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Exclusive Interview with Titan FC Lightweight Rick Hawn

Vinny Craig

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Here at MMA Latest, we have been covering Titan FC 35 for some time now. We had a 4 part mini-series that I did (link to my authors’ page to find that), two in person interviews done by AJ Camacho (his authors’ page) and two very well done interviews by Dave Madden (his authors’ page). Continuing our great coverage of their great event, I bring you an exclusive interview with their headliner Rick Hawn.

Hawn is a former Bellator Lightweight and Welterweight tournament finalist. He fell short in both tries for the title and was let go after losing two in a row. The Bostonian recently found himself in Titan FC where he beat former WEC standout Carlo Prater for his chance at Titan gold.

VC: Where are training currently?

RH: In the Boston and southern New Hampshire area. Training at Kong’s MMA in Boston and Professional MMA Academy in New Hampshire.

VC: You won two Bellator tournaments while with the Viacom based company, what is it like to prepare for those fights compared to the ones in Titan?

RH: Nothing really changed, it’s all the same. You’re getting ready for a fight, but it was a tournament fight in Bellator and your second and third fights were quick turnarounds with 4 weeks a part. It’s the same as if I would train for the start of a tournament I guess.

VC: You have had some great wins and some losses, but what is your toughest opponent to date?

RH: Probably Douglas Lhima for the Bellator Welterweight belt. He was just a monster and I went up a weight class. I won the tournament, but he was just way too big for me to be fighting someone of his caliber. That was the toughest fight I’ve had, he beat up my legs pretty bad with those leg kicks.

VC: Is that the loss you want to avenge most or is there another?

RH: Definitely not that one. I’m sticking with Lightweights, no need to fight the monsters from here on out. A couple fights I’ve had were real close and it would great to have another go at them and see if things may be different. But I don’t operate that way, if I lose a fight whether it was a close one or by a mile, I don’t have the mentality to want to avenge losses.

VC: What is the fight you are most looking forward to for yourself in the future?

RH: Right now it’s one fight at a time. I’m fully focused on this one and whatever happens after this one I’m fine with. All my energy and thoughts are going into this fight right now.

VC: Is there someone you haven’t trained with that would you like to? Someone you did train with that you would love to train with again?

RH: I’ve kind of been to all the big gyms in the US. I went to the American Kickboxing Academy early on, I was with American Top Team for a little bit and obviously Tri Star for a little bit. I’ve been to all the big gyms, and they’re all different in their own ways. I’m fortunate to have been able to go to these gyms and all the great coaches in this sport.

VC: You said you’re near Boston, ever go to Joe Lauzon’s gym?

RH: I’ve been to his gym a couple of times, and it’s a great place there.

VC: With so many injuries happening in the sport, what are you doing differently to prevent them?

RH: Now that I’m older, an injury takes longer to recover. MMA has evolved and people are getting smarter with their training and some saying they don’t spar at all in their camps to save their brains. As this sport evolves, you’re going to see more science behind it and smarter training all around. They’re not going to bang heads 24/7 anymore. The mindset used to be just going out there and beating your head against someone’s fist to get tougher, your body can’t take that anymore. When you’re training for 8-12 weeks, injuries happen. If you do it smarter, it’s a little more enjoyable on your body.

VC: You are fighting a veteran in Healy who has 53 career fights and as of recently has found career resurgence in Titan, what do you do best to take him off his game?

VC: He’s a tough, strong grinder. I’m physically strong as well and don’t see that playing a factor but the fact that he’s a grinder who comes forward is something I have to be weary of. I have to meet his forwardness with the same style and just leave it up to who has the better clinch, ground game, punches and all the other skills. I think I’m better than him in those categories and it will be exciting for the fans to see.

VC: How did the life of being an Olympic athlete help you to get ready for your MMA career?

RH: All my MMA success has come from doing judo my entire life, competing at a high level and training with the best people. That is the reason I’m successful in MMA with everything I learned in my Judo career.

VC: I have to ask, what’s the drug testing like in the Olympics compared to MMA seeing as the UFC wants to adopt the same style of testing?

RH: In MMA, my entire career has been  pretty lax in that department with not much testing going on. At the Olympic level at the Olympic Training Center, USADA was the main one and did random drug tests all the time. It’s great the UFC is adopting that program, maybe not for everyone who might be  getting caught.

VC: Okay, the business is done now, what’s the craziest thing that has ever happened in the cage?

RH: So far in my 24 fights, nothing weird has happened, but I think that’s a good thing.

VC: Favorite Sport Outside of MMA?

RH: I’ve been in the Boston area for ten years, but originally from Oregon only a couple hours south of where I’ll be fighting. You kind have to root for the Boston teams out here and I’ll watch them sometimes.

VC: You were with Bellator for quite some time making two tournament runs. Now you’re with Titan fighting for their belt.  Where is your future in MMA?

RH: At this moment I’m taking it one moment at a time. I’m not a spring chicken anymore and I’m at the tail end of my career. I will take it one fight at a time and see how the fights go and how training camp goes. I’ll have to see how I look and what my performances are like. I’m opening up my own school in January and that will take up a lot of time. Hopefully all goes well on the 19th and something comes up.

VC: Having never fought in the UFC, who would like to fight from there?

RH: Their 155 division is stacked, having the opportunity to fight anyone inside the top 15 would be great. It’s probably one of the deepest divisions in the UFC, it’s definitely tough.

VC: Prediction for your fight?

RH: I think it’s going to be an exciting fight. I predict I’m going to throw him around a little bit and put my hands on him. If I can do those two things, it will be a good solid victory. I have to go forward and beat him at his own game. He’s going to come forward, I’m going to come forward and it’s going to be great fight for the fans.

You can find him on Twitter @RickHawnMMA and on his own website RickHawn.com.

 

 

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Fight Announcements

Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando

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The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.

Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.

It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.

Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.

In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.

Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.

In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.

UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.

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Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida Officially Headlines UFC Belem

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Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida is officially booked to headline UFC Belem in Brazil.

Following his unanimous decision victory over Markus Perez on last weekends, UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Swanson, undefeated middleweight, Eryk Anders, called for the match-up with former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida. The UFC heard, and obliged.

First reported by The MMA Kings (@mma_kings.)

Anders holds a 2-0 undefeated record in the UFC. The Alabama native made his promotional debut against Rafael Nata in July of this year. A bout he took on short notice, replacing Alessio di Chirico whom withdrew from the fight due to a neck injury. Anders defeated Natal by knockout in the first round that night at UFC Long Island.

Prior to his indoctrination to MMA, the undefeated middleweight played for the University of Alabama football team, between 2006-2009.

Machida recently returned to the UFC roster after an 18-month suspension handed down by USADA, stemming from a failed out-of-competition test leading up to his April 2016 contest against Dan Henderson.

In his return to the octagon, Machida faced Derek Brunson in the main-event of the UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “The Dragon” lost the bout via first round KO.

UFC Belem, Brazil is scheduled for February 3rd, 2018, at the Mangueirinho Arena. The card will also feature the flyweight debut for Valentina Shevchenko as she faces Priscila Cachoeira

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Sensor Equipped Tracking Gloves to be Used at UFC 219

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From implementing the likes of USADA, the UFC Performance Instiute and the introduction of the instant replay. The UFC has always prioritized being at the top of the sport science game. 

Now, at UFC 219 on December 30th, the Nevada State Athletic Commission has approved a test run for sensor equipped tracking gloves to be worn by a selection of fighters on the card.

The technology behind the gloves comes from AGI International (an analytics company) along with HEED (a consumer platform company). A collaboration founded by the UFC.

After a sparring exhibition between top lightweights, Edson Barbosa (19-4-0) and Mark Diakiese (12-1-0), HEED co-founder Mati Kochavi had this to say regarding how “70 insights” collected from sensors on the gloves, the corner-men, the octagon itself can depict a clearer image of a fight.

“Those insights are covering entire aspects  of the fight between Diakiese and Barbose. Their passion, power of the fight, resiliency and strategy. All happen in the octagon.“

Shouldn’t sport be told in real-time, with real data, information and emotions?”

He finally promises “We are a company which is trying to revolutionize the way we (broadcast) sports and live events”

As for now there is little to zero information into the technical aspects of the gloves, however products like a Fit Bit have similar abilities to give data on speed,  force, motion, elevation, heart rate etc.

The UFC 219 card takes place on Decemebr 30th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It will be headlined by a women’s featherweight title fight between current champion Cris Cyborg (18-1) and former UFC bantamweight champion, Holly Holm (11-3).

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