Archive for December, 2009

10th Planet Ends the Year @ Grappler’s Quest

Posted in 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, Legends MMA, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2009 by jaytan716

Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu ended 2009 on a high note, with both the Hollywood and Burbank dojos representing with multiple winners and runner-ups at the final Grappler’s Quest tournament of 2009, which was held on December 12th in Las Vegas.

Hollywood (aka “Headquarters”) had four out of six competitors place, including purple belt Ralf Warneking and blue belt Steve Cox, who both won gold in their respective divisions. Burbank sent five competitors, four of them placing.

Warneking scored two submission wins on his way to the top of the Masters (40+) No-Gi Advanced cruiserweight division (180-199 lbs), while Cox remained undefeated in the Men’s No-Gi Beginner bantamweight division (below 129.9 lbs).

Warneking also won the absolute (no weight class) division, earning him over $1,000, a championship belt, and Grapplers Quest sponsorship for 2010.

“This was a smaller showing for 10th Planet due to it being right around the holidays, having to drive in to Vegas, and people being sick. I know of at least 3-5 people who were out due to illness,” said Juli Fung, who took silver in the Women’s Beginner No-Gi Class B (120-139.9 lbs).

Rounding out those who placed on behalf of 10th Planet Hollywood is Aidan Gonzales, who took bronze in the Men’s Beginner Absolute division.

Of the Burbank dojo, Miguel Hernandez show-and-proved with his gold medal win in the Men’s No-Gi Novice Bantam (Below 129.9 lbs), while Jenna Shih claimed silver in the Women’s Intermediate No-Gi Class B (120-139.9 lbs). Rachel Tan placed bronze in the Women’s Beginner No-Gi Class A (120 lbs. & below).

Legends MMA’s Ryan Lupkes made his tournament debut for 10th Planet, and although having a strong showing, was ultimately outpointed. Likewise, brown belt Scottie “Einstein” Epstein, despite coming up on the short end, represented in the most competitive bracket , the invitation-only professional division, against black belt Rodrigo Ranieri. Unfortunately, a knee injury hampered Epstein going in, and when the seasoned leglock specialist zeroed in on the leg, “Einstein” found himself fighting from a disadvantage.

Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu expects to have another strong showing next at the Gracie US Nationals, on Sunday, January 24th, at the Fitness Expo in Los Angeles.

Advertisements

Legends member Robert Bregante makes Muay Thai debut in Thailand!!

Posted in Features, Legends MMA with tags , , , on December 14, 2009 by jaytan716

By Jay Tan

On the international front, Legends MMA member Robert Bregante recently had his Muay Thai debut.

Bregante, 27, first started taking Muay Thai from Legends trainer Peter Nylund two years ago.  Wanting to take his skills to the next level, Bregante moved out to Thailand three months ago, and has been training at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket ever since.  He says his plans are to stay there for a year and hopes to get at least 10 fights under his belt before returning to Legends.

His routine consists of two training sessions per day, in addition to running twice daily, totaling approximately seven hours of training a day, six days a week.

Here’s the clip for Robert’s match (he’s in the white trunks):

About his experience abroad, Bregante said by email “it feels wonderful to have my hard work pay off, after going through this experience I think it’s the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  But it has come with a huge sense of accomplishment, and now I feel like I can accomplish anything I set out to do.”

“I think what surprised me most about this whole experience is what I learned about myself.  I set my fears aside and allowed myself to embrace a new culture and new way of life. . . it has helped me to become more confident in myself, something I was lacking before I arrived to Thailand!  I am especially grateful to Peter, the first person I met when I walked through the doors of Legends, the first person I trained with and my biggest inspiration for coming out here to Thailand!”

Congratulations on the big victory, Robert, and keep up the heavy training.  We’ll be looking forward to having you back in the gym when you return.

Rahnavardi leads Three Fighters to Debut Wins

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2009 by jaytan716

Amir Rahnavardi led Lawrence Tsang, Mike Orlandella, and Dustin Mueller to victorious debuts.Longtime Legends MMA members Dustin Mueller, Mike Orlandella, and Lawrence Tsang all crossed the “Throwdown Threshold” last month, competing in an amateur Pankration event.  To boot, all three did so in victorious fashion, with Mueller and Tsang winning by unanimous decision, while Orlandella secured a kimura armbar for a second round submission.

“All three have been with me for a long time,” said Legends trainer Amir Rahnavardi, who has coached the trio since their first classes at Legends.

Tsang, wrestled in high school, found his pre-fight techniques as a fundamental key to getting the upper hand before even stepping into the ring.

“Lawrence is cool as steel.  You could tell he’s competed his whole life.  The other coach . . . comes up to me, he said ‘dude, there’s something up with that guy, bro.  He’s way too relaxed’. . . He’s smiling and having a good time and walking around.  Like you’d never think this guy is gonna fight right now and it’s his first fight,” explained Rahnavardi.

“I just remembered from wrestling [that] the key was to stay calm.  Because that’s the biggest mistake, is if you  get all worked up, get your adrenaline pumping, when you get into the ring, you’re already  warn out.  You get tired out already.  I tried to stay as calm as possible. . . I was also trying to intimidate, just by acting. . . That’s part of the fight, right?  Just intimidate the other person, then you won’t have to fight, right?” said Tsang.

Tsang’s wrestling came into play during the bout as well: “Lawrence just basically controlled the guy.  Beat him up a little bit on the stand-up, and then grabbed him and took him down, and would just control him.  And he’s just a beast like that.  His base is phenomenal.”

Tsang remembered, “he kicked me twice on my leg, and then after that, I just started kicking him as far as I could. Just to make him think twice about kicking me. . . And then, after awhile, I could feel my legs slowing down a little, so I used my wrestling to take him down, because I didn’t want to lose that advantage [that] I knew I had. . .Most of the match was pretty much me in his guard, hitting him in the stomach.”

"Kung Fu Mike" Orlandella lands a side kick on his opponent.

Orlandella and his opponent, identified as “Nadir,” circled and traded cautious but powerful kicks during the first round.  In round two, business quickly picked up, as the two exchanged kicks almost immediately.  As Nadir charged in with a combination, Orlandella reached for a takedown and took it to the ground, quickly securing side mount.  Nadir muted Orlandella’s offense with half-guard, but the Legends’ fighter peppered him with body shots before sinking in a kimura on the left arm, rolling through and wrenching hard for a quick tapout.

“Michael is a Kung Fu guy.  He’s got a Kung Fu background. . . I used to call him Karate Mike,” explained Rahnavardi. “So before the fight, I go ‘dude, I want you to Kung Fu out, bro.  All your weapons?  Use, ‘em, dude.’  And sure enough, he Kung Fu’ed out, dude. . .He does these crazy-ass side kicks, and weird whip kicks.  And he was landing all that shit.  He was phenomenal.”

The last Legends rep of the night was Dustin Mueller, whom Rahnavardi anointed Legends’ “Biggest Loser,” referring to his athletic makeover.  Trimming down from a chubby 230 lbs. when he first joined the gym, Mueller fought at light heavyweight (205 lbs), facing a significant weight and experience advantage.

Although video of Mueller’s match was unavailable as of press time, Rahnavardi offered his own brand of play-by-play with this account:

Dustin Mueller after winning his debut match.

“So, dude, he gets this fight.  And he’s fighting a guy that’s bigger than him.  And I’d seen the guy fight at the last fight.  The guy wears a green wrestling singlet, and he’s tough. . . Dustin’s had zero fights and this guy’s had two or three fights. . . And I tell Dustin, I’m like ‘just go do your thing.  Have fun’. . . And dude, he comes out, and he fuckin’ beats this guy up, dude.  Boom, kick.  Boom, turning his hip over completely.  These long-ass legs just whipping.  Dude, to the point where this guy was just panicked, bro . . . First two rounds, [Dustin] beats the crap out of him.  Third round, got taken down, but the guy couldn’t do anything to him.  Contol, control.  Won unanimous decision, dude.  I’m tellin’ ya, as a coach, it was one of the most, like, gratifying moments of my whole career.”

“I was totally not ready to fight, at that time,” Mueller recalled.  “Because I was just getting in the middle of getting my hands wrapped.  I [only] had my right hand wrapped, and then I hear my name announced and I freaked out. . . They said ‘Dustin, you got two minutes to get to the ring.’  It was crazy.  I wasn’t even warmed up. . . I had to run back to the locker room to get my mouthpiece, and then my gloves.  When I got to the ring and it started, I just wanted to chop this dude’s legs off. . . That was my game plan, really.  Leg kicks.”

Of his work with Rahnavardi, Mueller said “I owe him a lot of credit for my victory, and my future victories too.  He’s the one who’s trained me, my whole time here at Legends . . . when I got to Legends, I was like 230 lbs., and I was this fatass.  I owe a lot to Amir, man.”

Legends Finishes the Year with Blood and Sweat, but No Tears

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports, Tuff-N-Uff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2009 by jaytan716

The final Tuff-N-Uff of 2009 took place on November 27th, at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.Legends MMA wrapped up their competitive team schedule over the weekend, sending up three fighters – Eddie Jackson, Chris Brady, and newcomer Tommy Gavin – to fight at the final Tuff-N-Uff amateur MMA event of the year.  Gavin and Jackson both emerged victorious with crowd-pleasing first-round finishes, while Brady battled over three three-minute rounds to the short end of a close and debatable unanimous decision.

In the days after the fight, head trainer Chris Reilly commented “obviously, I’m really proud of the guys.  Everybody fought their hearts out, and they always do.”

“Obviously, Tommy was as technically perfect as somebody can be, for their debut, on a big show like that. . . Eddie Jackson is Eddie Jackson.  We always know he comes to fight.  But I thought he looked [calmer] and [more] composed this fight than he has in the past, which is where we’re trying to go with him. . . Brady had a great fight.  He was in there banging the whole time.  Certainly not a performance that he should have any shame about.”

Lightweight Tommy Gavin won his debut Tuff-N-Uff match in under a minute by submission.

155 lbs. – Tommy Gavin vs. Rob Isenor (Striking Unlimited)

Gavin, the younger brother of pro fighter Steve Gavin, is one of the two recent additions to the Legends MMA amateur team.  He was originally scheduled to face Alex Brooks of Hawaiian Fighting Arts, but Brooks was forced to pull out at the last minute due to injury.

In a match that was almost too short to report, after a very brief feeling out period, Gavin shot in for a takedown, took full mount, and slapped on an arm triangle.  Isenor was asleep before the referee was able to stop the match at 0:46 seconds of the first round.

“I remember he was throwing fast kicks.  I took him down and I transitioned right into the arm triangle,” said Gavin, whose thoughts on the match were as brief as the match itself.

Apparently, Gavin channeled the spirit of Babe Ruth and his famous “called shot,” as the young lightweight decided backstage exactly how he’d finish the match.  According to Reilly, “right before he actually went to fight, he goes ‘I’m gonna take this guy down quick, and choke him out.’  I was like ‘well, that’s the game plan.’ And he did it.”

Eddie Jackson tagged Jesse Bowler early in the first round with this right.

170 lbs. – Eddie Jackson (Legends MMA) vs. Jesse Bowler (Filipino MMA)

Jackson, known for his heavy hands and don’t-blink TKO finishes, faced one of his toughest challenges in Bowler, who was riding back-to-back submission wins.

After an awkward front kick from Bowler, Jackson charged in and clinched up in the corner.  Bowler was able to tie up with double underhooks, but Jackson countered with Muay Thai knees and right punches to break them apart.  He chased after Bowler to the other side of the ring and dropped him to his butt with a right hook that many thought would end the match.  But Bowler was able to recover, clinching up against the ropes.  Bowler tried grounding Jackson with a side headlock takedown, but Jackson slipped out from behind, following up shortly thereafter with a left hook that proved to be the beginning to the end.  Jackson complemented the shot with ground and pound until the referee stopped the match.

Fully aware that Bowler’s headlock takedown / neck crank was his signature submission, Jackson worked extensively with teammate Bryan Brown, a 13-year wrestling veteran, to avoid the scenario.  When he found himself in Bowler’s clutch, Jackson said “I panicked a little bit, because that’s how he caught everybody, with that same fuckin’ headlock. . . I knew what to do, and I did exactly what I had to do.  I snuck out the back door.”

Post-fight, Brown was beaming, saying “I was so proud.  It went exactly like we thought it would.  He did everything that he said he was going to do, and it just worked out perfectly . . . His takedown defense was much improved since the last time I saw him fight. . . And I just knew Eddie’s striking was on a whole other level.”

135 lbs. – Chris Brady (Legends MMA) vs. Gor Mnatsakanyan (Filipino MMA)

Brady’s prior two outings, both with Xtreme Couture’s Jimmy Jones, ended in misfortune and controversy.  During that same time, Mnatsakanyan notched up a pair of unanimous decision wins, each time surprising fans and commentators who debated the verdicts.  With those ingredients, this match was sure to provide a fresh and engaging challenge for each combatant.

Chris Brady and Gor Mnatsakanyan traded leather on the feet for most of a 3 x 3 round war of attrition.

After a brief trade in the first round, Mnatsakanyan set the pace by circling the perimeter of the ring, stick-and-moving with high-kick and side-kick combinations, while Brady stalked him from the center.  Brady tagged Mnatsakanyan with an overhand right before getting taken down.  However, Brady held his knees up to prevent Mnatsakanyan from fully passing guard.  Mnatsakanyan later knocked Brady down with a three-punch combo, punctuated with a high left kick, just before the end of the round.  The second round saw more circling and stalking, respectively, and another trip takedown with Mnatsakanyan on top.  Brady reversed and dropped punches briefly, but then let up.  Brady stayed competitive, landing counterstrike combinations.  He went into overdrive in round three, throwing a flying knee and employing a Thai clinch at separate times.  Both men exchanged spinning backhands at one point.  Brady scored a takedown, but let Mnatsakanyan, who by then was visibly winded, up to his feet.  They were against the ropes exchanging body shots as the final round ended.

Judges award the match to Gor Mnatsakanyan by unanimous decision off scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.

“It always sucks to lose,” said Brady matter-of-factly.  “I was trying to stay tight with my defense, because I knew he was gonna be throwing some crazy shit like that.  Put pressure on him, and try to outwork him there.  I don’t know.  I felt like I was landing hard punches.  I didn’t kick nearly as much in this fight.  I think I probably should have kicked a little more,” said Brady in retrospect.

Of his protégé’s performance, Reilly said “I think he just let himself get slightly outworked by a guy that was throwing a lot of stuff.  Nothing was really all that accurate.  [Mnatsakanyan] didn’t really hit him that hard. . . It was hard, coming off the disappointment in the last fight [in August, against Jones] . . . I think that’s why he probably has a hard time getting fully back up for this fight.  So obviously I’d like to see a rematch there.  I think that’s a fight Brady wins more often than he loses it.  I know he’s probably disappointed, but it was probably a good learning experience for him.”

Nevertheless, Reilly is confident that his young star will bounce back: “Brady’s a veteran at this point.  He’s got over 13 Muay Thai fights and nine MMA fights, so he’s seen both sides of wins and losses in fights.  And he’s in it for life.  This is his career.  It’s always tough to take a loss.  If it’s not, you’re not in the right sport.”

Although there was no vocal debate over the decision, several people believed Brady won the fight.  Teammate Brown noted “I seriously thought that even though the dude was throwing flashy shit, I thought it looked better than it was in it’s effectiveness.  I thought that all of Brady’s countershots and his really clean striking did more damage.  And so, even though the guy might have outstruck him in the first round, I actually really thought Brady won the second and the third round.”

Despite the decision, Brady’s spirits stayed high in the aftermath.  “It’s cool to go up there and fight and be around all the famous legends.  Last time. . . after fighting Jimmy Jones, Randy Couture said ‘great fight, kid.’ Gave me daps.  And this time, after that fight, Wanderlei Silva was in the crowd, was looking at me and he looked at me and he pointed at me and he put his hand over his chest, like ‘you got heart.’  And I was like ‘word!’ .  . . It’s confirmation that I’m not doing this for nothing.”

Two other fighters, Takashi Munoz and Christian Palencia, were also scheduled to compete, but injuries in the last two weeks of training sidelined them from getting in one last fight for the year.

“It was sad not to get a couple of the other guys on, because they were really well prepared too . . . both pretty heavy-duty injuries, especially a week before a fight. Not something that anybody could have fought through,” said Reilly.

But the team is optimistic for their prospects for 2010.  The October opening of Legends’ new location has brought about a hungry new squad of aspiring fighters, many of whom will likely debut next year.  Leading the pack are middleweights Bryan Brown and Ryan Lupkes, while teammates like Jacob Martel, Benjamin Sample, Lila Smadja, Bex Fouquet, and Dawna Gonzales look to represent Legends for the first time.  Likewise, Munoz, Palencia, and Strikeforce lightweight Conor “The Hurricane” Heun will set out to put injuries behind them and return to their winning ways.

“I think these guys are in great shape, and I think there’s been a huge added benefit to coming into this new facility.  We have a lot more space.  We have a lot more areas for guys to train.  It’s attracting a lot of the big-name pros back. . . So it’s a constant state of evolution, and all we can keep doing is keep working and keep trying to improve and keep trying to bring in fresh talent.  I think we’re all getting to where we’re trying to go,” commented Reilly.

Brady added, “everybody knows that if you’re fighting the guys from Legends, it’s gonna be a helluva fight.  I feel like the promoters and the people of Las Vegas, and the fighters themselves knows that Chris Brady, Eddie Jackson, Takashi Munoz, Chris Reilly, Conor Heun and those guys – we come and we fuckin’ bring it.  Every fuckin’ time.”

In other Tuff-N-Uff action that night:

Chris Alvanado (Striking Unlimited) defeated Colt “45” Bowler (Filipino MMA) by unanimous decision

Marcus Aven (Right Cross from PB Fight Center) defeated Eric Center (Xtreme Couture) by submission (armbar), round 1

Jordan Wright (Strike Sub Club) defeated Justin Rote (Freestyle) by submission (triangle choke), round 1

Joden Seiders (Throwdown) defeated Chris Holiday (Alliance MMA) by TKO (strikes), round 1

Tim Bowman (Striking Unlimited) defeated Dan McCoy (Fighting Dragons) by TKO (strikes), round 1

Edmond Xhelili (Warriors / Top Notch) defeated Brandon Sheard (Alliance MMA) by TKO (strikes), round 2

Evva Johnson (Sommerset Karate) defeated Kristen Mason (PKG) by submission (armbar), round 1

Victor Henry (Strike Sub Club) defeated Cory Jeffers (Xtreme Couture) by TKO (Jeffers was unable to answer the bell for round 3)

Joe Ray (Striking Unlimited) defeated P.J. Dombrowski (Xtreme Couture) by TKO (strikes), round 1

Cory Turner (IMMA) defeated Anthony Lee (Never Tired) by TKO, round 3

Latasha Marzolla (Xtreme Couture) defeated Kate McGray (Strike Sub Club) by unanimous decision

Tuff-N-Uff Amateur Fighting Championships returns to the Orleans Hotel & Casino on Saturday, January 8th, 2010.  Go to www.TuffNUff.net or www.OrleansCasino.com for details on buying tickets and reserving rooms, and check back here for details on Legends’ next fights.