Posts Tagged ‘AMA Fight Club’

Strikeforce: Jason McLean will take the win but still has work to do

Fresh off his StrikeForce victory, AMA Fight Club fighter Jason McLean breaks down it all down with Joe Rizzo of

Brenneman: “The best fight I’ve ever been a part of”

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Beating welterweight Amilcar Alves on Saturday produced the best fight of Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman’s career.

Charlie Brenneman: A Much Improved Machine

When Charlie Brenneman sits down to eat dinner, it is not uncommon for him to be seated across the dining room table from “Jersey Shore” reality television show standout Snooki. That is one of the numerous highlights that coincide with the UFC welterweight’s recent relocation to New Jersey.

“My buddy here happens to be dating Snooki,” Brenneman told Joe Rizzo and Jeremy Fullerton on Rear Naked Choke Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “I’ve had plenty of Sunday dinners with Snooki.”

It should not come as a shock that “The Spaniard” is associated with a reality television star; after all, Brenneman is one himself. He competed on SpikeTV’s reality show “Pros vs. Joes,” on which he and his brother claimed the initial season championship.

“(MTV) is on my weekly mailing list,” Charlie joked as he explained his self publicity. “Whether it’s a cameo on Pros vs. Joes, (or) UFC Espanol, I’ll take anything.”

In addition to mingling with television personalities, Brenneman’s recent move from his home in Pennsylvania to become a full-time resident in New Jersey also came with some work-oriented perks. Already training at the AMA Fight Club in Whippany, Charlie’s relocation allows him to focus on training rather than traveling.

“It was a big decision; everything in my life is in Pennsylvania, my family, my friends,” Charlie told the hosts. “The commuting was getting out of hand, I was going into the city one day a week and I was going to Jersey one day a week, it was killing me.”

A life-altering move of this extent is evidence that Brenneman believes his dedication to AMA will pay off, as well as his commitment to becoming a great fighter.

“I’m in it for the long haul. I’m going to do everything I can to be the best that I can,” Brenneman said. “I figured I would surround myself with the environment even more.”

In addition to Brenneman’s daily training under Mike Constantino at AMA, the fighter utilizes the talents nearby gyms have to offer.

“I train at Renzo’s (Gracie) one day a week, and then I go down to Ricardo Almeida’s (gym) one day a week to work (on my) boxing,” he explained.  “It’s wise to get insight from different people and it’s definitely been helpful.”

The former high school Spanish teacher last fought at UFC 117 in August, when he lost to Johny Hendricks in the second round via TKO after dominating the two-time NCAA Division I champion through the first round.

“I took a lot from the Hendricks fight,” Brenneman admitted. “I just watched the fight again last week and I was surprised at how much I improved since my previous fight, and (the Hendricks) fight was five or six months ago.”

Charlie recognized that minor adjustments were necessary in his training following that loss.  Proving the determination he embodies, Brenneman immediately began making the required changes.

“I have been working since September,” he explained. “I’ve been working with Mike (Constantino) and everyone at AMA. I started working with a new boxing coach, and I got some new looks in jiu-jitsu. I’m not a new machine, but I’m a much improved machine.”

Brenneman (12-2) is set to square off against the 11-2 Amilicar Alves on Saturday at the UFC Fight for the Troops 2 event. Alves is a well-rounded fighter who faces potential UFC unemployment if he does not get past the rejuvenated “Spaniard.” Given Brenneman’s new training regimen and improved focus, Alves will have his work cut out for him come Saturday night.

Besides his fight in front of the troops, Brenneman is also showing his support for the armed forces through a fundraising effort.

“We came up with the idea in conjunction with my fight for the troops (for) a limited edition ‘Spaniard’ shirt,” Charlie announced. “We will be giving a part of the proceeds back to the (military).”

The limited edition Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman shirt can be purchased through Brenneman’s personal website.

Demonstrating determination and sacrifice to accomplish the goals he has set for himself, Brenneman enters UFC Fight for the Troops 2 focused and prepared, ready to advance his career to the next benchmark.  In his new surroundings, his goals are very realistic.

Sunday dinner with Snooki is a great story for friends and reporters, but Brenneman hopes to achieve a better story as a result of his move to New Jersey. Charlie Brenneman’s residency in the Garden State allows him to focus on the skills needed to succeed inside the Octagon. Perhaps it won’t be long before “The Spaniard” is the biggest star at the banquet table.

Charlie Brenneman: The Fight Within visits AMA Fight Club to talk to UFC Fighter Charlie “Spaniard” Brenneman about his upcoming fight at UFC Fight Night 23: Fight for the Troops 2 in Fort Hood, TX on January 22nd.

TUF 12′s Andy Main Returns to the Cage at the Hoosier Fight Club sits down with AMA Fight Club fighter & The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 Alum, Andy Main, as he prepares to make his return to the cage at the Hoosier Fight Club in Valparaiso, Indiana.

Nick Catone prepares to face Dan Miller at UFC 128

Nick Catone

New Jersey mixed martial arts fans will get to see several area favorites take to the Octagon when the Ultimate Fighting Championship comes to the Garden State in March, but with an abundance of middleweights in the promotion, two teammates will have square off when Team Renzo Gracie’s Nick Catone and AMA Fight Club’s Dan Miller meet at the Prudential Center at UFC 128.

The fight was confirmed today to MMADiehards by both camps and adds two more New Jersey fighters to a card that already includes other Jersey fighters like Ricardo Almeida, Jim Miller, and lightweight Kurt Pellegrino.

Dan Miller is coming off of a split decision victory over Joe Doerksen earlier this month at UFC 124. After a three fight skid with losses to Michael Bisping, Demian Maia and Chael Sonnen, Miller is now riding a two-fight winning streak.

Catone is nearly a year removed from his last fight, a split-decision victory over Jesse Forbes at UFC Fight Night 20: Maynard vs. Diaz, last Jan. 11. Injuries forced Catone (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) to miss scheduled fights with John Salter and Tomasz Drwal in 2010, and he was recently cleared to train with intentions of fighting in his home state on the UFC 128 card.

Meanwhile, Dan’s brother, Jim, will be fighting on home turf at the March 19 event. The news of his lightweight bout with Kamal Shalorus at UFC 128 was reported earlier today by MMA Weekly.

Jim Miller Set to Face Kamal Shalorus at UFC 128

His fight over, Mike Constantino’s career is just beginning

(Picture courtesy of Dan Rod/

You might not know it, but Mike Constantino fought to get where he is.

Constantino recently revealed some of the stunning details about his career when he was a guest of Joe Rizzo and Jeremy Fullerton for Rear Naked Choke Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network.

The trainer and manager for a growing group of fighters, Constantino is the founder and head trainer at AMA Fight Club in Whippany, N.J. Some of the names you know are UFC lightweight contender Jim Miller and his brother, middleweight Dan Miller. AMA’s Charlie Brenneman and Ricardo Romero are also in the UFC, and Rafaello Oliveira is close to getting back into the big show. Another Constantino pupil, Andy Main, was on The Ultimate Fighter’s 12th season.

But one of the names you most likely have not heard of exemplifies what Constantino and AMA are all about.

Jonathan Helwig is just 3-1. On the night before Thanksgiving in Atlantic City, Helwig battled to a bloody TKO victory over Lewis Pascavage at DaMMAge Fight League’s inaugural event, with Constantino and up-and-coming flyweight Sean “Shorty Rock” Santella in his corner.

(L-to-R) Santella, Helwig and Constantino at DaMMAge Fight League (Joe Rizzo/MMA DieHards photo)

While the battered Helwig was not pleased with his performance in victory, he managed to earn his win and shrug off three years out of the cage due mostly to back injuries.

Helwig might not have been there at all if it were not for his second fight, on Aug. 5, 2006. For his first career win that night, Helwig slapped an anaconda choke on none other than Constantino, completing the now-rising coach’s 83-second professional MMA career.

But there is a lot more to the story.

“Technically, he did (retire me),” Constantino said on the show. “I kept trying to get back in the ring after that. I had two opponents that backed out at the last second.”

Constantino was at a disadvantage in his debut/swan song.

“I was supposed to fight a 205er, but he pulled out four or five days before the fight,” Constantino recalled. “Helwig had a fight on the card at like 230, but his guy pulled out. So we just agreed to fight each other, even though he was significantly heavier. I had just sold like 150 tickets. I was really anxious to do it.”

It was a little bit of ego and a lot of balls that took over after the contest. The beaten Constantino approached the man who vanquished him, essentially birthing his new career a mere moment after his time as a fighter was complete for good.

“After the fight I went up to him and said, ‘I worked really hard for this fight, I know what I can do as a martial artist and a fighter. You beat me. I think you have a lot of potential and I’d like to train and manage you,’ ” Constantino said. “And he looked at me like I was nuts.

“If you know Helwig, he has a unique personality anyway. But he just beat me in an MMA fight and was (probably thinking), ‘What the hell is this kid going to do for me?’ ”

More fuel was added to the training fire in the ensuing months. Constantino aspired to fight more, but it was not in the cards.

“So after that, the same thing happened two times in a row and I did not want to take a fight to just take it,” he said. “I just never wound up doing it.”

There was more and more work to be done honing the skills of others. The Millers, former wrestling prodigies from nearby Sparta, were slabs of marble waiting to be chiseled.

“Right after that (series of canceled fights), Jim and Dan Miller came to AMA Fight Club,” Constantino said. “Before you knew it, I was training and managing four or five solid fighters, and Jimmy and Dan were the best around at the time. So I figured I would be a better trainer than I was a fighter in the long run.”

While he never got back into the pro ranks to disprove it, the results suggest he need not try.

The coach has Jim Miller on the verge of a title shot in what many consider to be the deepest division in any promotion in the world: the UFC’s 155-pound class. He negotiated the spirited Dan Miller from a losing streak to a murder’s row trio to a pair of recent wins. He has Brenneman and Romero as mature and promising prospects, while Main is young and highly skilled.

Then there is Helwig.

“He had very bad lumbar problems in his lower back,” he said. “He had numbness in his fingers and his arms. He really rehabbed very hard to get back to where he could be competitive. You saw him get in the cage. It wasn’t pretty; he ate a lot of punches. You lose a lot of that sharpness for being out for a long time. But he’ll be back among the 205ers on the East Coast.”

This time Constantino will gladly stay out of the mix. His fights are over, but his career is just beginning.

Jim Miller pays the bills with fighting, not trash talk

Unfortunately for purists of the sport of mixed martial arts, trash talking has become more and more prevalent as a method of selling fights to the casual fans.

On the other hand, fighters like lightweight contender Jim Miller prefer to let their performance in the Octagon do all the talking.

“I think we’ve evolved enough as a sport where we shouldn’t need that,” Miller said.  “People should want to see fights based on what fighters are capable of inside the Octagon.”

Fresh off a stellar performance at UFC 124, where he submitted the previously undefeated Charles Oliveira, Miller joined hosts Hector Castro and Maggie Krol for the Ground N Pound on the MMA DieHards Radio Network.  The group discussed the fight, Miller’s contender status and the prospect of fighting a former training partner.

The bout against Oliveira saw the talented Brazilian hyped and favored over the veteran Miller, who’s only UFC defeat came at the hands of current No. 1 contender Gray Maynard.  Miller needed less than two minutes to finish the fight with a textbook kneebar and cement his status as a legitimate contender for the UFC belt.  But despite a six-fight win streak that dates back to early 2009, until the Oliveira bout there had been little talk of Miller getting a well-deserved title shot.

Asked for his thoughts why, Miller stated, “I don’t know.  I don’t run my mouth.  Unfortunately trash talk is part of it.  It shouldn’t have to be like that in my opinion.  We’re not treated like other professional athletes where you are rated/ranked on your performances.  My job is a fighter; that’s what I get paid to do.  I spend my time getting better as a fighter.  If I got paid to do interviews, I’d take some acting classes instead of spending my time with world class BJJ guys and strikers.”

Elaborating further, Miller explained how welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre revealed that contender Josh Koscheck’s harsh pre-fight words were only to sell the fight.

Miller would rather that fighters were rewarded for their actions, not their words.  After a brief bit of politicking at the post-fight press conference, Miller is beginning to earn respect of both fans and media alike.

“It’s about time,” joked Miller.  “Obviously, I hope it’s my performance that is the reason I’m being considered, and not me flat out saying it.  I feel like I should be respected by the way I fight and I believe I can compete with anyone in the division.  Hopefully people see it that way.”

Although Miller made quick work of Oliveira, he did not want to discount the young Brazilian’s attack and skills.

“He is a tough opponent.  He reminds me a lot of Shogun back in the Pride days,” said Miller.  “He has that comfort level, where he doesn’t care where the fight goes and not afraid to throw whatever.  That’s dangerous on his part, by not setting things up, but dangerous if you’re fighting him because you don’t expect it.  He’s got a lot of potential.”

Asked what his game plan was to handle such an onslaught, Miller detailed what he and his training partners at AMA Fight Club in Whippany, N.J. developed for the fight.

“I was biding my time and looking for opportunities,” he said.  “I’m very good at counterattacking when my opponent comes after me.  He basically played right into my game plan because I was looking for that opening.  By attacking me, he left himself open and I was able to capitalize on that window.”

Moving forward, with Maynard battling champion Frankie Edgar at UFC 125 on New Year’s Day and newly crowned WEC champion Anthony Pettis promised the first crack at the winner, Miller is forced to sit back and wait while the UFC determines his fate.

“I like to fight,” Miller said.  “If they told me I was going to wait for a title shot, I’d do it.  That’s not something I would pass up or risk, but I love staying active.”

When asked about fights with other potential contenders George Sotiropoulos, Kenny Florian or Evan Dunham, Miller showed why he has begun to earn the respect of fans and the media.

“There is nobody in the division that I don’t know I can beat,” proclaimed Miller.  “Some guys are tougher than others.  I’ve already fought some of the guys that are the toughest matchups for me stylistically.  I’ve fought the whole spectrum of guys, strikers, grapplers.  I’ll fight anybody.”

Miller gave his prediction for the upcoming title bout, claiming that it will be his former training partner, Edgar who will retain his belt.  If so, yet another potential rematch may be in the cards, as Edgar is the only other fighter to defeat Miller outside of the UFC, in 2006.

“That fight with Frankie was probably the most fun I’ve had in a fight, even though I lost,” said Miller.  “It was constant action, all over the place.  I have so much respect for him as a fighter and training partner that I’m going to bust my butt to be the best fighter I can be when I step into the Octagon with him.  I’ll have to make gains to beat him, but I know in the cage, it’d be a battle.”

Faced with the prospect of fighting his friend, Miller exhibited the maturity you’d expect of a veteran.

“I’ve never had to fight someone that I was friends with, but we haven’t trained together for about a year or so,” Miller noted.  “We’re both professionals so we’d go in there and fight our hearts out.”

If the New Year’s Day fight goes as Miller predicts, he may very well get that well-earned opportunity.

MMA Q&A: UFC’s Dan Miller sits down with UFC fighter Dan Miller at AMA Fight Club in Whippany, NJ.

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