Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Video of the Day - Jones v. Holm

Here is Holly Holm fighting Allanna Jones at Legacy FC 21 which took place on 7/19/13 in Houston, Texas.

Holm (7-0) has been signed by the UFC, broke her arm in her win over Juliana Werner in April and hopes to debut later this year. Holm trains out of Jackson-Winklejohn and has a pro boxing record of 33-2-3.

(Holly Holm pictured, click to enlarge)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

TUF 20 Cast and Favorites

The 20th season of the Ultimate Fighter will features an all female cast, with sixteen fighters vying for the 115 pound straw weight championship. Four straight wins and you are the champ, just like that.

There are several high ranking fighters on the cast, including about 5-6 of the top 10 fighters at 115 pounds. It is a shame that WSOF snagged #1 ranked Jessica Aguilar (18-4, 2-0 WSOF), who won the WSOF 115 pound championship subbing Alida Gray, then following it up with a decision win over Emi Fujino. Aguilar beat season favorite Carla Esparza via split decision at Bellator 46 and has defeated cast mates Angela Magana and Lisa Ellis.

The UFC doesn't seem interested in having foreign speaking fighters on TUF 20. I can't imagine having 2 or 3 translators for 7 hours a day would be very pricey. It would bring an interesting dynamic to the show. Top ten fighter Mizuki Inoue (7-2) has wins over cast mates Bec Rawlings and Alex Chambers. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (5-0), out of Poland, has been getting hype out of the KSW promotion and borderline top 15 fighter in Tina Lahdemaki (5-0) of Finland fights Claudia Gadehla at UFN 45.

UFC signee Claudia Gadehla (11-0) of Nova Uniao is considered a top 5 fighter in the division and was rumored to be on TUF, but dropped out because she didn't believe she could make weight for the duration of the show.

Here are my rankings:

1. Carla Esparza (9-2)- The reigning Invicta FC 115 pounder has college wrestling experience and fast hands. She has used grappling successfully to dominate most fights, where her submission game has been improving and she has solid GNP. Carla defeated cast mates Felice Herrig at XFC 15 and Bec Rawlings in Invicta via unanimous decision.

                (Carla Esparza GNP)

2. Joanne Calderwood (8-0)- The Scottish striker holds several Muay Thai titles including the ISKA World Flyweight title, IKF European title, the WKL European title and the WBC UK title. Joanne's best wins have come over highly touted Katja Kankaanpaa (9-1) and Lena Ovchynnikova (9-3).

           (Joanne Calderwood throws a knee)

3. Tecia Torres (4-0)- Training out of American Top Team, the Muay Thai specialist has 7 additional amateur wins on her record. Fighting exclusively in Invicta FC, she defeated UFC signee Paige Van Zant and fellow cast mates Felice Herrig and Rose Namajunas via decision.

4. Jessica Penne (11-2)- Most recently competing at 105, making weight won't be difficult for the former Invicta 105 pound champ. Penne has defeated cast mates Lisa Ellis via TKO and Angela Magana via submission. She has also submitted Jewels 105 pound champ Naho Sugiyama.
                                  (Jessica Penne GNP)

5. Justine Kish (4-0)- The RFA veteran and former Golden Gloves boxing champ has competed and trained in Muay Thai in Thailand. Training out of Blackhouse, she owns wins over  Jin Tang (12-4) and fellow cast mate Randa Markos (4-1).
                                 (Justine Kish body kick)

6. Aisling Daly (14-5)- The current NAAFS 125 pound champ will drop down to 115 for TUF. Fighting out of Ireland, Daly recently submitted Karla Benitez via armbar and has a win over UFC fighter Jessica Eye (10-2).

7. Felice Herrig (9-5)- The spunky striker has a reported kickboxing record of (23-5) with strong leg and body kicks. She has decision wins in Bellator over Patricia Vidonic, cast mate Heather Clark and TUF 18 runner-up Jessica Rakoczy.
                              (Herrig kicks Patricia Vidonic)

8. Bec Rawlings (5-3)- The well rounded Australian fighter has decision losses to season favorite Carla Esparza and highly touted Mizuki Inoue, with an armbar win over Jasminka Cive (5-2) and TKO win over Christina Tatnell (5-1).
                     (Bec Rawlings, formerly Bec Hyatt)

9. Rose Namajunas (2-1)- The Grudge Training Center fighter previously trained at Roufus Sport, fighting pro exclusively in Invicta. You probably know her name considering the 12 second flying armbar she pulled off at Invicta 5 over Katrina Catron (4-3) and relationship with former UFC fighter Pat Barry. Rose has a 3rd round sub over cast mate Emily Kagan (3-1), with a decision loss to cast mate Tecia Torres. She went 4-0 as an amateur with 2 KO's.
(Rose Namajunas with Pat Barry)

10. Alex Chambers (4-1)- The 5'3" Australian will be moving up from 105 for TUF. Her last bout was in Invicta where she subbed Jodie Esquibel, then 3-0, in the 1st round. She also has a TKO wins over Mika Nagano (14-9) and Claire Fryer (4-1).

11. Lisa Ellis (15-8)- With over 10 years of MMA experience, Ellis has not competed since a 2012 armbar win over Amy Davis (4-4). Ellis' biggest wins have come over cast mate Aisling Daly and a 2006 submission of Jessica Aguilar, who was making her pro debut.

12. Angela Magana (11-6)- The seven year MMA veteran has been around the block, normally fighting at 125, and possessing split decision wins over highly ranked Jessica Aguilar and Barb Honchack. Magana will enter the tournament on a two fight losing streak, having been subbed by prospect Stephanie Eggink and losing a decision to 135 pounder Jessica Eye.  Two of her losses have come to the aforementioned Aguilar.
                               (Angela Magana pictured)

13. Randa Markos (4-1)- The Canadian grappler has 3 wins via submission on her record, with a loss to cast mate Justine Kish.

14. Emily Kagen (3-1)- A Jackson-Winkeljohn fighter, Kagen narrowly won a split decision over Ashley Cummins in Invicta in her last bout.

15. Angela Hill (1-0)- Hill is a Muay Thai fighter out of Maryland has a reported undefeated 14-0 amateur MMA record and 2-0 kickboxing record.

16. Heather Clark (6-4)- An XFC and Bellator veteran, Clark has 2 TKO's and 3 submissions on her resume.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Video of the Day - Osiris v. Copeland

Here is Josh Copeland fighting Angel Osiris in RMBB Bad Boys which took place on 5/10/13 in Sheridan, Colorado.

Copeland (8-0) will next fight former BYU football player Jan Jorgensen (7-0) at RFA 16 for the HW championship. The winning fighter could be looking at a chance with the UFC.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Video of the Day - Miller v. Buck

Here is Jim Miller fighting Al Buck for the lightweight title in the CFFC promotion which took place on 4/13/07 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Miller (24-4, 13-2) next fights Donald Cerrone (23-6, 10-3 UFC) in the main event of UFN 45.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Video of the Day - Oleinik v Cro Cop

Here is Alexey Oleinik or "Olesky Olynyk" fighting Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic at Legend - Part 2 Invasion, which took place on 11/8/03 in Moscow, Russia.

Oleinik (49-9 or so) had a successful UFC debut over Anthony Hamilton (12-2) using this exact same choke. Fight starts at 17:30.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Practice What You Preach - Rev Returns to MCC

On June 27, 2014, Chuck "The Reverend" Grigsby (23-9) will look to collect the 6th championship belt of his MMA career at MCC 54. He will take on Robert "The Destroyer" Morrow, a tough veteran of the Midwest fight circuit. The five round title fight will headline a 14 bout card at Hy Vee Hall in Des Moines, Iowa.

Robert Morrow is a power puncher with some solid victories on his resume, and certainly isn't a fighter to be underestimated. In speaking about what he knew about him, Rev said, "the guy across from you in the cage is the toughest guy in the world until you beat him. That guy is the best, strongest and most skilled guy. You have to respect your opponent. You have to respect the game. You don't get this far in MMA without respecting the game."

Chuck won't be watching any tape on Morrow, or any of his future opponents for that matter. "I used to watch tape earlier on in my career and it didn't help. Some guys would look fast on tape, and it didn't translate to the fight. Sometimes they'd look stronger on tape. You never know until you get in there with them."

(MCC 54 Promo Poster)

In his last bout, Chuck steamrolled Dan McGlasson in just over twenty seconds. In describing the fight, he said, "I had respect for him, but he filled in at the last minute. I work way too hard preparing for my fights, mentally and physically. I don't think he was prepared. You can't get in there with me if you aren't prepared."

(Rev gets the quick finish)

When describing the amount of fights that have fallen through, a major problem for fighters, Chuck didn't want to point fingers. "Nowadays people pull out, think about what the outcome might be. I might have been able to make more money that way. I haven't had the greatest management all the time. You have to make your own opportunities. Embrace every opportunity and prepare the best you can."

The biggest topic I wanted to ask Rev about was the bout at VFC 40 against Houston Alexander. "Alexander is this big scary guy everyone is afraid of. I wasn't. He lay and prayed the first round. The referee wasn't the greatest and let him lie there. I started to do better in the second, and in the third was really causing damage." It looked like Chuck had opened up a cut with an elbow, with blood coming out near Alexander's right eye. When asked about what happened in the fourth, Rev explained, "my mouth guard came out for the first time in my career. I made eye contact with the ref and I thought he was going to let me put it in. When I went to grab it, I got hit and knocked off balance. I take full responsibility for the loss."

(Rev throwing a big uppercut)

When I asked about a potential rematch, Chuck said, "I'd be excited about taking that fight. That would be an great fight for the fans. A lot of people would like to see it. Really it is the one fight of my career where I'd like a re-do. I feel like I can win that fight and I'd be better prepared. Of course, he'd be better prepared for me. But, I don't think he will take the fight."

(Rev throwing the jab)

Chuck is proud of what he has accomplished in his career, from amassing regional titles, representing Team USA East to a silver medal in M-1, fighting around the world and being in the MCC Hall of Fame. Currently training out of Omega MMA and Westchase Impact Martial Arts under Alexey Petrov, Rev explained that he is training with some up and comers that not many people know about yet. However, MMA is not a team sport, "it is about self discipline, respecting your opponent, preparing yourself for every scenario. You can never do enough. I've seen so many up and coming fighters with potential have 3, 4, 5 fight careers. The thing about MMA is that it exposes you mentally."

(Rev with Team USA East)

Overseas fighting really opened up Chuck to several things and expanded his game. "Not many American fighters go overseas to fight, I've fought in Amsterdam, Bulgaria, Russia. Win or lose, it makes you a stronger person. I've been lucky to get those opportunities." Not everything goes according to plan overseas however. "You have a fourteen hour flight, you are in different time zones, new food, new environments, there are a lot of unknowns."

(Rev throwing a punch)

Rev actually was in Sochi, Russia, before last years Winter Olympics. "They took us around to lots of the construction sites. It is a resort area, kinda like the Florida of Russia." When asked about the stray dogs that were made popular in the news, Rev said, "Now that you mention it, there were lots of stray animals running around. Not just dogs."

(Rev in Sochi)

I was wondering about the best wins of his career, and one fight that came up was his battle with Bellator veteran Atanas Djambazov (18-4) of Bulgaria. "Over in Bulgaria, I didn't know who was a friend or foe. That guy is a monster. I actually pulled my groin in the first round of the fight. They have a canvas on the floor of the ring over there, it is way different. It was bananas. I just kept battling and pulled off the decision. I left everything in the ring. Afterwards we were treated like kings. We all went to dinner after the fight and were treated very well. They respected us for having good sportsmanship, representing ourselves well and leaving everything out there."

I asked about the nickname "the Reverend" in our first interview, but wanted to learn more. Rev said, "You know, I originally wanted to be called The God Son for my first fight." But that nickname didn't get close to sticking. "Everyone was calling me The Reverend for that fight anyway. It actually started in high school, and I don't know who started saying it. My coach Tom Lee had all the basketball players wear a suit and tie to school on Friday game days. I'd never had a reason to have a suit or a tie before. I guess one of the kids saw how I looked and how I was carrying myself, and called me "The Reverend." It snowballed from there.

"It isn't religious at all. It is a positive thing and I do take pride in the name. I don't want to be an Axe Murderer or an Assassin. I'm proud of the nickname." Pressing a little more I was able to get Rev to talk more about what got him into MMA, he said, "maybe it was insecurity, trying to prove something to someone. I've been very fortunate to always have success. I wasn't sure who I was, and maybe [MMA] helped me. You learn something about yourself."

My first interview with Chuck was six years ago. He is the same genuine high character person today as he was then. The biggest difference seems to be his motivation for fighting. Early on, Chuck's motivation seemed to be more about accumulating belts and getting to a bigger stage. Now it is all about fighting for the Grigsby family, or as he calls it the "G-Unit."  "I want to thank my family most of all. They've had to sacrifice for me to do this. I also want to thank my inner circle, my role models, coaches and friends. I don't want to list names because I'll accidentally forget someone, but you know who you are. I also want to thank Joe from MMA Blaster. He let's me talk and really does a great job translating."

(Rev repping Team Revolution)

*Click on photos to enlarge

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Video of the Day - Machado v. Almeida

Here is Thomas Almeida fighting Caio Machado at Legacy 32 which took place on 6/20/14 in Bossier City, Louisiana. The two undefeated fighters met for the Legacy bantamweight title belt and receiving a call from the UFC.