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Vince Murdock: Home Is Where the Heart Is

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Photo courtesy of Vince Murdock

Vince Murdock (7-2), the reigning bantamweight champion at Total Warrior Combat (TWC), appears in his element while teaching the evening’s Muay Thai class at Ultimate Fitness, a gym in Sacramento, California housing world class mixed martial artists under the Team Alpha Male (TAM) canopy. Born and raised in Lapeer, Michigan, Murdock returns to The Mitten State in four-ounce gloves to retain his TWC title. On May 14, 2016, The Causeway Bay Hotel and Convention Center will transform into an MMA fan’s paradise when Murdock, cornered by his TAM brothers in arms and surrounded by supporters since claiming territory in MMA, strides into the red corner under the bright lights at TWC: Jaynes vs. Lamson, a card with three championship belts up for grabs to face, to face Andrew Ventimiglia (4-2).

Much like the forty-niners, Murdock caught gold fever as a mixed martial artist, thereby leading him out west, and in an accent twanged with a different breed of confidence than his California comrades, he discussed how he connected with TAM,

“My buddy, Daron Cruickshank, was on The Ultimate Fighter: Live, and that was the season [Urijah] Faber coached. When the show was over, they [Faber and Cruickshank] had created a friendship, and when he got back home, he’d always talk about going to visit the gym and say, ‘You should go visit Sacramento.’” No magic beans required to sprout Cruickshank’s idea from a dream into something tangible for Murdock to stalk, “For the longest time, I’d be like, ‘When are we going to do this. I really want to go out there.’ So, eventually we went out here, but I had never intended on moving out here. I planned on only being out here for like three months; now, it’s been four years.”

Murdock’s recollection of TAM’s supportive nature, likely, matched the tone used to instruct his students. He flashed back to the day he pulled up in his U-Haul from halfway across the country,

“The team kind of welcomed me in, and they were a huge part in finding me a place to stay and providing me with work or whatever I needed. They gave me all the tools I needed to come out here and make this a reality. The whole gym has been really good for me. The atmosphere is not like anything I’ve ever been a part of before. The only thing I could relate it to is: being a part of a brotherhood. We do everything together. I love it here. It’s a second home that’s home now.”

Photo courtesy of Vince Murdock/Photo credit to Vir Moore

TAM: the perfect dwelling to sharpen the skills of any MMA competitor at featherweight or bantamweight. Even though Murdock will rent his services out in both weight classes, he’d prefer to stake residency at 135 pounds,

“I feel like 135 is where I need to be to compete at my best. When I fight at 135, it feels right, and I feel at home. It’s just a matter of taking care of my body better, taking better care of myself, and stuff like that.”

Photo courtesy of Vince Murdock/Photo credit to Vir Moore

Returning to TWC in Lansing, Michigan, the bar of expectation Murdock has set for himself is nowhere near the middle. Excited to declare the deed on TWC’s bantamweight belt as rightfully his in mid-May, he glowed with a metallic sheen when detailing his title defense against Ventimiglia,

“It’ll be the first time I’m defending it. This fight at TWC will determine that I’m the champion, and it’ll be set in stone: I earned it, I defended it, and it’s mine. I want to make a statement in this fight.”

With all the statements Murdock has previously made in the cage, nobody would be surprised to discover him capitalizing on opportunity in windows the size of thumbnails and punctuating the contest with the belt wrapped around his waist, again. Entering the tenth bout of his pro career, Murdock could clinch all of his statements together to share with his class a paragraph of storied toughness farmed out of the midwestern region of the United States. Turning back to the last chapter Murdock printed: the only time he was forced to hear the judges’ opinions, he highlighted his ability to battle adversity and defeat TJ Laramie at TXC Legends 7 by decision,

“That was the toughest dude ever! He didn’t have the best record, but I knew I was in there with an animal. I know nobody I fight is going to be tougher than that guy. I blew out my knee, like completely, while training for that fight. I didn’t think I could kick, and I didn’t get to workout leading into that whole fight.” Uncovering truths about the gritty myth of the midwest, he continued, “It was insane. My knee was just out. I was just hoping I’d be able to fight, really. The funny thing was: I didn’t know until I got in the cage. I wasn’t going to be able to test out my knee until I got in the cage, but it seemed to hold up alright.”

Photo courtesy of Vince Murdock

Kicking off the parlay of championship matches at TWC: Jaynes vs. Lamson on May 14, 2016, Murdock predicts a return to the heart of Northern California with the notoriety to catapult him onto grander stages of MMA, which will warm the hearts of MMA fans who will have his fights broadcasted into their households, whether you are on either end of the coast or anywhere spanning the globe,

“Hopefully this isn’t the last belt, and that’s the ultimate goal: to collect these titles. Any fight is a title fight. Everything is a huge part of the bigger picture. This is the moment where I need to make a statement, and I’m starting to feel good. I had a couple layoffs the last couple years: I broke my jaw; I blew out my knee. I was out for a long time. I want it to be known: This is my division; you can try and take the belt, but it isn’t going anywhere.”

Follow Vince Murdock to any neck of the woods caging his efforts at:

Instagram: @vincemurdock

Facebook: www.facebook.com/minnyvurdock

Twitter: @VinceMurdock

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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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*VIDEO* Francis Ngannou has his eyes on the UFC Heavyweight Title

Matthew Wells

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UFC Heavyweight Francis “The Predator” Ngannou has taken the heavyweight division by storm.

Currently 5-0 in the UFC and riding a 9 fight win streak, the native of Cameroon possesses vicious power and has shown improvements each time he steps inside the cage.

Hear Ngannou talk about his journey and plans for the future:

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The humble beginnings of the Korean Zombie

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Korean Zombie UFC

The featherweight division has become one of the most exciting in the UFC in the last few years. With the arrival of Conor McGregor, and an influx of exciting talent, new life has been breathed into a division that was suffering due to Jose Aldo’s dominance.

A notable absentee during this rise has been “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, who returns for the first time in three years against Dennis Bermudez on Saturday. The fight features as the main event of UFC Fight Night 104, and Jung is making his long awaited return after serving his mandatory military service duty for the South Korean Army.

With the fight with Bermudez fast approaching, the buzz for Jung’s return is noticeable throughout the MMA community. With a return of this magnitude, it is always fun to look back at the career of the fighter and relive the moments in his career that make the fan in all of us excited for his return.

The humble beginnings of the Korean Zombie

Chan Sung Jung was widely considered to be one of the best prospects to emerge from the far east when he was signed by WEC to face Cub Swanson in 2010. An injury forced Swanson out of the contest and Leonard Garcia stepped in as a replacement.

The fight between the two would take place on the preliminary card of Jose Aldo Jr. vs. Urijah Faber for the WEC featherweight championship. The event was the first and only WEC pay-per-view card and with Zuffa on board, the event was treated as such with Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan on commentary.

That night, MMA fans were treated to one of the greatest fights in mixed martial arts history and widely regarded as the best fight ever in the lighter weight classes. Many fans call a fight “a war” in an exciting contest between two fighters, but the fight between the Zombie and Garcia was more like a demolition derby.

Both men threw their strikes with wreckless intent and dropped each other on numerous occasions. The fight went to a split decision with Garcia getting the nod from the judges. Many considered Jung the winner, but the fight received praise from every media outlet in the days following the card. Dana White would wear a shirt with the now famous “Korean Zombie” logo at the following UFC PPV weigh ins in support of the epic fight.

Jung returned to the cage to face George Roop in his next outing in the WEC and lost the fight by a vicious head kick. This would be his final fight in WEC as the UFC went on to absorb the WEC’s featherweight and bantamweight divisions and bring both into the UFC.

Jung was scheduled to make his promotional debut for the UFC against Rani Yahya at UFC Fight Night 23, but was forced out of the fight with an injury. Ironically Leonard Garcia’s opponent Nam Phan would suffer an injury before their scheduled fight. It seemed like fate that Jung and Garcia would do battle once more. The Korean Zombie came in as a late replacement for the injured Phan. The rematch between the two was highly anticipated and the UFC was promoting the fight as the rematch to the greatest fight ever.

The fight was set as the opener to the main card for UFC Fight Night 24. What came next was history in the making. Both fighters were tentative in the early exchanges in the fight and didn’t have the same enthusiasm to brawl as the previous encounter, but in the final few minutes of the opening round, Jung took the back of Garcia.

In an unorthodox position on the ground, Rogan said on the desk, “Looks like he is setting up for a twister”. The twister was not seen in the UFC at this point and with the clock ticking, Jung stretched Garcia in a position where his spine was turned into a pretzel and Garcia tapped. Jung stated in the post-fight interview with Rogan that he had learned how to do the submission watching videos of Eddie Bravo doing the move. The win won multiple awards for submission of the year.

After that win, Chan Sung Jung was set to face Mark Hominick at UFC 140 in Toronto. Hominick, who fought Aldo for the title at UFC 129 in his hometown, came into the fight as the underdog, but in seven seconds that all changed. Jung cracked Hominick, tying the record for the second fastest knockout in UFC history. A win over a former title challenger launched the South Korean into title contention.

Following another historic win, Chan Sung Jung was now set to take part in his first ever main event against rising star Dustin Poirier with the winner receiving a title shot against UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo at a later date.

Jung went on to put on another fight of the year that night. The one-man zombie horde overwhelmed Poirier in the early rounds with his aggressive style. Numerous submission attempts and transitions by Jung frustrated Poirier. As Poirier became more aggressive and careless in the fight, Jung launched a flying knee in the third round and rocked his opponent. Poirier attempted to take Jung down, but the Zombie caught Poirier in a D’Arce choke in the third round to get the win.

Multiple injuries, and scheduled title fights between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar; and Aldo and Anthony Pettis, delayed Jung’s title shot. After Pettis was forced out of the title fight with Aldo because of an injury, Jung was called up as a late replacement and finally get the title shot he earned by defeating Poirier a year earlier.

The fight would take place in Brazil and was surprisingly lacklustre. Both fighters were sizing each other up for the majority of the contest. Jung suffered an injury during the fight when he dislocated his shoulder and in typical zombie fashion, Jung attempted to put his own shoulder back in place. Aldo used this time to attack, winning the title fight by TKO.

This would be the last time we saw the zombie in the cage as he would be drafted by the South Korean Army to do his two-year mandatory military service. Jung has not fought in three and a half years.

Now the burning question is how will the Korean zombie look after such a long absence. One thing is sure though, fans are extremely excited to see his return and on Saturday, The Zombie Apocalypse could be on the cards if the South Korean comes out of the cage with a win.

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