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[Interview] Dominique Robinson ready to impress at Pancrase 278

Matthew Wells

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Pancrase is one of the most storied mixed martial arts promotions in the history of the sport, founded in the same year as Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993. Not only do the two promotions share the same year of inception, they also have had some of the most legendary names in the sport competing under their banners. Names like Ken Shamrock, Bas Rutten, Nate Marquardt, Josh Barnett, and Guy Mezger were Pancrase champions (King of Pancrase as it is formally titled) who would all go on to compete in the UFC with varying degrees of success.

Dominique “Fallen Angel” Robinson (19-5-2-2) is one who hopes his travels to Japan will also ultimately open up a road to the UFC, a road that has been blocked in his career thus far.

Road blocks have not stopped him yet though and he has dealt with a fair share. Whether it be multiple surgeries keeping him sidelined at different points throughout his career or fighting with severe injuries, the “Fallen Angel” keeps coming back stronger and more hungry each time he steps into the cage. This weekend at Pancrase 278, Robinson will seek to get his hand raised in front of the crowd in Tokyo, while looking to impress everyone watching on UFC Fight Pass. Just a few days ahead of the fight that could open up that elusive road to the UFC or a shot at becoming King of Pancrase, Dominique took out the time to answer a few questions while enjoying beautiful Tokyo, Japan.

Matthew Wells: Let’s talk about your upcoming fight this weekend. This will be the second time you will be fighting for the storied Pancrase promotion in Tokyo, Japan. What’s the experience like fighting overseas?

Dominique Robinson: That question is a double-edged sword of sorts. As far as the experience, it’s great. I love geography, history, and culture, thus, I always have a great experience when it comes to the interactions with the locals and also my fellow fighters that are fighting on the same cards and the stories we are able to share with one another. When it comes to the promotions, it seems more gets done “wrong” overseas than in America because, as everyone knows, the “rumors” of them being partisan to the locals is true. This sometimes comes out in the form of referees, sometimes judges, sometimes both. Accommodations are another thing that gets tampered with so it can be a very disadvantageous and frustrating experience.

MW: Your previous opponent Eiji Ishikawa didn’t want any part of the striking game against you and made his game plan known early: clinch often and work for takedowns. The action was slow and stalled, with no breaks from the referee, ultimately resulting in a decision loss in which you took virtually zero damage from your opponent. How frustrating was it to lose in that manner, and do you expect your opponent to bring that same style of fight to the cage to grind out a win this weekend? 
 
DR: I expect all opponents to take that strategy with me if they are smart. The most frustrating part of that fight was that I won. Clearly. On tape and in person are two different things. Minor details can’t be seen like the damage being done or the rules being broken. To be exact, I was hit ONCE in that fight; when he asked to touch gloves during Round 3 and punched me instead. The rest of the fight was him grabbing the cage in order to keep me there. The outside ref, my corner man Josh Barnett, Tri Villegas, and the crowd, as well as myself, were telling the inside ref he was doing it with no actions being taken. The plan when we realized this was to just do damage to his zero damage so I destroyed his body on the inside and after the fight he was purple on the legs and ribs and limping and told me before the decision was read that he was “Sorry” and that “All I can do is hold, you are too strong, you win,” yet I lost. Oddly, my homie Will Chope, as well as Victor Henry lost fights I believed they won as well so you tell me. Also, the fight doesn’t tell the tale that I was flown in less than 40 hours before the fight itself.

MW: Talk a little bit about your shoulder surgery and the recovery process before training camp for this fight.
 
DR: Surgery was ROUGH, my man. I fought 8 years of my career, as many know by now, hiding a severe injury from being hit by a car. My spine was damaged and I had about 30% usage of my left arm and was in constant pain, every day, literally. I’ve had double spine surgery, my knee, my wrist, and I flew through them like nothing. This shoulder surgery was another animal! It is the roughest thing I’ve ever been through and very painful, the truth of the matter is that they found out it was damaged along with my neck long ago, thus, the longer recovery period…I’m not even 100% through rehab yet but I have dream to chase so it is what it is.

MW: The previous fight had a lot riding on it for you. A potential shot at the UFC was hanging in the balance if you were to come away victorious. Have you spoken with anyone with the UFC about the potential to get that call again with an impressive win? 

DR: …and a title shot with Pancrase was on the line as well! Yes, I’ve had 2-3 meetings with Dana White, Joe Silva, and Sean Shelby since then, all very positive. Let’s just say they are on high alert and I have to contact them each fight I win.

MW:  Boxing has had a very heavy influence on your mixed martial arts career. The world lost a legend recently with the passing of Muhammad Ali. Talk a bit about the influence Ali had on your career in and outside of competition. 

DR: “The Greatest” in my mind was always “Sugar” Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali. As an avid boxing fan, mainly old school boxing, I loved them both. Unlike most I think that I loved them more for the person they were than the fighters they were. To stick to the topic at hand of Ali, he was a great, great person. You listen to the stories of him, to listening to his interviews, and furthermore interviews or short stories of people who have met him, they are all positive. The spirit of a man can be heard clearest from his interactions with his fellow man is my belief. What I took from him most, and the Robinson family is a believer of this also, is that you die standing, never on your knees. You stand up for what you believe in no matter what it cost you. Realistically, I’m not in UFC, Bellator, or OneFC long ago, not because of my skills, but because I stood up for myself and many other fighters who promoters were doing wrong long ago and got blackballed, hence, why refs, judges, fighters, athletic commission people, EVERYBODY in the game that truly knows me respects me but I still can’t get that moment I’ve searched for.
 
MW: What’s your favorite Muhammad Ali quote or moment? 

DR: LOL! Damn he has soo many! I love him saying, “If you even dream of beating me you better wake up and apologize!”

MW: The combat sports world lost another legend in his own right as well recently with the passing of Kevin Ferguson aka Kimbo Slice. What are your thoughts on the impact Kimbo made on the mixed martial arts world?
 
DR: People hated on Kimbo but folks are just that type in this generation. Being from the South and growing up in varying degrees of hardship, I’ll tell you, what kind of person do you have to be to hate on a man that was in the hood of Florida, which isn’t a joke, literally fought his way out of it, take up Dana’s challenge to do TUF, make his way to UFC, and capitalize on any opportunity to make money to feed his family? Those people need to evaluate themselves.

MW: There will be a lot of eyes on this fight as it will be streaming on UFC Fight Pass. Will this be the best Dominique Robinson we’ve seen on June 12? 

DR: There were many challenges in camp, I’m still not 100% from surgery, and it’s been a challenge since arriving here, so I won’t give the cliche’ “Best camp ever” or “Best I’ve ever been” lies all these guys give. Technically, I am the best I’ve ever been thanks to my coaches Jerome and Jeff Mayweather at Mayweather Boxing Club, John Wood at Syndicate MMA, and all my training partners, who I’d like to give credit to now. Also, I’d like to say thank you to my man Sean at Sean Early Physical Therapy for getting me through as much rehab as possible in the short amount of time we had for such a serious injury. My man Dr. Dumler who is a friend and sponsor who keeps introducing me to new sponsors of great character like himself. Trent Cotney, who jumped on board in one conversation between us two. He is a man of character and we related on many levels and I am truly grateful for him coming on board #TeamRobinson at the time he did because life has been throwing everything at me on a financial level lately and I look forward to him and I building our business and personal relationship (check out that resume I sent homie! lol). Also, my man Phil Palmer is a dude that looks out for me and is a great friend and does beyond what our sponsorship is. I have many others that people can check out ontherealfallenangel.com where they can also purchase my new walkout tee. I’d like to thank SUPER thank my sponsor and friend Kim Mason of Beyond Beauty by Kim, I literally would not have made it through camp without her, Goon Mama Tri Villegas who takes care of us all and the other half of Samsara Management Crystal Galasso as well, the pair are the best management team in the game. My mom, son, Gma, love you all. My ninjas James, Clement, Spilly, Patrick what it do! Follow my social media all at @fallenangel510. See that’s how you give hood shout outs! Thanks for the interview my man!

Pancrase 278 takes place June 12, 2016, at the Differ Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan and will stream live on UFC Fight Pass.

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For the latest MMA news, live event coverage and more follow @mmalatestnws on Twitter.

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Bellator

Michael Page Not Focusing on Opponent Ahead of Boxing Debut

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to Bellator’s Michael ‘Venom’ Page, as he makes his boxing debut this Friday at the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night.

Page (12-0 MMA) is renowned for his entertaining fight style inside the cage, with most of his knockout and submission victories ending up in highlight reels online, that almost always go viral.

‘MVP’ was supposed to make his boxing debut on the undercard of David Haye vs Tony Bellew in March of this year, but due to ongoing negotiations with Bellator, his debut was delayed. Shortly after Page signed with Haye’s promotion “Hayemaker Ringstar.”

Q: So, Michael, we’re about five days out now from your big boxing debut, and still we have no name of an opponent? Can you break the big news, who will you be fighting next week?

I honestly couldn’t even tell you his name right now! I know I’ve got an opponent, but I haven’t even looked at him because it has changed so many times. I don’t like to pay too much attention to it, because it’s added stress. For me it’s just a case of turning up, and firing punches at whoever is across the ring.

Q: Is this fight 10 or 12 rounds? Given a standard boxing fight is a lot longer than your typical 15-minute MMA bout, has there been an emphasis on cardiovascular work in your training camp?

Depending on the opponent, I think it’s 6-rounds. The preparation has been different, I’m having to stress out my shoulders and core a lot. The kicking distance as well is very different, getting used to having people a bit closer. I’m getting used to the corners of the ring, I’ve done it before but not to this extent so I am familiar of it, but my body wasn’t really used to it.

Q: So, is this kind of like a one fight deal for Haye’s Ringstar promotion? Regardless of this fight’s outcome, will you return to MMA?

Not at all, I’m taking it seriously. Otherwise, I would have just had a super fight against a big name like McGregor did. This is why I can’t just jump into a 12 round fight, I need to adjust my body and get it prepared for boxing.

There’s no future plans yet, I’d like to have an MMA fight again before the end of this year, as I haven’t fought this whole year, but another opportunity for boxing may come up and I might get a chance to jump on that, so it depends.

Q: Were you frustrated that Bellator booked Paul Daley vs. Lorenz Larkin, and if you could send a message to Daley right now what would it be?

I have no interest in him anymore. It feels so pathetic and unnecessary now. I don’t think he deserved that fight with Larkin right after the shocking display he put on in Wembley against Rory MacDonald. But good on him he beat Larkin, however he calls me out immediately after then goes on to say he’s past that fight, it just doesn’t make sense.

Credit – michaelpagemvp – Instagram

Q: A statement we hear a lot is “MVP is the only guy outside the UFC that I want in the UFC” People criticise the talent in Bellator and say you’re fighting nobodies, what do you say back to them?

The amount of times you hear “you shouldn’t fight this person, you should have fought that person.” Everyone’s got an idea of what the correct steps someone should make are, but at the end of the day it’s their career. People are so fickle and easy to forget. If you are a fan of somebody, just be a fan of them regardless of win or loss.

Q: I’ve got to ask about how things are with Bellator, because from the outside looking in it’s quite unclear. How is it relationship at the moment?

Yeah I get on with most of the guys, it’s like a small family. I’ve still got a couple of fights left with them, they’re growing very well, the only problem is I feel like they’re focusing a bit too much on ex UFC fighters. For me it says you’re classing yourself as second best. Bellator generate some amazing superstars and young talent, they should continue to promote them.

You can watch ‘MVP’ make his boxing debut this Friday night, as the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night will air at 21:00PM on Dave.

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BAMMA

Exclusive: Alex Lohore “Didn’t Know” Who Richard Kiely Was Before BAMMA 32 Booking

Harry Davies

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We spoke to the recently crowned BAMMA welterweight champion Alex Lohore, as he prepares to defend his title against Richard Kiely at BAMMA 32 in Dublin.

Lohore (13-1) won the vacant BAMMA welterweight title last month at BAMMA 31 in London. Fighting his longtime rival Nathan Jones on the night, Lohore knocked out “Mr Bag & Tag” with a knee in the first round.

Q: Obviously the rivalry between you and Jones had been going on for years, but you finished it in brutal fashion. Did you to speak to him after the fight?

Yeah I did have a chat with him. I was telling him that it was a great fight and we should train together sometime, but he was he wasn’t really keen on it. I guess he was still a bit sore about the defeat.

Q: In the cage after your win, you called out Richard Kiely, now you’re fighting him. Are you happy you got the opponent you asked for?

Everyone keeps saying I called him out, I didn’t call him out, he called me out! I didn’t even address his name, I said ‘this Irish kid has been running his mouth we’re going to go out there and shut him up.’ I didn’t even know who he was. He’s been mentioning my name and talking a lot of rubbish on my social media disturbing me and my fans.

Q: The finish against Jones was picture perfect. From the elbow, to the right hand, to the knee, was it the best of your career?

Yeah I think it is, by far! It was perfect technique. I knew as he was going he back he would try to duck in for the takedown. Because I was throwing the head kick anyway all I needed to do was just switch it to a knee. I couldn’t ask for any better.

Q: Given it’s in Dublin and Richard is Irish, How do you feel about going into enemy territory at BAMMA 32?

That’s great, that’s why I’m doing it! I need to be comfortable in every environment, so going out there will test. I wanted to be on the Dublin card, now I can teach him a little lesson too, I can’t wait.

Q: As you know the Geordie Shore star Aaron Chalmers has brought a lot of attention to BAMMA recently, what are your thoughts on him? 

He’s good man. For someone who doesn’t come from a fighting background and does reality TV stuff, he’s doing good. How can people say he should fight someone more experienced, because he is taking  guys that are on his level and he’s doing good.

He’s helping MMA fighters because he has got a big following so more people are going to be watching MMA and learning about MMA so it’s a good thing having him on board.

BAMMA32 will take place at the 3Arena in Dublin on November 10th. Tickets are now on sale at ticketmaster.ie. The card will air live on both UNILAD’s Facebook page, and Dave.

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Bellator

Exclusive: Andrey Koreshkov eyeing fight with Rory MacDonald

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Former Bellator welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov is coming off of an interesting past two years. In 2015 he beat current welterweight champion Douglas Lima, via a dominant unanimous decision, in order to win the welterweight title. He returned in 2016 and beat former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson via another dominant beatdown. It seemed like Koreshkov was going to be the champion for a very long time, making elite fighters look like they had no business being in the cage with him.

Koreshkov’s world came crashing down one night in Isreal. The Russian was beating Douglas Lima in a rematch, he was up 20-18 on the score-cards, and it seemed like he was going to walk away with another successful title defense. Koreshkov forced Lima’s back against the fence and started winging punches at him, Lima started to do the same as he looked to get off the fence, and then it happened, a huge left hook caught Koreshkov on the chin and it was lights-out. Lima was once again champion, and Koreshkov’s reign was cut short.

What was next for Koreshkov after losing the title? Perhaps a move to middleweight? Bellator’s middleweight division has fewer contenders than the welterweight division and could promise a quicker path to the title for the Russian. Koreshkov is a big welterweight, standing at 6’1, he certainly wouldn’t be small in the higher weight class. Speaking to MMA Latest, Koreshkov was quick to shut down the idea of moving up. “No, no, I work hard at welterweight and I’d like to stay there.”

Sticking with welterweight, Koreshkov knew it was going to be tough to get another title shot after his fight with Chidi Njokuani, but he seems to know the key to fighting for the title “It’s not about how many wins, but rather, the quality of my wins”, with that in mind, he promised the gameplan against Njokuani was to “stand and bang”. Koreshkov fulfilled his promise, against Njokuani he came out guns-blazing, giving Njokuani all he could handle on the feet before eventually taking him down and finishing him with some nasty ground and pound.

Koreshkov also got the chance to explain who he’d like to fight next, should he not get a title shot. “I don’t have any favorites, I know that there are a lot of tough fights at my weight class, but if I had to choose, I would say Rory MacDonald.” Unfortunately for Koreshkov, MacDonald is booked against his former opponent Douglas Lima, as the two are set to fight for the Bellator welterweight title in January.

A fight against MacDonald would promise fireworks as the two are known for their ruthless style. There’s a strong chance Koreshkov may get his chance against MacDonald next, as the former champion is certainly either next in line for the shot, or set to fight the loser.

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