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Exclusive Interview with Titan FC Flyweight Champion, Tim Elliott

AJ Camacho

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Back in June, the UFC released Tim Elliott from his UFC contract. After three consecutive losses, they chose to let him go. Given the visible potential in Elliott’s fighting, it came as somewhat of a shock.

I can still remember how fluidly Elliott dominated the early part of his bout against Joseph Bienevidize back at UFC 172. Elliott, the huge underdog, was connecting with every conceivable angle of strike on Benavidez, darting in and out while seamlessly changing levels and grabbing takedowns seemingly at will. One mistake and a reversal later, Benavidez would seize the guillotine and finish the fight just before Tim could really capitalize on his momentum.

For many being released from MMA’s biggest promotion would shake their resolve and make them question their path in life. But only a month later, and under a new promotional banner, Elliott would make his potential apparent and earn the Titan FC Flyweight title in a decisive victory over title contender, Iliarde Santos. Let go but unfazed, Elliott never took his foot off of the gas and still continues to burn at that pace, immediately signing up for a title defense only 2 months later.

“[Felipe Efrain is] pretty basic, really ‘A’ ‘B’, and has Muy Thai kickboxing. But I have guys here, like James Krausse and Gaston Reyno, their technical striking is way, way, more better than this guys’…” – Tim Elliott

On September 19th at Titan FC 35, Elliott will be defending his title against 9-1 Felipe Efrain. Efrain has finished 5 of his 9 fights by way of submission, KO, or TKO and has ridden a 3 fight win streak to earn this title shot. The two fighters are a stark stylistic contrast from one another. Elliott with his unorthodox footwork, strikes, and unmatchable pace against Efrain’s power and explosive speed. I talked with Elliott to see how he thought he faired against Efrain’s strengths.

Your opponent, Felipe Efrain, he’s on a pretty good streak here that he’s been riding to the title shot. He’s a very linear fighter, though. He’s explosive, has some very devastating strikes… whereas you, you’re explosive too but you have an unorthodox footwork style. How do you think that your style fits against his?

I think [my style] does really well. He’s pretty basic, really “A” “B”, and has Muy Thai kickboxing. But I have guys here, like James Krausse and Gaston Reyno, their technical striking is way, way, more better than this guys’ so I feel confident that with that kind of style I’ll do well.

And about your footwork, a lot of comments have been made about it. How do you develop footwork like that? Because it seems like you’re using it both to angle them towards where you want to walk them but also to set up shots and other things like that.

It comes from [training] with James [Krausse]. He’s so technically sound that if you try to point fight, with him, or kickbox with him, or even spar with him – technically – he’ll just pick me apart. I have to make up [for] that with wild punches and excess movement. It’s the only way I can keep from him kicking my ass, pretty much. That’s where that over the top punching comes from. He shoulder rolls so it’s hard – jabs and straights and hooks – they don’t really work. So I throw [my fist] straight over the top and that’s about the only time I ever hit him. So that’s where that all came from.

“[After having the baby], I’m coming in one a day, I’m eager to get to practice every day, I’m able to make it through a whole practice without killing myself, and I’m having fun.” – Tim Elliott

A pivotal point in a fighter’s career is their growth from a selfish lone wolf prize fighter into a father. In the early years of a fighter’s career, they are really only accountable to themselves. Their safety and livelihood are intrinsically tied to their selfish need to improve, train, and focus on themselves. However, on a long enough career path every fighter must figure out how to balance a girlfriend, a fiance, a wife and eventually a family into the day to day grind that is their career. It’s a challenge that some fighters just can’t handle and many have retired wishing to forfeit the balancing game, throwing their lives towards their family and a typical 9 to 5 white collar day job.

Tim has embraced the challenge and has used the new found perspective of a father to reinvigorate his passion for fighting.

You recently had a child, right?

Four and a half months ago, I had a baby girl.

Congratulations.

Thank you.

Does that change your mindset at all? Because for me, when I had my kids – I started crying at movies more…

I’m for sure more emotional, but it took a lot of stress off of me. It didn’t really motivate me to work harder or anything. I’ve slimmed my training down to just one time a day. Before the baby I was doing two, sometimes 3 [training sessions a day]. I would dread coming to practice, I was just worn down all of the time, and it was starting to wear mentally on me. It was becoming work. And now, I’m coming in one a day, I’m eager to get to practice every day, I’m able to make it through a whole practice without killing myself, and I’m having fun.

I’m with a promotion – they appreciate guys going out there and being exciting. If you get a finish in Titan, at all, you get $1,000 no matter what. So they’re really encouraging guys to go out there and be exciting and get the finish. So you know, things couldn’t be better really.

“[Titan is] taking care of their guys and they’re putting on good shows.” – Tim Elliott

With his last win in July, Tim is not taking a break, having only the month of August to recover and train for his first title defense. It’s hard to see if this pace is a doubling down, parlaying his health and lack of injury towards as many fights as fast as possible, or just a reckless reaction to wanting to re-prove his worth to Titan and it’s fans. Tim made it clear though that this pace is something that he wants, and that being an active fighter on the Titan roster is a the forefront of his mind.

Now your last win was in July, correct?

Yes sir.

And now you’re fighting in September. That pace, is that something being pushed forward by Titan or is that something that you want?

It’s more me. My manager made a deal with me where I wouldn’t have to sign a multi-fight deal with [Titan] unless they could keep me active. They want me to stick with the company. As long as they’re keeping me active, I’m going to do that.

They’re taking care of their guys and they’re putting on good shows. The last Titan card I watched, it was amazing – and I fought on it, I’m not even talking about my fight – every other fight that I watched was amazing. They’re putting together a good product…

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Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.

Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.


Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?

I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.

Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?

I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened.  They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.

Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of  Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?

I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.

It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.

Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?

I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.

I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.

Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!

 

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ACB

Rany Saadeh pleased with the opportunities ACB brings, promises a finish in his debut on Saturday

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The BAMMA Flyweight belt was ruled for years by none other than Rany Saadeh, During his reign as champion he successfully defended the belt on two occasions. His dominance over the division saw him go undefeated in BAMMA and without a loss since 2012. Following the expiration of his contract, Rany vacated his BAMMA belt to explore new challenges.

He has now signed with ACB and is set to make his debut in only a matter of days at ACB 74 in Austria where he will take on Darren Mima. In a recent catch up with Rany, he explained his reasoning behind joining ACB and his goals in the promotion.

“ACB is the fastest growing organization in MMA. They’ve promised me an active career with events all over the world and a tempting bonus structure. It was just what I was looking for. I’ve looked into the competition and I can honestly say that the competition at flyweight is just as good, if not even better than in the UFC. Being the ACB title holder would make me a legit world champion.”

Ahead of his bout with Mima, we are set to see some new stuff from Saadeh as he claims to have changed up his style after a solid camp for this fight, guaranteeing us a surprise.

“I didn’t need to change anything for him but my style changed in general since my last fight. I’ve had an excellent camp with high-level training partners and coaches. I’m very grateful for my coaches who have put hours of private work into me this year. Especially with my new boxing coach Luciano Robledo, I can guarantee a surprise.”

The confidence is evident as he tells me how he sees the fight going. Promising his well-rounded arsenal of both strikes and grappling are worthy of bonuses, something he’d be very keen on considering the set-up in ACB.

“I will not just completely dominate but also finish.” He began, “I can imagine this fight being a wild brawl and dropping my opponent. Also on the ground, I have some slick submissions that are bonus-worthy.”

Having been successful in BAMMA, Rany is striving for more glory as plans on taking home the ACB title becoming the first Western European to do so.

“Of course!” he says with determination in his voice, “I’m coming into ACB as a world champion and the #1 ranked flyweight in Western Europe. After winning this fight, the title fight is right there”

It’s now been over a year since we’ve seen, “Prince” enter the cage. A decision voluntarily made by the German as he adjusted his game.

“It was mid last year when I had started to adjust my game. These changes take time and as the wished competition wasn’t there, I decided to take some time off fighting to prepare for a bigger challenge.”

Now having departed ways with BAMMA, the British promotion now has a new champion in Daniel Barez. Unfortunately for Rany, his reasons for leaving was the lack of competition has beaten everyone put in front of him with money being an issue that stepped in the way too. Despite any negativity derived from his departure, he does not rule out a return to the promotion where he was once Flyweight king.

“The competition in Europe just got very thin. With five fights in BAMMA, I somehow wasn’t very impressed with the opportunities left. Neither I got the fights, nor the purse that I needed to take my career further. After two title defenses, it felt like I was standing still which isn’t just BAMMA’s fault. Altogether, they are a great promotion and I wouldn’t exclude a return.”

When the UFC announced they would have the best flyweights from around the world enter the TUF house with a shot at the belt going to the winner. Many would have thought Rany Saadeh would have been up there. The season had champions from all over the world but no one from BAMMA, something strange considering the number of champions they signed in the past year from the promotion.

In an unfortunate circumstance for Saadeh, it was not his fault he wasn’t in the house as the UFC did come knocking but BAMMA just weren’t letting their champ go. Despite this situation, there is no bad blood anymore as Saadeh has moved on with things now.

“The UFC was definitely interested in putting me on the show and it is not true that BAMMA wasn’t asked. They were asked but didn’t want to be part of it. Without their permission, I wasn’t able to take part in the TUF. But I’m not mad at that anymore, I feel like it will make better opportunities possible.”

Having missed out on a possible UFC opportunity before, it isn’t on his mind anymore as he remains pleased with his life and is mainly looking to support his family in the future.

“I really don’t care, I’m set for the next few fights. All I want now is a decent living from fighting and provide for my family in the near future. ACB is not just giving me the chance to reach that goal but also giving me the challenges that I need. So far, I’m a very happy person”

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Bellator

Anthony “PrettyBoy” Taylor wants to knockout Trey Branch then fight Brian Moore in Bellator on St. Patricks Day

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Going from postlim fights in Bellator to a co-main event and then a main card fight after with such little professional experience isn’t something you’d hear of very often in the slightest. In this case Anthony “PrettyBoy” Taylor is the exception, who in only his third professional fight went to Ireland as part of the co-main event for a fight with James Gallagher. Taylor became well known to many in the build-up to that fight for being so outspoken and quite an entertainer, something he carries with him to the cage.

Anthony Taylor now has himself a fight lined up in a regional show near his home in California at California Fighting Championships. This will be his first time fighting back in America since May 2016. His last two bouts were in Europe as part of Bellator’s expansion into Europe. Following two losses he now hopes to get back in the win column in front of a home crowd. Taking this fight as a tune off fight Anthony is confident he won’t be touched by his opponent Trey Branch.

“Well, I’m taking this fight because Bellator said I’ll be fighting next year for overseas and it will be a good tune off fight for me. I think of trey like any other fighter. Just a guy who’s not going to touch me nor beat me.”

His opponent Trey Branch is jumping up from flyweight for this fight, Anthony believes he’s going to dominate his opponent and knock him out with ease. Now having 3 career losses coming via submission, he is not worried about his ground game, guaranteeing it was improved from training with some of the top fighters in Bellator.

“I believe I’m going to overpower him and KO him. He’s coming up from 125lb to fight me which I stated to the world on Bellator that I’m the strongest 45er in the world!! And as far as my ground game, it’d be covered and it’s great. Thanks to AJ McKee, Baby Slice, Joey Davis and Aaron Pico. My ground game is great and up there to the level, as there’s”

Looking ahead to next year when he competes in Bellator again, Taylor has his eyes set on a big fight in a return to Irish soil.

“Well Bellator loves me and I proved them that I belong there. I haven’t been told when I was fighting but I hope it’s back in Ireland, and maybe on St. Patricks day and hopefully I’ll fight Brian Moore because me and him been wanting to fight the longest.”

As a training partner for AJ McKee, Taylor was very pleased with how the fight went down, claiming it was a simple enough fight for his teammate that apparently didn’t train much for the fight. Suffering a loss on the initial trip to the emerald isle, “PrettyBoy” wants to come back and take home a win next time around.

“Oh man it was an easy fight for AJ, he only trained 2 weeks for that Brian Moore fight” he laughs “but absolutely it would be a great show if I was also on the show me and James alone still holds the record of views internationally and I’m looking to come back and taking what’s mines which is that W”

The win against Brian Moore could now potentially line up a fight between McKee and James Gallagher, fight fans have long sought after. Having fought against James and training with McKee on the regular Taylor isn’t convinced that Gallagher is ready for the AJ just yet. He also had some words about SBG fighters who were calling out Baby Slice.

“James is not ready for AJ. And people calling out slice since he’s new in the game. Why are sbg guys not calling out Joey Davis?? They are all talk and think that they’re better than everyone.”

With a win on Saturday, Anthony Taylor thinks it will kick him off to a series of consecutive wins that could ultimately land him in a fight with Emmanuel Sanchez.

“Yes it will start off (Saturday) and I believe it will set me up tremendously. I’m only getting better and I plan on winning fights in Bellator and then taking out Emanuel Sanchez. I do not like him, I hate him”

“I don’t like his style and he’s always hating on my teammates so I want his head” he added

Away from the fight scene, Anthony is pleased with the life that he’s got set up for himself with his newfound love since joining Bellator as he now aims to break into the movie industry too.

“Man it’s been great I now have a wonderful woman in my life so I’m happy. I’m acting too, trying to get into the movies industry and God has blessed me which so much love”

You can follow Anthony Taylor on all his social media accounts to keep an eye out for all his upcoming fight information and results.

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