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Benito “The Golden Boy” Lopez: Winning His First Title With A Killer Instinct

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Photo courtesy of Benito Lopez

Wednesday morning, which means sparring day at Team Alpha Male (TAM). As the team’s athletes stroll through the doors of Ultimate Fitness, nobody boasts a bigger grin and jovial nature than Benito “The Golden Boy” Lopez (5-0). Even during warm-ups, his twenty-four carat smile never faded. Turns out, the heat of battle fuels a different, more savage, quality of Lopez to rear its ugly head. In fact, the same icy, eerie silence filling the room when it was time to gear-up and spar glossed over Lopez’s eyes when visualizing his first crack at a title. Hand selecting his next victim at WFC 17, Lopez eagerly contracted a hit on Albert “The Warrior” Morales (5-0) for the vacant bantamweight belt.

Lopez, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, was flocked with friendly courtship by numerous TAM comrades to simulate combat, and a comparable kinship with self preservation has been bred into Lopez since birth. Amongst the Lopez clan, “The Golden Boy” shined,

“My family is known for getting into fights. At the family events, my family is a funny Mexican family, they’d always have the little cousins box.” After cleaning out the family’s crop, his thirst for carnage remained unquenched. He opened up about an unrelenting interest in assessing his pedigree as a fighter, as far as it could roam, “I always did really well against my cousins, and I was kind of a trouble-maker growing up. My brother and I would always get into neighborhood fights, too.”

Photo courtesy of Benito Lopez

The merciless attitude pushing Lopez to scrap without purpose softened when he entered the realm of wrestling and MMA. Following Tyler Diamond (4-0), a TAM featherweight, onto the wrestling mats in high school, Lopez has excelled in a sport engineered for participants to play with instincts to slay,

“I met guys like Tyler Diamond. I was kind of star-struck because Tyler, in high school, was the man in wrestling; he was a badass, just like he is now.” Currently, the duo are seizing control of the region in their weight classes, and Lopez then condensed the timeline from then to now, “My boxing gym was kind of going downhill at that point, so I decided to make the switch. I knew you could just work hard at fighting and get somewhere.” Reciting the phrase Justin Buchholz, TAM’s head coach, repetitiously drummed into Lopez’s head over the course of the morning’s session, “Hard work always pays off.”

Photo courtesy of Benito Lopez/Credit to KOTC

Recently, Lopez and Diamond worked in tandem to take their hometown, Oroville, California, by storm. Spotlighted as the main event at King of the Cage (KOTC): Home Turf on March 19, 2016, Lopez demonstrated his mindset and murderous capabilities are sharper than ever. Animated with a sadistic, soulful glee, he detailed his eight-second flying-knee finish of Rick James,

“We knew that the first minute, maybe two, of this fight were going to be a dogfight because I come in hot, and he comes in hot; we both start really fast. He’s kind of a bully fighter.” Reflecting on a learning experience with, arguably, the greatest pound-for-pound mixed martial artist on planet Earth: Jon Jones, he continued, “One thing I learned training at Greg Jackson’s when I was nineteen was from Jon Jones. He is one of my favorite fighters, and I’ll idolize him forever; I study him. He said when he fights bully fighters, like Glover [Teixeira] or [Quinton] Rampage [Jackson], he throws something right away, so they can’t come in like a bully; they have to respect you. I was going to do that.” All the hours and dedication meticulously materialized before the sold out roomful of eyes, and, with a serial killer’s arousal at revisiting the scene, he walked through, step-by-gory-step, how he assembled such a dynamic performance, “He came in hot right on it [the flying-knee]; I landed it and saw his eyes roll back. As soon as I saw his eyes roll back, I knew he was hurt, but I didn’t want to go crazy and berserk and start throwing recklessly. I wanted to pick my shots, so I was patient. I threw a right hand, and I was patient with my last three, until I found an opening shot; the third one landed the hardest and cleanest, and he was just out.”

Draped in cold brutality, a smirk streaked across Lopez’s face when he described what it was like to separate another man from his senses,

“It was a good feeling seeing someone go out like that.”

Photo credit to Benito Lopez/Credit to Vir Moore

While sparring round after round on a spring morning designed for achieving newfound objectives, it’s obvious to onlookers that honing technique isn’t Lopez’s only mission as a prizefighter. Searing the eyes of fans with a memorable hairstyle, Lopez understands the importance of branding an image. He said,

“My nickname is “The Golden Boy,” and it’s gold. I’m from Oroville, which is: The City of Gold. Not just that, it’s going to help me be more marketable, too, because, even if people don’t know my name, they’ll see the half blonde hair and know that kid throws crazy shit.”

Photo credit to WFC

Patrons at WFC 17 will witness the same half and half appearance on display, pushing at full tilt with an added degree of heartlessness. While conversing with Lopez about how he envisioned the fight will play out, he vindictively declared another casualty,

“He [WFC’s promoter, Branden Ware] gave me a few names and one of them was Albert. I was down. He beat one of my buddies, Kurt Weinrich, so I wanted to get that vengeance back for my boy. I think he [Weinrich] very well could have won that fight if he didn’t get caught.”

There is no remorse in Lopez about leaving another body for the commission to bag, and he believes the stars have aligned to continue his climb to the top tier of MMA,

“It was meant to be. It was perfect timing. I’m still in great shape and will get in even better shape, fight tooth and nail, and get that belt. I think the difference is going to be my striking. I think that’s going to be my advantage: the striking. The plan is another quick knockout, but I’ll be ready to go five-fives, from bell-to-bell. Obviously, I want the knockout or TKO or cut or whatever, but I’m going to be going for blood. Everyone knows how I fight.”

Photo courtesy of Benito Lopez

Barely fazed after his first sparring session since winning in devastating fashion at KOTC, the youthful glow reemerged off the mat to match the gold he predicts he’ll be wearing after Tim Brown, WFC’s announcer, on May 7, 2016 renders him as the new WFC bantamweight champion. Lopez, whether competing in the center of the McClellan Conference Center at WFC 17 or some other stage constructed on another continent, is a monster; he is the son of TAM,

“I try to be one of the most exciting fighters on the card every time I fight and be someone that people will remember: that half black and blonde hair kid is crazy. I want them to know I’m fighting.”

Follow Lopez on his bloodthirsty bantamweight spree at:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BenitoLopezMma

Twitter: @Savage_530

Instagram: @savage_530

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Jake Collier Re-Signs with the UFC

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UFC light heavyweight, Jake Collier (11-4, 3-3 UFC) , took to twitter yesterday, announcing a four fight contract renewal with the promotion.

The Missouri-born, Collier, amassed a 7-1 professional record fighting exclusively in his home state. Following his next fight, a 1st round submission victory over Gabriel Checco in the RFA promotion, Collier signed with the UFC.

Originally, Collier signed as a middleweight. His promotional debut took place in December of 2014 at, UFC Fight Night 58. A bout which he lost to Vitor Miranda via TKO (Head kick and punches) with only one second remaining in the opening round.

In 2017, “The Prototype”, moved to the light heavyweight division. The move came after a three-year stint at middleweight that saw him go 2-2. Losing to the likes of Dongi Yang, while defeating Ricardo Abreu. His final fight at the lower weight earned him a performance of the night bonus in his, UFC Fight Night 88, TKO win over Alberto Uda.

Upon moving to light heavyweight, Collier has the same .500 win percentage with a record of 1-1. His debut at the weight originally scheduled him against John Stansbury. Unfortunately, Collier withdrew from the card due to injury. Devin Clark replaced him on, The Ultimate Fighter Finale: 24, and defeated John Stansbury by unanimous decision. Clark then fought Collier next, defeating him by unanimous decision. “The Prototype”s most recent bout, a victory over Marcel Fortuna in November at, UFC Fight Night 120.

According to, UFC.com, Collier is booked to fight UFC-newcomer, Marcin Prachnio at, UFC on Fox 28, in Orlando, Florida. The only bout booked to the February 24th card, of next year.

Prachnio, holds a record of 13-2, with 10 knockouts. He most recently fought for the Asian-based promotion, One Championship. The Karate practitioner comes to the UFC on an eight fight win streak, the previous four in One Championship. At twenty-nine, Prachnio is another, in his prime, European light heavyweight signed to the UFC this year (Volkan Oezdemir being the other).

 

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FURY FC 17 Preview: UFC Veteran Roger Narvaez Set to Fight For Gold

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Deep in the Hill Country of Texas, there is a storm of MMA action brewing on the horizon in the historic city of San Antonio.

In 1836 the most iconic siege ever to take place in the American West was waged between Santa Anna’s Mexican forces and a small band of Texans fighting for their independence at the Battle of the Alamo. On June 10th that tradition of never backing down continues as Fury Fighting Championships 17 takes place at the Shrine Auditorium with a card that was originally slated to have 20 bouts of MMA action. At the top of the bill, there will be a familiar face as former UFC fighter, Roger “The Silverback” Narvaez, looks to capture his first championship in the sport when he faces Antonio “Doomsday” Jones for the vacant middleweight title. The event will also feature a hot prospect, a kickboxing champion, and a grudge match.

Fury FC 17 will be broadcast live on FloCombat.com.

While the 33-year-old Narvaez (8-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has already realized his ultimate goal of getting to the highest level of MMA, fighting for a title has always eluded him. The 6’3″ fighter nicknamed “The Silverback” due to his abnormal 79.5″ wingspan, or monkey arms as he calls them was twice scheduled to fight for the Legacy Fighting Championship Middleweight Title against then champion Bubba Bush who now fights in the UFC. An injury caused the first fight to be canceled. Then a call up to the UFC to fight an unknown opponent on short notice put an end to plans for the another scheduled title fight.

Theodorou vs. Narvaez at UFC 185 (photo: Matthew Wells – MMA Latest)

 

To Roger, the secret to grabbing the attention of the world’s biggest MMA promotion is fighting for several different promotions. He fought for six different organizations winning all of his fights before getting a call from the UFC’s former matchmaker Joe Silva to ask if he was ready to make the move. Narvaez feels that fighting for multiple shows tells the UFC that a fighter is ready to fight whoever and whenever. His first fight for the promotion was a loss to Patrick Cummins at UFC Fight Night 42 in Albuquerque where he fought at an altitude of over 5300 feet sea level, something he says will not do again unless he is training at altitude. To put it bluntly, he plainly states “the altitude in Albuquerque sucks.” After a win against Luke Barnett, he faced Elias Theodorou. In that fight, he broke his arm before ultimately losing, and was then cut by the UFC.


At this point in Narvaez’s career, his goals now are different:

“The next goal for me, to be realistic, is to make as much money as I can. I love fighting, but at the same time, I have a family that I am trying to support. That is always first and foremost now…[and] Fury is doing a pretty good job of taking care of me…This is a really big deal for me. I am probably training harder for this fight than I have ever trained before. Part of that is with age comes knowledge and experience and I am doing everything I need to do the right way to get ready to come home with that strap, but that strap means ever thing…I didn’t quit fighting with a broken arm, it is going to take something pretty drastic to get me stop. I don’t think the guy I am fighting is going to be able to break my will or test my heart to where I am not going to be able to pull through…coming home with that title is a big deal.”

That home is one of a fighting family. Narvaez’s wife Brandi is also a fighter who recently made her professional debut at Legacy Fighting Alliance 7. His stepson is a gray belt who competes in Jui-Jitsu year round, his daughter also trains in the sport. They understand the hard work that their dad puts in more so than the average fighter’s family. As he puts “it’s not normal, but it is normal to us.”


The prospect to keep an eye on is Two-time Alabama state wrestling champion turned lightweight MMA fighter, Alec Williams (5-1 MMA) from Birmingham. Williams will be looking to rebound from his first professional loss as he takes on Travonne “Prince Scorpion” Hobbs. In his last fight, Alec relied on his wrestling and got it in his head that he did not want to stand and trade with his opponent. That mentality ultimately not only cost him his undefeated record but also to sustain four broken bones in the right side of his face.

“I didn’t get knocked out, I still got the takedown after I broke those four bones. I know it is going to be pretty difficult to knock me out…Honestly, the loss kind of took any pressure off. Before I was undefeated, that loss was going to be a big change and now a loss is just another loss.”

For this fight, Williams says he has been working with MMA legend and former UFC fighter Pete Spratt on his stand up and will not make the same mistake twice.


Also featured on the card is the first Brazilan World Cup Kickboxing Champion, welterweight Washington “Washingthai” Luiz. Originally slated to fight Nickolay Veretennikov, “Washingthai” Luiz will now take on lesser known Danny Ageday. With a new opponent on just four days notice, the man who has aspirations to become a champion in GLORY Kickboxing is not fazed.

“I did my whole camp studying my first opponent who is a striker like me, but I do not feel harmed by the change. I’m ready for this war…The main reason for my change to the USA is the opportunity to be in the biggest events in the world I have already fought the biggest events in Brazil in kickboxing and MMA. I have fought in big events in Europe and now my challenge is the biggest event of kickboxing, GLORY. But I also love MMA and when a fight appears for me, I do not refuse.”


The grudge match at Fury FC 17 comes to us from the flyweights division’s Mark “The Sparrow” Plata and David “Gallito” Miramontes. These two men were scheduled to fight previously but Plata had to pull out due to his wife giving birth to twins. According to Plata, that is where the beef began.

“The day my twins were born he was messaging me talking about how this was not a good reason not fight and that I just did not want to fight him. My kids were in ICU at the time and he just keeps messaging me over and over…it upset me at the time because they were dying, they were trying to survive, but it just added more fuel to the fire. Then he kept asking promoters to fight me. He asked two or three different promoters to set it up. I got tired of him asking for me. So then I was like, alright cool if you want it that bad, let’s do it…His fighting style matches his personality. He tries to be a bully, and that’s cool, I don’t mind shutting bullies down.”

Titles, champions, prospects, legitimate bad blood…what more you could ask for in a local card?

This is an event not to miss and thanks to Fury FC having a deal with FloSports, you do not have to.

Tune in for all the action live at 6:00 PM CST on FloCombat.com this Saturday.

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*VIDEO* Francis Ngannou has his eyes on the UFC Heavyweight Title

Matthew Wells

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UFC Heavyweight Francis “The Predator” Ngannou has taken the heavyweight division by storm.

Currently 5-0 in the UFC and riding a 9 fight win streak, the native of Cameroon possesses vicious power and has shown improvements each time he steps inside the cage.

Hear Ngannou talk about his journey and plans for the future:

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