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  Wednesday - August 2, 2006
A New Jersey Tradition,
Battle at the Beach is Back

By Derek Callahan

To the fighting community of the Tri-State area and a little beyond, the Battle at the Beach has become as predictable as the route of a revolving door: every August, early on in the month, a grappling tournament and MMA card roll around to Wildwood, NJ. This year, the card brings with it 22 fighters for 11 bouts. Four of the five Reality Fighting titles will be decided at the show's 13th installment, starting with the featherweights.

Jim Miller vs. Mushin Corbbrey

Miller has been fighting out of Florham Park, NJ starting with an impressive debut decision over grappling youth Eddie Fyvie in November of last year. The win gave way to two impressive displays of his submission game. Only three fights into his thus-far undefeated career, Miller has been taking a tougher road up. All of his opponents have been game evaluations of where Miller is at, and that pattern continues with Corbbrey.

After running through some competition in 2001 where he won three and dropped one, Corbbrey has been a sporadic competitor. At 4-2 he's got twice as much ring time as Miller, but lacks the same momentum. Whether that will matter isn't really known, but what is evident are the skills that both have shown against worthy competition.

Frank Edgar vs. Deividas Taurosevicus

Both these candidates for the Reality Fighting lightweight title have a common win over Jay Isip in local competition. That says that both of them are able to withstand an ocean of activity. With Isip in the ring, the waves keep on coming, and the fact that Edgar and Taurosevicus were able to turn that momentum to their advantage means that they are both composed fighters. Edgar has risen to an unblemished 4-0 on the laurels of fighters with losing records, but there's nothing wrong with a slower ascent. Taurosevicus will be a step in the right direction for Edgar, having gotten to a 4-1 record against similar opposition. Taurosevicus is an in-shape fighter who will be game for his title shot. He's well rounded in his approach to fighting, and is a physically compact, but forceful, specimen.

Dante Rivera vs. Mike Massenzio

Vying for the middleweight title will be local favorite Dante Rivera (7-2) and wrestling stud Mike Massenzio (4-1). After a keylock win in his debut, Massenzio was on the wrong end of a TKO, and then ground out two decisions. In between them was his only stoppage win, over Bill Scott last February. What this fight comes down to on paper is Rivera's developed and effective ground game, against Massenzio's ability to nullify those submissions. Rivera has been grouind-and-pounded before, depending on how good a wrestler his opponent is. On the feet, the fight will go to whoever is able to keep the other fighter off balance and thinking too much about how the fight could get to the ground. Once the fight does get there, the question will be how good Massenzio is at controlling Rivera's normally dangerous submission game.

Todd Going vs. Marcelo Virla

Originally scheduled to fight Sean Salmon (6-1) for the light heavyweight title, Todd Going (2-1) will be in a little less deep against Marcelo Virla (1-4). Virla has faced good competition at heavyweight, but most recently lost to Jerry Spiegel (8-20-1) in July. A loss to a 185-pound journeyman may not be too damaging to a career on the local level, but for the sake of pure speculation, it has got to be a confidence shaker. Coming off of two wins, Going shouldn't have any confidence troubles. He's entering this bout as a dangerous wrestler with practical strength, Virla seems like a logical type of opponent for Going. Facing a bigger fighter with good experience will be a plus for Going. He is skilled, but lacking in experience. They're fighters with different types of careers, and when they intersect it will make for either a big step up for Virla, or a smaller but important step for Going.

Here's the way the rest of the card shapes up:
  • Mike Constantino (Freestyle) vs. Jonathan Helwig (0-1)
  • Anthony D'Angelo (1-3) vs. Tom Gallechio (2-0)
  • Mike McQuade (0-1) vs. Tom Pursell (ProPain)
  • George Sullivan (2-0) vs. Rob Russo (Tong Dragon)
  • Eddie Fyvie (2-1) vs. Khristian Geraci (0-1, 1 NC)
  • Lamont Lister (Balance) vs. Bryce Harrell (Freestyle)
  • Bret Kohan (0-0) vs. Dave Brytus (0-1)

  Saturday - August 5, 2006
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  Sunday - August 6, 2006
Icon Promoter Shown "No Mercy" at AX Fighting 12
Report & photos by Mike Neva

Ax Fighting 12: T. Jay Thompson (left) and Ryan Alvarez post-fight - Photo by Mike Neva
Thompson (left) and Alvarez
EVERETT, Wash., August 5 -- At 39 years old, there isn't much Icon Sport promoter T. Jay Thompson hasn't done in mixed martial arts. Perhaps it was a mid-life crisis, or just a desire to sew his wild oats one more time, but Thompson stepped into the AX Fighting ring at the Everett Armory for one last kick of the can before he would officially hang up the gloves. Coming in with an 0-1 record, it had been over six years since Thompson had competed and newcomer Ryan Alvarez showed Thompson he wasn't simply a walk-over for Thompson's swan song.

From the opening bell both fighters seemed content to work the clinch with neither man landing any telling blows. Thompson was able to land a few knees to the legs and mid section, but Alvarez was no worse for the ware after the opening three minutes.

In the second round, Thompson was able to get double underhooks into a bodylock and take Alvarez down. From the bottom Alvarez adeptly swept Thompson and landed in the side mount where he went to work with punches and shoulder strikes to his downed opponent. Alvarez kept on punching throughout round two, which opened a large gash on Thompson's forehead. Although he survived the onslaught of punches, Thompson could not get past the watchful eye of the ringside physician who stepped in and put a halt to the bout after round two.

Ax Fighting 12: Ryan Alvarez punching T. Jay Thompson - Photo by Mike Neva
Alvarez punching Thompson

After the bout a happy-go-lucky Thompson beamed with joy at his return to the ring. "This was a fantasy for me, I wanted to be in a real fight, and as you can see I was in a real fight," Thompson said, pointing to the stitches on his forehead. "I leaned a lot about training, I learned a lot about myself, and I have a much greater respect for what these guys do". When asked if he had any thoughts of entering the ring one more time, "Absolutely not, no"!

In other action, Buck Bisbey pounded his way to victory against a very game Jesse McCarty. After barely surviving the opening round, McCarty sustained a large cut over his eye in the second stanza, which seemed to quell his spirit as he relented to Bisbey's storm of strikes from rear mount.

Ax Fighting 12: Buck Bisbey pounding on Jesse McCarty - Photo by Mike Neva
Bisbey pounding on McCarty

Other noteworthy performances included Chris Inman, who had the crowd in a frenzy as he swiftly knocked out James Hulet with a devastating right hand. First-timer Mario Miranda also impressed by using a multitude of high altitude slams to soften up Steve Storwick before ultimately attaining the mount to finish the previously undefeated Storwick with an armbar.

Kickboxing Results

Billy Janis def. Glen Turner - TKO (Corner threw in towel) 1:33 R1

Omar Estrada def. Nicholas Jacobsen - Split decision

Brett Malphrus def. Chris Miller - TKO (Ref stoppage) 1:29 R1

Pankration Results

Dave Glover def. Chris Garcia - Unanimous decision

Jeff Bourgeois def. Ken Mishima - Unanimous decision a

Brent Knopp def. Mark Benoza – Submission (Rear-naked choke) 0:40 R1

Mario Miranda def. Steve Storwick – Submission (Armbar) 2:19 R2

Chris Inman def. James Hulet - KO 1:42 R1

Coby Parmenter def. Tim Sternod - Unanimous decision

Steve Dulani def. Roman Stump - Submission (strikes) 0:40 R3

Nate Cantiberos def. Brian Tellis – Submission (strikes) 1:28 R1

Sean Villalva def. Thomas Lizama - Submission (Guillotine choke) 0:21 R1

Ryan Alvarez def. T. Jay Thompson - TKO (Doctor stoppage - Cut) 5:00 R2

Jeff Lafeyette def. Tim Abell – Submission (Toe hold) 0:18 R2

Taurean Washington def. Jason Reno - Split decision

Buck Bisbey def. Jesse McCarty - TKO (Ref stoppage- strikes) 1:29 R2

Sakuraba Survives HERO'S; Manhoef, Uno, Menjivar Advance as Well
Report by Roxanne Modafferi - Photos by Shohei Dio Uesugi

TOYKO, Aug. 5 -- 11,900 spectators packed Ariake Colosseum Saturday night, as Sammy's HERO'S (K-1) hosted the quarter-finals of their light heavyweight and middleweight (lightweight in the U.S.) tournaments. Tonight's winners will advance to the Yokohama Arena this October. It was a night of surprising finishes and shocking decisions.

In his first appearance outside the PRIDE organization in eight years, Kazushi Sakuraba faced off against Lithuanian Kestutis Smirnovas. Saku fell early in the first round and covered up against a barrage of shots from Smirnovas. The referee stopped the fight only to reposition Saku so he wasn't falling out of the ring. Smirnovas resumed, but Saku managed to weather it. Both fighter's stamina seemed shot after standing back up, but Saku was the one who managed to throw down in the end, finally finishing Smirnovas with an armlock 6:41 into the first round. Japanese fans will see their favorite fighter again as he advances on to stage two of the light heavyweight tournament.

Light-heavyweights Rodrigo Gracie and Shungo Oyama came out looking ready to brawl, but the fight ended in a cautious stalemate with Oyama getting the nod from the judges. They tested each other with sharp punch-kick combos before Gracie shot in for a double. The action went up and down for a minute before slamming into a roadblock as Oyama tried unsuccessfully to pass Gracie's guard without him snatching a submission.

Hero's: Shungo Oyama (standing) vs. Rodrigo Gracie - Photo by Shohei Dio Uesugi
Oyama (standing) vs. Gracie

In a non-tournament single bout, Don Frye stalked out onto the stage with a glare that'd scare small children into eating their vegetables. He lay into Yoshihisa Yamamoto with the same confidence, his punches strong and accurate. Yamamoto landed some shots of his own until Frye knocked him down and applied the rear-naked choke, making him tap at 4:50 in.

Hero's: Caol Uno - Photo by Shohei Dio Uesugi
Uno wins
Caol Uno had his hands full with "Black Mamba," who took his name from an extremely venomous African snake. Kultar Gill downed him early on, but Uno exhibited his own anaconda-like qualities by clinging tight to the Mamba and riding his back for a good deal of the fight. He finally finished it off with a rear-naked choke 3:30 into round two. The crowd leapt up and screamed for the popular fighter. "I'm aiming for number one," Uno said, about the middleweight tournament he is still very much alive in.

Yoshihiro Akiyama topped Taiei Kin, but not in the way he would have wished. The fighters went into a clinch right off the bat. Akiyama tripped Kin backwards and took full mount, swinging around for a straight armlock. Kin hung on, twisting and turning to escape, which shifted the fighters so Akiyama's body was covering the arm from the referee's view. He stopped the fight, much to the disappointment of crowd and Kin, who raised a commotion. Rather than naming the win a submission, the judges went to the score cards and deemed it a win by "decision." Akiyama was the third light heavyweight advancement.

One of the more anticipated match-ups for American viewers, Melvin Manhoef versus Carlos Newton didn't happen (FCF has been unable to confirm the exact reason Newton did not compete). Instead, HERO'S asked Crosley Gracie, Rodrigo's brother, to face off against the furious Dutch striker on two days notice. As the match got underway, it was clear Gracie wasn't comfortable standing with Manhoef; nearly every technique was aimed at getting Manhoef to the ground. Of course, Manhoef felt the opposite, and soon the ref was screaming "Go! Go! Action!" He awarded a yellow card for stalling. After a frustrating nine minutes and 12 seconds, Manhoef got Gracie into a corner and pounded, earning himself a referee stoppage and the final slot in the light heavyweight tourney's second round.

In the post fight interview, Gracie commented that if he had time to prepare, things would have been different. "I took the fight. I didn't have to take the fight," he said. "I don't regret it. I'll just learn from this."

The hyped up fight between Hiroyuki Takaya and Gesias "J.Z." Calvalcante was short and sweet. The fighters threw a few combos, testing the waters. Then suddenly, J.Z. grabbed Takaya's head and unleashed a jumping knee to the face, which knocked the Japanese senseless 30 seconds into round one. He thus advances on in the middleweight division.

When the giant Semmy Schilt faced off against Min Soo Kim in single bout action, it was obvious the Korean's strategy was to avoid the heavy strikes from Schilt's long limbs. He managed to clinch and used a judo move to force him backwards and into side control. The action slowed for a bit until Schilt escaped and reversed positions. He sank a triangle on Kim and at last submitted him 4:46 seconds inro round one.

Hideo Tokoro and Canadian Ivan Menjivar both put on an impressive display of technique, stamina, and heart, but unfortunately no finishes. Menjivar received the nod from the judges in a split decision. Stand-up went back and forth, with Tokoro relentlessly slapping on submission attempt after attempt when it went to the ground. Menjivar skillfully escaped and tried some of his own, eventually managing to take Tokoro's back and almost choking him out. Tokoro hung on, but couldn't gain back the advantage he lost from being backmounted for a portion of both five-minute rounds. Menjivar will be back in October as a middleweight contender.

Before meeting striker Kazuya Yasuhiro in the ring, Brazilian Rani Yahira said, "I want to prove that jiu-jitsu is better than Karate." He did just that as he shot in for takedowns and forced him down to the mat. Yahira slid from side to North-South position, sinking a side choke and finishing the Japanesefighter 1:08 into R1. He will advance on in the middleweight tournament as well.

Koutetsu Boku earned a decision over Alexandre Franca Nogueira after an up and down battle, with both fighters demonstrating prowess on the ground, and Boku dominating the stand-up.

HERO'S Results
  • Kotetsu Boku (Japan/Killer Bee) def. Alexandre Franca Nogueira (Brazil/ World Fight Center) - Unanimous decision (3-0)
  • Semmy Schilt (Holland/ Seido Kaikan) def. Min Soo Kim (Korea/ RINGS Korea) – Submission (Triangle choke) 4:46 R1
    Ivan Menjivar (Canada/Tristar Gym)def. Hideo Tokoro (Japan/Reversal Gym) – Decision (2-0)
  • Gesias "J.Z." Calvalcante (Brazil/American Top Team) def. Hiroyuki Takaya (Japan/Team Hardcore) - KO (Flying knee) 0:30 R1
  • Rani Yahira (Brazil/ Ataide Jr. Jiu-Jitsu) def. Kazuya Yasuhiro (Japan/ Seiko Kaikan) – Submission (Rear-naked choke) 1:08 R1
  • Caol Uno (Japan/ Wajitsu Keishukai Tokyo) def. Kultar Gill (India/ Freelance) – Submission (Rear-naked choke) 3:30 R2
  • Yoshihiro Akiyama (Japan/ Freelance) def. Taiei Kin (Japan/ Seido Kaikan) - Decision
  • Melvin Manhoef (Holland/Show Time) def. Crosley Gracie (Brazil/ Crosley Gracie Jiu-Jitsu) - TKO (Ref stoppage - strikes) 9:12 R1
  • Don Frye (USA/Freelance) def. Yoshihisa Yamamoto (Japan/RINGS Japan) – Submission (Rear-naked choke) 4:52 R1
  • Shungo Oyama (Japan/ Freelance) def. Rodrigo Gracie (Brazil/Team Royce Gracie) – Decision (2-0)
  • Kazushi Sakuraba (Japan/ Freelance) def. Kestutis Smirnovas (Lithuania/ RINGS Lithuania) – Submission (Armbar) 6:41 R1

Results from
Reality Fighting 13: Battle at the Beach

Held Aug 5, 2006
Wildwood Convention Center
Wildwood, NJ
By Derek Callahan

  • Eddie Fyvie (3-1) def. Khristian Geraci (0-3, 1 NC) – Submission (Triangle cChoke) 1:02 R1
    Fyvie was as slick as his reputation once he got the fight to the ground, but had some trouble getting it there. That's two triangle wins for Fyvie, so if it were a secret what his favorite move must be before, it certainly isn't now.

  • Anthony D'Angelo (2-3) def. Tom Gallechio (2-1) – Submission (Armbar) 1:00 R1
    Having lost three close decisions in his first five fights, D'Angelo's record could easily be reversed. Picking up new ways to compete with each fight he takes, that reversal of fortune could come sooner rather than later.

  • Lamont Lister (1-0) def. Bryce Harrell (0-1) – TKO 0:51 R2
    Lister eventually proved that his punching power is a little more impressive than Harrell's chin, although both were on display throughout the fight.

  • George Sullivan (3-0, 1 NC) vs. Rob Russo (0-0, 1 NC) – No Contest (Illegal strikes) R2
    No Contests can be frustrating, especially in this case. After taking enough good shots to send another man packing, Sullivan finally landed. Unfortunately, it was an illegal knee to the head while standing (Reality Fighting non-title matches do not allow the use of knees to the head).

  • Jonathan Helwig (1-1) Mike Constantino (0-1) - Submission (Anaconda choke) 1:23 R1
    After wielding some heavy hands that sometimes stopped Constantino is his tracks, Helwig stopped a shot and transitioned smoothly. At first hitting what wrestlers would recognize as a cement mixer, Helwig gripped Constantino in a front headlock and spun him from his feet to the mat where he slapped on an anaconda choke for his first pro win.

    Jim Miller (4-0) def. Mushin Cobbrey (4-3) - Submission (Armbar) 3:35 R2

    It started even, but Miller won the attrition after some hard work. He started his career as a wrestler, but just four fights in, it's already tough to recognize. Miller is rounding out well.

    Frank Edgar (5-0) def. Deividas Taurosevicus (4-2) – Unanimous decision

    Edgar may have taken as big a step forwarding this match as he did in his previous four wins. Taurosevicus is a legitimate professional but Edgar's aggressive wrestling had this fight locked up for the duration.

    Mike Massenzio (5-1) def. Dante Rivera (7-3) – Unanimous decision

    Massenzio has got an effective double-leg takedown, and Rivera can work well from the guard. That's the gist for this one.

  Tuesday - August 8, 2006
What's on your mind?

FCF Survey

Give Us Your Thoughts...

This month we'd like to get your thoughts on who will win the Pride Open-Weight Grand Prix. The results of the survey and some of the commentary we receive may appear in the upcoming issue of FCF.

Click here to take the survey

Surfing with Sharks:
Jiu-Jitsu Black Belts Hit the Competition Waves

Report & photos by Marcelo Alonso

Black Belt de Surf 2006: Royler Gracie - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
Royler Gracie

One week after the most important events of the jiu-jitsu calendar (The World Cup and Mundial) were over, it was the time for its participants do what they like to do the most after jiu-jitsu - surf. The fifth edition of the Black Belt of Surf, a surfing competition featuring notable black belts, took place last Saturday at Barra da Tijuca Beach in Rio de Janeiro. With some big names of the sport involved, they all had the opportunity to show off their skills on the waves.

Black Belt de Surf 2006: Ricardo Arona preparing to get in the water - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
Arona preparing to get in the water

Inside the water, top guns of the mats and MMA like Royler Gracie and Ricardo Arona were not so lucky - Royler lost in the semifinal while Arona lost in the second phase. The title went to Marcos Nevell (Gracie Humaita).

Black Belt de Surf 2006: Royler Gracie showing his skills in the water - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
Royler showing his skills in the water

On the sand, the event was a big meeting among jiu-jitsu and MMA celebrities as well. In a very friendly climate, standouts like BTT honcho Murilo Bustamante, newly-crowned World Jiu-Jitsu Absolute champion Xande Ribeiro, Gracie Barra's Renato "Babalú" Sobral (who took a brief respite before his August 26 title bout against UFC Light heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell), Kron Gracie (Rickson's son) and Marcio "Pe de Pano" Cruz had lots of fun watching black belts compete in a totally different habitat.

Black Belt de Surf 2006: Murilo Bustamante and his student Ricardo Guerra - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
Bustamante and his student Ricardo Guerra

"The waves didn't come for me and I ended up not scoring points, but it was very nice to came here and meet all these friends," said recognized sea-lover Arona, who confirmed he will be competing in the next Pride. "I'll be in the September event, I just can't reveal my opponent yet."

Black Belt de Surf 2006: Ricardo Arona preparing his surfboard - Photo by Marcelo AlonsoBlack Belt de Surf 2006: Ricardo Guerra (BTT) defeated Royler Gracie (Gracie) in the quarterfinals - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
Arona preparing his board Guerra (BTT) defeated Royler (Gracie) in quarterfinals

Black Belt de Surf 2006
Postinho Beach, Barra da Tijuca - Rio de Janeiro
Saturday, August 5

1 - Marcos Nevel - Gracie Humaitá
2 - Bruno Marinho - Alexandre Paiva
3 - Marcelo dos Santos - Infight
4 - Rogério Poggio - Infight

1 - Eduardo Cadena - Infight
2 - Marcos dos Santos - Infight
3 - Américo Pinheiro - Crezio de Souza
4 - Carlos Gama - Gracie Humaitá

1 - Infight
2 - Gracie Humaitá
3 - Alexandre Paiva
4 - Carlson Gracie
4 - BTT
6 - Crezio de Souza

Black Belt de Surf 2006: Renato 'Big Daddy' Babalu and his daughter, Maria Fernanda - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
Renato "Big Daddy" Babalu and his daughter, Maria Fernanda

Black Belt de Surf 2006: World champions Xande Ribeiro and Kron Gracie - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
World champions Xande Ribeiro and Kron Gracie

  Wednesday - August 9, 2006
The Northern Touch
Menjivar Advances, Gill Tests Uno
in Losing Effort at K-1 HERO'S

By Kelsey Mowatt

Canada went one-and-one this past weekend at the quarterfinals of K-1 HERO'S middleweight (155-pound) tournament in Tokyo, Japan. Montreal resident Ivan Menjivar (20-5) defeated Hideo Tokoro (14-11-1) by majority decision, while "Black Mamba" Kultar Gill (8-4) fell prey to a second round rear-naked choke from Japanese veteran Caol Uno (21-8-4). The Nation's hopes will now rest solely on Menjivar, as he advances to the tournament's semifinals on October 5. The semifinal match-ups for the fall card have not yet been announced by the organization.

"I'm very happy," Menjivar tells FCF. "I'm happy because I can continue on to another fight in the semifinals. If I take on Uno, a big name or not a big name it doesn't matter to me, I don't do this for popularity or to fight the big names -- that's easy come, easy go. I just want to train, fight, make some money and have fun."

Menjivar's fight with Tokoro was reportedly one of the more entertaining fights on the card, as each fighter scored points in what was a back and forth affair. Despite numerous submission attempts from Tokoro, Menjivar was able to defend against the Japanese fighter's ground game, countering with ground-and-pound offense and submission attempts of his own. When the judges' decision was about to be rendered, Menjivar admits he was not entirely confident at the time that he would be awarded the victory.

"I wasn't sure," says Menjivar in admitting he had doubts about which way the judges would lean. "The last few seconds of the fight he made an armbar on me. I escaped really well, [but] at the time I thought that maybe it was going to give him the edge for the decision. Now after watching the fight again I think I controlled most of the fight. I had the advantage in the stand -up, took him down a few times and when he tried to submit me, I would escape. I got the ground-and-pound going on him, had good position on him. I think I won the fight."

Menjivar's manager and TKO President Stephane Patry has previously stated that he was hoping to have Menjivar fight at the upcoming September 29 TKO 27 to be held at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. Menjivar's October 5 obligations in Japan, only six days removed from the Canadian event, now make his participation in the next TKO rather unlikely.

Kultar Gill apparently impressed in his losing effort to UFC veteran Caol Uno, nearly stopping the highly regarded Japanese lightweight in the first round, as Gill landed a devastating knee to his opponent's head as he shot in for a takedown. Gill, a former kickboxing champion and noted striker, used the same technique to finish Tokoro at May's K-1 HERO'S 5.

"I was surprised he didn't stay down from the knee I landed," Gill tells FCF. "I dropped him with the knee right away but as I was punching him after he grabbed both my hands. I remember thinking I wish I was in PRIDE because with PRIDE rules I could have kept kneeing him, I would have probably won the fight. He's a survivor though, one of the best fighters in the world."

Gill's offense in the fight was not confined to the first round knockdown, however, as the Team Revolution fighter continued to attack Uno both standing and on the ground. The versatile grappler Uno managed to win the ground exchange in the end, however, submitting Gill at 3:30 of round two with a rear-naked choke.

"I won the first round, and I was winning the second," says Gill in scoring the fight up until he was forced to tap. "There was only a minute or so left when I got caught. Still, I think K-1 was very impressed with me; they brought me into lose to him and I gave him all he could handle. To be honest I just think I just got tired; it's too bad I was only able to train two or three times a week to get ready for the fight. If I could just train, I really think I could beat everybody at my weight. I mean it's MMA and anyone can lose, but if I could quit my day job and just fight I think I could be a champion. Unfortunately the bank doesn't really care about that."

  Thursday - August 10, 2006
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New episode of FCF Radio

In our latest broadcast,
we talk with Chris Leben and Jeff Curran.

Click here to listen/download.  

The Brazilian Beat by Eduardo Alonso
Arona vs. Overeem? Ninja Getting Ready for Cage Rage, Shogun USA-bound, PRIDE Las Vegas Possibilities Galore, MMA Super Challenge Debuts Oct. 7

The Brazilian Beat:

Recent happenings in Brazil, such as PRIDE being broadcasted live by a cable channel, are certainly helping to cull interest for MMA in the country. With that, some new promotions are appearing, as well as some old ones improving their standards and coming back to the scene. Now, one may think that it has been a while already since Brazil had a wave of new fighting shows developing around the country. Although that is true, the difference is that this time a number of quality shows are appearing, adding to other famous promotions that had already established themselves as interesting and quality ones, like Jungle Fight, Meca, Storm Samurai and Heat. Maybe the finest example of this is the coming of MMA Super Challenge, which is taking the local market by storm with interesting purses at the local levels, as well as bringing some very good fighters and a nice format to the table in times where fights in the country were somewhat limited to beginners searching for a place in the spotlight.

Obviously, FCF is aware of the process and comes up with news and developments about this "new scene" in Brazilian MMA, with hopes that it will find resources to sustain itself and add a new market for all involved in the sport in South America.

But that's not all, of course, as the main shows are always causing buzz. PRIDE is taking some crucial steps for its first U.S. show, as well as the finals of the Open-Weight GP in Japan before that, and needless to say, plenty is happening in the country related to those shows. So, let's head to the news so you can get your serving of info on Brazilian MMA, as Full Contact Fighter bounces with the Beat loud and clear!
  • With the finals of the PRIDE Open-Weight Grand Prix coming up, things are busy in the Brazilian Top Team camp with Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira training hard for his coming bout with Josh Barnett, but that's not all the reason for activity going on with the top dogs of the team in Rio de Janeiro. On extended vacation since his loss to Wanderlei Silva at PRIDE's December 31 show, Ricardo Arona is finally on the verge of coming back to action and is training hard for a likely participation at PRIDE's September 10 event. Although nothing has been determined as of yet, chances are good that his opponent may be Dutch fighter Alistair Overeem. In the meantime, Arona just made his debut as a writer. The PRIDE veteran is now writing his own column for a Rio de Janeiro newspaper called "O Fluminense," where Arona speaks about fighting and sports in general.

  • Speaking of BTT, patriarch Mario Sperry is still recovering from injuries sustained from his last PRIDE bout against Japanese fighter Tsuyoshi Kosaka. Sperry had a knee injury and a broken hand from the bout, which led him to surgery on both body parts that forced him to the sidelines. However, while he was recovering the "Zen Machine" had osteomyelitis (a bone infection) diagnosed in his hand and had to go though surgery yet again. Now, after 44 days of heavy medication Sperry is recovering fine, and is expected to get back to training soon. Sperry's knee is already in perfect condition, and it's only a matter of time before his hand is healed as well.

Click here to continue The Beat

  Friday - August 11, 2006
Anderson Silva Awarded Black Belt by Nogueiras
Report and photo by Marcelo Alonso

The newest star of the UFC, Anderson Silva has just received his much-awaited black belt from the Nogueira brothers, Rodrigo "Minotauro" and Rogério "Minotouro" of Brazilian Top Team. Silva made a lasting impression on American audiences at June 28's Ultimate Fight Night 5, where he dismantled TUF 1 and Team Quest fighter Chris Leben with accurate punches and superior footwork.

"His jiu-jitsu skills improved a lot lately; Anderson has amazing sweeps and always plays to submit. He was giving a hard time to a couple of black belts so we decided to graduate him," says Rogério Minotouro of Silva's burgeoning ground game.

Anderson Silva (center) is awarded his jiu-jitsu black belt by brothers Rodrigo and Rogerio Nogueira - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
Silva receives his black belt

Since he met the "Mino brothers" two years ago, Silva - who also earned a black belt in Curitiba from Penão (Carlson Gracie) - has often made the trip to Rio to train with the famous twins. "Rodrigo and Rogério are like brothers to me. It's a great responsibility to receive the black belt from them, so I promise to train even more and to transfer their expectations in the Octagon," said Silva.

Training hard for his next UFC match, Silva makes no qualms that he is dreaming for the middleweight title, currently owned by Rich Franklin. "I'm very happy with this opportunity to fight in the UFC," he says. "I hope I can beat my next opponent and get the right to fight for the belt."

Making his predictions for the semifinal of September 10's PRIDE Open-Weight Grand Prix, the ex-Chute Boxer says, "I believe Rodrigo will face the tougher opponents. Josh Barnett has very good wrestling and will give Rodrigo a hard time. I think Wanderlei [Silva] will beat 'Cro Cop' [Mirko Filipovic] and make it a Brazilian final."

Predador FC 2 Set to Go!
Report & photo by Eduardo Alonso

Predador FC: Referee Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua - Photo by Eduardo Alonso
Referee "Shogun" Rua
One more MMA show will grace Brazilian fans this Friday night, August 11th, as Predador FC 2 will take place at the Ibirapuera arena in Sao Paulo, a place that usually holds international Volley Ball contests, concerts, and held the famous first clash between Jorge "Macaco" Patino and Jose "Pele" Landi years ago at the Brazilian Vale Tudo Championship, as well as the last editions of ShowFight. This time Predador FC will bring a bit for every taste, with one fight in jiu-jitsu, as well as one fight in submission wrestling and Muay Thai. Not to mention, of course, the main attractions consisting in a nine fights MMA card, showing a clear improvement in the promotion level, bringing some interesting athletes, such as the MMA participation of local jiu-jitsu icon Eduardo Telles, one of the heads of TT jiu-jitsu academy, Fabio "Negao" trying to keep his young undefeated record intact against Cage Rage veteran Gabriel Santos, jiu-jitsu icon Marcio Corletta also competing in MMA, as well as Heat FC veteran Simar Rodrigo and Chute Boxe prospect Mauricio "Veio" also appearing in the MMA card.

With all those ingredients, and a bit more, Predador FC 2 had its weigh-ins and rules meetings this Thursday, August 10th, at the Novotel Hotel, where most of the fighters are staying and the show was able to present a very decent structure for the fighters and guests involved. Cage Rage champion Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro was expected to be one of the referees of the show, but due to a small health problem he wasn't able to attend. The organization had a great cast of referees anyway, as Pride veterans Paulo Filho, Carlos Barreto and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua are all in charge of making the rules clear in the ring. Rules that consist in a mix of Pride and UFC rules, where footstomps and kicks to the head on the ground aren't allowed, but knees in any position are legal, with no elbows to the face in any position. The rules meeting went smoothly and the only problems presented was the absence from the card of originally scheduled fighters Mauro "Xuxa" and Marcos "Wolverine," who were replaced by Rodrigo Ruiz and Ricardo Capoeira. Capoeira was courageous enough to take the fight in spite of an almost 15kg weight difference from his opponent Luis Artur.

Few, close to none, problems happened during the weigh-ins, as almost all the fighters made weight at the first attempt. An exception was experienced Gabriel "Gladiador" Santos, who firstly weighed 1kg above the limit of 83kg set for his fight, but was ready to weight again with no problems one hour later. With that, the stage is set for the show starting at 9 pm local time, with some famous guests such as the "Axe Murderer" Wanderlei Silva and his teammate Murilo "Ninja" Rua arriving tomorrow, and an expected crowd of around 5,000 spectators. FCF will be there bringing you all the action. Here is the complete fight card:

Predador FC 2:

"Big Mac" (BTT) vs. Gabriel Vella *

Submission Wrestling:
Eduardo Santoro (Cia Paulista) vs. Charles "Duende" (BTT)

Muay Thai:
Gilmar "China" (Combat Sports) vs. Henrique Costa (Never Shake)

Daniel Sarafian (BTT) vs. Jorge Michelan (Never Shake)
Luis Artur (Ryan Gracie) vs. Ricardo Capoeira (Uberlandia)
Ricardo Maximo (TT jiu-jitsu) vs. Ricardo "Rato" (Macaco Gold Team)
Rafael Mantega (Never Shake) vs. Mauricio "Veio" Amado (Chute boxe)
Rodrigo Ruiz (Never Shake) vs. Flavio Alvaro (Macaco Gold Team)
Silvio Santos (Never Shake) vs. Marcio Corleta (Winner jiu-jitsu)
Fabio "Negao" (Lotus) vs. Gabriel "Gladiador" Santos (BTT)
Cesar "Monstro" (BTT) vs. Silmar Rodrigo (TT jiu-jitsu)
Eduardo Telles (TT jiu-jitsu) vs. Rubens Macula (Never Shake)

* Gabriel Vella recently left his old team and is not representing any team.

  Sunday - August 13, 2006
Negao, Corletta, Telles Shine at Predador FC 2
Report by Eduardo Alonso - Photos by Marcelo Alonso

SAO PAULO, Brazil. August 11 -- The "Predator" was on the hunt again as Predador FC brought their act to a new level with their second event at the Ibirapuera Arena. With an interesting structure and production value, the presence of many MMA stars in the audience (with some even working as referees) like Wanderlei Silva, Murilo "Ninja" Rua, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Paulo Filho, Amaury Bitetti, Rogerio "Minotoro" Nogueira and Carlos Barreto, among others, demonstrated the importance of the show for the country's fighting scene. Inside the ring, the action was engaging as well, with some important names of the game battling and the biggest teams in the country represented.

MMA wasn't the only fighting discipline at the show: jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and submission wrestling also provided its share of action for the fans, with a women's boxing match the most exciting appetizer. With a Brazilian title on the line, Duda Yankovich managed to finally find the right distance for a knockout blow in the fifth round despite Leticia Rojo's early superior movement and counter attacks.

For the MMA portion, the show presented future athletes that can very well be appearing all over the world in international shows soon, such as Fabio "Negao," who managed to dominate his bout against experienced Gabriel "Gladiador" by imposing his solid wrestling skills, as well as a tight ground game and a lot of physical strength.

Predador FC (Aug 11, 2006): Eduardo Telles mounted on Rubens Macula - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
Telles mounted on Macula

The same can be said by jiu-jitsu standouts Marcio Corletta and Eduardo Telles. Corletta showed good composure and worked his ground skills to secure a nice triangle choke that granted him the win against Silvio Santos; while the flamboyant Eduardo Telles had his share of struggles in the stand-up action, but proved why he is considered a wizard on the ground showing vast superiority over Rubens Macula with an armbar submission.

Predador FC (Aug 11, 2006): Marcio Corletta locking up a triangle choke on Silvio Santos for the win - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
Corletta locking up the triangle choke on Santos

Another solid performance was made by Heat FC veteran Silmar Rodrigo, who struggled in the first round and was almost submitted by a foot lock, but managed to impose a good strategy and dominated the following two rounds to get a well deserved judges' decision over Cezar "Profeta".

The only controversy of the night came with the match between Chute Boxe fighter Mauricio "Veio" Amado and Rafael Mantega. Veio came out aggressive and almost KO'd Mantega near the end of the round, making most believe his opponent wouldn't answer the bell for the second. While Mantega continued with a very dangerous armbar attempt in the second round and scored on the ground, the Chute Boxe fighter was able to regroup in the second half of the third round and work his own takedowns and ground-and-pound, making most believe he would scored a judges' decision. Instead, the nod went to hometown fighter Mantega, surprising many in the audience in what was surely a good fight. All in all, Predador FC also had its share of challenges -- Jorge "Macaco" Patino propositioned Eduardo Pamplona for a rematch of their first fight in a future edition of Predador FC.

Predador FC (Aug 11, 2006): Rafael Mantega working an armlock on Mauricio 'Veio' Amado - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
Mantega working an armlock on Mauricio "Veio" Amado

Predador FC 2 Results:

Gabriel Vella def. "Big Mac" - 2-0 (Advantages)

Submission Wrestling:
Eduardo Santoro def. Charles "Duende" - Keylock

Muay Thai:
Gilmar "China" def. Henrique Rocha - Decision

Women's Boxing:
Duda Yankovich def. Leticia Rojo - KO R5

Daniel Sarafian def. Jorge Michelan - Submission (Guillotine choke) R3
Luis "Banha" Arthur def. Ricardo "Capoeira" - TKO R1
Ricardo Maximo def. Ricardo "Rato" - KO R1
Rafael Mantega def. Mauricio "Veio" Amado - Decision
Flavio Alvaro def. Rodrigo Ruiz - TKO R2
Marcio Corletta def. Silvio Santos - Submission (Triangle choke) R1
Fabio "Negao" def. Gabriel Gladiador - Decision
Silmar Rodrigo def. Cezar "Profeta" - Decision
Eduardo Telles def. Rubens Macula - Submission (Armbar) R1

  Tuesday - August 15, 2006
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New episode of FCF Radio

In our latest broadcast,
we talk with Forrest Griffin.

Click here to listen/download.  

  Wednesday - August 16, 2006
A Closer Look at "The Comeback"
Part One: The Welterweights

By Peter Parsons

"The Ultimate Fighter's" fourth season hosts some familiar faces.

A prerequisite of first three seasons of SpikeTV's "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series has been its participants be up and coming fighters who had never stepped foot into the UFC octagon. The twist to season four is that the cast will consist of UFC veterans who have already had their shot on the big stage of the UFC. Not only will the winners of season four win a $100,000 prize, they will also earn a title fight in their respective weight classes.

In the welterweight division, eight fighters are looking for another opportunity at UFC glory.
Mikey "The Eastside Assassin" Burnett
Pro Record: 5-2, UFC Record: 2-1
Mikey Burnett - Photo by Tom DeFazio Mikey Burnett made his UFC debut in the first-ever 170-pound (then called lightweight) tournament at UFC 16 in March of 1998. The Oklahoma native scored a TKO victory over Brazilian Luta Livre legend Eugenio Tadeu in the first round of the four-man tournament. Unfortunately, Burnett could not continue on to the finals, due to injury, to face eventual tournament winner Pat Miletich.

Burnett wouldn't have to wait long to get his shot at Miletich. In October of 1998 at Ultimate Brazil, Burnett fought for the first ever UFC 170-pound (then called lightweight) title against now UFC legend and world-renowned trainer Miletich. Burnett lost a split decision in a lackluster fight. The former Lion's Den fighter only fought once since, winning a unanimous decision against Olympic wrestler Townsend Saunders at UFC 18 in January of 1999.

Burnett was known as a scrappy boxer/wrestler with well-rounded skills for his time. At 5'6, he will be a small welterweight in today's competitive market, but his inclusion on the shoe adds a bit of nostalgia to the proceedings: hardcore fans have been long awaiting the return of Burnett to the Octagon. After seven years away from MMA competition, Burnett will not get an easy comeback fight against a competitive TUF 4 cast, though, which features UFC veterans who have been active in MMA competition.

Shonie "Mr. International" Carter
Pro Record: 71-15-7, UFC Record: 3-2
Shonie Carter - Photo by Joel Gold As his nickname suggests, "Mr. International" has fought all over the world and is one of the most experienced fighters in the world of MMA and other combative sports like Shidokan, San Shou, and judo to name a few.

Shonie made his UFC debut at UFC 24, defeating Brad Gumm by unanimous decision back in March of 2000. Carter came back three months later earning another unanimous decision victory over Adrian Serrano at UFC 26.

"Mr. International" stayed busy, mainly in the Pancrase organization in Japan, before returning to UFC 31 in May of 2001. It was in this fight against fellow TUF 4 housemate, Matt Serra where Carter earned a spot on the UFC highlight reel. Carter landed a spinning backfist that knocked out Serra with nine seconds left in what was one of the best fights of the year in 2001.

The UFC brought Shonie back immediately to UFC 32 to fight former welterweight champion Pat Miletich where he lost by knockout (kick) in the second round.

Illinois native Carter was then away from the UFC for four years, fighting in many organizations in the US and abroad, going 16-6-2 in that period. Carter returned to the Octagon at UFC 53 in June 2005, losing to TUF 1 standout Nate Quarry by TKO in a middleweight (185-pound) match-up.

Shonie is known for his unorthodox fighting style. He will throw punches and kicks from all angles and he possesses some beautiful throws. Carter is also known as an escape artist on the ground where he is difficult to submit.

34-year-old Carter possesses all the credentials as a fighter, but it is his flamboyant personality that makes him the perfect fit for the reality TV world.

Click here to continue the article

From the event's promoter:
Portion of ticket sales to benefit Police Activities League of Greater Portland

NEW YORK, August 16, 2006 -- The International Fight League (IFL) today announced that it will pay tribute to men and women in uniform at the IFL World Team Championships at Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon, on September 9. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Police Activities League of Greater Portland.

"The fifth anniversary of September 11 weighs heavily on all of us, so we felt that, with our Portland event taking place just two days prior, this was a fitting way to show our support for men and women in uniform," said Gareb Shamus, President of the IFL. "The people who serve this country -- from police officers and firefighters, to members of the military -- have always been big supporters of mixed martial arts and this is one way that we can honor them while supporting a very worthy cause."

The week prior to the event, IFL athletes will visit with local families of service personnel and first responders killed or injured in the line of duty. The families also will be honored during opening ceremonies on Sept. 9.

The Police Activities League of Greater Portland, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, provides educational, recreational, and athletic programs to the youth of the Portland / Gresham metropolitan area with an emphasis on "disadvantaged" youth. Fans purchasing tickets to the event should mention the code "PAL" to ensure their ticket purchase will count toward the donation.

The IFL World Team Championships will see the debut of two new MMA teams. The new Wolfpack, based in Portland and coached by Olympic silver medalist Matt Lindland, will take on the Tigersharks, based in Seattle and coached by World Kickboxing champion Maurice Smith. In the second matchup, the Los Angeles-based Anacondas, coached by world champion Bas Rutten, take on the new Tokyo-based Sabre Tigers, led by wrestling legend Antonio Inoki. In a bonus match, Lindland will take on Jeremy Horn to highlight the 11-bout fight card.

For ticket and event information, call 877-789-ROSE (7673) or visit www.RoseQuarter.com.

About International Fight LeagueTM
Founded in 2006 by Kurt Otto, a highly successful real estate investor and a life-long martial arts participant and Gareb Shamus, chairman of the comics empire Wizard Entertainment Group, the International Fight LeagueTM (IFL) and Pure SportTM were created to establish a centralized and structured organization that brings the power and influence of the mixed martial arts industry together. For more information and action, go to www.IFL.tv.

From DSE/Pride:

LOS ANGELES, California – PRIDE FIGHTING is proud to announce its first ever show on American soil, "THE REAL DEAL"! The event will take place on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21st at the THOMAS & MACK CENTER in LAS VEGAS, NEVADA.

In preparation for the August 20th ticket sale date for the REAL DEAL, there will be a week of festivities for the fans and media! Be sure to stop by and meet the fighters.

Dates and Locations:

Wednesday, August 16th
6:00pm to 8:00pm

Best Buy
3675 Pacific Coast Hwy
Torrance, CA 90505

Scheduled to Appear for Autographs: Fedor Emelianenko, Josh Barnett, Mark Coleman, Phil Baroni, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua

Thursday, August 17th
6:00pm to 8:00pm

Field of Dreams
@ The Forum Shops, Caesars Palace

Las Vegas, NV

Scheduled to Appear for Autographs: Fedor Emelianenko, Kevin Randleman, Mark Coleman, Phil Baroni, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Frank Trigg

Saturday, August 19th
6:00pm to 8:00pm

Fox Sports Grill
Irvine Spectrum

31 Fortune Drive
Irvine, CA 92618

PRIDE FIGHTING NIGHT will feature a meet and greet at the Fox Sports Grill in Irvine, California! Scheduled to appear: Fedor Emelianenko, Mark Coleman, Phil Baroni, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Josh Barnett, Dan Henderson

A free, limited edition PRIDE Fighting poster will be available with purchase at both the Best Buy and Field of Dreams events.

Fighter appearances are subject to change.

Tickets to PRIDE FC's "The Real Deal," go on sale Sunday, August 20 and are available at 1-866-US FIGHT. Ticket prices range from $50 to $700. PRIDE's first U.S. card will also be featured on Pay-Per-View for $39.95. Check your local cable or satellite provider for details.

  Thursday - August 17, 2006
A Closer Look at "The Comeback"
Part Two: The Middleweights

By Peter Parsons

With the power of television, SpikeTV's "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series has brought with it legions of new fans. In many cases, fighters of the first three seasons of "The Ultimate Fighter" are more recognizable than most established UFC pay-per-view veterans.

TUF 4 aims to give a few of those pay-per-view vets their shot at this notoriety, with eight middleweight's vying for the public's attention.
Patrick "The Predator" Cote
Pro Record: 8-3, UFC Record: 0-3
Don't let the 26-year-old Cote's 0-3 UFC record fool you. He has been in some tough battles in the Octagon early in his MMA career, including his UFC debut in UFC 50'a main event against Tito Ortiz in October 2004. Cote was set to fight light heavyweight Marvin Eastman in a preliminary fight on the UFC 50 card, but stepped up on short notice to fight Ortiz when co-headliner Guy Mezger had to drop out of the main event due to health concerns. Cote showed his toughness, defending well underneath the ground-and-pound assault of Ortiz. Cote demonstrated his power, rocking Ortiz with a right hand in the first round. Quebec native Cote went the distance with Tito losing a unanimous decision.

Cote dropped down to the middleweight division for his next fight in the UFC against fellow Canadian Joe Doerksen at UFC 52, in April 2005. Cote lost by rear-naked choke at 2:35 of the third round in a back and fourth battle that saw the French Canadian come very close to stopping Doerksen on its feet.

Cote's next bout was at August 2005's Ultimate Fight Night 1 where he faced TUF 1 standout Chris Leben. Cote lost a split decision in a fight in which he showed he could take a punch as well as dish them out.

"The Predator" has gone 2-0 since his last appearance in the UFC octagon. In February of this year, Cote defeated UFC veteran Bill Mahood in the King of the Cage promotion. Then in March, Cote defeated Jason MacDonald by rear-naked choke in the fifth round to win the Maximum Fighting Championship Middleweight title.

Edwin "Babyface" Dewees
Pro Record: 34-9, UFC Record: 0-2
At only 23, Dewees has had over 40 pro fights. Dewees has fought mainly in his home state of Arizona in the Rage in the Cage promotion where he began his MMA career at the young age of 17.

Dewees made his UFC debut in September 2003's UFC 44, losing by first round TKO to future middleweight champ Rich Franklin. After the Franklin fight, Dewees took over a year off from fighting MMA.

Dewees returned to MMA in 2005, going 3-0 before making his next UFC appearance against Chris Leben in October 2005, at Ultimate Fight Night 2. Dewees lost by armbar submission at 3:26 of the second round.

Dewees is known for his jiu-jitsu skills, having won the large majority of his fights by way of submission.

Click here to continue the article

Saulo Ribeiro, Chute Boxe's Newest Acquisition
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion names Nate Quarry first opponent on Dec 8
By Marcelo Alonso

Less than three weeks after his younger brother Alexandre "Xande" Ribeiro garnered one of the most prestigious titles in jiu-jitsu by becoming the Mundial absolute champion, Saulo Ribeiro was announced as Chute Boxe's newest member this past week.

"I conquered all the most important titles in my career in jiu-jitsu," said the six-time world champion, ADCC 2003 under 88kg champion and black belt of Royler Gracie. "Now I want to go up another step, trying to do the same in MMA. In order to reach that goal I came to improve my striking game with the best MMA team in Brazil."

Four hours after being received in the Curitiba airport by Chute Boxe leader Rudimar Fedrigo, Ribeiro was officially presented to the Chute Boxe team at that night's training session. "I'm very happy to count one of the most respected jiu-jitsu fighters in the world as part of our team. His name was approved unanimously by all the team. Now we can say Chute Boxe is also a power on the ground now that we have many jiu-jitsu black belt champions in the house, like Cristiano Marcelo (Gracie), Nino Schembri (Gracie Barra), Luis Azeredo (Macaco Gold Team), Jorge Macaco, Gabriel Napão (Macaco Gold Team) and Saulo (Gracie). The Chute Boxe team will do everything possible to make Saulo's career in the ring as good as it was [on the jiu-jitsu mats]," said Fedrigo, confirming Ribeiro will assist in training Wanderlei Silva for his PRIDE Open-Weight Grand Prix appearance.

Saulo Ribeiro at the Chute Boxe Academy - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
Saulo Ribeiro at the Chute Boxe Academy

In his first NHB fight representing Chute Boxe, Ribeiro is scheduled to face Team Quest's Nathan Quarry in the Gracie Challenge, scheduled for December 8. "Thanks to my credentials in jiu-jitsu, I cannot start by facing easy opponents like most fighters. But I'm sure that the Vale Tudo training at Chute Boxe will give me an excellent background," explained Ribeiro, who is planning on spending three months training in Curitiba before the fight. "I'm returning to USA to take care of my association - we are moving to San Diego. As soon as I have everything solved I'll take care of my training."

Asked about the possibility of bringing his brother Xande to the team, Ribeiro said, "He already won the first phase, being the number one of jiu-jitsu. The next step is be the number one in ADCC and later fight Vale Tudo. Actually, Xande is practicing boxing and wrestling for a long time. When he decides to start his Vale Tudo career, he will be ready."

PRIDE's Barnett, Shogun, Belfort
Meet the Fans at Signing

By Steven Marrocco

Around 300 loyal fans turned out to see their favorite PRIDE fighters today at an autograph signing at the Best Buy store in Torrance, California. The publicity event marks the first of three this week to ring in the Japan power promotion's long awaited venture onto U.S. soil with "The Real Deal," scheduled for October 21 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Josh Barnett, Vitor Belfort, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, and Nino "Elvis" Schembri were all in good spirits as they signed posters, T-shirts, Muay Thai shorts, and PRIDE DVDs (conveniently stacked near the signing table).

Fox Sports Net and a local TV crew were also on hand to cover the action, interviewing fans and fighters throughout the night. A tangible buzz ran up and down the lines over the arrival of PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko, who was scheduled to make an appearance. Although Emelianenko had to cancel at the last moment, many fans in attendance were simply amazed to see the attending PRIDE stars in the flesh.

"I just wanted to come here and tell Josh Barnett how much I loved his fighting," one fan gushed as he waited in line.

PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix Champion Rua sat calmly in his chair, smiling as he rapped with Belfort in Portuguese. Missing his trademark sideburns, Elvis Schembri's ears perked up when his name was announced as an old fight played on a big screen behind him. He continued to sign autographs, but snuck a peek at the screen from time to time.

"It's great to see all the fans out here supporting us", Belfort said shortly after stepping away from the throng. Scheduled to fight for the October show, Belfort was confident that the requirements of the Nevada State Athletic Commission would not hamper the excitement of the fights. "The rules of Las Vegas are good, but PRIDE's rules are going to be better, because you don't allow elbows, you don't have fights getting stopped on a
cut," Belfort said. Moments later Belfort was seen cruising the aisles of the stereo section, pointing out the ones he liked to a friend that was close by.

Josh Barnett was similarly confident the changes would not take away from the show. "I hope they can work to adopt PRIDE's rules, because I don't see any reason not to. I've fought under all sorts of different rule sets, and in my mind it's better than UFC rules." Recently, Barnett has logged many hours at Eric Paulson's Orange County Submission Wrestling in preparation for his participation in the Open-Weight Grand Prix, and feels confident he will best Antonio "Minotauro" Nogueira.

"I've already seen everything that guy's gonna do," Barnett said. "I've been doing this for 10 years. If he's gonna come out and throw something at me and I'm not ready for it, then I don't know what I'm doing here."

At the end of the night, fans were still perched around the signing table, just to be in the presence of the fighters. "I enjoy being able to brighten someone's day by signing an autograph and shaking someone's hand," Barnett concluded. "It's my job." Judging by the fervor of the fans present at Best Buy, and three major shows on the horizon (PRIDE Bushido welterweight tournament concludes on August 26), it would appear PRIDE is not on the ropes just yet.

  Friday - August 18, 2006
Ring of Combat 11 Preview
By Jim Genia

What: Ring of Combat 11. Where: The Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City. When: Friday, August 18th. A state-ordered shutdown of the casinos put promoter Lou Neglia's MMA event on ice last month, but this weekend the show goes on. And with the card a mixture of top-level talent and hungry up-and-comers, it promises to be a show full of action. Here's a look at some of the fighters:

Laura D'Auguste – Team Tiger Schulmann
She was at the top of the food chain in the world of female mixed martial arts, but many months have gone by with D'Auguste sitting on the sidelines, unable to find an opponent. At Ring of Combat 11, D'Auguste rematches with judoka Megumi Yabushita in what should be a battle between two grappling experts. Will she take a step towards reasserting herself as "number one"?

Garrett Carmody – Pitt's Penn
Easily the best fighter out of Pitt's Penn right now, Carmody packs sticks of dynamite in his gloves – and he's used them to quickly destroy nearly all who've stood against him. Expect some explosions in this bout.

Steve McCabe – Fight Factory
McCabe had a rough time at the last Ring of Combat, falling prey to a guillotine courtesy of Frankie Edgar. But prior to that McCabe's star was on the rise, and hailing from a strong school, there's no question he has all the necessary tools. Will he find redemption when he steps into the ring against the ultra-experience Andrew Montanez?

Phillipe Nover – Universal Defense/SOCA
Nover must have strong ground skills given his jiu-jitsu background. But it's a shame we never get to see them, as his hands have proven far too fast and heavy for any of his bouts to last that long. Expect some serious leather to be thrown in this one, and don't blink.

Stephane Cloud – Real Combat Martial Arts
Although his MMA debut ended in defeat, Cloud made one hell of an impression, putting a serious hurting on his opponent with a nonstop barrage of strikes on the feet and on the ground. At Ring of Combat 11, the former Savate-stylist squares off against grappler Tenyeh Dixon in what is surely a tough match-up for the more experienced Dixon. One thing is certain: this one will be a crowd-pleaser.

Here's the full card as of 8/16:
Championship Bouts:

Super Welterweight
Israel Gomes (Muay Thai Dream Team) vs. Adriano "Nasal" de Lima Pereira (Memphis BJJ/Brazilian Top Team)

Laura D'Auguste (Team Tiger Schulmann) vs. Megumi Yabushita (Japanese Champion)

Preliminary Bouts:
Tom Pursell (Team Propain) vs. Garrett Carmody (Pitt's Penn)
Steve McCabe (The Fight Factory) vs. Andrew Montanez (Team Frank Shamrock)
Rich Boine (Team Tiger Schulmann) vs. Joe Bentz (The Fight Factory)
Radji Bryson-Barrett (Team Tiger Schulmann) vs. Dave Rose (Eternal Martial Arts)
Dave Drago (Team Drago) vs. Phillipe Nover (Team Universal Defense/SOCA)
Scott Conlon (Alternative Fitness) vs. Sean McCann (Team End Game)
Stephane Cloud (Real Combat Martial Arts) vs. Tenyah Dixon (Ground Control/Renzo Gracie)
James "Binky" Jones (Ground Control/Renzo Gracie) vs. Anthony Morrison (Joe Diamond's MMA)

Sportfighting 4 Preview
By Jim Genia

What: Sportfighting 4. When: August 19th. Where: Mennen Sports Arena, Morristown, New Jersey. Brian Cimins, the man behind Grapplers Quest, returns with the fourth installment of his Sportfighting MMA promotion – a promotion that has showcased more than a few grapplers-turned-MMA studs. At Sportfighting 4, Cimins will crown three champions, and if the success of his prior shows is any indication, this event should be a crowd-pleaser. Here's a look at some of the fighters:

Brian McLaughlin – Rob Kahn
McLaughlin made short work of his opponent in his MMA debut, nailing the takedown early and sinking in the rear choke before you could say "jiu-jitsu brown belt and skilled kickboxer." He's established himself as a force in the lightweight division in just one bout. But he's about to be tested by a man named Eric Uresk.

Eric Uresk – United MMA
A national-level Greco-Roman wrestling competitor before making the switch to MMA, Uresk fought on the underground NYC shows prior to turning pro. Showing a weakness for subs, he went back to the drawing board, where a new fight team and training regimen may have the lightweight powerhouse back on track. Either way, someone is getting slammed in this bout – and odds are it won't be Uresk.

Doug Gordon – Rio BJJ/Robson Moura
A win over a tough Glover Texeira and a decision loss to TUF Season One competitor Marcus Davis. Yup, those were Gordon's first two fights, so unless he's taking on Rich Franklin next, it can only get easier. Facing Gabe Toribio at Sportfighting 4 should be no walk in the park, but for Gordon, it should be a hell of a lot less difficult than what he went through with Texeira and Davis.

Leandro Hernandez – Alex Wilkie's Martial Arts
Blazing hand speed saw Hernandez score an impressive and quick knockout at the last show, while a tentative and not-so-polished pair of hands saw Cruz barely eke out a decision. Can you guess what will happen when these two face each other on August 19th? If this one goes past the first round, I'll eat my FCF baseball cap.

Joe Andujar – Rhino Fight Team
Jim Miller derailed the Andujar train with a rear choke at Reality Fighting a few months ago, but the Rhino Fight Team lightweight is no less the wrestling/ground-and-pound machine he was then. Expect him to make his Sportfighting 4 opponent pay for the Miller loss with a nonstop barrage of leather.

Here's the card as of 8/16:

Light-Heavy Championship Title Bout:
Tim Carpenter (Balance Studios) vs. Dale Carson, Jr. (Rhino Fight Team)

Lightweight Championship Title Bout:
Brian McLaughlin (Rob Kahn) vs. Eric "Purple Haze" Uresk (United MMA Academy)

Featherweight Championship Bout:
Mike LaDuke (Empire Martial Arts) vs. Leandro "Tatu" Escobar (ATT Boston/Best Way)

Bill Scott (Ricardo Almeida) vs. Bill Evans (Real Combat Martial Arts)
Cory LaPlant (Team Streetwise/Balance) vs. Tom Galechio (Rhino Fight Team)
Gabriel Toribio (Serra/Longo Competition Team) vs. Doug Gordon (RIO BJJ/Robson Moura)
Leandro Hernandez (Alex Wilkie's Martial Arts) vs. Julio Cruz (Team Renzo Gracie)
Tommy Falco (Jungle Gym) vs. Joe Stripling (Tai Kai)
Diego Jimenez (Team Adrenaline Gear/Julio Rodriguez) vs. Joey Andujar (Rhino Fight Team)
Daisuke Yamaji (Renzo Gracie) vs. Rich Swawola (Real Combat MA)
Mark Getto (Advanced Fighting Systems) vs. Jando Narrea (Jerry Jones Ultimate MA)
Dustin Cook (Valella's Martial Arts) vs. John Swangler II (Hamilton Martial Arts)
Tim Deiturriaga (Advanced Fighting Systems) vs. Aramis Cabrera (Thaishudo/Bare Knuckle Assassins)

Combat in the Cage's 'Battle at the Pier' Preview
By Jim Genia

What: Combat in the Cage's 'Battle at the Pier'. When: August 19th. Where: Music Pier, Ocean City, New Jersey. Promoter Ed Hsu's amateur MMA series returns to the Garden State, this time with a mammoth fight card featuring a slew of first-timers and hardened warriors. Fighting under USKBA rules (no punches to the head on the ground, rounds are three minutes long, competitors must wear MMA gloves and shin and instep pads, etc.), representatives from schools in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland will step into the cage and get their feet wet. Here's a look at some of the fighters:

Tinh Tupy – Jersey Shore BJJ
Sporting a solid wrestling base to compliment his ever-increasing submission skills, Tupy has stepped into the cage twice and looked impressive both times. A ground-and-pounder not afraid to stand up and kick a downed opponent in the ribs (which is legal under USKBA rules, and which brought a collective gasp from the audience), he's as exciting as he is dominant.

Chris Dietzel – Yamasaki Academy
Textbook jiu-jitsu. That's what Dietzel is all about, and the Yamasaki representative has had no trouble using it to get the win in the cage. On August 19th, however, Dietzel will face his toughest challenge yet: Rich Collazo Jr.

Rich Collazo Jr. – Atlantic City Mixed Martial Arts
A polished striker on the feet and a game fighter on the ground, Collazo had no trouble picking his opponent apart when he made his debut. He'll likely have a tougher time with Dietzel, but either way, the fight will definitely be exciting.

Derrick Hopkins – Berks County BJJ
Hopkins has dominated every time he's fought, due in no small part to his confidence in his boxing skills and his polished grappling. It shouldn't be long before Hopkins turns pro, so expect him to emerge victorious at "Battle at the Pier."

Rob Constance – Team Renzo
Sure, Constance is an amateur, albeit because his first and only fight was before the Athletic Control Board took an active role in shows like Reality Fighting. But Constance's fight was a close decision-loss to a tough Antoine Jouade from Ruas Vale Tudo, and he's been considered for a number of top-level New Jersey MMA cards since then. So will the strong Team Renzo heavyweight break a sweat against his truly amateur opponent on August 19th? Maybe. Maybe not.

Here's the fight card as of 8/16:

Tinh Tupy (Jersey Shore BJJ) vs. Greg Galperine (Modern MA)
Glen Evans( Rio Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) vs. David Theis (Brad Daddis/Lloyd Irvin)
Ryan Broderick (Pitts Penn) vs. Charles Horner(Morris Jiu-Jitsu RGDA)
Chris Dietzel (Yamasaki Academy) vs. Rich Collazo (ACMMA)
Al Iaquinta (Thai Sports) vs. Karl Eiker (ACMMA)
Massimo Barella (Barella MA) vs. Jesse Lehman (Brad Daddis/Lloyd Irvin)
Michael Groves (Brad Daddis/Lloyd Irvin) vs. Chris Reitz(South Mountain MA)
John Thornton (ACMMA) vs. Jason Hagan (Eclectic MA)
Greg Soto (Jersey Shore BJJ) vs. Kevin Burke (Federation of Vadha Kempo)
Rick Royce (Berks County BJJ) vs. Jeff Battersby (ACMMA)
John Lewiston (ACMMA) vs. Chang Chung (Brad Daddis/Lloyd Irvin)
Carl D'alessandro (ACMMA) vs. Chris Filigeri (Federation of Vadha Kempo)
Brett Linbarger(Core Martial Arts) vs. Sergio Vignari (Ricardo Almeida BJJ)
Jabari Grey (NY Combat Sambo) vs. Aaron Miesner (Brad Daddis/Lloyd Irvin)
Frank Caratenuto (Federation of Vadha Kempo) vs. Tony Moelius (ACMMA)
Jeffrey Takotey (ACMMA) vs. Derrick Hopkins (Berks County BJJ)
Phil Ferraro (Eclectic MA) vs. Matt Mcmanmon (Modern MA)
Robert Peach (Brad Daddis/Lloyd Irvin) vs. Aaron Salisbury (Morris Jiu-Jitsu RGDA)
Rob Constance (Renzo Gracie) vs. Will Mora(Champion Muay Thai)
Rhys Hora (Brad Daddis) vs. Michael DiCarlo(ACMMA)
Donald Argoe (ACMMA) vs. Michael Oettinger (Pitts Penn)
Kyle Still vs. Jorge Vasquez(Core Martial Arts)
Desmond Walker (ACMMA) vs. Dave Santos (Pitts Penn)
Bryan Edwards (Brad Daddis/Llyod Irvin) vs. Dave Concepcion (Berks County BJJ)

Fight Night Brings Finishes and Growth for Young Stars
By Derek Callahan

Mike Goldberg was pushing The Ultimate Fighter 4 directly in the middle of an intense main event of UFC Fight Night. It made me think that I couldn't care less about it in the face of such a great display of skill by Karo Parisyan and Diego Sanchez. The truth is, TUF 4 is the only one that I'm actually looking forward to. These guys have proven that they live and die for the competition, and their careers have all been riotous climbs to the near-top. As Shonie Carter said early in the first episode, "Don't call it a comeback. I've been here for years."

Right after he beat John Alessio at UFC 60, Diego Sanchez (16-0) told me that he was looking forward to his fight with Karo Parisyan (15-4). He predicted a relentless battle that would see each of them rolling around, seeing every part of the octagon and taking almost as well as they gave. His prediction was dead on. The fight was decided mainly by the second round: Sanchez completely dominated the third with strikes from the back mount and mount. In the first, Parisyan took control by hitting three slick judo throws. It was a red flag that every fighter should know how to throw, and how to counter them.

The second round was the decisive one though, as Sanchez seemed to pull it out based on good counters and a couple convincing takedowns. It puts him in line for a possible title shot, and love him or hate him, he's getting the job done.

The rest of the welterweight division should be ticked off at Javier Mendez at AKA. That's because of what he's teaching Josh Koscheck (9-1), and what Koschek showed off against Jonathan Goulet (16-7). Dropping the Canadian with a one-two that ended with a thunderous right hand, Koscheck's stand-up was night and day from his previous fights. He looked light on his feet, and was able to control the bout completely once it hit the ground.

By 4:10 of round one when John McCarthy stopped the fight, Koscheck was landing at will from the back mount. Wrestlers "ride legs" on the mats, which accounts for why it comes so naturally to "throw hooks" for a fighter without an extensive jiu-jitsu background. Reminiscent of the progression that Matt Hughes underwent as an evolving wrestler, Koscheck picked up a win impressive enough to put him on a plain above the rest of the welterweight crop.

Dean Lister (9-5) looked and fought absolutely exhausted when round three started in his match with Yuki Sasaki (20-13-1). Sasaki appeared to be having cardio problems of his own, and as Mike Goldberg pointed out on Spike TV's air, that may have been the "saving grace" for Lister. Belly back to suplex's followed by an array of submission attempts marked Lister's dominance, but his UFC debut at 185-pounds wasn't nearly as impressive as his premiere at light heavyweight against Alessio Sakara. Still, Lister picked up the victory looking dominant and slick on the ground for 10 of the fight's 15 minutes. The unanimous decision win was assuredly not the worst that could have happened against an experienced opponent like Sasaki.

In between bouts Joe Rogan interviewed Randy Couture about The Ultimate Fighter 4, and it may have been the best interview he's done. Memories of Lisa Dergan interrogating B-level celebrities about their after-fight plans at past events almost disappeared with Rogan's downright interesting questions. Rogan, a multi-talented individual anyhow, sounded in the interview like he could pick up the journalism bug if he wanted.

I don't much condone scoring rounds even, but since the one punch knockout that Chris Leben (20-2) conjured up for fans rendered round one useless, I'll make an exception. With that one even round in the books Leben knocked out Jorge Santiago (12-6) with a looping left hook at 35 seconds of round two.

"I hate hanging around on the losing side of things," said Leben to Joe Rogan after the fight. There isn't a better way to get on the winning side than to score a convincing knockout, and Leben was able to do that. His striking looked wild with the hands down, chin up look to it. That doesn't seem to matter though when you land first, as Leben did.

Mike Goldberg summed the career of Joe Riggs (25-8) right up: "early bumps, but a lot of success late." Now feeling healthy at 170-pounds, Riggs was impressive with a second round triangle choke submission over Jason Von Flue (12-7-1). This could be the start of that "late" success for Riggs. He's still only 23 years old, but has fought a complete ledger including Matt Hughes, Alex Stiebling, Cabbage Correira and too many others. When his maturity keeps pace with his experience, Riggs will be more of a force than he already is. His win over Von Flue very well could be the start of that.

Full Results
Josh Koscheck def. Jonathan Goulet - TKO 4:10 R1
Dean Lister def. Yuki Sasaki - Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Chris Leben def. Jorge Santiago - KO 0:35 R2
Joe Riggs def. Jason Von Flue - Triangle choke R1
Diego Sanchez def. Karo Parisyan - Unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-26)

  Sunday - August 20, 2006
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New episode of FCF Radio

In our latest broadcast,
we talk with Joe Riggs and Mac Danzig.

Click here to listen/download.  

Alessio Tops Serdyukov,
Banuelos Outwits Escovedo at WEC 23

Report by Loretta Hunt - Photos by Daisy Rosas

LEMOORE, Calif., Aug. 17 -- It came ten fights deep in, almost four hours into the night, but Alex Serdyukov and John Alessio gave a fading WEC 23 crowd much to cheer about. The most talented pair of the card fighting at a 175-pound catch weight, Apex Jiu-Jitsu's Serdyukov and Millenia Jiu-Jitsu's Alessio were evenly-matched on the their feet from the outset, both demonstrating expert technique in both offense and defense, which made their first five minutes entangled a difficult one for the judges to call. When they spilled to the mat, Alessio worked into a rear-naked choke, but with out the benefits of his hooks and hips, Serdyukov eventually reversed.

In the second, a leader in this head-to-head race emerged in Serdyukov, but not before Alessio took him down in its opening seconds. Working a triangle attempt from his back, Serdyukov unintentionally up-kicked a kneeling Alessio afterwards, and referee Josh Rosenthal reprimanded the Russian before reconvening.

Off a beautiful scramble, Serdyukov connected with the first telling punch, then took Alessio down, moving to mount where he tried to pound out the stoppage. Although some shots hit their mark, Alessio rode it out to the bell.

Showing signs the former round had taken the best out of him, an exhausted Alessio came out in the third, while a buoyant Serdyukov seemed ready and able to finish the job. Looks can be deceiving. With a looping right hook, then a follow-up left, Alessio brought the Russian to his knees in the blink of an eye. Serdyukov bobbed back up, his legs underneath him wobbly, and Alessio muscled him down. In inspiring fashion, Serdyukov instinctually went for the armbar, then maneuvered out and onto his feet. In the transition, Alessio saw his opening and grabbed Serdyukov's back, finishing this stellar fight with the rear-naked choke. Both displaying such tenacity and skill, they should be welcome at any promotion in the country.

In a featured WEC Bantamweight (135-pound) title fight, The Pit's Antonio Banuelos used a little ingenuity to offset the extra six or so inches Cole Escovedo held over him. At first Escovedo kept his distance, landing kicks on wrestler Banuelos at will, who chose to stand with Escovedo.

As the fighters loosened, a bouncy Banuelos got bolder, closing the distance for a connecting combination that sent Escovedo to his backside. Flailing his legs and arms, Escovedo warded off the pitbull, but took a thudding body kick from Banuelos as he stood. Again, Banuelos floored Escovedo, this time off a counterpunch, and the Pacific Martial Arts fighter instinctually wrapped his long appendages around Banuelos in the shape of a triangle. Banuelos was ready. Just as fast, he backed out, and Escovedo was summoned to his feet. Banuelos would later incorporate his takedowns, punch Escovedo once, then stand right up again. It was an effective strategy.

Banuelos lost a bit of his bravado in the second, as Escovedo settled into an appropriate distance to land more kicks. Keeping Banuelos at bay for most the round (Banuelos did nail a takedown), Escovedo earned one of the judges' nods, but likely did not score enough to garner the other two's approval.

In the third, Escovedo connected with a kick, but then paid for it with a punishing slam. Venturing the most into Escovedo's guard for this final set, Banuelos defended triangles and armbar set-ups galore, sprinkling enough shots in to take the round and the title.

In the main event, local Visalia favorite Doug Marshall had little contest from TUF 1 vet Lodune Sincaid. As with all of his fights of late, Sincaid offered little reply to Marshall's attack of punches and kicks. The audience didn't seem to mind, cheering Marshall on. Adding a little more power to his punches in the second, Marshall scored the knockout with a right to the body, then a left to the head 51 seconds in.

WEC 23: Doug Marshall (right) cracks Lodune Sincaid - Photo by Daisy Rosas
Marshall (right) cracks Sincaid

Even though Alex Karalexis' body crashed to the mat past the third round bell, a broad smile formed across his face. He'd just fought a hearty three-round war with Thomas Denny, and both could appreciate that.

Demonstrating those stone fists that earned him a spot on "The Ultimate Fighter's" first season, Boston-native-turned-Las Vegas-resident Karalexis had Denny off-balance a few seconds in. Denny stabilized and shot for the takedown. Karalexis wouldn't budge. Later, Karalexis landed again -- a crushing left hook that again coaxed Denny in for the shoot. Karalexis stuffed the takedown and pushed Denny to the fence, getting the better of their exchanges there.

Denny came back in the second with a takedown of his own, pulling his head out of a guillotine before moving to Karalexis' back for the rear-naked choke. When that failed, Denny made it to mount, then later latched on an armbar. Karalexis responded by raising his appendage with Denny in tow; Denny complained to the referee when Karalexis spiked him down, but the fight continued.

WEC 23: Alex Karalexis (right) stuffs Thomas Denny's takedown attempt - Photo by Daisy Rosas
Karalexis (right) stuffs Denny's takedown attempt

A knee to his face had Karalexis bleeding heavily from his nose in the final round, so he crashed Denny to the mat, escaping a guillotine once they settled. From there, Karalexis landed the requisite punches he needed to take the decision, although both should be merited for a compelling performance.

Officially taking the leap from novelty to bona fide fighter, Poppies "the Tacit Kid" Martinez showed a plethora of finishing moves to eventually take out last-minute challenger Gigo Jara. Some of them were not quite realized, like the standing rear-naked choke Martinez latched on opponent Gigo Jara in the first without the benefit of hooks and his hips, but Martinez marched on. Taking Jara to the mat, Martinez had to quickly defend a heelhook, but he persevered, then eventually reversed to mount. Martinez couldn't find the finish before the bell. With the crowds looking for a good 'ole brawl, Martinez obliged in the second portion, throwing swipes with abandon with Jara hardly protesting. Again adjourning to the canvas, Martinez paused, then took mount and an armbar off Jara's side. When he wouldn't tap, Martinez switched to the heelhook, then back to mount, passing up another armbar for a rear-naked choke finish. The pro-Poppies contingent went wild.

Light heavyweight Fernando Gonzalez said it was the fight of his career, and in a lot of ways, he was correct. From a head crushing flying knee, the unknown Fight Lab fighter floored the world-renowned Alex Stiebling in the bout's opening seconds. The jarred PRIDE veteran took guard, shaking his head to regain his senses. Then Stiebling rose to his feet and pushed Gonzalez against the fence. Looking for his opening to drop levels, Stiebling caught a knee to the body and Gonzalez twirled him around and to the mat. Seconds later, an elbow split Stiebling open, red streams flowing freely down from all angles. The doctor's stoppage was imminent, and another WEC upset was officially logged into the books.

Stiebling was taken to a local hospital; three sets of 10 stitches each later marked a trio of vertical cuts spanning across his forehead.

Last-minute replacement Mario Rivera (A 207-pound James Irvin missed his designated 195-pound catch weight) couldn't break rising middleweight Kenny Ento's momentum. From the clinch, Visalia native Ento nailed the takedown to mount, and his heavy hands persuaded Rivera to seek refuge by flipping to his stomach. Locking in his hooks, Ento continued to punch, later shifting into an impressive reverse triangle to a fight-ending armbar 2:44 in. The now 5-1 Ento is one to watch.

As a local draw, Fresno State wrestling Casey Olson continues to, well, draw. As a fighter conquering his third career bout here tonight in Lemoore, Olson is not progressing as much with his arsenal. That's not to say he won't. With Chuck Liddell and others in his corner, he has the resources and it's obvious the will is there. But without the power to finish his opponent, Olson spent most of the three rounds in opponent Chris Solomon's guard looking for the ground-and-pound finish for a non-intriguing match-up.

Jeremy Freitag just didn't look to want to fight tonight and Team Voodoo's Anthony Ruiz took advantage. The Capital City Fighting Alliance rep mistepped with an early throw and Ruiz fell on top of him, the beginning of a series of disadvantageous positions that had Freitag on the receiving end of Ruiz's punches. Freitag survived the first round mostly turtled, while Ruiz relentlessly tagged the sides of his head. With Freitag unable to find his rhythm, the referee intervened on his behalf halfway through the second round.

Chicago upstart Clay Guida prevailed over the always-improving Joe Martin after three rounds with his wrestling, but couldn't finish the Lion's Den fighter who flowed from submission attempt to attempt to keep the proceedings interesting.

An aggressive Rafael del Real crowded Lion's Den fighter Dan Molina to the fence, unintentionally kneeing him to the face after Molina went down in the shuffle. Molina kept his composure though, leaning back with an ankle for a Ken Shamrock-inspired heelhook. Del Real tapped out 43 seconds in.

In earlier action, Pat Murphy rode out wrestler Josh McDonald's takedowns to turn the table with punches and kicks in the third that had the Jake Shields-trained fighter's face battered, bruised, cut, and bleeding. However, McDonald had clearly taken rounds one and two - along with the majority decision.

In the night's opener, Poppies Martinez's younger brother Andrew drew with his sibling's former archrival Robert Breslin a mostly non-committal stand-up affair.

WEC 23 "Hot August Fights" Results
  • Robert Breslin vs. Andrew Martinez- Draw (2 Rounds)
  • Josh McDonald def. Pat Murphy- Majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)
  • Dan Molina def. Rafael Del Real - Submission (Heelhook) 0:43 R1
  • Clay Guida def. Joe Martin - Unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Anthony Ruiz def. Jeremy Freitag - TKO (Ref stoppage - strikes) 2:46 R2
  • Fernando Gonzalez def. Alex Stiebling - TKO (Ref stoppage- doctor/cut) 2:35 R1
  • Casey Olson def. Chris Solomon - Unanimous decision (30-27 all)
  • Kenny Ento def. Mario Rivera - Submission (Armbar) 2:44 R1
  • Alex Karalexis def. Thomas Denny - Unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 30-27)
  • John Alessio def. Alex Serdyukov - Submission (Rear-naked choke) 1:52 R3
  • WEC Native American Welterweight Championship
    Poppies Martinez def. Gigo Jara - Submission (Rear-naked choke) 3:52 R2
  • WEC North American Bantamweight Championship
    Antonio Banuelos def. Cole Escovedo - Unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
  • WEC World Light Heavyweight Championship
    Doug Marshall def. Lodune Sincaid - KO 0:51 R2

D'Auguste Retains Belt,
Issues Challenge to Tara LaRosa
at Ring of Combat XI

By Jim Genia

Ring of Combat 11: Laura D'Auguste with coaches Danny 'Tiger' (left) and Ron Schulmann - Photo by Tom DeFazio
D'Auguste w/ coaches Dan & Ron Schulmann
(August 18th, Atlantic City, New Jersey) It ended with a fractured forearm, most likely the result of a failed throw but indicative of a dominant performance nonetheless. One round was all it took for Team Tiger Schulmann superstar Laura D'Auguste to stave off Japanese challenger and SmackGirl fighter Megumi Yabushita -- just one round to punish and counter almost everything, and show she still has the skills to be top dog. And while Ring of Combat 11 saw a number of exciting bouts end in dramatic fashion here at the Tropicana Casino, it was really all about the best female fighter in the world defending her belt against the only woman willing to step up. Other highlights of the night included:

  • The 26-second long face-punching party between Team Endgame's Sean McCann and Scott Conlon, which ended with Conlon stunned on the canvas.
  • Team Shamrock's Andrew Montanez and his come-from-behind win over Steve McCabe. McCabe punished the hell out of Montanez, but one mistake and Montanez was choking him out.
  • D'Auguste's battle against Yabushita. With punches allowed on the ground, D'Auguste made Yabushita realize pretty quickly that Ring of Combat is no "SmackGirl."
Ring of Combat 11: Andrew Montanez on Steve McCabe's back working for a rear choke - Photo by Tom DeFazio
Montanez on McCabe's back

  • Joe Bentz (Fight Factory-153lbs) vs. Rich Boine (TSK-159lbs)
    Boine via ref stop due to unanswered strikes at 1:00 of R2.

  • Scott Conlon (Alternative Fitness-207lbs) vs. Sean McCann (Endgame-199lbs)
    McCann via KO at 0:26 of R1.

  • Stephane Cloud (Real Combat-184lbs) vs. Tenyeh Dixon (Ground Control-185lbs)
    Dixon via rear choke at 1:50 of R1.

  • Steve McCabe (Fight Factory-165lbs) vs. Andrew Montanez (Team Shamrock-171lbs)
    Montanez via rear choke at 1:40 of R2.

  • Dave Rose (Eternal Martial Arts-178lbs) vs. Radji Bryson-Barrett (TSK-184lbs)
    Bryson-Barrett via ref stop due to unanswered strikes at 1:11 of R1.

  • Tom Pursell (Team Propain-183lbs) vs. Joe Thompson (Full Circle Jiu-Jitsu-187lbs)
    Pursell via ref stop due to unanswered strikes at 0:21 of R1.

  • Dave Drago (Team Drago-173lbs) vs. Phillipe Nover (UDS/Soca-172lbs)
    Nover via rear choke at 1:58 of R1.

  • Ring of Combat Woman's Championship
    Laura D'Auguste (TSK-132lbs) vs. Megumi Yabushita (135lbs)
    D'Auguste via TKO - Yabushita could not answer the bell for the second round due to a fractured forearm.

  • Ring of Combat 160-Pound Championship
    Israel Gomes (Muay Thai Dream Team-161lbs) vs. Adriano De Lima Pereira (BTT/Memphis Judo & Jiu-Jitsu -160lbs)
    Pereira via rear choke at 1:47 of R1.

McLaughlin and Gordon Win Big at Sportfighting 4
By Jim Genia

(August 19th, Morristown, New Jersey) A featherweight belt changed hands, while a lightweight and light-heavyweight champ were crowned. Sportfighting 4 came to the Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown, New Jersey promising action, and with 13 bouts, it really delivered. Highlights of the night included:
  • Rio BJJ's Doug Gordon, who met the intense grappler Gabe Toribio head on and stopped him with a solid right to the chin.
  • The featherweight contest between Leandro "Tatu" Escobar and Mike LaDuke. "Tatu" (which means "armadillo" - an obvious reference to Escobar's propensity for getting hit by trucks on Texas highways) and LaDuke fought hard from beginning to end.
  • The battle between Brian McLaughlin and Erik Uresk. After getting rocked on the feet and slammed repeatedly by the tough Uresk, McLaughlin still managed to lock on the triangle choke - and secure the lightweight title.
  • Tim Deiturriaga (Advanced Fighting Systems-184lbs) vs. Aramis Cabrera (Thaishudo-184lbs)
    Deiturriaga via rear choke at 1:45 of R2

  • Dustin Cook (Valella's Martial Arts-184lbs) vs. John Swangler (Hamilton Martial Arts-184lbs)
    Cook via rear choke at 3:17 of R1

  • Mark Getto (Advanced Fighting Systems-154lbs) vs. Alejandro Narrea (Jerry Jones-154lbs)
    Narrea via unanimous decision

  • Rich Swawola (Real Combat-168lbs) vs. Daisuke Yamaji (Team Renzo-170lbs)
    Yamaji via rear choke at 0:46 of R1

  • Diego Jimenez (Adrenaline Gear-154lbs) vs. Joe Andujar (Rhino Fight Team-154lbs)
    Jimenez via split decision

  • Joe Stripling (Tai Kai-204lbs) vs. Tommy Falco (Jungle Gym-205lbs)
    Stripling via unanimous decision

  • Leandro Hernandez (Alex Wilkie-169lbs) vs. Julio Cruz (Team Renzo-170lbs)
    Cruz via unanimous decision

  • Doug Gordon (Rio BJJ-183lbs) vs. Gabe Toribio (Serra/Longo-184lbs)
    Gordon via KO at 0:14 of R2

  • Cory LaPlant (Balance-169lbs) vs. Tom Galechio (Rhino Fight Team-170lbs)
    Galechio via rear choke at 3:37 of R2

  • Bill Evans (Real Combat-200lbs) vs. Lamont Lister (Balance-205lbs)
    Lister via armbar at 1:42 of R1

  • Featherweight Championship
    Mike LaDuke (Empire Martial Arts-145lbs) vs. Leandro "Tatu" Escobar (Best Way-145lbs)
    Escobar via unanimous decision - Escobar is the new Sportfighting Featherweight Champ

  • Lightweight Championship
    Erik Uresk (United MMA-154lbs) vs. Brian McLaughlin (Hudson Valley JJ-155lbs)
    McLaughlin via triangle choke at 3:21 of R1 - McLaughlin is the new Sportfighting Lightweight Champ

  • Light-Heavyweight Championship
    Tim Carpenter (Balance-205lbs) vs. Dale Carson Jr. (Rhino Fight Team-205lbs)
    Carpenter via armbar at 1:27 of R2 - Carpenter is the new Sportfighting Light-Heavyweight Champ

Pride U.S. Show press conference held Aug 19, 2006 - Pride fighters with Mike Tyson
F'in Cool
PRIDE Digs into U.S. Soil with Fireworks Presser;
Emelianenko-Coleman 2, Rua-Randleman Announced for Oct. 21 Las Vegas Event

By Loretta Hunt

IRVINE, Calif., August 19 -- Maybe Mark Coleman voiced it best as some few hundred rabid fans squeezed against the stage at an elaborate PRIDE press conference held tonight at the FOX Sports Grill. "This is f'in cool," the veteran fighter gushed, his participation confirmed for October 21's "The Real Deal" at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada – the Japanese power promotion's first foray onto U.S. soil since its 1997 inception.

Jovial looking opponent Fedor Emelianenko (who received the loudest ovation of all the fighters attending) quietly sat beside Coleman as it was announced that the former UFC champion was the only fighter that would take a bout with the current PRIDE heavyweight champion.

"That's what it's about," an animated Coleman conveyed of his pending rematch of his April 2004 loss to the 23-1 fighter. With fans hording outside and hugging the restaurant's front windows to get a peak inside after it closed its doors once it reached its legal capacity, Coleman said with conviction: "I'm gonna find a way, I have to find a way to beat this guy."

Neither Coleman nor PRIDE officials asked could confirm or deny the bout will be for the title, but that didn't damper Coleman's zeal in pushing the bout for spectators. Sharing a few intimate words with Emelianenko when they stared each other down for the cameras, the usually stoic Emelianenko uncharacteristically mumbled a few words back to Coleman. Seconds later, the boisterous American wrestler mouthed off and gestured repeatedly to a spectator that informed him that his February win against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua wasn't a victory at all.

Coleman seemed to relish in the theatrical aspects of the proceedings. "Obviously they know PRIDE more than we thought," he said of the strong turnout. "You can only fool people for so long."

Coleman was not the only fighter to voice his confidence in PRIDE and its talent pool. With PRIDE producer Jerry Millen asking him to explain the differences between the UFC and PRIDE, Open-Weight Grand Prix semifinalist Josh Barnett - who meets Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on September 10, then possibly Wanderlei Silva or Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic later in the same night - told the enthusiastic audience he had to go to PRIDE to "fight the best in the world." The articulate former UFC champion, who made no bones about which promotion he believed superior to the other, was well received by the crowd.

Along with Barnett, other attendees included Phil Baroni, Vitor Belfort, and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. All were mentioned to tentatively participate on October 21. Only Rua's opponent was officially announced as Kevin Randleman, who did not attend, but was represented by a video montage playing on a slew of video screens throughout the establishment.

"I'm not worried about his speed or his wrestling," Rua said of the ultra-athletic Randleman through fellow Chute Boxe (USA) teammate Jorge Oliveira. Out of competition all year recovering from a fractured elbow he sustained in his bout with Coleman last February, Rua added: "I'm 100%. I'm ready for the strongest competitor to fight me."

Another Brazilian had anticipated meeting Randleman in Vitor Belfort, who says he was informed two days ago his opponent would be switched. Belfort speculated his October 21 opponent might be Hidehiko Yoshida protégé and Japanese star Kazuhiro Nakamura.

An added surprise to the proceedings, boxing icon Mike Tyson also made his way to the stage for some mostly inaudible comments regarding his "troubles" in Brazil and his admiration of PRIDE and its fighters. "It is the one true promotion with the one true future," he shared with a now shrieking audience. It was not made clear by Tyson or PRIDE what his involvement with the organization will be for now except that of a cheerleader. "I'm just happy to be here," Tyson told FCF twice before PRIDE president Nobuyuki Sakakibara intervened with a "No comment," and whisked the boxer off to a private room.

The Northern Touch
Budo Reality Fight Series:
Canada's Newest Event to Showcase Up and Coming Talent

By Kelsey Mowatt

The sport of MMA continues to grow at an astounding rate in Canada, and with the announcement from Monkey King Productions that the new MMA promotion will hold its first event in September, Canadian MMA fans can look forward to an incredible month of fights. The Budo Reality Fight Series will hold its first event September 9, in Calgary, Alberta, at the Ogden Legion, joining the Maximum Fighting Championships, TKO, King of the Cage Canada, and Ultimate Cage Wars – all that are holding events next month across the Nation. Budo- RFS Promoter Grant Guenther is keenly aware of the sports growth across Canada, and is hoping to promote grassroots MMA and up and comer fighters, rather than compete with some of the countries' larger promotions.

"I'm not trying to compete with King of the Cage," says the 26-year-old Guenther in laying out his plans for Budo-RFS. "I want to give fighters a start who can't necessarily get on the bigger cards right now, or so that their first opportunity fighting isn't too intimidating. There is a fan base out here in Calgary and the sport is really growing; the Boxing Commission is very accepting of the sport as well so when I was choosing a city I went with Calgary."

The sport has been sanctioned in the city now for several years, a working relationship with the Boxing Commission that has lead to several successful KOTC shows, furthering fan awareness, media and business support.

"We have some great sponsors that are really behind the sport," says Guenther of the Calgary business community. "Our major sponsor is the Northgate Gold's Gym; this business actually has an Octagon cage there, they do a lot to promote MMA, the Calgary Sun, they've been behind our organization and they always get behind local sports here."

The event will be held at the Ogden Legion in the South East part of the city, and the venue fits perfectly inline with Guenther's plans for the promotion.

"The Legion has a capacity of 800," Guenther tells FCF. "That's about the maximum size we're looking for right now. I'd like to grow to about 1,200 people, but I don't want to go much bigger than that; we're not trying to be a bigger show."

The promotion's debut main event will feature two well-known western Canadian fighters in Jesse Bongfeldt (12-6) and Jason St.Louis (10-5). Veteran St. Louis was involved in promoting the Alliance Fighting Championship in Calgary several years ago and was an instructor in the region for sometime, while Bongfeldt trains out of another southern Alberta city Lethbridge, and as a result, will likely also have some support in the crowd come September 9.

"I think it's going to be a great fight," Guenther says of the main event. "I'm really looking forward to it, they both have similar styles, can fight standing and on the ground. The whole event should be good."

The undercard, as mentioned, will feature relatively inexperienced fighters, but Guenther is confident that many of the start-up athletes will put on a great display of MMA action for the fans in attendance.

"You got to look at Trevor Schmit and Brent Smith," says Guenther. "That will be a great fight between two heavyweights, Danny Valimaki, Danny Miller, people will like Matt Zorzetti, he's a very explosive fighter and should be exciting to watch. There are a lot of great young fighters to watch."

Guenther, who fought professionally in Australia winning a fight by unanimous decision at Spartan 14 last October, knows firsthand how fighters expect to be treated by promotions and was one of the motivating factors behind him joining the promoter ranks.

"I'm a fighter myself," Guenther tells FCF. "I trained with Joe Doerksen, then went down to Australia and trained with Elvis Sinosic, fought there in Spartan. Now I train at BDB Martial Arts in Calgary with Brad Bird and Nick Ring, I'm hopefully going to make my Canadian debut soon. I've been planning on doing my own show for about three years now, I just want to help fighters out, I know how they expect to be treated, and every guy on our card will get paid."

From the event's promoter:
Gracie's Pitbulls Battle Miletich's Silverbacks; New Dragons, Razorclaws Debut As Rosters Announced For World Team Championship Quarterfinals

NEW YORK, August 18, 2006 -- The highly-anticipated Renzo Gracie vs. Pat Miletich Superfight tops an exciting night of fighting at the International Fight League World Team Championships at The MARK of the Quad Cities in Moline, Ill. on September 23, beginning at 8 p.m. The Pitbulls team, coached by Gracie and based in New York, takes on Miletich's host Silverbacks, who won the inaugural World Team title in June. Two new squads, both recent additions to the IFL, will battle in the other quarterfinal, as Frank Shamrock's Razorclaws of San Jose and Carlos Newton's Dragons, based in Toronto, square off.

The card is scheduled to include many of the top IFL performers. For the Pitbulls, Marcio Feitosa (Brazil), Andre Gusmao (Brazil), Delson Heleno (Brazil) Bryan Vitell (Jamaica, NY) and one fighter to be determined will battle the likes of the Silverbacks' Mike Ciesnolevicz (Williamstown, Pa.), Rory Markham (Bettendorf, Iowa), Ryan McGivern (Bettendorf, Iowa), Bart Palaszewski (Wonderlake, Ill.) and Ben Rothwell (Kenosha, Wis.)

The event will also feature the first IFL fights for the Razorclaws' Dwayne Compton (Tucson, Ariz.), Raphael Davis (Torrance, Calif.), Brian Ebersole (San Jose, Calif.), Josh Odom (San Jose, Calif.) and Ray Steinbeiss (Tempe, Ariz.), as well as the Dragons' Brent Beauparlant (Montreal, Quebec), Rob Di Censo (Woodbridge, Ontario), Joe Doerksen (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Wojtek Kaszowski (Toronto, Ontario) and Claude Patrick (Mississauga, Ontario).

"As we gear up for our full Championship season in 2007, the IFL World Team Championship event at The Mark is an outstanding showcase of two of our founding teams as well as two new squads," said Gareb Shamus, IFL president. "Pat Miletich and Renzo Gracie are two of the biggest names in the history of mixed martial arts, and I know fans are excited to see them in the ring next month."

The winning teams will advance to the semifinals, where they will take on the squads which emerge victorious in the other World Team Championship quarterfinal matches in Portland, Ore., on Sept. 9. The date and location of the semifinal matches will be announced shortly.

Tickets for the Moline event retail from $28.50 to $148.50 and are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at (563) 326-1111, and The MARK of the Quad Cities Box Office.

Founded in 2006 by Kurt Otto, a highly successful real estate investor and a life-long martial arts participant and Gareb Shamus, chairman of the comics empire Wizard Entertainment Group, the International Fight LeagueTM (IFL) and Pure SportTM were created to establish a centralized and structured organization that brings the power and influence of the mixed martial arts industry together. For more information and action, go to www.IFL.tv.

IFL World Team Championships, The MARK of the Quad Cities, Moline, Ill., Sept. 23, 2006
155 lb.Marcio Feitosa
Bart Palaszewski
(Wonderlake, IL)
170 lb.TBDRory Markham
(Bettendorf, IA)
185 lb.Delson Heleno
Ryan McGivern
(Bettendorf, IA)
205 lb.Andre Gusmao
Mike Ciesnolevicz
(Williamstown, PA)
265 lb.Bryan Vitell
(Jamaica, NY)
Ben Rothwell
(Kenosha, WI)
155 lb.Josh Odom
(San Jose, CA)
Rob Di Censo
(Woodbridge, Ontario)
170 lb.Ray Steinbeiss
(Tempe, AZ)
Claude Patrick
(Mississaauga, Ontario)
185 lb.Brian Ebersole
(San Jose, CA)
Joe Doerksen
(Winnipeg, Manitoba)
205 lb.Raphael Davis
(Torrance, CA)
Brent Beauparlant
(Montreal, Quebec)
265 lb.Dwayne Compton
(Tucson, AZ)
Wojtek Kaszowski
(Toronto, Ontario)
SuperfightRenzo Gracie
(Holmdel, NJ)
Pat Miletich
(Bettendorf, IA)

  Tuesday - August 22, 2006
Results from
Cage Rage: Contenders 2
Held August 20, 2006 at Caesar's Nightclub, London
By David West

Contenders 2: Andre Winner jumps on Jeff Lawson - Photo by David West
Winner jumps on Lawson
Fast finishes were the order of the day for Cage Rage's second Contender show, their breeding ground for new talent. Top of the bill was the experienced Jess Liaudin who had no trouble taking Lee Doski to the canvas where Liaudin pounded away inside the guard for ten minutes. Doski kept his guard shut and tried to tie up his assailant, but Liaudin repeatedly made room to punch and a series of heavy right hands left Doski with a cut under his left eye which started to swell. After round two Doski told the referee he could not see out of his left eye and the fight was waved over, giving Liaudin the TKO win.

Andre Winner, representing Team Rough House, mixed it up with Jess Lawson, whose stop-start style and leaping kicks made him an unpredictable foe, but Winner landed the clean punches and Winner verbally submitted early in the second round from an injured eye.

Mark Weir's cousin and teammate Che Mills (3-2-0) stepped in to the cage to face power-punching Lithuanian export Marius Zaromskis, who boasted an unblemished record of 4-0-0 with all four wins by stoppage. After trading on their feet, Zaromskis took Mills down, but the British fighter took mount and roughed up his opponent before being reversed. Back on their feet, Zaromskis rushed Mills to the cage, but Mills drove a knee clean into Zaromskis' head that dropped him face first to the canvas. Mills followed up with a burst of punches before the referee leapt in to save the unconscious Lithuanian who was out cold.

The unorthodox but always entertaining Sami "The Hun" Berik started his fight with Extreme Taekwondo stylist Steven Elliott weaving around the cage performing what looked like drunken kung fu. Elliott threw some kicks then opted to take Berik down, which proved his undoing as Berik has been working on his ground game with Royler Gracie-affiliated instructor Eddie Kone. From the bottom Berik swiftly wrapped a triangle around Elliott and forced the tap out.

Jake Bostwick made a spectacular debut at the first Contenders show knocking out Torey Groman in nine seconds. Tonight he proved that it wasn't luck, blasting out Nick Porter in nineteen seconds of frantic brawling. Both men threw caution to the wind and let rip from the opening bell, but Bostwick managed to secure a Thai clinch and staggered Porter with knees. When Porter retreated to the fence, Bostwick knocked him down and smashed him with his right until Porter was defenceless.

Jason Barret chopped Nigel Whitear down with a succession of hard leg kicks that tenderised Whitear's left leg. In the second round, the action stalled on the ground and when the referee told the fighters to stand up the exhausted Whitear was unable to do so, giving Barret the TKO.

Full results:
  • Marvin Arnold Bleau def. Terry Bostwick by TKO – Ref stoppage from strikes 4:03 R1
  • Luke Smith def. John Gisby by TKO – Ref Stoppage from strikes 1:11 R1
  • Jason Young def. Paul Phipps by Tap Out to Strikes 0:26 R1
  • Jake Bostwick def. Nick Porter by KO 0:19 R1
  • Sami Berik def. Steven Elliott by Triangle 1:38 R1
  • Afnan Saheed def. Wesley Murch by Arm Bar 3:00 R1
  • Jason Barret def. Nigel Whitear by TKO - Whitear unable to continue 2:29 R2
  • Che Mills def. Marius Zaromskis by KO 4:49 R1
  • Andre Winner def. Jess Lawson by Verbal Submission 1:26 R2
  • Jess Liaudin def. Lee Doski by TKO - Doski unable to continue after round 2

New Blood thickens Light-Heavyweight Division
By Derek Callahan

Having new light heavyweights coming into the UFC is like finding water in the desert. Of course the desperation isn't the same because fans can go to Pride or other shows for good light heavyweights. Still, the glamour division that Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture have nursed to popularity took too much effort to fall by the wayside, and athletes like David Heath are helping to pick it up. Putting off studies at the National Academy of Railroad Sciences to debut in the UFC, Heath (7-1) fights Cory Walmsley (10-0) at UFC 62.

"I'm not one of those guys that has to find specific motivation to fight. I love it, I'm good at it and I will always give it my all," says Heath. Fighting out of Tulsa, Oklahoma by way of Wellington, Kansas, Heath is a middle-American that isn't too set into one way of fighting.

"A lackluster win does me no good," says Heath. A 30-year-old who sees himself closing in on the top light heavyweights in the world, Heath isn't focused on how he wants to win. "I'll be coming to finish the fight one way or another. Hopefully Cory and I will be a good style match-up to produce some fireworks," he says.

Heath has seen the one-and-done scenario in the UFC enough to know that he too could be a part of it depending on how he performs. He feels like that won't be a problem from his end: Heath has finished six of his seven wins with two TKOs and four submissions.

"Cory is in the same position that I am in so I'm sure he will 'show up,'" he says. His recent career boost has obviously been from winning, but it's also part timing. His win over Sean Salmon in mid-July seems to have been the surge he needed to make the jump to the UFC. It isn't hard to imagine Salmon making an appearance had he been the one submitting Heath in the first round.

"As far as that win getting me here, I guess I was the right guy in the right place at the right time," Heath says on the win. For the fight with Salmon he worked extensively on his wrestling.

"That kept me from getting taken down for about 40 seconds," he jokes. Having been busy even before the Salmon fight, Heath is feeling like his cardio won't be a problem if the time comes to show it off. Credit for that is due mainly to his trainers Thomas Jones and Clay Marrs, but also to a familiar face.

Training in Tulsa, Heath has crossed paths with Mikey Burnett, and has benefited from the training. "He has unreal strength and a bottomless gas tank and uses them both. The guy doesn't half ass anything," says Heath. "All I can really say about Mikey is the guy is a machine! If you are training with him you better be there to train hard."

Like many UFC rookies, Heath is now coming to terms with where he may rank among light heavyweights. Once in the show, it takes only a couple solid wins to get into title contention. Heath isn't thinking about that just yet, although does think the best 205-pound fighter in the world is the one he's shooting for.

"He is consistent. He is very good at making the fight go where his strengths are," says Heath on Chuck Liddell. "Obviously there is a gap due to his experience and training time but I know I have the ability [and] potential to compete."

Eventually, that potential will turn into talent on display. If not for Heath, then from some other light heavyweight eating up the competition, trying to find himself higher up on the food chain.

From the event's promoter:
Bodog.TV Charges into Mixed Martial Arts
USA takes Russia to war in groundbreaking reality series 'BodogFight'

With a fierce cast of nearly two dozen American competitors, Bodog.TV has produced its first Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) television show, with filming slated to begin August 17, 2006, in Costa Rica. The debut episode of the action-packed weekly series BodogFight – in which Bodog.com's billionaire Founder and CEO Calvin Ayre sets out to find the toughest fighters in the world – airs September 12 on Men's Network, a Dish Network satellite channel, and online at Bodog.TV.

In an onslaught of head-to-head bouts, the field will be whittled down to the top seven. The elite modern-day warriors who survive the jungles of Central America will form the U.S. team that squares off against fighters from the Russian Red Devil Sports Club, home to some of the world's nastiest MMA competitors. The USA vs. Russia grudge match will take place in Los Angeles on November 4 and be broadcast live on pay-per-view.

The brainchild of billionaire digital entertainment mogul Calvin Ayre, the series documents Ayre's two special agents – rock phenomenon Bif Naked in the United States and her beautiful Russian counterpart Natalia Vilakova – in their search for the toughest, most ruthless Mixed Martial Arts athletes the two countries have to offer. Once selected by Ayre, the fighters travel to Costa Rica, where they will compete for the opportunity to be part of the American contingent that will advance to battle the world famous Russian Red Devil Team.

Each episode will focus on the lives of the athletes and discover the rich traditions, extreme personalities, grueling training regimens and riveting human dramas that make up the sport and culture of Mixed Martial Arts. As well, viewers will get a behind-the-scenes look at the secret training regimen of the elite Russian squad, which is led by world champion heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko.

"BodogFight is another example of how we are becoming a dominating force in mainstream digital entertainment," says Ayre, creator of a number of reality television series and Founder and CEO of Bodog.com Entertainment Group. "With the immense popularity surrounding MMA as a sport, hosting and producing our own world-class sporting event marks the next step in the evolution of our entertainment brand. BodogTV has evolved into an international TV production powerhouse."

Elimination battles, behind-the-scenes training, interviews with fighters, and lifestyle segments will compose seven of the weekly one-hour "BodogFight" episodes, with the recap finale leading into the USA versus Russia main event in L.A. Three massive superfights will determine the victorious side on that night.

For biographies of all the fighters, behind-the-scenes footage, and unedited interviews and confrontations, go to www.bodogfight.com. Once each of the eight episodes has aired on the Men's Network, it will be available online through Bodog.TV.

Hollywood Hosts a Night of Quick Fights at Pangea
By Steven Marrocco

Billed as the "Tinsel Town Battle", Pangea hosted a brief but exciting night of fights in the heart of Hollywood, CA. An estimated audience of 700 fans cheered on the fighters, some making their debut under the lights of Sunset Blvd.'s Palladium. Often reminiscent of the theme park atmosphere of Medieval Times, sections of audience loyal to their friends would come alive as they marched into the cage and went to battle.

It was rumored that many fighters were forced to drop out at the last minute, but at the rate the fights concluded, it probably wouldn't have added more than 30 minutes to the competition. Of the 10 featured fights, only 6 came to fruition, and another 4 were stopped prior to the two minute mark. Fortunately, the fights that did go past the opening minutes were competitive enough to keep the audience entertained.

Particularly of note was the debut of Brazilian Richardo Arrivabeni, who faced an undefeated Jared "Hammer" Hamman. A part time college football coach, Hamman survived a series of sharp submission attempts to catch Arrivabeni gassing in the second round. His tenacity in pushing Richardo with strikes made the final difference as he landed a solid punch that sent Richardo to his back, anxious to pull Hamman into a ground war. Unwilling to play that game, Hamman launched a series of punches standing over Richardo that forced the referee to stop the bout.

The fifth bout of the night saw Brian Cobb fight a three round war with Mike Corey. The fight went back and forth for most of the allotted 15 minutes, with Corey working for several submissions as Cobb hung on and managed to work his way out of them, nearly sinking in a rear-naked choke of his own to close out the first round. The second round saw Corey gain the advantage in their stand up exchanges, landing several strong leg kicks before taking Cobb down again. Transitioning to the mount, it appeared Corey was seconds away from finishing the bout, when Cobb started punching up from the bottom, distracting Corey enough to allow him to reverse the mount and conclude the round dishing out his own punishment from Corey's guard. The third and final round saw both men sliding off each other as they played another chess match of submission, with Corey attempting two more armbars and eating some direct shots from Cobb before taking him to the ground. Ultimately, both men fought their hearts out, but Corey was awarded with the unanimous decision from the judges at ringside.

Final Results of Pangea - "Tinsel Town Battle":

Sherman Pendergarst def. Aaron Brink at 0:54 of R1 by rear-naked choke.

Mike Corey def. Brian Cobb at 5:00 of R3 by unanimous decision.

Jared Hamman def. Richardo Arrivabeni at 2:14 of R2 by ref stoppage (strikes).

Anthony Johnson def. Jonathan Romero at 1:09 of R1 by TKO.

Gene Gisdorf def. Justin Jorgensen at :40 of R1 by triangle choke.

Sky Rivera def. Anthony McDavitt at 1:44 of R1 by ref disqualification (McDavitt disqualified for holding the fence while striking).

  Thursday - August 24, 2006
Podcast logo

New episode of FCF Radio

In our latest broadcast,
we talk with Rob Macdonald and Gokor Chivichyan.

Click here to listen/download.  

  Saturday - August 26, 2006
Legends Gym Billboard - Photo by Loretta Hunt
Legends Couture and Rutten Launch Hollywood Gym
IFL Anacondas Among Notable Trainees
By Loretta Hunt

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- It won't be just any other mixed martial arts gym. With a daring Dutchman and an amiable American great at the helm, that is for certain. Over a year in the making, Bas Rutten and Randy Couture finally saw a partnership dream come to fruition with the opening of the LEGENDS Mixed Martial Arts Training Center in North Hollywood on Tuesday.

The facility, located on La Brea Ave., opened its doors at 7 am. By 4 pm, over 50 bodies were spread throughout the gym's ring, grappling mats, and two punching bag areas, groups of Muay Thai strikers and grapplers herded through exercise after exercise.

Bas Rutten training IFL Anaconda Jay Hieron at Legends Gym - Photo by Loretta Hunt
Rutten training Anaconda Jay Hieron

Among them, Rutten's International Fight League team - the Anacondas - were put through their paces by their coach for an upcoming event on September 9 in Portland Oregon where they are scheduled to meet Antonio Inoki's Tokyo Sabres. Along with returnees Mike Pyle, Jay Hieron, Alex Schoenauer, Amir Rahnavardi, and Krzysztof Soszynski, newcomer Chris Horodecki. Looking more like a pudgy 14 year old who wondered in off the street, Canadian Horodecki, hailing from Rutten-affiliate Shawn Tompkin's team, will fill the Anaconda's lightweight slot. 18-year Horodecki caught the eye of IFL brass when he KOed Pitbull Erik Owings at the promotion's last event.

Muay Thai training at Legends Gym - Photo by Loretta Hunt
Muay Thai training
Welterweight Frank Trigg was also in attendance with a pair of his young charges, along with Chris Riley and his Bomb Squad roster. Riley closed down his local Bomb Squad gym to join forces as a managing partner and trainer with the LEGENDS' crew. He brings with him female Muay Thai instructor Roxy Richardson (who'll also manage) and in-house instructor Eddie Bravo and his 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu contingent. Also scheduled to teach at the facility: MMA standouts Jason "Mayhem" Miller (who rolled with the Anacondas) and Karo Parisyan, as well as Kickboxing/Muay Thai legend Rob Kamen. (A full list of trainers is at www.legendsmma.com).

Couture, himself, is back in training after a few months of seminar touring and a two-week trip to Iraq to visit American troops. Couture is preparing for a grappling match with recent Mundial and Worlds Absolute Champion Alexandre "Xande" Ribeiro for LASubX's next event on October 13. Hitting the bags not far from the legend, Eric Balfour, of HBO's "Six Feet Under and most recently NBC's "Conviction," is among the celebrity clientele the gym will naturally bring with its locale and high profile trainers. Couture and Rutten, looking to impart their teachings on those who'll listen, are ready for it.

  Sunday - August 27, 2006
UFC 62: The Song Remains the Same
Liddell stops Sobral and Griffin takes unanimous decision over Bonnar in main event rematches.
By Dustin Lee DePue

Las Vegas, August 26 -- It was deja vu for MMA fans Saturday night as the two rematches highlighting the UFC 62 card; Light-Heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell versus Renato "Babalu" Sobral and TUF season one finalists Forrest Griffin versus Stephan Bonnar, ended in similar fashion to the original fights.

Going into the fight, everyone knew what Chuck Liddell was going to do. He would punch and punch until Sobral slept peacefully on the canvas. It was Sobral, however, who landed the first important punch of the fight. After a few test jabs by both fighters, Sobral threw a big overhand shot that connected and hurt Liddell. Sobral immediately pressed the attack following Liddell around the octagon throwing wild punches in an attempt to end the fight early. Sobral was on him like a wild dog trying to smother Liddell's counterattack with punches that became increasingly sloppy. Still, Sobral looked to be outgunning Liddell, that is, until Liddell started to backpedal and throw counter shots. Sobral, perhaps too focused on the idea of a quick win, walked right into a beautiful counter left hook followed by an even bigger uppercut that put him on the mat. Liddell immediately pounced, hovering over Sobral and raining down bombs as Sobral tried desperately to defend. It started to look as though Sobral would survive despite taking some heavy shots, but a giant right hand landed flush on Sobral's chin, followed by three more big right hands that forced referee John McCarthy to step in at 1:35 of round one.
In the co-main event TUF season 1 finalists Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar tried to recreate the magic of their first epic battle. No six figure contracts were on the line this time around but both fighters had plenty to fight for as both were coming off of losses.

As the fight started Griffin looked extremely calm and composed. Griffin held the center of the ring, stalking Stephan Bonnar, who looked tight and awkward. Griffin worked jabs and low kicks as he moved in closer and closer to Bonnar, who's timing was off. Bonnar did land a few nice counter shots as Griffin came in as well as a spinning back kick but Griffin's aggressiveness and ring generalship had Bonnar on the defensive for most of the round. As the bell sounded for the end of the round it was clear that Griffin was on his game and Bonnar was going to have to adjust. The few counter shots he had landed lent hope that he might be able to come out with a big second round like in their first fight.

The second round started with the fighters trading low kicks. Griffin continued to stalk Bonnar, landing crisp straight punches, however, as in their first fight, Bonnar started to find his rhythm. He got the better of Griffin on a few of their many exchanges and opened a cut on Griffin's cheek. Gaining confidence, Bonnar did some stalking of his own. Still, Griffin was largely beating Bonnar to the punch with his faster, straighter punches. After the round ended Eddie Bravo had the bout scored 10-9 for both rounds in favor of Griffin.

It looked like Bonnar was going to have to finish Griffin in the third if he wanted to win. As such, Bonnar turned up the heat a notch, landing a nice overhand right and spinning back kick to set the pace for a busy round 3. Griffin answered as he had the whole fight, with jabs and right straights. His aggression surpassed that of Bonnar and once again Bonnar was backing up. As the round was closing, Griffin cut loose and started throwing wildly, landing a big right hook and an overhand left that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Bonnar backed and countered, sneaking punches through Griffins looping hooks. Griffin, still pressing forward, ate a nice counter from Bonnar and clinched as the bell rang.

Griffin was clearly the more improved fighter. He beat Bonnar to the punch the majority of the time and really worked the octagon like a pro, allowing him to control the pace of the standup and keep pressure on Bonnar. Bonnar was game but not as aggressive and not as sharp. He had his moments but couldn't keep his performance consistent. The judges each scored the bout 30-27 awarding Forrest Griffin the unanimous decision.

Nick Diaz shook his losing streak finishing opponent Josh Neer with a wicked Kimura. Diaz stayed very busy throughout the fight, piling on points with lengthy combinations and knees from the clinch. Neer, for the most part, just stood and took it. Perhaps playing possum, Neer would cover and wait out Diaz's punches before finally exploding with powerful hooks. While Neer threw harder, crisper looking punches, he didn't throw nearly enough of them, and few landed. In the second round, those crisp looking hooks grew wild and desperate as Neer began to tire. Diaz's best punches followed as he started to throw with more power, landing with straight rights and a big hook that was his best punch of the fight. In the third round, Neer went for a standing guillotine. Diaz pushed off the cage and took Neer down, landing in top position where he worked ground and pound to open Neer up for the fight ending Kimura at 1:43 of the third round.

The opening fight of the PPV featured Hermes Franca against Jamie Varner. Fans no doubt were happy to see Franca on the televised portion of the PPV for the first time in years. The fight opened with Varner catching Franca's knee from the clinch and slamming him to the mat. On the ground, Franca used his superior jiu-jitsu to defend against Varner's big punches and nearly secure several submissions including an omoplata. As the fight wore on, it was clear that Varner was the physically stronger of the two. He was able to take Franca down often and build points working ground and pound. Franca, for his part, was able to avoid any significant damage, but with points piling up against him, he needed to do something big.

After two similar rounds of Varner putting on the pressure, Hermes opened the third round by pressing the attack. Varner attempted to take Hermes down but was met with a big knee to the face that rocked him. As Franca pushed to finish, Varner literally ran away from him, prompting Big John McCarthy to step in and call a controversial time out to deduct a point from Varner. While the deduction was justified -- and perhaps the fight should have just been called right there -- taking a timeout to deduct the point seemed counterproductive to the punishment since it gave Varner valuable time to recover. When the fight resumed, Varner was able to get a takedown and even get Franca's back. After a series of reversals, Varner was back on top, only to fall victim to an omoplata that Franca transitioned into a straight armbar that finished the fight and appeared to break Varner's arm. In his interview, Franca, who revealed that it was his birthday, said that the timeout didn't bother him or affect the fight in any way. The birthday boy wins via armbar at 3:31 of round 3
Cheick Kongo defeated the "Hungarian Nightmare" Christian Wellisch in a battle of Heavyweights in the second televised fight of the night. The 6'4" 230-pound Kongo looked surprisingly agile for a man his size, walking around Wellisch's body to avoid an armbar early in the first round. Standing, Kongo punished Wellisch with knees to the head and body and awkward but powerful punches that had Wellisch going for a second takedown. A big knee on the chin put knocked Wellisch's head back and put him down. The ref jumped in before Kongo could deliver any more damage, giving him the TKO victory. Kongo looked strong but will need time to smooth out his game. With slim pickings for the big boys in the UFC, look to see Kongo again in future events.

In the preliminary action shown after the main event, Eric Schafer looked impressive on the ground putting Canadian Rob Macdonald to sleep with an arm triangle choke at 2:26 of round one. Wilson Gouveia took down Wes Combs and easily moved from side control to the mount where Combs gave up his back and succumbed to Gouveia's rear naked choke at 3:23 of round 1.

UFC 62 Full Results:
  • Chuck Liddell def Renato Sobral - TKO (Ref stoppage - strikes) 1:35 R1

  • Forrest Griffin def Stephan Bonnar - Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

  • Nick Diaz def Josh Neer - Submission (Kimura) 1:42 R3

  • Cheick Kongo def Christian Wellisch - KO (Knee) 2:51 R1

  • Hermes Franca def James Varner - Submission (Armbar) 3:31 R3

  • Yushin Okami def Alan Belcher - Unanimous decision

  • David Heath def Cory Walmsley - Submission (Rear-naked choke) 2:32 R1

  • Wilson Gouveia def Wes Combs - Submission (Rear-naked choke) 3:23 R1

  • Eric Schafer def Rob MacDonald - Submission (Arm-triangle choke) 2:26 R1

Weight Classes and International Fighters
Develop Branding at AFC 18

By Keith Mills

August 26, Boca Raton, FL -- AFC just keeps getting better. Since the beginning, AFC has stood out not only as the most significant MMA event in the South but for the lighter weight classes and a higher than their competition level of international talent. This show, held at the Florida University Gymnasium, pushed that perception further with a total of six out of twenty-two fighters hailing Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Cuba, Ukraine, and France with Victor Pimenta from Brazil and Luis Palomino from Peru being the most impressive. Also making this card stand out was the fact five of the eleven fights took place at lighter weights than UFC holds including a main event with AFC Featherweight Champion Mike Brown in a non-title fight moving up in weight to 149.5 pounds. At the same time as these differences with the pack, AFC continues to conform in other ways, such as this show being the second to take place in a cage. Longtime AFC fans now have only one area in which to complain; the 2-round duration that produces draws such as the one on this card.

AFC 18: Igor Almaida with a knee to the nose of Lee Yakota - Photo by Keith Mills
Almaida with a knee to the nose of Yakota

From a team perspective this show was a feather in the cap of hometown heroes American Top Team. ATT fighters on this card went 4-0 with Mike Bruno, Sam McCoy, Victor Pimenta, and Mike Brown all picking up wins but if you throw in UFC and Pride on the same weekend it is even more amazing ATT went undefeated for as long as they have. The rest of the fighters on this card came from a variety of teams, showing there are fighters rising to the challenge but no organized rivals to ATT in Florida at least at this time.

AFC 18: Mike Brown sinks in a guillotine on Dustin Nease - Photo by Keith Mills
Brown sinks in a guillotine on Nease

Individuals not affiliated with ATT are standing out however. Luis Palomino made quite a splash on AFC 17 and reinforced with this performance that was no fluke as he knocked Mike Soltz down twice before getting the TKO in 0:25. Igor Almaida from Boston was the one making the biggest impression in his victory over Lee Yakota where Igor showed devastating striking and smooth ground work en route to an armbar victory. Overall this was a strong card and a big step forward for ATT.

AFC 18: Luis Palomino with the first of two knockdowns on Mike Soltz within 25 seconds - Photo by Keith Mills
Palomino with the first of two knockdowns on Soltz

AFC 18: Kurt Pellegrino celebrates his victory over Jesse Chilton - Photo by Keith Mills
Pellegrino celebrates his victory
Look for a full report in an upcoming issue of Full Contact Fighter.

Here are the full results:
  • Sam McCoy def. Chauncey Minor by majority decision
  • Rolando Delgado drew David Love
  • Victor Pimenta def. Vadim Kultichnsky 0:27 R1 by armbar
  • Eben Oroz def. John Trent by unanimous decision
  • Heander Rodriguez def. Shane Weinischke by unanimous decision
  • Mike Bruno def. Matt Weiver 0:39 R1 by TKO
  • Igor Almaida def. Lee Yakota 2:47 R1 by armbar
  • Luis Palomino def. Mike Soltz 0:25 R1 by TKO
  • Kurt Pellegrino def. Jesse Chilton 3:35 R1 by guillotine choke
  • Jason Guida def. Anthony Rea by unanimous decision
  • Mike Brown def. Dustin Nease 0:50 R1 by guillotine choke

  Tuesday - August 29, 2006
An Afternoon with the Pitbulls
Report by Jim Genia

(Tuesday, August 29th, New York City) Atop the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, on a flight deck populated with decommissioned Cobra attack helicopters and dormant F-16s, Renzo Gracie smiles. In less than a month he'll face fellow legend Pat Miletich in the ring, but for now it's all about the International Fight League's film crew getting video of him and his team, acting natural as they stroll around the aircraft carrier parked in the waters off Manhattan's West Side. September 23rd will mark the fourth IFL event (the MMA promotion that pits team against team), and while Moline, Illinios isn't all that close to the Big Apple, that's where the New York-based Pitbulls will be squaring off against Miletich's Silverbacks. It promises to be a night of hard-fought battles.

IFL/Intrepid: Renzo and the camera crew - Photo by Jim Genia
Renzo looks around the Intrepid

Between takes everyone halts and waits for the cameraman to give new instructions. In the meantime, the Pitbulls make jokes and laugh, and stand for pictures with curious tourists.

"I feel good," says the upbeat and amiable Gracie when asked how his training is coming along.

IFL/Intrepid: Pitbulls' newest addition, Bryan Vetell - Photo by Jim Genia
Bryan Vetell
Flanked by the likes of Marcio Feitosa, Fabio Leopoldo, Delson Heleno and Carlos Cline, the Brazilian has definitely filled his roster with tough guys. Yet one can't help but stare at the latest addition to the team, the grappling behemoth Bryan Vetell. A former Greco-Roman champ, Vetell will be cutting weight from 290 pounds to get down to 265, and he'll be taking on the very experienced striker Ben Rothwell. It's a tall order for the big man. Will he be ready?

"This is my shot," says Vetell, who's training six days a week -- working on his boxing, grappling and conditioning -- in preparation for the man who scored a TKO win at the last IFL event. "This is my chance to do well at the echelon of competition I want to be at. I mean, every day I train with guys that are already at that level [at Renzo Gracie's Academy], so it's not like I won't be going in there ready."

Vetell's thoughts on Rothwell? "He's a very experienced guy, coming from an awesome team in the Midwest. I don't know what I think other than for me it'll be my wrestling and my ground game, and for him it'll be his striking and his overhand right."

IFL/Intrepid: Renzo and his Pitbulls - Photo by Jim Genia
Renzo and his Pitbulls

They pause before an old A-12 Blackbird. They stand under the American flags flapping in the wind. They pretend to read up on the design specs of an F-8K Crusader, all while the cameras roll, capturing the Pitbulls in their natural habitat of New York City. On September 23rd, two IFL teams will clash with Gracie and some of his best fighters at the forefront. But for now, it's all about the photo op.

From the event's promoter:
Overwhelming ratings success from the spring leads to an additional 10 hours of programming for the fall

NEW YORK, August 28, 2006 -- The International Fight League (IFL) and Fox Sports Net (FSN), a division of the FOX Broadcasting Company and News Corp, today announced the addition of 10 hours of broadcasting time for the IFL World Team Championship, which will be held on four dates this fall. This marks a significant increase from the three hours FSN carried for the initial events this past spring. The IFL, the world's first mixed martial arts league in a team format, will launch its first full season in the first quarter of 2007.

"The audience numbers that the IFL was able to generate in the spring were extremely impressive, and reflect the amazing growth not just of interest in MMA, but in the IFL as a television property," said Michael Feller, FSN Vice President of Programming. "This additional 10 hours for the fall is a reflection of our belief in the product in a time slot which will be very effective for our business partners, our audience and the sport."

"We are very excited to be able to return to FSN for our fall World Team Championships," said IFL president Gareb Shamus. "Our free TV broadcasts on FSN, showed that millions of MMA fans were excited about the IFL's quality sports and entertainment programming. We believe this success is just the beginning. Our fans can't wait to see our new 8 team single elimination tournament in its entirety."

FSN will break each of the IFL fall live events up into a series of one hour shows to be broadcast in a set Sunday night time slot beginning on Sunday, September 24 at 6:00pm. FSN will also produce a special two hour "Best Damn Sports Show Period" featuring the IFL on Monday, October 2 at 8:00 p.m. and a two hour special on New Year's Eve at a time TBD. The complete broadcast schedule will follow.

IFL's televised shows are produced and directed by Emmy award-winning producer Peter Lasser, who has worked on several Olympic telecasts as well as with ESPN, NBC Sports, NFL Films and FSN, among others.

The fall IFL broadcast schedule on FOX Sports Net will be:

Sunday, September 24 6:00*
Sunday, October 1 6:00*
Monday, October 2 8:00 (Best Damn Sports Show Period, Two Hour special)
Sunday, October 8 6:00**
Sunday, November 12 6:00**
Sunday, November 19 6:00***
Sunday, November 26 6:00***
Sunday, December 31 6:00 (Two hour championship finals show)****

*- Featuring matches from Sept. 9 Portland, Ore. event
**- Featuring matches from Sept. 23 Quad Cities, Ill. Event
***- Featuring matches for November 4 event (site TBD)
****- Final event at site TBD

About the International Fight League:
Founded in 2006 by Kurt Otto, a highly successful real estate investor and a life-long martial arts participant and Gareb Shamus, chairman of the comics empire Wizard Entertainment Group, the International Fight LeagueTM (IFL) and Pure SportTM were created to establish a centralized and structured organization that brings the power and influence of the mixed martial arts industry together. For more information and action, go to www.IFL.tv.

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