Monthly Archives

January 2012

TSMMA Allentown Student Craig Seland’s 60 Day Challenge Success

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I remember the first time I walked into Tiger Schulmann’s Allentown location. It was to enroll my daughter and the first thing that Shihan Simpson said to me was you should come in and train yourself.

I was about 34 years old and my weight had already started spiraling out of control. Fast forward 4 years and I now had 3 kids training at Tiger Schulmann’s and I continued to resist training myself thinking I was too old to learn how to do the things that others were doing (let’s be honest I was afraid of not being able to make it through a class due to the low self-esteem from all the weight I was carrying). I had ballooned to 245 lbs.

The wake-up call was my birthday, after spending the day gorging myself with food, I passed out from what I thought was simply a stomach bug. The next day was the Super Bowl and after sleeping through the first half of the game my wife woke me up and told me she was taking me to the hospital because she was concerned (what guy sleeps through the Super Bowl!).

After spending the night in the hospital hooked up to monitors, I pressured the doctor to release me so that I could jump on a plane to Houston for work and to continue my unhealthy ways.

However, shortly after my night in the hospital, my wife gave me the best gift that I had ever received, she forced me to go to a Beginner Kickboxing class at Tiger Schulmann’s. After taking my first class, I was hooked! Shihan Simpson and Joshu Fonda have since molded me into a new man, and I now have more confidence and most importantly I am in the best shape of my life because of hard work and because Shihan and Joshu kept me focused and did not allow me to make excuses as to why I couldn’t come in to train. I realize that age and too much work is just an excuse; you need to put yourself out there and work hard to get the results you want.

At the beginning I set a goal for myself to get down to 175 lbs., the weight I was in high school (I am pretty sure everyone thought I was nuts). Well…this morning I stepped on the scale at the end of my 3rd 60 day challenge and there it was staring up at me……175 lbs.!

And although I would be crazy not to thank my wife Dawn for pushing me to take that first class, I want to thank you Shihan and Joshu for making me a new person, one that will be around for a long-time to enjoy my family and the extended family that I have gained from train with all the great people I have meet at Tiger Schulmann’s.

TSMMA Fight Team Continues to Impress at Hamburg Fight Night (results and Images)

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Hamburg, PA

Hamburg Kickboxing Fight Night

Jim Salamone (TSMMA) vs Jesus Garcia (Sensei Muay Thai) – 165lbs division

Salamone wins via unanimous decision

Salamone scored a standing 8 count on Garcia in the first round, paving the way to his first victory. Jim was very composed for his first time in the ring. Congrats to Jim.

Mike Rosario (TSMMA) vs Niem Bailey (Philly Fight Sports) – 150lbs division

Bailey wins via unanimous decision

Rosario battled for all 3 rounds leaving it all in the ring. It was a close decision, and with the way Mike keeps improving, he will be right back in the winning column soon.

Rachel Kendall (TSMMA) vs Lisa Rose (Grants Martial Arts) -140lbs division

Kendall wins via unanimous decision

Rachel displayed superior cardio and technique in her relentless attack on Rose, bloodying up her opponent’s nose in the second round. Rachel’s record now moves to an impressive 2-0.

Andrew Greenspan (TSMMA) vs Kevin Moran (Moyer’s Kickboxing) – 175lbs division

Greenspan wins via TKO 35 Seconds in Rd 2

Impressive debut for Greenspan, utilizing his combinations with both his hands and feet. Moran tried to surprise Andrew by attacking immediately after touching gloves, but it was Andrew who would have the final say, scoring a devastating TKO in Round 2. We hope to see more from Andrew in the near future.

Brandon Cuttino vs Jesse Swain (Combat Sports) – -160lbs division

Swain wins via unanimous decision

Cuttino came up short on a debated decision. Cuttino scored a standing 8 count on Swain via big left hook and cross combination. Many in attendance felt Cuttino should have gotten the win. Cuttino continues to get better, and will be back to his winning ways soon.

As always, a great turn out of support from TSMMA! Special thanks goes to Shihan Simpson, Sensei Querido, Sensei Marchand, Sensei Garzillo, and Sensei Villfane for coaching and cornering all the TSMMA competitors.

‘UFC on FX 1: Guillard vs. Miller’ event review

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By Steve Davies –

Miller follows instinct, chokes out Guillard early to enter title contention

Lightweight contender Jim Miller came close to a title shot late in 2011 only to be pipped to the post by Ben Henderson but the gritty New Jersey native might well have reached the finish line this time. The hard-working Miller faced fellow top contender, Melvin Guillard, in the main event in Nashville and took care of business in less than three minutes – pity he doesn’t remember much of it.

Guillard was bombing from the first bell, throwing big knees and dropping the grappler to his backside with a left hook that sent Miller into survival mode. Miller scrambled up and kept the pressure on, taking ‘The Young Assassin’ down and pouncing to take his back in a standing position. Game over.

Miller quickly sunk in the rear-naked choke and dragged Guillard to the deck, forcing the tap at 2:04 of round one. A dejected Guillard sat alone in the centre of the cage as Miller celebrated what could prove to be the biggest win of his career.

Next for Miller: With the lightweight division overflowing with potential title contenders, it would be very surprising to see Miller get a title shot ahead of some of the other names doing the rounds. Now 21-3, the grappling powerhouse is clearly on the shortlist but he should need to get through either Nate Diaz or the winner of the UFC 144 bout between Anthony Pettis and Joe Lauzon to get the nod.


Next for Guillard: What a difference two losses can make. ‘The Young Assassin’ – now training full-time with the ‘Blackzilians’ camp – still lacks the ground game to make it to the very top and falls a few rungs down the ladder following last night’s debaucle. No longer at Greg Jackson’s camp, Guillard could now face former team-mate Donald Cerrone or veteran kickboxer Sam Stout in the coming months as he starts the long climb to the top once again.


Neer dusts off the ground game, sends Ludwig to sleep in first round


A truly old-school meeting between two welterweights who cut their teeth with the UFC acted as the co-main event and Iowa’s Josh ‘The Dentist’ Neer proved to be the craftier veteran in Nashville as he choked Duane ‘Bang’ Ludwig unconscious.

Neer came out on the front-foot but he was being lit up at will by the slick Ludwig, who put some nice combos together to rattle Neer’s brain and buckle his knees at one point. His face already bruised up, ‘The Dentist’ reverted to his back-up plan and bundled Ludwig to the ground – ‘Bang’ scrambled, but left his neck wide open and Neer didn’t need asking twice.

The Pat Miletich student dropped for a sickeningly tight guillotine choke, torquing the hold so tightly that Ludwig actually passed out mid-tap – forcing Neer to tell the referee that ‘Bang’ was out, ending the fight at 3:04 of an entertaining first round.

Next for Neer: ‘The Dentist’ has gone 2-0 since his recall to the big leagues late last year and the wily veteran remains a tough out for anyone at 170lbs. Neer’s wealth of experience should mean he gets handed a big test next time out, possibly in the form of grappling maestro Mike Pyle or in-form Seth Baczynski.

Next for Ludwig: ‘Bang’ sees a two-fight streak broken in devastating fashion and again is let down by his naivety on the mat. The muay thai stylist won’t be given a tune-up fight, instead we’ll see Ludwig throw leather with returning veteran Mike Swick or perhaps even Brazilian prospect Erick Silva later in the year.


Easton and Papazian bring the noise, Easton edges out the newcomer by decision


A sizzling bantamweight affair on the main card saw Alliance MMA standout Mike ‘The Hulk’ Easton go toe-to-toe with Armenian-American newcomer, Jared Papazian, in a brawl to remember. The Nashville crowd loved every minute of the action as the two pocket-sized dynamos partook in what resembled a hockey fight at times – brawling intensely for fifteen minutes.

Easton’s superior speed and technique served him well in rounds one and two as he never stopped coming forward and crashing home legkicks, Papazian slugging right back at him and doing himself proud. ‘The Jackhammer’ even won the final round, taking advantage of a tiring Easton but it wasn’t enough – Easton got the nod from two judges, the third calling it a draw, handing ‘The Hulk’ the majority decision victory.

Next for Easton: The Maryland native looked good again last night, moving to 2-0 in the UFC and 12-1 overall. Easton is ready for a serious challenge to see where he stands among the bigger names of the division but with most of the main players booked up at the moment, expect to see ‘The Hulk’ try to put the hurt on fellow striker Yves Jabouin.


Next for Papazian: Rumour has it that ‘The Jackhammer’ was always intending to cut to the newly-formed flyweight division and simply wanted to get a foot in the door – safe to say, Papazian has made an impression and it’ll be intriguing to see how this talented prospect does at 125lbs.


New and improved ‘HD’ lays it on Morecraft, starches the big man in first round

Under-pressure heavyweight Pat ‘HD’ Barry was fighting for his job last night and the crowd-pleasing kickboxer responded impressively, showing marked improvements in his all-round game to survive some hairy moments before punishing Christian Morecraft in what was awarded ‘Fight of the Night’ honours.

Morecraft, eight inches taller and much heavier than Barry, rushed the smaller man and had him mounted in less than 40-seconds but Barry kept his cool and returned to his feet only to be taken down again and put in another desperate situation. Morecraft, showing surprising flexibility for a big man, rolled into a nice armbar but Barry shocked us by escaping the hold impeccably and once again enticing the bigger man to trade shots.

Barry flicked off a clean left hook to the jaw that sent Morecraft flopping to his back and ‘HD’ did not show mercy – diving onto the big man with right hooks that left him out cold, 3:38 into the first round. Morecraft lay stricken for quite some time as Barry straddled the cage and suggested that he might be taking this MMA lark seriously, after all.

Next for Barry: ‘HD’s training with the massive wrestlers at Death Clutch seems to be paying off, as Barry looked visibly more composed and confident off his back last night. The prospect’s knockout power was again on show and his personal highlight-reel is growing – don’t throw ‘HD’ to the wolves just yet, let him at the winner of next month’s tilt between Stipe Miocic and Phil De Fries.

Next for Morecraft: The promising youngster falls to 7-3 and 1-3 inside the Octagon – with all three of his losses being brutal stoppages. Morecraft needs to be released to hone his game, but a recall in the future is definitely possible.


Preliminary Card round-up

All six preliminary card fights were broadcast on FUEL TV in a slick new package to mark the FOX deal and the show was topped-off in style by seasoned middleweight veteran Jorge Rivera who announced that, win or lose, his fight with Eric Schafer would be the last of his career. ‘El Conquistador’ did not start well, spending much of round one underneath ‘Red’ who worked his BJJ well and dominated the striker to take the first frame. But in round two, a bloodied Schafer simply folded – failing with a takedown attempt and winding up on the deck against the cage as Rivera pummeled away to a stoppage at 1:31 of the second round. The entire arena sang Jorge’s name as he strolled around the cage showing his gratitude, giving an emotional farewell speech after the fight – another veteran hangs ‘em up for good.

Next for Rivera: Before he embarassed himself with his little video-making efforts last year, this writer used to root for Rivera in a big way. It was good to see the veteran get such a hearty send-off from the fans in Nashville and we’ll always remember ‘El Conquistador’ as being a born fighter. Good luck in the future, Jorge.

Next for Schafer: ‘Red’ had that fight won, but simply collapsed in the second round and the experienced grappler might have seen the last of the big stage also. Schafer is 0-2 in his latest run with the promotion and after an unspirited showing like that, he won’t get a third chance.

Ladies and gentleman, we truly do have a new player at 155lbs and his name is unpronouncable, well almost. Chechnyan lightweight sensation Khabib Nurmagomedov made his UFC debut on the undercard against elite wrestler Kamal Shalorus and to say the newcomer was impressive is an understatement. Nurmagomedov, a decorated sambo and BJJ practitioner, completely owned Shalorus – winning the striking exchanges with his admittedly awkward and wild swinging and bossing the usually immovable wrestler on the mat. In the final round, the debutant mounted an exhausted Shalorus and sunk in the rear-naked choke from an awkward angle, getting the tap at 2:08 of the final round. Welcome to the big leagues, my son.

Next for Nurmagomedov: The 17-0 lightweight seems to be a legitimate addition to the division and, now training in the USA, Nurmagomedov has the tools and raw aggression to make some serious waves – few have handled Shalorus that decisively. Let’s see how the Chechnyan responds to a bump in competition – give him surging wrestler Jacob Volkmann for a real grappling war.

Next for Shalorus: The 39-year old falls to 0-2 in the UFC and has looked below-par in all fairness – add to this the veteran’s patchy injury record and we’ll probably see ‘The Prince of Persia’ trimmed from the roster in the coming weeks.

A stop-start welterweight battle saw decorated NCAA wrestler Charlie Brenneman bounce back from defeat by out-working submission specialist Daniel Roberts over three close rounds. ‘The Spaniard’ spent much of the fight working from the top and caught ‘Ninja’ in a crucifix on several occasions but did little with the position. The wrestler had to dig deep as the final seconds wound down with Roberts cranking a kimura off his back but Brenneman did enough to warrant the unanimous decision.

Next for Brenneman: ‘The Spaniard’ climbs to 15-3 and remains a solid contender at 170lbs but he’ll struggle to get a televised fight with a lack of urgency and will probably be back on the prelims later in the year against a top grappler such as Dong Hyun Kim.

Next for Roberts: The Cesar Gracie fighter falls to 3-4 in the UFC but Roberts is a good fighter, make no mistake. ‘Ninja’ should get a final shot as there are many lower-level welterweights he is capable of clowning – expect to see him get a last shot against Mike Stumpf.


Another impressive finish on the undercard was delivered by Brazilian returnee Fabricio Camoes who came from behind to take care of UFC newcomer Tommy Hayden in Nashville. Hayden gamely traded with ‘Morango’ and held his own on the mat but a slight opening proved his downfall as Camoes took his back in the scramble and sunk in the rear-naked choke from the bottom. Hayden flailed and seemed to tap a couple of times, eventually stiffening up at 4:03 and calling it a day.

Next for Camoes: The BJJ powerhouse makes a successful return to the big stage and Camoes will be quick to return to action you’d think, perhaps facing the winner of next weekend’s scrap between wrestlers Shane Roller and Michael Johnson.

Next for Hayden: The Jorge Gurgel student took this fight on short notice and usually fights at 145lbs, so expect to see Hayden get a chance to impress at his natural weight-class. A bout with recent TUF runner-up Dennis Bermudez would make sense.

Featherweight newcomers Daniel Pineda and Pat Schilling put on a show, but it was a one-sided beatdown of a show and Pineda was the one swinging the hammer. ‘The Pit’ absolutely mauled the 5-0 prospect, taking him down hard and roughing him up from mount before sinking in a standing rear-naked choke and dragging Schilling to the mat where he tapped out just 1:37 into the fight.

Next for Pineda: The experienced all-rounder looked sensational last night but we need to see how Pineda fairs against a more seasoned foe – give him Team Alpha Male wrestler Bryan Caraway to gauge his ceiling.

Next for Schilling: ‘Thrilling’ falls to 5-1 and that was a humbling reality check for the Minnesota native. If Schilling get a second chance, expect it to come against a less experienced foe such as Josh Clopton.

The first fight of the night lasted all of 22-seconds, as bantamweight newcomer Nick Denis came out blazing and mopped the floor with Joseph Sandoval. ‘The Ninja of Love’ was lighting up Sandoval with one-twos from the first bell, then clinched and delivered a series of vicious elbow strikes to the dome that dropped Sandoval to his back and ended the fight spectacularly.

Next for Denis: The Canadian picked up ‘Knockout of the Night’ bonuses for that stunning finish and at 11-2, seems to be a solid addition to the 135lb bracket. Expect to see more of Denis in the near future, perhaps facing Jeff Hougland in the coming months.

Next for Sandoval: The Texan falls to 6-2 and 0-2 in the UFC, suffering two early knockouts to boot. The rookie needs to go back to basics and hone his skills against a lower level of fighter.

That’s a wrap folks as another great night of action is in the bag. Next weekend sees ‘UFC on FOX 2? hit our screens and that looks set to be another guaranteed belter of a fight card. Stay tuned to MMABay in the coming days for more on that fight card as we get it.

By Steve Davies

Michael Trizano Wins Boxing Debut!

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Hoboken, NJ

Michael Trizano (TSMMA) vs Aldo Alvarez

Trizano wins via decision

Impressive showing for Trizano in his debut boxing match. Round 1 saw Michael quickly establish his range which set the tone of the bout. In round 2, he worked his jab causing a bloody nose to his opponent and found a home for a right cross to the body of Alvarez. Trizano put his stamp on the bout in round 3, rocking Alvarez for a standing 8 count. Sensei Rapoport was corning Trizano, and was very influential in his performance. We hope to see more from Trizano in the near future.

The Originally scheduled bout for Jenna Serio unfortunately got canceled due to a residence technicality as per USA Boxing. We look forward to seeing Jenna back in action soon. Thank you to all the TSMMA supporters who came out last night!

‘UFC on FX 1: Guillard vs. Miller’ preview and predictions (Main Card)

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By Steve Davies –

Main Event

Melvin Guillard (29-9-2, 10-5 UFC) vs. Jim Miller (20-3, 9-2 UFC)

The Lowdown: It’s main event time and you can bet that the crowd in Nashville will be roaring for fellow deep-fried Southerner, Melvin ‘The Young Assassin’ Guillard as he tries to break back into the lightweight title picture by ousting the ever-game Jim Miller. The knockout artist from New Orleans was one win away from a title shot just a few months ago having strode to a 5-0 run stretching back to February 2010.

Guillard took out solid opposition like Jeremy Stephens, Evan Dunham and Shane Roller – tempering his wild, powerful striking with a new-found maturity as he screamed to Joe Silva to give him a shot at the title. But at UFC 136, ‘The Young Assassin’ danced his way to the Octagon, seemingly oblivious to the threat posed by Joe Lauzon. 47-seconds later, Lauzon had dropped Guillard and tapped him out with an airtight rear-naked choke.

Grappling has always been Guillard’s Achilles heel and Jim Miller could be the latest man to shoot the arrow that downs ‘The Young Assassin’. The gruff New Jersey native was riding an even more impressive streak not so long ago – winning seven straight fights stretching back to 2009, a run that saw Miller take dominant decisions over immovable grapplers Gleison Tibau and Mark Bocek, among others.

The real meat of Miller’s run came at the end, when a first round submission of Charles Oliveira and third round stoppage of wrestling phenom Kamal Shalorus earned the well-rounded lightweight a title eliminator fight in August. Miller was unfortunate to face an unstoppable Ben Henderson who completely dominated him to snatch the title shot from his grasp, but a victory over another top lightweight like Guillard would put Miller right back in contention.

The Verdict: This is a solid main event and an emphatic win for either man would probably earn them a title shot, something both feel adamant they deserve. While Guillard’s stand-up is much better, Miller’s is not bad at all – he might lack the kill-shot of Guillard but he has some power and puts his combos together nicely. However, if Miller is to win this fight he needs to take Guillard down and while Melvin’s submission defence isn’t great, his takedown defence has improved immensely over the years. Guillard’s a very powerful lightweight to try and ground, but Miller’s relentless approach and strong cardio could be the key here, especially if he tires out the striker with constant takedown attempts in the early stages. We’ve seen how Guillard reacts under pressure, and his opponent in Nashville excels at applying just that. Miller might get rocked early, but he’s hard-nosed enough to keep plugging away and don’t be surprised to see him tap out Guillard with a standing rear-naked choke if he can’t get it to the ground. Miller, submission, 2nd round.


Duane Ludwig (21-11, 4-2 UFC) vs. Josh Neer (32-10-1, 5-6 UFC)

The Lowdown: After years of campaigning to get his quick knockout of Jonathan Goulet in 2006 officially recognised as the UFC’s quickest finish, Duane ‘Bang’ Ludwig recently got his wish – undoubtedly as a way for the promotion to market an otherwise low-key co-main event in Nashville. The kickboxer from Denver, Colorado has been doing his own marketing work inside the Octagon though and for the first time in years is on the verge of putting together a three-fight streak.

The Grudge Training Center welterweight has struggled with injuries in his latest stint with the promotion but has won back-to-back decisions over inexperienced duo Nick Osipczak and Amir Sadollah. ‘Bang’s formidable striking game proved to be the undoing of both rookies who were unable to get close to the lightning-fast knockout artist.

Ludwig will be the less experienced man in Nashville though as veteran Iowan Josh ‘The Dentist’ Neer looks to put together successive victories of his own following his return to the big stage in October. The Miletich Martial Arts stalwart had been trimmed from the roster a few years prior following back to back losses to grappling demons Kurt Pellegrino and Gleison Tibau.

‘The Dentist’ took on fellow veteran Keith Wisniewski at ‘UFC on Versus 6’ in a bizarre stop-start fight that saw Wisniewski simply clinch with his guard down and allow Neer to carve up his face with short elbows for two rounds. The doctor eventually called time and Neer took the TKO victory at the end of the second.

The Verdict: Ludwig may have looked good against rookies, but Neer is going to turn the tables on him this weekend. ‘Bang’ should be a far better grappler than he is at this stage in his long career and Neer won’t waste too much time trading kicks with the striker – instead, ‘The Dentist’ will use the clinch to trip Ludwig and control him on the ground. Some elbows will cut Ludwig open, but the pivotal moment will come in the final round as Neer chokes out a tired Ludwig. Neer, submission, 3rd round.

Mike Easton (11-1, 1-0 UFC) vs. Jared Papazian (14-6, 0-0 UFC)


The Lowdown: There’s a bantamweight tussle on the televised card as fast-rising prospect Mike ‘The Hulk’ Easton looks to build upon a successful UFC debut last year by taking out a highly-rated newcomer. The well-rounded Alliance MMA fighter made his promotion debut in October and barely broke a sweat as he out-worked inexperienced fellow newcomer Byron Bloodworth, stopping him in round two with knees and punches.

A close friend of division champion, Dominick Cruz, Easton will be shoved uncomfortably close to a title shot with a few more wins but first has to take care of Jared ‘The Jackhammer’ Papazian. The Californian, of Armenian descent, trains with his countrymen at Team Hayastan and is a KOTC veteran, winning his last three bouts by decision including one over respected veteran Abel Cullum.

The Verdict: Papazian supposedly wants to fight in the UFC’s new flyweight division but took this fight as an injury replacement to get one foot in the door. He’s picked the wrong guy to dally with at 135lbs though and Easton holds many of the ace cards going into this fight which is his to lose. The one danger ‘The Hulk’ must avoid is blowing his load too early and allowing Papazian to edge him out as the fight advances – ‘The Jackhammer’ has gone five rounds on several occasions with tough opposition. Papazian might cause problems for Easton but ‘The Hulk’ will do enough damage in the first two rounds with legkicks and combos to take the decision. Easton, decision.

Pat Barry (6-4, 3-4 UFC) vs. Christian Morecraft (7-2, 1-2 UFC)

The Lowdown: Being a firm fan favourite will not be enough to save exciting kickboxer Pat ‘HD’ Barry if he falls short again in Nashville and the likeable heavyweight knows that a third successive loss will simply not cut it. The knockout artist started 2011 well enough, out-classing Joey Beltran to a lopsided decision in January but Barry has lost two on the bounce since, both decisively.

The world-class striker had Cheick Kongo falling over the cage in June, coming achingly close to being the first man to knock out the Frenchman until Kongo threw a last-ditch uppercut that left Barry starched in round one. That incredible fight was followed by another typically exciting Pat Barry affair in October – this time, the Louisiana native succumbed to a second round triangle choke dished out by Dutch ‘Skyscraper’, Stefan Struve.

Now training with Brock Lesnar’s Death Clutch camp, ‘HD’s wrestling will be tested by 6ft 6in heavyweight prospect, Christian Morecraft in Nashville. The burly all-rounder from Massachusetts is still just 25-years old but is also on the chopping block. Morecraft’s lone victory in the UFC – a technical submission of Sean McCorkle at UFN 24 last March – is sandwiched between debilitating losses. The big man has been knocked out twice inside the Octagon, by Stefan Struve and in June, Matt Mitrione.

The Verdict: The inexperienced Barry really needs to raise his game as a third straight loss would be the final straw and Morecraft is well-equipped to expose the striker’s weaknesses. Morecraft may not be a great wrestler, but his massive frame and power mean he can bully Barry to the mat and quite feasibly tap him out, or unleash his thunderous ground and pound. However, to complete the task, the bigger man will need to get close to ‘HD’ and this will mean navigating through the wall of kicks and punches coming his way – Morecraft’s chin has already been checked twice and Barry holds arguably more power than anyone he’s faced. If the fight hits the mat, Morecraft wins – if it doesn’t, Barry gets another ‘Knockout of the Night’ bonus. Expect the latter. Barry, (T)KO, 1st round.

That’s the main card done and dusted, our readers in the U.K can settle into the live televised card of ‘UFC on FX 1: Guillard vs. Miller’ at 2am on ESPN UK. Will ‘The Young Assassin’ add another scalp to his growing collection or will it be the gritty Jim Miller who gazumps another contender to earn himself a title shot? We’ll find out on Friday night….

By Steve Davies

‘UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes’ event review

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Aldo silences doubters, knocks out Mendes in sensational first round finish

 By Steve Davies –

UFC featherweight champion Jose ‘Junior’ Aldo’s reign at the top of the division continues and there is no end in sight. The Brazilian bomber took to the Octagon in front of his home fans last night to defend his title against undefeated wrestling sensation, Chad ‘Money’ Mendes, and silenced the critics who picked apart his previous two title defences….and then some.

The Nova Uniao fighter had not faced a wrestler of Mendes’ calibre before and some felt the champion would be exposed on that front, but from the first bell it was clear that Aldo was in no mood to play the ground game. The champion stuffed a couple of takedown attempts before beginning to find his rhythm and chop away at the challenger with legkicks. Mendes eventually succeeded with a takedown late in the round but Aldo popped right back up with the challenger clinging to a bodylock from the rear.

With the clock running down, Aldo swivelled and simultaneously clocked Mendes with a knee to the face that sent him toppling to the mat – a further punch sealed it as Mario Yamasaki intervened and ‘Junior’ stormed from the cage to celebrate with a throng of fans in the seating area. A fittingly chaotic end to a hectic night of fights, Aldo’s knockout came at 4:59 of the first round.

Next for Aldo: After winning his first two UFC title fights by decision, the Brazilian wrecking machine finally delivered what the fans wanted and what a way to win on home soil. ‘Junior’ reminded us just how devastating he can be and you can bet the next fight card headlined by Aldo will not be recieved with as little enthusiasm. With contenders being paired up in the coming months to establish the next pretender to the throne, Joe Silva should thrust Chan Sung Jung into the title frame after his 7-second knockout of Mark Hominick at the end of 2011. ‘The Korean Zombie’ presents a solid case for a title shot and we would be guaranteed firewrorks.

Next for Mendes: ‘Money’ falls to 11-1 and the first defeat of his career will be a tough one to take on board, as Mendes really had nothing for the champion last night. The prospect has a bright future ahead but needs to elavate the other facets of his game to the same level as his wrestling to progress in what’s becoming a ruthless 145lb division. Look for the Team Alpha Male man to return to action against either Ricardo Lamas or Mike Thoms Brown as he looks to get back on the horse.


Belfort proves size doesn’t matter, submits ‘Rumble’ in very first round

Following his disastrous weigh-in on Friday night, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson’s punishment for missing weight by a staggering 11lbs was a fight day weigh-in and a fine – but the knockout artist was made to pay through the nose by co-main event opponent Vitor Belfort.

The frenzied Rio crowd roared Belfort on from the off but the Brazilian was taken down by Johnson on a couple of occasions, eating a big right hand from guard that caused his right eye to begin swelling immediately. But ‘The Phenom’ pulled guard well and on three occasions Dan Miragliotta stood the fight up, perhaps a little early.

As the first round began winding down, it was clear that ‘Rumble’ was tiring – the imposing middleweight threw wild shots and a head-kick at Belfort but in the melee Johnson found himself on the mat with the Brazilian quickly securing his back. Belfort dropped punches and forearms to the exhausted Johnson before switching to a tight rear-naked choke and in no time, Johnson tapped handing ‘The Phenom’ the submission victory at 4:49 of round one – yet another reason for the Rio crowd to erupt.

Next for Belfort: We know that Belfort will be coaching the first ever run of ‘The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil’ which starts filming in the coming months and all signs point to a blockbuster rematch with rival coach, Wanderlei Silva, when the UFC returns to Brazil in June. ‘The Phenom’ has now knocked out Yoshihiro Akiyama and submitted ‘Rumble’ Johnson – he is one win away from a second shot at Anderson Silva’s title.

Next for Johnson: The writing is on the wall – ‘Rumble’ has been cut by the UFC. The talented but unreliable Johnson has come in overweight consistently in his time with the promotion and this latest debaucle was obviously the final straw. An exciting fighter, Johnson will hopefully get his act together – and string together a few wins – before perhaps being recalled in the future.

‘Toquinho’ continues to impress, makes quick work of Massenzio with patented heel-hook

Middleweight contender Rousimar Palhares continued his charge up the ladder in the UFC last night as he blitzed Mike Massenzio on the main card in something of a mismatch. ‘Toquinho’ started off landing decent legkicks on the much taller Massenzio but in no time, the Brazilian had dropped to the mat and seized a leg – oh dear.

The leglock specialist quickly grabbed the heel-hook and forced the American to tap in agony at just 1:03 of the first round, handing Palhares another slick submission victory to add to his growing resume inside the Octagon – plus ‘Submission of the Night’ cash to sweeten the deal.

Next for Palhares: Something of a loose canon, the 5ft 8in powerhouse is once again flitting around the title picture and Palhares will get a top contender later this year as he looks to stake a claim for a shot at the gold. A fight with Alan Belcher would seem most likely, but the grappling demon could also face the winner of UFC 144’s clash between Yushin Okami and Tim Boetsch.

Next for Massenzio: ‘The Master of Disaster’ (ahem) is 1-2 in his most recent stint with the UFC and although injuries have hampered the grappler, his results inside the cage should prove decisive. Expect to see Massenzio trimmed from the roster in the weeks to come.


Controversy reigns as Prater gets handed DQ victory over Silva

There were bizarre scenes afoot in the welterweight division as Brazilians Erick Silva and Carlo Prater met on the main card and the fans were left scratching their heads at the verdict. Surging prospect Silva was the heavy favourite going into the fight and quickly drove a knee to the body of the veteran – bundling him down in a daze and landing a series of hammerfists to the turtling Prater, ending the fight after just 29 seconds of round one. However, referee Mario Yamasaki ruled that Silva had landed several telling blows to the back of Prater’s head and handed Prater the disqualification victory.

Joe Rogan felt so strongly about the decision that he made Yamasaki explain his call on the microphone, a somewhat unneccessary move but the outcome of the fight was called into question when replays showed that Silva was mainly on point with his shots. There was certainly nothing deliberate about the errant shots, but Prater emerges the victory in anti-climactic fashion.

Next for Prater: ‘Neo’ cannot feel satisfied with that victory but the veteran is finally getting the chance on the big stage and will probably drop to his usual 155lbs for his next fight. Veterans like Yves Edwards will be waiting to greet him.

Next for Silva: It depends on how Joe Silva wants to match ‘Indio’ up going forward. The Brazilian was the rightful winner last night and I’d expect the UFC to treat him as such, perhaps pairing him with British prospect John Hathaway in the coming months.

Barboza turns it on, scores spectacular knockout of Etim in third round

‘Fight of the Night’ bonuses were handed out to lightweight prospects Edson Barboza and Terry Etim who put on an exciting three-round affair to open the main card but an incredible finish in the third round saw Barboza pad his wallet with ‘Knockout of the Night’ cash to boot.

The unbeaten Brazilian had the crowd on his side but Etim came out hard, working for takedowns but being unable to keep the striker down. Barboza found his groove and spent much of rounds one and two brutalising the legs of Etim with kicks and keeping himself away from trouble.

In the third round, the Brit’s sense of urgency took over and he gamely came out scrapping, but it was to be in vain. Barboza suddenly launched himself into a roundhouse or wheel-kick and clattered Etim’s jaw with the heel – sending the Liverpudlian crashing to the mat, hard. Barboza walked away in style, with Dan Miragliotta already on the scene to call the fight at 2:02 of the final round. An early contender for ‘Knockout of the Year’? Without a doubt.

Next for Barboza: Now 10-0, the Brazilian has put together a 4-0 record inside the Octagon and with a knockout like that under his belt, will have plenty of options going forward. The muay thai wrecking ball will have a close eye on next month’s match-up between Joe Lauzon and Anthony Pettis as he looks to force himself into title contention.

Next for Etim: The Team Kaobon standout did himself proud in the early stages last night but had no answer for the slick striking of Barboza. Etim is held in high regard in the UFC and will be back in action later in the year, possibly against a veteran striker such as Yves Edwards or Spencer Fisher.

Preliminary Card round-up

The undercard was headlined by an entertaining back-and-forth scrap in the lightweight division as local boy Thiago Tavares and Sam Stout went tooth and nail for three rounds. Tavares got the better of the early exchanges, including spending some time in control on the ground, but the Canadian hung in there and came close to finishing him late in the final round. While no official scores were presented, all three judges swayed in favour of Tavares by unanimous decision.

Next for Tavares: The talented Brazilian finally puts together consecutive victories but this was a close and somewhat debatable decision, at the end of the day. Tavares is gradually climbing the ladder though and might serve as the next test for recent winner of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, Tony Ferguson.

Next for Stout: The Canadian veteran was coming off a stunning knockout victory and although he made things very competitive in Rio, ‘Hands of Stone’ still falls back to the bottom tier of the brimmed lightweight division. The former student of the late Shawn Tompkins could return to face fellow veteran, Aaron Riley, to see who deserves to stick around on the big stage.

Undefeated Brazilian heavyweight prospect Edinaldo Oliveira saw his UFC debut – and perfect record – shattered by former title contender Gabriel Gonzaga who made a triumphant return to the promotion after retiring from the sport last year. The 6ft 7in Oliveira looked the quicker man as the fight began but ‘Napao’ soon took the taller man to the ground and with little fuss, sunk in a rear-naked choke without hooks to flatten out his opponent and get the tap at 3:22 of round one.

Next for Gonzaga: Finally – Gabriel Gonzaga remembered how good he is on the ground and as a result, ‘Napao’ picks up a vital and impressive victory to mark a successful comeback. The BJJ black-belt might meet the winner of next month’s bout between Stipe Miocic and Phil De Fries as he looks to climb back to the top of the division.

Next for Oliveira: ‘Lula’ is far from a big heavyweight and you might think Oliveira could make some noise at 205lbs, if he really wanted to make the weight. But the Brazilian is more likely to stay at heavyweight and will need to lick his wounds as he falls to 13-1-1, perhaps returning later in the year against British all-rounder Rob Broughton or even knockout artist Matt Mitrione.

Featherweights Yuri Alcantara and Michihiro Omigawa went to battle on the prelims in a three-round war that was not short on memorable moments. Fast-rising contender Alcantara looked solid in rounds one and two, mauling the Japanese veteran on the ground and ending round one torquing a grotesque looking armbar as the bell sounded. ‘Marajo’s claims that Omigawa tapped proved unfounded and somehow the judo player was able to continue fighting, coming up short in round two but almost turning the tables on the tiring Brazilian in the third. All three judges saw it in favour of Alcantara, who took the hard-fought unanimous decision.

Next for Alcantara: ‘Marajo’ moves to an impressive 27-3 and seems to be a legitimate threat in the featherweight division. The hard-hitting Brazilian will be targeting a fight with a well-known contender when he returns and countryman Diego Nunes or British banger Ross Pearson could be the man in question.

Next for Omigawa: The veteran’s record is a depressing read and with only a hard-fought decision win over an inexperienced Jason Young to his name in recent times, Omigawa might have outstayed his welcome. The judoka is tough, experienced and durable but he’s failed to prove himself time and again – expect to see Omigawa crop up on a Japanese fight card as the summer approaches.

On the entire fight card, only one non-Brazilian fighter saw his hand raised and that was welterweight veteran Mike Pyle who outclassed Brazilian expat Ricardo Funch without breaking a sweat. The Xtreme Couture fighter landed a hard, straight right hand that rocked Funch before folding him against the cage with a knee in the clinch, standing over the bloodied Funch landing punches until Mario Yamasaki spared the Brazilian further punishment at just 1:22 of round one.

Next for Pyle: After disappointment last time out, ‘Quicksand’ needed to win last night and he looked impressive in doing so. The grappler’s experience always puts him in the mixer with the bigger names in the welterweight division and we might see Pyle square off against Korean prospect Dong Hyun Kim in the months to come.

Next for Funch: ‘Golden Boy’ falls to 0-3 in the UFC having come in as a replacement for an injured fighter and although most guys get another shot, win or lose, Funch’s disappointing showing should mean he’s shown the door.

The first fight of the night, and the only to stream on Facebook, saw featherweight newcomer and hot prospect, Antonio Carvalho, take on fellow Brazilian Felipe Arantes in what looked like being a straight-forward debut victory. But Arantes had other ideas and after surviving some hairy moments on the mat with ‘Pato’ in round one, ‘Sertanejo’ edged him out in round two with better striking to leave it finely poised going into the final round. Arantes spent much of the round battering Carvalho from top position on the ground, opening up some cuts on the newcomer and ultimately doing enough to take a surprising unanimous decision victory.

Next for Arantes: ‘Sertanejo’ was a big underdog last night but looked a much better fighter than the man who lost his UFC debut last year. With an important, and pretty impressive, win under his belt the Brazilian could face recent TUF graduate, Bryan Caraway, in the next few months.

Next for Carvalho: ‘Pato’ was hyped coming into his UFC debut and despite starting strongly the Brazilian could not keep up the pace, but Carvalho will definitely get a second chance in the UFC against another losing featherweight like Rani Yahya to separate the wheat from the chaff.

That’s all for ‘UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes‘ which despite lacking in serious name power, still managed to deliver the goods and kick off 2012 on a high for the UFC. Don’t blink, as next weekend sees ‘UFC on FX 1: Guillard vs. Miller‘ go down in Nashville, Tennessee and that’s only the beginning of a frantic few months.


By Steve Davies

PA Caged Combat: Valley Fight Series 3 Results (Write-up and images)

By TSK No Comments


The Roadway Inn’s PA Caged Combat housed another exciting night of ametuer fights in Allentown, PA, Saturday night. Representing TSMMA,  were Greg Fonda of Allentown and Michael Ortiz of Bethlehem.  Fonda fought Zachary Sigley in the second bout of the night of 155 pounders. All three rounds progressed similarly, starting with both fighters exchanging punches in the center of the ring. Sigley used his wrestling background to land several takedowns, and secured the top position for most of the bout. Although Sigley had little to no offense while in the top position and couldn’t finish the fight, PA state rules, which only allow 2 minute rounds, there was not enough time for Fonda to mount any kind of jiu jitsu attack. Despite Fonda’s improvement in his takedown defense, Sigley’s takedowns earned him the win by unanimous decision.

Mike Ortiz officially earned his nickname “the Pitbull” in his fight against Tyler Marinucci in his second 145-pound featherweight fight. At the sound of the bell, in a very unorthodox fashion, Marinucci crawled on all fours across the cage and barrel rolled into an attempt to pull guard. Ortiz would have none of it and quickly passed guard into sidemount with a flurry of strikes. /From the bottom position, Marinucci’s submission attacks, although impressive and relentless, would prove to be his downfall. He went from arm bar, to triangle, to omoplata, all while being picked up by Ortiz and viciously slammed on his head in every attempt. Oritz’s pitbull agressiveness and sheer will to win, was impressive to say the least. In the second round Marinucci changed up his game plan and came out swinging. Ortiz met his strikes with a flurry of punches, slammed Marinucci into the cage, and landed a vicious takedown. The second round ended the same as the third, with Ortiz brutalizing his opponent. It was another great win for “The Pitbull”. We will watch his career with interest.

Once again, a very special thanks, to our head coach Shihan James Simpson in his tireless effort to coach the PA Fight Team. Shihan even took on a fighter who was abandoned by his coach and team in the only Pro Fight of the night. Shihan was able to coach him to a split decision win in his Pro Fight coaching debut to show his true passion to help young fighters in this sport. Thank you Shihan!