Posts Tagged ‘highlight’

PFC 1: Chris Horodecki cherishes competing in hometown

Chris Horodecki at Bellator 64 press conference

After all Chris Horodecki has done over the years in an effort to grow MMA for Ontarians, “The Polish Hammer” is finally getting what he always wanted.

Horodecki (Twitter: @chrishorodecki) meets Frank Caraballo at Provincial Fighting Championship 1 on Oct. 26 at the Western Fair Grounds in London, Ontario.

London is home to Horodecki.  Adrenaline Training Centre, a gym he trains at and owns with former UFC featherweight Mark Hominick and UFC lightweight Sam Stout, is located in the city.  As PFC 1 is the inaugural MMA card to be put on in London, it was only fitting that the event is riddled with ATC teammates such as Horodecki.

Horodecki has put his skills on display around the world, and competed in promotions such as the IFL and WEC, which are unique experiences and significant accomplishments.  Though he values the places martial arts has taken him, there’s nothing like performing in your hometown.

“We waited for this sport to get here for 10 years,” Horodecki told Jason Kelly and Alex Gasson on MMA DieHards Radio.  “We were lobbying and protesting and trying to make movements to get the sport here.  Now eventually that it’s here, thankfully I got to fight on the first-ever card to be in Ontario, so that’s a part of history I was a part of.  It’s an amazing feeling being able to compete close to home, build our fighters, build our team.

“We got a whole roster of up and coming young fighters that we’re developing, that we’re building up.  That’s what you need.  It’s difficult to build talent when you have to travel and depend on promoters and sponsors to bring those travel expenses for the fighters and pay for them.  Why would they try to bring talent from Ontario to Alberta or Quebec, when they have their own rosters themselves?  Being able to fight here is so important, because it not only gives them a platform to fight, a platform to grow, but it gives the fans something to watch too.  It builds the sport right here.”

Horodecki’s team, which spawned from the late Shawn Tompkins’ Team Tompkins, has represented Ontario MMA in a way that resident fans can be proud of.  Along with putting on an entertaining fight in ever bout they’re featured in, they always carry themselves with the utmost professionalism and honor.

Horodecki has been unselfishly giving back to Ontario’s MMA scene for a decade, now it’s time local MMA grants him his wish.

“This is what I’ve been waiting for, for so many years,” Horodecki said.  “I’ve competed all over the world, but this is one of the most fulfilling fights I’m ever going to have because it’s in my backyard.  To be able to compete in front of my friends and family, that means the most to me.”

MMA DieHards Radio: Demetrious Johnson, Jessica Eye, Kristen Brown

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At 8:30 p.m. tonight, MMA DieHards Radio hosts Jason Kelly (Twitter: @JayMMADieHards) and Joe Rizzo (@rearnakedchoke) welcome UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, UFC newcomer Jessica Eye and LivetoFight.org founder Kristen Brown.

Johnson (@MightyMouseUFC) is preparing to defend his belt for the third consecutive time when he meets Joseph Benavidez at The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale on Nov. 30 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.  This will be the the second time the two former bantamweight No. 1 contenders have met in a UFC flyweight title match.  ”Mighty Mouse” won in their first outing to become the inaugural UFC 125-champion.

Eye (@jessicaevileye)  is coming off a victory in her UFC debut against Sarah Kaufman at UFC 166.  Eye has been on an incredible tear throughout her 11-1 MMA career, defeating names such as Zoila Frausto Gurgel and Carina Damm en route to capturing her first UFC win.

Brown (@Krs10KO), a cancer survivor, has developed a foundation that incorporates MMA and raises funds for the fight against the fatal disease.  Livetofight.org is Brown’s platform to raise awareness, and she has teamed up with UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman and others that endorse her effort.

MMA DieHards Radio: Chris Horodecki, Malcolm Gordon, Shannon Ludlow, Reed Duthie, Jesse Gross, Kyle Prepolec, Jamie Champion

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On this Ontario-themed Tuesday edition of MMA DieHards Radio, host Jason Kelly (Twitter: @JayMMADieHards) is not only joined by a special group of guests, but also a guest co-host.

Alex Gasson (Twitter: @Pecker17) will assist Kelly in the booth and they will welcome a slew of guests from Saturday’s Provincial Fighting Championship.

Taking time out of their busy schedules just days before PFC 1 to join MMA DieHards Radio are Chris Horodecki (Twitter: @chrishorodecki), Jesse Gross (Twitter: @GhostGross), Shannon Ludlow, Kyle Prepolec Twitter: @KPrepolec), Malcolm Gordon (Twitter: @MALCOLM_X_MMA), PFC cageside announcer Reed Duthie  (Twitter: @rcduthie), and PFC president Jamie Champion (Twitter: @PFC_Canada).

This crew of fighters and staff members will give an all-exclusive breakdown ahead of PFC’s inaugural card, which takes place Oct. 26 in London, Ontario, Canada.

MMA Cypher Radio: Chad Elliot, TJ Laramie

 

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At 7 p.m. ET, MMA Cypher Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network welcomes two individuals from Ontario, Canada making an impact on MMA from inside and outside the cage.

Hosts Jason Kelly (Twitter: @JayMMADiehards) and Corey Charron (Twitter: @charronkotd) are joined by Fear the Fighter gym owner and M & A Sports Media (Twitter: @MnA_SportsMedia ) president Chad Elliot as well as Windsor, Ontario rising star T.J. Laramie.

Elliot (Twitter: @ftfacademy) has owns the Fear the Fighter gym in Kitchener, Ontario, and it’s proved to be a thirsty market.  Along with owning the facility, Elliot manages several fighters under Lights Out Management.  Also, his lifelong appreciation for MMA has Elliot giving back with his Support Local Fighters campaign.

Laramie (Twitter: @AOBLARAMIE) is a 17-year-old in Canadian MMA phenom who’s future is so bright he needs sunglasses.  Along with a 3-0 start to his MMA career, Laramie won Silver at this year’s OFFSA Wrestling championships and placed as an alternate for the Canadian junior Olympic wrestling team.

MMA DieHards Radio: Josh Hill

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At 10 p.m. ET tonight, MMA DieHards Radio hosts Jason Kelly (Twitter: @JayMMADieHards) and Joe Rizzo (Twitter: @rearnakedchoke) welcome TUF 18′s Josh Hill.

Hill (Twitter: @gentlemanjhill) is a Canadian bantamweight competing on “The Ultimate Fighter 18.”  The former Score Fighting Series standout endured the first loss of his MMA career on the seventh episode of the UFC reality show.  Hill lost a decision in a three round bout and will join us to talk about his experience on the show, plus the current scene of MMA in his native Ontario.

A defense of Rousimar Palhares

MMA welterweight and now-UFC outcast Rousimar Palhares. (Photo courtesy of MMAJunkie.com)


Call it the knee-pop heard ’round the world.

It all took place over 31 frantic seconds on Oct. 9 in Barueri, Brazil. Entering the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 29, Rousimar Palhares had lost two straight bouts and desperately needed victory against Mike Pierce. In less time than it took weighing-in, Palhares won that fight but lost the MMA world’s goodwill. What went wrong in just over half-a-minute?

The answer is a textbook heel hook. Clamping down on Pierce’s exposed ankle, Palhares forced the tap with that dangerous maneuver. Over the next 3.08 seconds, “Toquinho” (Portuguese for “little tree stump”) didn’t release his vise-like hold. Instants later, his win plummeted from triumphant into tainted.

So much vanishes in those excruciating moments – wealth, glory, adoration. The extra suffering Palhares inflicted that night cost all three. Despite scoring UFC Fight Night’s only submission, “Toquinho” forfeited any and all bonuses for “unsportsmanlike conduct.” One day later, the UFC cut him for the same reason. Even if they hadn’t, glancing at any MMA forum shows backlash against Palhares is harsh, shrill and ongoing.

Overall, such punishments outweigh the crime. At 8-4 inside the Octagon following his heel hook debacle, Palhares is clearly UFC-caliber talent at 33 years old. Though he definitely sinned against Pierce, is it worth excommunicating “Toquinho” from the world’s top MMA organization for several seconds in error? The evidence points towards “no.”

For starters, the mental pressure Palhares likely suffered on fight night was equal or greater than the torque exerted on Pierce’s limb hours later. A career middleweight, “Toquinho” entered their standoff as a new welterweight. Having lost two bouts prior, the heat was on for Palhares’ reinvention at 170 lbs. Given three losses often earn UFC competitors walking papers, only debuting successfully could have saved Palhares from unemployment.

UFC Fight Night 29′s venue added extra tension. A native Brazilian, Palhares was defending his country’s honor against a foreign invader in America’s Pierce. In a country where fight fans chant “you’re going to die” in Portuguese at outsiders, failure isn’t an option for hometown heroes like “Toquinho.”

The icing on the cake was the fight itself. Prior to submitting Pierce, Palhares lost another potential leg-lock. In a sport where heart and willpower are all, no one goes quietly into the night. MMA lore bursts with comebacks – Jon Jones storming back against Alexander Gustafsson, for example – and defeat tastes especially bitter when cooking victory first. “Toquinho” is no exception, and he (understandably) wanted an indisputable finish against Pierce when sinking the heel hook in.

UFC Fight Night 29′s other players influenced its outcome for Palhares too. Take his bout’s third man – referee Keith Peterson let “Toquinho” crank his heel hook two whole seconds before jumping in. Though Palhares worked the hold another 1.08 seconds, Peterson has remained largely free of criticism for his oversight. This is troubling for two reasons. First, Peterson was nowhere near either fighter to quickly end the submission; second, he arguably assisted two-thirds of Pierce’s excessive imprisonment.

Pierce, meanwhile, came unprepared for Palhares’ grappling. Counting Pierce, “Toquinho” has taken 11 of 15 wins via submission, eight by leg-lock variation. In those 31 seconds, Pierce showed no takedown or submission defense for stalemating such proven specialization. Though Pierce is an excellent welterweight, the only reason fight fans are discussing his loss is that he couldn’t prevent it.

Cutting Palhares afterwards, the UFC cited his 2010 submission of Tomasz Drwal at UFC 111 as a factor in its decision. In that bout, Palhares also locked Drwal in a heel-hook past the finish. Old crimes, however, don’t always predict present behavior. “Toquinho” served a 90-day suspension for that transgression; more importantly, he also submitted David Branch and Mike Massenzio cleanly before facing Pierce.

This means 82% of Palhares’ submissions are by-the-book overall. His missteps against Drwal and Pierce are perhaps less habitual offenses and more isolated incidents. Though the UFC also cited elevated testosterone levels at last year’s UFC on FX 6 in dismissing “Toquinho,” it’s worth noting he tested clean after UFC Fight Night 29 as well.

It’s thus possible the UFC made an example out of Palhares as he wronged Pierce on free TV. MMA is still shedding its “human cockfighting” past; it hasn’t accrued enough social capital for blatant cheaters and possible PED users. Even if it has, Palhares’ eternal knee-crank seems more death match than legal sport.

None of this changes the legitimate danger Pierce faced in those tortuous seconds. MMA’s failure since is applying justice proportionate to that time. As of this writing, Pierce’s loss against Palhares has neither shortened nor stopped his MMA career. Banishing a fighter like “Toquinho” from the UFC – the sport’s highest peak – achieves exactly one or both those outcomes should he never return.

At day’s end, the UFC overreacted by disciplining Palhares before the full extent of Pierce’s injury (if any) emerges. It could most fairly punish “Toquinho” by suspending him in proportion to Pierce’s recovery time. At day’s end, an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind – and one combatant should only lose legs to stand on in the UFC if they undoubtedly take another’s first.

MMA Cypher Radio: Anthony Birchak, Scott Zerr

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At 7 p.m. ET tonight, MMA Cypher Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network brings you a special Canadian Thanksgiving show.  Hosts Jason Kelly (Twitter: @JayMMADieHards) and Corey Charron (Twitter: @charronkotd) welcome a pair of the Maximum Fighting Championship’s finest.

MFC bantamweight champion Anthony Birchak (Twitter: @abirchakmma) will join us to talk about becoming the first-ever 135-pound title holder in the promotion’s history.  Birchak defeated Tito Jones via rear-naked choke at MFC 38 on Oct. 4 to secure the belt.  A familiar guest on MMA Cypher, Birchak will surely bring great topics and conversation to the table.

Scott Zerr (Twitter: @scottmaxfight), who heads up MFC public relations, will also grant us some of his time to explain what his role in the organization entails.  Zerr is one of the best at his job in the world of MMA.  MFC president Mark Pavelich describes Zerr as, “The guy makes it all happen.”  Zerr will prove to be one of the more interesting guests we’ve had on MMA Cypher from outside the cage.

Also, to kick the show off, Charron will discuss his current situation with B.E.T. and the cypher video he constructed that takes aim at some of today’s most popular rappers.

MMA DieHards Radio: Jessica Aguilar

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On this episode on MMA DieHards Radio, hosts Jason Kelly (Twitter: @JayMMADieHards) and Joe Rizzo (Twitter: @rearnakedchoke) welcome Jessica Aguilar.

Aguilar (Twitter: @jagatt) defeated Megumi Fujii via technical decision at Vale Tudo Japan 3rd on Oct. 5 in Japan.  The female 115-pound combatant is on  seven-fight win streak, and she hasn’t lost since 2010, when she was defeated by former Bellator champion Zoila  Frausto Gurgel.

Tara LaRosa: “There’s some things you need to know if you’re going to fight in Japan”

Tara LaRosa (L) vs. Kelly Warren (R). photo courtesy of Sherdog

The heritage and mystique of martial arts in Japan is attractive to many MMA fighters, but before you plan on competing in Nihon, Tara LaRosa has a few things to make you aware of.

LaRosa (Twitter: @TaraLaRosa) went to Yokohama, Japan, and lost a majority decision to Rin Nakai at “Pancrase 252: 20th Anniversary” on Sept. 29

LaRosa put her skills on display in back-to-back bouts in Japan in 2005, but had not competed there until recently meeting Nakai after failing to secure a slot in the house on “The Ultimate Fighter 18.”  LaRosa spoke with MMA DieHards Radio and detailed all experiences, both absurd and unique, about her latest trip to The Land of the Rising Sun.

The fight

LaRosa, the more seasoned and taller competitor, battered Nakai in the opening frame with solid punches that were connecting with power.  Nakai had no choice other than clinching up with LaRosa to avoid taking further punishment, yet was still bullied by the American.  The first round was a no brainer, LaRosa won.

In Round 2, Nakai managed to stay on top of LaRosa after taking her to the ground, but did zero damage.  LaRosa did not absorb any significant strikes, just spent the frame on the defense and the round could’ve been awarded to either.

The third and final stanza saw LaRosa utilize the same strategy and techniques as she exhibited in Round 1, landing punches while keeping her distance and avoiding takedown attempts.  Nakai eventually secured a takedown and latched on to a key-lock submission.

LaRosa was extremely impressed, but was not about to tap out with only 40 seconds left in a bout she believed she was winning.

The match went to the judges’ scorecards.  As you may or may not know, controversy is no stranger to a match involving a decision outcome between a North American and Japanese fighter in Japan.

“They gave her the majority decision, which means two judges scored it for her and one scored it a draw,” LaRosa told Jason Kelly and Joe Rizzo on MMA DieHards Radio.  ”See, that tells me I won.  If a Japanese judge gave me a draw, that means I won the whole thing.  But whatever, we knew what was going to happen going over there.  I knew if it went to a decision I was going to lose no matter what.  And I did.”

Pancrase

The submission that Nakai attempted in the third round caused unknown damage to LaRosa’s shoulder.  LaRosa said she could hear her shoulder tearing and compared it to the sound of ripping a drumstick off a turkey.  The tough-as-nails LaRosa played off the injury like it was nothing when doctors came to check on her following the bout.

After the medical staff left her locker room, LaRosa laid on the floor, suffering in agony to the point she felt nauseous.  She had a brief conversation with her manager, Monte Cox, describing the match and pain she was enduring afterwards.  Cox advised her to allow the doctors to treat her, as they are qualified and are purely looking out for her health.

“I love Pancrase for this,” LaRosa said.  “They had a team of doctors working the show.  I don’t know if this is normal and this is how it always is over there, but they had a team of doctors and a shoulder specialist.   They brought the doctor in, and his assistant, and they worked on me for 25 minutes or so and put my shoulder back in (the socket).  Thank you Pancrase, thank you Japanese doctors.”

Rules and regulations

If you were ever a fan of Pride FC, One FC, or even paid the slightest bit of attention to the Japanese MMA scene, you know corruption, manipulation and mind games are a big part of what they do to out-of-country competitors.

“There’s some things you need to know if you’re going to fight in Japan,” LaRosa explained.  “Number one, they’re going to hit you with things last minute.  They’re going to try to mess with you, I don’t know if they’re trying to or not, but they do.

“They sprung this one on us in the locker room before the fight – costume check.  They have to check your outfit, I don’t know what they’re checking for in particular, but they’re checking your outfit.”

While LaRosa didn’t have any issues with her attire, fellow “Pancrase 252: 20th Anniversary” competitor Richie Whitson was harassed due to not having draw strings in his shorts.

While LaRosa passed the last-minute wardrobe check, she had some questions regarding the rules, seeing as Pancrase didn’t have a meeting prior to fight day to clarify them with all the competitors.  Some rules she was expecting, others she was surprised by, and one is suspect of being tailor-made for this matchup.

“They said there’s no up-kicks.  What the (expletive) do you mean, no up-kicks?” LaRosa said.  “When she’s standing and I’m lying on the ground, on my back, I can’t kick up at her face.  No up-kicks.  Well, (expletive), how convenient is that?  She’s 5-foot-1 and I’m 5-foot-6.  Alright.  Great.  That’s fine.

“I’ve fought under so many rule constraints that I just roll with it.  You can tell me what-the-hell-ever and I’ll just try to curtail my game plan to it.  So, no up-kicks.  That’s why it looks a little funny in the third round and she’s standing, bent right over my knees, right over my legs, and I’m thinking, ‘Shit, how convenient is this? She’s not even guarding her face.’  I wanted to kick her right in the face.  Maybe it’s just for women, maybe they put special rules on you like that, I don’t know.  They did on Danielle West, she couldn’t do any chokes and she couldn’t throw any knees, but that was because she missed weight.”

Before any combat sports bout can proceed there’s a matter of weighing in, which, in Japan, offers a much harsher set of penalties than North American MMA promotions for not staying within the parameters of a weight class.

In most MMA competitions around North America, if a fighter does not make weight for a bout he or she must forfeit 20 percent of their purse.  However, what LaRosa learned in Japan about not making weight is a little drastic, but would surely decrease the number of mixed martial artists missing the mark.

“I don’t think many people know this because everyone is shocked and horrified,” LaRosa explained.  “When you miss weight you get fined $2,000.  It doesn’t matter what the hell you’re making.  If you’re making  $3,000, if you’re making $2,000, you have to pay Pancrase $2,000.  If you’re over far enough that they call off the fight, or you can’t fight because you’ve cut so much weight that you’re dying, not only do you have to pay $2,000, you have to pay them back for your flight.

“I don’t know where everybody else came from, but my flight was about $3,100, so I was not missing weight.  Now you’re in the hole about five grand.  If you don’t fight, you get a loss on your record.  It’s considered a forfeit, it’s reported as a loss.  So that’s what happens if you miss weight and you don’t fight.  There may be some other (expletive) in there as well, I don’t know.”

There is even more professional suffering for missing weight.

“If you miss weight and you do fight, the best you can get is a draw.  Even if you win, if you choke them out, knock them out, armbar them, rip out their spleen, what-the-hell-ever you do, you get  a draw.  And you still have to pay $2,000.  That’s protocol.”

The food

If you are a resident of the U.S. or Canada, you know damn well that we don’t offer much in the way of traditional dishes.  (Editor’s Note: The author is a professional chef.)  We opt to dine at Italian restaurants, Greek bistros, Chinese take-out, or something along those lines.  Although it fills the void, the taste of authentic food from its native country compared to a Canadian or American version of their plates is apples to oranges.

LaRosa learned just that in her visit to Japan.

“I don’t know what they did to it, or lack thereof, but just the ingredients are so much fresher and it’s such a clean taste,” LaRosa said.  “It wasn’t heavy with oil, and you know how so much Asian food is heavy with sodium? Well, this wasn’t at all, not at all.  I ate lunch and dinner the two days I was there prior to weigh-ins and I woke up on weight.  I didn’t have to cut water, I didn’t have to (do) anything.  It was amazing.

“What we call pot stickers over here, forget about it.  They’re so much better over there.  They taste entirely different.  The stuff that we have over here is (expletive), OK?  I could stay there for the food alone.”

Along with the mouth-watering cuisine that comes from Japanese restaurants is an equally delicious, yet peculiar method of purchasing food.

In North America, when we think of eating from a vending machine it’s junk food or less-than desirable sandwiches.  In Japan, where they have more vending machines than people, you can get a scrumptious meal ranging from live crab to homemade pizza without the services of a chef.

“There’s vending machines everywhere, even in residential areas,” LaRosa said.  “We were in Yokohama, which is its own city, it’s not Tokyo; Tokyo is a different thing.  So, we were in Yokohama, which is a lot less touristy, and there’s vending machines right outside apartment buildings.  They’re everywhere, like, everywhere.  If you live in a sub-division or something, you’re not going to see random vending machines anywhere, right?  Well, they’re there.”

LaRosa’s trip to Japan was one of a kind, to say the least.  As a tourist, the food and sights are very satisfyinng enough.  To a foreign mixed martial artist, given what could be stacked against you, are you prepared to compete in Japan?

Pass the yen.

MFC 38: Anthony Birchak: ‘God’s gifts aren’t cheap’

Anthony Birchak securing back mount on Ryan Benoit (photo courtesy of Sherdog)

The first-ever MFC bantamweight champion was nearly not even a competitor in the bout.

Anthony Birchak (Twitter: @abirchakmma) was crowned the Maximum Fighting Championship bantamweight champ after defeating Tito Jones via second round rear-naked choke at MFC 38 on Friday.  Birchak, who defeated Ryan Benoit to get the much deserved title shot, talked to MMADiehards.com about the adversity he overcame prior to championship bout.

“My best friend died two weeks before the fight, my son was born, them saying I may not be even able to enter Canada, my main cornerman not being able to come up, it was almost enough to be the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Birchak told Nick Hammar of MMADiehards.com.  “I prayed and prayed and prayed, and God’s gifts aren’t cheap.  I worked my ass off for this belt.  It’s surreal, it hasn’t really hit me yet.”

Fortunately, Birchak pushed through the struggles and has made history in Canada’s leading promotion.  He said he does not know the promotion’s plans for his next opponent, but he’s happy if they continue giving him tough opponents like Jones.

“Tito surprised me, man,” Birchak said.  “He (expletive) took me down, bro.  I wasn’t expecting that.  I figured he would light me up with a four-piece combination, but he got in on my body and I hit the mat.  I knew he wasn’t going to hold me down the whole time, though.  I saw I stung him a couple of times with my right hand, and I had to find my range, but once I was working him on the ropes I saw his energy just sapping.  After the first round I looked across the ring and I saw that I snatched it from him.  I snatched it from him.  His whole energy changed from this big, puffy gorilla to, ‘(Expletive), I have to go another round with this guy.’  My pace breaks people.”

MFC 39 is set to take place in January 2014, and there are no talks of Birchak being on the card yet, but given the three month period he likes to take between fights, the timing would seem appropriate for the Luta Elite fighter to make his first title defense.

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