Posts Tagged ‘UFC’
If Alexis Davis fought Ronda Rousey for the UFC women’s bantamweight title, it could be like her whole town is watching.
Davis (Twitter: @AlexisDavisMMA) hails from Port Colborne, Ontario. The town of Port Colborne is on the north shore of Fort Erie, has hovered around a population of 18,000 people since 1991, and is known as a retirement community with nice beaches and good fishing, not for its MMA.
Davis joined one of the few martial arts gyms in her locale that specialized in jiu-jitsu, where she became a member of the Dayboll Jiu-Jitsu and Fitness Academy. The Japanese and Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt excelled in in the art and competed at the highest levels before transferring to MMA.
After stockpiling an ample amount of victories, Davis headed south and then west to train with some of the sport’s top fighters — and one well-notarized trainer.
“I followed my instructor down there,” Davis told Jason Kelly and Joe Rizzo on MMA DieHards Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “We went down to Florida; I had the opportunity to train with (Pablo) Popovitch. Then down at The Armoury, it was Edson Barboza and Marlon Moraes. Then we were kind of going through a transition period (and) I moved out to California. And I’m here now under Cesar (Gracie).”
Under Gracie’s wing, Davis competed three times in Strikeforce and twice in Invicta FC, losing only once. In fact, Davis’ five career blemishes have come against the highly regarded Tara LaRosa, Shayna Baszler, Elaina Maxwell and Sarah Kaufman (twice). In her 13 wins, Davis has finished nine opponents.
Davis’ winning ways and exciting bouts, coupled with an existing Zuffa contract from fighting under the Strikeforce banner, garnered the Canadian employment with the world’s premiere MMA organization.
“At first, (the UFC) called me and said they were bringing everybody over,” Davis said. “(They said), ‘You have a Zuffa contract and we’re going to bring you over on that, we’re just slowly making our rounds, through.’ I was kind of pumped, but didn’t quite believe it yet. Then we went and signed a new contract and that’s signed and put forth now.”
Same as a standard contract offered to male combatants, Davis signed a four-fight UFC deal. She is currently awaiting an opponent for her debut. With limited options in the depth for the UFC women’s bantamweight (135-pound) division, Davis sees just one suitable contest.
“It’s something I would take in a heartbeat,” Davis said. “I said from the very beginning that when they said no one would fight Rousey, I said I would fight her. I’m dying for that shot. It’s something hopefully that’s soon to come, (but) it’s in the hands of them. We (have) to wait for the UFC.”
That patience is a virtue is a reality Davis may soon have to swallow. UFC president Dana White hinted at the fact that the victor of Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano could receive the next chance to compete against Rousey for her strap.
That idea doesn’t sit well with Davis.
“It kills me that he said that,” Davis said. “I’d be more than willing to wait a couple of months if I was told I would get that shot. If it came down to, you know, (they) want to give Ronda a couple months’ break, I would wait for that shot. I would rather fight her than anyone else at this point because, you know, you risk getting injured or hurt, if not in the fight, then in training. I really hope — and I am pushing for — that fight.”
A fight against Rousey would attract an incredible amount of attention and draw a large crowd. Given the right venue, Davis could compete for the UFC women’s bantamweight title in front of a live audience with as many people as the population of the town she was raised in.
A title match with 18,000 onlookers is all it would take and Davis would feel right at home.
Wanderlei Silva yielded retirement talks with a violent, risky performance to earn a victory at UFC on FUEL TV 8, but an applied game plan could’ve caused a different outcome for the fight and his career.
Saturday, Silva defeated Stann via KO at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. It was a highlight reel finish, as the “Axe Murderer” connected with a right, left combination that collapsed Stann in Round 2, but not after a sketchy opening frame for Silva.
Silva and Stann put on a fight reminiscent of those that the Brazilian presented in his days with Pride FC. Both combatants initiated the bout with an intense level of aggression. As they stood clinched in one another’s single-collar tie, Silva and Stann rifled punches back and forth, neglecting defense. Silva was dropped, but Stann was bleeding from his nose.
Silva took the center of the Octagon and challenged Stann, and the Marine did not shy away. They squared up and exchanged punches, where Silva was put down again. The Brazilian prevented from being laid flat out by clinching with Stann, and then the pair of mixed martial artists engaged in yet another unguarded exchange of fists. Silva was wobbled a couple of times from Stann’s shots, but the American hit the canvas once, as well.
In Round 2, Silva was more conservative with his strikes, but Stann continued with his radicalness of loaded punches and seeking a KO. Stann was loading up to throw a right-straight punch when Silva caught him first with the same punch, then followed up with a left-hook and sent “The All-American” to the canvas. It took a few effortless punches when Stann was on the mat for the referee to halt the match and declare Silva the winner.
For a fighter like Stann, who is equipped with adequate skills and strategizes game plans with MMA mastermind Greg Jackson, he did not employ those assets in this bout. Had he picked his punches with accuracy and avoided Silva’s heavy hands, Stann very well likely could’ve been the victor.
Silva has shown in recent years that he can’t absorb the punishment he once could. While still one of the toughest athletes the sport has ever seen, the former Pride FC middleweight champion has been on the wrong end of some brain rattling knockouts throughout his 49-fight, 17-year career.
Silva, whether he stays in the light heavyweight division or returns to the 185-pound weight class, will be matched against a formidable foe in his next outing. If he can lure his opponent into the sandstorm of strikes, the odds are in his favor, but against an implemented game plan, it could be his demise from the sport.
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Mein (Twitter: @fightingmeins) makes his long awaited UFC debut on March 16 against Dan Miller at UFC 158 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. After blowing the competition, which included Joe Riggs, Josh Neer and Marius Zaromskis, in his native Canada, Mein competed under the Strikeforce banner where he went 2-1.
Lozito (Twitter: @joe_lozito), considerably the most heroic MMA fan in the world, joined the podcast to recite his near death experience and UFC treatment. Lozito chatted some MMA with the hosts, amongst other topics in the news.
Davis (Twitter: @AlexisDavisMMA), another UFC newcomer, enters the promotion on a two-fight win streak. Though, she doesn’t have a UFC fight scheduled yet, Davis is hoping for a shot at UFC women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey.
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Douglas “The Phenom” Lima (Twitter: @PhenomLima) recently found his way back to the Bellator welterweight finals. At Bellator 90, Lima defeated Bryan Baker via KO and set up a rematch against Ben Saunders in the Bellator Season 8 finals. Lima will look to be victorious against Saunders again, which will result in a title rematch for the Brazilian against 170-pound champion Ben Askren.
Mikey Rukus (Twitter: @MikeyRukus) will also stop by and talk some music and MMA. He is the man behind the new PDR intro, yet has an insight to the MMA world. His aggressive music matches that of combat sports, and he embodies it with his talents.
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Ignorant critics are just part of the job for veteran referee Yves Lavigne.
As a member of the Canadian karate team, Lavigne (Twitter: @YvesLavignemma) competed at the highest levels. After retiring from karate he trained in the sweet science of boxing. Not being a competitor anymore, the French-Canadian began judging kickboxing matches in his native province of Quebec after being offered a position from a friend in the athletic commission.
Combat sports were a major interest in Lavigne’s life, and when he first witnessed a 170-pound Brazilian defeat combatants that were much larger in size, he knew it was something special.
“When I saw the first UFC,” Lavigne explained to Amy Barton and John Petit on Punch Drunk Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “You know the little guy with the pajamas beating everybody? His name was Royce Gracie. I didn’t understand what he was doing because I was coming from a striking background. I’m like, ‘Kick the guy, punch him. How come he’s winning?’ I was yelling at the TV. I didn’t really didn’t understand, but I loved what I was watching.”
Lavigne told the commissioner of the athletic commission in Quebec that MMA is the future, but the idea was shunned. To their surprise, Lavigne was correct in his predictions and the sport was legalized in Quebec in 1996.
Issues with unsanctioned bouts on Indian reserves were a problem at the time, so Lavigne assisted in structuring the sport and established rules, guidelines and precautionary measures in Quebec. This also led to his career as an MMA referee.
“I worked with the government in Quebec to legalize the sport,” Lavigne said. “In 1997 or ’98 we had the first legal sanctioned mixed martial arts in Quebec, and I was one of the refs. When we finished the process and came up with the rules we needed a ref and judge. They all looked at me and I said, ‘Ok, I’ll be the ref.’ It started like that.”
Now, a familiar face in the Octagon, Lavigne is watched under a microscope by people all over the world. Though, Lavigne is one of the best at his job, he is still human and makes errors from time to time.
Refereeing is the most underappreciated job in MMA. Gratitude is infrequently handed out, yet criticism is readily available.
“When everything goes right, it’s like you’re not there and they don’t even notice you,” Lavigne said. “When something goes wrong everybody is on you.”
To hear the barking from the fans is something Lavigne can tolerate, but when people who claim to be in the know slander the referee, he questions their understanding of the sport.
“When you have supposedly knowledgeable people who criticize your job or put a bad joke about you on the internet,” Lavigne said. “Sometimes it’s so specific. By the comment they (write) you find out they don’t know what there are talking about. It’s like sometimes a journalist or people that are supposed to know don’t know the rules we have to obey. They don’t know that the unified rules are not unified in all of the states. Sometimes we have to deal with different rules, and we get criticized because we are applying those rules. That kind of makes me mad sometimes, but its part of the job.”
Mark DellaGrotte never thought getting hit with a boxing glove would lead to getting bit by the acting bug.
DellaGrotte (Twitter: @MarkDellaGrotte), owner of Sityodtong gym in Somerville, Mass., is a world-renowned martial artist. After devoting his life to many walks of martial arts, DellaGrotte moved to Thailand to train Muay Thai kickboxing under Kru Yodtong, and then he was appointed as one of two US representatives eight years later.
As martial arts modernized and MMA popularized, DellaGrotte grew with the times and began instructing mixed martial artists. Martial arts have served as DellaGrotte’s vehicle for travels and opportunities that span the world, but when Kevin James walked into Sityodtong in 2010, it led to an opportunity the Bostonian couldn’t see coming.
“I never looked at martial arts to do half the things I’ve done in my life,” DellaGrotte told Jason Kelly on MMA DieHards Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “I never knew that martial arts would take me around the world and show me different cultures, I never thought that martial arts would help me provide for my family and keep a roof over their head. I certainly never thought martial arts would land me alongside an actress like Salma Hayek or an actor like Henry Winkler in a major motion picture. I’m truly blessed at what the sport has done for me and I’m truly grateful.”
James, star and director of “Here Comes The Boom,” offered DellaGrotte a role in the MMA-romantic-comedy as himself; an MMA cornerman. DellaGrotte gladly accepted the proposition. He worked with the aforementioned Winkler and Hayek, as well as “King of Queens” star James and fellow martial artist Bas Rutten on “Here Comes The Boom,” which he described as all great co-workers.
“It was a tremendous experience,” DellaGrotte said. “I’m glad that I got to contribute to not only the growth and prosperity of the sport, but I also got to appear in a major motion film.”
While playing cornerman to James’ character, Scott Voss, DellaGrotte was called upon to give some insight behind the scenes,
“Kevin and I had discussed prior to the movie, alongside Bas Rutten,” DellaGrotte explained. “He said, ‘Hey, look, if there is anything we’re doing in this movie that is not the way it is supposed to be, let us know.’ There was one particular time that I can remember. I was wrapping his hands once and there was no commissioner there. We all know that in the state of Nevada, if a fighter is getting his hands wrapped, there’s a red coat watching. There was one particular scene where it was off and Bas and I had to play the director role.”
DellaGrotte said acting is something he never imagined himself doing, and playing himself was not a big challenge, therefore, he would like the chance to play an actual character. He enjoys the fun roles, but could even see himself be cast as a serious martial artist in a film.
Martial arts is DellaGrotte’s true passion, so don’t expect him to abandon his lifestyle in an effort to win an Oscar, but don’t be surprised if you see him in front of the camera again.
“The one day I said to Kevin (James), ‘I think I got bit hard,’” DellaGrotte explained. “Bas said, ‘I think I got bit hard,’ you know, he mocked my Boston accent and we laughed about it. (Rutten) said, ‘You got bit? You love this stuff, don’t you?’ I said, ‘How could you not?’ I get to hang out with cool people, I get to do what I like to do – in this case it was mixed martial arts- and I get paid to do it all. It wasn’t much, but it was a great experience and something I would thoroughly enjoy doing again.”