Archive for Muay Thai

China defeats US 5-3 in best of nine kickboxing series

Posted in Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2010 by jaytan716

Photos by Ray Kasprowicz

Lin Shuai was antics and business at "USA vs. China" kicking his way to a unanimous decision victory.

Sino-US relations took another big step towards cooperative diplomacy at Harrah’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on November 13th, as the televised Chinese martial arts series WuLinFeng and In Sync Productions’ World Combat Kickboxing (WCK) presented “WuLinFeng Las Vegas Spectacular: USA vs. China.” This event was taped for broadcast on Henan TV in China, as well as other international carriers of WCK Muay Thai.

“I thought there were some great donnybrooks,” said Dennis Warner, event promoter and In Sync president.

The nine-bout pro-am card was a mix of seven WuLinFeng rules and two full Muay Thai rules, with the Nevada State Athletic Commission overseeing sanction and regulation. In the end, China edged out the Americans, winning five matches, including both WCK full rules Muay Thai matches. However, the Americans had their moral victories as well, winning three matches under WuLinFeng rules. The lone female match on the card, a WCK full rules Muay Thai match, ended in a draw.

WuLinFeng closely resemble K-1 kickboxing rules, which prohibits elbows to the head and does not count trips to the ground as knockdowns. Between the rules in most matches and the Chinese-heavy crowd, the night was a showcase of Chinese martial arts stars. And although that didn’t prevent the American side from providing formidable opposition and even a few upsets, the design and booking behind the night was not only clear, but on many levels, intentional.

“Primarily, we marketed to the Chinese audience, and part of that was the date. Manny Pacquiao is fighting the same night, so we focused more on doing the Chinese fighting style . . . when you’re trying to expand a market, you have to go into some demographic groups that don’t necessarily understand fighting, but when they come and get energized by it. . . I had so many Chinese Americans come up to me and say ‘wow, we never come, but we really love this, and we want to come back’,” explained promoter Dennis Warner.

Southern California's Shane Oblonsky used body shots to upset Xu Yan via unanimous decision.

Among the highlights of the night was a career-vaulting decision win by Southern California’s Shane Oblonsky over Xu “The Chinese Lion” Yan, a K-1 fighter who recently beat Muay Thai legend Malaipet Sitraprom in Malaysia.

“Every time I would throw a punch, he had a really high guard. I watched his fights before, and he leaves his body open. So I was just trying to get him to open up a little bit, and try to punish him a little bit to the body,“ he said. “Hopefully, that’ll catch some attention, and I can get a fight [in Japan].”

With a win over such an accredited opponent, Oblonsky finds himself several notches closer to title contention.

“Shane fought on many of my shows. I turned him pro. He got knocked out in his first fight, and since that first fight, he’s won five in a row. So he’s really become a force of nature. I look forward to seeing him vie for a WBC national title pretty soon,” said Warner.

Likewise, Adrien Grotte claimed the finish of the night, a second-round KO on Yi Long via left hook. Ironically, it was Yi, the self-proclaimed “Warrior Monk,” who established an early lead, tripping Grotte twice in the first 30 seconds of round one.

“We knew he was going to be awkward, because he’s not really fighting out of a Muay Thai or kickboxing type position. He’s trying to incorporate some traditional kung fu, which is cool, I guess. . . He’s very fast. He’s good right side, left side. But he had nothing that was scary . . . And he drops his hands. You just can’t do that in front of Adrien,” said Grotte’s trainer, Bob Karmel.

Scottsdale, AZ's Adrien Grotte knocked out Yi Long in the second round with an unsuspecting but effective left hook.“I’ve been trying to get Adrien on one of [Dennis’] cards, because Adiren’s a very impressive fighter. He has that physical look that’s good for marketing, and he’s a strong, devastating fighter. . . He is one aggressive, hungry guy who can take some punishment and keeps on going. So when Dennis gave us an opportunity to fight on a bit of a high profile show like this, we just had to jump on it,” added Karmel.

For the Chinese, the big finish was when Wang Hongxiang stopped “Cowboy” Heath Harris in round one with leg kicks, until the referee called off the match at 2:59, literally the last second of the first round. The two light heavyweights swung hard, heavy and wild, with Wang continuously attacking Harris’ knees and thighs, to chop down the big cowboy to the end. Wang is the captain of the Chinese team, and previously beat Joe Schilling last year in the same town.

Likewise, big-name Chinese fighters Kang Er and Li Ning walked away with strong decision wins, though it was the demonstrably brash and theatrical Lin Shuai who provided the antics for the night. Lin, whose surname literally translates as “handsome,” came out with a very nontraditional swagger of arrogance, and continued to make big, challenging faces to his opponent, Alfred Khashkyan, and even the audience. The match itself was in impressive slugfest of alpha male attitude, though in the end, Lin proved to have the skills to pay the bills, earning a decisive unanimous decision.

“You love those types of guys. He’s a good-looking guy. He loves being in the ring. He loves fighting. It makes it easy to be promotable. Because people identify with that. They want that confidence. They want that aura of invincibility. And he brings that,” commented Warner.

WuLinFeng Las Vegas Spectacular full results are as follows:

WuLinFeng Cruiserweight Bout – Andy Kapel def. Guo Qiang 强 via unanimous decision on scores of 29-28.

WBC Muay Thai International Super Lightweight Bout – Kang En康恩 def. Ben Yelle via unanimous decision.

WuLinFeng Middleweight Bout – Hong Guang 洪光 def. Jack Thames via TKO / corner threw in the towel, R2, 2:52.

WBC Muaythai Super Featherweight Bout (5 rounds) – Li Ning 李宁def. Nat McIntyre via unanimous decision off scores of 50-45.

WuLinFeng Super Welterweight Bout – Shane Oblonsky def Xu Yan 徐炎via unanimous decision off scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.

WuLinFeng Light Heavyweight Bout – Wang Hongxiang 王洪祥 def. “Cowboy” Heath Harris via TKO / referee’s stoppage, R1, 2:59

WuLinFeng Women’s Featherweight Bout – Tiffany vanSoest majority draw Wang Mung 聪 off scores of 29-28, 28-28, and 28-28.

WuLinFeng Super Lightweight Bout – Lin Shuai 帅def. Alfred Khashakyan via unanimous decision off scores of 30-27.

WuLinFeng Middleweight Bout – Adrien Grotte def. Yi Long 龙 via KO, R2, 0:44.

WuLinFeng and Dennis Warner's WCK came together on November 13th for their second "USA vs. China" series in Las Vegas, NV.

The WuLinFeng – In Sync partnership dates back three years, when Warner started bringing Chinese fighters over for his Muay Thai events in the States. After awhile, a mutual talent trade started to develop, including several “USA vs. China” events in the People’s Republic. Their inaugural event with this theme was in August 2009 at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Now, with a second domestic “USA vs. China” event under their belts, Warner acknowledges that the partners are looking to build and expand on the theme.

“In our partnership with Wulinfeng, we’re talking about doing more of an international show, where we bring WCK and Wulinfeng to different countries around the world, and make it more of a worldwide sport. Not just focusing on the US or China. Obviously, the US and China are the two big economic powerhouses in the world, so it makes sense to keep doing this, and we will. . . We’re trying to help them and they’re trying to help us. And that’s what really motivates businesses to grow together.”

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“Don’t Call It A Comeback!” – Legends performs memorably over Memorial Day weekend

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports, Tuff-N-Uff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2010 by jaytan716

Legends MMA won four out of five matches in Las Vegas over Memorial Day weekend.

It was going to be a tough weekend, with five fighters competing on two different cards, only 48 hours apart, but Chris Reilly, Eddie Bravo, and Conor Heun led Alan Jouban, Eugene Marenya, Christian Palencia, Tommy Gavin, and Chris “Boulevard” Brady to an impressive series of wins at Tuff-N-Uff’s two-day amateur MMA showcase this past weekend.

“We had a great weekend. We had great coaching, and it’s good to pay them back for all the work they’ve put in with us with some nice wins,” said Gavin, who turned two consecutive losses around with an impressive, heavy-handed TKO in the first round.

Jouban, Marenya, and Palencia fought on Friday, May 28th, while Gavin and Brady had matches on Sunday, May 30th. Overall, the team went 4-1, with the only loss, Palencia’s split decision to Jimmy Spicuzza (Team Lethal), igniting a wave of controversy among fans, fighters, and even the promotion and sanctioning body officials who felt that Palencia deserved the victory.

“Christian had a great fight. That was just back and forth. . . And everyone here thought Christian won the first and the third, and gave the other guy the second,” commented Jouban.

As close as the match was, Palencia was able to see both sides of the coin, saying “to me, I was in offense. He was in survival mode when I had him in those guillotines. . . Also, when I was fighting him, it really felt like I was the one being the aggressor. But then, I guess, what can counter that is I guess him taking me down”

Always one to find the silver lining, for Palencia, even without his hand raised, the moral victory was his: “Overall, I felt pretty good about my performance. . . It’s been over a year since I fought, and [fighting in] the same month that I started training again and coming back from my injury – I feel good, coming back and still being able to perform. No fears or anything.”

Tuff-N-Uff Future Stars of MMA – Friday, May 28th

170 lbs. – Alan Jouban x Joden Sieders (Throwdown)

Alan Jouban finished off his opponent with this rear naked choke in the first round.

Jouban looked very composed for his second Tuff-N-Uff appearance, opening the round with a right kick and a flurry of punches, punctuated by a head kick that Sieders ducked. Sieders shot in for a clinch, but Jouban fended it off, slipping in a knee. From out of nowhere, Jouban landed a superman punch that immediately dropped Sieders. Jouban pounced, firing lefts and rights on the ground, before taking the back and sinking in a rear naked choke for the win.

Alan Jouban wins by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:16 of the first round.

“He’s already was really seasoned and composed. . . Everyone sees Alan being a Muay Thai fighter, but now he’s definitely an MMA fighter,” commented Palencia.

According to Jouban, the difference between this and his previous Tuff-N-Uff showings, despite them both being first round finishes, was vast: “I was so balled up in the first one. Just ready to explode. So much weight and pressure on me. And this one, I was very relaxed. I just remember going out there and seeing people in the crowd, and looking for my girl. I was just very aware of everything, and it had me a little bit worried that I was so relaxed.”

“Reilly said many times that it takes 10 fights to get to that level, before you go pro. And [I realized afterwards] that was my 10th fight. . . But I was told afterwards that people could see it in my body language – they said ‘you looked real relaxed. You were looking like you were trying to pick your shots, rather than just explode.’ So it felt great. I’m hoping that’s the feeling I get; Now that I’ve hit that level of certain fights.”

170 lbs. – Eugene Marenya x Mike Sutton (Fasi Sports / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu)

Eugene Marenya came close to finishing in the first round. He went on to win by split decision.

Round One: Sutton got a takedown early, but Marenya got to his feet with little problem, keeping the clinch and firing knees. After breaking apart, Sutton tried the stand-up game, but Marenya’s reach was too much. Sutton tried to take him to the ground with a clinch, but it was Marenya who ended up on top, punishing Sutton’s ribs with strong rights to the body. Marenya continued with the ground and pound to the round’s end.

Round Two: Again, Sutton charged in and tried for a trip takedown, but Marenya once more ended up on top, ground-and-pounding and passing guard. Sutton did spin around and get full mount in his own corner, landing some rights of his own, but Marenya eventually turned it around. They got into the ropes then fell into the corner, with Marenya on bottom. Marenya did get to his feet, but Sutton worked a guillotine choke to keep him grounded, and eventually took his back with hooks in, firing rights on Marenya from behind. If Marenya took the first round, this was definitely Sutton’s.

Round Three: Sutton went in for the takedown, and eventually did force a single leg, but Marenya got up and threw a knee to break it up. Marenya’s combos kept Sutton at bay. Another Sutton shot and another Marenya sprawl. Sutton tries to spin him to the ground, but Marenya was calm in defending. Sutton kept trying for takedowns, with shots and body clinches, but to no avail.

Eugene Marenya wins by split decision, off scores of 29-27, 29-27, and 28-29. All three judges were in agreement that Marenya won the first round, while Sutton took the second round. However, two judges awarded Marenya 10-8 scores in the first, while one gave a 10-9. The second round was 10-9 across the board, which still had Marenya ahead 19-18, 19-18, and 19-19 even. The same two judges who awarded 10-8s in the first gave 10-9s to Marenya for the third, while the final judge awarded Sutton the final round by 10-9.

“I felt that Eugene won because of his work to finish. I felt like he almost finished that fight a couple different times. . . And I also thought that the last 15 seconds of the first round was pretty ridiculous. He was sitting there pounding on that dude, and all the dude was doing was holding his hands up. And they let it go. I thought that fight should have been stopped then and there. Especially if they’re supposed to be stopping fights early,” said Brady.

“I think Eugene learned a lot in that fight. That he’s not always going to be able to use his strength and length and athleticism to his advantage. He’s gotta throw his technique in there. But we were all real proud of him. He toughed it out. It was a hard-fought fight. He pulled off the W and that’s all that matters,” said Jouban.

155 lbs. – Christian Palencia x Jimmy Spicuzza (Team Lethal)

Christian Palencia made a tremendous comeback after a year-long hiatus.

Round One: Palencia looked more determined than he usually does, which, once the bell rings, is extremely focused. Spicuzza’s vocal fan base clearly confirmed the hometown boy’s popularity. Spicuzza caught a right kick early, dumping Palencia to the ground. Engaging on the feet, Palencia stalked Spicuzza from the center, keeping him against the ropes and forcing him into the corner. Spicuzza grounded Palencia with a high takedown, but Palencia threatened for several minutes with a tight guillotine choke. Spicuzza did eventually pop out, but was ineffective from the top. Palencia should have won this round with the guillotine and more aggressive striking.

Round Two: Spicuzza continued to circle while Palencia followed him from the center. Spicuzza scored a takedown and side control, but let Palencia up after getting nothing on the ground. Palencia with a right low kick, and later charged in. Spicuzza worked for a clinch takedown, but Palencia instead slipped in a standing guillotine and jumped guard before round’s end.

Round Three: Spicuzza caught another kick and tried to dump Palencia again, but doesn’t. Palencia, however, did get a takedown off a kick. Spicuzza held him in closed guard, but Palencia was able to stand over him and almost pass guard. Palencia ended up in closed guard again, ground-and-pounding to the end of the round.

Judges award the bout to Jimmy Spicuzza by split decision.

In the days after the match, Gavin suggested that the match could have been quite different with three-minute rounds: “it would have been nice to see Christian and Jimmy – they’re both Tuff-N-Uff veterans – get the three three-minute rounds for the main event. I think that would have showed even better. But with the shorter rounds, sometimes that takedown and getting on top, is real big to the judges.”

Heun likewise echoed the sentiment: “[Spicuzza] wasn’t able to do anything, but they score takedowns very highly out there. . . I thought [Palencia] did more damage. I thought he was trying to finish the fight. Would I like the judging criteria changed? Yes. I think the fights should be judged on a whole.”

According to the scorecards, the difference was in the first round, when two judges awarded Spicuzza the round, while one judge saw Palencia winning. All judges agreed that Spicuzza won the second round and Palencia the third. The end result was scores of 28-29, 29-28, and 29-28 in favor of Spicuzza.

“I felt like I got the win. I think the judges just couldn’t tell how tight my guillotines were. The one in the first round, I thought I had that one. The one in the second round. . . it felt really tight, but when I dropped down, I somehow lost it. And then in the third round, I felt like I definitely controlled him on top, and was hitting him up on top. When he took me down, he wasn’t doing anything.”

In other Tuff-N-Uff action that night:

140 lbs. – Joseph Viola (Team Fasi / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu) def. Ramsen Merza (LA Boxing) via TKO, R3, 1:20.

160 lbs. – Lyle Rivera (Hard Knox) def. Carlos Caliso, Jr. (Team Spiritwolf) via split decision.

145 lbs. – Mac McNamara (Xtreme Couture) def. Johnny Parsons (Team Fasi / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu) via split decision.

185 lbs. – Chris Gates (Team Fasi / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu)  def. PJ Dombrowski (Xtreme Couture) via TKO, R3, 1:37.

145 lbs. – Justin Vadnais (Vadnais Fight Team) def. Jovon Lorenzo (Freestyle) via TKO / doctor’s stoppage, R2.

155 lbs. – Dustin Bredwick (Team Fasi / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu) def. Paul Blancaflor (Team Spiritwolf) via submission (rear naked choke), R3, 0:53.

155 lbs. – Jason Rivera (Wand Fight Team) def. Zac Chance (Xtreme Couture) via split decision.

160 lbs. – Chris Camacho Gameness Competition Team) def. Jon Gorton (Team Quest / Reign Training Center) via unanimous decision.

205 lbs. – Joseph Mengali (Team PFS) def. Tim Martyn (Freestyle) via TKO, R1, 1:10.

185 lbs. – Greg Gifford (Team Fasi / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu) def. Weston Duschen (Xtreme Couture) via ?? R2, 0:51.

Tuff-N-Uff 115 lbs. Women’s Championship –Ashley Cummins def. Gabriella Lakoczky (Wand Fight Team) via unanimous decision.

Tuff-N-Uff Future Stars of MMA – Sunday, May 30th

Only 48 hours later, in the same ballroom at the Orleans, Tuff-N-Uff promoted twelve more matches, with fighters coming from as far as New Mexico (Jackson’s MMA) and Missouri (St. Louis MMA). Though the crowd was somewhat “hungover in enthusiasm” at the onset of the show, having watched as many as 23 fights since Friday evening, the ballroom filled up quickly for the show, and was as heated for the main event as just about any other previous Tuff-N-Uff show.

170 lbs. – Tommy Gavin x Lee Henry Lilly (Striking Unlimited)

Tommy Gavin got to showcase his striking stylings with a first round TKO.

Having fought his last three fights at 155, Gavin moved up a weight class for this event. Being a lifelong wrestler, one would think that he would be extra sensitive to the 15 pound difference, but in fact, Gavin felt very comfortable, noting “I’ve got the strength and power of a 170-pounder. So I think I could fight at either weight class pretty comfortably. . . Not having to do that weight cut was nice for this one, but I don’t know if I’m going to make my home at 170 or 155. I think I’d like to go back down. “

Gavin and Lilly didn’t hesitate in going toe-to-toe with each other, immediately throwing heavy combos to the head. Gavin tried to take control of the pace with a Muay Thai clinch, then underhooks, as they vied for position. Gavin went for the trip takedown, but Lilly broke away with a knee. Coming in with a jab, Gavin caught a left from Lilly that threw him to one knee, but was quick to recover and drop Lilly with an overhand right. Gavin pounced and nailed Lilly on the ground with three more left hooks before referee Jason Tevino stepped in and stopped the match.

Tommy Gavin wins by TKO, R1, 1:06

“We told him not to wrestle so much, to believe in his hands, and he believed enough to put a kid to sleep,” summerized Heun.

For teammate Chris Brady, Gavin’s win hit a personal note, explaining “it made me really happy to see him finish his fight definitively, because we both were on the same track, and he fought before me. . . We had really talked before about snapping that losing streak that we’d gotten on and getting back on track. Back to winning.”

135 lbs. – Chris Brady x Maurice Senters (Striking Unlimited)

Fans saw the new, improved ground game of Chris "Boulevard" Brady.

Round One: Neither fighter had any problem firing combos from the get-go. Senters forced Brady to the ground with a trip takedown, but was trapped in closed guard and soon stuck in an oma plata, which Brady rode on him until scrambling to the feet, where Brady threw knees, holding a front facelock. Breaking apart, Brady got a lot more liberal with his kicks, landing multiples to the legs and body. Senters, to his credit, didn’t shy away from the offense, shoving Brady to the ground when Senters was stuck eating knees in a Muay Thai clinch. Brady worked a closed guard, then oma plata as the round closed.

Round Two: Both men came out firing legs. Senters caught a right leg and scored a trip takedown, but Brady again worked mission control and an oma plata from the ground position. Eventually, Senters escaped, bringing the fight back to the feet, but Brady had answers there as well, keeping on the attack with combos punctuated by kicks. Senters scored another trip takedown off a kick, but Brady worked for a triangle choke for the remaining time.

Round Three: More kicks from both sides. Senters tripped Brady off another leg catch, but opted not to follow to the ground. Brady kept Senters on the defensive, attacking with combinations punctuated by leg and body kicks. Brady took the fight to the ground with a modified side headlock, spinning Senters down and passing guard. Senters worked to his knees, but Brady stayed with him, riding his back with wrestling legs and a body triangle. Senters eventually did reverse, caught in Brady’s closed guard as the bell ended the match.

“That was a turning point for me – coming up and performing that way. I think my conditioning was a lot better. I was in way better shape . . . the fights before, I had some personal issues and things that were going on at the time. But what you strive for as a professional is to be able to go in there and do your job and do the best you can every time. No matter what happens in your personal life. That’s your job.  So I chalk that one up as a learning experience to keep your mind focused on what’s going on. So that you can always perform at your best, no matter what,” reflected Brady.

For Jouban, Brady’s performance on the ground was a larger declaration of how the team has improved, explaining “the Legends guys – you have to fear them on the ground, finally. You don’t want to fuck with us on our feet, but then this guy didn’t want any part of Brady on the ground. So I was real proud of that. That Brady would get him in his guard and the guy would try to back out. He didn’t want to even try to pound.”

In other Tuff-N-Uff action that day:

185 lbs. – Cody Clunas (Freestyle) def. Matt Brisky (Freestyle) via submission (rear naked choke), R1, 1:15.

170 lbs. – Damian Jackson (Hard Knox) def. Justin Bonner (Throwdown) via TKO, R2, 0:41.

265 lbs. – Ahmed Sanchez (TapouT Training Center) def. Phillip Hernandez via TKO, R2, 1:17.

185 lbs. – Jarred Hopkins (Wand Fight Team) def. Sedrick Sweet (One Kick Nick) via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Barry Prevost (Striking Unlimited) def. Zach Grossman (Wand Fight Team) via KO, R1, 0:14.

155 lbs. – Kalino Yap (Tapout Training Center) def. Alex Brooks (Hawaiian Fighting Arts) via unanimous decision.

145 lbs. – Jace Crawford (TapouT Training Center) def. Rene Flores (Wand Fight Team) via TKO, R1, 1:40.

135 lbs. – Emily Peters-Kagen (Jackson’s MMA) def. Autumn Richardson (Team Quest) via TKO / doctor’s stoppage, R1, 0:23.

265 lbs. – Kevin Absher (TapouT Training Center) def. Chris Simmons via KO, R2, 1:13.

Perhaps the icing on the cake for this weekend of top performances was the lengths from which the team turned things around, having struggled through their previous Tuff-N-Uff event. In fact, until this weekend, the amateur team’s combined record was a difficult 1-8-1 in 2010. “That previous card, where we went 1-4, I thought we had a tougher training camp. Sometimes you just can’t get the W, even if you train your butt off. . . This one, I was working my ass off. People had different things going on. . . It was tough, but we were able to pull together, stick together as a team,” commented Jouban.

With Heun, a Strikeforce fighter, coming back next Wednesday from a year-long hiatus to face former EliteXC lightweight champion KJ Noons, he looks to take the momentum and continue the turnaround: “I’ve been talking the talk to those guys for a long time.  And finally I’m going to be able to walk the walk, and let them see what I’m talking about. I think that spurred by the great victories last weekend at Tuff-N-Uff. And following my victory over KJ, I think it’s going to be the dawning of a new era for the Legends fight team.

Tuff-N-Uff returns to the Orleans Hotel & Casino on July 2nd.

Legends MMA is sponsored by X-Pole, Melee Fight Gear, and MMA Elite.

CAMO Event Round Up for 4.21.10 to 4.25.10

Posted in CAMO, Live Event Reports, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2010 by jaytan716

No Limits to Where MMA Can Go

Certainly, combat sports are among the last types of entertainment one would expect to see at a country club mid-week, but that didn’t stop the Shady Canyon Golf Club and No Limits MMA from teaming up on April 21st for a four-match Pankration event, which was held right in the club’s main banquet hall.

“The country club was looking for some type of excitement to bring their members together and kick start the season’s events and golfing tournament,“ explained No Limits head trainer / matchmaker Juliano Prado.  “I feel it was a great experience. The event gave an opportunity for the fighters to experience MMA in a safe and controlled environment. I feel like the crowd was pleased,” he added.

In fact, this was the second go-round for the two unlikely groups. Last year, No Limits brought a five-match amateur boxing card to kick off 2010 Talon Cup Golf Tournament, which is hosted at the club annually.

However, this was the first venture into Pankration for Prado, a noted Jiu Jitsu master with a 4-2-0 pro MMA record, according to Sherdog.com.  With each match featuring a No Limits amateur fighter, the team went 2-2 in competition.

“I coached guys in the UFC before, and I’ve been to PRIDE before, and done numerous Jiu Jitsu tournaments, but I’ve never been to a Pankration event. So I would approach the striking as a very different manner. So as a coach, it was also a new experience for me and I was glad to be a part of it.”

Match results from No Limits 4/21/10 Pankration at Shady Canyon Country Club are as follows:

196 lbs. (catch weight) – Andre “Priest” Holmes def. Nolan Newbury via split decision.

130 lbs. – Ronald Henderson def. Anthony Cendejas via submission, R1, 0:47. Henderson was medically suspended, contingent on a subsequent medical check-up.

175 lbs. – Tim Leach def. Fred Cheatham via submission, R3, 0:55.

155 lbs. – Ivan Arevalo def. Kurtiss Neilsen via submission, R1, 0:52.

In the wake of his event, Prado is even more convinced that Pankration, like Jiu Jitsu, is a valuable part of the early training process for any aspiring MMA fighter

“I think the way to go is jiu jitsu tournaments, which would be the first step, because it doesn’t have any type of striking. Then you can move on to Pankration style of fighting. Then you can go to amateur MMA and pro MMA. I think that either that or doing [an exhibition] – kickboxing, would be, depending on your background, would be the natural and safe way to go.”

International Fight Showdown (IFS) kicks off 16-man lightweight tournament

That same weekend, Red Scorpion Promotions, known for their Muay Thai events, held the opening round of their 2010 International Fight Showdown, a 16-man lightweight (155 lbs.) MMA tournament that continues bi-monthly throughout the year.

“Everything was in order and well organized.  The fighters were focused and were very professional and respectful in our IFS event. . . Everyone at the event was happy with the quality of the matches as well,” said Red Scorpion promoter Master Shawn Shilati in an email reply.

The group is also promoting a lightweight Muay Thai tournament on alternating months.

Shilati was particularly impressed with the wide array of faces and martial arts schools that participated, noting several school representatives inquired about participating in future IFS events.

“A well deserved thank you to Gloria Casella, Event Manager of IFS.  We have been working together for the past 8 years and she is a wonderful asset.  I also would like to thank our wonderful volunteers and IFS staff for putting their amount of time and effort to make this IFS events possible. . . We are looking forward to the better and bigger IFS shows,” he added.

Match results from IFS tournament quarterfinals 4/21/10 event at Knott’s Berry Farm Resort Hotel are as follows:

155 lbs. – Christopher Fajardo def. Evan Richards via TKO, R1, 0:57.

155 lbs. – Richie Placencia def. Nick Kim via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Reshan Sabaratnam def. Albert “Beto” Rodriguez via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Sergio Guerrero def. Morgan Ramirez via submission (choke), R2, 0:57.

155 lbs. – Takayuki Hirano def. Chad Conte via TKO, R2, 1:04.

155 lbs. – Ron Scolesdang def. Jimmy Chavez via split decision.

165 lbs. (non-tournament match) – Brad Kirk def. Robert Anderson via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Richard King def. Alex Castellanos via TKO, R2, 1:07

Quarterfinal pairings are expected to be made public imminently, According to Shilati, should any of the eight quarterfinalists be unable to continue in the tournament, a losing fighter from this weekend’s event will be selected to return, based on the fighter’s record and previous IFS performance.  Likewise, replacements for a semifinalist will be drawn from the pool of losing quarterfinal fighters.

County Cage Fighting in Yucaipa

On that same night, a mini-show dubbed “Country Cage Fighting” took place at Angie’s Roadhouse in Yucaipa.

Match results from County Cage Fighting 4/24/10 in Yucaipa are as follows:

145 lbs. – Ben Weilein def. Jacobo Martinez via submission, R2, 1:41.

170 lbs. – John Blandi def. Frank Zaragoza via submission, R2, 1:23. Zaragoza was suspended for 180 days.

180 lbs. – Brock Paggan def. Bill Burley via submission, R1, 1:30. Burley was suspended for 60 days.

The quarterfinals of the International Fight Showdown are scheduled for June 5th, with the semi-finals on August 28th and the finals on October 23rd. No Limits will also be promoting an all-amateur MMA event on June 5th, at the No Limits Martial Arts & Fitness Center in Irvine.

For more info on upcoming amateur MMA action, visit http://www.camo-mma.org/events.

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.

Balboa wins Pro Muay Thai Debut

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2009 by jaytan716
'Yo Adrian!' - Balboa triumphs in her pro debut.

'Yo Adrian!' - Balboa triumphs in her pro debut.

Seven years ago, Roxy Richardson could barely do a push-up.  Fighting was the last thing on her mind. But this past weekend, the reinvented Legends fighter Roxy “Balboa” realized a milestone that was long in the making, emerging victorious in her pro Muay Thai debut.  Based on scores of 49-46, 50-45, and 49-46, Richardson beat Sarah McCarthy (Bad Company, Leeds, UK) via unanimous decision at the 2009 Ultimate Warriors Muay Thai-Kickboxing World Championship, held at the Anaheim Convention Center.

“It feels great.  The nerves were there, but mentally, I was strong. . . It’s been a long road.  This’ll be my 13th sanctioned fight, my 20th or 21st fight total, including smokers,” Richardson reflected later that night.

“To be honest with you, there wasn’t a round that I was concerned about at all. . . She didn’t get winded, she wasn’t breathing heavy in the corners. . . She just let her hands go. . . Other than that, I was very, very impressed with her and very, very proud of her,” said Legends MMA team trainer Jimmie Romero after the match.

Richardson, a staple in the regional Muay Thai scene, was the International Amateur Muay Thai Federation (IAMTF) champion from 2008 and 2009.

“I was terrified of fighting, when I first started.  Honestly, someone would ask me if I wanted to fight two months from now and I would get this horrible pain in the pit of my stomach, and just want to throw up.  And now I am excited and I look forward to it.  I think of it as a test of everything that I worked really hard for all the time.  it was never like that in the beginning.  I wasn’t a natural fighter, but I saw it as a challenge and it made me want to do better each time.”

Ironically enough, it was only recently that Richardson, whose connection with Legends MMA dates back to its days at the Bomb Squad, started working with Legends trainer Jimmie Romero.

Jimmie Romero spearheaded the "Reinvention of Roxy," leading to the night's victory.

Jimmie Romero spearheaded the "Reinvention of Roxy," leading to the night's victory.

“When she came to me, last fight, I think I had her, like five weeks out within her fight. . . I just worked with what she had, and tweeked a little here and there, until I could get her after,” commented Romero.

But once they were past that match, the team went back to basics: “we broke her down, and built her right back up. . . I changed everything, and made it make sense with her footwork.  I made it sync up to where every punch counts. . . Where it’s not just random shit being thrown. . . It flows, like water,” he added.

Of the partnership, Richardson was enthusiastic about going back to the drawing board: “this is the second time I’ve been working with [Romero], and we make a real good team.  I’m learning some new things.  It’s tough, because I’ve been fighting for awhile and he’s got to make adjustments for me, and that’s always been difficult.  But I’ve trusted him and he’s brought me in a good direction.  The results speak for themselves.  I’m pretty happy with that, and I’m happy with how this training went.”

The story of the match itself largely spoke to the changes and improvements in Richardson’s arsenal and team, as Richardson consistently circled out of McCarthy’s charging line-of-fire, countering with jabs, right straights, steady combinations , and body kicks.  McCarthy, who is known for controlling her matches by imposing her will, fought a chasing game, throwing low kicks to make contact.

“We used that jab to utilize space, because Roxy is a lot longer. . . And that’s why Roxy circled a lot, and she moved.  Sarah likes to press and close in you, and make you feel claustrophobic.  And the thing that stops that is ‘hey, you’ve got to follow me’.  . . And while she’s eating punches at the same time,” explained Romero.

135 lbs. / Full Muay Thai Rules – Roxy Balboa Richardson (Roxy Fit) vs. Sarah McCarthy (Bad Company)

The first round saw McCarthy utilize low kicks to breach the distance, while Richardson answered back with a body kick and a Superwoman punch.  Richardson looked comfortable with her hands, landing a lot of punches to the face, especially at round’s end.

In round two, McCarthy kept with the combos and low kicks, while Richardson circled out and brought the action to the middle of the ring.  Richardson fired a triple jab, checked a kick, and volleyed one back.  She swung a kick and tried some elbows in the corner, but it was an overhand right that nailed McCarthy square in the face.

By the third round, McCarthy’s charge-and-attack M.O. was clear and constant.  She pushed Richardson towards her corner, but Richardson clinched up and tried throwing elbows.  McCarthy got in some jabs and an overhand right, but Richardson was on fire, ending the round with a flurry of punches standing and from the clinch.

Richardson lands a left body kick.

Richardson lands a left body kick.

Perhaps sensing the need to turn on the steam, McCarthy quickly started round four in the middle of the ring, pushing Richardson into the corner.  But Richardson circled her way out, firing an overhand right and body kick.  McCarthy swiftly replied with her own attack.  Clinching against the ropes, McCarthy tried for a trip, but couldn’t make it happen before the referee called for a clean break.  Richardson landed another stiff combo to the face and attempted a spinning back elbow to end the round.

The fifth round opened with a brief clinch early on, but the two quickly broke apart, with McCarthy going after Richardson, who landed several kicks.  McCarthy overextended on a punch, but Richardson didn’t capitalize.  She did, however, land several body shots.  The referee stopped the action to check McCarthy for blood, but the doctor allowed the match to continue.  By this point, the once intensely-silent crowd was vocally cheering both fighters.  With ten seconds left, Richardson went into overdrive and shot jabs and combos to end the match.

In the end, judges awarded the match to Roxy “Balboa” Richardson by unanimous decision with scores of 49-46, 50-49, and 49-46.

When asked her thoughts on the fight, Richardson said “I always have it in my mind that if I give two good rounds, then at least [it’s] a good show, but I felt I was on from the very first round.  Which is unusual because I’m normally kind of a slow starter.  So I was really happy that I was able to throw multiple things.  And I felt like my timing was a lot better than I have been.  I could hear both corners, which was cool.  I actually would hear her corner, and then wait for her to do what her corner said . . .I’ve never been that clear before.”

Teammate Jordan Wright added “I really think she looked amazing . . . she was popping her jabs, rather than pushing. . .and her footwork was great too.”

Romero added “her next fight will be even better.  We gave her a whole new set of tools to work with.  And changed the arsenal up a little bit.  And now that she’s actually used it in battle, she’s now more confident, like ‘yeah, I can use these new tools, and they work damn well.’”

Other Muay Thai action that night went as follows:

112 lbs. – Janet Coakley (Budo Ryu) TKO Victoria “The Prodigy” Beltran (Boxing Zone) in R2, 0:53.

135 lbs. – Rubin Ekyotin (World Muay Thai Gym) TKO Hien Nguyen (Pacific Ring Sport) in R2, 0:16.

155 lbs. – Yilen Pan (Sit Rama Soon Muay Thai) TKO Caesar Pimentel  (Guizar Martial Arts) in R1, 1:50.

160 lbs. – Edgar Islas (Team Oyama) def. Greg “The Leg” Spellman (Millennia MMA) in R1, 1:16 via referee stoppage (after two knockdowns).

155 lbs. – Olavi Naar (Muay Thai School USA) KO Daniel Eyi (Dobler’s Muay Thai) in R1, approximately 1:00.

175 lbs. – Steve Kuo (The Yard Muay Thai) def. Michael Ellison (Boxing Work) via unanimous decision off scores of 29-28, 28-29, and 29-28.

170 lbs. – Laban Spicer (Sit Yod Tong Pasadena) def. Sean Delfossey (Budo Ryu) via unanimous decision off scores of 29-28, 29-28, and 29-28.

150 lbs. – Sheldon Gain (MTA) def. Patrick Channita (Team Oyama) via unanimous decision off scores 29-27, 29-27, and 29-27.

145 lbs. – Sean Ueda (Pro AM) TKO Hector Ekyotin (World Muay Thai Gym) in R3, 1:32.

130 lbs. – Jessie Magusen (Dobler’s Muay Thai) def. Felipe Andalla (KR Muay Thai) via unanimous decision off scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 30-27.

155 lbs. – Cooper Gibson (Team Toby Grear) TKO Andrew Santee Santhivong (MTA) in R2, 1:20.

185 lbs. – Jason Rezepka (KR Muay Thai) def. Salah Azzazi (Red Scorpion Martial Arts) via unanimous decision off scores of 30-26, 30-26, and 30-26.  This match was for the UKKA Light Heavyweight championship.

155 lbs. (Full Pro Muay Thai rules) – Ryan Roy (Fairtex) TKO Koji Iijima (KR Muay Thai) after the referee stopped the match in the fourth round, due to numerous knockdowns.

135 lbs. – Tetsuya Yamato (Yamato Kickboxing) KO Kaensak Sor Pleonjit in R5, 2:59.  This match was for the WMC Muay Thai Lightweight championship.

Richardson was cornered by Romero and Victor Henry, and sponsored for this fight by Revgear, Toe 2 Toe, Ed Hardy Watches, and United Front Productions.

Wright, Acosta Attack at South Coast Martial Arts “Come Back”

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2009 by jaytan716

Jordan Wright (center, with trainers Roxy Balboa & Jimmie Romero) after his decision win.

Jordan Wright (center, with trainers Roxy Balboa & Jimmie Romero) after his decision win.

Legends MMA amateur fighters Jordan Wright and James Acosta stepped into the ring on April 4th at South Coast Martial Arts in Costa Mesa, as part of a Muay Thai amateur kickboxing event entitled “Come Back and Attack.” Jimmie Romero and Roxy Balboa cornered both fighters.

In his fourth match, Wright won in decisive fashion, earning a unanimous decision in the eyes of the judges by an across-the-board score of 30-27.

“I thought he connected a lot of good punches and kicks. . . he had a pretty good game plan. Sometimes he got a little jumbled up because he was all anxious to get in there and kick some ass, but for the most part, he did a helluva fight,” commented Balboa.

With an improved amateur Muay Thai record of 3-1, Wright noted that he was especially happy about this victory in light of his prior performance.

“My last fight, I won by a TKO, but I kinda caught the guy. He was rocking me the first two rounds, and at the end of the second round, I caught him with a knee. . . I’m way more pleased with this because I wasn’t falling all around this place,” he reflected.

According to Romero, Wright most notably demonstrated a fiercer killer instinct in the ring:

“Jordan was really aggressive, more than I’ve seen him. . . And that’s really important. You’ve got to get in with bad intentions, but at the same time, have the composure to put the combos together nice. . . This time, he really put it down. He dropped his jab-crosses and hard kicks. Hard knees. With intent, like you’re supposed to do.”

The night also marked the Muay Thai debut for James Acosta, squaring off against Sam Yi of Long Beach. Although Acosta ultimately came up on the short end of a 27-30 unanimous decision, he fought a valiant battle, landing powerful bodyshot combinations and high kicks.

Legends' fight team represented for James Acosta's (left) debut.

Legends' fight team represented for James Acosta's (left) debut.

“The only problem here is that I got tired fast. He just beat me at the clinch, and that’s the thing to work on more.”

No less of a factor was that Acosta took the match on a four-day notice. “I was just training and Jimmie asked me when I wanted a fight. I was like ‘I dunno. Whenever you guys put me in.’ And he got me a fight on Tuesday,” he explained.

The night was a significant growing experience for the young fighter, who displayed an easygoing composure in front of the estimated crowd of over 400.

“Come Back and Attack” is the second show South Coast has held in cooperation with the California State Athletic Commission, and only the fourth CSAC-sanctioned amateur Muay Thai event in the state. Up until recently, amateur Muay Thai events, commonly known as “smokers,” were held without the sanction of the CSAC.

The winners of “Come Back” will be invited to return and fight on the next event, which is scheduled for May 30th. Fighters who win five matches in a row will be crowned “Walking Tall World Champions,” named after South Coast’s Walking Tall Foundation, a program created to finance and subsidize martial arts training and performance opportunities to low income and underprivileged youth.

Verbal Sparring: Chris Brady (Legends MMA)

Posted in Interviews, Legends MMA with tags , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2009 by jaytan716

Conor Heun (left), Chris Brady, Chris Reilly (right)

Conor Heun (left), Chris Brady, Chris Reilly (right)

While many aspiring fighters aim high and want overnight success, Chris Brady is a cat of a different breed. Not to say that he sees a glass ceiling for himself in MMA, but he knows that on his path to proving himself, gaining match experience, and becoming a pro MMA fighter, the journey is the destination.

For Brady, Legends MMA is his life. If he’s not training with the fight team weekday afternoons, he’s teaching the beginner and regular Muay Thai classes. If he’s doing neither, you might catch him working the front desk or even joining in on classes.

In this interview, Brady gave his thoughts on an array of topics, from the professional (his transition from Muay Thai to MMA, his technical strategy, the effects of cutting weight) to the more personal (life as “the angry kid,” how he became a part of Legends, and his aspirations of becoming the “professional student of MMA”).

JT: What city did you grow up in?

CB: I grew up in Knoxville, TN. They had a lot of wrestling. Where I went to school, I knew kids that wrestled, but I never really thought about doing it. Now, looking back, I wish I had. Because now, I like it. I think its fun. But at the time, I was on some punk-rock, “fuck that.” I thought it was stupid. I wasn’t really athletic in school.

Wrestling is a tough sport. Doing it now, doing the fighting, with all this, I really wish I had. It just wasn’t the group of kids I hung out with. The group of kids I hung out with partied and just hung out and didn’t want to do anything. That’s all we did.

JT: You had to be a big music buff, rocking a Black Flag tattoo on your chest.

CB: Yeah, the whole punk rock thing was a really big influence in my time.

Growing up, I was the older brother. I was taking care of my brother, and helping my mom. So I didn’t have anybody else to look up to. So the kids that I knew – that was what we listened to. It was just something I kinda fell into. Going to shows all the time.

See, I wasn’t an artist. You’d think I’d really get into it. “Oh he plays guitar.” I don’t play guitar [laughs]. I just like partying, I like the music, and I like having a good time.

So its kinda one of those silly things you do when you’re younger. You’re like “fuck yeah. Black Flag tattoo. That’ll be hardcore. I’m gonna get laid.”

JT: Did that tattoo get you laid much?

CB: Uhhh, it did. I was good at being the kid in high school with the tattoo. Girls like that, I guess. “oh, he’s bad.” But now I’m thinking I could have put something way cooler than that. But you don’t think about that shit. You’re just like “dude, must do it. Let’s do that right now!”

JT: How long have you lived out here?

CB: About four and a half years now. I moved out here with my girlfriend [at the time], who I met in high school back home in Tennessee. She was from out here. I came out here with her. We’d been together for awhile. When we broke up, I had a lot of time on my hands. So I wanted to start training.

JT: Did you do any martial arts as a kid or anything?

CB: I did a little bit of Taekwondo as a kid but it was one of those strip-mall Taekwondo spots. I started doing it for a little bit, but at some point my mom couldn’t afford it anymore. So we stopped going and that was the end of that.

JT: And Legends was the place where you fell into fighting?

CB: Yeah, I came down to Chris Reilly’s old gym, The Bomb Squad. Originally I was looking for, like, Kung Fu. Just because a buddy was like “oh, that would be cool.” I didn’t know anything about it. So I came in there and I was asking him. . . where I could find that. He said “well, I don’t really know of any places, but if you want to check this place out, try our Thai boxing. You might enjoy that.” So I took a class with Paolo Taka, who was the trainer there at the time. I liked it a lot and I just started doing it.

JT: So you were training in Thai boxing and Paolo. Then, from there, you started messing with Eddie too?

CB: No, I actually just recently have been training with Eddie seriously. I didn’t start my jiu-jitsu MMA training until a little bit before Tuff-N-Uff. That’s one of the reasons why I feel like my first fight went the way it did. I got subbed in the first round with a rear naked choke. Many other factors contributed to that too, but when it comes down to it, I just hadn’t had enough ground training. I just got my blue belt from Eddie two days ago.

JT: Talk me through your amateur Muay Thai matches and your amateur MMA.

CB: The amateur Muay Thais I started doing when we were at The Bomb Squad. I had my first fight at USKO in Riverside. I did really good. I can’t really remember now if I won or lost. But from there, Chris . . . said “that’s the way you gotta do it, if you want to get good at Thai boxing.” And at the time, all I wanted to do was Thai boxing. I wasn’t trying to do MMA.

It’s like, if you wanna get good at this, just like anything else, you gotta fight all the time. And not so much because it’s the number of fights, but it’s the experience of doing it over and over. You become comfortable, and once you’re comfortable with things, then a whole other level allows your skills to come out. All of a sudden, you’re not tense anymore, so you throw that combination. You’re not tensing up. You’re thinking and using all your weapons.

So he just took me to . . . MTA in North Hollywood. We’d go to Kru X’s gym in the Valley. Basically, for the first couple of years, that’s what I was doing – Thai boxing.

Slowly but surely, I just kinda started to turn Thai boxing into MMA. First I was doing both; I was trying to learn a little bit of it. But now, it’s like MMA is all I do. I still train in Thai boxing and I’m still down to do Thai boxing fights. But the focus right now is on MMA. Where I’m really gonna make money, hopefully.

JT: What’s your philosophy or approach to training?

CB: My approach to training – a lot of people say that I’m a real technical fighter. . . especially with my striking. . . I like to punch and brawl a little bit too, but I’m very technical. That’s one of my big strengths. But at the same time, I feel like as much as putting in reps and learning something. . . you gotta work hard to and push hard. Push push push. Train hard, train longer than everybody else. That’s the only way you get good at something. By just doing it constantly. Every day.

JT: Would you say you’re letting fighting and training take over your life right now?

CB: Yeah. And a lot of people feel like that would be kinda a problem for them. That would bother them, or they’d get bored with it. Yeah, I get bored sometimes, but this is what I want to do. I want to go and train today. At three on Saturday. And I want to go on Monday and train at 4pm, then go to jiu-jitsu. I want to do those things. So it doesn’t make it that hard for me. I want to go and put the time in. I don’t want any distractions. I want to just do what I’m doing.

JT: It sounds like this was something you had intended to do for a long time; that you just never got around to it.

CB: I always liked it. I just . . when I was at Chris’, with the Thai boxing at the Bomb Squad, they were like “you’re pretty good at that” and I was like “yeah?” Having something that is actually fun, that you’re good at. . . that really did a lot for me. For my self esteem. I can tell you right now that I’m a totally different person than I was [before]. I’m still me, but it does something to you. It changes you.

JT: Do you have to cut weight much?

CB: Not really. I walk around at 145 or 148 lbs. I fight at 135, so it’s pretty easy. If I have a month to get ready, I can come down to about 140, just from dieting and training. And then I just cut the last five pounds in the sauna. So I don’t make a huge cut.

JT: Doing a cut at that weight is that much harder. You have less to cut.

CB: Yeah. Ten pounds to me is huge. Twenty pounds is ridiculous. That’s why I see so many guys at 135 and I’m like “how do you fight at 35, man? “ This dude that walked in the other day, this dude that Shu [Hirata] brought in. He’s walking around at like 160. I’m like “really?” You know, I’ll take you five rounds and see if you can go five rounds after cutting that much weight.

I’d much rather have the gas. There’s a certain degree of cutting that you have to do. Otherwise, you’re just going to be somewhat smaller than everyone else. So you just kinda have to do it to even the playing field. Wrestling’s the same way. They wouldn’t do it if there wasn’t a reason why.

JT: It’s hard also to maintain that, because there’s always going to be some level of trying to get the advantage. If you move the weight classes up, there’s going to be guys who will try and cut one weight class down. If you move them down, then the guys that are at whatever level will still try and cut lower, to be the bigger guy in the weight class.

CB: They should make it same-day weigh-ins. It’s just healthier for people. It’s already a tough sport. There’s no reason to make it tougher. You’re already getting punched in the face. You can only do that for so long. I think the weight cut has a similar effect, to not only performance, but eventually, it shortens your career. Eventually, you’re gonna run out of steam. That takes time off your career, I think.

JT: For you, what’s the toughest part of fighting? The training? The mental? The rules?

CB: I think the training is probably the toughest part. . . I love going to train, but sometimes, when you’re getting close to the end of your training phase for a fight, then you’re just fucking tired. You just want to go home and eat a big fuckin’ pizza. That’s the worst part. The repetition of it.

And every once in awhile, you’ll have those glimpses and breaks of new stuff that you learned. Then you get inspired. “oh, I just learned that. I just caught so-and-so in this new submission.” And then you get inspired, so you start training even harder. You’re just like “I just want to do it again and again.” And the better you get, the slower the learning comes, because now you’re learning the intricacies of this sport. It takes a lot longer to land that right hand than it does to throw that right hand. How to actually make that punch land. So you get inspired, but sometimes, you just get tired and hungry. You want to go home [and] do something else. Because you’re just. . . .like. . . out of it.

JT: How do you balance that out? How do you keep yourself afloat?

CB: I like to go home and watch TV. That relaxes me. I like to watch the news. I like to read magazines. I like to read. I like to go to the beach. I like to do the normal shit that everybody likes to do.

JT: You still skateboard, right?

CB: No. I used to. I would go and train and I’d go home and be like “oh, let’s go skate.” Then I’d go to sit down and do a trick and I’d be like “ooohhh, I don’t have any power.” I just worked all my legs out. So it just came down to choosing what I thought was more important. And too, the injury thing, man. I’m not trying to tear my ACL on some stupid shit and then be out for months at a time. That’s the worst, to me. Being stuck. Not being able to do anything.

Like Conor [Heun}. I don’t know if I could handle that. Conor had his jaw wired shut. Couldn’t fight for months. Couldn’t train for months. That would kill me.

JT: Would you consider yourself more of a Muay Thai fan or an MMA fan?

CB: I’d say I’m more of an MMA fan now.

JT: Who are some of your favorites?

CB: I’d say [Lyoto] Machida, Anderson Silva. Machida’s game is so tight. Not tight in the sense of cool, but tight, in the sense of technically sound. His background is crazy. He’s a black belt in karate. He’s done sumo wrestling. He’s a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He’s so good at all these things and he’s so technical. He puts Tito Ortiz on his back and makes him look like a fool. But his style is what a lot of guys don’t get. . . The matador and the bull. He’s the matador. Tito Ortiz was the bull and everybody else. . . he’s showboating, and when he’s ready, he stabs that motherfucker and he’s done.

That’s what I like about him. He’s just waiting for you to make that one move. Just waiting for it. You can just see it, and it’s like boom, crack. I like guys with pinpoint accuracy. I think because I want to be like that. I want to be like Anderson Silva. I want to be that good, and that technically sound and that professional. Because I feel that those guys are real athletes, and real fighters. They’re not about some bullshit. Real martial artists.

JT: You’re the first person to mention Machida. Most of them go straight towards the Anderson Silvas, and the Wanderleis too.

CB: Yeah, well, I don’t care how hard you punch or how strong you are. Eventually you’re gonna meet somebody that’s gonna punch harder or be stronger than you. So it’s good to have that killer instinct, but you also need the technical prowess to change your game up. . . There’s always a way to beat somebody. And that’s why I like Anderson Silva and the Machidas. I feel like they’re good at everything, but it’s not like they’re ten times better than everybody else. They use this [points to head] and that’s what I respect.

And a lot of guys in MMA have that wrestling mentality. Go, go, go, go! And that works on a lot of guys, but you’re not going to beat Anderson Silva like that. You’re not gonna tough him out. He’s gonna [feigns, ducks, and punches] – bop, bop, bop. Wear your ass out. I like that style. When you’re ready, just take somebody out.

JT: What’s the best and worst memory for you?

CB: I think the best was the last fight I had. It was a good memory because all of us had gone up there to fight and everybody had gotten stopped. We were taping for the pilot for that reality show. I think I was the third fight out of our guys. It was just like “man, I can’t let us go home like that. I don’t want to get beat and have it be on this show. That would ruin our whole shit.”

That’s my best memory, because under pressure, I was able to go out there and perform. I don’t care how good you are in the gym. If you can’t fight in front of all those people, under the lights, you’re not worth shit.

JT: Because that’s where the real test is.

CB: that’s the real test. Whether or not you can do it on that day at that time, that you said you were gonna step in the ring and get in there with that guy. If you can’t handle it then, I don’t care what you can do in the gym.

And worst – I think the worst is when I was in one of my Thai boxing fights. I fractured my arm. I was blocking, but I was being a lazy showboat. You’re supposed to get two hands up there and make it nice and tight and solid. Instead, I was like “go on, kick.” And just put my arm up. It was all loose and I fractured my arm. I won, but it was hard, because I was out for a really long time. I felt like that injury took awhile to get me back into where I was at before.

JT: What do you think you would do if you weren’t fighting? Or when you don’t fight, later on down the road?

CB: If I wasn’t ever going to fight, if I’d never done this, I’d probably be a mechanic. My grandfather is a diesel mechanic, and he’s always wanted me to come and work with him. To learn the trade. I still see him to this day and he’s always like “well, you can always leave and come to Ft. Valley, GA and learn all this stuff that I’m doing. . . “

After fighting, I just want to open my own gym. I have all the goals besides being a great MMA fighter. I want to get a black belt in jiu-jitsu. I don’t just want to be a great kickboxer. I want to be a great fighter and a great martial artist. Just to be good and know a lot of different things about fighting. . . to be able to teach people everything.

I feel like, okay, you’ve put all this time in to learn this stuff. You can’t do it for the rest of your life, so you gotta pass it on and use it to help. Otherwise. . . you’re not taking full advantage of what you’ve learned. Because part of it is the fighting. That’s personal. But giving back to other people, or helping other people learn what you’ve learned. That’s probably what I’d do after fighting.

Chris Brady teaches the regular Muay Thai classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 12pm, and also on Wednesdays at 6:30pm. His beginner Muay Thai classes are at 12pm on Saturdays. He anticipates returning to the ring on March 24th at Tuff-N-Uff amateur MMA, at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.