Wednesday, April 30, 2014

From Today's MMA in New York Albany Presser


Fighters Source: The "X" Factor in the New York Amateur MMA Scene


Last year Fighters Source made a splash in New York City by setting up shop at the Hammerstein Ballroom and packing the place with fans for their "Kings of New York" show. But amateur MMA is a "local" business endeavor (meaning local fighters drive ticket sales), and since the scene here is thick with New York-based promoters sporting ties to gyms here, the Florida-based organization hasn't been back.

Which isn't to say Fighters Source has been dormant. They haven't. In fact, they've been building momentum as a national amateur MMA group that orchestrates events throughout the country, events that pit local teams against "away" teams. For example, on Saturday night in Cortland, Fighters Source paired with Upstate New York promotion Gladius Fights for show that saw a clash between the "Syracuse Gladius" against the "Nashville Renegades".

New York MMA Legislative Status Report: "Meh"


Not a lot has been going on with the legislative side of the MMA in New York movement lately. There are still a bunch of bills on the backburner, and though none of them have seen any action since the session began, there's still some time before the session ends on June 19 for something to get done.

There is, however, a press conference being held in today in Albany, and at it three female students and one female kickboxing instructor will talk about how MMA is empowering to women. There's no star power attached to the event (i.e., no Zuffa brass or well-known fighters scheduled to appear), but it's being held in the Legislative Office Building, so reporters will at least show up out of habit.

And that's it. That's all that's been going on. Given the progress and level of discussion generated on the issue, I'd rate this year's chances of the pro MMA ban being lifted in Albany a "meh."

UFC Fight Night 40 Primer: Erik Koch in Action


Up next for fans of UFC action is UFC Fight Night 40 on May 10, which is headlined by a slugfest between Matt Brown and Erick Silva. But Erik Koch is taking on Darren Cruickshank further down on the card, and because the UFC wants you to be excited for that fight too, they posted Koch's brief battle with Raphael Assuncao. Watch and enjoy.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Flashback: The TUF 2 Tryouts


The tryouts for season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter went down in Las Vegas, N.V. yesterday, and Bleacher Report ace scribe Jeremy Botter was on hand to witness what has over the course of almost ten years become an event in and of itself. Read his report here, and tell me if you don't get the impression that the tryout process is a well-oiled machine. It is, isn't it?

But the tryouts didn't start out that way. For the first season of TUF, the UFC simply called up a bunch of promising fighters and said, "Hey, want to do a reality show?" Only when that initial season proved to be a runaway success did the word "tryouts" enter into the equation.

Aggressive Combat Championship 6: The Next Big NYC MMA Show on Tap


The next big MMA show in New York City will be Aggressive Combat Championship 6, which is slated for May 10 at York College in Queens. A preliminary version of the card can be found here, and after the jump you can check out an ACC highlight video.

If you're reluctant to take the "E" train to the last stop and stroll through Jamaica, Queens, to get to the venue, then fear not, because I'll be on scene providing my usual coverage.

Monday, April 28, 2014

NYFE 3 Poster


Flashback: Night of Macacao - 2.7.09


Picture if you will a one-shot MMA event catering solely to the somewhat substantial Brazilian population of Newark, N.J. Every bout on the card pits a Brazilian against an American, culminating in a match-up featuring the eponymous "Macacao" (a.k.a., vale tudo legend Jorge Patino), and all this occurs before a partisan crowd that could very easily verge on riot should one of their brethren lose in the cage.

Yeah, "Night of Macacao" was pretty awesome. Here are the pics from it:

What's the Opposite of Having a Lot of Heart?


I don't know the backstory to this so I don't know why the fight played out the way it did, but damn did that fighter show a lot of heart.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Marcus Surin Defends Belt, Then Gets Into Car Accident


It was a violence-filled night for VCS lightweight champ Marcus Surin on Friday. First, he went about two and a half rounds with a hungry challenger in Yuting Hong in the cage. Then, after his win, Surin found himself in a car accident.

"We're okay," said Surin when The MMA Journalist reached out to him for a comment. "The car I was in was totaled but no one sustained any injuries."

Observations From My Couch: UFC 172


  • I like Charlie Brenneman and want to see him do well, but he needs to never fight in the UFC again. Brenneman is dominant in the regional circuit; he's on the path to long-term brain trauma in the Octagon.
  • For someone so tall and lanky, Jessamyn Duke sure fought like a short person. What the hell was her game plan?
  • Takanori Gomi looked woefully out of shape and yet still managed to put forth an exciting, crowd-pleasing bout. Thus is the power of the Gomi.

Tom Muller: A Look Back at One of the Northeast's Most Dominant Heavyweights


Few things are more annoying than a stud fighter coming onto the scene, making an impact with a win or two, then disappearing forever more. Well, if you were to compile a list of such Northeast fighters, without question, Tom Muller's name would be at the top.

From 2002 to 2004, Muller was a tall, lanky heavyweight who took the jiu-jitsu that Matt Serra taught him and absolutely dominated his opponents in Ring of Combat. In all four times he fought he won via submission, and in his last outing at ROC 7, he dethroned champ Carlos Moreno and took his belt.

Then he retired.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Victory Combat Sports Scores Another Home Run


The New York MMA bar has been set once again to new heights, courtesy of Victory Combat Sports' Victory V show at Terminal 5 in Manhattan and the 20 fighters who left it all in the cage last night. With 2,100 thrilled onlookers crammed into the venue, battles raged for the sake of two championship belts, and yet even in those bouts where no titles were up for grabs, wars were waged still.

Victory V: Hassan Hope vs. Brad Bateman


Friday, April 25, 2014

Victory V: Bernardo Cano vs. Rob Ovalle


Victory V: Rich Pabon vs. Takakiro Ishikawa


Victory V: Adam Pakiela vs. Ethan Gomes


Victory V: Bernardo Cano Warming Up


UFC 172 Primer: Media Day Video


I wasn't able to make it to yesterday's UFC 172 media day - which pains me because they serve free food there - but here's a video of it that the UFC was kind enough to do for those of us who couldn't get to Baltimore.

What's worth acknowledging is the size difference between Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira. Methinks the champ is going to be picking the challenger apart from long range like a sniper.

Victory V Primer: Bernardo Cano in Action


Victory Combat Sports' Victory V show is all set for tonight, and easing into the co-main event slot is GMMA champ Bernardo Cano. Since I've already written quite a bit about Cano, and I hate being redundant, I'll just post the videos of his last fight. Watch them and you'll get a sense of what's in store for the crowd at Terminal 5.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Frankie Edgar's First Pro Fight


In honor of Frankie Edgar's current run as TUF coach, here's a throwback to his first pro fight. Coming three months after his unsanctioned debut at the Underground Combat League, Edgar - a promising fighter out of the Rhino Fight Team camp - stepped into the ring at Ring of Combat 9 on October 29, 2005, squared off against a submission-savvy Mark Getto, and took care of business.

Fun fact: also making their pro debuts on this card were Lyman Good and Uriah Hall. Man, those were good times.

UFC 172 Primer: A Video of Jon Jones Battling the TRT Monster


You know how I know Jon Jones is a remarkable fighter? Because he stared the fearsome TRT Monster in the face and didn't wither.

Yeah, I'm talking about his fight against Vitor Belfort - the walking, talking test tube full of synthetic testosterone. Here's a video of Jones and Belfort fighting:

One on One with Senator Liz Krueger, New York MMA's Most Vocal Enemy


Senator Liz Krueger isn't a fan of mixed martial arts. And though her senatorial half of the legislature has been voting to pass the bill that would legalize pro MMA in the state year after year, she's remained a stalwart foe to cause.

"I can't support something where the competitors try to kill each other," she says, sitting at her desk in her Upper East Side office. On her plate are such issues as the legalization of marijuana and a tangle of problems with the lodging website Airbnb, but she feels strongly enough about MMA to talk for ten minutes about that - and it's ten minutes of discourse quite unlike the irrational ramblings of her anti-MMA predecessor, Assemblyman Bob Reilly.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

UFC 172 Primer: A Video of Jon Jones Getting His Ass Kicked


Jon Jones will edge just a step closer to greatness on Saturday when he defends his belt at UFC 172 against challenger Glover Teixeira, but let's not forgot that he's mortal, and that sooner or later someone is going to beat him. Of course, Teixeira probably won't be that guy. Instead, it will probably be someone with a build like Jones', who possesses a rangier kickboxing game and the kind of toughness only youth provides...

Yeah, I'm talking about Alexander Gustafsson, who came damn close to beating Jones when they first met, and who very well could smoke him in the rematch. Don't believe me? Then watch this video:

Victory V Primer: Champ Marcus Surin in Action


In just a couple days Victory Combat Sports will return to New York City, and headlining their event at Terminal 5 is lightweight champ Marcus Surin - a man considered to be one of the best 155-pound fighters competing within city limits.

With a purple belt under Cesar Pereira, Surin mixes submissions and strong wrestling to become the kind of threat that's the bane of every striker, and thus far no one has been able to dangerous on the ground.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

ROC Champ Jenkins Jenkins Highlight Reel


If you had to bet on which Ring of Combat champ would be getting a shot in the UFC next, the smart money would be on featherweight king James Jenkins. Blending solid technique with next-level toughness, this Team Serra/Longo fighter has a special trait that both fans and promoters love: "slugfest mode", which is activated when Jenkins takes a hard hit to the head, and which more often than not ends with a thrilling finish and the Long Islander's arm raised in victory.

Flashback: Victory Combat Sports - 5.18.13


Victory Combat Sports returns to New York City for another amateur MMA show on Friday, and they're going back to their first venue - Terminal 5 on the West Side. In case you don't know, Terminal 5 is a multi-level nightclub, and when a cage is set up in the middle of the dancefloor, there are some unique views of the action within.

Here's a look back at that seminal May 18, 2013 show.

Monday, April 21, 2014

That Moment When You Realize You're Not Invincible


UFC 172 Primer: Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Boetsch Preview


On Saturday the UFC touches down in Baltimore, M.D. for the first time, and the event - UFC 172 - will see Jon Jones defend his belt against Glover Teixeira in the marquee bout. But also on the main card is former Strikeforce champ Luke Rockhold taking on Tim Boetsch. Fun fact about Boetsch: he came up in the Northeast MMA circuit, and before making the leap up to the big leagues, ruled this area with an iron fist.

Check out this countdown video featuring him and Rockhold.

Cage Fury Fighting Championship 34: Main Shines, Santella Stumbles


Andy Main cinching up the triangle on Brian Kelleher
They say timing is everything, and never was that adage more true than at Saturday night's Cage Fury Fighting Championship 34 in Morristown, N.J. For main eventer Sean Santella - who's long been hailed as one of the top flyweight prospects coming out of the Northeast, and whose win streak and collection of belts would lend credence to that notion - the issue of timing was more about when he'd be able to make that inevitable leap into the UFC. For co-main eventer Andy Main, who's already had a run on TUF, and has lately been fighting in Pancrase in Japan, it was all about his timing in the cage.

Timing is that often elusive, often essential component to success - and on Saturday night, it was wrong for some and right for others.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Why Is This UFC Fighter Fighting Underground?


UFC on FOX 11 Primer: A Bunch of Preview Videos


UFC on FOX 11 is tomorrow night, and though I'll be cageside covering the Cage Fury Fighting Championships in Morristown, N.J. instead of watching what transpires in the Octagon, it doesn't mean I don't care. I do - and so should you! So here are a bunch of videos to get you motivated for Saturday night's UFC.

Cage Fury Fighting Championships 34 Primer: Brad Desir


He's traveled all over the world, both for the sake of the Marine Corps and Muay Thai, but New Yorker Bradley Desir does his best work closer to home - and at CFFC 34, he'll be going to work against the veteran Josh Key.

What you need to know about Desir is this:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday: A Pic From the First UCL Event Ever


February 3, 2003. That was the date of the first ever Underground Combat League event, which I had to sneak into, take notes and pics of discreetly, and write about with idea that I might never get to see another one again.

In the above photo, promoter Peter Storm is fighting pro fighter Kaream Ellington in the main event. Eddy Rolon is the referee, and when Peter refused to tap to Kaream's kimura, his elbow popped and he had to leave to go to the emergency room.

Good times, I tell you. Good times.

Victory Combat Sports 5 Poster


Observations From My Couch: TUF Nations Finale


  • When did Nordine Taleb turn into a modern day Travis Fulton? He fought on the TUF Nations Finale, then a couple hours later we watched him fight to get into the House for TUF 19. Dude, slow down!
  • Keep feeding Ryan Jimmo scrubs. I like watching him show off his karate.
  • Props to Leslie Smith for taking that fight on ultra-short notice, but damn did Sarah Kaufman beat her up.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Lyman Good on His TUF 19 Loss


The first episode of season 19 of The Ultimate Fighter aired tonight, and on it we saw former Bellator welterweight champ Lyman Good try - and fail - to gain entry into the TUF House by virtue of a decision loss to a superior wrestler.

The MMA Journalist caught up with Good and got his take on his experience on the show.

KJ Noons Damn Near Kills Sam Stout


However, Stout does slap a pretty sweet guillotine on the ref, so he has that going for him.

TUF Nations Finale Result: Ryan Jimmo's Reverse Punch


Ryan Jimmo's karate. It's what's for dinner.

TUF Nations Finale Primer: Sarah Kaufman vs. Leslie Smith


They clashed at Invicta FC 5, and in about two hours Sarah Kaufman and Leslie Smith will meet again - this time in the Octagon at the TUF Nations Finale. As their first bout ended in a close split decision, and Smith is about the 20th opponent Kaufman has been paired up with on this particular card (everyone else ended up injured), there's some compelling storyline here to get you interested.

But just in case you're not quite there yet, here's their first fight to whet your appetite.

Flashback: Aggressive Combat Championship - 9.28.13


Take a stroll down memory lane and visit the Aggressive Combat Championship's September, 2013 show, which took place at St. Raymond's High School in the Bronx.

Cage Fury Fighting Championship 34 Primer: Andy Main


Andy Main has been around the block once or twice.

In 2008, he was fighting as an amateur in Asylum Fight League. After that, he was honing his craft in Ring of Combat, then had a stint in TUF 12, fought locally a bit more, and most recently, has been flying to Japan to compete in the prestigious Pancrase organization.

But on Saturday night, New Jersey's prodigal son will step into the cage much closer to home - at Cage Fury Fighting Championship 34, where he'll take on fellow veteran Brian Kelleher. What should you expect from the heavy-handed, newly-minted Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Bet You Didn't Know Referee Keith Peterson Used to Fight, Did You?


You've seen him referee UFC bouts, and you probably noted him for his tattoos and thought that he'd either played in a hardcore band at CBGB's or killed people in the mosh pit. But what you likely didn't know about Keith Peterson is that he used to fight.

TUF Nations Finale Primer: Michael Bisping as Lovable as Ever


The TUF Nations Finale is on Wednesday, and in case you were wondering, yes, in the lead-up to the card, main eventer Michael Bisping has remained as lovable as ever. In fact, at today's media day event for the show, the mouthy Brit got in the face of opponent Tim Kennedy and... I don't know, probably said a lot of things that were incoherent because of his accent. But the message was clear!

Cage Fury Fighting Championship 34 Primer: Sean Santella


Of all the fighters in the Northeast, none can boast the same upward trajectory of Sean Santella, Cage Fury Fighting Championship's flyweight king. Blending laser-precise jiu-jitsu with some of the best scrambles in the business, "Shorty Rock" has been in a steady climb for years, and on Saturday - at CFFC 34 in Morristown, N.J. - he'll step into the cage once more, defending his belt and most likely proving yet again that he's the boss at 125 pounds.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Flashback: Underground Combat League - 1.29.13


For almost 10 years, the only option New York City MMA fans had for catching live fights locally was a little semi-secret organization called the Underground Combat League. Yes, some of the fighters sucked, there were zero safety precautions taken, and the venues were straight out of the movie Fight Club, but there's an undeniable charm to see clandestine fistfights, and in that regard, the UCL was - and still is - king.

There's an MMA Show in Brooklyn on Saturday - You Going?


There's an MMA/Muay Thai show in Brooklyn on Saturday called Take It To The Top 3, and sadly, because it's the same night as the Cage Fury Fighting Championship event in Morristown, N.J., I'm going to miss it. But I found this video preview for their second event (which I missed because for some reason these shows are closely-guarded secrets or something), and after watching the vid, I feel like I know what's in store for those who show up.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong


Back in the day the Gracies used to go from martial arts school to martial arts school, challenging folks to prove that their particular style of jiu-jitsu was better suited for a fight than whatever kind of karate of Tae Kwon Do was being taught there. But thanks to the UFC and the popularity of MMA, that's kind of a dangerous thing to do nowadays, as more people are training for "real" than ever before.

But hey, if you really want to strut into a school and throw down, don't let that fact stop you.

It didn't stop this guy.

Poster for Aggressive Combat Championship 6


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Should This Fight Have Been Stopped?


At last night's RFA 14 event in Wyoming - an event that was broadcast live on AXS-TV - Matt Manzanares took on Junior Maranhao in the main event. A flyweight belt was on the line, so the bout was scheduled for five rounds, yet in between Rounds 4 and 5, Maranhao blacked out and fell off his stool. Was the bout stopped by either the commission or the cornermen? Nope. It was not. Maranhao was propped back up and sent out for the fifth round, and he went on to lose the decision.

Take a look at the gif after the jump.

Big Nog Needs to Big Retire


Yesterday's UFC Fight Night: Abu Dhabi had plenty of excitement for the discerning fight fan, but it also had a pretty sad ending. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira - the beloved Brazilian legend who's pretty much fought everywhere against everyone - got utterly smashed by Roy Nelson.

Flashback: Aggressive Combat Championship - 5.11.13


Relive the glory that is the Aggressive Combat Championship's May, 2012 show, which took place at St. Raymond's High School in the Bronx.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Are You Watching Bellator Tonight? Or This?


(If you choose this over Bellator, you're a clown.)

UFC Fight Night Abu Dhabi: Results and Play-by-Play


Back in the day I used to go to local shows and do a mean play-by-play from cageside. I don't do it that much anymore - advances in technology make it more worthwhile to do video and tweets - but that doesn't mean I forgot how. Here, then, are some live results and bout descriptions from UFC Fight Night 39: "Nogueira vs. Nelson", which is taking place in Abu Dhabi this sunny Friday afternoon and is airing on UFC Fight Pass.

Poster for the Next NYFE Show


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Fedor Visits Tiger Schulmann's Manhattan School


Fedor Emelianenko was (and probably still is) special. Whenever he came to New York City it was an event, and his days would be filled with photo ops, each one packed with fans clamoring to see him. Considering that his presence would garner more attention than visiting UFC stars, it was truly a remarkable thing.

In August, 2009, "The Last Emperor" dropped by the Tiger Schulmann's school in Manhattan. Yes, he was mobbed by fans. Yes, everyone wanted to take a pic with him and get his autograph. And yes, Fedor was cool as hell.

UFC on FOX 11 Primer: Edson Barboza in Action


UFC on FOX 11 is just nine days away, and in addition to the marquee bouts of Travis Browne versus Fabricio Werdum and Miesha Tate against Liz Carmouche, there are a bunch of compelling match-ups dotting the card - not the least of which is Donald Cerrone taking on Edson Barboza.

It wasn't that long ago that Barboza was an unstoppable striker wrecking people in Ring of Combat. In his first ROC fight, the Brazilian practically put Team Serra/Longo Nabih Barakat in a coma; after the jump is Barboza's second appearance in ROC, where he fought some overmatched dude for the belt.