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INTERVIEW: PHILLIPE NOVER ON HIS UFC RETURN IN THE PHILLIPPINES

John Michael Edwards

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Best known as one of the finalists on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir, Phillipe Nover makes his return to the Octagon after a five-year absence to take on “The Korean Bulldozer” Yui Chul Nam this weekend at UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Faber.

In this interview, I asked him about how it feels to fight in the Philippines, his time outside of the UFC and much more.

 

Hello Phillipe, how’s it going?

Hey man, everything’s going great!

Thanks for taking the time out of your training to do this interview.

No problem.  I definitely enjoy getting my name out there for anybody who’s interested and I appreciate you putting it out there for me also.

Obvious starter question, but how does it feel to be back in the UFC?

Phillipe Nover: It’s a dream come true, but it’s a dream I’ve been working on for the last five years since I got the letter that dismissed me from the UFC. I kept that and filed it away and I’ve always kept it in the back of my mind that I would get the phone call again one day if I keep the drive going. It feels great, it feels amazing and I think it’s my time again.

You’ve mentioned before how your mom is a big part of your life. When you told her that you would be fighting in The Phillippines, what was her reaction?

Phillipe Nover: My mom, she didn’t really understand what it entailed. She didn’t understand if I was in the UFC or if I was just fighting in the Philippines for a different organisation or what the deal was, but when I finally explained it to her she was excited for me but at the same time,  I know deep down I think she really doesn’t want me to fight anymore because of the risk of injuries and the thought of her son getting hurt. She’s a big supporter and she’s going to fly out to watch the event live.

As a Filipino-American does having the chance to fight in Manila hold a special place in your heart?

Phillipe Nover: Absolutely! Fighting in Manila has always been a dream ever since day one when I got in the UFC in 2008. When I got on the show I really promoted my Filipino heritage on T.V., eating balut, cooking Filipino food, writing Tagalog on my gear.  I just wanted to give the fan base out there from the Philippines something because we love fighting, we’re really supportive of each other and it’s always been a dream to me, and here it is.  I get a second chance at my UFC shot and I actually get to fulfill one of my dreams by fighting in the Philippines in front of my 250 family members and friends, it’s just an absolutely amazing experience.

Does fighting there make you feel extra pressure from the community or do you place any extra pressure on yourself because of this?

Phillipe Nover: I definitely felt pressure earlier in my career. I was definitely a younger, less experienced fighter and in the cage I definitely felt the pressure years ago. Now I feel like once I get to the Phillippines and get on with my weight cut, walk into the Mall of Asia Arena with twenty thousand people I’m just going to be so excited and I’m going to get right into my zone.  It’s going to be an exciting moment in my life and there are pressures and stresses that are good and I’m going to take it as that and just feel the crowd because this is where I need to be, this is where I worked so hard to be so I’m going to absorb everything a feel good about it.

Are you still nursing or have you taken time off to train full-time?

Phillipe Nover: You know what, actually I am the stereotypical Filipino working eighteen different jobs…haha. Yea, I have a full-time job working for cardiac care. I do my three days a week, twelve-hour shifts and in the past year I’ve worked overtime, I’m on call and I have two other nursing jobs ones in a pathology lab and the others a cat scan/MRI place. Now I’ve pretty much lowered all of my hours to focus more on my training and if there is some down time with that, I’ll schedule shifts here and there. Typically it’s just my three twelve-hour shifts and I train either before or after that and the four days a week I have off I’m training all day. This is how I’ve been doing it for the past few years and I feel good with it. If there’s one advantage, whenever there’s an injury going on in can just go to work and say “Hey, doc, my foot’s hurting, can I get an X-Ray” and the like. It’s like I have a 24/7 medical team that’s got my back…haha.

Did you have your fight camp in NYC or did you go elsewhere to prepare?

Phillipe Nover: I kept my fight camp in N.Y. to train with the same guys I’ve been with for the past five years. Jason Strout, my striking coach, I’ve been with for a few years now, is an excellent coach.  He’s coached a few champions, most recently he coached Liam McGery, the new Bellator light-heavyweight champion, David Branch, the World Series of Fighting middleweight title holder, and Marcos Galvao the bantamweight champ in Bellator, also, along with about 5-10 other pro MMA, kickboxers and boxers down at Church Street Boxing. I also train at Renzo Gracie’s under John Danaher and wrestling under Dave Esposito. I linked up with Frankie Edgar as well, he’s over in Jersey at Ricardo Almeida’s school, we are pretty good friends so we trained together once or twice a week.

What do you know and think about your upcoming opponent, Yui Chul Nam?

Phillipe Nover: He’s a solid fighter and a confident striker and entertainer. He’s a bit of a brawler, they call him the bulldozer for a reason, but he’s fought pretty exclusively on the Asian circuit and he’s yet to fight an American or someone of my caliber. He’s got a good record, but I’m more than confident that I’m going to beat this guy.

Since this is your first featherweight fight how are you handling the drop in weight?

Phillipe Nover: My last fight was a catch-weight fight at 151lbs and I felt really well and the weight came off pretty easily. I did a mock weight cut in early March and it didn’t go as well as planned, but I got pretty close, so I just had to walk around a little bit lighter than I usually do. I’m going to be really strong and fast at 145lbs I think. My career at 155lbs was good at the time, but now guys cut a lot more weight and are a lot taller. A lot of the 155lbs guys I train with walk around near 180lbs, it’s crazy.

What do you feel could have done better in your first stint that you’ll be better with this time?

Phillipe Nover: There’s so much that I’ve changed in my life since my debut in 2008, that if my present self fought my past self I would beat the living crap out of him, that’s for sure…haha. I’ve definitely matured as a fighter. I’m training with professional coaches and other professional fighters and I’m a very strategic fighter now, just overall better with my striking and wrestling. I had zero wrestling when I first came into the UFC and from then until now I’ve been wrestling religiously, now it’s an asset along with the knowledge of cage fighting because it’s different from fighting in a ring. I’m so much better than I was, and you’re going to see it on May 16th.

How do you feel your time outside of the UFC has been beneficial to you?

Phillipe Nover: It gave me a chance to start over and get better. Leaving the UFC was heartbreaking for me at first but then I realized that I wasn’t really ready for it at the time. I did well on the show but when I got to the big show I started to believe my own hype, but the skill level wasn’t really there. I didn’t have the coaching staff and the training partners that I do currently and now I’m more than ready.

Was there a particular fight or fighter that encouraged you to get into MMA?

Phillipe Nover: I can say there’s a fighter that discouraged me from getting into MMA…haha. When I was younger and the first UFC was in ’93 or ’94, my dad was watching and he asked me if I’d ever seen something like this and it was Royce Gracie.  I’m watching this little guy beating all of these huge guys and I told him “I’d never do that dad, never”…haha. That was my first experience with MMA, but as far as who inspired me, just my original training partners at the time. Back in ’03 when I had my first fight, we were more into traditional martial arts, doing karate tournaments, kickboxing tournaments, then this thing called MMA popped up and we were like “this is the ultimate challenge” and I saw my friends competing in it and doing well so I told myself “let me give this a try”.

So, my original partners initially inspired me, but beyond them I’d say Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, my friend Frankie Edgar, he inspires me all the time.

As far as what’s going on with Anderson Silva, whether or not he’s been on PEDs [Performance Enhancing Drugs] his whole career or not, the guys an absolute stud because I know for sure that if any regular human being was on PEDs, they couldn’t achieve what he has achieved. I don’t think PEDs is what allowed him to be a champion, that comes from talent and discipline. If he did them, then its very wrong and it’s a strike on him, but I would not take that respect from him that he is one of the best in the world. Currently, my favorite fighter is GSP. I know he’s somewhat retired, but he’s talked about possibly coming back. He held the belt for so long and he is super talented. He keeps a really solid game plan, his striking to takedowns are superb, he won every fight strategically, he’s a hard worker, and I definitely hope he comes back if he wants to or he can just can just sit on his millions and relax without losing more brain cells, you know, he’s certainly earned it…haha.

I absolutely agree with that.  Once again, thanks for granting me this interview and good luck on your fight and I will definitely reach out to you afterward.

Phillipe Nover:  Anytime.  Thanks again.  Anytime you want an interview, I’ll be more than excited to do it.  We’ll definitely have to chit chat after I dismantle this guy…haha.

If you’d like to keep tabs or get in touch with Phillipe you can  follow him on twitter @PhillipeNover.

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Announcement

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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