Posts Tagged ‘UFC on FOX 3’
Saturday May 5 was one of Ricardo Almeida’s toughest days since he announced his retirement from mixed martial arts just over a year ago.
Almeida was making his major-event debut as an MMA judge for UFC on Fox 3 at East Rutherford, N.J.’s Izod Center, but that wasn’t what had him on edge. And it wasn’t that he was the only judge to score the razor-close Johny Hendricks-Josh Koscheck fight for Koscheck, or even that he initially drove to Newark’s Prudential Center by mistake.
“I’ve been near the Octagon cornering Frankie (Edgar) and Tom DeBlass since I retired but this time around, sitting so close to the Octagon in the judges’ seats, you think about getting back in there and fighting again,” Almeida said during his appearance on Darce Side Radio with Mike Steczkowski on the MMA DieHards Radio Network.
“It was hard, but I look back at everything I did and it was a learning experience for me,” said Almeida of his MMA career. “I am grateful for making a lot of friends that I still get to see because I’m still involved. The UFC treats me like gold and I feel good about it. It’s time to move on and do other things.”
UFC President Dana White has made no secret about his frustration with current MMA judging and has pushed for former fighters to become judges. Almeida is at the forefront of the movement and is, of course, highly qualified. High-level MMA promotions are all that Almeida, a third-degree BJJ blackbelt under Renzo Gracie, has known in his career. He’s fought only for Pride, Pancrase and the UFC, amassing a 13-5 record. The thought is that former fighters see things current MMA judges, whom come mostly from a boxing background or perhaps kickboxing, don’t recognize.
“I think it’s great and I would love to see more – not just fighters – but coaches too giving back to the sport a little bit,” Almeida said.
The prospect of former coaches judging is an interesting point. Who is involved more in the technical aspect of the sport as much as them? But, as Almeida pointed out, the plan that makes sense on the surface can’t be implemented across the board.
“I talked to a couple of fighters who would like to judge but I don’t think every fighter can be a judge,” Almeida said. “Coaches are very involved in the sport on a daily basis so I would like to see some of them.”
When Almeida retired in March 2011 following his loss to Mike Pyle at UFC 128 he had no intention of becoming a judge. His life now would be consumed by his family and very successful BJJ academy, along with supporting teammates such as Frankie Edgar. Living, teaching and training fighters from New Jersey, Almeida always had a close relationship with New Jersey State Athletic Control Board Counsel Nick Lembo. One thing led to another and all of the sudden Almeida was in the judge’s seat.
“It all just kind of happened,” Almeida said. “Nick Lembo is someone I’ve been very close with and worked with over the years and it was a no-brainer to take part in it. It’s a great opportunity for me to give back to a sport that has given me so much.”
Almeida was a judge for Bellator events 49 and 59, but UFC on Fox 3 represented his first judging opportunity for the UFC. He personally scored the John Hathaway-Pascal Krauss, John Dodson-Tim Elliot, Michael Johnson-Tony Ferguson and Josh Koscheck-Johny Hendricks bouts. The one people were talking about after was the Koscheck-Hendricks title, which Hendricks won via split decision to earn a welterweight title shot. There were articles solely dedicated to Almeida being the only judge to score the fight for Koscheck, but not in a negative manner. Everyone wanted to know how the new, more-qualified judge saw things and if he was actually the only one to correctly score the fight.
“I feel though I’m the only judge to give it to Koscheck it wasn’t a controversial decision,” said Almeida, who isn’t allowed to speak in-depth about a fight he scored. “It was just a close fight that could have gone either way.”
Almeida is right when he says not every fighter is cut about to be a judge. He is the kind of person perfect for the job, however. Aside from being well-respected across the board, Almeida is more than just a retired fighter. As a professor he is involved in the sport from dusk ‘till dawn.
“I’ve always been a teacher first and that’s why I still do it,” Almeida said. Presenting people with their white belt and then 8, 10 years later handing them their black belt, I love doing that and I’ll do it until the day I die.”
“I’ll retire when I expire.”
Fighters always talk about not putting the fight in the judges’ hands. But when a scrap does go the distance, a man with as much passion as Almeida is the guy you want making the call.
Danny Castillo may not believe in superstitions, but when there is a winning streak involved, he can’t strip away tradition.
Team Alpha Male member, Castillo (Twitter: @lastcall155), has been a staple with the Zuffa organization since 2008. Compiling 9-4 record since starting with the WEC, Castillo successfully joined the UFC with the merger and has produced four wins and one loss, which was by the hands of Jacob Volkmann.
Castillo recently extended his win streak to three in a row when he silenced John Cholish at “UFC on Fox 3: Diaz vs. Miller.” Even though it was a 15-minute brawl, the battered Castillo is having trouble staying out of the gym, days after the fight.
“Winning that fight definitely motivates me more,” Castillo said with MMA Beatdown on the MMADieHards Radio Network. “So I’m trying to stay out of the gym, but I was already back in there today. I’ve got a few bumps and bruises, but I think I find more motivation with wins than I do with losses sometimes. I’m already thinking about new things I want to do, new camps I want to visit and I just want to get better; I’m constantly thinking about fighting.”
Where most fighters have a pecking order of who they want to fight next, “Last Call” is keeping a wide outlook on the situation and not getting ahead of himself. With the personal goals already set for the year, Castillo is going to leave the fight picks to the pros.
“I want to try and crack that top ten in the next year or come close to it,” said Castillo. That’s been my goal and I’m looking for a big fight here the next fight or the fight after. It doesn’t really matter to me; I think that Joe Silva has done a great job in match making for me. It seems like he is picking the fights for me to win, so whatever he has for me I’m confident that I’m going to keep the win streak going.”
While assisting with the training on one half of “The Ultimate Fighter: Live” with Team Faber, Castillo has had the opportunity of exploring new ventures and experiences training in Las Vegas. Since his last victory in New Jersey, Castillo is back home in Sacramento, but still yearns for the guidance of a different coaching.
Finding it beneficial training with Sergio Penha in Vegas, Castillo wants to make a trip back, but he has also found some help more close to home.
“I’m just trying to find the best guys I can,” admitted Castillo. “Caesar Gracie’s is not too far, so I wouldn’t mind cross training with them. There are a couple of different coaches that I want to work with; I still want to be going to Vegas and try to get out there for two week training camps every now and then.”
It may not be well known because of the strength of his wrestling, but Castillo has been an avid boxing fan from his childhood days and is appreciating the art even more so today. In an effort to expand his skillset, Castillo visited the Mayweather Boxing Club to sharpen his tools.
“I was able to hit mitts with Jeff (Mayweather) and work my boxing there, sparring with a few pro boxers,” Castillo said. “To improve on my boxing is definitely a confidence builder and is making me feel really comfortable out there. Once I put everything together, I’m going to be making a run at that title.”
Putting everything together is one thing for Castillo, but the other has a little bit more to do with habit. The California native is admittedly not superstitious, but has noticed a continuing trend that may be the key to his success.
When most fighters are sweating and putting their bodies through the torments of cutting weight the night before weigh-ins, Castillo finds another way of passing the time.
“I used to be really superstitious, but not so much lately. I don’t really believe in that, but I do have some fun rituals. This fight was the seventh fight that I’ve won where I went to the strip club the night before the weigh-ins.
“My girlfriend isn’t too hot about it, but 7-0, that’s pretty crazy. For some reason, I win when I go.”
UFC on FOX 3 victor Danny Castillo and Legacy 11 fighter Chad Robichaux join Mike Fester and Alex Donno (of Miami’s 790 The Ticket) on tonight’s MMA Beatdown.
“Robo” Robichaux (11-2) is an 8 time Afghanistan Marine Recon vet. He talks his upcoming fight, his non-profit organization designed to help veterans cope with PTSD (using BJJ!), and what his future holds.
Danny “Last Call” Castillo, fresh off a unanimous decision victory over John Cholish on the UFC’s third FOX card, checks back in with the crew as well.
The show streams live here at MMADiehards.com at 8:30 p.m. Eastern, 5:30 on the West Coast, which we’ve been told is the Best Coast – though that’s up for debate. Face buried in a pizza? Picking up The Wife’s clothes at the dry cleaners? On a mandatory Tuesday Date Night? Look, we get it. Shiznit happens. You’ve got a life to live outside of little ol’ us at Beatdown Radio – even though we managed to get an entire extra day added onto the calendar for you. So we’ll do ya another favor. We’ll make the show available on demand RIGHT HERE after the completion of the broadcast or as a download at iTunes for the low-low, low-low cost of FREE. (But you’re way, way cooler if you’re here with us live.)
East Rutherford, N.J. – Calculating, precise and ultimately devastating, Nate Diaz left no doubt as to where he stands in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight division.
In what could once again be described as the best performance of his career, Diaz defeated perennial contender Jim Miller with a second-round guillotine choke in the UFC on FOX 3 main event Saturday night at the Izod Center.
Diaz’s destruction of local favorite Miller via a second-round guillotine choke gives the Caesar Gracie-trained fighter his third dominating win in a row and the No. 1 contender spot at 155 pounds. UFC President Dana White clarified the lightweight picture in the post-fight press conference, confirming that Diaz would only face Anthony Pettis if he wanted to, which contradicted a report from Friday. Diaz said he would instead wait for the winner of the rematch between current champion Benson Henderson and former champ Frankie Edgar, which is expected to take place in early fall.
“He’s tough,” Diaz acknowledged. “I worked hard and let the training do the talking.”
After a first round in which he got the better of the striking despite Miller effectively countering his reach with clinch work, Diaz flashed his ground work with a slick transition into the guillotine. Miller tried to roll through but Diaz stayed with him, forced the tap out and improved to 3-0 since his cut back down to 155 pounds. In his last three fights Diaz has submitted Takanori Gomi and Miller with a dominating decision win over Donald Cerrone. Miller lost for just the second time in 10 fights and was finished for the first time in his career.
“Nate controlled the fight from bell to bell,” Miller said. “He took the momentum and never let me get any significant shots in there. He fought a beautiful fight. He had my number.”
Miller immediately looked to close the distance in the first round and was able to get inside and into the clinch not he much longer Diaz. But Diaz manufactured strikes from in tight and eventually stunned Miller with a right jab, straight left combo. Miller escaped danger from a late grappling sequence but the round was Diaz’s on two of the three judges scorecards. Interestingly, judge Bittencourt gave each fighter a 10 in the first round.
The second round sam Miller uncharacteristically respond to taunting by Diaz with a charging, flying knee attempt. Diaz stalked with ranged boxing attacks before sinking in a the guillotine. Miller tried to roll out of it but Diaz secured the choke and forced Miller to tap at the 4:09 mark the second round.
Diaz improves to 16-7 overall and 11-5 in the UFC. Miller is 1-2 in last three fights and fell to 21-4 and 10-3 in the UFC.
Hector Castro of MMADieHards.com catches up with Jim Miller and talks about his upcoming fight with Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 3. The event takes place May 5 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J.