MMA Underground

A site for MMA Fans and fighters
by MMA Fans and Fighters.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The "Queen of Spades" Will Reign on CBS - Shayna Baszler

If you follow women's MMA, then you know the name Shayna Baszler. If you don't, come July 26th, you will. Nicknamed "Queen of Spades", Elite XC's Baszler (9-4-0) is highly regarded as one of the top female MMA fighters in the world...and for good reason. All of her nine wins have come by way of submission in the first round. She even coined the phrase "shwing" for her signature 'chicken-wing style' arm-bar. Her four career losses have come at the hands of female MMA's elite: Tara LaRosa, Amanda Buckner, & Kelly Kobald. Shayna has clearly worked her way up the ranks and paid her dues. Now it's time for her star to shine on national television.

On July 26, Baszler will take on Brazilian Chute Box badass Cris Cyborg (4-0), as part of Elite XC's next telecast, airing live from Stockton, CA on CBS, 9-11pm ET/PT. Although Cyborg, 33, has not fought in almost two years, she was considered a fighter to watch out for back in 2006, due to her aggressive style and vicious striking power. Three of her four wins came via TKO. Cyborg is married to fellow MMA fighter Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos, hence the nickname.

Once again, as with Elite XC's first CBS broadcast, the featured women's fight is sure to be a show-stealer. There are already rumors that the winner of this fight will face Gina Carano in a title match for Elite XC's first women's belt in the fall. On paper, this fight clearly goes to Baszler, given her overall experience and better ground game. However, the mysterious Cyborg's striking ability and sheer physical presence has many fans questioning the outcome. In regards to Elite XC's decision to pick Cyborg as an opponent, aren't there plenty of other bigger name female fighters more worthy of this opportunity? The names Tonya Evinger (the obvious #1 pick), Roxanne Modafferi (a deserving re-match) and Tara LaRosa (an even bigger re-match) certainly come to mind. One has to ask, given that this will also be Cris's first time fighting in the U.S.

I've had the pleasure of corresponding with Shayna for a few months now, and she is the real deal, determined to leave her mark on the MMA world. Her love for music and guitars translates into the cage, where she is often seen carrying an ESP flying V on her way to battle. It's no wonder that she and Josh Barnett are such great friends and training partners.

As Baszler prepares for Saturday with Barnett, the MMA world is still reeling from this past weeks events: Rampage Jackson's "rampage" and arrest, Affliction's first major event where Josh KO'd Pedro Rizzo and Fedor finished Tim Sylvia in thirty six seconds, and UFC Fight Night, where Anderson Silva at 205 dominated James Irvin in just one minute. The July 26 Elite XC/CBS telecast is sure to be another card chock full of amazing action and surprises. Be sure to tune in and watch QofS do what she does best, win.
War Shayna!

Sponsors: ESP Guitars, ROOM 101, Sinful Clothing

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ben Saunders Interview

How did you get the nickname "Berserk"?

Well Berserk was one of my first nicknames. It was based off of one of my favorite Animes. My friends called me it cause I was always laid back and relaxed in my fights but if I got hit a few times or angry they said I would go "berserk". Ha-ha. But my nickname is now "Killa B" which came from a situation that occurred on the street a few years ago. I smile a lot mainly because I am very confident and believe in myself and know what I am capable of. It has gotten me in to a lot of trouble at times. I just think anger and intimidation is over rated. Yeah, I can get loud and in your face to try and scare you in to backing down. But I don't look for nor do I try to start trouble. What usually happens is they take my calm laid back personality as weakness. People that try to get loud and intimidate me leads to just a bigger smile on my face. This happens to make people attack me or throw the first punch much more than if I got loud angry and in their face. I guess they get the vibe that I think they are a joke, as I usually do. LOL Well anyways this is one situation out of many where my smile agitated someone to the point where they decided to swing on me. I defended and countered this attack with a number of strikes. The next day at the academy my friend and teammate that was with me for the incident started telling the story to others. In his explanation he chose to say "Ben hit him with some Bee Stingers". That in combination with my love for Rap/Hip Hop music including Wu-Tang Clan (Which by the way their album "Enter the Wu-Tang 36 Chambers" is one of my all time favorite CD's.) So long story short they started calling me "Killa B". =)

I've read about your feelings about Matt Hughes as a coach and that he "beats his team down." What do you think of Matt Hughes as a fighter? Do you think he's finished?

I don't know how he coaches or instructs at his academy. I just know from what I saw, word of mouth, and my experience on the show. He is pretty close minded and contradicts everything that I believe. I am a huge Bruce Lee fan. I have always agreed with his philosophies in keeping an open mind and being a student of the martial arts till I die. Forever improving my skills and bettering myself as a fighter, instructor and human being. No one can know every technique or be a "MASTER" of the martial arts in my opinion. There is way too much knowledge in this world, all we can ever hope to achieve is to know as much as possible and continue to learn and grow. He seems to believe that his way is "the" way. I've heard him say, "What I've done has got me where I am and I see no reason to change." Well it worked for him in the past because our sport was so new and un-evolved. But times have changed and he seems to be living in the past. I believe his career could have gone on much longer and the potential for him to become and a champ again were very possible as he has the tools. But he never seemed to work hard on his flaws. I personally feel if you have accomplished what he has and been champ as long as he was that he would have developed the striking ability of a Pro Boxer or Kickboxer. But he didn't and in my opinion that is just ridiculous. He either didn't take this sport seriously or maybe he didn't care to do so cause he felt once his run was over he would retire. Maybe he doesn't really care, or maybe he regrets his choice and it will eat away at him for the rest of his life wondering how great he really could have been. Either way it seems to be his choice or his close minded attitude that was his undoing.

You damn near defeated Tommy Speer when you were sick. Would you ever take a fight again if you were really sick?

HAHA No way in hell! At least not as sick as I was. That was one of the stupidest things I have ever done. But it was the opportunity of a life time and the fight was not going to be counted on my pro record. Normally I think about everything I plan on doing to my opponent never thinking twice about losing or what my opponent might do to me. This was the 1st time I was really worried and all I could think about was how crappy I felt and how "out of the game my" head was. But sick or not I had the ability to win. I was actually smiling and laughing about it before, during, and after the fight. I was just like this is the craziest thing I've ever done. I am proving to myself that I am literally out of my mind. It was the only way to hype myself up. A lot of people don't understand that I was literarily bed sick not just a little sick. But I doped myself up enough to get up. The show is called TUF for a reason. It is made to break you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The show tried to break me down and it got to me physically but nothing will ever break my spirit. I am a fighter and this is what I do but if I had the choice I wouldn't have fought. But I didn't so I sucked it up and did what needed to be done for me and my career. I don't regret my decision to fight as I felt I went out like a warrior instead of just throwing in the towel. It also gave me the opportunity to stay with the UFC which now gives me the chance to prove to the world that I belong there.

Without giving away any of your training secrets, can you describe for me what your training is like leading up to UFC 87?

This fight is gonna be about 9 months since my last fight. I believe I have improved tremendously in every aspect of the sport. My striking, wrestling, and BJJ are improving at a rapid pace. I am comfortable wherever the fight may go. I have yet to show everyone my top game on the ground and maybe we'll see it August 9th. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to fight for the UFC and compete against the best in the world. I can't wait to get back in the cage and test myself; it has been way too long.

I've heard that you aren't worried about Jared Rollins because "he lost to George Sotiropoulos, and he lost to War Machine (John Koppenhaver)". Is there any chance that you may be underestimating him or are you pretty confident that you're going to walk through him?

I believe Jared is a very tough guy. I don't think anyone should be underestimated, especially at this point in my career and at this level. Everyone is dangerous, and there are so many things that can happen in the MMA fight game. I won't lie that I am hoping I beat him quickly and in an impressive fashion. But I always look at every fight as a potential addition to my highlight reel. I feel I am more well-rounded and my height and reach advantage will be a huge problem for him. Trust me, I am not looking past him, I am completely focused on the task at hand and that is fighting Jared Rollins. He has 2 losses in a row and knows how important this fight is for him and his career. I know he is gonna be coming to fight.

How important is it for you to put a good fight on for the fans?

I feel putting on a good show is just as important as winning. Not all fighters understand this but it's true. I don't have that many pro fights under me but one thing's for sure, I always come to fight. Most of my fights have been considered fight of the night. My fight with Barrera on episode 6 was the most watched episode of the season. I am also coming off what I consider to be one of the worst and most boring fights of my career from the TUF 6 Finale. It is hard to finish someone whose only purpose is to hold on for dear life and try to survive. I didn't have a mark on me after 3 rounds. That fight really pissed me off which I expressed my disgust once the final round ended. I wanted to put on a show and he just wanted to try and lay and pray a victory. To me he looked like a coward. Grant it, I stayed active not allowing him to do anything but still, that performance made me sick. It's been eating away at me for 9 months now and I finally get the chance to put it in the past. I am excited to fight Jared because he looks like a game opponent. I'm hoping he comes to fight and not just try to lay and pray a decision. I believe we are gonna put on a show for Dana, the fans, and the UFC.

Knowing there are so many guys waiting for their shot, do you feel any added pressure fighting for the UFC? If so, how do you deal with that?

The UFC is the biggest MMA organization in the world. It is an honor and a Goal (Not "Dream" as Dreams are thought to be fantasy or unachievable) come true to be fighting for them. I don't really feel any added pressure fighting in the UFC. I have been training with UFC, Pride, and K-1 veterans since 2001. I have given up everything to make it where I am today, and I don't plan on leaving anytime soon. I know what I am capable of and have yet to even show a fraction of it. Fighting for the UFC isn't all I want. What I want is to keep winning and eventually fight for and win that belt. Even then my goal is to continuously defend it in the attempt to become one of the pound for pound best fighters in the world if not in the history of this sport. =)

What is the hardest part about MMA for you? Is it dieting, cutting weight, doing cardio?

No lie the hardest thing about being an MMA fighter is finances. We don't get paid very well at all. Until I was on TUF I had to work a full time job while training full time, fighting only when I could. All that lack of sleep and recovery time while struggling from paycheck to paycheck is one of the most stressful and without a doubt hardest parts of MMA. I am blessed to be fighting for the UFC which gives me the opportunity to fight full time now. This is a very good time to be an MMA fighter as the sport is blowing up. I'd have to say second in line would be dieting and cutting my weight as I am a very big welterweight. Third is when training for a fight and you reach that point where you're about to break or give up. You suck it up and push that line farther than you ever thought possible. It's hell while doing it but damn, you feel unbelievable after. Knowing that all this training, blood, sweat, and tears are gonna help me achieve my ultimate goal. There is nothing more exhilarating than destroying my opponent while putting on a great show utilizing my deadly skills in a civilized manner. Hahaha

If there was one thing that you could improve about your fight game, what would it be?

I would improve everything! I will continue to get better in every aspect of this sport. I love martial arts and will continue to improve and learn till the day I die. I feel I am very well rounded having good stand up, good takedown defense, good takedowns, good clinch, good submissions, basically I am comfortable everywhere and feel I can win the fight from any position. I feel no matter what my opponent does where they bring the fight or where I want the fight to be I can do it and win. Whatever it takes! I am a true mixed martial artist. Jeet Kune Do Concepts all the way!

I've heard that a lot of guys get nervous and even have stomach issues before a fight. Do you get nervous before a fight and, if so, is it worse when you have to fight in the Octagon in front of a lot of people?

Everyone gets somewhat nervous or butterflies in their stomach. It just means you are aware of what is to come and your body is getting prepared. It's all about how you channel it though. I am a very rare breed as I actually get really excited. I love to fight and love to test myself. I don't mind getting hit at all, I somewhat enjoy it. I don't enjoy the actual destruction it does to my body, but it gets me more amped. I fight to challenge and test myself if I get hit with a good shot or combination; it lets me know that I am fighting someone with skill. The tougher the fighter/fight the more I enjoy it. I love to go to WAR and I know the crowd does to. I actually imagine everything I am gonna do to my opponents and it brings a smile to my face. My friends all call it my "sadistic smile". I imagine kicking my opponent in the head as hard as I can with my shin and it really gets me excited. I think about all the things I get to do without shin guards or protective equipment. I think about how I don't have to hold back at all, which I don't get to do in training or sparring. I wish I could fight like that every week like all these other sports in the world (for example football, basketball, etc.). But in our sport we can't so the select few times I get to actually compete a year are without a doubt the best times of my life. Nerves? I'm not there because I have to be, I'm there cause I wouldn't rather be anywhere else in the world! =)

What are your future goals in MMA and the UFC? Where do you want your career to take you in the next few years?

I don't care about fame and fortune. All I am looking for is a lifestyle that is comfortable and with the least amount of stress and drama. It's unfortunate that all 4 of those coexist with my ultimate goals but I feel there are ways to make it all work out. I just want to be able to fully concentrate on my training and career because to me that's all that matters. I am looking to test myself with the best in the world. I don't believe anyone can actually achieve the title "Best in the World". But it is my goal to come as close to that as possible in the amount of time my life allows.

Is there any one that you'd like to give a shout out to?

I want to thank all my friends and family who have supported me in my struggle to achieve these goals. I want to thank American Top Team, Dan Lambert, Ricardo Liborio, Paul Rodriguez, Bobby Robare, and all my teammates and training partners for helping me get to where I am. I want to thank Bruce Lee and his philosophies; if it wasn't for him god knows how far behind I would be in this sport, and in martial arts/self-defense. Jeet Kune Do Concepts all the way! I want to thank my Chiropractor Dr. Greg Rodriguez for cracking me back in to shape. I want to thank TAPOUT for becoming my new sponsor. I want to thank the UFC for giving even more purpose to my life. I decided at age 10 when I saw the first UFC back in 1993 that this is what I wanted to do. Before that it was just train, study martial arts, open up my own school, and instruct. The UFC allows me to test my skills in a safe and legal environment, what more could I ask for? =)

Ben, thanks very much for your time. I enjoyed watching you fight and I'm looking forward to seeing you kick ass again in the near future!

by JP Berube of

Photos courtesty of Ben Saunders

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Josh Barnett - More Than Meets the Eye (Josh Barnett Interview)

Josh Barnett easily falls in the category of MMA legend. He is the youngest UFC champion in history, having won the heavyweight title in 2002 at 24 years old. His opponent was none other than Randy Couture, whom he beat via TKO at UFC 36. Barnett is also the 10th King of Pancrase, something only an elite group of mixed martial artists can take claim to, and a title he is very proud to wear. Other winners have included Bas Rutten, and Ken & Frank Shamrock.

A former PRIDE and K-1 fighter, Josh is also a pro wrestler, having competed in the New Japan Pro Wrestling organization. He holds other notable wins over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark Hunt, Aleksander Emelianenko, Hidehiko Yoshida, Dan Severn, Jeff Monson and Yuki Kondo. As if that wasn't enough, he appears in the XBOX360 video game 'Beautiful Katamari', and was the inspiration for the personality of the main character in Nintendo Wii's 'No More Heroes' game. Josh is currently the #6 ranked heavyweight MMA fighter in the world. Although his fight record stats surfacing the web show a record of (22-5-0), it should be noted that he has actually competed in at least 47 fights throughout his career. In other words, Barnett is one of the most skilled, accomplished and recognized heavyweight fighters around. You can also add catch wrestling master and a signature t-shirt with Affliction to his long list of achievements.

On July 19th, at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA, Josh will avenge his only KO career loss against fellow former UFC fighter, Pedro Rizzo. AFFLICTION: BANNED, the inaugural event of the newly Donald Trump backed MMA organization/clothing line, is destined to give the UFC a run for their money. This particular fight is a dream rematch for diehard MMA fans. To Josh, it's just another fight…one he plans on winning in devastating fashion.

I recently had the opportunity to hang out for a day at CSW Training Facility in Fullerton, CA, and then interview Josh over lunch. The inspirational quotes that adorn the gym walls are a sign of how passionate Josh and his crew are about everything they do. Watching him run his drills was like witnessing a freight train barrel through a cement wall at lightning speed. At 6'3" and 250 lbs, Barnett is pure raw power with no quit, and his teammates equaled that drive…even in the 100+ degree heat! It was a privilege to be there and meet everyone.

Also joining us over lunch was MMA fighter Ginele Marquez (8-7-1), who is preparing for next month's finals of the Smack Girl tournament in Japan. Speaking of female fighters, one of the coolest things about Josh Barnett is the fact that he constantly helps coach them. To date, Josh has trained a long list of respected women: Elite XC's Shayna Baszler, Ginele, Japan's Megumi Fujii, Roxy Balboa, & Shannon Hooper, to name a few. I find this extremely admirable and something he should be more recognized for, in my opinion. When asked how he got started doing this, Josh contemplated for a moment before answering.

"It probably started with high school wrestling. We had two girls on our team. It didn't seem out of touch to me. They were there to wrestle like everybody else, so the same attitude carried over when women wanted to start fighting. I always was a supporter of women's wrestling anyway."

In most cases, female fighters have a harder time getting the same respect that their male peers do. At a time when few top organizations even have or develop female divisions, many men still believe they shouldn't be allowed to fight at all. Josh takes a different approach to that theory.

"It's not even that so much", he says. "The promoters themselves treat them like second class citizens. They throw them a bone here and there, use them at their whim."

With Elite XC finally showcasing women's fights on SHOWTIME and CBS, one can only hope that we will continue to see a rise in popularity, acceptance, and fairer treatment for female fighters everywhere. Kudos to Barnett for helping those with true love and passion for this sport fulfill their dreams.

In regards to Josh's catch wrestling prowess, I asked him how he became so involved in the style and if he finds his skills to be a major advantage over his opponents.

"When I started training, whatever was available was available. I would just fight people wherever. Those were the Wild West days of MMA. There was no sanctioning. There were no outlets. I found Matt Hume running fights out of Washington and he was involved in Pancrase. He brought back that catch wrestling style from Japan and I just went from there. I feel that having it as my background gives me a much bigger advantage over ju-jitsu folks because they're all being taught the same stuff, the same way. In my opinion, a lot of times Jiu-Jitsu restricts itself. Don't do this, don't do that. You can't use these holds. Can't do that. In catch wrestling I never was restricted in any way, shape or form. There was no "too rough". There was no "off limits". Everything was go."
With the added techniques of catch wrestling, Josh feels he has developed a much broader arsenal and understanding. His favorite submission is the toe-hold.

Outside of the ring, Josh is a passionate music lover known for cranking his favorite heavy metal at shear volume during training sessions. (which I can personally confirm to be true!) Some of his favorite bands include: Arch Enemy, Bolt Thrower, Metallica, Lamb of God, Children of Bodom, Pantera, Slayer, & Megadeth, who will be performing live at the AFFLICTION show next month. His love of metal even helped secure protege Shayna Baszler a sponsorship deal with ESP guitars, a top manufacturer in the U.S. known for endorsing the biggest metal bands in the world. This cross-promotion with the music equipment world is something no other fighter has done and not typically the norm in MMA sponsorships.

"I'm not trying to dip into the same resources everybody is taking money from. If you're fighting on television, all the fight people already know who you are. Find a way to get outside of that."

Josh and I excitedly talked shop about music and guitars for quite awhile during our interview. I myself, being a professional guitarist, had a blast chatting away about something I am so passionate about. To see that he shared the same passion and respect for music and musicians was very cool, since I have such respect for what he does.
On a side note, if you are a SIRIUS radio subscriber, be sure to tune into Hard Attack Radio 27 with Jose Mangin the week before Josh's fight. They are due to air his personal favorite metal picks during one of their shows. Some of Josh's other interests outside of fighting include video games, movies and his muscle car collection, chock full of Mustangs.

When I asked Josh if he gets approached by younger, aspiring male fighters often, of course the answer was yes. His advice to them on the business side of things was as follows:

"Don't do it for the money. The reality of it is, 85% of you will never make a living at it. A percentage out of that will never go anywhere with it for whatever reasons. It's not for me to debate why they can't succeed at it. It's always respectful and honorable to see a person go out and do the very best they can do, get to be the very best they can be. I'll never shit on a person for that."

I say, "It's a tough business."

Josh replies, "Absolutely. You gotta do it for yourself to be the best in your eyes, not for external sources."

Barnett clearly has an "outside the box" mentality in regards to fighting, the business and his sponsorships. Many people have mistaken his confidence for arrogance, but as I sat listening to him speak, I didn't see Josh in that light. He speaks with the ease and knowledge of a master. You can't help but respect the guy for his honesty, commitment, and passion. He's been around longer than most fighters with no signs of slowing down. When asked what his biggest goal was he replied, "I want to be the best fighter in the world."

Although only 30 years old and nicknamed "The Baby Face Assassin", those in the music business would emphatically call him 'vintage': characterized by excellence, maturity, and enduring appeal; classic. Thanks Josh!

by Jen Leigh of

Josh Barnett would like to thank:

Affliction, Room 101 Silver &

Photos courtesy of Jen Leigh

Monday, July 7, 2008

UFC 86: Jackson vs. Griffin Round-by-Round

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin

The first round begins as both fighters trade punches without any landing. Griffin lands the first strike with a right hand lead. Griffin works the lead leg of Jackson with some leg kicks. Jackson connects with a left hook. Griffin lands a left jab and follows with a leg kick. Jackson throws a combination that contained a left hand that rocked griffin. Griffin responds with a straight right and leg kick. Jackson counters with a right uppercut that knocks Griffin down to the canvas. Rampage jumps on Griffin and lands in full guard. Jackson pushes Griffin against the cage. Griffin gets back to his feet but eats a right hand. The second round begins as Griffin lands a leg kick that hurts Jackson. Jackson's knee buckles and he is forced to retreat to the fence. Griffin goes for a guillotine and trips Jackson down to the canvas. Griffin gives up the guillotine but is now in top control. Griffin advances to side-control and goes for an Americana. Griffin gives up the Americana but advances to the mount. Griffin connects with some elbows and left hands. Griffin continues to elbow the head but is doing limited damage. Griffin dominates the second. The third round begins as Griffin continues to attack the leg of Jackson. Jackson is avoiding the high volume of leg kicks but Griffin is still landing a few. Jackson is limping badly from the leg kicks but continues to look for the knockout. Jackson rocks Griffin with a right hand. Jackson has trouble following up with the right hand. Griffin continues to stick and move avoiding the power shots of Jackson. Jackson lands a right hook to the body. Griffin takes some punishment but moves away. The fourth round begins as Jackson gets a takedown but is caught in a triangle choke. Griffin has the triangle locked in but has trouble controlling Jackson's trapped arm. Jackson escapes the triangle but is now fending off an omaplata. Jackson stands and connects with a hard right hand. Griffin now has a cut below his right eye. Jackson connects with a left-right combination as the round ends. The fifth round starts as both fighters look to land a big punch. Griffin connects with a straight right hand. Jackson lands a right hook. Griffin responds with a leg kick. Jackson goes for a big flurry. Griffin lands a leg kick as Jackson loads up for a knockout punch. Jackson is unable to land any shots and the round ends. Great fight for the belt. Three judges score the fight 48-46, 48-46, and 49-46 for the winner and new UFC Light Heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin.

Patrick "The Predator" Cote vs. Ricardo "Big Dog" Almeida

The first round starts as Almeida clinches up and pulls guard with a guillotine. Cote escapes the guillotine and is now in Almeida's guard. Cote stands up and sprawls out of an Almeida takedown attempt. Almeida ties up with Cote against the cage. Almeida goes for a single-leg but Cote defends well. Almeida switches for a double-leg takedown and Cote is on his back. Almeida tries to advance from half-guard but Cote shows some good ground defense. Almeida stands up in the guard of Cote and connects with some left hands. Almeida sits back down into Cote's guard. Almeida stands back up in guard and lands more effective strikes. Almeida takes the round with good ground-and-pound. There is an extended break between rounds as Almeida has a torn glove. The second round begins as Almeida goes for a takedown but is forced to pull guard. Cote escapes from Almeida's guard and stands up. Cote is careful to not get taken down and stays patient with his striking. Almeida clinches up and gets an under hook but has trouble tripping Cote down to the canvas. Almeida attempts to pull guard but fails on the attempt. The crowd begins to boo as the action slows down. Almeida attempts to pull guard with a guillotine. Cote smacks Almeida with a right hand as the round ends. The third round starts as Cote lands a jab and uses good footwork. Cote connects with a right hand and a low kick. Almeida responds with very little offense as he is exhausted. Almeida lands a one-two combination to Cote Almeida scores a takedown with 35 seconds remaining in the fight. Almeida advances to side-control and attempts a choke as time expires. One judge scores the fight 29-28 in favor of Ricardo Almeida. Two judges score the fight 29-28 for Patrick Cote. Patrick Cote walks away with a split decision victory.

Joe "Daddy" Stevenson vs. Gleison Tibau

The first round begins as both fighters trade strikes in middle of the Octagon. A right hand from Stevenson sends Tibau off balance. Stevenson goes for a guillotine and pulls guard. The guillotine is defended well by Tibau. Stevenson stands up and gets a double-leg takedown. Tibau now has a deep omaplata on Stevenson. Stevenson is caught in the submission but seems to be in little trouble. Stevenson relaxes on the canvas and tells referee Steve Mazzagati to stand the fight up. Mazzagati says he won't stand it up. The round ends as Stevenson is still stuck in the omaplata. The second round begins as Stevenson gets a double-leg takedown on Tibau. Tibau defends the takedown and forces Stevenson against the fencing. Tibau throws a flurry of punches but doesn't connect and gets a takedown. Tibau quickly advances to side-control and mounts shortly after. Tibau loses the mount as he steps over to attempt a triangle choke. Stevenson gets back to his feet and pulls guard with an arm in guillotine. Tibau is forced to tap quickly. Stevenson wins 2:57 into the second round.

Josh "Kos" Koscheck vs. Chris "Lights Out" Lytle

The first round begins as both fighters are very cautious the first 2 minutes. Koscheck takes Lytle down but Lytle has guillotine choke from his half-guard. Koscheck escapes the choke and attacks the midsection of Lytle with his left hand. Lytle controls the position by holding Koscheck's head. Lytle attempts to get to butterfly-guard and Koscheck almost advances to the mount. Lytle gets back to full guard and Koscheck connects with a hard right hammer fist as the bell sounds. The second round begins as Koscheck gets a single-leg takedown and is stuck in another guillotine from half-guard. Koscheck gets his head free from the choke and begins to tee off with strikes from the half-guard of Lytle. Lytle now has a cut above his right eye. Koscheck begins to land a large volume of left and right hooks from half-guard. Lytle is stuck against the fencing eating a lot of punches and elbows. Lytle goes for a heel hook but Koscheck defends well. Lytle now has 2 cuts above his right eye and there are pools of blood on the canvas. The third round begins as Lytle is still bleeding from cuts over his right eye. Koscheck gets a takedown on his second attempt in the third round. Koscheck throws more elbows on the ground and the cuts are opened even wider. Referee Yves Lavigne is watching the action but doesn't stop the action for some reason. The fighters are stood up by Lavigne. Lytle connects with a flurry of punches but the round ends. Koscheck dominates the fight and wins via unanimous decision by the scores of 30-26, 29-27, and 30-28.

Tyson Griffin vs. Marcus "Maximus" Aurelio

The first round begins as Griffin connects with a straight right hand to the body. The crowd begins to boo 45 seconds into the fight due to slow action. Griffin loads up on his strikes but is short of his target each time. Griffin pushes Aurelio down to the canvas and is standing over throwing right hands. Griffin tries to avoid the guard of Aurelio but Aurelio has a hold of his left hand. Griffin gets free and connects with some hard punches before standing up. Griffin connects with a hard right to the midsection and a hard low kick. Griffin connects with another right body shot. Aurelio tries to get a single-leg takedown but Griffin easily defends. The second round begins as Griffin scores three body shots in the first 45 seconds. Griffin continues to strike the body to set up a chin shot but Griffin has not been close at all. Aurelio shoots again for another single-leg but Griffin defends easily. Griffin and Aurelio are now clinched up against the fence with Griffin utilizing foot stomps. Griffin slams Aurelio down to the canvas. Aurelio takes Griffin's back briefly but Griffin advances to top control. Aurelio attempts a triangle but Griffin defends well. The third round begins as connects with a low kick and a right hook. Griffin scores with a left uppercut to the liver. Griffin follows with a left hook counter. Aurelio drops again for another single-leg but Griffin defends well again. Off of the sprawl, Griffin connects with two left hooks and a straight right hand. Griffin continues to dominate the fight with his strikes. Griffin lands a low kick that buckles Aurelio. Griffin takes Aurelio down with a single-leg. Aurelio attempts an armbar but Griffin defends well once again. Aurelio attempts another armbar, this time the right arm of Griffin. Griffin pulls free as the round ends. Aurelio has swelling and bleeding upon the right side of his face. Griffin dominates the fight and takes a unanimous decision. All three judges score the bout 30-27.

by Kurt Hall of

Friday, July 4, 2008

Joe "Daddy" Stevenson - "There are few things I take serious, my training my family and God."

UFC 86 (JACKSON VS. GRIFFIN, Saturday, July 5th, live on Pay-Per-View from Las Vegas, NV.) is going to be some serious fun for MMA fans! You can view the fight card at Joe "Daddy" Stevenson will be fighting in the lightweight category against Gleison Tibau. Gleison is from Brazil and is now fighting out of American Top Team in Florida. Joe has an impressive mixed martial arts pro record of 33 wins and 8 losses. I asked Joe about his upcoming fight, "I'm fighting Gleison on Saturday. Everyone is pretty much aware of that. What they are not aware of is this will be the first fight that my son Joey will be ever attending. I'm really excited about that. I'm glad to be back in Los Vegas. England was fun but Vegas is my home." Joe is a happily married father of 4 boys: 2month, 2, 5 and 7 year olds. Joe fought for the Lightweight Title, and lost to BJ Penn, in England at UFC 80 in Jan. of this year.

Some fighters have their own mixed martial arts schools. Joe Daddy is one such fighter. He told me, "I train at Joe Stevenson's Cobra Kai in Victorville, Ca." He is managed by Dean Albright. Joe began fighting for the UFC in 2005. Since joining the UFC he has fought 7 times. Before that he fought most of his fights for such organizations as, King of the Cage, Gladiator Challenge and The Bas Rutten Invitational.

After the fight Joe talks about his plan. "I'm going to go immediately and teach next week at my gym and the week after that I'm going to take my family down to the beach and just have a week with them. Then I'll be back to teaching."

Joe describes himself to us, "You pretty much can read my character and my personality on my sleeve. I'm pretty laid back. There are few things I take serious, my training and my family and God. Other than that, I just like to have a good time."

As we Wrapped it up Joe said, "I hope that everyone tunes in and gets ready for a great show. I've taken this fight really serious and I want to finish." July 4th millions of eyes will look to the sky for the light show but on July 5th look to the Octagon for the real fireworks.

by Penny Buffington of

Joe would like you to visit his Sponsors:

Penny Buffington's Audio Clips from Interview with Joe Stevenson:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

UFC 86: Jackson vs. Griffin Preview and Picks

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin

This fight is for the UFC Light Heavyweight title. Forrest Griffin will be the challenger in this fight. Griffin is coming off of the biggest win in his career. That would be his third round submission victory over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. Griffin dominated that fight winning the grappling and striking against a man whom many thought was the best light heavy weight in the world. Griffin has a 15-4 MMA record featuring wins over Mauricio Rua, Stephan Bonnar, and Jeff Monson. Forrest Griffin is a well rounded fighter with a good ground game and good striking. Griffin has submitted his opponents 7 times and has submission victories over Mauricio Rua and Chael Sonnen. Forrest Griffin has good striking ability. Griffin only has 3 wins by knockout but can score effectively with his strikes. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is coming off of a title defense victory over Dan Henderson. Henderson pushed Jackson all 5 rounds but fell short. "Rampage" has a 28-6 MMA record featuring wins over Chuck Liddell, Dan Henderson, Ricardo Arona, and Kevin Randleman. Jackson is a very good wrestler. He outwrestled Dan Henderson for 5 rounds in his last title defense and Henderson is one of the best Greco Roman guys in the world. Jackson is also one of the best strikers in the Light Heavyweight division. Rampage hits very hard and has knocked out the likes of Chuck Liddell and Kevin Randleman. I think Forrest Griffin will have to work in and out with his strikes to avoid the power shots of Jackson. Jackson has every advantage in this fight except heart. Griffin has one of the best hearts in MMA and gives his all the whole fight. I expect Quinton "Rampage" Jackson to take this fight via knockout in the fourth round.

Patrick "The Predator" Cote vs. Ricardo "Big Dog" Almeida

This fight may be for the next middleweight title shot. Patrick Cote is coming off of a first round knockout victory over Drew McFedries.Cote finished off McFedries in less than two minutes. Cote has a 12-4 MMA record featuring wins over Kendall Grove and Jason Day. Patrick Cote is an elite middleweight striker. He has 6 wins via knockout in his career. Cote is also on a roll right now winning his last 4 fights. Cote has trouble defending submissions however. 2 of his four losses are by submission to Travis Lutter and Joe Doerksen. Ricardo "Big Dog" Almeida is coming off of a first round submission victory over UFC newcomer Rob Yundt. Almeida finished off Yundt in just over a minute. That fight was Almeida's first fight in 4 years. Ricardo Almeida is a great submission artist. Almeida has 4 victories by submission and finished off Nate Marquardt with a guillotine. Almeida isn't a great striker however. He has never finished an opponent with strikes in his 11 fight career. Cote will have the advantage striking and Almeida will have the advantage when it hits the canvas. I expect Patrick Cote to knockout Ricardo Almeida in the third round.

Joe "Daddy" Stevenson vs. Gleison Tibau

This fight is in the UFC Lightweight division. Joe "Daddy" Stevenson is coming off of a second round submission loss to BJ Penn. Stevenson had trouble taking down Penn in the fight and Penn finished him off with a rear naked choke. Stevenson showed a ton of heart in the fight continuing to battle with a gigantic cut that was bleeding profusely. Stevenson has a 28-8 MMA record featuring wins over Joe Camacho, Kurt Pellegrino, and Yves Edwards. Stevenson is a great wrestler and is a very strong individual. Stevenson is a small, compact, and muscular fighter with intense takedowns and a good submission game. Joe Stevenson has finished 12 of his opponents with submissions including 2 submission victories over King of the Cage champion Joe Camacho. He will be fighting Gleison Tibau. Tibau is coming off of a unanimous decision loss to Tyson Griffin at UFC 81. Gleison Tibau fought a close fight but came up just short in the judges' scorecards. Tibau has a 15-5 MMA record featuring wins over Jason Dent and Terry Etim. Gleison Tibau is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter with 7 wins by submission. Tibau is very good on the ground. Tibau has a slick ground game and has never been submitted before. I expect Joe "Daddy" Stevenson to take this fight via unanimous decision.

Josh "Kos" Koscheck vs. Chris "Lights Out" Lytle

Josh Koscheck is coming off of a second round knockout victory over Dustin Hazelett. Koscheck showed well improved striking and threw a lot of combinations fans had not seen from him before. Koscheck has a 10-2 MMA record featuring wins over Diego Sanchez and Dustin Hazelett. Koscheck has 4 wins by submission and 4 wins by decision. Koscheck is a great wrestler and a good striker. The only fighter that has outwrestled him is Georges St-Pierre and St-Pierre has some of the best MMA-ready wrestling in the sport. Koscheck showed some heavily improved striking in his last fight. Before his fight with Hazelett his striking looked telegraphed and very robotic. In his fight with Hazelett his striking was fluent and Koscheck utilized more angles. Koscheck will be fighting Chris Lytle. Lytle is coming off of a first round knockout victory over Kyle Bradley. Lytle knocked out Bradley in just 33 seconds. Chris Lytle has a 25-15-5 MMA record featuring wins over Pete Spratt and Savant Young. Lytle has 17 wins by submission and is also a very good striker. Lytle has a good ground game and has submitted the likes of Pete Spratt and Tiki Ghosn. Lytle has 4 wins by knockout and all those wins were finished in the first round. I expect Josh Koscheck to take this fight via unanimous decision.

Tyson Griffin vs. Marcus "Maximus" Aurelio

This fight will be the first fight of the live telecast. Tyson Griffin is coming off of a unanimous decision victory over talented Gleison Tibau. That was a close battle between two tough fighters and Griffin just barely edged out the decision. Tyson holds an 11-1 MMA record featuring wins over Urijah Faber, Clay Guida, and Thiago Tavares. Actually he is the only man to ever beat Urijah Faber who happens to be the 1 featherweight fighter in the world. Griffin has won fight of the night 3 times in his UFC career in his win over Clay Guida, loss to Frankie Edgar, and win over Gleison Tibau. Griffin is a very good wrestler and has awesome slams. A good fight to watch to see his wrestling and slams would be his fight with Clay Guida at UFC 72. Griffin is also very hard to finish. In 12 professional MMA bouts he has never been finished. Tyson Griffin will be fighting Marcus Aurelio. Aurelio is coming off of a first round submission victory over UFC newcomer Ryan Roberts. He finished off Roberts with an armbar just 16 seconds into the first round. Aurelio has a 16-5 MMA record featuring wins over Takanori Gomi, Rich Clementi, and Masakazu Imanari. Aurelio trains out of American Top Team. Aurelio has a very good ground game and is very hard to finish. Aurelio has 10 wins by submission and 7 of those wins have come inside of the first round. Aurelio is a very tough guy to finish. In 21 professional MMA bouts he has been beaten all 5 times by decision. I expect Tyson Griffin to beat Marcus Aurelio by hard fought unanimous decision.

by Kurt Hall of

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Jorge Gurgel Interview (I've been very disappointed with my sub par performances in my UFC career so now, I'm ready)

With 13 wins and 3 losses in his mixed martial arts career and a fight coming up against Cole Miller at UFC 86 (RAMPAGE JACKSON vs. FORREST GRIFFIN, on Sat. July, 5th live on PPV, from the MANDALAY BAY EVENTS CENTER in Las Vegas, NV), Jorge Gurgel explains to me, "I'm very excited. Saturday can not come any sooner. I've been here in Seattle preparing for the last 6 weeks straight. It's been the best training camp I've ever had. I finally have a coach that is going to be my permanent coach. That finally, I think, is going to make me fight to my potential and do what I've always planned to do. I've been very disappointed with my sub par performances in my UFC career so now, I'm ready. I am mentally ready. I'm physically ready. I have a coach. I have a sport psychiatrist. It's the best I've ever been, so I really can not wait to fight to the level my fans have been expecting me to fight and pretty much myself. I have been very disappointed with my UFC fights. You know, I've had great fights up until I got up to the UFC, being a coach and being a fighter at the same time really has not paid any dividends to me and I've been separating myself from Ohio. I secluded myself to becoming just a student again. I think it has been the best move I have made in a long time."

Jorge isn't leaving Ohio for good. He says, "I have a school with 400 hundred students there. Now, every 2 months, I will have a fight; I will be training with Matt (Hume). Wherever Matt is, sometimes Matt comes to Ohio and trains at my school, sometimes Matt goes to Hawaii, and we're going to train in Hawaii. I just plan on making my training camp whatever Matt Hume's decides for me and him to do." Matt is also Rich Franklins coach.

The school Jorge owns is JG MMA Academy. He described it to me, "I have a 13 thousand square foot facility in Ohio. My gym is extremely successful. I have a full octagon in there. Boxing ring, over 5,000 square feet of mats. Everything I've ever wanted is there. I just needed a coach. As soon as I stepped out of that octagon for my last fight I made a call and I made a decision that I was not performing up to my expectations or to anybody's expectations. "

On Sat. in the corner for Jorge will be, "Rich Franklin, Matt Hume and I think you always see my little brother. He looks like me. He is little. My little brother, he is always in my corner." In the audience will be his entire family minus his father, who had his visa denied, even with a letter from the UFC.

To his fans Jorge would like to say, "For some reason I have a humungous fan base. Way more than I think I deserve. They give me the motivation everyday. Every time that I read a message or an email saying how much they like to see me fight and how much they support me, all through the good and the bad times. You guys are what gives me so much motivation so much energy to go out and train and battle through my injuries. You guys are my motivation; you guys are my energy. All my students that believe in me, that's what drives me. I don't want to let anybody down. I'm very grateful and appreciative of all the support and the love of my fans, all these years, especially my students. They are my life. They are my family. They've been nothing but great and motivation to me through the years.

I can't imagine as an MMA fan missing UFC 86; RAMPAGE JACKSON vs. FORREST GRIFFIN. Now I also can't wait to see the new and improved Jorge Gurgel!

by Penny Buffington of

Here are the audio clips from Penny Buffington's Interview with Jorge Gurgel: