Much has been made of former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw move from Team Alpha Male in Sacremento, California to Elevation Fight Team in Colorado. Fighter’s past and present have switched from team to team in the past but the level of scrutiny surrounding Dillashaw and TAM was previously unheard of. This was caused in no small part by Conor McGregor’s needling on the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter and the debacle was drawn out even further in the lead up to Dillashaw’s most recent fight against newly crowned champ Dominick Cruz.
Cruz played upon the theme put forward by McGregor that Dillashaw was a turncoat for leaving the people who had taken him from college and given him a path to develop his skills and become the fighter he is today. It played a huge part in the build up to their fight as Dillashaw was visibly about being infamously branded the “snake in the grass.”
Since the title fight in January Team Alpha Male leader and top five bantamweight Urijah Faber, Dillashaw and Duane Bang Ludwig have publicly sniped amongst one and other possibly in a bid to build up a future fight between the former team mates. It is more likely however that the bitterness surrounding TJ’s departure is still felt on both sides of the split. It does not look likely that it is to abate any time soon either.
In recent weeks another TAM product was preparing for his most recent bout. Joseph Benavidez had travelled around various gyms for his fight with Zach Makovsky which he won this past weekend via unanimous decision. Benavidez put in work at the Jackson Winklejohn gym in Albequrque New Mexico with striking coach Brandon Gibson. Again it is not unheard of for fighter’s to switch up training regimes and sparring partners in an attempt to evolve, however it was the next stop on Benavidez’ travels that caused concern for some.
Benavidez ended his camp in Denver preparing with Dillashaw and Ludwig who was in his corner this past Saturday. This left many in the MMA community pondering whether or not Dillashaw’s departure had prompted a future mass exodus from Sacramento. “JoeJitsu” did much to quash the rumour mill by stating the reasons behind his decision at last weekends post fight press conference. Speaking to the MMAJunkie after the win he said that the reason he worked with Ludwig was to further improve his striking
“I wasn’t as good as I could be (at Team Alpha Male), and I think you saw some improvements tonight working with Duane on the standup,”
Benavidez maintained that his relationship with TAM remained the same despite spending prolonged part of his camp away from Sacremento.
“Those (Team Alpha Male) guys are always family, and they’ll always support me no matter what I do, whether I train over there for a little bit or whatever. But especially at this point in my career, evolving and getting out of my comfort zone, it was great.”
Although it is clear from Joe that he will not be leaving anytime soon his recent time spent in Colorado had wrinkled some feathers back home.
Benavidez’ teammate Cody Garbrant took exception to the recent switch and voiced his disapproval of it when speaking to Submission Radio
“F**k no. I would never go to Elevation,”.”No, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t go there. You know, [Joseph Benavidez and Lance Palmer] are out there and training with T.J. They have previous relationships with him so it’s whatever, but they’re going to come back and train with us in the team? I don’t know how well that’s going to go over.”
Garbrant himself is currently preparing for his upcoming bout against John Lineker at UFC Fight Night Pittsburgh and it remains to be seen whether the recent turn of events will distract him from his preparation for one of the bantamweight divisions hardest hitters.
The publicized spit earlier this summer garnered plenty of attention and it does not seem like the spotlight is leaving TAM anytime soon.
UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Marco Reyes Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation
Earlier today, UFC officials announced that Lightweight, Marco Reyes was flagged for a potential UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. The potential violation hails from a sample collected on March 8th, 2018, in an out-of-competition test.
Reyes made his way into the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, season 2. Competing in the lightweight bracket, Reyes defeated Christhian Soto by 2nd rd. TKO of a preliminary round bout. He then went onto to face Horacio Gutiérrez, in the semifinals of the tournament. Gutiérrez defeated Reyes in the opening round by TKO.
Following his elimination from the tournament, the Mexican fighter met Cezar Arzamendia on the series finale, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. Reyes impressively defeated Arzamendia, whom was the first overall pick for Team Gastelum, by 1st round KO.
From there, Reyes defeated Dong Hung Kim (rd. 1, KO), and Jason Novelli (Split Decision) respectively, before falling to rising contender James Vick. Most recently, the Lightweight fighter dispatched Matt Frevola in the opening round, ruining the Long Islanders promotional debut. His bout against Frevola took place at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi, on January 14th of this year.
The UFC statement on the matter reads as follows:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Marco Reyes of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 8, 2018.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Reyes. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
Dillon Danis to make Pro debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198
Mixed Martial Arts officially adopted another incredibly talented jiu-jitsu practioner today. Bellator officials announced today the long-awaited debut of Dillon Danis, whom the promotion had signed in the year previous. After zero amateur and countless jiu-jitsu matches, Danis makes his debut at Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, against Kyle Walker.
Kyle Walker enters the match up also making his Bellator debut. Walker recently made a resurgence in 2016 after taking off, almost exactly, 3 years. Since returning to the professional scene his record is 0-3, losing each fight by stoppage (2 Sub, 1 KO).
Walker looks to snap his streak yet, his opponent could provide a major challenge. In terms of advantages for Walker, he has a massive and obvious one. His experience. Walkers opponent fights for the first time in the sport of MMA. While Danis competed in many top-level jiu-jitsu tournaments and matches, comparing the competition would stop and end upon examining the rule sets. It is quite obvious, the difference. Danis will have a bit of adversity to overcome, in that respect.
In spite of this, Danis’ team, he trains out of the highly regarded SBG Ireland. Even before his MMA training, he trained under Marcelo Garcia. He earned his black belt in April of 2015, following an incredible 2014. In that year, Danis became UAEJJF World Champion, winning gold in the 82 kg (181 lb.) Brown belt category.
The prospect of what that could look like inside the cage is exciting. He may have developed some striking techniques but, the lack of time dedicated to that training in undeniable. Experience and time is required to develop skills of any kind.
Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, takes place on Saturday, April 28th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Bellator 198 features the third of four preliminary bouts in the promotions Heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko takes on Frank Mir. It serves as the nights main event. Other bouts on the card feature; Emmanuel Sanchez against Sam Sicilia, Neiman Gracie faces Javier Torres, Rafael Lavato Jr. vs. John Salter, and more.
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