Posts Tagged ‘Danny Castillo’

UFC 139: Danny Castillo promises, aims to deliver against Shamar Bailey

Danny Castillo (photo courtesy of Combat Lifestyle)

Danny Castillo is a team player and a man of his word.

Castillo (Twitter: @lastcall155), an upstanding member of Team Alpha Male, will be making his first appearance on a pay-per-view card Saturday at the HP Pavilion for UFC 139 in San Jose, Calif., against Shamar Bailey.

“Last Call” will be competing in his home state, where he has not fought in since his WEC debut in 2008.  Since growing up and going to school the Bay Area, Castillo figures to be the crowd favorite against Bailey.  That might mean extra pressure to perform on fight night.

“No, not at all, I think that it’s the opposite,” Castillo said on MMA Beatdown Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network.  “I went to college in the South Bay so San Jose is kind of like a backyard for me.  It is definitely exciting for me, but not only that, my teammate Urijah Faber is on the card is on the card as well.  Team Alpha Male has a ton of support that always comes out and there is going to be a lot of people supporting me, friends and family, so I’m really excited.”

Coming into his bout against Bailey, Castillo is not necessarily impressed with the resume of the collegiate  wrestler.

“He went to a small D-3 college,” said Castillo.  “Not that there was anything wrong with that, but he didn’t place at the National tournament in D-3, so I’m not really too impressed.”

Castillo’s game plan coming into this fight is simple.  He wants to take advantage of his technically superior striking over Bailey and push a pace that cannot be matched.

“I hope it stays standing,” admitted Castillo.  “Because I think that I have the advantage in the stand-up game.  As far as wrestling, I feel like I’m a better wrestler.  He is a big, strong dude.  I’m expecting him to tire out and gas as he’s done in his previous fights.  Especially coming down from 170-pounds, that weight cut is going to be tough for him to make weight and fight me for 15 minutes.”

Both Castillo and Bailey are coming off of a loss in their respective last visits to the cage.

“A loss is definitely motivating,” Castillo said.  “So I just go out there and fight my game plan.  The UFC definitely hands out bonuses to guys that are exciting, which also helps give me the motivation to put it all on the line and make for an exciting fight.

“I know that he is coming off a loss as well, so people out there, tune into Facebook because you’re going to see two guys that are coming off of a loss that are looking to pick up another win.”

Joining Castillo on the card, Faber will be making his first appearance back in the Octagon since his “Fight of the Night” loss to Dominick Cruz for the UFC bantamweight championship.

Training with the mentality that pushing your body harder when not training for a fight makes you a better fighter, Team Alpha Male trains year-round in order to stay in peak and fight-ready shape.

Going through the journey of preparing for a fight with a teammate and close friend who is performing on the same night has proven to have advantages for the pair.

“With Urijah and I being on the same card it almost makes it easier because he and I are going through the same things together,” Castillo said.  “We’re cutting weight, we’re traveling together, so it just makes it easier.”

Widely recognized as one of the most tightly knit teams in MMA, Team Alpha Male and Castillo share a bond that is hard to replicate.  Not only does all the team share the same disciplined work ethic, they also all have the same goal of being the best.

“We are definitely pretty close,” Castillo stated.  “Some other people say that they have great camps, like Greg Jackson’s.  Yeah, they have a great camp, but people travel to Greg Jackson’s, so they go to New Mexico.  We all live in the same place, so I think in terms of a team, we’re definitely closer.”

Back in college, Castillo definitely knew how to have a good time and get down to business.  When he wasn’t hanging out at the local bowling alley with his wrestling team mates, he was challenging himself to be the best on his team.

That drive led Castillo into making a commitment that he intends to fulfill.

“I made a promise to my mom when I was wrestling in college,” Castillo confessed.  “I was going to be the national champ and I fell short.  I took second at nationals so this is kind of my last shot, my last call to give her what I promised.”

With that being said, the rest of the lightweight division has a problem: Castillo has a promise to keep.

UFC 139: Inspired by Junior dos Santos, Shamar Bailey awaits Danny Castillo

Shamar Bailey is ready for the step up in competition.

Shamar Bailey is inspired by his one-time coach, Junior dos Santos.

Bailey (Twitter: @ShamarBailey), a cast member on The Ultimate Fighter 13, is on the verge of his third trip to the Octagon.  He’s set to face Danny Castillo at UFC 139 on Saturday at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

Bailey’s last outing paired him up with Evan Dunham, a fighter many considered to be a step up in competition.  Bailey suffered a decision loss.  Nonetheless, he held his own and was never in any danger of being finished.  The experience provided a confidence boost, but unlike fans who thought he would be outclassed, Bailey liked his chances against Dunham.

“I expected to win that fight,” Bailey told  “A lot of people probably didn’t see it my way, but when Joe Silva presented me with the matchup I thought it was going to be a good fight for me.  I definitely found a lot of things I can get better at, but I liked to see how far we have come and where we are headed.”

Bailey met Dunham on Sept. 17 on a UFC Fight Night card.  Just two months later, he squares off against Castillo.

The Illinois native didn’t endure any injuries or physical bumps that needed time to heal in his bout against Dunham.  Able to return to the gym immediately, Bailey was also ready to return to the Octagon in a short period of time.

“I never stopped training after the Evan Dunham fight,” Bailey admitted.  “I was back in the gym the following Monday.  I got the call for this fight about 3 1/2 weeks ago, but really all I had to train for was a specific opponent.  I worked on my weaknesses and strengthened my strengths.”

While Integrated Fighting Academy in Indianapolis is home base to Bailey, he finds it beneficial to utilize other gyms and training partners.

During his training camp for Dunham, Bailey spent time with current UFC lightweight No. 1 contender Ben Henderson and recently retired Chris Lytle.  Unfortunately, there was not enough time during this camp, but Bailey made due with local resources.

“I work with a lot of different instructors outside that gym, as well,” Bailey said.  ”Chris retired after his last fight, and Ben was getting ready for (Clay) Guida, so I didn’t have the time with a four-week camp to fly out to Arizona this time.  I had to handle my business here in Indianapolis.”

Bailey admitted that while training for this bout he was motivated because Castillo possesses everything he likes in an opponent.

“I like to fight guys that come forward,” Bailey explained.  “I don’t like to chase guys around the Octagon.  I like fighting aggressive guys.  I’m looking forward to fighting another wrestler and getting into some good scrambles on the ground and exchanging some blows on the feet.”

Another factor the sends Bailey into his UFC 139 bout on a positive note is that his former coach is now the UFC heavyweight champion.

Dos Santos defeated Cain Velasquez at UFC on Fox last Saturday for the heavyweight title, and the victory brought joy to Bailey as he was a student under the Brazilian on the UFC reality show.  During the taping of the program dos Santos spoke to his team about becoming a champion and completing their goals.  Witnessing dos Santos’ dreams become a reality made Bailey a believer.

“It was good to see Junior do what we knew he could do,” Bailey said.  “He talked about it so much during the show.  The story he told on ‘Primetime’ was the exact story he told all of us on the show.  It’s amazing to see people come from nothing and achieve their goals.  It’s something that makes me work harder.”

MMA Beatdown: Danny Castillo, Thiago Alves


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MMA Beatdown radio is back on and the MMA DieHards Radio Network as Mike, Amy, and 790 AM  The Ticket host Alex Donno talk to Danny “Last Call” Castillo and Thiago “Pitbull” Alves.

Danny Castillo (twitter: @lastcall155)  takes on Shamar Bailey at UFC 139 this weekend (Nov 19, 2011) in San Jose, CA.

Thiago Alves (twitter: @ThiagoAlvesATT) defeated UFC newcomer Papy Abedi at UFC 138.  Thiago talks UFC victory, submissions, The Dolce Diet, UFC on FOX, and more with MMA Beatdown!

The show streams live right here on on Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 PT (unless otherwise noted). If you cannot catch it live, it’s available on demand RIGHT HERE shortly after the completion of the broadcast, and also can be found on iTunes.

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Pair of UFC on Versus 3 prelims slated for Facebook

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Anthony Pettis: Choosing the Right Path

Anthony Pettis (photo courtesy of Sherdog)

There are not many fighters in the world of mixed martial arts who are on more of a hot streak than World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight contender Anthony Pettis. With three consecutive wins by stoppage, Pettis has set himself up for the biggest fight of his young career, a lightweight title match with Ben Henderson at WEC 53.

The past year has seen Pettis beef up his MMA resume with three straight wins over high-quality opponents, and also inject his name in the the minds of casual MMA fans after his appearance on MTV’s documentary-style reality show, World of Jenks.

It all started, curiously enough, with a split-decision loss to Bart Palaszewski at WEC 45.

“When I got signed I was 22, so I’m still young in this game, and going into the Palaszewski fight I felt invincible and came into fights feeling I could beat anybody,” Pettis said to Joe Rizzo and Joe Martinez on Are You Ready Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “Bart Palaszewski proved me wrong, but it’s been the best thing that’s happened to me. Nothing motivates like a loss. When you go through a loss you find out a lot about yourself and really become better as a fighter.”

Even though Pettis was able to turn that defeat into a positive and string together three wins to earn a title shot, not every fighter would have went down that path. It was Pettis’ first loss of his career, and forced him to re-evaluate his life in and out of the cage. Doubt crept in. He wondered where things would go from there and feared what a second loss might do to his career.

“I have always been confident in my skills, but after the loss I had to restart everything I though about myself,” Pettis said. “After you lose you consider everything. I could get cut, not have any income and it could all be over.”

Pettis is well-equipped to deal with adversity, though, and has been walking the right path for some time despite an upbringing in Milwaukee that pulled him in several directions.

“My dad tragically died when I was a junior in high school and when that happened I wasn’t the person I am today,” Pettis said. “All my cousins were in gangs in the neighborhood, and when you lose your dad at a young age like I did you want revenge. You want answers and you want to know what happened and who did it. But when I saw how much it hurt my mom, I never wanted to see my mom cry again. I wanted to make her smile and that’s what I became 100 percent focused on doing.”

Pettis’ story was detailed by award-winning filmmaker Andrew Jenks on MTV, and the show concluded with Pettis’ fight against Danny Castillo at WEC 47. It was a huge fight for Pettis because he knew a loss could stop his career before it really even began. Pettis rocked Castillo with a head kick and finished him off with a flurry of punches on the ground to secure the first round knockout and earn a bonus for Knockout of the Night. Two wins later via triangle choke over Alex Karalexis and Shane Roller, and Pettis has become one of the best lightweights in the game.

“I had a lot riding on that fight,” Pettis said. “I put everything I had into that training camp and I was able to win and get a bonus. That was the first time I got a bonus and since then my income has gotten better.”

“Everything has lined up perfectly for me this past year. It’s probably a year I’ll never forget with everything that’s happened.”

During the past 12 months, Pettis has also become a businessman. He owns three mixed martial arts gyms in and around his hometown of Milwaukee and recently opened a sports bar focused on combat sports. Every story that comes out about Pettis lately illustrates a maturity not usually found in a 23-year old.

“My ultimate goal isn’t to be filthy rich, I just want to be secure,” Pettis said. “I grew up in a house that didn’t always have food and I had to share clothes. The fight game only lasts so long, and I’ve had some great opportunities to invest in some businesses and work on deciding what I want to do the rest of my life.”

While Pettis is constantly taking steps to make sure his future is as bright as his life currently is, his focus is squarely on Henderson and the WEC lightweight belt. WEC 53 is the final WEC event before the Zuffa-run promotion officially merges with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The winner of the Pettis-Henderson fight will face the winner of UFC 125′s clash between champion Frankie Edgar and challenger Gray Maynard in a superfight to unify the WEC and UFC lightweight titles.

“I’m ready to go,” Pettis said. “I put a lot of work into this camp and it’s been a long time coming. I’m ready to go in there and do what I do best.”

Henderson represents a huge challenge to Pettis, as the current champion is 12-1 with a perfect 5-0 record in WEC. Henderson’s lone loss came very early in his career and he owns wins over Roller and Jamie Varner, and a pair of victories over Donald Cerrone. Four of his five WEC wins have come by stoppage, with the other being a unanimous decision.

“Fighting Ben Henderson is a great opportunity for me,” Pettis stated. “I think he is really underrated and should be considered top five in MMA. Everyone doubts the WEC because we’re not the UFC, but one of us will get to carry the flag over and prove the top-level WEC guys can hold their own. We just haven’t had a chance to show everybody.”

A year ago, Pettis didn’t know where the next path in life would take him. Now he has his career and future outside of MMA clearly in control. When the cage door closes and he and Henderson step toward each other, he’ll have another chance to take his career to a whole new level.

“I like going in as the underdog,” Pettis said. “Nobody expects me to win. I have nothing to lose. Every fight I go into I give everything I have. It’s going to be an amazing fight, I’ll tell you that.”

Danny Castillo faces Will Kerr, Renan Barao fights Chris Cariaso at WEC 53

Danny Castillo grinds out decision victory over Dustin Poirier

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