3.31.2009

FightTicker.com Exclusive: Junie Browning Discusses Upcoming Fight With Cole Miller


I recently caught up with Junie Browning (via phone) after he'd arrived in Nashville for his upcoming fight against Cole Miller. Junie took some time out of his schedule to discuss his upcoming fight with Miller as well as his move to Xtreme Couture.

Check after the jump for the full interview

FightTicker: Just a few days out from your fight with Cole Miller, how are you feeling?

Junie Browning: I feel awesome. I'm actually walking around Nashville now.

FT: How did you training camp go?

Browning: It was awesome. I did everything I did in this camp for the last one plus some.

FT: A colleague of mine on FightTicker, John Buhl (aka jmb35) recently interviewed Cole Miller and Cole said he plans to beat you wherever the fight goes and that he thinks he's a way better fighter than you except maybe in wrestling - how do you feel about that?

Browning: Ah, he'll see. We'll see about that. I think he's been playing way too many video games, he's been getting too many of those combos, and that's not real life. He'll see. This isn't "Street Fighter," the good guy doesn't always win [Laughs].

FT: So you've implied you're the bad guy - you seem to have a really different approach to training and things now than you did on the show, how's training been going for you since you left the show?

Browning: The training out here [Las Vegas] is awesome. It's extreme training scenarios for extreme fighters, I think. There's no reason you can't get good out here. You can get good by default.

FT: Why Xtreme Couture?

Browning: It wasn't necessarily even Xtreme Couture, it was really Shawn Thompkins. Plus Xtreme Couture has the best Lightweights there are.

FT: Do you still train at 4 Seasons at all?


Browning? Nah, that was a good camp and stuff, but I had to be around more people who take it a little bit more seriously. Everyone out here [in Vegas] is more professional, people back home just do it for a hobby. This is something - being in the UFC isn't something you can just do part time, do for fun or do it for a hobby, you have to do it like a job. I'm out in Vegas for good now. It's just something I felt I had to do. You're part of the people you associate with and back home, they want to do it for fun and I couldn't treat it like that anymore, I couldn't treat it like a game anymore.

FT: What do you think about Miller in general?

Browning: I don't know much about him so I can't make any comments about him. I think all the stuff he's saying is to hype it up and stuff, to convince himself but I think he really knows what the outcome is going to be. I'm not Andy Wang or Jeremy Stephens.

FT: What about Miller's win over Jorge Gurgel?

Browning: I think Gurgel was beating the crap out of him, but he just made a mistake - anything can happen in a fight, but I feel like Gurgel was pretty much dominating him until the end of the fight.

FT: Your conditioning appears to have improved leaps and bounds since you left the show - is a rematch with Efrain Escudero something you'd be interested in?

Browning: Yeah, I'd do it right now out here on the street if I could just to show him that wasn't even me at 30 or 40% when I was on the show.

FT: So you think you're at 100% now?

Browning: Yeah, definitely.

FT: Your brother Rob ended up with a spot on TUF - when he was going for the tryouts, what kind of advice did you give him?

Browning: I just told him don't drink as much as I did, have fun, it's something you experience once in your life so make the best of it. Try and get your name out there as much as possible and try not to lose.

FT: So is this going to be something we see in the future, the Browning brothers going on a tear in the UFC like the Miller brothers have?

Browning: [Laughs]. That would be cool. He hasn't really told me much about the show. I don't even know what necessarily happens on it, but I know we'll be the most insane people ever on the show.

FT: You've said in some other recent interviews you haven't been drinking or partying, anything like that - what have you been up to besides training?

Browning: Just playing videogames mostly. Watch some movies, I try to concentrate on fighting. I don't really go out or anything, too many distractions and temptations and stuff so I just try to avoid it completely, stay home, play videogames and have a lot of sex.

FT: So you don't buy into the whole abstinence before a fight idea?

Browning: No, that's an old boxing rumor, that's not true at all. I actually think it would hurt you not to have sex before a fight.

FT: The videogames, the not going out - is that just fight prep or are you not going out at all?

Browning: It's not going to be like this year-round. As soon as this fight's over, I'm going to go get drunk and have some fun, you know what I mean? It's almost like a reward to yourself for training so hard, but 2-3 months out, I won't drink or party anything, I totally avoid it. Or if I do go out, I don't drink, I just hang out with friends.

FT: Do you think you're ever going to get past the reputation you set for yourself on TUF, or is that something you don't have a problem with?

Browning: Nah, I don't really care. Some people like it, some people hate it, I don't really care. I don't think there's really anything I have to do to get rid of that reputation. When people see me fight a few more times people will realize I'm not the same person.

FT: About fighting a few more times - where do you see yourself in the UFC's Lightweight division now?

Browning: I'm the best looking guy in the Lightweight division, I know that [Laughs]. Time will tell. I don't believe I'm even close to being one of the top guys right now, but I think I have the most potential and within the next few years, I could beat anybody.

FT: Thanks for your time Junie - is there anybody you want to thank?

Browning: Denaro Sports Marketing and TapouT.

----------

Browning was a nice guy to talk to - when I messaged him about the interview, he responded almost immediately. At the weigh-in for tomorrow's UFN 18 event, it appears that Browning wasn't even the one playing the "bad boy" role. Here is a video of his and Miller's weigh-ins.

-PreView

(Originally posted on FightTicker.com)




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ICF Welcomes Pure Romance as a Sponsor for April 11th Event at U.S. Bank Arena


From a Press Release:

Steve Stanton is proud to announce that Pure Romance will be a sponsor on April 11th at U.S. Bank Arena. "We are very excited to have Pure Romance in the house at U.S. Bank Arena on April 11th, they are a perfect addition to the biggest show MMA fans have seen here since UFC 77 in November of 2007. We hope to continue and build this relationship with one of Cincinnati's greatest small business success stories."

Check after the jump for the full Press Release.

Pure Romance is an in-home party company which offers an exclusive line of heighteners, lubricants and bedroom accessories for relationship enhancement. In a little over a decade, Pure Romance has grown into a multi-million dollar company, bringing in $43 million in retail sales during 2004 alone.

Based in Cincinnati with 80 full-time employees, Pure Romance operates out of a state-of-the-art facility comprised of a 40,000-square-foot distribution center and a 10,000-square-foot Corporate Office.

To learn more visit their website at PureRomance.com

www.ICFMMA.com


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XFC 8: “Regional Conflict” Main Event Now a World Championship Title Fight


From a Press Release:

Knoxville, TN: The XFC announced today that the highly-anticipated featherweight showdown between undefeated Bruce “The Noose” Connors (6-0) of Orlando, Florida and Jarrod “The Wild Card” Card (9-2-1) of Jacksonville, North Carolina will now be for the XFC featherweight world championship. The two 145-pound fighters will battle in the main event of XFC 8: “Regional Conflict” on Saturday, April 25, at the 21 thousand-capacity Thompson-Boling Arena on the campus of the University of Tennessee. The event will be televised live nationwide, exclusively on HDNet.

Check after the jump for the full press release, including the announcement of a special guest.

Rising heavyweight contender Bobby Lashley (2-0) will be at XFC 8 as a special guest, and the former two-time ECW world champion will present the custom-designed world title to the winner.

“I’ve gone on record as saying that Bruce Connors is the best featherweight I’ve ever seen outside of the WEC,” said XFC president John Prisco, “but Card is a tremendous natural athlete with a ferocious mean streak, and I’d actually give him a slight edge in power and experience. We’ve only crowned two other world champions in the history of the XFC [lightweight champion John Mahlow and bantamweight champion Jason Goodall], and it’s because we’re fanatically protective of the sanctity of our title belts. Whoever wins this fight will be a champion in the full sense of the word. Connors versus Card is a matchup that industry insiders are just salivating over, and it’s one of the most compelling fights that the XFC has ever had the privilege of promoting.”

XFC 8 features the fastest-rising young prospects and top emerging superstars from Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky and North Carolina in a series of contender-versus-contender cage fights. The combined professional and amateur records of all fighters currently assigned bouts is 130-22. “That means our fighters will enter the cage with a winning percentage of over 85 percent,” noted Prisco. “That’s virtually unheard of in today’s MMA, but this card is just loaded with do-or-die matchups between the top young talent in the entire Southeast. These are the champions of tomorrow – and the next generation of Mixed Martial Artists.”

Bruce Connors served two tours in Kosovo and Afghanistan as a sniper scout with the U.S. Marines – and later utilized his elite combat skills as an officer with the Florida police department’s SWAT [Special Weapons and Tactics] team. Training out of Gracie Barra Orlando, Connors exploded onto the MMA scene with a 6-0 record, earning multi-fight contract offers from numerous national promotions. All of Connors’ six wins are by first-round knockout or submission.

“A world title represents the ultimate achievement for anyone in the fight game,” said Connors, “because it means that you’re the absolute best at what you do. It’s the pinnacle of a fighters’ career and the reason why we push our bodies beyond the breaking point every day in training camp. I learned a little bit about mental toughness on the battlefields overseas, so I really hope I’ll be able to maintain focus on Jarrod Card and concentrate on executing my game plan, but I won’t lie to you: Fighting for the XFC world title on live TV is a dream come true, and I can’t help but smile from ear-to-ear when I think about what it would be like to wear that belt around my waist. On April 25, I’ll pay any price to win that championship.”

His opponent, Jarrod Card, also has a strong military background: Formerly a member of the U.S. Navy, Card currently works with the Marines at Fort Lejeune as a civilian contractor and aircraft expert. In his most recent fight, Card battled Jeff “Little Popeye” Bedard, a three-fight veteran of the WEC, where “Little Popeye” went 2-1. Bedard entered the bout with a sterling 9-1 record, but was quickly overwhelmed by Card’s lightning-fast hands and offensive onslaught. Card decimated Bedard, forcing the corner of “Little Popeye” to throw in the towel at the end of round one.

“In the eyes of the media, I was the underdog against Jeff Bedard, and according to the media I’ll be the underdog once again when I fight Bruce Connors,” said Card. “But that’s just perception. In reality, there are no favorites and there are no underdogs once the steel cage door swings shut and the bell chimes. All that matters is who fights harder – and whose heart is bigger. I’ve got nothing negative to say about Bruce. He’s a class act and a great young fighter. But I know me, and when we lock horns in the center of the cage – with the XFC featherweight world title on the line – I honestly don’t see how he can survive. I want that championship belt so badly, I can taste it. It’s the first thing I thing I think about when I wake up in the morning – and the last thing I think about when I go to sleep at night. Maybe it’s becoming an unhealthy obsession, but I need that title. He’ll have to break me to take it.”

Johnny Najjar is the president of Masis Boxing Belts, a family-run business that’s been the preeminent designer and manufacturer of world titles for over 60 years. His belts have been worn by every major boxing champion of the past half-century, including Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, and now the Klitschko brothers. Najjar is personally hand-designing the XFC featherweight world title belt, and according to Najjar, his not-yet-completed creation will symbolize the sacrifice and discipline required to become a world champion.

“This is more than a trophy; it’s a work of art – an 18-karat gold-plated masterpiece!” exclaimed Najjar. “Over 200 man-hours will go into the XFC championship title. Its magnificent design truly symbolizes the bravery and fearlessness of the modern day MMA gladiator. Since the age of Pharaohs in ancient Egypt, championship belts have symbolized that – for just one fleeting moment in time – the title-holder has achieved true greatness and everlasting immortality. I know that Bruce Connors and Jarrod Card will put each other through hell and back to win the XFC featherweight world championship – and whoever prevails will have a title belt worthy of the occasion, I promise you that!”

XFC 8: “Regional Conflict” takes place on April 25 at Knoxville’s Thompson-Boling Arena. Tickets are now available at the Thompson-Boling Arena box office and Tickets Unlimited outlets, including Cat's Music, Disc Exchange, and Fye Music.

###

About Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC): Xtreme Fighting Championships – better known to MMA fight fans worldwide as the XFC – is the Southeast’s leading independent MMA promotion, and stages the largest live shows in the entire sport this side of the UFC. Dedicated to launching the careers of the MMA superstars of tomorrow, the XFC’s next mega-event, XFC 8: “Regional Conflict,” takes place on April 25 at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee, and will be broadcast live on national television, exclusively on HDNet. For more information about the XFC, please visit www.mmaxfc.com.


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Forrest Petz Replaces Shonie Carter in ICF: Breakout Main Event


From a Press Release:

"Mr. International" Shonie Carter will be cut from the main event after breaking his arm in training. Carter's replacement will be former UFC fighter Forrest Petz. Petz, who holds wins over Charles "Crazy Horse" Bennett, Sam Morgan, and Luigi Fioravanti, will now face undefeated Victor O'Donnell in the co-main event. The last time Petz fought in Cincinnati was against Joshua Burkman at UFC 77 at U.S. Bank Arena.

You can find the full Press Release after the jump.


Two former UFC fighters will battle in the co-main event as well. Dan "The Sandman" Christison will challenge Marcio "Pe de Pano" Cruz in a heavyweight bout that is set to be a classic. Both fighters are jui jitsu experts with Cruz being a world champion.

Cincinnati favorite Chad "H-Bomb" Hinton will challenge former UFC fighter Jeff Cox. Hinton is looking to defend his undefeated record against Cox in front of his hometown fans.

Another Cincinnati local and Ultimate Fighter 7 star Luke Zachrich will now take on Robert Thompson. Thompson has a record of 7-3 while Zachrich is 8-1.

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3.30.2009

FightTicker Exclusive: ICF TurfwaR Post-Event Interview With ICF Promoter Steve Stanton


The final post-event interview I did after the recent ICF: TurfwaR event was with ICF Promoter, Steve Stanton. As usual, Steve put on a great show and took some time out from his busy evening to talk with me after the event. Stanton’s next show will be ICF: Breakout, April 11th at US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, OH. A number of FightTicker.com members will be fighting on that card - you can find the full fight card here.

Check after the jump for the interview.

FightTicker: How’d you feel about the event tonight?

Steve Stanton: It went good, went good. Had a good crowd show up. We’re really promoting the April 11th show, but I love Turfway, it’s my home. We’re really excited to get to US Bank Arena, that’s what we’re really focusing on right now.

FT: Obviously you’ve got some good fighters in your stable – Jeremy Pender had a big win tonight and he’s making his pro debut on April 11th. Another of your fighters, Victor O’Donnell, was in the crowd tonight, he’s fighting Shonie Carter on the 11th, multiple former UFC guys lined up for your guys to face – how are you feeling going into it?

Stanton: It’s – I can’t even believe it’s my card sometimes. [Laughs]. I get on my website and start looking at all the fighters that are going to be out there, and I’m like, “Man, that’s crazy.” I think it’s good for the Cincinnati/Northern KY area. For a promoter, a small guy like me, to take a chance – I just hope the people come out and support fighters – we all need your [the public’s] help.

FT: You’re opening up 6,500 seats for the event – what kind of sales are you expecting?

Stanton: We plan on selling it out, man. That’s the thing, we’re not going there to do 3,000-4,000, we want 6,500.

FT: This is a huge show for the ICF and a huge show for the area. What do you think it’s going to do for the ICF and mma in the area?

Stanton: First of all, I just want to take care of these fighters and get them good fights and help their careers, because it’s about the fighters and that’s where a lot of promoters fall by the wayside. Without them [the fighters], we’re nothing. You can have the best lights, the best sound, the best cage, and spend the most money on advertising, but without the fighters and fans, we’re nothing – and that’s my main concern, taking care of the fighters and making the fans happy. I think it’ll help – anywhere I go – if I go to the US Bank Arena and sell out, that will help us with the other venues [where the ICF hosts shows] so it will be good for everybody.

FT: Jami Miller was supposed to fight tonight and her opponent backed out, but you’ve got Tiffany Johnson booked to fight her on the 11th – what do you think about this fight?

Stanton: She’s [Johnson] willing to take it, she signed and she’s in and it’s a done deal. Nobody even knows about that fight [on the official card], I’m just going to toss that one in on the card as a surprise for everybody. These girls are good, and fun to watch.

FT: How soon after the April 11th show do you think you’ll be back at US Bank Arena?

Stanton: August. Then we’re going to do a big charity event with Hooters and UFCW Local 1099, we just landed them as our title sponsor. They’re a big union, a big sponsor. We’re looking at a couple different charities. We’ve got a lot of big stuff coming up.

----------

Rich Franklin and Jens "Lil Evil" Pulver will also be on hand at ICF: Breakout to meet the fans and watch the show. I'll be there live-blogging for FightTicker.com. It's going to be a great show - a lot of tough fighters and lot of good match-ups.

You can find the ICF's website here and MySpace page here.

-PreView


(Originally posted on FightTicker)

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FightTicker Exclusive: ICF TurfwaR Post-Event Interview With Dan "The Sandman" Christison


After the recent ICF: TurfwaR event, I caught up with Dan Christison to see what he had to say about his 36-second TKO victory over Brion Peoples. Christison can next be seen in action against another UFC vet, Marcio “Pe de Pano” Cruz at the upcoming ICF: Breakout event, April 11th at US Bank Arena.

Much like when I caught up with Christison after his submission victory over Steve Banks at ICF: Redemption, he was more than willing to take some time to talk to me and had some great things to say.

You can find the full interview after the jump.

FightTicker: How did you feel going into the fight?

Dan Christison: Actually, fairly nervous. I didn’t really get too much information on Brion – it was real difficult, everybody spells his name wrong or different, things like that, so I was “Googling” like a thousand different ways trying to do any research on his name and couldn’t find much of anything. Usually with the research you try to find out at least the basics of what the person is going to do, then you cut them off. You give them less and less options until you give them the option you want them to take and then you capitalize on their mistakes, it’s that simple. That’s what I was looking forward to, but not finding any information is actually more terrifying than knowing what your opponent is going to do [Laughs], so I was a big nervous going into this.

FT: You have a fight coming up against Marcio Cruz on April 11th at US Bank Arena – what are you thinking about going into that fight?

Christison: Against Marcio, it’s different because everybody has a different goal and series of moves they want to get to, a point they want to get to where they’re an expert. Obviously with Marcio it’s with his jiu jitsu, but he’s got to get me there. He’s a black in jiu jitsu, I’m a black belt in jiu jitsu. He’s a world champion black belt in jiu jitsu, that’s the difference. As far as that goes, it’s pretty obvious – he wants to get me to the ground and submit me and I don’t want to let him get to his element, I want to get him to an element where I’m superior. Simple as that.

FT: You’ve got your own school now, The Sandbox, and you had a lot of guys from Team Sandbox here tonight – who all are you working with for the Cruz fight?

Christison: I’m working with Jake O’Brien, and I also work with Josh Johnson from Luiz Palhares jiu jitsu – he’s got a school down in Bowling Green [KY] and Elizabethtown [KY]. Phenomenal people to work with and they all are getting me ready.

FT: The April 11th event is going to be a big one, possibly upwards of 6,000 people there – what are you thinking about getting in front of that kind of crowd again?

Christison: It’s pretty much just another day at the office. The weird thing is, like when you go to a football game or any kind of stadium, if you look at the crowd, you can see the people next to you, but you look across the stadium and you just see a wall of people, it doesn’t even look real. It’s the same type of thing. It’s not the first time I’ve fought on the world stage or the national stage, it’s just another day at the office.

FT: Another main event for ICF tonight and another on April 11th – are you going to be working out an exclusive deal with them or do you just enjoy fighting for them so you keep coming back?

Christison: I look at fighting as a long-term thing, it’s not a short-term thing, you can’t go out there and win every fight. But what you do, in your career, is you work on the things you have to work on. So as you mature as a fighter, as you get better, you get to bring all different aspects of martial arts, be it boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, submission wrestling, brining all those components together and being able to flawlessly, seamlessly transition from one to the other without any apparent effort, and as a person let’s say you’re weak in one area. If you build up that one area, it makes everything stronger. So as I progress in my career, I’ve found that at one point in time, I was on the national stage, then I got an injury, and I took the opportunity to step away from the national stage and come back and do the grass-roots shows and build my career back up, working on the things I needed to work on, and now I feel like I have a very well-rounded game. There’s really nowhere I can go where I’m not comfortable.

FT: On the promo video for ICF: Breakout, one of things you said was that every day you ask yourself, “Am I becoming a better martial artist?” Is that your overarching training philosophy?

Christison: Very much so, it’s a training philosophy and a life philosophy. If you were to look at something in nature, like a shark for example, if a shark stops moving, they die. In what we do, we’re sharks, and we have to continually evolve. When you evolve, you live because you evolve around a particular set of circumstances or setbacks – you evolve to become a better fighter, a better person, a better martial artist, whatever you want. But it’s all evolving, you’re not saying at any point in time, “Well, I think I know it all, I have every answer, there’s nothing I have left to learn.” When you feel like you know it all, that’s when you die. When they say the statement, “The pride comes before the fall,” that’s right then and there. As soon as someone believes they know it all, that’s when their fall is imminent.

----------

You can find Christison on Myspace here and his school, The Sandbox, here.

-PreView


(Originally posted on FightTicker.com)

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Official Statement from Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC) on the Bobby Lashley Rumor


From a Press Release:

From XFC president John Prisco:

“It’s come to our attention that a rumor has started circulating that Bobby Lashley will be fighting Marcus Jones at XFC 8: ‘Regional Conflict’ on Saturday, April 25 – a show featuring the fastest-rising young prospects and top emerging superstars from Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky and North Carolina in contender-versus-contender bouts, airing exclusively nationwide on HDNet. That rumor is false, and no such statement was ever issued by the XFC, Bobby Lashley, or Bobby Lashley’s manager.

(Check after the jump for the full Press Release.)

“It is true that the XFC and Bobby Lashley have had numerous conversations, and both parties hope to find a way to work together in the very near future. Bobby has publicly stated his interest in fighting for the XFC, and we can confirm that the interest is mutual. We look forward to continuing to grow our relationship.

“The XFC hopes Bobby Lashley – and MMA fans nationwide – enjoy XFC 8 ‘Regional Conflict’ on April 25, as it airs live from the 21 thousand-capacity Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee, exclusively on HDNet. For more information, please visit www.mmaxfc.com.”

###

XFC 8: “Regional Conflict” takes place on April 25 at Knoxville’s Thompson-Boling Arena. Tickets are now available at the Thompson-Boling Arena box office and Tickets Unlimited outlets, including Cat's Music, Disc Exchange, and Fye Music.


About Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC)
: Xtreme Fighting Championships – better known to MMA fight fans worldwide as the XFC – is the Southeast’s leading independent MMA promotion, and stages the largest live shows in the entire sport this side of the UFC. Dedicated to launching the careers of the MMA superstars of tomorrow, the XFC’s next mega-event, XFC 8: “Regional Conflict,” takes place on April 25 at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee, and will be broadcast live on national television, exclusively on HDNet. For more information about the XFC, please visit www.mmaxfc.com.


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MMA Big Show TV Show and Watch Party Details


From a Press Release:

Greetings fight fans,

On April 4th we will be hosting a big Watch Party at Gameworks at the Newport On The Levee where we will be watching the new MMA Big Show TV Show Primetime starting at 8pm to 10pm. This event is free and open to the public and will begin at 7pm with Autograph signings with Roger Bowling, Mojo Horne and others. The MMA Big Show Ring Girls will be there as well as many other Big Show fighters. It's going to be a fun night of MMA action!

(Check after the jump for more details on the premiere of the TV show as well as how to purchase tickets for the upcoming MMA Big Show: Heavy Hitters event on April 11th.)

Tickets for April 11ths Heavy Hitters event will be available at the party including MMA Big Show merchandise. Get $5 off your April 11th Tickets when you buy them at the party!

The new MMA Big Show TV Show will be airing on the Cin CW Channel 12.2 starting at 8pm until 10pm. This will be two one hour episodes meant as a teaser of whats to come in the national season.

I bet you didn't know "New York Bad Ass" Phil Baroni was at the March 7th show doing commentary with Fox Sport's own Jeff Piecoro did you? Muwahaha! Phil will be back on April 11th as well doing his thing.

This teaser airing of the MMA Big Show TV Show will be airing on the CW in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Louisville, Lexington and Indianapolis, in case you can't make the watch party.

If you are an MMA Big Show fan, you won't want to miss this party!
The Watch Party is open to all ages!

Get your tickets now for April 11th Heavy Hitters where UFC Veteran Josh Hendricks will be going for the Big Show Heavyweight Title against Champion Brian Heden.

Also on the April 11th card will be Joe Ammerman, Jared Combs, Chris Bennett and many others. Currently scheduled for 11 fights.

You can purchase tickets for the April 11th event here.

-Jason Appleton
MMA Big Show LLC


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3.29.2009

FightTicker.com "Pick 'em" Contest Sponsored by School of Fight


FightTicker.com has the details for our newest "Pick 'em" contest, generously sponsored by School of Fight. Contestants will be picking the winners/method/round of the upcoming UFC Fight Night this Wednesday night. Only FightTicker.com members are eligible, but sign-up is free and easy.

Full details on the contest, as well as pictures of the prizes up for grabs, can be found on FightTicker.com.

I'll be posting an interview with some of the School of Fight crew soon, so keep an eye out.

-PreView



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Watch FightTicker.com Founder/Owner Pramit Mohapatra on "Inside MMA" Online


As I wrote about here, FightTicker.com Founder/Owner Pramit Mohapatra was on the most recent episode of HDNet's Inside MMA. For those of you who don't have HDNet, the full episode is now available for viewing. You can find it on FightTicker.

It was a great episode, and Pramit did a great job. Check it out. Also, for any of you interested in Pramit's shirt, you can check out the company that made it, Fight For Life USA, here.

-PreView



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3.28.2009

Breaking News: FightTicker.com Member Chris Curtis Wins Number One Contender Fight at I.C.E. 39


FightTicker.com member Chris "The Action Man" Curtis (aka TheActionMan513) just informed me via text message that he won his fight tonight at I.C.E. Extreme Fighting 39 versus Tyson Triplett via TKO due to strikes at 2:42 in the second round.

The match was for the number one contender spot for the I.C.E. Amateur Welterweight Championship.

Curtis, fighting out of Team Vision, can next be seen in action at the upcoming ICF: Breakout card on April 11th as US Bank Arena where he'll defend his ICF Amateur Welterweight title against Aaron Maynard.

Congratulations to Chris!

-PreView




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FightTicker.com Book Review: BLOOD IN THE CAGE by L. Jon Wertheim


When offered an opportunity to review L. Jon Wertheim’s BLOOD IN THE CAGE: Mixed Martial Arts, Pat Miletich, and the Furious Rise of the UFC for FightTicker, I jumped at the chance. I’ve only had the opportunity to read a few MMA books, including FightTicker.com’s own Dave Mayeda’s Fighting for Acceptance, and as a reader of everything from Dante to Peanuts to Tolkien to Palahniuk, I’ve been happy to see that more and more books with my favorite sport as the main topic are getting out there. I also had a chance to interview Wertheim after reading his book – look for the interview in the next few days.

Blood in the Cage is not Wertheim’s first book, but it is his first (and at this point, only) book on MMA. Given Wertheim’s history as a sportswriter for Sports Illustrated and the fact that he had previously written books about women’s tennis, basketball, and pool, I was interested to see the perspective with which he would approach the fundamentally different sport of MMA.

Here’s a blurb from the press packet that accompanied the book:


In BLOOD IN THE CAGE: Mixed Martial Arts, Pat Miletich, and the Furious Rise of the UFC, the veteran sportswriter L. Jon Wertheim peers through the chain-link Octagon “to deliver the first honest journalism about mixed martial arts” (Jeff MacGregor, author of Sunday Monday). Offering the first inside account of this sensational new sport, as seen through the lens of its pioneer Pat Miletich, “the patron saint of badass,” Wertheim reveals how the six-time UFC champion has single-handedly transformed a gritty Iowa town – where he currently runs the most famous MMA training school in the world – into an unlikely hotbed for his sport. Miletich has also transformed many an average Joe into a walking weapon of mass destruction.


The first thing that struck me about Blood in the Cage was the quote that Wertheim used to open the book. From Ernest Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon, it is a lengthy quotation but it bears repeating here because it truly sets the stage for the book:

There is always danger, and I should try not to defend it now, only to tell honestly the things I have found true about it. To do this I must be altogether frank, or try to be, and if those who read this decide with disgust that it is written by someone who lacks their fineness of feeling, I can only plead that this may be true. But whoever reads this can only truly make a judgment when he has seen the things that are spoken of and knows truly what their reactions to them would be.

Immediately after the quotation from this iconic author, readers are confronted with another equally powerful image – that of Jen “Lil Evil” Pulver’s fist in front of Wertheim’s face accompanied by an offer from Pulver to bust Wertheim’s nose, to help him gain a better appreciation of what fighters go through. Wertheim did not accept Pulver’s offer, but it’s clear from his book that taking the punch was not necessary for him to accurately portray fighters’ struggles and triumphs.
Wertheim’s book is filled with these sort of dichotomous images – a quotation from Lao Tzu opens one chapter while one from Vince Lombardi opens another. Nearly every chapter is opened the same way, featuring sayings from such figures as Bruce Lee, Sugar Ray Leonard, Dana White and movies such as Fight Club and Predator. The brutality of bar fights alongside the grace of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the glitz and glamor of the UFC alongside small regional promotions held in local strip clubs.

Blood in the Cage really does live up to its subtitle as well – it thoroughly discusses mixed martial arts, Pat Miletich and the furious rise of the UFC; however, Wertheim doesn’t simply section it into separate parts where you read about MMA, then Pat Miletich, then the UFC, but he works them together in such a way that readers can get a sense of the history of the three of them developing together, with a focus on Miletich.

Wertheim covers nearly every aspect of Miletich’s life from his childhood to one of his last appearances as a coach in the now-defunct International Fight League. The coverage isn’t misleading – Wertheim writing reflects Miletich’s style – tough, no-nonsense, and with a fierce sense of competition alongside a huge amount of respect for the sport.

The longer that I have been a fan of MMA, the more I enjoy the backstories. I like hearing about the struggles fighters face trying to get to a good payday while trying to get respect. I like covering the local events and meeting the fighters and seeing the kind of training they do. I like seeing the dedication they put in, and I even like seeing and reading about the dark times and the problems fighters face, the rivalries (friendly or not) between different fight teams; the proverbial downside of it all, because these things give me a greater respect for the sport and the men and women participating in it. This background information and the things we don’t see on the TV shows and Pay-Per-View events are what truly set the scene for events. Blood in the Cage gives readers all of this. Granted, it is mainly with Pat Miletich or one of his fighters as the centerpiece of the stories, but Miletich’s history in the sport allows him to share some things that even hardcore fans might not know about. Additionally, Wertheim writes of his experiences with other fighters, both inside and outside the Miletich camp. Add that to Wertheim’s strong research and readers can learn even more inside information – again, things we don’t see on TV.

Take, for example, some things about Wertheim wrote about The Ultimate Fighter reality show. Before quoting Dana White’s infamous “Do you want to be a fu**ing fighter” speech in its entirety, Wertheim wrote about how this speech was due, at least in part, to the fact that word had gotten to the contestants that fighters on the NBC show “The Contender” were being paid $25,000 per fight while the TUF guys were not being paid anything. Obviously they were not happy about this. This prompted White to institute the $5,000 win fee for a KO or submission. Maybe some of you knew this – I did not. Or take Mikey Burnett’s head-first battle with one of the doors in the house – as Wertheim stated, “Never once was it mentioned that his father had died that night.”

With regard to Miletich’s TUF connection, I was also not aware that Miletich was in talks to be a coach on the third season of TUF, but White’s pseudo-reconciliation with Tito Ortiz put a stop to that which ultimately put a stop to Miletich’s dealings with the UFC. Wertheim also recounts various what speaks of as possibly the “mother of all street fights”, involving Tito Ortiz, Lee Murray, Chuck Liddell, Tony Fryklund, that all started because Fryklund mistook one of Ortiz’s friends drunkenly hugging Miletich as an attack.

In addition to this great inside information, Wertheim gives credit where credit is due to MMA websites, for fueling interest in the sport and keeping the UFC alive during the “dark years”. In my interview with Wertheim he even went as far as to admit that he was confused by the UFC’s refusal to credential websites as members of the press corps for events in spite of the fact that the internet carries the vast majority of MMA news.

Wertheim made sure that Blood in the Cage is accessible to all levels of fans – the hardcore, the mainstream and the newbies. He even went as far as to include a glossary of commonly used terms as well as the UFC Rules.

If I had a complaint about the book, it’s that I thought it ended too soon – not that it randomly cut off in the middle of something, but only that I wanted more. However, as the story of MMA continues to develop everyday, I recognize that one can only write about so much, and Wertheim covered a lot.

I do not want to go into too much detail about the content because I hope all of you will take some time and read the book. Wertheim clearly put a lot into it and I would be doing both him and the book a disservice by giving too much away.

I highly recommend Blood in the Cage not only to MMA fans, but also to those who claim to dislike the sport and guys like Bob Reilly (the NY assemblyman opposed to MMA legislation) because it presents an honest assessment of the sport, one of its biggest names, and the preeminent league. I recommend it not only because it often portrays the sport in the positive light in which it deserves to be portrayed but also because of realistic approach Wertheim takes in writing about it. A description of MMA from one of Wertheim’s novelist friends also serves as an appropriate description for Wertheim’s book - “It’s complete deconstruction, a stripping away of all pretense. It’s the real thing.”

You can purchase Blood in the Cage here.

-PreView

(Originally posted on FightTicker.com)


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3.25.2009

FightTicker.com Founder Pramit Mohapatra on HDNet's Inside MMA


Huge news for FightTicker.com. Founder Pramit Mohapatra will be a guest on this week's episode of HDNet's Inside MMA tv show. They filmed the episode this morning and the first airing of it will be broadcast this Friday night at 9 PM ET.

Pramit was a guest alongside MMA fighters Benji Radach and Roger Huerta. Fighter Josh Barnett co-hosted the show with Kenny Rice as normal co-host and MMA legend Bas Rutten was out this week. The picture features, from Left to Right - Pramit, Benji, Josh and Roger.

Pramit is wearing a shirt custom-made for him by the great guys over at Fight For Life USA who were also gracious enough to make me some custom shirts for events. Be sure to check out Inside MMA this week and Fight For Life USA. Full details on the show as well as Pramit's experiences on his trip to LA for the taping can be found on FightTicker.com.

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3.24.2009

Breaking News: Roger Bowling to Face War Machine at MMA Big Show: Conviction on June 20th


MMA Big Show promoter Jason Appleton has informed me that MMA Big Show Welterweight Champion Roger Bowling will face War Machine (formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver) at the upcoming MMA Big Show: Conviction on June 20th at Belterra Casino in Indiana. The bout will be for the MMA Big Show Welterweight Title.

The MMA Big Show Lightweight title will also be up for grabs in a match between MMA Big Show exclusive fighter Joe Ammerman and TUF-alum Joe Scarola.

Tickets are not yet on sale. More details will be posted as they are made available.

-PreView


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FightTicker Exclusive: ICF TurfwaR Post-Event Comments from Jeremy Pender


In the third entry in this series of Post-Event interviews from ICF: TurfwaR, I bring you some comments from ICF Bantamweight Amateur Champ and FightTicker.com member Jeremy "Pony Boy" Pender (aka Pender), who will be making his Bantamweight Pro debut at ICF: Breakout on April 11th at US Bank Arena.

Check after the jump for the comments from Pender

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FightTicker: Big win tonight – how’d you feel going into the fight?


Jeremy Pender: Honestly I felt like the guy didn’t really have much for me. He was kind of a tune-up fight for my pro debut [on April 11th at ICF: Breakout]. I wanted to just go in there and make as few mistakes as I could and finish the fight when I wanted to.

FT: So how did you feel about your performance?

Pender: I wanted to stand and bang a little more. The guy wanted to clinch, and it went to ground so I submitted him in the third round. It was a good fight, I think it was a good fight because I let it become a good fight.

FT: How are you feeling about your upcoming pro debut?


Pender: I’m really excited. I get to fight Carson Gainey – he’s a really tough wrestler. We fought once and I caught him early with a triangle. But I think this time it’s going to be a lot better fight. Hopefully we go three rounds and have an all out war.

FT: You’ve got a contract with the ICF and you’re turning pro pretty early in your career – how do you feel about your progress in MMA?


Pender: I’ve only been doing this for about two-and-a-half, almost three years. Everything is going really good. Steve [Stanton] is a solid manager, solid with the ICF. It’s only going up, and I’m not just going to fight solely for ICF, I think. I’m thinking about going to King of the Cage, eventually WEC if I can get my cards played right.

FT: You looked in great shape in the fight – it seemed like you were just kind of chilling out between rounds – was your cardio something you really focused on?

Pender: Yeah, that’s something I really try and focus on, especially at the amateur level. If you’re not in shape, you’re not going to win your fights. And at the pro level as well, you got to be in really super shape. We work hard at the gym and it pays off.

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Pender had a dominating win over Doug Ballinger, showcasing crisp striking, some great transitions and a solid submission game. His pro debut is going to be one to watch.

-PreView


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3.23.2009

FightTicker Exclusive: ICF TurfwaR Post-Event Interview With Mark Crawn


In the second of this series of ICF: TurfwaR post-event interviews, I bring you some comments from Mark Crawn out of Beckley MMA, who is teammates with FightTicker.com member George Oiler (aka nofee). In his first fight at Middleweight, Crawn defeated Keith Cunagin via first-round submission.

You can find the interview after the jump.

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FightTicker: How did it feel to get a win in your first fight at Middleweight?


Mark Crawn: It felt good, felt real good actually. Made the cut no problem, no issues, I think I could’ve taken it further if I needed to.

FT: Dropping down to Middleweight, do you feel like you lost any strength?


Crawn: Not at all. I felt better than I’ve ever felt.

FT: When do you think you’ll fight again?


Crawn: I’m ready to go in May. (PV’s note – the ICF has another event scheduled at Turfway on May 16th.) Don't know about an opponent yet, I’ll talk to Steve - I’d like to get a shot at the [amateur middleweight] title.

FT: What did you think about your opponent tonight?

Crawn: Good kid, you know, strong will. But I had a gameplan to go in there and impose my will on him tonight and I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way.

FT: Your last couple fights have been stand-up battles, but I know you’re a BJJ guy at heart – is a submission win something you were looking for?

Crawn: Yeah, I really wanted to do that tonight. I think a lot of guys think I’m just a stand-up guy because the last few fights that’s all I’ve done and I wanted to prove I can go to the ground and do what I need to do on the ground so I wanted to show that skill set.

FT: Anybody you want to give a shout-out to?

Crawn: Revgear.com and the Navy – the Navy is one of my sponsors, I’m Active Duty Navy, and Dirty Grappler (PV's Note - Dirty Grappler is Beckley MMA's house brand.).

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If anybody had any doubts about Crawn's ability to work the submission game, this fight should have given them second thoughts. Not only did he win via submission, but before he secured the guillotine he almost nailed a kneebar early in the fight. It should not be much longer before he is contending for the ICF amateur middleweight title.

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FightTicker Exclusive: ICF TurfwaR Post-Event Interview With Tim "The Machine" Cook


After the recent ICF: TurfwaR event, I caught up with a few of the fighters to get thoughts on their match-ups. The first fighter featured in this post-event series is Tim Cook who has previously been featured in FightTicker.com Social Issues Contributor Dave Mayeda's posts here and here.

FightTicker: Tim Cook, fresh off five stitches [over your eye], how are you feeling?

Tim Cook: I’m feeling okay, other than just being beat. My pride’s hurt more than anything.

FT: What did you think about your fight tonight?

Cook: It didn’t really go as planned. I didn’t feel like I could control anything. I had problems getting any kind of a rhythm down. We got to the ground – I knew he was a good wrestler – I tried to stay calm and tried to work my sweeps. I’ve got good submissions, I actually had an armbar I working on, trying to bait him, and I felt like the second I got it locked down, he just nudged his elbow past the cup and got it to safety. When I tried to get back into guard, that’s when he hit me with an elbow that kind of rocked me. I think it actually split me and from that point on, it was hard to kind of get my brains back, just trying to survive from there. It just didn’t go down as planned.

FT: I know you are supposed to have a fight on April 25th – did you get a medical suspension because of the cut tonight?

Cook: Yeah, this is going to be 45 days, so actually April 25th I have the fight set up, but I think mandatory every time you get stitches now in the state of Kentucky, which runs concurrent to Indiana, is a 45-day minimum suspension, which is about right for somebody to safely get back in the cage. I’m ready to fight again, that [the loss] did nothing but anger me – not at him [Daniel Straus], he did his game, I was just really upset with myself. I felt like I couldn’t get anything together. Taking my first [pro] fight under nine days notice – regardless of that, I felt good going into the fight. Right now, I’m pretty sure I’ve got a torn muscle in my back, from the training, which kind of came up out of nowhere, so it was hard for me to throw anything on my right side so I kind of covered and threw a lot of hooks and jabs, overhand stuff, but I think he actually hit me with a kick on the left side after I dropped my hands, so I just couldn’t get things together. I’m pretty upset with myself.

FT: After you got hit with the kick, I saw you trying to reach in tie up his legs – was that just a reflex or do you think the Ref stopped it early?

Cook: I really don’t think that they stopped it early. I know I always watch it – you sit on your couch and watch it with your buddies and don’t understand and you’re like, “Oh, he’s fine, you know, he’s got to be down dying and bleeding” – well that’s not necessarily true. I think it was a good stoppage. It would’ve been real hard for me to get things going from there. I don’t disagree with the stoppage, it was for my safety. It’s a human game of chess and I should’ve never put myself in that position - if I wanted to argue about it I should’ve never dropped my hands and took that kick to the head.

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Cook was a great guy and I’m looking forward to his successful return to the cage. After we were finished talking, it was apparent that even though he was disappointed by the loss, he was ready to go again. As he got ready to leave he took a second to say “This isn’t the end for me. This is my life.”

-PreView


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Intimidation Cage Fighting Signs UFCW Local 1099 as Title Sponsor


Steve Stanton, ICF Promoter, has informed me that the ICF has landed a major group as a Title Sponsor for future ICF events.

Check after the jump for the full press release.

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From a Press Release:

Intimidation Cage Fighting is proud to announce that the UFCW Local 1099 has signed on as our title sponsor for all future events.

"This is a great thing for ICF to have a sponsor who believes in fighting for hard working Americans. It's a perfect fit for ICF, the fighters and all the fans who come out and support our events", said ICF Promoter Steve Stanton.

"UFCW is thrilled to partner with ICF," said UFCW Local 1099 Secretary-Treasurer Steve Culter. "Our union fights to give workers a voice on the job, and we're looking forward to reaching out to members of our community through this sponsorship."

The 1.4 million member United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) is America's neighborhood union representing workers in grocery stores across the country. UFCW puts dinner on the table for America's families with members working in meatpacking and food processing. Local 1099 represents over 20,000 members in Southwestern Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Southeastern Indiana.

Members of Local 1099 proudly serve our communities Kroger, Meijer, and Keller’s IGA grocery stores, CVS pharmacies, and process and pack at John Morrell, Sara Lee, Blue Grass Quality Meats, and Sugar Creek Packing, among others.


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3.19.2009

FightTicker Exclusive: Post-Event Comments from XFC President John Prisco and XFC Lightweight Champ John Mahlow


In the final installment in this series of three post-event interviews from XFC 7: School of Hard Knox, I bring you interviews from XFC President John Prisco and XFC Lightweight Champion John Mahlow, who served as one of the commentators for the night's event.

Check after the jump for both interviews.

John Prisco

FightTicker: Congratulations on a great show, John – what are your thoughts on it?

John Prisco: I’m very happy overall. There was a good fan reaction to a lot of the fights. We have something we can build from, no doubt.

FT: What kind of attendance do you think you ended up with tonight?

Prisco: It could be in the low threes [thousands]. It was a Friday night and I knew that was going to be a challenge. We were promoting in Nashville and Chattanooga and all, but a lot of people would have had to miss work to come tonight. Our next event [April 25] is a Saturday and I know it’s going to be a tremendous night.

FT: What kind of things do you have planned for the April event?

Prisco: Well, I can tell you “O” is coming back [Ovince St. Preux] [Laughs]. We’re going to be promoting it big; there are a lot of stories to be told based on what happened tonight. It’s the beauty of MMA. Like with Chevelle Hallback [losing], it just shows you – a lot of things happened tonight that you wouldn’t have expected and that’s MMA. It’s one of the reasons why everybody is so charged about this sport.

FT: You made history tonight, hosting the first professional MMA show in Tennessee. Obviously you had an excited crowd – how did you feel about being the first pro show in Tennessee?

Prisco: It was an honor. It was an honor working with this [athletic] board, they were very professional. I don’t think you could’ve started a pro MMA event in a state better than we did tonight, so we’re very happy.

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John Mahlow

FightTicker: John Mahlow, XFC Lightweight Champ and Commentator tonight – what did you think of the event?

Mahlow: The event went really good. John [Prisco] like usual put on a really good show. Got the right match-ups and put on a phenomenal show. Couple of upsets of course, with CT Turner getting knocked out and then Chevelle Hallback getting submitted with a triangle – but hey, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

FT: What was your favorite fight of the night?

Mahlow: The one with Rafaello Oliveria and Robert Thompson – they went at it pretty good. Everybody was expecting Rafaello to finish him really easy and it started to be more of an interesting fight, especially for myself because he might be a future prospect for a fight for me [Oliveria moved up to 170 for this fight] so it was good to see him fight a little bit longer and see what he had in his gameplan.

FT: When do you think your next fight might be?

Mahlow: I talked to John, I’m going to be out a little while, I have an injury I need to get fixed and once I get that fixed I can fight at 100%. The last few fights I’ve had I’ve not been 100%. They’ve still been dominating fights, but I’d like to see what I can do at 100% - I’ve been about 70% so I’d like to be 100% and come back and show everybody what I can really do.

FT: What were thoughts on the unexpected ending to the main event with Barrett’s injury?

Mahlow: Stuff like that happens sometimes, and it’s not the way people like to win. I’m sure Chad would’ve liked to have had a real good fulfilling fight, gone three rounds and just banged and then that way everybody could’ve seen what he’s made of.

FT: Was this your first time commentating?


Mahlow: For commentating, yes. It’s not my first time on TV, I’ve done interviews and different news releases and things like that. I did a thing in New York where they actually did a “Things to do in Florida” thing and they had me come in as the XFC Champ and basically did a newscast, with the news bulletins and things like that, so it really doesn’t bother me, doesn’t make me nervous or anything like that.

FT: You train down at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, but you also have your own gym?

Mahlow: Basically what I do is go down to ATT – there’s Wolfpack and there’s Coconut Creek, but they’re both American Top Team. The Wolfpack is the one I go to for all my standup stuff, which is in Sunrise, just south of Coconut Creek. I’m part of a group called SOG Defensive Tactics and Ancient City Martial Arts and we actually have a school doing stuff with the military, but we also work with civilians, too, and I do the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and my partner Mike does all the Hapkido and we do kids classes and stuff like that. It helps pay the bills.

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Overall, a really entertaining show. Prisco was extremely approachable and very candid in his comments both before and after the show. It was also nice to speak with Mahlow - I hope he gets his injury taken care of soon so he can get back in the cage. He's a beast at 155.

-PreView



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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.

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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.)

-PreView





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FightTicker Exclusive: XFC 7 Post-Event Interview with Chad Corvin


Yesterday, I posted a Press Release from the XFC on their upcoming event, XFC 8: Regional Conflict, on April 25th in Knoxville, Tennessee. I will be there covering the event for FightTicker.

Given that the XFC has started their PR campaign for the April 25th event, I figured now was a great time to get out the post-event interviews I did from XFC 7: School of Hard Knox.

Check after the jump for the interview with Corvin.

In this three-part series, I'll be giving you brief post-event interviews with President John Prisco, XFC Lightweight Champ John Mahlow, Head Trainer of the XFC's MMA training facilities Mike Yanez, and some of the fighters he trains including Chevelle Hallback and Joe Heink. We'll kick off the series with some words from Main Event fighter Chad Corvin following his TKO win over Scott Barrett.

FightTicker: I could tell you were disappointed with how the fight ended – what are some of your thoughts on it?

Chad Corvin: You know, I wanted to go out with a good win. Any win is a good win, but that isn’t the style I like to go out with. I want the opponent to finish and not hurt themselves. I don’t know what happened, he may have hurt it earlier in training or something, but it’s just not how I like to go out, man. I want to finish it, and I want to finish it good.

FT: What did you think about the fight prior to Barrett’s injury?


Corvin: I took my wrestling for granted, my wrestling and my takedowns. My sprawling has been good enough, but it’s something I still need to work on. I think my strongpoint [wrestling] is something I don’t work on [much] and I realize now I need to work on it even more.

FT: What’s next for you?

Corvin: I’m going to take some time off, get my journeyman’s license in plumbing, take the test for that. A back up plan, you know? This [fighting] ain’t paying the bills, but it’s giving me extra money right now.

FT: So do you want to transition to training and fighting full time?


Corvin: If I can make it in the sport, I’d love to do it. It’s fun, it’s a rush getting in the cage and doing it. If I can make it, if I can keep doing well and keep winning, I can see myself doing it for a living.

FT: What do you think of the XFC so far?

Corvin: The XFC has been top-notch. The scale of the events they’re running is amazing. It’s such a good promotion. It’s excellent – best promotion I’ve ever fought for. I’ve fought for three and it’s the best one.

----------

Corvin has a solid future in MMA - he's a hard-working, talented guy. Although everyone in attendance was disappointed with how the fight ended prematurely, there is no doubt that Corvin will soon get another chance to better showcase his skills.

-PreView


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3.18.2009

The XFC Announces the First Two Fights for Its First Live, Nationally Televised MMA Extravaganza


From a Press Release:

Knoxville, TN: When Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC) president John Prisco brought the Southeast’s largest Mixed Martial Arts promotion to Knoxville’s Thompson-Boling Arena on February 20, his goal was to introduce live MMA to Tennessee sports fans by producing the first-ever professional MMA fight card in Tennessee state history. The Knoxville News Sentinel declared XFC 7: “School of Hard Knox” an “entertaining show,” remarking: “Thompson-Boiling Arena – like the state of Tennessee – has seen its share of sporting events through the years. But never anything like this.” Leading MMA website FightTicker.com raved: “Tennessee's first sanctioned Pro MMA card saw a lot of action and some exciting upsets. Overall, a great event.”



Now, with the XFC returning to Thompson-Boling Arena on April 25, Prisco’s goal is considerably more ambitious.

“Mark my words, we’re going to establish Knoxville, Tennessee – in front of a live, national television audience on a Saturday night – as a legitimate MMA powerhouse and one of the elite cities in North America to stage a major fight card,” Prisco announced. “XFC 7 built a strong foundation right in the heart of Volunteer Nation, and the feedback we received from the fans was nothing short of phenomenal. But this upcoming show – XFC 8: ‘Regional Conflict’ – has more undiscovered talent in do-or-die matchups than any other fight card you’ll see in all of 2009. The eyes of the Mixed Martial Arts universe will all turn to Thompson-Boling Arena on April 25 to witness the next generation of MMA champions, and I’ve never been prouder to have the XFC affiliated with an event than this one.”

XFC 8: “Regional Conflict” will showcase the fastest-rising young prospects and top emerging MMA superstars from Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky and North Carolina in a series of contender-versus-contender elimination bouts. The show will air live on HDNet, the national cable network that’s owned and managed by billionaire Mark Cuban. Founded in 2001, HDNet is now available on AT&T, Bright House Networks, Charter Communications, Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Insight, Mediacom, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, Vizio, and more than 40 NCTC cable affiliate companies in all 50 states.

No word yet if Mark Cuban will personally attend the event.

Prisco announced the first two featured bouts of XFC 8: “Regional Conflict”:

Undefeated Bruce “The Noose” Connors of Orlando, Florida versus Jarrod “The Wild Card” Card of Jacksonville, North Carolina in a featherweight contenders’ bout.

John Prisco labeled Connors “the best young featherweight outside of the WEC” and the 6-0 fighter certainly brings a compelling biography to the cage: A sniper scout with the U.S. Marines who served two tours in Kosovo and Afghanistan – as well as an officer with the police department’s elite SWAT team – Bruce Connors credits his military background for providing him with the discipline and tenacity necessary to become a future world champion.

“I don’t have a real flashy personality outside of the cage,” Connors freely admitted. “I just work hard, fight harder, and never surrender. I turned down a multi-fight contract with another national MMA promotion to fight in Knoxville with the XFC, and that’s because I truly believe in Prisco’s vision of finding the next great MMA superstar. All I have to do is stay undefeated and keep on winning, and that’s all I’ve done my entire career. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for a young fighter, and I’m gonna give you absolutely everything I’ve got in Knoxville.”

The highly-regarded Jarrod “The Wild Card” Card (9-2-1) served in the U.S. Navy, works with the Marines at Fort Lejeune as a civilian contractor and aircraft expert, and looks forward to facing Connors on April 25.

“Bruce is obviously considered one of the fastest-rising 145-pounders for a reason,” said Card. “But even though I respect Bruce as a fighter and applaud his service to our country, business is business, and the winner of our fight will be the hottest featherweight outside of Zuffa. I’ve got an edge in experience and power, and at age 29, I’m at the absolute peak of my abilities. Let’s find out which fighter is better – and which fighter is hungrier. April 25 is gonna be an all-out war between two of America’s warriors, and all I can say is, I want this victory more than I’ve wanted anything else my entire life.”

Ex-University of Tennessee linebacker and “wedge-busting” special teams ace Ovince St. Preux versus Ombey “Kryptonite” Mobley of Tampa, Florida in a special attraction light heavyweight showdown.

At XFC 7: “School of Hard Knox,” Ovince earned the FightTicker.com “Knockout of the Night” with a spectacular, one-kick KO of the trash-talking CT Turner in the first round, raising the crowd to its feet and sending Turner straight to a Knoxville hospital. Directly before their bout, Turner had taunted the Vols-loving audience by doing an exaggerated “Gator Chomp” while walking to the cage, playing up his Florida roots.

“People are still congratulating me on that victory,” remarked St. Preux from his training camp at the Knoxville Martial Arts Academy. “The win over Turner literally changed my life. I humbly ask all of Volunteer Nation for their support once again as I fight for the first time on national television. This is my one shot at the big time, and I know firsthand from my football-playing days in Neyland Stadium and my current career as a fighter that nothing on earth is louder than a rabid Knoxville crowd. With home field advantage on my side, there’s no way I can lose!” St. Preux has a combined 12-2 pro and amateur record.

His opponent, Ombey Mobley, is a hard-nosed ex-convict and former pro boxer (4-0) who trains with CT Turner in Tampa, Florida. “Ovince landed the luckiest kick in MMA history with both his eyes closed, and now he’s running his mouth like he’s frickin’ Chuck Norris,” complained Mobley. “And I definitely ain’t impressed by the fact that Ovince used to wear orange and white on Saturday mornings while the Vols got their skulls stomped by the Gators. Hell, back when I was in the joint, we used to see plenty of boys from Tennessee who’d look and talk just like Ovince. And just between you and me, we used to pass around those Tennessee boys like a pack of smokes. Mobley versus St. Preux is a blood-feud that’ll end with my right boot stuck inside the hometown hero’s [expletive]. He’s a dead man walking.” Mobley is undefeated (4-0) as an amateur and will be making his pro debut.


XFC 8: “Regional Conflict” takes place on April 25 at Knoxville’s Thompson-Boling Arena. Tickets are now available at the Thompson-Boling Arena box office and Tickets Unlimited outlets, including Cat's Music, Disc Exchange, and Fye Music.

###

About Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC): Xtreme Fighting Championships – better known to MMA fight fans worldwide as the XFC – is the Southeast’s leading independent MMA promotion, and stages the largest live shows in the entire sport this side of the UFC. Dedicated to launching the careers of the MMA superstars of tomorrow, the XFC’s next mega-event, XFC 8: “Regional Conflict,” takes place on April 25 at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee, and will be broadcast live on national television, exclusively on HDNet. For more information about the XFC, please visit www.mmaxfc.com.


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3.17.2009

Silver Star Casting To Debut Anderson “The Spider” Silva's Signature Shirt


Silver Star Casting, an Orange County based streetwear company, run by Owner, President and CEO Luke Burrett has made news recently with their signings of GSP, Rashad Evans, Karo Parisyan, Rob Emerson, and most recently, Clay Guida and Jon "Bones" Jones.

Check out this brief excerpt from my interview with Burrett:

FightTicker.com: You’ve already signed a few of the sport’s biggest names, and you’re clearly building your roster – how long do you think it will take for Silver Star to emerge as one of the pre-eminent brands on the MMA scene.

Luke Burrett: One year. We’ll be the biggest brand in MMA in one year. It’s a bold statement and it’s going to be tough, but that’s my plan.


Silver Star is surely on its way with its most recent signee - UFC Middlweight Champion and FightTicker.com # 1 Ranked Middlweight Anderson "The Spider" Silva. The signing of Silva now marks three current UFC champions that have signed deals with Silver Star to make exclusive shirts.

-PreView

Check after the jump for the full press release.


From a Press Release:

SAN CLEMENTE, CA) – With the release of Anderson“The Spider” Silva's signature Silver Star shirt, Silver Star Casting adds another champion to the label's growing roster of top-tier MMA athletes represented in the label's expanding premium fight collection.


Brazillian MMA Middleweight Champion, Anderson “The Spider” Silva is ranked as the world's number one middleweight fighter , and is also widely considered the top pound-for-pound in the world.
Silver Star Casting, who currenlty works with welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, now boasts a collection of premium fight tees with ten of the best MMA fighters in the world.


Silver Star will continue to support fighters because fight fans want a high-quality shirt that represents the MMA guys they love, and they want it to be from a company with insanely talented artists, and a geniune affection for the sport,” says Silver Star owner, Luke Burrett.


The Anderson “The Spider” Silva premium Silver Star fight tee is due to hit stores April 1, 2009.


Silver Star Casting is a cutting-edge company that's not afraid to break the rules. With roots firmly planted in hard-rocking and ass-kicking, its full line of men's and women's shirts, outerwear, fleece, headwear, jeans, shoes, belts, buckles, and jewelry can be found in over 2000 stores worldwide. www.buysilverstar.com


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3.14.2009

ICF: TurfwaR Live Blog With Pics


I'm here at Turfway Park in Florence, KY, just a few minutes away from the first fight of tonight's ICF: TurfwaR event. Headlined by a main event between Dan Christison and Brion Peoples, the event features eleven amateur fights and one other pro fight between Tim Cook, making his pro debut, and Daniel Straus.


The ICF has graciously provided me with my own photographer for the event, Sean Balanger, who took the pictures for my prior ICF live blog. I'll be posting the pictures after the fights tonight.

There are vendors here from CockDiesel, MMA Hood, Walker MMA, Team Vision, Fight Durty, and Dirty Grappler (Beckley MMA's house brand).

A special thanks to Fight For Life USA for hooking me up with a custom shirt for tonight's event.

George Conley vs. Sam Burhle (155)

Conley, making his MMA debut, fights out of Domination MMA. Burhle fights out of Team Xtreme.

Round 1
Conley opens up with a body kick that Burhle answers with a leg kick. The two exchange leg kicks, both lookign for the advantage. Burhle lands a left hook but Conley comes back with a straight right. Conley fires another leg kick and Burhle misses with a left hook. Conley shoots in, but Burhle locks up Conley's head in a standing guillotine attempt. Conley gets his head out and the two clinch against the cage. Burhle reverses position and lands a knee to the body which Conley answers with one of his own. The two work their way around the cage, neither gaining a distinct advantage. They trade knees and short body shots. Ref Greg Franklin breaks them up. Neither fighter seemed to gain a decisive advantage in the first round, but I see Conley as a slight favorite because he seemed to be in control slightly longer.

PreView sees it 10-9 Conley.

Round 2
Burhle opens with a straight right and a leg kick. Both fighters are landing leg kicks and short jabs, looking for the advantage. They clinch in the center of the cage and trade multiple body shots. Conley gets Burhle against the cage and utilizes foot stomps. Both fighters are trading knees and short shots. They break and Burhle lands a left hook. Conley grazes Burhle with a right hook and pushes him against the cage again. Burhle lands multiple knees and they trade agaisnt the cage. Burhle lands a short right and Conley pushes him against the cage. Conley has the dominant position in terms of control on the cage, but Burhle is landing more knees and body shots. Another close round. I'd see Burhle as a slight favorite in this round, mainly due to his constant working even when he was pushed against the cage.

PreView sees it 10-9 Burhle.

Round 3
Burhle lands a left hook to open the round, and hits Conley with some short punches and knees as Conley pushes him against the cage. Burhle is staying busy even though Conley has him locked against the cage. Burhle reverses position but Conley then reverses himself. The Referee breaks them up as the action slows. Burhle lands a leg kick and Conley steps in with a hard jab. Conley goes for the takedown, but Burhle is able to defend. Conley scores a sweep, but Burhle has a guillotine locked in. Conley is still working and transitions to mount, but Burhle still has the guillotine locked in. Conley manages to pull his head out, but Burhle takes the top position in Conley's full guard. Burhle lands a few short shots to Conley's head as the round expires. Again, a close round, but I think Burhle has a decisive edge. Even though Conley landed the takedown, Burhle locked in a good submission attempt and landed more strikes.

PreView sees it 10-9 Burhle.

Conley is in the black shorts, Burhle in the red.

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Burhle wins via split decision [29-28 (Burhle), 29-28 (Conley), 30-27 (Burhle)].

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Tom Black vs. Dan Spradlin (189)

Black fights out of Shamrock Boxing and is cornered by former ICF Amateur Light Heavyweight Champ and FightTicker.com member George Oiler. Dan "Cincy Bad Boy" Spradlin fights out of Team Vision.

Round 1
Spradlin lands two leg kicks and follows up with a flurry of punches and knee to the body before Black takes it down and lands in Spradlin's full guard. Black unsuccessfully tries to pass guard, but lands some hard body shots. Black is able to briefly posture up but Spradlin pulls him back down. When Black tries to posture up again, Spradlin throws his legs up and moves to lock in a triangle. Black manages to muscle his way out and Spradlin pulls guard. Black lands a hard right from the top, followed by other shots to Spradlin's head. Spradlin doesn't appear hurt, but isn't making any offensive moves as the round expires.

PreView sees it 10-9 Black.

Round 2
Spradlin misses with a Superman punch followed by a head kick. He steps in with some jabs, but is slightly short on distance. Both fighters land good leg kicks with Spradlin getting the better of the exchange. Spradlin misses with a big uppercut. Black goes in with a leg kick but eats a straight right in the process that sees his nose immediately start bleeding. Black lands a double leg takedown but Spradlin has him locked up in a guillotine. Black taps to the guillotine, ending the fight.

Black is in the black shorts, Spradlin has on the blue gloves.

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Spradlin wins via submission (guillotine) at 1:22 in Round 2.

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Robert Nguyen vs. Alex Smith (135)

Nguyen fights out of Performance Edge in Lexington, KY. Nguyen's last fight in the ICF, against Team Xtreme's Corey Zimmerman was my pick for Fight of the Night. Alex Smith fights out of Team Xtreme.

Round 1
Nguyen comes with a flurry of punches, but Smith quickly clinches up and gets Nguyen against the cage. Both are jockeying for position, trying for the takedown. Nguyen pulls Smith down and Smith works for Nguyen's mount, landing shots to the head. Nguyen quickly transitions to an armbar, but Smith slams Nguyen and pulls out. Smith gets top position on the ground, and Nguyen works for another armbar which sees Smith slam him again. Nguyen manages to lock Smith's arm up again but Smith pulls out. Smith transitions to side control, landing more punches and working for a guillotine. Smith locks in a guillotine and pulls guard and rolls, working the guillotine from the top. Nguyen gets out but Smith transitions to mount and lands shots from the top as the round ends.

A close round, but I think Smith edged it out by landing more strikes. It was a fast pace for the whole five minutes, and both guys look ready to keep it up as long as it takes.

PreView sees it 10-9 Smith.

Round 2
Nguyen quickly closes the distance, but Smith clinches up and sweeps Nguyen. Nguyen has full guard and tries to transition to a trianglechoke, then an armbar, then a kneebar. Smith manages to get out and Nguyen pulls guard. Nguyen is working for a triangle, but Smith manages to pass guard and ends up in side control. Smith lands a short knee on the way up but Nguyen lands some hard body shots. Smith tries for the takedown, but Nguyen defends and lands multiple shots while trying to lock in a reverse triangle from the top. Smith manages to get his head out, but Nguyen still has the dominant position on the ground. After some reversals and roles, Nguyen ends up on top and lands some head shots as the round expires.

Nguyen has a pretty dominant round after the first minute or so. He didn't do much damage to Smith, but made Smith constantly work to defend himself to stay out of Nguyen's multiple submission attempts.

PreView sees it 10-9 Nguyen

Round 3
Smith opens up with a combination. Nguyen steps in, but Smith takes him down and lands shots from the top. Nguyen works his way back up and the two keep reversing positions against the cage. Smith trips Nguyen and takes him down. Smith lands some shots from the top, and briefly tries to sink in a guillotine, but Nguyen gets out. Smith is landing shots from the top, but Nguyen is staying busy on the bottom, trying to land shots of his own. The Ref stands them up, but I think that was premature - both were staying very busy on the ground. Nguyen clinches up and lands some knees to the body. Nguyen manages to get a single leg takedown but Smith lands in the dominant position on the ground, transitions and ends up in Nguyen's half-guard. Smith lands more shots to Nguyen's face as the round expires.

I think Smith managed to take this round - he landed more quality shots and seemed to be able to keep Nguyen from truly working his BJJ game on the ground. Hats off to both fighters, though - these guys kept up a great pace for three rounds and never stopped working. Looks like Nguyen is going to get his second nod from me for Fight of the Night.

Nguyen is in the gray shorts with red trim, Smith in the red shorts with black trim.

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Alex Smith wins via Unanimous Decision (All three judges scored it 29-28).

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Justin Hunt vs. Yance Martin (174)

Hunt fights out of Team Nemesis, and last fought for the ICF had my vote for KO of the Night. Martin fights out of Walker MMA.

Round 1
No "feeling your opponent out" here. Hunt fires off a hard right that Martin answers with a leg kick. Hunt lands a couple hard short punches in a flurry and gets Martin down. Martin works his way back up and almost takes Hunt down with a leg kick that knocked his leg out from under him. Martin finished the takedown and Hunt pulls half-guard. Martin lands more shots from the top. Hunt rolls over to escape the punches, but Martin sinks in a rear naked choke that sees Hunt tap, ending the fight.

Hunt is in camo trunks, Martin in the black with white lettering.

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Martin wins via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:55 of Round 1.


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Matt Johnson vs. Tyler Brewer (135)

Johson fights out of Domination MMA. Brewer fights out of Team Xtreme.

Round 1
Brewer misses with a jab. Johnson goes for the takedown but Brewer reverses and gets him down with a whizzer. They stand, and Johnson lands a hard shot and Brewer lands a single leg takedown. Johnson takes Brewer's back, but Brewer has one of Johnson's arms locked up. Johnson lands body shots with his free arm while Brewer works to toss him off. Johnson is trying to secure a body triangle, but Brewer manages to turn and Johnson pulls full guard. Brewer lands some shots to Johnson's head from the top, coming down with hammer fists. Brewer lands more hard shots but Johnson doesn't seem to be phased. The ref stands them up again and Johnson tosses Brewer with a highlight reel hip toss that almost puts Brewer down directly on his head. A great effort as the round ends, but I'm guessing it's not enough to change the judges' minds to win him the round.

PreView sees it 10-9 Brewer.

Round 2
Action starts quickly in the second round with Johnson landing some hard shots to Brewer's head and Brewer landing a single leg takedown. Johnson tries to shake Brewer off, but Brewer sinks in an armbar which Johnson is able to slowly pull out of, but Brewer takes his back and works for the rear naked choke. Johnson manages to pull one of Brewer's arms off, but Brewer switches his arm for another rear naked choke. Johnson rolls and Brewer lets go of the RNC, but still has Johnson's back and is landing multiple shots to Johnson's head. Johnson manages to roll and reverse the position and briefly lands in mount as the round expires. Johnson opened strong, but Brewer definitely had the advantage on the ground.

PreView sees it 10-9 Brewer.

Round 1
Brewer immediately shoots in for a takedown, but Johnson defends and lands some short punches to Brewer's head. Brewer scores the takedown, but Johnson lands in a dominant position, on his knees, landing multiple body shots on Brewer. Brewer moves as though to stand, but gets a single leg takedown to get Johnson on his back. Johnson transitions and lands a triangle from the bottom and rolls over to get the triangle from the mount, landing multiple unanswered shots to Brewer's head. Brewer tries to defend from the bottom, but Johnson's position is too dominant. The ref warns Brewer to stay busy or he's going to call the fight, and eventually stops it due to more unanswered shots from Johnson.

Johnson is in the red shorts with black stripes, Brewer in the red shorts with black trim.

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Matt Johnson wins via TKO (ref stoppage/strikes) at 2:12 of Round 3.

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There's a brief break in the action as Jami Miller and Tiffany Johnson step into the cage to announce their upcoming match at ICF: Breakout, April 11th, at US Bank Arena. Miller was supposed to fight tonight, but her opponent backed out at the last minute. That was Miller's second opponent to back out in two fights.

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Thomas Dumastas vs. Eric Silz
(155)

Dumastas, making his MMA debut, fights out of On Point Athletics. Silz, also making his debut, fights out of Club MMA.

Round 1
Silz opens the action early with a hard jab. Dumastas goes for a single leg takedown, but Silz lands shots to his head and is warned by the ref for hitting the back of the head and grabbing the fence. Silz continues to defend the takedown, landing more shots to Dumastas's head. Silz's gets Dumastas's back and lands more shots to the head. Silz is working for a reverse triangle from Dumastas's back, and lands more head shots. Silz transitions and tries for a belly down armbar, but lets Dumastas go to land some hard body shots. Silz tires to sink in a rear naked choke as the round ends. A definitive round for Silz. Both fighters received warnings, Silz for hitting the back of the head and grabbing the fence, and Dumastas for apparently trying to grab Silz's foot by his toes. No small joint manipulation allowed.

PreView sees it 10-9 Silz.

Round 2
Silz opens with another jab and Dumastas tries to counter with a takedown that Silz stuffs. Silz spins around and takes Dumastas's back again, landing shots to the side of Dumastas's head and trying to sink in the RNC. Dumastas is trying to shake Silz off, and is warned by the Ref to defend himself. Dumastas isn't able to do much to defend against the multiple shots Silz is landing to his head. Silz flattens Dumastas out and sinks in the RNC, securing the tap.

Silz is in the black shorts, Dumastas in the red.

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Eric Silz wins via submission (RNC) at 1:56 in Round 2

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Kevin Cantley vs. Scott Roberts (140)

"KO" Cantley fights out of Team Xtreme. Roberts fights out of Team Nemesis.

Round 1
Cantley lands a left to start the action and Roberts quickly answers. Both fighters move around the ring and trading hard punches and kicks to the body and Roberts works in a guillotine attempt, but Cantley gets out. Roberts get Cantley down again, and looks to have a guillotine locked in, but Cantley gets out. With Roberts on his back to his feet, Cantley lands a kick to Roberts's leg. Roberts works his way off the ground, but Cantley lands a kick to Roberts's stomach that the crowd in the top row could hear and immediately raises a welt on Roberts's stomach. Cantley lands a hard left and takes Roberts down, unleashing a hard ground and pound assault until Roberts taps due to the multiple unaswered strikes.

Cantley is in the red shorts, Roberts in the black shorts with white stripes.

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Kevin Cantley wins via submission (strikes) at 1:50 of Round 1.


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Jason Cocagne vs. Kyle Agee (185)

Cocagne fights out of Team Vision. Agee fights out of Performance Edge.

Round 1
Both fighters start out testing their reach, and Cocagne lands a leg kick. They circle, and Cocagne comes in with a wide left hook that misses, but immediately throws a hard overhand right that floors Agee. Cocagne manages to land a few more shots before Ref Greg Franklin steps in stopping the fight.

Cocagne is in the brown shorts, Agee in the camo.

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Jason Cocagne wins via KO at :41 in Round 1

(Agee would have been able to leave the cage under his own power, but apparently when he fell, he landed on his ankle, so he's assisted on his way out.)

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Mark Crawn vs. Keith Cunagin (189)

Crawn fights out of Beckley MMA and is cornered by George Oiler. Cunagin fights out of Team Vision.

Round 1
Cunagin opens the action with a leg kick followed by a short left hook and another leg kick. Crawn lands an inside leg kick and the meet in the middle and Crawn lands a jabm. Cunagin goes for a leg kick, but Crawn grabs his leg and lands a hard right, taking Cunagin down. Crawn initially has top positions but Cunagin rolls out and Crawn pulls guard. Cunagin's nose is gushing blood. Cunagin tires to get up, but Crawn works for a knee bar and takes him back down. Cunagin tries to pull out and Crawn lets him go, but quickly pounces on him with a left hook and takes Cunagin's back. Cunagin manages to get free, but Crawn pulls guard. Cunagin stands and Crawn gets back up, the two trading knees. Cunagin moves in for the takedown, but on the way down extends his head too far and Crawn sinks in the guillotine, forcing the tap.

Crawn is in the camo shorts, Cunagin in the black.

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Mark Crawn wins via submission (guillotine) at 2:45 of Round 1


(It's taking three guys in the cage working simultaneously to clean up all the blood.)

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Jim Davis vs. David Smith (310)

This fight is for the ICF Amateur Super Heavyweight Championship. Davis, undefeated at 2-0, fights out of Team Vision. Smith fights out of Workhouse Gym, making his MMA debut.

Round 1
Davis comes in quick with a left hook. The two trade punches and knees. Both are swinging for the fences, but Davis is getting the better of the exchanges. Davis lands a solid right that floors Smith, and when Smith landed, he hit his head on the mat, stunning him. Davis took advantage of the opportunity to quickly ground and pound his way to the win, with the ref coming in quickly to stop it.

Davis is in the black shorts with vertical stripe down the leg, Smith in the black shorts.

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Jim Davis wins via TKO (strikes) at :34 in Round 1, taking the first ever ICF Super Heavyweight Championship.

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Numerous video spots have been playing throughout the night to promote ICF: Breakout, April 11th, as US Bank, from guys like Chad Hinton, Dan Christison and Shonie Carter. Carter's is by far as the funniest, as he claimed in the video that he is an International Connoisseur of Brazilian Speedos. I don't think anybody would argue with him on that.

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Doug Balinger vs. Jeremy Pender (135)

This fight is for the ICF Amateur Bantamweight championship. Balinger fights out of Team Nemesis. Defending Champ and FightTicker.com member Jeremy "Pony Boy" Pender fights out of Domination MMA.

Round 1
In a show of great respect, the fighters meet in the middle of the mat to hug before starting the action. Balinger comes in with an inside leg kick, almost a crotch shot. Pender waives it off and they continue. Both land short shots to the other's head. Balinger feints with a kick and goes in for a punch. Pender answers with one of his own, but Balinger takes it to the ground and has Pender in a guillotine. Pender reaches for one of his own and both roll, letting go. Pender is in side control, landing body shots and when Balinger tries to roll, Pender takes his back. Pender is trying to get his hand in for a RNC, but Balinger is defending. Pender lands two shots to the side of Balinger's head and rolls, securing a body triangle and landing more short shots to Balinger's head and body to end the round.

PreView sees it 10-9 Pender.

Round 2
Balinger lands the first shot of the round, a leg kick. Pender comes in with a Superman punch and a two-punch combo. Pender takes Balinger's back from the standing position and lands multiple shots to Balinger's head. Balinger gets back to his feet and pushes Pender against the cage. Balinger transitions for a hip toss, but Pender takes his back and takes the fight back to the ground. Pender rolls Balinger to his side and secures another body triangle. Ref Greg Franklin breaks it up when the action slows. Pender lands a spinning back kick and Balinger answers with a kick to the body. Pender lands a two punch combo and both miss with body kicks as the round ends.

PreView sees it 10-9 for Pender

Round 3
Starting the round, Pender doesn't look winded at all. Pender steps in and lands a push jab. Pender lands more unanswered punches and Balinger shoots in for the takedown but Pender defends. Balinger's nose is bleeding now. Pender tries to take Balinger's back from the standing position again, but Balinger defends. Pender comes in with a flurry of punches but Balinger gets a guillotine and takes Pender down, rolls and has the guillotine from the top. Balinger lets go and Pender pulls full guard. Balinger lands a head shot from the top, but Pender is holding him down, preventing him from posturing up and the Ref stands them up again. Pender lands some short shots to Balinger's head and body and Balinger tires to answer with some of his own. Balinger tries to get Pender down, but Pender takes his back and sinks in the RNC right before the round expires, securing the submission victory and retaining his Bantamweight title.

Pender is in the black shorts, Balinger in the camo.

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Jeremy Pender wins via submission (RNC) at 2:56 in Round 3


(Amateur title fights are 5 three-minute rounds. After the fight, both Balinger and Pender were as friendly as when they started, meeting again in the center of the mat to hug it out.

After the fight, it is also announced, as previously reported by FightTicker.com, that Pender will be making his pro debut at the ICF: Breakout show on April 11 at US Bank Arena.)

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Tim Cook vs. Daniel Straus (155)

Cook, making his pro debut, taking the fight on 9 day's notice, fights out of Team Full Force. Straus fights out of Team Vision.

Round 1
Cook lands a leg kick but Straus takes it down and Cook pulls full guard. Straus lands elbows to Cook's head and Cook works for an armbar, but Straus pulls out and Cook again pulls guard. Straus lands some short elbows, but Cook is defending and lands a couple shots from the bottom. Straus gets out of Cook's guard and lands short shots to Cook's head. Cook lands shots to Straus's body from the bottom. Straus lands more shots and Cook gets a leg over Straus's head going for another armbar, but Straus again pulls out. Straus works to land more short shots and Cook has half-guard. Cook works his way up and lands a body kick. Straus lands a body kick of his own and clinches up and tries to take Cook down. Straus secures the takedown and lands in side control. Cook is working, landing knees to the body from the bottom. Straus lands more elbows from the top and opens a cut on Cook's head as the round expires.

PreView sees it 10-9 Straus.

Round 2
Straus lands a short right hook to start the round, Cook misses with two punches of his own, and Straus follows up with a head kick that takes Cook down. Cook tries to grab one of Straus's legs to defend, but Straus lands head shots and ref Greg Franklin runs in to stop the fight.

Cook is in the red shorts, Straus in the white.

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Daniel Straus wins via TKO (ref stoppage) at :11 of Round 2.


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MAIN EVENT

Dan Christison vs. Brion Peoples (265)

The night's main event features a pro match-up between Dan Christison and Brion Peoples. Peoples fights out of Solid Ohio MMA and is cornered by guys from Walker MMA. Christison fights out of Team Sandbox and is cornered by UFC HeavyweightJake O'Brien.

Round 1
The action starts quickly as Peoples lands a leg kick. Christison answers with one of his own and the two trade punches, Christison getting the better of the exchange. Christison works Peoples around the cage and the two clinch up and trade knees. As Christison knees Peoples again, there is an audible crack and Peoples exclaims "Oh s**t" and goes down. Christison backs off and ref Greg Franklin rushes in to stop the fight. It appears as though Christison cracked one of Peoples' ribs.

Peoples is in the camo shorts, Christison in the blue.

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Dan Christison wins via TKO (knee) at :36 of Round 1.

(Christison will be featured in the Co-Main Event of ICF: Breakout at US Bank Arena on April 11th against Marcio Cruz.)

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Some good fights tonight. I'll have post-fight interviews and commentary posted soon.

-PreView


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