably should’ve asked this question earlier, but how did you end up choosing a career as a fighter? What brought you to this wonderful sport of MMA?

NAM PHAN: I was always into martial arts as a kid growing up. My brother brought home a VHS tape one time. As a kid growing up, I always wanted to be some kind of fighter, a boxer or kickboxer. Mixed martial arts was no holds barred back then, right? Cage fighting. I hated school, and traditionally Asian parents want you to be a doctor or a lawyer. I wasn’t having it. I figured that if I wanna do this, I gotta do it all the way. I really planned it out. I sat down, and wrote down how I was going to have a career and make a living as a fighter, or a martial artist.

MMAPG: What pushes you to keep going? You’ve been fighting for 10 years now on the professional level. What drives you?

NAM PHAN: First of all, definitely my passion. I’m very passionate about mma. I’m also very passionate about my culture. I’m Asian -Vietnamese. There’s not many Asian Americans who do mixed martial arts. There aren’t many Asian Americans in the UFC. So, I gotta represent. Gotta make them proud.

MMAPG: Okay, Nam…where’s the nickname? Everyone’s doing it! Seriously, though…is the absence of a nickname your preference? Too cliché, maybe? What about Nam “The Man” Phan or Nam “The Natural” Phan?

NAM PHAN: I’m not really into nicknames. I don’t want the nickname; I want people to recognize me, my culture – Vietnamese culture. They’ll see “Nam Phan,” (and say) oh, Vietnamese fighter.

MMAPG: Okay, I’ll wrap this up so you can get back to doing your thing. Have you been training today?

NAM PHAN: I trained this morning. Did some wrestling, ran, and we’re about to do some kickboxing.

MMAPG: I do have one last question, though. Fast forward to 10 or 20 years from now…how do you want to be remembered? Does the term “legacy” mean as much to you as it seems to mean to so many fans?

NAM PHAN: Yeah you know, I mean of course, I want to be known as at least a decent fighter. For me, I want people to know that ‘hey that guy is a pretty decent fighter and he represented the Asian American community.’”

MMAPG: That does it from my end. And again, thank you for agreeing to do this, Nam. Good luck to you against Leonard Garcia at UFC 136 in Houston! Any closing words?

NAM PHAN: First of all, I don’t want to consider anybody with me a fan. I think celebrities have fans. I’m humble. I’m just a martial arts instructor. I’m gracious and grateful to have the support of the mixed martial arts community and I’ll continue to perform at my best.

MMAPG: We appreciate your time! And once again, good luck against Leonard!

NAM PHAN: Thank you. Have a good night, and thanks for the interview!

* * * * *

Follow @NamPhanMMA on Twitter

DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.
 
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 2 (Charlie "The Spaniard" Brenneman"
 
Posted by emfleek 9/21/11
 
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.

In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.

Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.

Charlie "The Spaniard" Brenneman is the focus in this week's installment of the MMAPlayground Interview Series.

Charlie is a former collegiate wrestler with a current overall MMA record of 14-2-0, with his only losses coming against current UFC contender, Johny Hendricks (in 2010) and UFC vet, John "Doomsday" Howard (in 2008). "The Spaniard" kindly took time out of his busy schedule earlier this week to answer some questions for MMAPlayground.

* * * * *

MMAPG: First off, Charlie, I know it’s been a while now, but congrats on that brilliant victory over Rick Story back in June. To say you took that fight on short notice would be quite the understatement. My question is this…was there any hesitation on yours or your team’s part when it came to accepting the fight? Can you give us a bit of insight on what your thought process was when you received that call?

(SIDENOTE: For those who aren’t aware, Charlie took the fight on a day’s notice once Nate Marquardt was scratched from the UFC Live: Kongo vs. Barry card.)

BRENNEMAN: There was no doubt at all. I was prepared to fight (TJ Grant), and it was a golden opportunity, so we took it without any hesitation.

MMAPG: Can you give our readers, who may not know much about you, a little background information on yourself? Where exactly did you grow up and how did you get into MMA?

BRENNEMAN: I have been a wrestler my entire life. After finishing up college wrestling at Lock Haven University, I got a job teaching Spanish in my hometown, Hollidaysburg, PA. I taught for three years, but felt a need to compete again. I then got a graduate assistantship at East Stroudsburg University, where I got my Master's, and pursued fighting. That lead me to AMA Fight Club in NJ.

MMAPG: What do you consider to be the driving factor to succeed in your career? Who or what inspires you to hit the gym every day?

BRENNEMAN: I have an innate need to compete and succeed, to challenge myself. What drove me back to competing (after wrestling) was my time on Spike TV's "Pros vs. Joes". I won the reality tv show, and it was at that time I realized I had control of the mental aspect of competition. I had always been successful at wrestling, but the mental game was always a challenge. My desire to be the best, and to provide for my family get me to the gym everyday.

MMAPG: Can you give us a brief breakdown on what a typical day at AMA Fight Club is like?

BRENNEMAN: I train every aspect of the game. I seek out the best instructors and training partners. We have a great team at AMA, and in addition, I have a great boxing coach, Mark Henry, and strength and conditioning coach, Don Messing.

MMAPG: Every gym has the “goofball”…who would you consider to be the goofball at AMA?

BRENNEMAN: There's plenty of "goofballs" in the sport. AMA is pretty standard, not many goofballs to be honest. We do have our fair share of weirdos though :)

MMAPG: How much down time do you actually have between training camps for your fights and what do you do during that time off from the gym?

BRENNEMAN: It all depends on the UFC. I normally take a week or two off after my fights, and then get right back at it. Of course, my intensity changes depending on my fight schedule.

MMAPG: John Howard or Johny Hendricks…which loss would you prefer to avenge and why?

BRENNEMAN: Hendricks probably, but neither one really eats away at me. I lost fair and square to both of them. Unlike many other people in the sport, I do not make excuses.

MMAPG: You’re fighting Anthony “Rumble” Johnson at UFC on Versus 6. How do you see that fight playing out? Care to make a prediction?

BRENNEMAN: I predict that I will push the pace and see if he is up to the challenge.

MMAPG: And finally…what do you want to be remembered for when it's all said and done and you call it a career?

BRENNEMAN: I just want to fulfill my potential as a fighter. The sky is the limit, and I want to walk away from the sport w/ peace of mind knowing that I left nothing in question. When I'm done, I want to be done, period, no if's or but's.

MMAPG: Thank you, Charlie, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to hook us up with this interview. The staff at MMAPlayground.com would like to wish the best of luck to you against Anthony Johnson on October 1st!

* * * * *

Follow @SpaniardMMA on Twitter

DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.
 
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 1 (Pat "Bam Bam" Healy)
 
Posted by emfleek 9/15/11
 
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.

In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.

Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.

In the first installment, we had the opportunity to ask Pat "Bam Bam" Healy a few questions, fresh off of his submission victory over Maximo Blanco at Strikeforce World Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov.

* * * * *

MMAPG: First off, Pat, congratulations on your recent submission win over Maximo Blanco this past weekend. You took the fight on short notice and ended up choking out a highly touted prospect from Venezuela. Where did you train and what are some of the names you trained with for this fight?

PAT HEALY: I trained at Team Quest in Gresham, Oregon. That's my home team and it's really like my family. I also trained at Nemesis BJJ with Eric Hemphill, who is helping me put the technical pieces of my game together. I am lucky to have a lot of great people around me.

MMAPG: Can you give our readers, who may not know much about you, a little insight into your background? Where exactly did you grow up and how did you get into MMA?

PAT HEALY: I grew up in Salem, Oregon and I was lucky enough to have a twin brother who I grew up fighting with. We have been into MMA since we were about 14 years old and it is all we have ever wanted to do. MMA has taken me all across the US to live and train and has provided an incredible life for me. I have had my fair share of ups and downs and I have fought for every major organization out there. I am still young, at 28, contrary to popular belief. I'm not an old man!

MMAPG: What drives you the most to succeed? What inspires you?

PAT HEALY: What drives me is the love of the sport. It wakes me up early every morning with a smile on my face and an optimistic mindset. I truly love everyday that I get to wake up and do what I love for a living.

MMAPG: I must admit, “Bam Bam” is quite possibly my favorite nickname in all of MMA. Who gave you that nickname?

PAT HEALY: I got that nickname growing up in Salem. My friends used to say that after a few drinks my eyebrows would sag and my alter ego, "Bam Bam", would come out. I would become extremely clumsy and would always end up breaking something or falling into/out of something. The nickname just stuck through the years and I think it fits my fighting style quite nice.

MMAPG: How much down time do you actually have between training camps for your fights and what do you do during that time off from the gym?

PAT HEALY: I never take time off. Even if I don't have a fight coming up I'm in the gym working something or grappling with the Gi. I spend my spare time on my property in Eagle Creek, Oregon. I live on 150 acres of Oregon forest and river habitat. All I like to do is hike, hunt and train my bird dog, Finnigan.

MMAPG: Which win on your resume would you consider to be the most satisfying?

PAT HEALY: I think this latest win against Maximo Blanco is the most satisfying. I took it on short notice and he was a hyped prospect. Not a lot of people expected me to win, especially finish him.

MMAPG: If you could only pick one loss to avenge, which loss would that be and why?

PAT HEALY: I want to avenge my loss to Josh Thomson because it was my only loss at 155.

MMAPG: What is your stance on teammates fighting each other?

PAT HEALY: I think there are plenty of people out there to fight besides your teammates but I think it's different when you're talking about people like the guys at Jackson's camp. They aren't really teammates they are just guys who sometimes train together.

MMAPG: When it’s all said and done, what do you want your legacy to be? What do you want people to think of when they hear the name, Pat “Bam Bam” Healy?

PAT HEALY: I want people to look back at me as a champion. I hope that people can take inspiration from my ups and downs in the sport and the fact that I haven't quit and persevered through a lot.

MMAPG: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, Pat. Again, congratulations to you on your performance against Maximo Blanco. MMA fans everywhere, myself included, look forward to seeing you fight again! Take care!

* * * * *




DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.
 
UFC 134 History Revisited
 
Posted by KungFuMaster 8/25/11
 
As we get ready for UFC 134 on August 27, 2011, pandemonium is sure to ensue the streets of Brazil and all MMA communities as UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, of Brazil, takes on Yushin Okami, of Japan, in what could be one of the most significant fights in MMA history. Not only is there history between Silva and Okami but there is also history between their respective countries, which stems from the legendary bout between two great warriors of two different nations who once did battle in Brazil in 1951.

In 2006, Anderson Silva and Yushin Okami fought for the first time at Rumble on the Rock 8 in what turned out to be an uneventful match as the bout was stopped early due to an illegal up-kick from the current champion, Anderson Silva. Okami may have won the bout due to disqualification but many felt Anderson was winning the fight up until the illegal kick.

Since then, both fighters have taken very different paths to be where they are today. Shortly after fighting Okami, Anderson Silva debuted in the UFC in mid-2006 to make his mark in the mma world and has been on a tear since then by capturing the UFC Middleweight Title from Rich Franklin in his very next UFC fight.

Okami would have to wait for his opportunity to fight in the big leagues and was not picked up by the UFC until mid-2008 where he faced off against and defeated rising star, Alan Belcher. With an outstanding UFC record since his debut, many would agree Okami is the true number one contender but his title shot has been taken away a few times due to circumstances which he could not control. After a three fight win streak over marquee names such as Mark Munoz and Nate Marquardt, the UFC is forced to grant Okami his long awaited title shot against the champion, and hopefully put and end to people wondering how their aforementioned 2006 fight would have ended barring the DQ.

One can say it is destiny that these two gladiators meet again to, once and for all, erase any doubt MMA fans may have had about their first outing.

After capturing the UFC middleweight crown, Anderson Silva has solidified himself as the best middleweight fighter in the world and is arguably the best fighter in the world according to MMA communities. While Silva enjoys the fruits of being a champion, Okami has had to revamp himself as he struggles to reach the top of the MMA ladder. With losses to Rich Franklin, who was considered by many as a world class striker, and to Chael Sonnen, who is an exceptional wrestler, Okami has focused his MMA training to further improve his striking and wrestling and showed vast improvements in those departments in his recent fights.

These two fighters will face off again in Brazil on August, 27. What is intriguing about the setting of this event is the fact legendary fighter and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu founder, Helio Gracie, of Brazil and legendary Judo fighter, Masahiko Kimura, of Japan fought in Brazil once before.

In 1951, Gracie extended an open challenge to Kimura. Kimura graciously answered the challenge but was welcomed with rotten eggs and tomatoes as he arrived in Brazil. The Brazilian crowd booed Kimura and while he made his way to the fighting arena, he even noticed a coffin with his name on it. Despite the hostility, Kimura held his cool and dominated the Brazilian fighter. However, no matter how many times Kimura slammed Gracie with Judo throws, he could not knock out the Brazilian. It was later revealed Gracie had patted the mat with extra cushions to prevent himself from being knocked out. In any event, Kimura managed to defeat and humble an entire nation by applying the legendary move we now call a Kimura, which broke the arm of his opponent, Helio Gracie.

Ever since the Gracie and Kimura fight, Brazil and Japan have been bitter rivals. On August 27, 2011, the memories of the legendary fight between two warriors of the past will resurface in the form of Anderson Silva and Yushin Okami. Silva and Okami will not only be fighting to preserve their respective places in MMA but also to bring honor to their respective countries as well. As the two fighters get set to go to war on a stage once graced by two legendary fighters, MMA communities will be waiting in anticipation to find out if Yushin Okami will make history repeat itself or if Anderson Silva can finally bring an end to what has plagued Brazil for the past 6 decades. The UFC could not have better organized this event for what is seemingly - history in the making
 
UFC 131: Carwin/JDS
 
Posted by jjeans 6/11/11
 
At UFC 131, former Interim Heavyweight title holder Shane Carwin will face Junior Dos Santos, with the winner likely to receive a title fight against Current Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez.

Originally, Junior Dos Santos was scheduled to face Brock Lesnar, but Brock was struck with illness and the replacement was Shane Carwin.

Junior Dos Santos made his UFC debut against Fabricio Wedrum, who is currently top 5 in the division, in a match that Junior was able to finish with a huge uppercut in the second minute. The fight was named 2008's Upset of the Year. Junior walked into the bout with a 6-1 record with his one loss coming by submission. His 6 wins were all finishes in the first round. Nobody knew who he was but that uppercut finish made them start researching.

Shane Carwin also made his debut in 2008. He walked in to his fight with a record of 8-0 and was faced with a natural Light Heavyweight, in Christian Wellisch, that he outweighed by 22 pounds. Shane also came in to the fight having gone past the first minute of the first round just once in eight fights. Carwin finished his opponent on his UFC debut in 44 seconds with a perfect jab/cross combo.

Both Carwin and dos Santos had knock-out power, but Junior Dos Santos had a much higher caliber win.

Once again, Shane Carwin found himself on the undercard in his next bout and, like his last fight, he was the favorite. This proved again to be for a good reason. Shane weighed in this time at 264 but he cut the weight for the fight. In this fight we were told and shown that Shane was a NCAA Division II wrestler (a high level wrestler). Shane got on top of his opponent, Neil Wain, and pounded him, finishing the fight in under 2 minutes.

Junior's fast track to stardom continued after his upset against a debuting big prospect, Stefan Struve. And by big I mean in height. Stefan is 6'11”. However, the reach and height didn't stop the hands of Junior Dos Santos, as he was able to put Stefan away in less than one minute.

After 2 fights, here’s what we knew of these 2 fighters…

Nobody could handle the punching power of either man. Junior Dos Santos had great boxing and very fast hands. Shane Carwin had great wrestling and heavy hands.

Shane Carwin then found himself in the co-main event against Gabriel Gonzaga, a former title challenger. This time Carwin walked into the bout without being the favorite. The fight began and early on Gonzaga rocked Carwin, and then took him down. Carwin’s wrestling maybe was more overrated than people had predicted, however he was able to get back up quickly. Gonzaga came at Carwin to strike with him. Carwin landed one right hand and Gonzaga was out cold. Carwin had landed 4 punches in 1 minute 9 seconds and had finished the fight. He overcame the momentary rock and finished it quickly. Carwin was on fire. So hot, in fact, that Carwin was given a title shot against the title holder at the time, Brock Lesnar.

However, Juniors tests and trials continued for whatever reasons. Maybe he couldn't speak English so it was hard to promote/advertise him? Whether it was he was too one dimensional (could only strike) unlike Shane Carwin who was more developed, as he had his wrestling background. Junior was tested. In 2009, he fought former PRIDE World Grand Prix Open-Weight Champion and Kickboxing legend, Mirko Cro Cop, and stood toe to toe with him for 3 rounds (or 12 minutes) before Cro Cop was forced to quit due to a fractured orbital. He then stood toe to toe with another kickboxer, Gilbert Yvel, and took 2 minutes to knock him out. If they (UFC) wanted Junior to be less 'one dimensional' repeatedly matching him up with Strikers wasn't helping his case for a title shot. Then, on March the 21st of 2010, Junior fought Gabriel Gonzaga. Like Carwin, Junior got taken down, but he too was able to get back up quickly. Junior fought the next few minutes giving a strike, taking a strike, which continued until Gonzaga's chin gave in to a big left hook and Junior rushed in and finished the fight at 3:53 of the very first round.

On March the 27th of 2010(1 week later) Shane Carwin fought for the temporary Heavyweight interim championship. He was originally scheduled to fight Brock Lesnar in November 2009 but Brock fell ill. So, instead, Frank Mir and Shane Carwin squared off to determine the interim heavyweight champion and Brock would face the winner to unify the belts. Shane had still never been out of the first round and now had a record of 11-0. Frank Mir entered the fight 13-4 as a former UFC Heavyweight champion and a former Interim Champion. However, it was not Frank's night. Shane was able to press Frank against the cage using his wrestling, sheer strength and weight to clinch him. Carwin pressed Frank's chin up and uppercut him, until Frank fell to the ground covering up. Shane won the fight and took the vacant title in just less than 4 minutes.

Shane now had a UFC Record of 4-0 and held a UFC title. Junior held a record of 4-0 as well. Junior was still confused as to what he had to do.

Brock Lesnar returned at UFC 116 to unify the titles into the UFC Undisputed Heavyweight title. And all of Shane Carwin’s weaknesses were exposed.

Both men on an average day walk around 280-300 pound, so both men had to shed and cut weight to make 265. Shane Carwin was not used to this while Brock had made a career out of it.

Shane Carwin hurt the champion, rocked him, had Brock back-peddling, then took him down and just pounded away at him. He put everything into trying to finish Brock, and arguably the referee could have stopped the fight, however Brock was able to just keep his guard up and pretty much just turtle up for about 90 seconds. However, he had survived the onslaught. Carwin decided to back off and let Brock get back up. Carwin stood up and looked tired, weak and severely gassed. Brock saw this and simply avoided some slow powerless strikes and proceeded to push Carwin against the cage to bring the round to a close. Carwin then walked into the second round the same as he ended the first: looking out of shape. Brock took Carwin down, passed Carwin's guard and submitted him with an arm triangle choke; Carwin didn't even look like he tried to defend against it, tapping when it was in place.

Carwin's weakness appeared to be his biggest problem: he had never gone out of the first round proving he had little or no stamina. Brock took the Undisputed Title and Carwin was just left reminiscing of the time he almost finished the champion.

One week later, Junior dos Santos found himself in a bout against Roy Nelson. In a fight where Roy showed a lot of heart, Junior put him through a clinic. Roy isn't well known for superior wrestling or takedowns and this didn't help: Junior was able to stop all takedowns and keep the fight on its feet. Junior had once again outclassed an opponent by striking with them. But at least he showed some takedown defense against a fighter with little takedown offense.

Afterwards, Junior Dos Santos was booked to fight Brock Lesnar and, in order to promote the fight, they were matched up as opposing coaches on the Ultimate Fighter, the UFC's reality TV show. However, after filming Brock’s diverticulitis resurfaced, so Shane Carwin ended up being named as his replacement.

The Basic Overview of the fight…

Shane is 12-1 with a UFC Record of 4-1. Junior is 12-1 with a UFC Record of 6-0.

Shane Carwin has the wrestling advantage and, in most cases it seems, wrestlers beat strikers.

Both men's submission skills aren't known although it appears that Shane's are lacking and we have been told Junior has a Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. His BJJ skills have never been showcased or seen in the UFC.

Junior has the more technical striking advantage and has a solid chin.

Junior has better conditioning and should be quicker.

Shane is more powerful and often 1 strike ends the fight. Junior sets up power punches with combos.

Both men's weaknesses:

In the words of Forrest Griffin

“Junior Dos Santos is one of those guys we know F*** all about, all we know is he knocks people out.”

Junior's grappling has yet to be shown and, training out of the camp he does, their weaknesses appear to be wrestling. Junior's biggest weakness is that he likes to take a punch as he gives a punch. Not counter striking. Just taking blow for a blow. His other issue is that his guard is not a guard. He doesn't use it to block punches, he uses it so the punches come from the chin, not the hip, less distance to cover, lands quicker.

Shane Carwin's only gone out of the first round once and his gas tank appeared empty when he did. If he decided to out wrestle/grapple Junior, would he be able to do this round after round after round?

That sums up weighing up both fighters. There are many ways this could go down. Junior could use his speed advantage, fights tactically , avoids big exchanges, and capitalizes when Shane's tired in the later rounds to finish the fight, or outpoint him for the UD .Either could land the big shot to end it, but the power advantage early in the fight lies with Carwin, while Junior may have it later . But should Shane Carwin come in with a wrestling focused game plan, which I am not counting out, I could easily see Carwin ground and pounding Junior until he gets the finish. A lot more possible outcomes are available but the guy who implements his game plan should get the victory in the end, and the winner gets a shot at the strap.

* NOTE: The opinions contained within this blog do not necessarily reflect those of the Site Administrator, MMAPlayground Staff or its owners. All content is strictly the opinion of the author and should only be interpreted as such.
 
Check Out GameBookers.com
 
Posted by mmaplayground 12/8/10
 
Though the UFC is filled to the brim with fighters of un paralleled athleticism, few shine as brightly as current welter weight title holder Georges St-Pierre. The Quebec born athlete was even named the Canadian Athlete of the year in both 20080 and 2009 by Rogers Sportsnet.
St-Pierre was born on May 1981 and was taught karate by his father to help fight back against bullies at school who would steal his clothes and lunch money. After his father St-Pierre received training from a Kyokushin Karate Master and, after the Karate Master's death, studied wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Before fighting in the octagon St-Pierre worked as both a bouncer at a night club and as a garbage man to help pay student fees.
St-Pierre's first fight was against Kara Parisyan at UFC 46 and St-Pierre won by unanimous decision. Ever since UFC 46 St-Pierre has been a huge fan and critical favorite and often touted as one of, if not the best, pound for pound fighter in the tournament.
St-Pierre is set to defend his title against Johnson Koscheck on December 12. The fight is sure to be epic and you can go to www.gamebookers.com to place bets on your favorite to win
 
Pages:   [1]   2   3