Posts Tagged ‘TJ Grant’
The UFC brought combat sports to George Mason University’s campus in Fairfax, Va. Tuesday night. The UFC on Fuel TV 3 prelims delivered exciting battles showcasing a whole school’s worth of textbook MMA entertainment.
The prelims began with a bantamweight bout between Alex Soto and Francisco “Cisco” Rivera, Jr. The pair produced a nail-biting fight with Rivera throwing furious strikes only for Soto to hang on with desperation takedowns.
In one insane trade, Rivera painted Soto’s mug with face kicks only for Soto to point at his mouth and ask for more. Amazingly, he hung on, and the highly entertaining scrap ended in a unanimous decision win for “Cisco.”
In the undercard’s most inspiring fight, amateur wrestling wizard Marcus LeVesseur made his UFC debut against Cody McKenzie. He instantly took McKenzie down, only to suffer a groin shot and have the bout restarted. That went more in McKenzie’s favor, and the guillotine choke god soon locked in his signature hold for a submission win.
In other action, Jeff “Big Frog” Curran and Johnny Eduardo clashed in a slow-burning bout. Though both fought conservatively, they threw crisp bombs whenever they could. In the final round, Eduardo complained about an eye poke when Curran cracked him with a one-two across the temple. It might have made the difference – Curran dropped Eduardo a win moments later via unanimous decision.
Kamal “Prince of Persia” Shalorus also came up short in a blitzkrieg bout against Rafael Dos Anjos. Dos Anjos rocked the unsuspecting lightweight with a high kick, and then took him out with a rear naked choke as he cowered on the canvas.
TJ Grant and Carlo “Neo” Prater, meanwhile, got in a grappling battle. The two jockeyed for cage control before Prater tripped up Grant looking for a leg lock. Grant survived, and then peppered Prater with knees in the clinch. Worn down, Prater ended in a ground scramble Grant dominated en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Brad Tavares and Dongi “The Ox” Yang closed things out with a snoozer eventually turned slugfest. Tentative at first, the duo turned things up round after round. Closing with a Tavares unanimous decision victory, the prelims pumped up the crowd with fights that entertained across the board regardless of how each ended.
In a stunning and unpredictable turn of events Saturday, UFC President Dana White released a video stating that Nate Marquardt failed his medical clearance for his bout against Rick Story at UFC Live on Versus 4, and immediately released him from the organization.
“It’s true. He failed his medicals. Not only is out of this fight and out of the main event on Versus, he will no longer be with the UFC,” White said in a video he posted on his Twitter via Tout.com.
This comes as a huge shock to the MMA world, and no further comments have been made by UFC officials or anyone from Marquardt’s camp.
Story was not left without an opponent, as Charlie Brenneman got another chance and has been slotted in. Brenneman originally was supposed to fight TJ Grant on the undercard, but Grant was removed from the bout with an undisclosed illness and the match was scrapped. Brenneman is from Holidaysburg, Pa., some 90 miles from Pittsburgh, where the event is being held.
Brenneman trains under Mike Constantino at AMA Fight Club in Northern New Jersey. Constantino’s camp, which includes brothers Jim and Dan Miller, has became known for fighters being prepared on short notice. Miller stepped in against Marquardt at UFC 128 on a week’s notice, and lost a decision.
(Joe Rizzo contributed to this story)
The Spaniard will be fighting close to home.
Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman’s petition to fight on the UFC on Versus 4 card in Pittsburgh on June 26 apparently worked, as Brenneman will take on Canadian T.J. Grant in a welterweight bout, a source close to the event told MMADieHards.com.
Matt Riddle had been Grant’s original opponent, based on a verbal agreement announced by the UFC on April 27. When the UFC officially announced later Friday that Riddle was being replaced, it cited an undisclosed injury and that Brenneman verbally agreed to take his place.
Brenneman is from Hollidaysburg, Pa., which is about 95 miles east of Pittsburgh. The event takes place at the brand-new Consul Energy Center, which is the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Brenneman recently moved to East Hanover, N.J. to be closer to Mike Constantino’s AMA Fight Club.
As a recent guest on Rear Naked Choke Radio on MMADieHards.com, Brenneman talked about how he monitors the welterweights in upcoming UFC events, and was looking at UFC on Versus 4 in case a spot opened up. Constantino’s fighters have built a reputation for taking UFC fights on short notice, most notably brothers Jim and Dan Miller.
The 30-year-old Brenneman earned his nickname for his role as a Spanish teacher in the Holidaysburg Area School District. He wrestled at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania and finished in the top 12 in nationals in 2004. He is coming off a dominating win over Amilcar Alves at UFC Fight for the Troops on Jan. 22 to push his record to 13-2.
Grant, 27, is 16-5 overall but has alternated wins and losses in his six UFC fights. Grant lost to Ricardo Almeida at UFC 124 on Dec. 11. He has been stopped just once, by submission to Jesse Bongfeldt before either were in the UFC.
At the time, many probably wondered what was wrong with Ricardo Almeida. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace had won six straight fights to become the middleweight King of Pancrase and followed that up with a win in Pride. After his unanimous decision victory over Ryo Chonan on May 23, 2004, however, Almeida would not step in a ring or cage for another four years.
Surely the decision confounded some. Why would a 27-year old in the prime of his career just walk away? But Almeida returned to the UFC in February of 2008 and has posted a 4-2 record since, and it has been that layoff that has helped him become the fighter he is today.
“I took four years off to focus on my family and my school,” Almeida said to Hector Castro and Pete Sumulong on Ground N Pound Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “I matured a lot and a big part of it is the pressure of being a professional fighter.”
A veteran of 16 pro fights, Almeida is no stranger to the pressures of being a professional mixed martial artist, and his experience and new outlook gained during his time off have served him well in his return to competition. Take his recent loss to Matt Hughes at UFC 117 back in August. The UFC Hall of Famer defeated Almeida in 3:15 via a front headlock choke, and it was a tough loss for the Renzo Gracie protege, who was looking for his fourth win in a row. Five days later, Almeida was participating in a charity event, not sulking. Now 34, Almeida has figured out how to learn from his losses rather than harp on them.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” Almeida said. “You lose, and a big part of fighting is confidence and that comes from successful repetition. You’re doing some things that work for a few fights and all of the sudden you get caught. You have to work through them and acknowledge it was a mistake in either preparation or execution.”
“I have great coaches so I’ll take the lesson, take notes and move on. You can’t dwell on it too much because it’s just going to get in the way. You’re not as good as you think you are when you win, and you’re not as bad as you look when you lose.”
That attitude has Almeida feeling at ease as he gets ready to square off against TJ Grant this Saturday at UFC 124: St. Pierre vs. Koscheck II in Montreal. Before his loss to Hughes, Almeida had won three straight bouts over Matt Brown, Kendall Grove and Matt Horwich. Now he’ll face Grant, a 26-year old Canadian fighter with a 20-4 record known for his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expertise and well-rounded arsenal. Grant is 3-2 in the Octagon since his debut in April of 2009 and is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Julio Paulino at UFC 119.
“Nowadays everyone is pretty well-rounded,” said Almeida of Grant’s repertoire. “TJ can put guys out with his hands, he’s very good with jiu-jitsu and has good wrestling. I’m looking forward to challenging myself and executing, because I’m doing the right things in preparation.”
Most of “Big Dog’s” training is done at his own gym, the Ricardo Almeida Brazilin Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Hamilton, N.J. The training center has become a hot-bed for fighters on the East Coast with the likes of Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. Usually Almeida is playing the part of coach, but when it’s his turn to get ready for a fight he has some great training partners at his disposal.
“Frankie is a guy that definitely keeps me on my toes and keeps me sharp,” Almeida said. “If I can keep up with him I can keep up with anyone in the welterweight division. He just moves so much and the type of pressure he puts on his opponent is big. For me as a fighter to train with these guys makes me better, and as a coach I have to be better or I’m not helping them at all.”
“Mastering of martial arts is not in creating anything new, it’s about removing mistakes. It’s about focusing, and I’ve been out there so many times I’m just moving forward from the last fight. I can’t wait for Saturday night.”
Saturday will also mark Almeida’s third fight at welterweight after dropping down to 170 pounds for his fight against Brown this past March. His previous cuts at middleweight required him to shed just a few pounds, but he feels the extra work to get down to 170 is the best move he can make.
“It’s definitely the right division for me,” he said. “Cutting (weight) takes some of the fun away, but you want to be competitive and you have to put in some work and accept the fact that the sport is growing. Ignore it, and you’ll get beat by someone willing to do it. I’ve trained really hard for this one. I’m confident and pretty loose. Now it’s just the final adjustments.”
While Almeida has moved on from his previous bout and gotten himself in a good frame of mind, Grant has a different challenge in front of him. The Nova Scotia native will be fighting for the third time in Montreal for the UFC. He lost his prior fight to Johny Hendricks by unanimous decision last May.
“Me being out of town there is no pressure on me,” Almeida said. “It’s on TJ trying to perform in front of his home crowd. He lost the last fight at home, so I’m sure he’ll be in really good shape. It should be a really good scrap, and I’m looking forward to it.”