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Newbies of the Night – Part 1.

Ethan Mudford

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This weekend, the UFC travels to Poland for the first time ever. As they tend to do when they hold an inaugural event, this card is stacked with fighters making their debuts – 10 fighters to be exact. This weeks edition of Newbie of the Night will come in 2 parts, each part featuring 5 fighters.

Fighter: Damian Stasiak

Division: Featherweight

Nationality: Polish

Age: 25

Record: 8-2

Previous Organisation: BAMMA

Notable Victories: N/A

Damian Stasiak enters the UFC on an 8-2 record with victories in his last 5 fights. With a decorated background in Karate, the 2014 European Cup Champion should look to strike from the outside in a similar fashion to that of a Lyoto Machida or Stephen Thompson.

As his previous bouts have shown, Stasiak’s striking is not necessarily his most potent form of attack. 5 of his 8 victories have come via submission whilst only 1, his first win was finished due to strikes. This shows that despite his Karate history, he is very adept at pulling of submissions both from the top and the bottom.

Damian Stasiak will be fighting sometimes Featherweight/sometimes Bantamweight Yaotzin Meza – an American mixed martial artist who has just 1 win in his 4-fight UFC career. Meza hasn’t shown much to indicate that he possesses skills in any one particular area which goes to show that he is equally average at best, despite his somewhat of a wrestling background. I expect to see Stasiak having success on the feet and if the fight goes to the ground, I expect him to have success there too. A fight that the local prospect should win.

Here is a fight of Stasiak’s from January this year. Stasiak is in the white trunks.


Fighter: Taylor Lapilus

Division: Featherweight

Nationality: French

Age: 22

Record: 8-1

Previous Organisation: 100% Fight

Notable Victories: N/A

Taylor Lapilus is a young French prospect who the UFC signed to fight for the promotion last year at UFC Fight Night 53 in Stockholm, Sweden. The man they call “Double Impact” was meant to fight UFC veteran Dennis Siver that night but was pulled from the bout with a week to go and replaced by the eventual loser, Charles Rosa. The reasoning for the replacement was given by the Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation President Johan Halldin;

Mr. Taylor Lapilus After having reviewed the information submitted as well as having viewed footage of Mr. Lapilus, the Board of SMMAF must regrettably declare that the request regarding Mr Lapilus as a contender to Mr. Siver has been denied. The grounds for the denial is the inexperience of the athlete in question as based on his age, his technical skill, his record and his overall short background in MMA. This gives reason to believe that he has limited, if any, sparring and competition experience outside of the official record. It is therefore our judgement that a full-contact, professional MMA match between Mr. Lapilus and Mr. Siver would be an uneven match-up to the point where we Mr. Lapilus’ safety can not be guaranteed.

Mr. Charles Rosa The Board of SMMAF hereby declares that the request for Mr. Rose as contender to Mr. Siver has been approved, and the match is authorized for the event on October 4th in Stockholm, Sweden.

Hopefully Lapilus has put this ordeal behind him and will put on a performance that will be worth the wait. His ground game has been especially dangerous in his fights and I expect him to employ it in his upcoming bout against fellow debutante Rocky Lee.

Below is a fight between Lapilus and Osman Minbatirov from May 17 2014.


Fighter: Rocky Lee

Division: Featherweight

Nationality: Taiwanese

Age: 27

Record: 3-0

Previous Organisation: PRO Fighting

Notable Victories: N/A

The man Taylor Lapilus will be fighting this weekend is the undefeated Taiwanese prospect who audiences will know from his time on The Ultimate Fighter: China, where he won his first fight via first round armbar before losing to the eventual winner, Ning Guangyou in the semi-finals.

Training at AKA Thailand with UFC veteran Mike “Quick” Swick, expect to see a vastly improved stand up style to compliment the ground game of Lee. It’s always tough to pick between 2 guys who’s fights haven’t really been seen but if this goes to the ground, both Lapilus and Lee know how to go for the finish. If the fight remains standing, it’s also anyone’s game.

Below is footage of Lee’s first fight against Florian Garel.


Fighter: Steven Ray

Division: Lightweight

Nationality: Scottish

Age: 25

Record: 16-5

Previous Organisation: Cage Warriors Fighting Championship

Notable Victories: Curt Warburton

Following in the footsteps of Robert Whiteford and Joanne Calderwood, Steven “Braveheart” Ray is the latest Scottish fighter to be signed to the UFC. At a time in the sport where Englishmen and women have made it to the big show and now with the huge influx of Irish fighters making the next step up as well, could Scotland be the next nation to unearth some potential in the European market?

Steven Ray could be that guy. Coming off back to back victories over former UFC fighter Curt Warburton and graduating to the UFC from the same organisation that brought us fighters such as Dan Hardy, Paul Daley, Martin Kampmann, Michael Bisping, Joseph Duffy and Conor McGregor; Ray has every opportunity to leave his mark this coming weekend.

Quite experienced at the age of only 25, Ray has shown his abilities in all aspects of MMA. With 8 wins via submission and 4 via TKO/KO, he has shown fitness and stamina in his 4 decision wins including one of his fights against Warburton which went 5-5 minute rounds, not very common for UFC newcomers.

“Braveheart” will be fighting lacal lad Marcin Bandel, a submission specialist who trains under BJJ legend Robert Drysdale and who has 12 of his 13 wins via submission. IF Ray can play it somewhat cautious and defend well, he could pull off a victory here.

There were numerous fights to show you so I thought a highlight package would be better suited.


Fighter: Izabela Badurek

Division: Women’s Strawweight

Nationality: Polish

Age: 23

Record: 5-2

Previous Organisation: ACB – Absolute Championship Berkut

Notable Victories: N/A

As unfortunate as it was that newly crowned UFC Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk could not compete in her native Poland, at least the depth in Polish MMA is strong enough to put forward another potential threat to the division. Enter Izabela Badurek, the 23 year old coming off 3 submission finishes will be looking to continue that wave of success as she meets fellow debutante, undefeated Russian standout Aleksandra Albu.

All of Badurek’s wins are via submission so I expect her to want to get the fight to the ground as quickly as possible. She has trained, on occasion with Jedrzejczyk so her striking could very well have improved but there’s no doubting that she is most dangerous in the grappling exchanges. In a division that is still very new within the UFC, a win here, especially in her home country and in an impressive fashion, could skyrocket Badurek up the rankings. Who knows, we might get to see an all-Polish title bout one day soon.

Here is Izabela’s last fight from January this year. Izabela is in the black and yellow.

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Interview: Manny Bermudez, “The second this fight goes on the ground, it’s gonna be a pretty terrible story for this guy”

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Manny Bermudez is accustom to many things when it comes to fighting, especially when it comes to pressure. “I’ve been doing this since I was young”, the undefeated bantamweight prospect claimed as he brushed off the question. His answer slid off the tongue as if he had been trained to do so, “Yeah, I get nervous. Yeah, it gets scary sometimes but, you either man up and face it, or you take a loss (and) you have to start over”. He certainly hadn’t. What he had trained is a calm and loose demeanor, a mindset that palpably asserts rationality. “It’s best to just take it on the chin”.

Currently, Manny Bermudez is the number one ranked professional bantamweight in the New England region (ranking by Tapology.com). Something you would not expect from the polite and kind twenty-three year old. Despite whom he projects, there comes a time, every so often, when the quiet man morphs into a dominating force. It is something you may see if you travel down to South Shore Sportfighting, in Norwell, the place he began and continues his training.

A place in which he take great pride in beginning his MMA journey, “I’ve known Bill since I was like fourteen”. He praised his head coach Bill Mahoney, the head instructor of South Shore Sportfighting. “He’s seen me, just like, grow up. He’s seen what I’m good at, what I’m not good at”. He continued following an abrupt outburst elsewhere in the room, “One of the things he always talks about is, how you have to know your fighters to be a good coach… You see all these higher up schools like the Greg Jackson’s and all that, they got all these fighters but, they can’t really focus on these guys because they’re not homegrown. And so, South Shore has been an awesome place for me to be homegrown from because Bill really pays attention to me… he knows what I’m good at, what I need to work on. When he sees a weakness, he tells me straight up”.

Or, you may see his ferocity if you purchase tickets to this weekend’s Cage Titans 37 at Plymouth Memorial Hall in Plymouth, Mass. At CT 37, Bermudez takes on another highly touted prospect, Mike Hernandez for the promotions vacant bantamweight championship title. Talking to him, you may not think you are speaking with a fighter, undefeated in ten professional bouts. Not only undefeated but finishing eight of his ten opponents, seven by choke, one by KO/TKO. Lastly, don’t forget, all eight finishes came inside the opening round.

“The second I drop down to 135, I can feel the difference in the guy’s I’m fighting. I feel like a wet rag on these guys”. Fittingly, his fights have nearly all looked that way. In his most recent bout, Bermudez toyed with his opponent on the feet, landing a hard straight right which caught the attention of his opponent, Bendy Casimir. After a bit of measuring done by both fighters, Bermudez ate a head kick from his opponent, caught it, and followed him to the ground. From there, Bermudez immediately worked himself into mount and instituted his infamous Bermudez Triangle forcing a BJJ Black Belt to tap in the opening minutes. An aspect of his game he is extremely confident about.

“I think the second this fight goes on the ground, it’s gonna be a pretty terrible story for this guy”, the Abington-native claimed. Yet, the South Boston fighter respected the ability of his opponent, “He seems like a tough, scrappy dude”. He continued, “He’s a veteran with a good record, a successful record. He’s fought in Bellator, he’s fought UFC vets. I mean, I don’t think they come much tougher, locally”. Although he understands the challenges his opponent brings to light, he is confident, “I want this to be a statement that, it doesn’t matter what you’re throwing at me, I’m gonna to face it and keep going”.

The Cage Titans promotion couldn’t be much better of a place to fight for Bermudez. Without traffic, a drive from his home to the Cage Titans event venue is more or less, thirty minutes. When asked about the significance of earning a title with a local promotion such as Cage Titans, means to him, he had nothing but praise for the promotion who hosted seven of his ten pro fights. “Cage Titans, is one of the organizations that really represents the northeast. I’ve had a lot of shows, where I’ll go down there and I see my friends so close to me and just hearing that support from the people, from the crowds. At my last fight, we flew the guy in from Vegas, and I choked him in a minute or two”, he said. “You could hear everyone yelling, ‘UFC! UFC! UFC!’… I go on Facebook, and everyone’s yelling, ‘Get Manny to the UFC!’, so they all support me, they all have my back so to be fighting for this title and the possibility of somebody else holding it, from out of state, I’d say, it’s a little more personal… it’s a promotion I fought for so many times that I think it holds more personal meaning for me, than it would for somebody like him.”

A win for the local prospect certainly muddies the waters of his situation. The #1 bantamweight in New England has no interest in signing with a promotion other than the UFC. His only desire and goal, at the moment, is to sign with the aforementioned promotion. Considering the achievements Bermudez has already accomplished in his young career, a regional title greatly increases an already deserving resume.

***UPDATE 1/25/18*** Mike Hernandez was forced to withdraw yesterday from Saturdays main event at Cage Titans 37, due to a family emergency. Manny Bermudez will now face Seth Basler, in a non-title bout.

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Fighter Profile

Jake Collier Re-Signs with the UFC

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UFC light heavyweight, Jake Collier (11-4, 3-3 UFC) , took to twitter yesterday, announcing a four fight contract renewal with the promotion.

The Missouri-born, Collier, amassed a 7-1 professional record fighting exclusively in his home state. Following his next fight, a 1st round submission victory over Gabriel Checco in the RFA promotion, Collier signed with the UFC.

Originally, Collier signed as a middleweight. His promotional debut took place in December of 2014 at, UFC Fight Night 58. A bout which he lost to Vitor Miranda via TKO (Head kick and punches) with only one second remaining in the opening round.

In 2017, “The Prototype”, moved to the light heavyweight division. The move came after a three-year stint at middleweight that saw him go 2-2. Losing to the likes of Dongi Yang, while defeating Ricardo Abreu. His final fight at the lower weight earned him a performance of the night bonus in his, UFC Fight Night 88, TKO win over Alberto Uda.

Upon moving to light heavyweight, Collier has the same .500 win percentage with a record of 1-1. His debut at the weight originally scheduled him against John Stansbury. Unfortunately, Collier withdrew from the card due to injury. Devin Clark replaced him on, The Ultimate Fighter Finale: 24, and defeated John Stansbury by unanimous decision. Clark then fought Collier next, defeating him by unanimous decision. “The Prototype”s most recent bout, a victory over Marcel Fortuna in November at, UFC Fight Night 120.

According to, UFC.com, Collier is booked to fight UFC-newcomer, Marcin Prachnio at, UFC on Fox 28, in Orlando, Florida. The only bout booked to the February 24th card, of next year.

Prachnio, holds a record of 13-2, with 10 knockouts. He most recently fought for the Asian-based promotion, One Championship. The Karate practitioner comes to the UFC on an eight fight win streak, the previous four in One Championship. At twenty-nine, Prachnio is another, in his prime, European light heavyweight signed to the UFC this year (Volkan Oezdemir being the other).

 

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FURY FC 17 Preview: UFC Veteran Roger Narvaez Set to Fight For Gold

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Deep in the Hill Country of Texas, there is a storm of MMA action brewing on the horizon in the historic city of San Antonio.

In 1836 the most iconic siege ever to take place in the American West was waged between Santa Anna’s Mexican forces and a small band of Texans fighting for their independence at the Battle of the Alamo. On June 10th that tradition of never backing down continues as Fury Fighting Championships 17 takes place at the Shrine Auditorium with a card that was originally slated to have 20 bouts of MMA action. At the top of the bill, there will be a familiar face as former UFC fighter, Roger “The Silverback” Narvaez, looks to capture his first championship in the sport when he faces Antonio “Doomsday” Jones for the vacant middleweight title. The event will also feature a hot prospect, a kickboxing champion, and a grudge match.

Fury FC 17 will be broadcast live on FloCombat.com.

While the 33-year-old Narvaez (8-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has already realized his ultimate goal of getting to the highest level of MMA, fighting for a title has always eluded him. The 6’3″ fighter nicknamed “The Silverback” due to his abnormal 79.5″ wingspan, or monkey arms as he calls them was twice scheduled to fight for the Legacy Fighting Championship Middleweight Title against then champion Bubba Bush who now fights in the UFC. An injury caused the first fight to be canceled. Then a call up to the UFC to fight an unknown opponent on short notice put an end to plans for the another scheduled title fight.

Theodorou vs. Narvaez at UFC 185 (photo: Matthew Wells – MMA Latest)

 

To Roger, the secret to grabbing the attention of the world’s biggest MMA promotion is fighting for several different promotions. He fought for six different organizations winning all of his fights before getting a call from the UFC’s former matchmaker Joe Silva to ask if he was ready to make the move. Narvaez feels that fighting for multiple shows tells the UFC that a fighter is ready to fight whoever and whenever. His first fight for the promotion was a loss to Patrick Cummins at UFC Fight Night 42 in Albuquerque where he fought at an altitude of over 5300 feet sea level, something he says will not do again unless he is training at altitude. To put it bluntly, he plainly states “the altitude in Albuquerque sucks.” After a win against Luke Barnett, he faced Elias Theodorou. In that fight, he broke his arm before ultimately losing, and was then cut by the UFC.


At this point in Narvaez’s career, his goals now are different:

“The next goal for me, to be realistic, is to make as much money as I can. I love fighting, but at the same time, I have a family that I am trying to support. That is always first and foremost now…[and] Fury is doing a pretty good job of taking care of me…This is a really big deal for me. I am probably training harder for this fight than I have ever trained before. Part of that is with age comes knowledge and experience and I am doing everything I need to do the right way to get ready to come home with that strap, but that strap means ever thing…I didn’t quit fighting with a broken arm, it is going to take something pretty drastic to get me stop. I don’t think the guy I am fighting is going to be able to break my will or test my heart to where I am not going to be able to pull through…coming home with that title is a big deal.”

That home is one of a fighting family. Narvaez’s wife Brandi is also a fighter who recently made her professional debut at Legacy Fighting Alliance 7. His stepson is a gray belt who competes in Jui-Jitsu year round, his daughter also trains in the sport. They understand the hard work that their dad puts in more so than the average fighter’s family. As he puts “it’s not normal, but it is normal to us.”


The prospect to keep an eye on is Two-time Alabama state wrestling champion turned lightweight MMA fighter, Alec Williams (5-1 MMA) from Birmingham. Williams will be looking to rebound from his first professional loss as he takes on Travonne “Prince Scorpion” Hobbs. In his last fight, Alec relied on his wrestling and got it in his head that he did not want to stand and trade with his opponent. That mentality ultimately not only cost him his undefeated record but also to sustain four broken bones in the right side of his face.

“I didn’t get knocked out, I still got the takedown after I broke those four bones. I know it is going to be pretty difficult to knock me out…Honestly, the loss kind of took any pressure off. Before I was undefeated, that loss was going to be a big change and now a loss is just another loss.”

For this fight, Williams says he has been working with MMA legend and former UFC fighter Pete Spratt on his stand up and will not make the same mistake twice.


Also featured on the card is the first Brazilan World Cup Kickboxing Champion, welterweight Washington “Washingthai” Luiz. Originally slated to fight Nickolay Veretennikov, “Washingthai” Luiz will now take on lesser known Danny Ageday. With a new opponent on just four days notice, the man who has aspirations to become a champion in GLORY Kickboxing is not fazed.

“I did my whole camp studying my first opponent who is a striker like me, but I do not feel harmed by the change. I’m ready for this war…The main reason for my change to the USA is the opportunity to be in the biggest events in the world I have already fought the biggest events in Brazil in kickboxing and MMA. I have fought in big events in Europe and now my challenge is the biggest event of kickboxing, GLORY. But I also love MMA and when a fight appears for me, I do not refuse.”


The grudge match at Fury FC 17 comes to us from the flyweights division’s Mark “The Sparrow” Plata and David “Gallito” Miramontes. These two men were scheduled to fight previously but Plata had to pull out due to his wife giving birth to twins. According to Plata, that is where the beef began.

“The day my twins were born he was messaging me talking about how this was not a good reason not fight and that I just did not want to fight him. My kids were in ICU at the time and he just keeps messaging me over and over…it upset me at the time because they were dying, they were trying to survive, but it just added more fuel to the fire. Then he kept asking promoters to fight me. He asked two or three different promoters to set it up. I got tired of him asking for me. So then I was like, alright cool if you want it that bad, let’s do it…His fighting style matches his personality. He tries to be a bully, and that’s cool, I don’t mind shutting bullies down.”

Titles, champions, prospects, legitimate bad blood…what more you could ask for in a local card?

This is an event not to miss and thanks to Fury FC having a deal with FloSports, you do not have to.

Tune in for all the action live at 6:00 PM CST on FloCombat.com this Saturday.

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