Tuesday, July 31, 2012

ASMM Signs Freshman Professional Standout Paige VanZant

Paige VanZant

ASMM has signed straw-weight freshman professional Paige Van Zant. Paige recently came to notoriety after her high profile split decision win over Jordan Gaza in UWF - Tournament of Warriors Finale in Texas last month. 

Van Zant is currently in the process of moving to Las Vegas, NV to train. She is currently looking at the many options open in training centers to train in there but it appears that John Wood's Throwdown Gym may be the choice she makes in making a home. Throwdown currently houses a number of elite woman athletes such as Amanda Lucas, Colleen Schneider and Michele Gutierrez. 

Van Zant had a very short career as an amateur with one fight. She was offered the Gaza fight and took it. She performed with that of a professional demeanor, maintaining composure, heart and stuck to the game plan of which her corner. 

"When I saw Paige's fight with Jordan, I knew that it was her pro debut but was not acutely aware that she had only one amateur bout in her career aside from that. There was a point in the second round I believe that  Gaza had sunk a choke, Taylor Stratford was in her corner yelling at her that the round was ending and to hold on. That along with her skill set on the ground and her stand-up demonstrated to me that she was another exception rather than the rule in up and coming female talent. 

She had made a decision to move from Reno, NV to Las Vegas to focus 100% on developing her skill set by surrounding herself with elite coaches and training partners. In that commitment alone along with her performance sold us on her as an athlete that would fit into our roster of elite female athletes.

I had various conversions with her about what her goals were and what she hoped to achieve in her career. Paige again reinforced to me that she wanted to do whatever she had to do be reach the level of the best in the world at straw-weight

We are very happy to be working with Paige and see great things and opportunities in her future"

MMA Rising: Davis, D’Alelio Discuss Invicta FC 2 Submissions Of The Night

Alexis Davis, Sarah D'Alelio Discuss Invicta FC 2 Submissions Of The Night
Jiu-jitsu practitioners Alexis “Ally-Gator” Davis and Sarah “The Monster” D’Alelio each pocketed an extra $1000 for Submission of the Night winning performances at Invicta Fighting Championships 2 on Saturday in Kansas City, Kansas. Both fighters spoke with MMARising.com after the event.
Davis became the first woman to ever submit Japanese veteran Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano in MMA competition. A rear-naked choke finished Akano in round two. D’Alelio needed just over three minutes to earn a tapout victory over Vanessa Porto via an impressive reverse triangle armbar.

Davis (12-5-0) engaged in striking exchanges with Akano (18-10-0) during the opening round and took her Japanese foe to the mat in the later stages. She landed punches from the top and set the tone for the fight with her ground dominance. After rocking Akano in round two, Davis took her back down and moved to back control. She used punches to set up the fight-ending rear-naked choke and Akano reluctantly tapped out at the 3:41 mark of the second round.
Prior to the fight, Davis had stated that she hoped to get herself back into Strikeforce title contention with a win over Akano, but she now sees a bright future in either Strikeforce or Invicta FC. Though she now holds the distinction of being the first woman to ever submit Akano, that wasn’t necessarily the game plan coming in.
“The plan was to fight smart,” Davis told MMARising.com after the fight. “She’s not quite as aggressive as some of the opponents I’ve fought in my last couple of fights, so I knew that she was going to pick her moments. I wanted to be wary of going charging forward like I usually do. I wanted to play my own game and pick my moments to attack, and I think [not getting overly aggressive] is one of the things that helped to push me to get the victory.
“You can never underestimate your opponent,” Davis added. “I know that I have a very good jiu-jitsu background and that’s my bread and butter, but I wasn’t going to underestimate her at all. I was confident that I would have a stronger standup game than her because she’s not as aggressive, but she’s a very talented fighter and it was an honour to fight her.”
While getting the submission was a secondary goal to walking away with a victory, Davis understands the magnitude of her accomplishment in submitting her more experienced foe.
“She’s a tough fighter and she’s been in this game a lot longer than I have and has nearly 30 fights now,” Davis noted. I’m really happy being able to accomplish that [submitting her] and hopefully I’ll be able to compete in more jiu-jitsu tournaments in the future.”
Davis has also noticed a lot of improvement in her own game in recent months since making the move to California to begin training with the Combat Sports Academy (CSA).
“It helps to have a different set of eyes and everybody can bring something new to your game,” she says. “I think it’s really great when people go out and travel to train in different styles and different backgrounds. You may not use everything, but if you take those bits and pieces that will work for you, it’s going to be something that’s going to help you improve.”
Looking ahead, Davis is content whether her next fight is in Strikeforce or Invicta FC and welcomes new challenges that will help her to become a better fighter. She would particularly like a matchup with a certain former Strikeforce champion.
“I’m quite content with either [promotion],” Davis says. “With Invicta, they’re really helping to push the women. With Strikeforce, you’re competing with guys and all trying to get on the card. Media-wise, it’s a huge advantage to be a part of Strikeforce and I love being a part of Zuffa productions. That’s what’s great about them is that they understand that we all need to get these fights so they allow us to take fights with Invicta. It’s gone very well and it’s good that we have that connection.
“I have had my eye on [fighting] Miesha Tate for a while,” she concludes. “I’d pretty much like to fight anyone because I’d love to face Sarah Kaufman again or else Ronda Rousey. Anyone who is in the top ten and will help me improve. If they’re a great fighter and want to be in a title contention spot themself, then I’m willing to fight them.”
D’Alelio (6-2-0) was equally impressive in notching the biggest win of her career. After exchanging kicks and power punches with Porto (14-5-0), D’Alelio took the Brazilian down to the mat and avoided Porto’s armbar and kneebar attempts. She was able to take Porto’s back and first locked on a reverse triangle choke, then added in an armbar that forced Porto to hastily submit just 3:16 into the fight. D’Alelio felt that her performance was strong enough to propel her into an October title bout with Sara McMann, but also spoke highly of teammate Davis.
“Honestly, more than any of the other girls on the card, I think that [Davis and I] proved that we should be in there fighting for titles,” D’Alelio told MMARising.com. “Whenever [Invicta] holds a show, put [Davis] and I on them. Girls that can finish fights.”
Leading up to the fight, Porto indicated that she planned to finish D’Alelio with strikes, but doing so did little more than anger and motivate D’Alelio to make a statement with an impressive win.
“[Porto] was telling everyone that she was going to knock me out and I was like, ‘Okay, no.’ The last person that said that they were going to knock me out got their arm broken and their shoulder dislocated. Don’t make me mad. That [statement] pissed me off. I wanted to go out there and show [Porto] that no, you’re not knocking me out, and to show everybody else that I don’t care what you try to do to me. I can fight on the ground with the best of them. I guarantee it.”
D’Alelio recently received her BJJ purple belt, but for the second consecutive Invicta FC event, she demonstrated ground skills that far exceeded her belt level. Despite her opponent’s reputation as a strong jiu-jitsu fighter in her own right, D’Alelio entered the fight expecting to hold a decided advantage if the fight hit the mat.
“I kind of expected something like that, yeah. I train with guys who are bigger and stronger than me regularly. It makes me not afraid of anyone my size. No girl my size scares me. I’m not going to go so far as to say that I would beat everybody, but I can give anybody a run for their money. I know that for a fact.
“It’s not the fights where I’ve seen [my improvement],” D’Alelio adds. “It’s at the gym. People who used to kick the crap out of me…no more, at all. I train with some of the best Thai boxers in the world and they don’t beat the s–t out of me anymore. In my opinion, Miriam Nakamoto is the best standup fighter I’ve ever seen. She’s not quite as technical as Anderson Silva, but when I watch her fight I see things that Anderson does. On my good days, I can hang with her [in training].”
As she looks ahead to her next fight, D’Alelio hopes to compete again in October and would like to face either of Saturday’s main event participants, Sara McMann or Shayna Baszler. Failing that, she will fight “any 135-pounder out there. Any of them except for [teammate] Alexis.”

Invicta FC 2 Fight Videos

- Sara McMann vs Shayna Baszler
- Alexis Davis vs. Hitomi Akano
- Liz Carmouche vs. Kaitlin Young
- Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pa'aluhi
- Sarah D'Alelio vs. Vanessa Porto
- Barb Honchak vs. Bethany Marshall
- Julia Budd vs. Elina Nilsson
- Carla Esparza vs. Sarah Schneider
- Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Lacey Schuckman

Sara McMann Vs Shayna Baszler - Invicta FC 2

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Alexis Davis vs. Hitomi Akano - Invicta FC 2
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Liz Carmouche vs. Kaitlin Young - Invicta FC 2
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Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pa'aluhi - Invicta FC 2
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Sarah D'Alelio vs. Vanessa Porto - Invicta FC 2
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Barb Honchak vs. Bethany Marshall - Invicta FC 2
(Click for full size video)

Julia Budd vs. Elina Nilsson - Invicta FC 2
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Carla Esparza vs. Sarah Schneider - Invicta FC 2
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Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Lacey Schuckman - Invicta FC 2
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Click For More Pics and Videos Of Liz Carmouche

Sara McMann Video Interview

Sara McMann gave a video interview to Sherdog.


- She didn't think Shayna Baszler would go for the kneebar.

- She'd gave herself a low B score as a striker and has a lot of growth to do in that area.

- She has 17 years of Wrestling training

- She has a 3 fight contract with Invicta so that she will get the chance to develop into an all-round MMA fighter before going to Strikeforce.

Full Interview: Sherdog.com

Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp Interview, Including Invicta FC 2 Had Better Viewing Numbers than the First Event

Bloody Elbow had an interview with Shannon Knapp after the Invicta event.


- She will do everything possible to make sure the stream problems do not happen again.

- She says the viewing numbers were better than last time. The numbers for the first event were 233k.

- There will be only one more show this year.

- Invicta switched to EdgeCast during the event, who saved the stream.

- A Russian business man tried to buy Invicta FC but she turned him down.

Full Interview:Bloody Elbow

Click For More Pics and Videos Of Shannon Knapp

Dana White UFC on Fox 4 Video Blog Day 1

Dana White at UFC 144
Dana White presents his newest video blog going behind the scenes of UFC 149 as well as the UFC President’s birthday celebration at Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory
Check out the video below to see what the UFC Prez has been up to leading into UFC on Fox 4:

Bellator Signs Exclusive Russian TV Deal

Bellator Logo
Already airing in over 80 countries worldwide, Bellator Fighting Championships continues to expand its reach as the promotion has partnered with Russian broadcasting giant Russia 2, for the largest MMA broadcast alliance in Russian history. Beginning Sept. 28, Bellator will be aired exclusively on Russia 2 throughout the country, introducing over 83 million Russian sports fans to the largest tournament based MMA promotion in the world.
“Over the last year, as the Bellator brand has experienced enormous growth and our talent team has signed the greatest Russian Mixed Martial Artists in the world, the timing was perfect to align Bellator with Russia’s leading sports network,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “R2 carries the world’s greatest sports to Russian viewers. So, aligning Bellator with this industry giant is another very exciting step forward in the evolution of the Bellator brand worldwide.”
With headquarters in Moscow, Russia 2 reaches an audience of over 83 million viewers, and offers a wide range of programing that includes the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, EPL and UEFA Champions League Soccer, Formula One Class racing, KHL hockey, and now Bellator Fighting Championships. Additionally, Bellator will air on R2’s new Fight Club Channel, which will offer Russian subscribers the very best in combat sports on a daily basis.
“Bellator is the world’s leading Tournament based MMA organization, featuring the greatest Russian MMA fighters,” said Grigory Kovbasyuk, Executive Producer of R2. “R2 leads the way in Russian sports broadcasts with the Olympic Games, World and European Championships, Formula 1 Racing and many other top sports. We are very excited to have partnered with Bellator to bring MMA’s most exciting competition to over 83 Million Russian sports fans.”
Known as one of the most dangerous technical strikers in the sport, Alexander “Storm” Shlemenko headlines an impressive list of Russian born fighters currently under the Bellator banner. Additionally, elite Russian fighters such as Andrey Koreshkov, Vitaly Minakov, Vyacheslav Vasilevsky, and undefeated lightweight Alexander Sarnavskiy will all be looking to make big impressions inside the Bellator cage in 2012 and 2013.
“It’s an absolute honor to now have Bellator airing in my home country of Russia,” Shlemenko said. “I take a lot of pride in my family and friends being able to watch my fights, and now everyone will be able to with this incredible partnership.”

Nick Hammond: XFC’s Nick Newell to Opponents: Underestimate Me All You Want

Nick Newell XFC
After winning his first six fights in under two minutes each, XFC lightweight prospect Nick “Notorious” Newell was in for a decidedly more difficult time in his last bout this past April versus Chris Coggins.
For the first time in his career, Newell went the full three rounds, and while he managed to pull off the victory, he acknowledges how dire things became during the fight.
“Basically that second round I just got killed,” he said. “I learned a lot about myself. I’m kind of proud of myself for not tapping out. Most people probably would have, but I kind of pushed through and showed people my heart.
“Definitely Chris was a very tough fighter. I don’t think I performed to my full potential, but I needed that fight. I learned more from that fight than I had from all my previous fights combined. It was good to have that war, and luckily I came out on top.”
Newell will hope to capitalize on what he’s learned from his last fight as he heads into XFC 19 in Charlotte, N.C., against David Mays on Aug. 3 in a feature bout to air live on AXS TV.
“It’s another tough fight; I’m not getting any easy fights in the XFC,” said Newell. “(Mays) is a short, pretty stocky guy, and he looks strong and like he’s a pretty good wrestler, but I doubt he’s as good at wrestling as I am. I think wherever the fight goes; I’m going to out-class him.
“Technically-speaking, I’m better standing up and on the ground. He’s tough because he’s always in good shape and always moves forward, so I’ll be ready for that.”
Newell has earned a bit of attention for competing with only one full arm (the other being amputated below his elbow), which could lead people to wonder if his opponents underestimate him. As Newell puts it, if anyone underestimates him, it’s on them and he’s more than happy to take advantage of it.
“I’m going to be in his face. I’m going to be on him. So he’s going to be ready for a different type of fight than my last one, where I kind of sat back,” said Newell. “If he comes at me too careless, I’m going to catch him.
“You can underestimate me all you want, it doesn’t bother me one bit. I’m still going to come and try to take your head off.”
Still in the early stages of his career, Newell told MMAWeekly.com that for now all he wants to do is continue to compete and work his way up the ranks. Whatever comes after is fine with him, he’s just happy being able to live out his dream.
“I just kind of go wherever the path takes me,” he said. “The XFC picked me up when nobody really gave me a chance and I appreciate the opportunity. They do a great job and they’ve proven that they are a great league to fight for.
“I just look forward to fighting tougher and tougher fighters. I can definitely compete with anyone in the world; no matter whoever (it is), I’m ready.”

E-mail Mick HammondFor more UFC News and UFC Rumors, follow MMAWeekly.com on Twitter and Facebook.

The Unlikely Return of Jamie Varner

"There’s nothing like hitting rock bottom to show you the things you took for granted." - Jamie Varner
UFC lightweight Jamie Varner
UFC lightweight Jamie Varner
People scoffed when the UFC announced that Jamie Varner would be the man to replace Evan Dunham against Edson Barboza at UFC 146. They envisioned a one-sided sparring session for the fast-rising Brazilian Muay Thai specialist; another dominant performance, another victory, and another step closer to title contention. In the eyes of many, Varner was being led to the slaughter.

His experience didn’t matter. The fact that Varner first stepped into the Octagon as a 21-year-old meant nothing. Neither did his reign as the WEC lightweight champion. That was a long time ago as far as the fight game is concerned, and a lot had happened to Varner in the interim.

A four fight winless streak culminating in a first round submission loss to Shane Roller on the final WEC card left him without an invite to join the others who called the little blue cage their home in moving to the UFC when the companies merged in January 2010. He was controlled and beaten by Dakota Cochrane at a regional event nine months later, abruptly announcing his retirement after the bout, only to retract his statement a few days later.

Though he earned a pair of first round finishes in a small show heading into the contest, beating regional journeymen and stepping under the brightest lights in the business against a fighter everyone had tabbed for stardom were like comparing apples and cinder blocks. No one gave Varner a chance, but that’s because no one knew the journey the former WEC standout had been on in his time away from the spotlight.

“I would have to say that a lot of it was just growing up, to be honest with you,” explains Varner, speaking candidly about the course his career has taken thus far. “I was 21 when I had my very first fight in the UFC. I was a world champion for the WEC at 23 years old. I had a lot of growing up to do, man. I was young, and I didn’t quite know how to handle all the pressure, I didn’t know how to handle the business side of things, or even all the attention. It honestly took me going through those ups and downs – getting fired, losing my job with Zuffa, hitting rock bottom – to really appreciate what I had and what I have, and it definitely puts things into perspective.

“Everything has just fallen into place,” he says of the voyage that has him ready to face Joe Lauzon on the main card of the UFC’s fourth event televised on FOX this Saturday.

While his record shows a victory over Nate Jolly as the starting point for his recent resurgence, the truth is that the beginning of Varner’s turnaround came prior to his loss to Cochrane.

Before he was a hopeful on Season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter, Cochrane was just another up-and-comer looking to make a name for himself on the regional circuit, called upon as a late replacement when Varner’s original opponent fell out at the 11th hour. Cochrane couldn’t make the contracted weight, but Varner opted to fight instead of walking away. Though the fight would turn out to be the lowest point of a very bad stretch for the Arizona Combat Sports product, it was also the catalyst for the career renaissance Varner is now enjoying.

“I took that fight, and I fought for all the wrong reasons,” Varner recalls of the bout with Cochrane. “(I was fighting for) the reasons that I told myself years ago that I wouldn’t be fighting for, and that I would (make me) stop fighting. I fought for the money, and because it’s what people wanted me to do, and not because it’s what I had in my heart. I felt like I had to fight, as opposed to wanting to fight. That fight was horrible, and I felt bad being in that situation, so I came home and regrouped.

“I had a point in my career where I had lost four out of six fights, and I suck at losing,” he says, a chuckle chasing the frequent fighter admission. “I’ve never been a good loser. It doesn’t matter if it was chess, checkers, video games – I don’t like to lose. I suck at losing. Going through all those losses, I forgot how to win, and every time I lost, it was kind of like a downward spiral – I’d put even more pressure on myself to win because I didn’t want to lose my job or I wanted to make more money or win the fans back or earn their respect. I kept putting pressure on myself, and I didn’t enjoy the training.”

Varner says he’d fixate on the one or two mistakes that he made in practice, and get down, unwilling to allow himself an off day in the gym. Though he could spin similar missteps into a “Don’t be so hard on yourself; you’re doing great” moment for a teammate, training partner, or student, it took his mom telling him to do the same for himself for the once-again relevant lightweight to ease up on himself.

“That just clicked in my head,” he admits. “I was always so hard on myself; I’m such a perfectionist, and I always put so much pressure on myself to win that I lost track of why I did this and why I’m a fighter, which is to one day be the best. I have this dream to fight and compete, and it’s fun, and it’s a great job.

“I get to do what I love to do. Not many people get to say that, and I completely lost track of that in the past, and it took me a while to understand that. It also took having all the right people in the right places to remind me of that too. I’m living my dream, and I need to honor that, respect that, and cherish that because it’s not going to last forever.”

Refreshed, refocused, and having worked his way back from the brink of wanting to walk away from the sport, Varner pulled off arguably one of the biggest upsets of 2012 back in May. He shocked those who gave him little chance of surviving Barboza by dominating the previously unbeaten prospect, sending him crashing to the canvas under a barrage of punches in just over three minutes.

The win put Varner back on the map, but there is still work to be done; one victory does not a contender make. Fully aware of this and ready to prove those who are still unconvinced of his return to elite form, Varner agreed to step in against Lauzon when Terry Etim was forced to the sidelines due to injury. Like the Barboza fight, it’s an opportunity the 27-year-old couldn’t pass up, one he frequently describes as win-win, and one that comes with the added bonus of being on FOX.

“I go out there, fight a guy like Joe Lauzon, and I lose, I’m supposed to lose to a guy like Joe Lauzon. He’s a top 10, top 15 guy in the world, and Joe Lauzon has the ability to beat anybody,” speculates Varner. “Yes, he has lost – he’s lost four fights in the UFC – but he has that ability. You’ll never count him out no matter who he fights because he has that ability; he’s so dynamic and well rounded.

“To beat a guy like Joe Lauzon, it catapults my career, and legitimizes my first win. I do see some stuff online where people think what I did with Barboza was a fluke, even though I dominated the fight. It wasn’t like I was getting my butt kicked and landed that one lucky punch. I think it will help legitimize me and it’s a step in the right direction.

“Also, being on FOX,” he continues. “Hopefully we’ll have a rating with eight million viewers watching the fights, and I’ll be able to show the world all the sacrifices that I’ve made, and all the struggles and adversity I had to overcome just to make it to this one moment to entertain them. It’s just such a great opportunity.”

Paired with one of the most decorated bonus winners in UFC history, there’s a very good chance that Varner and Lauzon will send the fans home happy on Saturday night. If he emerges victorious, Varner knows he’ll have worked his way into the small group of contenders vying for a chance to fight for the title. Before he can start to think about the future, he’ll have to worry about deal with the task at hand, one he believes will be the toughest of his nine-year, 29-fight career.

“The right thing to say is that I can’t overlook Joe and blah, blah, blah, but it’s human nature; you can’t help it. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if I win, and I would have to think that the guys that have beaten Joe are in the top 10 or are thought to be contenders, so I’m just going to go with that. If I beat Joe Lauzon, I’m a top contender. I’m not going to say I’m going to be fighting Gray Maynard or Anthony Pettis right away for a #1 contender spot, but I’ll probably be in the conversation, I would say.

“But my main focus is on Joe Lauzon, and he’s quite the obstacle,” adds Varner. “He poses quite a lot of threats in different areas because he’s so well rounded. He’s tough. He is very smart, calculated, and methodical, and it’s going to probably be my toughest fight to date.”

Six months ago, no one would have believed that Varner would be fighting on the main card of a UFC event on FOX with a place in the upper echelon of the lightweight division at stake. A few days from now, that’s exactly what will happen. It’s the next step in a journey of rediscovery and redemption for the former WEC champion, a trying journey that has rekindled Varner’s passion for fighting, and reshaped the expectations he puts on himself as he prepares to step into the cage.

“I think it’s a more interesting story (this way), and it shows my character. My character was in question for many years in the WEC, and I think to have to overcome some of the things I’ve overcome and fight my way back into the organization, I think it says a lot about me and who I am. I also feel that everything happened for a reason, and honestly, I wouldn’t change anything.

“I’m still young,” states Varner, who started his career in March 2003 and will be stepping into the cage for the 30th time in his career when he meets Lauzon Saturday night at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. “If you had a guy coming into the sport at 27 years old, you’d still think, `this guy’s pretty young for the sport.’ Well, I’ve already been in this sport for so long and I’m still only 27. There’s a lot of years left, there’s a lot of fight left in this dog. I’m really excited to be here, and I’m really excited for this opportunity.

“I’m not putting all this pressure on myself to win; I’m just enjoying it. The only thing I can control is how hard I fight and how hard I train, so I’m just going to go out there and fight with every bit of my being, and whatever happens happens. I’ve (always) been (in exciting fights), so I know that if I lay it all on the line people are going to enjoy seeing me fight.”

Win or lose on Saturday night, Varner has once again found his passion for fighting, and getting the opportunity to do it on the biggest stage in the sport, a privilege he can truly appreciate after taking the long way back to the UFC.

“It took me getting into the right place mentally, physically, and spiritually. I was put on this planet to do something; I was put on this planet to fight. It really took going through all those struggles and overcoming that adversity to really see that picture more clearly.

“There’s nothing like hitting rock bottom to show you the things you took for granted.”

The Blueprint - Shogun vs. Vera

Michael DiSanto breaks down Saturday's UFC on FOX main event between Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Brandon "The Truth" Vera...

UFC on FOX 4 - Rua vs. Vera
UFC on FOX 4 - Rua vs. Vera
Rewind the clock to November 18, 2006.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in Sacramento, California, which was just a short drive from my then home in San Francisco, to help cover UFC 65 for UFC.com. My job, as always, was to write an op-ed piece in reaction to what went down.

I was sitting at lunch with my editor and good friend, Thomas Gerbasi, enjoying one of Sac-Town’s football-sized burritos, when our conversation turned to the night’s matchups. Gerbasi and I love to wager cheeseburgers on our ability to predict the outcome of the fights. I think I’m down enough cheeseburgers to solve world hunger. I digress.

When the conversation arrived at the second televised bout of the night, we quickly moved from breaking down the matchup to pontificating about the upside potential of Brandon Vera. He was facing former champion Frank Mir in what was definitely the biggest fight of his career. It was a fight that would definitely demonstrate whether the hoopla and hype surrounding this guy was just that, or if he really was “The Truth,” as he likes to call himself.

Sixty-nine seconds into the fight, the world learned the answer to that question, as Vera obliterated a guy who has gone on to become one of the most accomplished heavyweights of our era. Vera was on top of the world after UFC 65. He was a heavyweight champion in wait, and a guy who many believed could actually hold both the light heavyweight and heavyweight crowns simultaneously.

Crazy talk, I know. But Vera had that sort of aura surrounding him at the time. He was every bit as exciting of a prospect as current superstar Jon Jones was before the current light heavy king won the title.

And then it all came crashing down.

Vera lost three of his next four, and six of his next nine, if one counts the savage beating he took from Thiago Silva in their no contest as a loss – I do, by the way. I can’t think of a more spectacular fall from grace by someone with that much potential. I’m not sure what happened. I’m not even sure if Vera knows what happened. But it happened.

Humbled and on the verge of needing a career change, Vera figured out how to right the ship against Eliot Marshall in a yeoman’s like effort last October. Now, he is back in the spotlight with the opportunity to erase all the heartache he has experienced over the last nearly five years.

On Saturday night, Vera will fight on national broadcast television in what will certainly be the biggest stage of his career. He will face former UFC and PRIDE champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in the main event of the fourth live broadcast by FOX.

Make no mistake about it. This is supposed to be a feature bout for Rua. After all, he is squarely in the middle of the 205-pound title picture. A spectacular win over Vera may very well put him next in line for the winner of September’s title fight between Jones and Dan Henderson. But this is far more significant for Vera. This is a make-it-or-break-it moment for him. A solid performance keeps him relevant. A win skyrockets him into title contention. And a bad loss probably has him doing a bit of career evaluation.

How is that for pressure?

Let me add to it. Shogun is one of the most fearsome standup fighters that the 205-pound division has ever seen, and Vera prefers to compete on the feet. But the two are stylistically so very different. Let’s break that down a bit.

Shogun is a maestro at what most consider to be fistic chaos. That is a trademark of many current and former Chute Boxe Academy fighters. That is a gym that focuses on exceling when the action devolves into an all-out brawl, rather than a highly technical sporting event. And Shogun may be its best graduate.

The Brazilian wants to fight Vera. He doesn’t want to play the stick and move game, though he is great at that, too, as he proved in his two fights with Lyoto Machida. But he prefers pressure. He prefers to become a berserker inside the cage. And Vera is going to have to deal with that.

Vera, on the other hand, is a tactician’s tactician. He is a master of the outside leg kick. He has a great right hand, and excellent left hook, and a solid understanding of angles and movement. He is an amazingly technical kickboxer. But he hasn’t always shown the greatest degree of comfort in the face of elite skills combined with tremendous pressure.

If Shogun can devolve the action into a fight in a phone booth, both men have the skills and power to win by knockout. Yet, Shogun probably wins that type of fight more often than not. If Vera can keep the action to more of a stick-and-move kickboxing bout, he will do very well.

Forget takedowns. Vera is the far better wrestler. He won’t be taken down by Shogun, unless he is asleep at the wheel, and he should be able to get the fight to the ground, if he really wants to. Shogun is the better ground fighter from all positions. The difference is glaringly apparent when comparing their guards, but Shogun has the edge in all positions.

Thus, it is likely that Vera won’t seek to take the fight to the ground, and Shogun probably can’t get it there, even if he wants to. So, this fight will be determined on the feet.

Normally, I would lean heavily toward Shogun in a matchup like this one. He is the more accomplished fighter. He has performed better over the last several years. And he has more ways to win.

But Vera is no stranger to rising to the occasion when facing a world-class fighter. He destroyed Mir, as mentioned. And many thought he got robbed when the judges awarded Hall of Famer Randy Couture a unanimous decision victory in their 2009 bout.

Call me stubborn, but I can’t let go of Vera’s vast potential. Five-year struggles notwithstanding, this guy has as much potential on paper as anyone in the game. I keep thinking the next fight will be the one where everything clicks for him. Maybe that will happen on Saturday night. Maybe not. But I’m not betting against him.


Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
• 30 years old
• 20-6 as a professional
• 2-3 in last 5
• 6-4 in last 10
• 85% of wins by KO/TKO
• 10% of wins by decision
• 5% of wins by submission
• Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion
• Former PRIDE Middleweight (205 lb) Grand Prix Champion
• Knockout of the Night twice
• Fight of the Night twice
• Current layoff is 259 days
• Longest layoff of UFC/PRIDE career is 483 days

Brandon Vera
• 34 years old
• 12-5-1NC as a professional
• 2-2, 1NC in last 5
• 5-4, 1 NC in last 10
• 1-3 against current or former champions
• 58.3% of wins by KO/TKO
• 8.3% of wins by submission
• 33.3% of wins by decision
• Current layoff is 249 days
• Longest layoff of UFC career is 336 days

Mike Straka: Phil Davis - Welcome To The Machine

"I just have to put on a great performance and I will be back in the mix and ready for those big fights again. And I will." - Phil Davis
UFC light heavyweight Phil Davis
UFC light heavyweight Phil Davis
The last time light heavyweight prospect Phil Davis (9-1) fought, it was the main event of UFC on FOX 3: Evans vs Davis in January. That fight didn’t go well for “Mr. Wonderful,” as he was defeated in a unanimous decision that has been widely panned by fans and critics as a lackluster affair for the rising MMA star.

Davis does not disagree.

“I don’t know if I had jitters,” says Davis of his first main event appearance on FOX. “I just had a horrible performance. For this camp, I spent a lot more time in the gym and I’ve prepared myself, my mind and my body for a much better fight. I think this time around I’m going to have a terrific fight.”

Davis meets UFC newcomer Wagner Prado (8-0) - an undefeated Brazilian who’s fought his entire career thus far in his native country - at UFC ON FOX 4: Rua vs Vera on August 4th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Davis says he’s excited to be the one to welcome him to the machine.

“He probably told his whole neighborhood that he’s fighting in the UFC,” says Davis. “He’s excited. I’ve never gone against a guy like that. He’s coming with the kitchen sink, that’s for sure. He brings a lot of youth to the table. I know what it’s like being a young guy coming in and taking on a guy who’s had a bunch of big fights. I know what it’s like to be excited.”

Davis was once in Prado’s shoes. It was Brian Stann at UFC 109 who welcomed the wrestler from Penn State into the machine and it was Davis who walked away with a unanimous decision and instant name recognition.

“Mr. Wonderful” also spent time as an assistant coach to the young UFC hopefuls on TUF Live: Team Cruz vs Team Faber this summer, and some of that hunger from guys fighting their way into the big show may have rubbed off on Davis and rekindled the fire within.

“I’m excited when I fight but I’m excited for different reasons now,” he says.

Granted, Prado’s first eight opponents for the most part were not ever tested in any big promotion, but “Caldeirao’s” standup is pretty sick nonetheless, with seven of his wins coming by way of knockout, and Davis has been shoring up his ground game perhaps in an attempt to avoid the Muay Thai specialist’s strengths.

“You’re going to see a lot more jiu-jitsu from me,” said the four-time NCAA Division I All-American and 2008 NCAA National Champion from Penn State. “I’m definitely going to use my wrestling, that’s part of my game that’s never going to go away. I’m training under a bunch of good guys in San Diego, like Lloyd Irvin, Andre Galvao and Dean Lister. At first, my ground game was to kind of stay out of trouble, but now I’ve developed my offensive game and my own tricks. All of the good guys have things that no one else can do. That’s what makes them good and I’m starting to develop that kind of game.”

After submitting Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch with a Kimura that Joe Rogan dubbed the “Mr. Wonderful,” Davis said that he wasn’t the kind of guy who would over gameplan a fight. He’d rather go in and let the fight dictate the plan. These days he’s a bit more methodical in his approach.

“I still look to put on a good fight. Not fight safe,” he said. “But strategy comes into play a little more now that I’m developing my game and those tricks I talked about. But I’m not going to tell you what they are.”

Although Davis was disappointed to suffer the first loss of his career earlier this year, he’s not dwelling on it and he’s not saying he wants that fight back. At least not right away.

“That fight is done man,” he said. “If Rashad and I ever have the pleasure to do business together he’s going to want the fight the way it went last time and he’s not going to get that fight again, ever. I’m a much better fighter today than I was six months ago. This camp has been very good and I’m learning a lot of new things.”

And if you’re thinking that going from a headlining FOX bout to an undercard fight on FUEL TV with a UFC newbie in just six months bothers Davis, you’d be wrong.

“I’m not worried about that. I just have to put on a great performance and I will be back in the mix and ready for those big fights again. And I will. I will have a great performance.”

He also doesn’t mind fighting someone who is coming in to the UFC with stars in his eyes, knowing what a win over a veteran like Davis would do for his career.

“I’m happy for him,” says Davis. “Stann did it for me and I respect that. You can only get excited for the first time once. I get excited for other reasons now, but that first time in the UFC excitement only happens once, and that’s a special thing.”

As the Pink Floyd song goes, “Welcome my son. Welcome to the machine.”

Monday, July 30, 2012

SHOWTIME Promo – Rousey vs Kaufman


The “Rowdy Express” will make a stop at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, CA on August 18th when Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey (5-0) defends her title against former champ and #1 contender Sarah Kaufman (15-1). Also on the card, former champion Miesha “Takedown” Tate (12-3) faces Julie “Fireball” Kedzie (16-10) and Muay Thai specialist Germaine “The Iron Lady” de Randamie (2-2) meets Hiroko “Cat’s Eye” Yamanaka (12-1, 1NC). The preliminary card will air Live on SHOWTIME EXTREME at 8pm ET/PT and the main card will be Live on SHOWTIME at 10pm ET/PT (Delayed on West Coast)
SHOWTIME Promo – Rousey vs Kaufman

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Jessica Penne vs Naho Sugiyama Title Bout Set For Invicta FC 3

Invicta Fighting Championships will crown its first 105-pound champion this Fall when Jessica Penne faces unbeaten Jewels champ Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama at Invicta FC 3. The event is currently targeted for October 6th and is expected to take place at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas.
The bout between Penne and Sugiyama is tentatively set to headline the October card, but the promotion also hopes to showcase a 135-pound title tilt that may serve as the night’s main event. Penne aims to take over the top spot at 105 and she discussed the bout with MMARising.com today.
To read the full article, click here.

Video: Invicta FC 2 Full Fights

YouTube Screenshot
YouTube Screenshot
Jul 29, 2012 - In the event you missed second installment of the all-women's professional MMA organization Invicta FC show Saturday evening, they've elected to make available nine of last night's contest. Included are not just the main event between Sara McMann and Shayna Baszler, but Alexis Davis vs. Hitomi Akano, Liz Carmouche vs. Kaitlin Young and six other fights from Saturday's nights event.
Be sure to get the results and our recap of Invicta FC 2.

Damon Martin: Sara McMann and Alexis Davis Lead the Winners at Invicta FC 2

Shayna Baszler and Sara McMann
Shayna Baszler and Sara McMann

The debate about the success or failure of women’s MMA has always been a topic when talking to fight fans, media and critics.
When Invicta FC was first announced there were more than a few pundits that wondered how much prosperity an all-women’s MMA promotion could actually have.
Following the second event held on Saturday night and more than a half a million viewers watching the online only event, it’s safe to say Invicta FC is doing pretty okay.
The second event for the upstart promotion headed up by former UFC and Strikeforce executive Shannon Knapp featured a 14-fight card led by former Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann, who was looking to go 6-0 as a pro in the main event.
McMann had no easy test in front of her however as she faced off with Josh Barnett trained student and veteran fighter Shayna Baszler in the headline fight.
Most believed McMann’s wrestling pedigree would be the biggest factor in the fight, but on Saturday the former Olympian showed off some new striking skills getting into the fray with some violent exchanges against Baszler.
The second round saw McMann throw her wrestling into the mix, but it almost backfired after she was reversed on the ground and Baszler was looking for submissions. After searching for an ankle lock, Baszler finally settled on a knee bar, but McMann quickly swiveled out of position, and despite her opponent then transitioning to a heel hook, she was out of trouble in rapid fashion.
McMann was able to snatch another takedown and appeared in control in the third round as she looked to wrap up a decision, but a final flurry between the two gladiator ladies resulted in the Olympian getting dropped to one knee as Baszler’s punches found a home on her chin.
Still the judges sided with McMann’s round by round performance and scored the fight 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 giving the former Olympian her sixth win in six fights, and now she moves on to fight for the first ever Invicta FC bantamweight title.
The night’s co-main event featured Strikeforce bantamweight Alexis Davis against former Strikeforce competitor Hitomi Akano.
A determined Davis, who had a ‘Fight of the Night’ performance in her last fight against current top women’s contender Sarah Kaufman, went out looking to dominate Akano and she certainly didn’t disappoint.
Davis was fast to the punch and the kick on the feet as she peppered Akano throughout the first as she struggled to try to get the fight to the man where he might find an advantage.
That logic backfired in the 2nd round as Davis again opened with another series of strikes and eventually moved to the mat where her domination continued. Davis pummeled Akano with punches before looking for the rear naked choke, which brought about the end of the fight.
Davis made a strong case for her placement as the contender to face McMann in October when Invicta FC introduces their first ever title.
Fellow Strikeforce contender Liz Carmouche also looked to put the stamp on her placement in the 135lb title fight with a solid performance over former Elite XC competitor Kaitlin Young.
Young got the early advantage on Carmouche, landing good kicks and punches that the former Strikeforce title contender didn’t seem to have an answer for in the onset of the fight. Following a tough first round, Carmouche made the necessary adjustments and came out guns blazing in the second.
Carmouche landed a big takedown before moving into position to put Young away with a fight ending rear naked choke.
Here are the full results for Invicta FC 2:
Sara McMann def. Shayna Baszler by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Alexis Davis def. Hitomi Akano by submission (rear naked choke), R2
Liz Carmouche def. Kaitlin Young by submission (rear naked choke), R2
Akaya Hamasaki def. Lacey Schuckman by submission (armbar), R3
Amanda Nunes def. Raquel Pa’aluhi by submission (rear naked choke), R1
Sara D’Alelio def. Vanessa Porto by submission (armbar), R1
Barb Honchak def. Bethany Marshall by TKO, R2
Julia Budd def. Elina Nilsson by TKO, R1
Carla Esparza def. Sarah Schneider by TKO, R2
Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc def. Angelica Chaves by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Raquel Pennington def. Sarah Moras by unanimous decision
Jessamyn Duke def. Suzie Montero by TKO, R3
Jocelyn Lybarger def. Cheryl Chan by unanimous decision
Liz McCarthy def. Jessica Philippus by TKO, R1

Follow @DamonMartin on Twitter or e-mail Damon Martin.
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UFC News and UFC Rumors, follow MMAWeekly.com on Twitter and Facebook.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sara McMann Wants Ronda Rousey to be More Classy and Respectful, Jessamyne Duke Pepares for War

Sara McMann talked with Fight Hub about her Invicta FC 2 (Invicta FC) fight against Shayna Baszler and gave her thoughts on Ronda Rousey.


- She talks about how her wrestling family has helped her find places to train.

- She's very tough on herself when training.

- She loves watching Megumi Fujii, Jessica Eye and Lisa Ellis.

- She doesn't want to look up to fighters she will face e.g. Cris Cyborg and Ronda Rousey.

- She talks about Cyborg's run being tainted.

- She would prefer Ronda Rousey to have a little more class. She didn't like Ronda calling out Miesha Tate's boyfriend Bryan Caraway because Ronda will never face him in the cage.

Full Interview Below:

Jessamyne Duke Pepares for War

Jessamyne Duke who is facing Suzie Montero at Invicta FC 2 tonight (Invicta FC) did a Video Blog with FCFighter.com, she shows us her training facilites and shows some training footage. Also she talks about what the fight means to her.

Jessamyne Duke Video Blog: FC Fighter

Invicta FC 2 - Streamed Live and Free to Watch at 7pm ET Tonight

Tonight you will be able to see every last fight on the all-womens Invicta FC 2 card for free on their website at the Invicta Website. As with the first card there has against been a major promotional push by the MMA media and women's MMA fans to attract attention for the event.

If you want to see a whole host of top ranked fighters and potential stars, this event should be for you.

Fight Card:

- Shayna Baszler (14-6) vs Sara McMann (5-0)
- Alexis Davis (11-5) vs Hitomi Akano (18-9)
- Liz Carmouche (6-2) vs Kaitlin Young (7-5-1)
- Ayaka Hamasaki (7-0) vs Lacey Schuckman (7-4)
- Amanda Nunes (6-2) vs Raquel Pa'aluhi (2-2)
- Sarah D'Alelio (5-2) vs Vanessa Porto (14-4)
- Barb Honchak (5-2) vs Bethany Marshall (4-0)
- Julia Budd (2-2) vs Elina Nilsson (2-2)
- Sarah Schneider (6-5) vs Carla Esparza (6-2)
- Angelica Chavez (4-1) vs Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc (7-6)
- Sarah Moras (2-0) vs Raquel Pennington (1-1)
- Suzie Montero (1-0) vs Jessamyn Duke (0-0)
- Jocelyn Lybarger (0-0) vs Cheryl Chan (0-0)
- Jessica Philippus (0-0) vs Liz McCarthy (0-0)

Click For More Pics and Vids Of Sara McMann

United States, Please Welcome Invicta Fighter Ayaka Hamasaki

Invicta FC Logo
While she may not be as familiar a name to American MMA fans as fellow Japanese stars Hitomi Akano or Megumi Fujii, Ayaka Hamasaki will get her opportunity to shine on the US stage as part of Saturday’s Invicta FC 2 in Kansas City, Kan.
“I am looking forward to this, and I am so happy I am able to fight in America,” Hamasaki told MMAWeekly.com.
“It’s going to be a long trip so I am going to make sure I won’t get exhausted from the flight and will be in a best condition on the day of the fight.”
Hamasaki was originally going to fight Jasminka Cive, but she was forced off the card due to visa issues. Stepping in for Cive will be Ring of Fire veteran Lacy Schuckman.
While individual strategy may have changed, Hamasaki’s overall game plan remains the same in that she doesn’t “want to get into (Schuckman’s) rhythm, instead I want to control the fight in my way.”
Having never fought under the American unified MMA rules before, Hamasaki was asked how she feels she’ll be able to adjust Saturday night.
“(This may be the first time) I have to go to three rounds and also this is the first time I am fighting under the rules where elbow to the head is allowed, so I am bit concerned, but more than anything I am looking forward to enjoy this new environment,” replied Hamasaki.
“I have been training under the unified rules so it’s not going to be any problem.”
It wouldn’t be surprising if Hamasaki’s goal was to establish a 115-pound title in Invicta to go along with her belt in the Jewels promotion, but of right now, her focus is firmly affixed on Saturday night.
“For me, (an Invicta) title is not such an important issue right now, I just want to win first,” she said.
“I am so happy to be able to fight in front to fans in America. I am going to show my best, so please come and see my fight!”

E-mail Mick HammondFor more UFC News and UFC Rumors, follow MMAWeekly.com on Twitter and Facebook.

Mick Hammond: Headlining Invicta FC 2, Shayna Baszler’s Gut Check is Paying Dividends

Shayna Baszler
After two years away from fighting, former Strikeforce women’s 135-pound fighter Shayna “Queen of Spades” Baszler is eager to return to action.
As she told MMAWeekly.com, “I’ve got a good program right now and I feel really good about my training. Maybe it’s because I’m hungry since it’s been so long since I last fought.”
Since leaving Strikeforce in 2009, Baszler has won four straight fights, which she gives a lot of credit to her coach and fellow MMA fighter Josh Barnett.
“After my loss to Sarah (Kaufman), he kicked everyone out in the locker room and chewed me out like a good coach should,” she said. “He was telling me I basically needed to figure something out and that I needed to realize if this was something I wanted to do or not.
“I had a little gut check, and ultimately I grew up as far as my MMA mentality and am more mature now.”
Working with Barnett has added a level of physicality to Baszler’s game she felt she didn’t have before.
“If you look at my fights before I worked with Josh, it was more finesse and fancy. Then if you look at my first fight with Josh which was my Jan Finney fight, you can tell I’m a lot more physical and I’m the one pushing the pace instead of letting the other person determine that,” she said.
“I’m being more physical and aggressive, while at the same time I’m not being overwhelmed by strong fighters like Sara McMann.”
And it’s McMann that Baszler has firmly in her sights on Saturday night in Kansas City, Kan., when the two headline the second edition of Invicta FC in what could very well turn into a 135-pound title eliminator.
“First of all, I think that Sara and I have a lot of respect for each other and have competed against each other many times,” said Baszler. “She’s a great athlete and has a skill set that translates well to MMA, but I think I have a real advantage in the fight with my X-factor – meaning my ability to finish a fight.
“For her to win this fight, she has to grind it out and hope it works for 15 minutes straight; all I need is something of mine to work once. She has to work the entire time; and me, I can fail, fail, fail and not have anything work until – boom – it works one time and the fight is mine.”
Baszler feels that Invicta’s mission and her career goals mesh perfectly, and she couldn’t be happier with a promotion.
“It’s not the first time women’s MMA has been on the forefront, that there’s been an all-women show, but it’s the first time where it’s been done where they are building divisions and a future,” she said. “Instead of spacing the division around one star, they’re building an entire division, and you can see it in the match-ups, because nobody has a gimme fight.
“Because I’ve been around the MMA block a little bit, I’m at a point now where I just want bodies to beat up. I’m past the point in my career where I’m picking and choosing. I have good opportunities now in my weight class. I’m going to be just as entertaining as before, but I’ve got some new things up my sleeve as always.”

E-mail Mick HammondFor more UFC News and UFC Rumors, follow MMAWeekly.com on Twitter and Facebook.

Mick Hammond: Former Olympian Sara McMann Wants to Beat Shayna Baszler, Ronda Rousey and Everyone Else

Shayna Baszler and Sara McMann
Shayna Baszler and Sara McMann
For former Olympic silver medal winning wrestler Sara McMann, the transition to MMA has gone as well as can be expected. And even though she’s undefeated in five pro fights, McMann still feels she still hasn’t reached her peak quite yet.
“I’m starting to feel like I’m finding a little bit more of my niche in MMA,” said McMann. “Basically I feel the natural fighter I am is going to be revealed through practice and more competition.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever had one competition that I didn’t look back and think that I couldn’t have done better in some area. I’m always critiquing it to do better next time.”
McMann’s immediate success so far has culminated in a fight headlining Invicta FC’s second card on Saturday night in Kansas City, Kan., against longtime veteran Shayna “Queen of Spades” Baszler.
“I think it’s going to be action-packed, exciting and both of us are going to go for stuff and not sit around and wait for things to happen,” McMann said to MMAWeekly.com of the fight.
McMann isn’t shy when it comes to what will be the focal point of her strategy against Baszler.
“Because of my wrestling background I like to control people and get my hands on them,” she said. “Wresting teaches you putting their body in positions you want them to be in and where you want to be. That’s just a natural thing for me to. That’s absolutely part of my game plan.”
Having garnished a fair amount of buzz since making her pro debut two years ago, McMann has learned to be ready for any situation that may arise in her career.
“In the MMA world, things can happen at a snail’s pace for months, but then things can come together all at once and you’ll have lots of competition back-to-back. So for me it’s growing at the fastest rate I can and be ready for a big jump at any point,” she said.
“A ProElite show could come up in August or September, another Invicta card might come up or we might think we’re ready for Strikeforce. We’re kind of at the mercy of the sport and just try to make the right decisions along the way.”
Considering her career path has run parallel that of current Strikeforce women’s 135-pound champion and fellow former Olympic medalist Ronda Rousey, a match-up between the two seems inevitable, though McMann isn’t so singularly focused.
“I really plan on fighting all the top girls, every single one of them,” she said. “I’m looking to fight Sarah Kaufman, Alexis Davis, Marloes Coenen; any of the girls who are good enough to be champion. I’m not really setting my sites at one person – I want to beat them all.”

E-mail Mick HammondFor more UFC News and UFC Rumors, follow MMAWeekly.com on Twitter and Facebook.

After Four Years Away, Vanessa Porto Returns to US at Invicta FC 2

Invicta FC Logo
“It is very rewarding because I’ve been working hard for this moment for a long time,” says Brazilian women’s MMA veteran Vanessa Porto on returning to the United States for the first time in four years to fight at Invicta FC 2 on Saturday night in Kansas City, Kan.
“I have to thank Amanda Nunes for introducing me to Chris, my new manager, and thank Chris for believing in my work. As for the fans, I don’t know what the ratio is in the USA to my fans in Brazil, but it will be very nice to have them cheer for me and gain lots of new ones after July 28.”
Porto tells MMAWeekly.com that having the chance to redeem herself following a loss to Roxanne Modafferi in her last fight in the US in 2008 and establish herself as an international contender couldn’t be more momentous.
“It’s very important (to have a good showing because) I feel like Invicta is my opportunity to shine and change my life,” she said. “I fight a lot of good fights in Brazil, but now when I fight well it will go noticed in America.”
Porto is currently riding a four-fight winning streak since losing to fellow Invicta fighter Amanda Nunes in December 2009. She’ll have a chance to raise that streak to five when she faces Sarah D’Alelio at Invicta.
“I don’t like to comment on my adversary before any fight,” said Porto. “I give credit to anyone willing to step into the cage, win or lose. What I can say is I’m ready, very relaxed and ready for war.”
Having fought previously on all-female shows, Porto is confident Invicta is doing what is needed to become a true long-term home base for women in the sport.
“I think they are doing things a lot better than the ones before,” she said. “I’m told that (co-owner Shannon Knapp) is very smart and worked for UFC and Strikeforce before.
“They are creating different divisions with depth which never happen before. Also it’s a different era for women’s MMA then when they tried before with Fatal Femmes, with (Ronda) Rousey, Cyborg (Santos) and Gina (Carano). There are girls that have worked hard to help us reach that next level. With Invicta they create the perfect home.”
For Porto, staying active and working her way towards a championship is central in her career right now.
“(I want to) fight, fight and fight again; this is what I love to do,” she said. “I want to win impressively and move up the ranks for a world title.”
After four years away, Porto’s excitement for her American return is undeniable, and she plans on making the most of it.
“I just want to give kisses to all my fans and I want to thank my manager, Chris, and Invicta for this opportunity,” said Porto. “To all my fans I say that on July 28 I will show everyone why Invicta is my new home.
“I’m so happy I don’t know what to say. I’ll win, and it will be a great fight, just wait and see.”

E-mail Mick HammondFor more UFC News and UFC Rumors, follow MMAWeekly.com on Twitter and Facebook.

MMAWeekly Radio Thursday: Invicta FC’s Knapp, King Mo, Baszler, Davis and Carmouche

Invicta FC Logo
It’s Invicta FC day on MMAWeekly Radio as we welcome Shannon Knapp, commentator King Mo Lawal and fighters Shayna Baszler, Alexis Davis and Liz Carmouche to the show.
With Invicta FC’s second event taking place this weekend, the all women’s MMA league takes center stage on today’s radio show.
Also the best debate in all of MMA returns with new debate topics including:
- Daniel Cormier faces Frank Mir in his final Strikeforce bout. Like it, love it, or hate it?
- Will we ever see women’s MMA in the UFC?
- Better for the future of women’s MMA – a personality like Ronda Rousey or a personality like Gina Carano?
This is MMAWeekly Radio for Thursday June 26
Click to listen on non-Flash devices or right-click to download MP3
Subscribe via iTunes

Genesis of Invicta FC

Esther Lin
Esther Lin
Jul 26, 2012 - Before getting ready for Invicta FC 2 this Saturday night, it's time to look back at the organization's inaugural event one last time. And this is no ordinary recap video.
MMAFighting.com's E. Casey Leydon was granted complete behind the scenes access in April for the all-female promotion's first show in Kansas City, KS. Watch below as we present a dramatic look back at Invicta FC 1.

Video: Preview of Brittney Palmer's 2013 Calendar Shoot

Daniel Herbertson, MMA Fighting
Daniel Herbertson, MMA Fighting
Jul 28, 2012 - It's Summer Saturday around these parts, so how about a preview of UFC Octagon Girl Brittney Palmer's upcoming 2013 calendar shoot? No objections? Great. Watch the video below.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

ASMM Signs Amateur Standout; Taylor"No Mercy" Stratford

We are very happy to  have finally signed Taylor Stratford. Taylor Stratford has a had a long and very successful amateur career.She is well know in the woman's MMA amateur arena. Her only loss comes at the hands of Ronda Rousey in January of 2011 at premier amateur promotion Tuff-N-Uff. Taylor is currently has a 9-1 record.
She is a top ranked amateur female at 145 lbs and is known for her prowess, power and tenacity. She has however been inactive over the last year because of other professional and personal commitments.

"We have had our eye on Taylor Stratford for a very long time and we've always been interested in signing her but she was committed otherwise. That is no longer the case and we are happy to have her aboard. She is making some changes in her life as far as the fighting career goes with a change in camps, location and coaches. Taylor is making the move to northern California from Nevada to train with Dana Morrissey. The change will be just what she needs to elevate her skill level in line to starting a pro career.

We feel about Taylor as we do with all of the athletes we represent. At certain times in their career they need to build it for a variety of reasons and in Taylor's case, we feel that attention must be made to her opponents and getting her matched appropriately. We carry this same school of thought in the cases specifically of Jessamyn Duke and Liz McCarthy. With Taylor also she has allot of natural ability and talent that she demonstrates but once she is able to explore what's out there in terms of rounding her skill-set out, we feel that she has a very solid future in the sport for as long as she cares to be involved in it.

We do have some fights on the table for her currently. We just need to sit down and see whats right for her. She has been inactive for some time and we need to see where she is at. We do know that Taylor wants to be active and busy. She wants to put the time in and be the best she can be. I feel that Taylor is making the transition to California will be great for her career and focus."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Intimidation to sponsor popular Kentucky fighter Jessamyn Duke in pro debut at Invicta 2 event in Kansas City, Kansas

Intimidation Clothing is pleased to announce the sponsorship of popular young female fighter Jessamyn Duke at Saturday’s Invicta FC 2 event. Duke, 26, will make her pro debut in this fight opposite Suzie Montero (1-0) in a bout contested at 135 pounds. The Invicta 2 event will take place on Saturday, July 28th at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas with fights beginning at 6 pm and streamed live on InvictaFC.com.
Jessamyn Duke MMA
Jessamyn Duke (0-0 pro, 5-2 amateur) ended her amateur MMA career with a win in March 2012. In five amateur wins she finished four of her opponents, all of which came via submission. She ended her ammy career with four wins in her final five fights and looks to start her pro career off with a win in facing Montero. Montero is 1-0 as a pro having defeated Kim Couture in her pro debut by unanimous decision.
“We are very pleased to be sponsoring Jessamyn in her pro debut,” said Luke Jernigan, President & CEO of Intimidation Clothing, LLC. “Intimidation sponsored the event where Jessamyn made her amateur MMA debut in Northern Kentucky and have been watching Jessamyn’s career progress very closely since then. I am very happy that we were able to make this sponsorship happen as we continue to build our name in her home state of Kentucky.”
Intimidation Clothing is a fast-growing brand of MMA apparel & training gear based in Ohio with a strong presence throughout the Midwest USA and a growing national presence regularly being featured on multiple sporting events on MTV2, FUEL TV, EpixHD, AXS TV and SportsTime Ohio as well as MMA highlight shows on Spike TV and HDNet/AXS TV. In addition to over 70 styles of high-quality, bold t-shirts and sweatshirts for men, women and children. The company is also becoming known for their premium-quality EliteFighter MMA board shorts, as well as vale tudo shorts, rashguards and more available online at IntimidationClothing.com. Fans can like the Intimidation brand on Facebook and follow Intimidation on Twitter.



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