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It’s Always Best to Be the Champ, But It Doesn’t Hurt to Know One

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If you can’t beat them, join them, though mixed martial arts allows fighters to do both. Crossing the threshold of the cage for the first time at Titan Fighting Championships (Titan FC), welterweight Jake Smith (3-0) may not yet possess a championship belt for the fight promotion, but he finds himself more than up for any challenge Titan FC can provide, logging a career’s worth of hours with the current Titan FC lightweight champ: Pat “Bam Bam” Healy (29-20 1NC). As a special guest on Jon and Mike’s MMA Corner, Smith discussed: the before, during, and future of his MMA career while under the tutelage of veterans such as Healy.

In life, opportunity often rolls up to your front door based upon who you know, and, being a long-time training partner of Titan FC’s 155 pound champ, Smith picked up the knocker and firmly let you know he was there, twice: Bam-Bam!

“The current lightweight champion, Pat Healy, is one of my main training partners, so having little connections like that definitely helps out. He’s able to get my foot in the door a little bit, but now it’s up to me to go out there and put on an exciting fight, let them [Titan FC and their fans] know I’m the real deal.”

At the gym where Smith trains out of, Rose City Fight Club, the music blaring during practice sessions will fill a substantial portion of the evening’s playlist, as a number of Smith’s training partners, along with Healy, will be competing on the Titan FC 35 card: Jason Novelli (8-1), Ricky Simon (6-0), Austin Springer (8-0), Ryan Walker (4-1), and Mohammad Abed (2-1). Partnering as a pride of hungry lions models a terrific strategy successful people implement: collaboration. Smith stated,

“There is definitely a little buzz [in Rose City Fight Club]. It’s definitely going to make cutting weight a lot more fun. I mean, we all get to suffer together, ya know? Then, we also get to enjoy our victories together as well. It’s definitely a good thing to have a few of the guys be a part of this opportunity.”

A few of the guys? Clearly, a humble attitude is another aspect required to breed a championship caliber pedigree. Smith was aware of how special Healy was based on his heart, craftiness, and durability, even before being adorned in gold,

“I’ve been training with him for a while now. Even back when he was still an amateur, I was mixing it up with him. He’s been a big help so far. I’m going into this, and it’s like looking up to a big brother in a sense.”

Jack Cranfield, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, quoted Paul R. Scheele, Chairman of Learning Strategies Corporation, in his book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (2006),

The phrase I can’t is the most powerful force of negation in the human psyche. (p. 42)

Smith learned to target his strengths by observing Healy hone his own: an unrelenting pace,

“I don’t know if you guys notice when you watch Pat fight, but he’s the kind of guy who: In the first round, he has a pace; the second is the same pace; and the third round has the same pace. He keeps the steady pace and, over time, you start to see every one of his opponents start to break. He does that to me in practice. Sometimes, we’ll get in there, and I’ll have a really good first round; I’ll be fast and explosive. Come that second round, I’m a little bit more drug out, but there he is with the same pace that he had in the first round. He starts dragging you into the deep water. I’ve learned to be a little more cautious and know when to tee off and when to settle back.”

As the reigning and defending lightweight Titan FC champ with a resume requiring 10 point Times New Roman print to fit within the frame of an 8 ½ X 11 sheet of paper, MMA fans weren’t taken back by Smith’s honoring of Healy’s grind-ability. What tool has Smith been sharpening for his Titan FC debut?

“I’ve been compared to Joe Frazier from my boxing coaches. I have this big left hook, and it seems to find people’s chins. I’m almost contemplating coming out with a nickname for it. I kind of want to call that left “Bill Cosby” because it puts people to sleep. Everyone knows you’re the toughest guy around when you have a nickname for your fist.”

Similar to Bill Cosby’s pleasure at a bowl full of Jell-O, Smith chuckled. The smile etched in his own humor would act as yet another Kodak moment to collect along his MMA timeline; another artifact occurred when Smith discovered his Titan FC contract was ready to John Hancock.

Those with a number of years of professional experience under their belt, championship or otherwise, rest upon a mountain of been there, done that with regards to the fight game’s wheelings and dealings. Entering a large scale organization like Titan FC, with a worldwide reach streamed via UFC Fight Pass, Smith rang out ovations at reaching the summit of a large hill, fully alert to the magnitude of work required to scale the mammoth rock resting on the horizon:

“You should have seen me the day I got the word that they wanted to sign me. I was running around like a little schoolgirl on picture day. I was so excited! It’s a really big opportunity, and I want to make the most of it.”

Finally, complacency’s rewards are comparative to kryptonite for those with championship aspirations. Instead, they must regularly push onward, upward, and two steps forward with only intermittent steps back. En route to any dreams of world class accessories, Smith predicted what he, and his teammates, are in store for while fighting at Rose City Fight Club: attaining more notoriety for the fight culture fostered in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

“I’m just going to throw this out there: In the next five years, we’re going to put the Pacific Northwest back on the map. Right now, everyone talks about New Mexico [Jackson Wink MMA Academy] or ATT [American Top Team] down in Florida or the Blackzillians. Not many people are talking about the Pacific Northwest anymore. I mean, we have Demetrious Johnson and Matt Hume, but that’s all you get when you’re out there. We used to have Team Quest back in the day. I just feel like we are getting ignored up here, and we have all these great young guys coming up with all these veterans to look up to. Within the next five years, we’re going to be the next gym that they’ll be talking about.”

At Titan FC 35, the discussion of the gym will be underway when Smith, currently slated to enter the cage in the evening’s second fight, uses sentence starters like his left hook against fellow Titan FC rookie Taki Uluilakepa (4-1 1NC), and the conversation will be punctuated by Rose City Fight Club’s fearless leader, Healy, who aims to defend his belt against Rick “Ghengis” Hawn (20-4) in the main event at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Ridgefield, Washington on September 19, 2015.

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Photo courtesy of Titan Fighting Championships

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Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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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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