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Jose ‘Shorty’ Torres – the hottest prospect in MMA?

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Jose Torres has quite the résumé: All-American wrestler, former number-one ranked amateur in the world, two-time IMMAF world champion (at bantamweight, by the way), undefeated as a professional and current Titan FC interim flyweight champion. At just 3-0, aged 24, he’s arguably the most credentialed young prospect in the entire sport at the moment and he prides himself on a fighting style that fans want to watch. If you don’t know ‘Shorty’ yet, you better look him up.


Jose Torres defeated Abdiel Velasquez (7-3) in August to claim the Titan FC interim flyweight championship- a title that was made available following undisputed champion Tim Elliott’s participation in The Ultimate Fighter 24. I asked Torres if there was any resentment on his part over barely missing out on a place on the rejuvenated format of the show, a season that will see 16 champions from regional promotions around the world compete for a title shot against UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.

“No not at all,” he said. “I think it’s a huge opportunity for Tim Elliott and all the representing fighters on the series, but for me, I’m only 3-0 and all those guys in that competition have so much more experience than I do, those guys are all champions.” This evidently shouldn’t be misinterpreted as a lack of confidence in his own ability though, “Right now with my possibilities, as I’m moving up I just don’t feel like I need to do a TUF series to make it into the UFC.”

That confidence is well-earned. In both 2014 and 2015 Torres won the IMMAF World Championships, a tournament that sees the best amateurs from around the world compete. On both occasions Torres fought, and won, 4 times in a week and he clearly feels he benefited a lot from an extensive amateur career.

“The experience is like no other- there’s never been a competition like that in MMA,” he said. “Going to the world tournament and fighting other national champions from their respective countries, fighting 4 times in a week, making weight 5 times in a week and making sure you’re healthy to keep going in the championships- it’s a hard thing to do. You know nothing about these national champions, you don’t find out who you’re fighting until sometimes hours before you fight. You’re not training to face one specific person, you’re training to fight everyone.

“I feel like a veteran of the sport- I have 26 amateur fights, my next fight, my fourth professional fight will be me defending my belt for Titan FC, hopefully by the end of the year. Do I have a lot of catching up to do with some of these people, though? Oh yeah,” he added.

Torres hasn’t stuck to one place as he looks to improve his game. Travelling has been a big part of Torres’ MMA journey. He has spent time at many different camps and has expressed his interest in continuing to train in a variety of environments, seeing more styles and receiving different kinds of coaching. Torres even received an invitation to spend time training with KHK MMA in Bahrain alongside UFC stars and fellow KHK invitees Frankie Edgar and Khabib Nurmagomedov.

“I love my home gym to death but you need to get different looks,” said Torres. “You can be a big fish in a small pond then face someone you’ve never faced before stylistically and lose, that’s why I travel around the states and around the world to know that I’m a big fish around the world.”

The same attention, following the back-to-back IMMAF victories,that led to the KHK MMA invite also led to Torres’ promotion, Titan FC, signing him with a 0-0 professional record earlier this year. Titan FC is one of the several promotions to have secured broadcast deals with UFC Fight Club. I asked Torres if the good relationship between Titan FC and the UFC made for an easier path to the top for an aspiring prospect like him.

“Yeah definitely. I fight on UFC Fight Pass, I’m already known by them, already been called by them. One thing I want to do is bring excitement and popularity to the flyweight division and with all the hype I’ve been getting I believe I can do that,” Torres said. “I have one more fight on my deal and then from there we can renegotiate, or I could get moved up to the UFC. Either or, I’m very, very happy with Titan FC and I’m more than happy to stay with them as long as they need me, or until the UFC want to bump me up. Titan FC is a great promotion, the biggest promotion on UFC Fight Pass so I can’t complain, I’m already in a top-level promotion.”

Finally, I asked Torres if he had a message for those who may not be familiar with him yet, and how he would summarise his fighting style for those just learning about him.

“For people who haven’t seen my fights yet, I’d say I take what you give me,” said Torres. “Everyone thinks because I’m an All-American wrestler that immediately I’m gonna just pressure in for a takedown. I actually don’t believe I’ve shot for a takedown in any of my fights besides my first one, and that was just because it was there- he gave me a takedown and I wasn’t going to shy away from it. Win or lose I’m gonna put on a show, I don’t care if I get knocked out or I get a knockout. I want to put on a show for the fans watching me fight. At flyweight, we might not be huge power punches but we’ll punch you a hundred times before you blink.”

‘Shorty’ already oozes the class you’d expect from a seasoned professional. He has the temperament, ability, and experience to justify his reputation as one of the top prospects in MMA. This man’s career is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Titan FC 41 will be broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass on Friday 9th Sep, starting at 7pm ET.

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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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