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Daniel Gonzalez: Writing The Next Chapter of His MMA Career

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Photo courtesy of Daniel Gonzalez

Photo credit to CFC

Daniel “Prodigy” Gonzalez (am 3-3), a charismatic flyweight who trains out of American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, California, seeks to scribe the next chapter in his saga as a mixed martial artist. Slated to compete at Conquer Fighting Championships (CFC) 2 on April 30th, 2016, Gonzalez, following a victory over his next opponent, intends on pouring whiteout on his amateur status and refilling the same space with a new font, spelling out: professional.

Targeting a bold exclamation point in his seventh appearance as an amateur, some may wonder why Gonzalez has yet to ink his name across the dotted line as a pro. Quick to open up and discuss a sport he passionately invests in, Gonzalez discussed his decision to draft one more subplot as an ammy,

“The whole point of me in my amateur career is to feel experienced, and, as of right now, I feel like I’m ready. In my early amateur career, I was so tense the entire time, but now I’m loose, I’m dancing, and I’m having fun. That’s what my coaches wanted. They just wanted me to feel comfortable in there.” Admittedly, he stated, “It’s really hard for people to get comfortable in there.”

Publishing a life as a pro while training at AKA requires the approval of the coaching staff. Gonzalez, aware of his coaches’ support, spoke with an empowered confidence. He described the collaborative process in revising an amateur’s readiness ,

“Here at AKA, the fighter needs to feel like they are ready. If a coach says, ‘You’re ready to go pro,’ but the fighter, inside, is saying, ‘I’m not ready.’ Then, you’re not ready. You have to be ready, and your coaches have to be fully committed to you going pro. If it’s fifty-fifty, just stick to amateur.”

Photo courtesy of Daniel Gonzalez

Gonzalez’s raw athleticism masks the fact he entered MMA without a background in any of the martial arts. The competitive edge he identified while participating in other sports leaks out like a fountain pen onto the canvas; no pocket-protector alive can save his opposition from leaving the matchup mark-free,

“Every time I did sports, I was an aggressive player, but I had never done one-on-one competition. That [one-on-one competition] always intrigued me because it was different. When you have a team, it could be their fault a mistake happened, like basketball or football. This [MMA] is all you!”

Photo courtesy of Daniel Gonzalez

Drawn in by the allure of hoisting sole responsibility of each sporting event on his own shoulders, the product of AKA explained how his MMA memoir would have read much differently without the scaffolds he acquired to structure his path,

“The first gym I ever walked into was Main Street Kickboxing. I decided to leave because I had a tournament at AKA, and Javier Mendez [AKA’s head coach] asked me, ‘You don’t have a coach to corner you in this tournament? Do you have a coach?’ I was like, ‘He couldn’t come today.’” Disappointment exuded from Gonzalez as he continued, “It was kind of embarrassing.” But, as soon as he hit a stumbling block, Mendez picked him right back up, “I wasn’t really representing a gym at that time, so Javier came up to me and told me, ‘If you want to take this seriously, come into this gym.’ No Rosetta Stone needed for Gonzalez to read the hieroglyphics on the walls of AKA as clear as day, “I got a tour from one of the guys, and I was very interested. I lived an hour away from San Jose, but I recently moved there and am three miles away from the gym. I basically live there now.”

AKA, a facility storied in cranking out elite mixed martial artists, also bonds its squadron with any blood spilled on the mats running thicker than water,

“Everybody is so great there. There are no bullies, or people like, ‘Oh, I’m pro, or I’m a UFC champion.’ Everybody is very involved with everybody. When you see Luke Rockhold walking by, he’ll stop and say, ‘Hey, how’s the training going? When is the next fight?’ They’re very welcoming and always asking questions. Javier is always checking up on the amateurs, making sure we’re doing great and always going to our shows. It’s a family there.”

Photo courtesy of Daniel Gonzalez

Turning back several pages to the first CFC event, CFC 1, a vivid image materializes from the text. Gonzalez, oozing with pride, authored the atmosphere at the gym when his teammate, Allison Schmidt, with the determination of a warrior, debuted as an amateur,

“One of our girls fought in the last Conquer card; it was her amateur debut. She had been training for a really long time, and, for everybody to see her grow like that, and to finally step in the cage, it was very emotional. We were all like, ‘Oh man, she’s finally in there after all her years of preparing for this.’ And when she won, everybody went crazy; everybody would talk about it in the gym; everybody is just so together!”

Without a doubt, Gonzalez will garner the same raucous cheers from his peers when he exits the CFC proving ground with a victory, closing the tale on his amateur days and cracking the binding of a new anthology. However Gonzalez’s plot unfolds, he travels with the wisdom imparted on him from his head coach,

“Javier is a very high-level coach. He’s been around the game a long time, and he’s built people into champions. First, he says, ‘You’ve got to be here.’ There’s a lot of people who: life happens and family happens to get in the way. He also says, ‘You need to be in love with this [MMA].’” Removing the quill from the notepad and applying some reflective consideration, Gonzalez redirects the tool to its task and announced, “I’m very in love with this, and it’s all I think about. I’m very excited for every fight, and every day I’m in the gym and getting better.”

More than prepared to etch out his next dramatic scene in MMA, Gonzalez closed with an epilogue for all of his opponents to commit to memory and, working his longhand, shorthand, or both in combination, sends fans home from the Craneway Pavillion, after a fantastic performance, with something to write about while at CFC 2,

“I’m going to make sure whoever I face April 30th that they will never forget my name. He will never forget my face because I want him to realize that I’m different. After this fight, he will look at me and say in his mind, ‘He is the future.’”

Follow Gonzalez to a bestselling arena near you:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/profile

Instagram: www.instagram.com/prodigydan

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Fight to Watch

Interview: Manny Bermudez, “The second this fight goes on the ground, it’s gonna be a pretty terrible story for this guy”

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Manny Bermudez is accustom to many things when it comes to fighting, especially when it comes to pressure. “I’ve been doing this since I was young”, the undefeated bantamweight prospect claimed as he brushed off the question. His answer slid off the tongue as if he had been trained to do so, “Yeah, I get nervous. Yeah, it gets scary sometimes but, you either man up and face it, or you take a loss (and) you have to start over”. He certainly hadn’t. What he had trained is a calm and loose demeanor, a mindset that palpably asserts rationality. “It’s best to just take it on the chin”.

Currently, Manny Bermudez is the number one ranked professional bantamweight in the New England region (ranking by Tapology.com). Something you would not expect from the polite and kind twenty-three year old. Despite whom he projects, there comes a time, every so often, when the quiet man morphs into a dominating force. It is something you may see if you travel down to South Shore Sportfighting, in Norwell, the place he began and continues his training.

A place in which he take great pride in beginning his MMA journey, “I’ve known Bill since I was like fourteen”. He praised his head coach Bill Mahoney, the head instructor of South Shore Sportfighting. “He’s seen me, just like, grow up. He’s seen what I’m good at, what I’m not good at”. He continued following an abrupt outburst elsewhere in the room, “One of the things he always talks about is, how you have to know your fighters to be a good coach… You see all these higher up schools like the Greg Jackson’s and all that, they got all these fighters but, they can’t really focus on these guys because they’re not homegrown. And so, South Shore has been an awesome place for me to be homegrown from because Bill really pays attention to me… he knows what I’m good at, what I need to work on. When he sees a weakness, he tells me straight up”.

Or, you may see his ferocity if you purchase tickets to this weekend’s Cage Titans 37 at Plymouth Memorial Hall in Plymouth, Mass. At CT 37, Bermudez takes on another highly touted prospect, Mike Hernandez for the promotions vacant bantamweight championship title. Talking to him, you may not think you are speaking with a fighter, undefeated in ten professional bouts. Not only undefeated but finishing eight of his ten opponents, seven by choke, one by KO/TKO. Lastly, don’t forget, all eight finishes came inside the opening round.

“The second I drop down to 135, I can feel the difference in the guy’s I’m fighting. I feel like a wet rag on these guys”. Fittingly, his fights have nearly all looked that way. In his most recent bout, Bermudez toyed with his opponent on the feet, landing a hard straight right which caught the attention of his opponent, Bendy Casimir. After a bit of measuring done by both fighters, Bermudez ate a head kick from his opponent, caught it, and followed him to the ground. From there, Bermudez immediately worked himself into mount and instituted his infamous Bermudez Triangle forcing a BJJ Black Belt to tap in the opening minutes. An aspect of his game he is extremely confident about.

“I think the second this fight goes on the ground, it’s gonna be a pretty terrible story for this guy”, the Abington-native claimed. Yet, the South Boston fighter respected the ability of his opponent, “He seems like a tough, scrappy dude”. He continued, “He’s a veteran with a good record, a successful record. He’s fought in Bellator, he’s fought UFC vets. I mean, I don’t think they come much tougher, locally”. Although he understands the challenges his opponent brings to light, he is confident, “I want this to be a statement that, it doesn’t matter what you’re throwing at me, I’m gonna to face it and keep going”.

The Cage Titans promotion couldn’t be much better of a place to fight for Bermudez. Without traffic, a drive from his home to the Cage Titans event venue is more or less, thirty minutes. When asked about the significance of earning a title with a local promotion such as Cage Titans, means to him, he had nothing but praise for the promotion who hosted seven of his ten pro fights. “Cage Titans, is one of the organizations that really represents the northeast. I’ve had a lot of shows, where I’ll go down there and I see my friends so close to me and just hearing that support from the people, from the crowds. At my last fight, we flew the guy in from Vegas, and I choked him in a minute or two”, he said. “You could hear everyone yelling, ‘UFC! UFC! UFC!’… I go on Facebook, and everyone’s yelling, ‘Get Manny to the UFC!’, so they all support me, they all have my back so to be fighting for this title and the possibility of somebody else holding it, from out of state, I’d say, it’s a little more personal… it’s a promotion I fought for so many times that I think it holds more personal meaning for me, than it would for somebody like him.”

A win for the local prospect certainly muddies the waters of his situation. The #1 bantamweight in New England has no interest in signing with a promotion other than the UFC. His only desire and goal, at the moment, is to sign with the aforementioned promotion. Considering the achievements Bermudez has already accomplished in his young career, a regional title greatly increases an already deserving resume.

***UPDATE 1/25/18*** Mike Hernandez was forced to withdraw yesterday from Saturdays main event at Cage Titans 37, due to a family emergency. Manny Bermudez will now face Seth Basler, in a non-title bout.

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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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