MMADieHards.com brings you a wrestling technique straight from Pellegrino MMA’s UFC fighter Kurt Pellegrino.
Posts Tagged ‘Kurt Pellegrino’
Bryan Kienlen isn’t an ultimate fighter, but he has trained in plenty different fighting disciplines and mixed those martial arts together. The bassist of The Bouncing Souls and co-owner of Chunksaah Records wrestled throughout high school, took up Tai Chi when he was 25, Kung Fu when he was 30 and Kickboxing soon thereafter. Now, the 40-year-old punk rocker is a regular at UFC lightweight Kurt Pelligrino’s gym, Pelligrino MMA, in New Jersey … that is when he isn’t touring, riding his motorcycle or tattooing people.
MMADiehards.com: The Bouncing Souls are a punk rock band. Would you say the rock culture compliments MMA well?
Bryan Kienlen: Yeah, I say they go well together. There’s a lot of energy in both and in the same way punk rock and skating go hand in hand, I think there is just a lot of rage and energy in the music. It’s a good match. Not to say that punk rock is always aggressive, but I know when I’m training, I like aggressive music. Usually it’s more hardcore. I used to listen to Madball every single day on the way to the kickboxing school because we had to spar and I had to spar every single person in the room. I’m a buck 85, and there were some guys who were much bigger than me. I would kinda get my energy level up listening to Madball. I was riding my motorcycle [and[ it has speakers, so I’m riding in traffic through New York listening to Madball, full volume, go into there, wrap up and glove up, and go “Ah! Ready to rage!” So I think they go well together.
MMADiehards.com: You know Freddy Madball is into the sport and does some boxing, right?
Bryan Kienlen: I know. I picked his brain about it. We went to Japan a year and a half ago, and you know who was on the same plane though? Harley Flanagan of the Cro-Mags.
MMADiehards.com: Yeah. He does BJJ at Renzo’s place in New York.
Bryan Kienlen: Yeah, he’s a purple belt now. That was actually the first time I ever did any kettlebell training. Harley Flanagan taught me on that trip in Japan. I also rolled with Harley on the floor and got beat up pretty good (laughs) because he was always a bad ass and now, he’s a technical fighter and anybody who is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter can kick my ass, I think, pretty well. Unless I got some lucky kicks in and knock ‘em out or something, I don’t have any ground game. Just high school wrestling.
MMADiehards.com: Do you wanna learn BJJ?
Bryan Kienlen: I really wanna learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I feel it’s something missing from my overall game, but I just can’t risk getting my knees popped out place. Every time I had some drunk rolling with somebody who does it, I always end up hyper-extending my elbow or something. I’m like, “Fuck this.” (Laughs) I love it, but whatever. It’s like if I pop my knee and then, I gotta go on tour. I’ve done that too – I popped my knee out at the beginning of a seven week tour, back a few years ago in ‘94. We were on tour with 7 Seconds. I popped it out in the pit. I had two rebuilt knees and they’re strong because of the kettlebell training. They’re really strong, but I’m freaked out by whipping or tearing my ligaments again. It sucks. It’s a long time to heal and it’s a risk I’m not willing to take. I talked to Kevin Roddy, one of the fighters and friend of mine, and we spoke about him doing a private because I won’t be running any risks if it’s just him carrying me because he’s a really good fighter and he just wouldn’t be muscling me. It just be learning combos.
MMADiehards.com: Speaking of which, when did you link up with Kurt Pellegrino?
Bryan Kienlen: Well, as soon as I came down to the Jersey Shore, I asked around and I actually met a kid who trains there. We had some friends in common, got to talking and became friends when I came down here. He was a friend from the motorcycle world, cause I’m into that too and he knew a couple of fighters. He trains there and this morning, we just did kettlebells, came back to my house and I tattooed him. That’s also what I’m doing nowadays tattooing.
MMADiehards.com: Lead singer Greg Attonito’s cousin, Rich, participated on a previous installment of The Ultimate Fighter. Have you ever met him?
Bryan Kienlen: I met him only once, maybe if that. I barely know the guy personally. We gotta do something with him. We need to get that kid wearing a Bouncing Souls shirt or something. He should be representing Chunksaah Records. I gotta give Greg a call about that. I just found it out recently.
MMADiehards.com: A lot of labels are sponsoring fighters. Would Chunksaah Records sponsor him?
Bryan Kienlen: We should do it. For sure.
Bear Frazer is a veteran music journalist and longtime contributor to FIGHT! Magazine. He is currently in the midst of fundraising to shoot The Bam Theory, an MMA Movie Franchise described as the Rocky of our generation. To support this film, please visit http://tinyurl.com/thebamtheory.
Greg Soto prepares for his UFC 118 bout with TUF 9 alum Nick Osipczak. MMADieHards.com is invited to watch him workout at LA Boxing in Hoboken, NJ.
Bally’s Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, N.J. – It was a storybook ending to a grueling tale, a tale told with the blood, sweat and tears of two of the Northeast’s toughest fighters. At M-1 Global’s “Selection” event on Saturday, Pellegrino MMAer Tom Gallicchio and Fight Factory rep Aaron Meisner brawled furiously in a welterweight tournament semifinal bout, with the grappler eating a variety of knees and knuckles (and even a shin to the side of the head at one point) before the night was through. But Gallicchio absorbed it all, and though cut and woefully behind on the scorecards when Round 3 rolled around, he managed to find a takedown where none had existed before. That takedown marked the beginning of the end, as Meisner soon found himself stuck with his opponent on his back and a rear naked choke constricting his neck. The official time of the tap out was 1:26 of the round, and when M-1 Global reconvenes in September Gallicchio will take on hard-hitting Len Bentley in the finals.
Also bloody was Bombsquad middleweight Mike Geurin, although his route to victory – over game TUF veteran Shane Primm – was much less circuitous. For three rounds the former All-American wrestler blasted Primm in the face, and whenever Primm threatened with leather of his own, Geurin stemmed the tide with seemingly-unstoppable takedowns. The judges awarded the Bombsquader the unanimous decision when time ran out, and Geurin will square off against Team Quest Muay Thai specialist Tyson Jeffries in the 185-pound finals.
Elsewhere on the card, the aforementioned Jeffries eked out a split decision over Gold Team Fighters star Plinio Cruz, with Cruz’s first-round point destruction for an inadvertent groin strike costing the Brazilian striker the bout. Russian boxer and clear fan-favorite Andrei Kapylou took a beating at the hands of American Top Team heavyweight Kenny Gardner, losing the unanimous decision after three painful rounds of ground-and-pound punishment. And in a lightweight tournament semifinal, MMA Institute stand-out George Sheppard proved too strong and too game for the technical Josh Bacallao, stealing the split decision for the win.
-Tom Gallicchio vs. Aaron Meisner
Gallicchio via rear naked choke at 1:26 of R3.
-Andrei Kapylou vs. Kenny Garner
Garner via unanimous decision.
-Tyson Jeffries vs. Plinio Cruz
Jeffries via split decision – Cruz deducted one point for low blow in R1.
-Pat Bennett vs. Mehdi Hassan
Bennett via unanimous decision.
-Mike Geurin vs. Shane Primm
Geurin via unanimous decision.
-Daniel Vizcaya vs. Chris Sydnor
Vizcaya via head/arm choke at 2:02 of R1.
-Colin Schrader vs. Len Bentley
Bentley via KO (punch) at 1:45 of R2.
-George Sheppard vs. Josh Bacallao
Sheppard via split decision.
-Josh Thorpe vs. Jose Figueroa
Figueroa via unanimous decision.
-Sammy Collingwood vs. Byron Byrd
Byrd via TKO (punches) at :40 of R1.
After the overwhelming success of last July’s UFC 100, the UFC returns to the Vegas heat yet again to present the “biggest” title fight in the company’s history. UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin will unify Lesnar’s heavyweight strap with Carwin’s interim belt. Perhaps lost in the hype of the main event is a vastly diverse card that features everything from a Japanese, judo gold medalist and model to a full time firefighter from Indiana.
PRELIMINARY CARD (Un-aired)
Kicking off the night is a heavyweight bout between UFC newcomer Karlos Vemola and Ultimate Fighter Season 10 cast member Jon Madsen. Madsen is one of eleven (yes, eleven) former TUF cast members fighting on the 116 card. Madsen brings his strong wrestling pedigree into the bout and looks to continue his undefeated run in the UFC. Vemola is a relative unknown to the UFC, but the Czech brings an undefeated record (largely fighting in the UK based Cage Fighting Championships) into his debut. He trains in London with UFC welterweight John Hathaway and DREAM welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis.
In the night’s second matchup, Daniel “Ninja” Roberts looks to bounce back from his UFC debut knockout loss to John Howard at UFC on Versus 1 as he takes on a returning Forrest Petz. Roberts will look to implement his strong grappling skills and submission game. Petz, on the other hand, returns to the Octagon for the first time in nearly three years after rolling off four straight wins. Petz is a late replacement, as Julio Paulino had to pull out due to injury.
The third fight of the night features TUF Season 7 alum Gerald “Hurricane” Harris meeting up with undefeated UFC newcomer and Renzo Gracie BJJ black belt, Dave Branch. Harris has racked up nine straight victories (two in the UFC), since an ill-fated run in the IFL in 2007. After losing to TUF 7 Champ Amir Sadollah, Harris had to fight his way back back to the UFC. Now training at Grudge Training Center in Denver, Harris will look to neutralize the Bellator veteran Branch. Branch will try to continue his run of six straight stoppages (3 by submission, 3 by TKO).
In the final, un-aired bout of the evening, Ultimate Fighter Season 3 Champion Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove takes on Croatian fighter, Goran Reljic. Grove is coming off a loss to Mark Munoz at UFC 112 and has alternated wins and losses over his last four fights. Reljic, on the other hand, is coming off his first professional defeat at the hands of CB Dollaway at UFC 110. This will be Reljic’s second fight in the middleweight division after starting his career at light heavyweight. He will have to overcome a significant reach advantage over the 6’6” Grove.
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike TV)
The evening’s first televised fight will feature the return of TUF alum Seth “The Silverback” Petruzelli to the UFC as he takes on yet another newcomer in Ricardo Romero. Petruzelli has won four straight over the past three years, including the infamous 14 second destruction of Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson under the EliteXC banner. The heavy handed Petruzelli picked up his first submission victory in his last fight just six weeks ago fighting in the BAMMA promotion. Romero makes his UFC debut after eleven fights in the Ring of Combat promotion. Four of his last five wins have come by submission.
Completing the free portion of the evening’s televised card is heavyweight clash between TUF Season 10 finalist Brendan “The Hybrid” Schaub and two-time Division II wrestling All-American Chris “The Crowbar” Tuchscherer. Schaub, the former University of Colorado fullback spent time on the practice squad of the Buffalo Bills. He also possesses a Golden Gloves championship. Fighting out of Grudge Training Center in Denver, Schaub trains with the likes of UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin, Nate Marquardt, and Rashad Evans. Tuchscherer, on the other hand, trains with UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy. After a tough loss in his UFC 102 debut to Gabriel Gonzaga, where he was on the receiving end of the one of the worst groin shots in MMA history, Tuchscherer bounced back with a close, majority decision over Tim Hague at UFC 109.
The pay-per-view portion of UFC 116 will start with a lightweight battle between two contenders looking for a title shot. Australia and TUF Season 6’s George Sotiropoulos takes on New Jersey’s Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino. Both fighters are riding win streaks and will look to knock the other out of the title picture. Sotiropoulos recently defeated Joe Stevenson at UFC 110, utilizing superior control to win by decision. The Eddie Bravo trained BJJ black belt will look to implement his submission game on the well rounded Pellegrino. “Batman” brings four straight UFC victories into the bout and will utilize strong wrestling, fast hands, and his own BJJ black belt to counter the Australian.
In a rematch of their UFC 110 war, TUF Season 1 finalist Stephan Bonnar looks for revenge against TUF Season 8’s Krzysztof Soszyński. Their initial bout ended when an inadvertent headbutt left Bonnar with a massive cut and led to a controversial stoppage. Bonnar will enter his 12th contest in the Octagon and is trying to halt a three fight skid dating back to UFC 94. The Polish born, Canadian raised Soszyński trains at Team Quest and holds wins in four of his five UFC fights. Both fighters will look to end any doubt left by their previous clash.
Another rematch, and potential fight of the night candidate awaits as TUF Season 4 member Chris “Lights Out” Lytle takes on TUF Season 7’s Matt “The Immortal” Brown. Lytle holds a 2007 submission victory over Brown in the defunct UFL. Lytle is perhaps best known for receiving seven fight night bonuses during his time in the UFC. Currently, he has received four straight and looks to make it five. The full time Indianapolis firefighter and former pro boxer showed his slick ground skills after submitting Brian Foster by kneebar at UFC 110. Brown saw his three fight win streak snapped at UFC 111 by Ricardo Almeida and looks to get back on track by avenging his previous loss to Lytle. The Judo brown belt possesses eleven finishes in his eleven victories.
On paper, the co-main event might not have as much appeal as it once did. After Wanderlei Silva had to pull out due to broken ribs and an injured knee, the UFC scrambled to find a suitable opponent for Japanese superstar Yoshihiro Akiyama. Luckily, TUF Season 1 alum Chris Leben, fresh off a victory over Aaron Simpson on June 19th, was willing and able to step up to the plate. Leben, without a doubt, would love to stand and trade with anyone. With an iron chin and granite fists, Leben is a dangerous opponent for any middleweight. Akiyama, the well-rounded judo gold medalist and model, has been on the shelf since last July after his split decision victory over Alan Belcher. Look for Akiyama to utilize his judo and superior ground game to neutralize Leben’s heavy hands.
In the main event of the evening, the UFC Heavyweight championship will be unified as Interim Champ Shane Carwin takes on Heavyweight Champ Brock Lesnar. This larger than life matchup will be the first time that an event is headlined by two fighters pushing the upper limit of the heavyweight division, as both will be cutting to 265 lbs. (Note: the UFC 111 bout between Carwin and Frank Mir was only the co-main event). With over 500 lbs. of pure power in the cage, only destruction can ensue.
The Interim Champ, Shane Carwin, brings an unblemished record of 12-0 into the fight, with every fight ending in the first round. The full time mechanical engineer from Colorado will look to use his powerful strikes to end the fight. Yet another fighter from Grudge Training Center in Denver, Carwin will come in as prepared as ever. After his destruction of Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 96, Carwin was promised a title shot at Lesnar’s belt. After nearly a year of preparation (and an interim title fight against Frank Mir), Carwin will finally get his crack at the belt. The former Division II national wrestling champion and two-time football All-American will be able to match Lesnar’s athleticism like no opponent before.
Heavyweight Champ Brock Lesnar returns to compete for the first time in nearly a year. After a significant health scare involving diverticulitis, Lesnar has returned to health and looks to defend his belt. The former Divison I national wrestling champion, WWE superstar, and Minnesota Viking will look to impose his athleticism as he did against Frank Mir and Randy Couture. While questions might remain about the Champion’s condition after such a long layoff, one thing is for certain, once the cage door shuts on July 3, prepare for what might be the most explosive heavyweight clash in the sport’s history.
“I train for no one. They train for me.”
- Kurt Pellegrino, guest on Rear Naked Choke Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network with hosts Joe Rizzo and Hector Castro live from LA Boxing in Paramus, N.J.
The UFC’s Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino grew up in New Jersey. He’s watched MMA grow on the east coast, much in the same way as he’s progressed as a fighter. He is the proud owner and lead instructor of Pellegrino’s MMA in Belmar, N.J.
While on the show, Pellegrino reflected on the evolution of MMA in his home state.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “I’m so pumped that Jersey has talented studs. I produced two UFC fighters out of my gym. Not bad for guys who grew up on the shore surfing all day, defending ourselves from sharks.”
Pellegrino’s approach to his UFC 116 lightweight clash with Australia’s George Sotiropoulos is unique in the current MMA landscape. While many fighters rely on a detailed game plan and specific strategy for each fight, Pellegrino wants to let the results speak for themselves.
While riding a four-fight win streak that has brought his record to 15-4 overall and 7-3 in the UFC, he realized in previous fights that game planning can be ineffective.
“Against Josh Neer, I trained standup in camp and I ended up wrestling him,” Pellegrino told RNC Radio. “In the Fabricio Camoes fight, I trained standup and he shot on me.”
Pellegrino’s change of approach has come at a point in his career where he is confident in all aspects of his abilities. The two-time N.J. state wrestling qualifier and BJJ black belt under Hermes Franca is comfortable heading into his July 3 bout in Las Vegas.
“I’m not overconfident, and I’m not nervous,” he said. “I know I have good hands. I have phenomenal takedowns and I’m good on the floor.”
After training non-stop since last August, Pellegrino feels that the time spent in camps with Kenny Florian, Miguel Torres, Firas Zahabi and Marcelo Garcia have him more ready than ever. Combined with the regimen ingrained in him by strength and conditioning coach Jonathan Chaimberg, Pellegrino is in the best shape of his career.
“I’m very comfortable,” Pellegrino said. “I’m the lightest I’ve ever been — 167 pounds — my diet is fantastic.”
As for Sotiropoulos, Pellegrino is not underestimating him.
“George is very good, a wizard off his back, very good on top, and has awesome hands,” he said, noting that the pair have taken different paths to get to this meeting. “I’ve fought a Who’s Who in the UFC 155-pound division. I’ve faced tougher competition and been pushed harder.”
Joe Stevenson, the lone common opponent, beat Pellegrino and lost at UFC 110 in Australia to Sotiropoulos.
“If that fight’s in Vegas, Joe wins that fight,” Pellegrino said, adding that if his match with Stevenson was in New Jersey, he would have come out on top.
Despite the different results against Stevenson, Pellegrino feels that his training partners and drilling will give him the edge in the fight.
“I’m a creature of drilling. Drill, drill, drill,” he said. “I have a cardio day, a wrestling day (with Division-1 caliber wrestlers), a boxing day. Working with BJJ coach Marcelo Garcia, there’s nothing George can do that I haven’t seen.
“If I were to fight BJ Penn or Evan Dunham, I’d use the same methods. There are no more secrets. To beat me, you have to train smarter than me.”
Pellegrino is planning on fighting for a full 15 minutes, but let it be known he will try to end the fight every 30 seconds. He doesn’t believe Sotiropoulos will be prepared for that.
As for his future, he says he’ll know when to call it quits. He’ll turn 31 years old two days after the fight, but “Batman” still has a potentially long career ahead, although he knows that a loss means starting over as a fighter.
“When I’m done, I’m done,” he said when asked about his previous talk of retiring if he lost. “I know when to hang my shit. I’m still a somewhat good looking guy. It’s not over for me yet. It’s not how hard you fall; it’s how fast you get back up.
“I’ll never be out of the game. I want 300 students fighting in the UFC. I want to win grappling tournaments. I want to be the Dan Gable, the Lloyd Irvin, of MMA. I won’t rest until I have it.”
Pellegrino has a special treat for his fans planned for UFC 116. For his legion of more than 6,500 Twitter followers, he is planning on tweeting between rounds if he reaches 10,000 disciples before July 3. As a frequent guest tweeter for the UFC, Kurt has a bit of a cult following already.
“Yeah, I’m pretty awesome.”
A final message for his opponent Sotiropoulos?
“I have a 3-year-old at home,” he said. “He’d better fucking knock me out dead. If he gets my arm, he better break it. I will not tap.”
Hours before Independence Day at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, there’s only one thing to expect from “Batman”: fireworks.
Cung Le, Chris Horodecki and Kurt Pellegrino joined Rear Naked Choke Radio, as hosts Joe Rizzo and Hector Castro came atcha live from LA Boxing in Paramus, N.J.
Le is looking to avenge his stunning loss against Scott Smith when the pair rematch Saturday on the Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum card on Saturday in San Jose, Calif. It was the first career defeat for Le, the former Strikeforce middleweight champion.
Horodecki (15-2) submitted Danny Downes on Sunday at WEC 49. A longtime friend of the show from back in the IFL days, Horodecki rebounded from a loss in his WEC debut to Anthony Njokuani. The win over Downes was his first fight in Canada since 2006.
Pellegrino takes on George Sotiropoulos on the UFC 116 card on July 3 in Las Vegas. He is looking for his fifth straight win and trying to add to his 15-4 record.