FightTicker Exclusive: Post-Event Interviews with Mike Yanez, Chevelle Hallback and Joe Heink

In the second part of this three-part series of post-event interviews from XFC 7 , I bring you some post-event comments from Mike Yanez, Chevelle Hallback and Joe Heink. Both Hallback and Heink train under Yanez, and Yanez presented Heink with his BJJ brown belt at the event after Heink's win over Scott Porter.

Check after the jump for the three interviews.

Mike Yanez

FightTicker: What did you think about the fights tonight?

Mike Yanez: Pretty tough night tonight. Some unexpected things – I’ll touch on the losses first. CT Turner fight – he was pretty much dominating him [St. Preux], controlling him, basically nine out of ten times I think CT would’ve won that fight. He had his hand down and the guy switched to southpaw and he’s really long, so he caught him and knocked him out, not much more you can say about that.

On Chevelle Hallback – we’ve worked extensively on her grappling, she’s definitely improved. I guess in the heat of the moment – I know this is the pros, but she’s never had any amateur [MMA] fights and that’s a show of inexperience on the ground. Kind of an expensive lesson, but correctable, no big deal. I think she won’t run into that problem anymore.

On Johnny Cardona – what can I say? That was a great fight. Johnny Cardona’s fight was – Johnny kept on going. Hats off to Nate Jolly, he stuck to his gameplan and is a really good wrestler with good experience, had good cardio and everything else. I feel Johnny won the second round and I think it would’ve been split [decision] if he had made it out of the third. He [Cardona] had two takedowns in the third [round]. Just going for that leglock cost him and he got ground-and-pounded too much and couldn’t recover.

On Derek Schiffer – First Pro MMA win in Tennesse, ever. It’s his second pro win. He’s a gamer, listens to his coach. He is one guy that really, really listens. He went pro straight off the bat, never had any amateur fights. I was really happy with his first pro fight because he really just listens to his corner more than any fighter I’ve ever had. He sticks to a gameplan and that’s it. He gets it done and gets out of there. He wants to win and that’s about it.

On Joe Heink – “The Deal”. He basically runs my school now in Louisville, KY. He's worked on his hands obviously. I haven't been there [in Louisville] working with him so I was always calling him and checking on his progress and his training. With my instructor [Pablo Popovitch] being here tonight, I asked him if I could promote Joe to brown [belt in BJJ]. It's really fast, he made it from white to brown [belt] in three-and-a-half years, and I made it from white to purple [belt] in three-and-a-half years so he's definitely better than me and past me [where I was at that point] and I'm very happy. He got his first TKO tonight, really quick, and he beat a brown belt, that guy was a brown belt. It was a test, he continues to get better and he's very young, 23 years old. He runs a school now and he's got bright future ahead of him. I think you're going to see a lot of Joe and hear a lot about Joe. Hopefully he'll be back here in the XFC since he got that win.

FT: How have you liked it since you moved down to Florida take the job with the XFC?

Yanez: I really do [like it]. I work with a great bunch of guys. The teamwork between them all is really awesome. Me adjusting to Florida wasn't really a big deal because I'm from Florida. I left [Kentucky] obviously at the best time since this was one of the worst winters [laughs]. The facilities - I have everything now, a cage, ring, weights. I have a new batch of amateurs. It's going to work out really well for me there. It's just a great opportunity for everyone involved. The XFC continues to grow and gets better.


Chevelle Hallback

FightTicker: A disappointing loss for you tonight – what are your thoughts on the fight?

Hallback: It’s okay. I said if I ever lose – I don’t take losing very well – but you know what, I think I did good coming out and granted, no amateur MMA fights, only second MMA fight, only been training a year and this girl [Sarah Wilson] had a lot of good jiu jitsu behind her. Hey, I stood in there for a “good minute” so I don’t feel bad. It’s a learning game, I’m still learning. My ground game – I’m a baby at it. I feel that I made a mistake by taking her to the ground. I should’ve stayed on my feet, but she took a lot of good punches and I kind of got a little cocky even though I was in her guard because I was wailing away and my corner kept telling me “Stand up, watch out for the triangle, stand up, stand up!” and I’m hearing them but I’m thinking, I got her, and then when she grabbed me with those legs I still was okay, I picked her up and slammed her a couple times, I still was breathing okay, but when I rolled over to my back, that was all she wrote. But I’m good. I feel good. I’ll be back.

FT: You landed some good shots out of the gate. Going into the fight was your plan to stay standing the whole time?

Hallback: My gameplan was to not get on the ground and like I said, I got a little cocky. I saw I had her in trouble on my feet and thought, let’s go on and take it to the ground, so I slammed her to the ground and it changed my gameplan, but just because you got a person in trouble, don’t change your gameplan, don’t deviate from it because it can happen like it did tonight. Like I said, I take my hat off to her, she’s a very tough girl. I was good, though – even when she was punching me [from the triangle] she really wasn’t connecting hard, she was connecting with my arm and not really hurting me at all, but then I rolled over and she put the major pressure on and that’s what got me.

FT: So what’s next for you?

Hallback: I’ll be back soon. Talk to John [Prisco] and see what happens. Never know, there might be a rematch with her. I’d love that, love to have a rematch with her. Going right back to the gym and keep working, keep working my ground, keep working my ground, keep working my ground, because I want to be well-rounded in MMA. I just can’t rely on my hands alone, I have to learn that ground game because there’s not too many girls you’re going to find that don’t know jiu jitsu in this game, so if I’m going to be at the highlest level, I have to learn that ground game.

FT: 1-1 in MMA now with the XFC. I know your MMA career is still brand new at this point, but how are you feeling about it so far?

Hallback: I’m coming along very well. One thing I can say about them [the XFC] is that they’re trying to match me evenly, they’re not just giving me people they know I’m going to beat. They’re bringing me up the right way with each fight, a new challenge with each one and that’s the only way I’m going to get there. They’re not just throwing anybody at me that they know I’m going to walk through, I’m not going to improve that way. I don’t think this loss is going to hurt me. I don’t think losses really hurt you in MMA because the more people you fight and the better quality fighters you fight against, that’s what helps you [in MMA]. Any other time [with a loss in boxing] I’d be complaining and saying “I can’t believe this, I just want to go home and go to sleep”, but I’m good, head up high. I’m not down, depressed, nothing like that.

FT: So you think Yanez is going to have you in the gym on Monday working triangle defense?

Hallback: Well, I have class Monday because I’m school, but Tuesday, most definitely. [Laughs] I’m not sore – she tapped me out, but I’m not sore – I’ve got a slight knot [on my forehead] but I’m good.


Joe Heink

FightTicker: How did you feel going into the fight?

Joe Heink: I felt really confident, I’ve been working really hard on my strength and conditioning so I definitely knew that I’d have no trouble bringing it and keeping up the fight for as long as it would take. I was kind of surprised at how quick it was, but I was happy to win.

FT: All of your victories before this fight have been by submission – how did feel to get your first TKO?

Heink: It’s kind of cool. I’ve sort of wanted a KO or a TKO for a while, just to switch it up and show I’m dangerous in more ways than one?

FT: How did you feel about your opponent?

Heink: I was mostly just going to watch out for his reach, I knew he was long, but he looked a lot smaller, so I knew if I could be aggressive and overpower him that I could win. But I was also watching out for his guillotine as well, because I’ve heard that’s his thing.

FT: What’s next for you now?

Heink: I’m going to keep training, train harder than ever. I still have a lot of work to do, a lot of learning to do. I’m going to try and work with some really good guys, step my game up and take some high profile fights.

FT: Did you like fighting for the XFC?

Heink: Yeah, they’re a really good promotion and it was a good venue. I’m pretty pleased with how things have been going, and I’d like to go down in Florida where it’s warm and fight for them there. [Laughs]

FT: How soon do you think you’ll fight again?

Heink: Probably sometime in the next two months. It all depends on talking with my trainers about it, but you can look forward to seeing me pretty soon.

(PreView’s Note: Heink is currently slated to fight on the upcoming April 25th card – an opponent’s name has not yet been released by the XFC.)


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