Posts Tagged ‘UFC Fight Night 25’
Jake Ellenberger respects everybody he steps in the cage with, but one stands above the rest.
Ellenberger (Twitter: @EllenbergerMMA) is recently coming off the biggest victor of his blossoming career. At Ultimate Fight Night 25, Ellenberger dismantled the former UFC welterweight No. 1 contender Jake Shields in dominating fashion.
With the knockout victory over Shields, Ellenberger improved to an impressive 26-5 and increased his consecutive win streak to five.
“It was the biggest opportunity of my career to fight Jake Shields, who is a world champion, and to headline a UFC event,” Ellenberger explained to Joe Rizzo on Rear Naked Choke Radio on the MMADieHards Radio Network. “This was definitely a big milestone in my career. I’m still training hard every day and I’ve been really focused over the last few years.”
Making the main-event bout look effortless, Ellenberger came in and took care of business against Shields, ending the bout in 53 seconds.
Planning to come out pressuring the Cesar Gracie Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Ellenberger and his coaches had a game plan that worked precisely the way things were predicted. Staying out of Shields’ world – the ground – was a focus for the Nebraskan.
“I was very confident going in to this fight — training with my coaches had been amazing and (they were) really believing in me,” Ellenberger said. “It all went according to plan. Controlling where the fight goes was the key to this fight and keeping the pressure on him. It was a little quicker than anticipated, but the same ending.”
However, coming into this feature bout, Shields had suffered a tragic personal misfortune. Jack Shields was father, manager and friend of the seasoned fighter, whose life came to an end at the age of 67, three weeks before their bout.
Even with the loss, Shields thought it best to continue with the fight and keep on moving with life.
Understanding if Shields was to have pulled out, Ellenberger has a new-found respect for the former Strikeforce middleweight champion.
“I would have totally understood if he had pulled out of the fight,” expressed Ellenberger. “I don’t even know what I would have done; I can’t even say that I would have stayed in the fight. There are very few reasons as to why someone can pull from a fight and that would be at the top of the list, if a family member passed away like that.
“I respect Jake’s decision to stay in the fight – you can’t ignore that – and you can’t ignore the fact that he is probably going through some of the hardest times in his life. I definitely respect him as a professional for that.”
Ellenberger had suffered the loss of a family member close to him and can relate to some of the emotions that Shields might have experienced. Knowing first-hand what Shields was going through helped Ellenberger look at Shields more highly as an individual.
“As much as I wanted to compete against him for a while,” admitted Ellenberger, “I keep in mind that he is a human being and that he lost a family member, which I’ve been through, and there is nothing easy about it. I had respect for him before as a fighter and even more now afterwards.”
Jake Ellenberger has arrived into welterweight title contention.
Ellenberger handed Jake Shields his first stoppage in over a decade and took just 53 seconds to do it on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night 25 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
The other winners on the main card, televised on Spike TV, were Ultimate Fighter Season 11 winner Court McGee, rising star Erik Koch and returning hometown hero Alan Belcher.
Ellenberger breathed life into an otherwise lackluster card with his stunning finish. He clinched and connected his right knee with Shields’ chin to fell the former Strikeforce middleweight champion and UFC welterweight title contender. Ellenberger then blasted away with six unanswered lefts to Shield’s left ear, and referee Kevin Mulhall waved it off.
Shields, in turtle position, was dazed enough to grab forward and secure his hands behind Mulhall’s left leg, thinking the referee was Ellenberger (25-5). He was fighting a mere three weeks after the death of his father, Jack. Despite his passing, Shields said he had decided almost immediately to remain on the card.
Ellenberger has won nine of his last 10 fights, including five straight since losing a split decision to title contender Carlos Condit in his UFC debut two years and one day before this event. He figures to be in the mix among the top handful of contenders for Georges St-Pierre’s title.
“I feel unbelievable, Jake Shields is a world champion, I can’t explain how I feel right now, it’s great,” Ellenberger said. ”Just keeping the pressure, (that) was the whole strategy, keeping the pressure and I got the W. It’s great.”
Ellenberger claimed the $55,000 bonus for knockout of the night. The other bonus winners came from the undercard, which was streamed via Facebook. T.J. Waldburger received the submission of the night cash for his triangle choke of late replacement Mike Stumpf at 3:52 of the first round. The fight of the night earned an extra $55,000 each for winner Lance Benoist and Matthew Riddle.
McGee outpointed Dongi Yang to earn a unanimous decision in their middleweight contest. The fight lagged until midway through the final round, when both seemed to find another gear. McGee secured it when he cut Yang, then took him down and nearly pulled off a submission in the waning moments. The judges gave him scores of 30-27, 30-28 and 29-28.
McGee (14-1) had been out of action with injuries since October 2010, and improved to 3-0 in the UFC, including his win over Kris McCray to win The Ultimate Fighter. Yang (10-2) lost for the second time in three fights since joining the UFC.
In a featherweight fight, Erik Koch went the distance and earned a unanimous decision against Jonathan Brookins (12-4), who had not fought in the UFC since winning TUF 12 against Michael Johnson in December.
Koch lost one round on one judge’s card and took the rest with precision striking. Brookins did not generate offense outside of trying to keep Koch’s back to the cage. Koch (13-1) defended his takedowns well and was noticeably faster with his fists and feet. He has won four straight since his only loss, to featherweight contender Chad Mendes.
Belcher (17-6) had been out of action since May 2010, undergoing numerous procedures on his eye. He gave the veteran MacDonald (25-15) little chance, taking it to him from the opening bell of their middleweight contest.
Belcher got MacDonald to the ground and unleashed short, powerful ground strikes from the mount. MacDonald gave a verbal submission at 3:48 of the first round to drop to 1-2 in his latest stint with the UFC.
“Man it feels awesome, I’m so emotional right now, been through so many trials and tribulations,” Belcher said. ”I didn’t know if I was gonna fight again.
“I’m not the same fighter I used to be. When I am on the ground I am just as dangerous as when I am standing up.”
While it will be roughly two months before MMA’s debut on “Big” Fox, featherweight Erik Koch found a way to unite the UFC and the NFL.
Gourmet sandwiches and Drew Brees.
Koch (Twitter: @NewBreed04) counts himself ready to take on The Ultimate Fighter winner Jonathan Brookins on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 25 in New Orleans because on Friday night he was able to enjoy his traditional post-weigh-in meal. Such a fan of the chain Jimmy John’s that he used to work there, Koch (pronounced: Coke) was not sure he would have his comfort food in The Big Easy until he got into town.
“I had a No. 12 called the Beach Club,” a relieved Koch assured MMADieHards.com. ”It’s my power food!”
Koch got the Beach Club from a brand-new Jimmy John’s location opened up in nearby Metairie, La., by none other than Brees, the New Orleans Saints’ superstar quarterback. To Koch’s great fortune, the franchise’s first day of operation was Wednesday, just in time for him to locate it and make good on the tradition.
Koch is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and lives in Milwaukee, where he trains under Duke Roufus. Brees, who starred in college at Purdue in Indiana, points out that Koch is not alone in his culinary desires.
“I tweeted about it a few times and usually get great fan response from people that have had it in the Midwest or other places around the country,” Brees remarked in a statement via Jimmy John’s. ”We’ve brought it to New Orleans and hopefully we’ll continue to grow the franchise throughout the city.”
Koch is doing his part to make that happen. After hitting the scales at 146 pounds, he began his customary replenishment. Before that, Koch went in depth with Rear Naked Choke Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network.
“New Orleans didn’t have one,” Koch explained. “So I’m like, ‘What the hell am I going to do if I can’t get my Jimmy John’s?’ I found out about six days ago that Brees opened up a new Jimmy John’s in New Orleans, and it’s probably seven minutes away from me. I told my buddy it’s destiny. This happened for a reason. I’ll get my Jimmy John’s.”
As a fighter, Koch has not been able to siphon any support money from the chain. It might not be in their corporate plans, but maybe the brass will come around if they see Koch appear on Fox some Saturday night before they watch Brees on the same broadcast network the next day.
“I’ve been trying to get a sponsorship,” Koch said. “I’ll make a shout-out here: Jimmy John’s, if you hear this interview I want a sponsorship. I’d be the perfect spokesperson for Jimmy John’s.”
Although it is a huge part of his makeup, Koch is not just focused on food. Brookins has been out of action since December, when he defeated Michael Johnson to win the 12th season of TUF. Koch intends on making him his third straight knockout of the night bonus victim.
The last two times out, Koch has demolished Rafael Assuncao at UFC 128 and Francisco Rivera at WEC 52. Add a triangle submission of Bendy Casimir at WEC 49 and it’s three straight first-round finishes since the lone loss of his career, to current featherweight contender Chad Mendes.
Koch is not shy about predicting the outcomes of his fights. He said on the RNC Radio show in March that he was going to win knockout of the night against Assuncao, then backed it up. He called a similar outcome in New Orleans.
“The same thing, knockout of the night,” Koch said on the show. “It’s just that simple, that’s what I’m going for. I got two in a row. I’m going for a third one.”
As if his frankness was not good enough, he gave the reason behind his past confidence.
“I can tell you exactly what happened and exactly what we were drawing,” Koch said in recollection of the Assuncao fight. “I worked with my coaches Duke Roufus and Coach Cush (Scott Cushman). We worked exactly what he did, a counter-hook with a guy coming in strong like that. And that’s exactly what it was.”
Then he turned to Brookins and allowed himself to look forward to what will happen if things go according to plan.
“There’s definitely a couple (ways) to exploit him,” Koch said. “If I can do it the way I plan on doing it, which is another knockout of the night or just a knockout, then that’s three in a row. That’s really hard to look past, and I’ve been fighting high-level guys already and once I ranked second in the world in this division. He’s never been knocked out, so with a decisive victory over Brookins, I definitely think I deserve a title shot.
“If it goes to the ground I think I can beat him there, too. It may be submission of the night. I just know that I want to make the fight exciting for the fans, I want to make it an exciting fight and that’s what I do. I like to win, but I like to finish. I’m a finisher. I’m not satisfied with decisions.”
Now that he’s finished off his Jimmy John’s Beach Club, Koch’s fight with Brookins should be a breeze.
Shamar Bailey is busy preparing for his upcoming fight, but that isn’t the only thing consuming his life.
Bailey (Twitter: @ShamarBailey) is gearing up for his Ultimate Fight Night 25 bout Saturday against Evan Dunham at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. This will mark The Ultimate Fighter 13 contestant’s second bout inside the Octagon and an escalation in competition.
Bailey’s first UFC match took place at the TUF 13 Finale, on which he defeated Ryan McGillivray via unanimous decision.
For a fighter who dropped two consecutive bouts heading into the show and was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the television series, Dunham is a big step up.
“Evan is the toughest guy I have ever fought, by far, but at the end of the day I have to look at it as just another fight,” Bailey explained to MMADieHards.com. “I can’t pay attention to what his name is or who he is or what he does. I still have to go in there and fight, so that’s all I’m concerned about right now.”
In order to prepare for a competitor like Dunham, Bailey trained alongside the best athletes he could find.
Dunham trains at the elite Xtreme Couture facility in Las Vegas, therefore it is no secret that he is sparring with some of the best combatants in the sport. Bailey admitted that he stayed with his regular squad back in Indianapolis at the Integrated Fighting Academy, but he also elaborated on training with a certain Strikeforce champion.
“Training has been great because I had all the people I needed,” Bailey stated. “I had a nutritionist, great training partners, and everybody came together to help me get ready. I been training with some real tough guys that nobody ever heard of, but they will soon. I also trained with Chris Lytle, I got to train with Dan Henderson, and some guys from Arizona and some guys from Florida, as well. I feel good, I feel ready.”
While Bailey was on the reality series under coach Junior Dos Santos, he enjoyed a rare opportunity.
Bailey got the pleasure of training with the UFC’s No. 1 heavyweight title contender. More importantly, the lightweight learned a lesson in UFC life.
“Junior definitely has a lot to offer,” Bailey said. “He taught me not only knowledge of the game, but also about life as far as being a fighter in the UFC. I enjoyed my time with Junior in the gym and it was a great experience.”
Although Bailey has not had the experience of performing on main UFC card, he has had an enormous amount of exposure during his Zuffa career.
The Ultimate Fighter was broadcast on SpikeTV, along with the finale on which Bailey competed, and yet again his bout against Dunham could be broadcast there, time permitting. This time it will not be on regular cable and he still will be on the preliminary card, but the opportunity for a great amount of exposure is prominent.
“It’s really cool to be fighting on Facebook,” Bailey admitted. “Usually you’re on the undercard, but this way people all around the world get to watch it. I’m looking forward to it.”
Aside from the strict training schedule a professional mixed martial artist must attain to, Bailey also enjoys a second career with Lytle, who recently retired from fighting.
Bailey works at the Indianapolis Fire Department, which is even more demanding than competing in MMA, but he enjoys the dual career. Bailey finds that surrounding himself with the right people makes all the difference in the world.
“I stay busy,” Bailey said. “I have to get in the gym as much as I can, but it helps because the people I work with are really supportive. That’s a big help. I am going to continue to do both for as long as I can.”
Whether it be a firefighter or MMA fighter, it appears as if Bailey’s life isn’t getting any less busy.