“Without emotion, what you get is pictures of guys who are sweating in the ring. When you add emotion to it, that’s when you get art.”
-Rey Rey Rodriguez-
The vision at Titan Fighting Championship (Titan FC) reads: Fans, Fighters First. Now, through the lens of Rey Paul Rodriguez, better recognized around the dark arts and MMA sphere as Rey Rey, all the passion pumped into Titan FC by their CEO, Jeff Aronson, and COO, Lex McMahon, will explode singular moments into rich stories with an artful click of Rodriguez’s camera.
MMA promotions rarely revisit their past, constantly project what’s on the horizon, and the spectacular performances inside the cage are here and gone in a flash. Titan FC was attuned to the peaks and valleys experienced over the course of a cage fight, and, by acquiring the skill sets of Rodriguez as their visual journalist, every characteristic crease on the road to victory or defeat is collected through the rapid succession of his Nikon D800’s shutter. Rodriguez invited MMA Latest News to walk the gallery of his thoughts before he seizes a spectacular split-second:
“If you look at my images, I don’t do many of the: looking at the camera, smiling, posing. I don’t do any of that. I’m trying to capture the moment, the same way you’d experience a film. Through one image, I want you to feel; I want you to get an experience from it.”
Open your browser and login to Rodriguez’s website, themindofreyrey.com (link here), peruse his dynamic gallery, and, as his mission statement says: “With this site I have planted my seed, you’re now infected with my artistic disease,” a war will be waged on any previously held notions of photography and MMA.
When Rey Rey stations himself behind the viewfinder, his artistic GPS is locating the synergy of a particular event. A visual burned into Rodriguez’s psyche: Renzo Gracie, without flinching, having his arm snapped like a twig by Kazushi Sakuraba at Pride 10. Aside from Renzo Gracie’s brilliance to compartmentalize the terror of having his bones rearranged, he paid homage to his opponent for his success. The same lasting emotion Rodriguez received from the close of this contest is what he targets with each of his snapshots, whether MMA related or not:
“There was so much beauty in that—through pain,” he opened with a level of excitement—as if seeing it for the first time. “I mean, it was the ultimate expression of: pain and beauty and gore all being mixed together, and I don’t think anybody else has been able to do that in a fight. That scene right there was: emotional, shocking, beautiful; it showed more heart than any other fighter. I saw that, and it was art; it was art caught on camera.”
Since the end of 2013, when Aronson and McMahon became the promotion’s leading faces, Titan FC has created a foothold for the hottest prospects on the rise or veterans on a bit of a skid. With Rey Rey now on the payroll, a lasting connection can be formed between fans and Titan FC’s memorable occasions. Rodriguez brings a realness to each image with a color enhanced vibrance. The only thing set to auto, as detailed by Rodriguez, was his application process to become Titan FC’s newest team member,
“I’ve worked with Entertainment Impresario Uncle Louie many times on different projects. He’s a well known figure in the world of entertainment, and is associated with top MMA organizations and fighters. The UFC linked Uncle Louie with Lex [McMahon], and Uncle Louie linked me up with Lex. He [McMahon] and I met at a little sushi place, we spoke, then he brought me on, and invited me to the Titan FC 40 weigh-ins and event.”
Rey Rey uses fighting as a medium to force feelings onto others. In his Titan FC debut, Titan FC 40, Rodriguez, from the weigh-ins to the closing bell, framed one scene after another with supreme clairvoyance; his pictures truly do invoke a thousand words. A feature on Rey Rey in the Huffington Post (link here) highlighted his unique qualities to uncover much more than the naked eye, in real-time, could ever perceive:
“I captured the weigh-ins, the moments behind the scenes, the nervousness, the resting, the deep thought they were in. I want to do that for every event so you can get the feel for what the fighters are feeling.”
“I’m honored to be a part of Titan FC’s growing organization. With my eyes and through my lens, I plan to capture these mixed martial arts warriors; their pain, passion, and glory in a way never seen in the world of MMA before. Each image will be a visual piece of art, allowing you to experience the TitanFC fighter’s moment that was captured.”
Infect yourself with Rey Rey’s artistic disease by visiting his website and following him:
Stephen Thompson wants Rafael dos Anjos in contender eliminator bout
Over the weekend, Rafael dos Anjos defeated Robbie Lawler at UFC Fight Night: Winnipeg, in dominant fashion via unanimous decision. The main event of the Canadian event was Dos Anjos’ third victory in as many fights at welterweight. The former UFC lightweight champion moved up in weight after suffering two consecutive losses. First, relinquishing his championship title to Eddie Alvarez, then falling to current interim lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson. Although the Brazilian had fought at the 155-pound weight limit exclusively in his career, his weight cut in order to reach the lightweight limit is admittedly brutal.
When talking with FloCombat, the top welterweight contender claimed, “It is not worth it [the weight cut] considering the amount I’m earning today. This was one of my motivations to change to welterweight. I don’t need to kill myself and earn this salary.” He further explained the agony of making the weight limit, “I want to avoid those last 15 pounds. That is terror and panic. It’s almost death. I don’t need to face that anymore. I want to fight well and happy, get in there strong and in good shape”.
Now that Dos Anjos has arrived at welterweight with such success, he believes he deserves a shot at Tyron Woodley and the 170-pound belt.
Am'I the only one that thinks that this fight should be for a interim title? Since the champ is out until next year?
— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) October 12, 2017
This is a sentiment that UFC president Dana White seems to agree with. At the Toronto press conference, White fielded a question on whether or not the winner of the Lawler vs. Dos Anjos match-up would yield a title contender, “Yup,” he responded. Later in the press event, White further clarified Dos Anjos’ position in the welterweight ranks, “(RDA) just had a great win to get himself back into contention and a win over Robbie Lawler obviously would do it”.
Yet, another top-ranked welterweight does not agree. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson wants a third crack at welterweight gold, and he believes Dos Anjos is his ticket back to title contention.
That was a WAR! Hats off to both RDA and Robbie for that effort! I can be back in the Octagon this March. @RdosAnjosMMA , let’s give the fans another treat. We both want gold, it’s only fitting we battle for it! @ufc #UFCWinnipeg @danawhite
— Stephen Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) December 17, 2017
What makes this challenge intriguing? The status of current welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley. Last week, Woodley announced on his TMZ show, The Hollywood Beatdown, he would be having surgery. The champion stated, “I’m going to go ahead and get this shoulder repaired. I’ve been saying, ‘You know what, I don’t want to get it cut on, I don’t want to get it repaired.’ But if there’s no fight that really makes a ton of sense for me to take the risk, to not be 100 percent with my shoulder, then I’m going to go ahead and have it repaired. They’re not going to do a full orthopedic rehabilitation, but they’re going to do a scope and they’re going to anchor down some sides. Then I’m going to get some PRP (platelet-rich plasma), some stem cells.” A timetable for his return is not readily available.
As the division stands, the truly deserving of the next welterweight title shot would be either Thompson or Dos Anjos. The recent credentials of both garner such status. Thompson most recently defeated rising contender, Jorge Masvidal at UFC 217. Before his early November victory over Masvidal, the undefeated kick-boxer challenged for the belt twice, consecutively. While he was unsuccessful in both attempts to earn the belt, each fight was extremely close. The first of which, scored a majority draw.
*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results
The UFC returns to Canada for the final Fight Night card of 2017. In the cold of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC will host eleven of the originally twelve scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Tim Elliot will not fight in the north country. His scheduled opponent, Pietro Menga, a newcomer to the promotions roster, failed to make weight after taking the bout with just over a weeks notice.
An exciting main card will be capped off with a potential contender eliminator bout featuring, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. The former champions (Lawler at welterweight, Dos Anjos at lightweight) both put together impressive win streaks which dispatched top contenders in their respective divisions. Elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on the outspoken Mike Perry.
The card begins on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30/1:30 ETPT.
UFC Winnipeg Official Results:
MAIN CARD – FOX – 8PM/5PM ETPT
- #2 Robbie Lawler (28-11) vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos (27-9) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
- #3 Ricardo Lamas (18-5) vs. Josh Emmett (12-1) – Catchweight bout (148.5 lbs)
- Result: Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punch) 4:33 round 1
- #10 Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-1) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- #3 Glover Teixeira (26-6) vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov (13-3) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (punches) 2:45 round 1
PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 5PM/2PM ETPT
- #14 Jared Cannonier (10-2) vs #15 Jan Blachowicz (20-7) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Julian Marquez (6-1) vs. Darren Stewart (7-2) – Middleweight bout
- Result: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (standing guillotine) 2:42 round 2
- Chad Laprise (13-2) vs. Galore Bofando (5-2) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (punches) 4:10 round 1
- Nordine Taleb (13-4) vs Danny Roberts (14-2) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (head kick and punch) :59 round 1
- John Makdessi (14-6) vs Abel Trujillo (15-7) – Lightweight bout
- Result: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Alessio Di Chirico (10-2) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3) – Middleweight bout
- Result: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (knee) 2:14 round 2
EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 4:30PM/1:30PM ETPT
- Jordan Mein (29-12) vs. Erick Silva (19-8) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando
The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) December 14, 2017
Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.
It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.
Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.
In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.
Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.
In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.
UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
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