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Archive for the ‘UFC’ Category
Tags: Tyson Griffin, UFC 123, xtreme couture
Tags: Kyle Griffin, Nik Lentz, Royce Gracie, Tank Abbott, Tyson Griffin, UFC 123, XCAP, xtreme couture, Xtreme Couture MMA
As 2010 dawned, any talk of Xtreme Couture MMA fighter, Tyson Griffin ,usually involved his place in the lightweight title picture thanks to back-to-back victories over Rafael dos Anjos and Hermes Franca. Two fights since then the talk is a lot a different, and the Sacramento native has heard it all.
“I’ve never been one to let that get to me,” said Griffin when asked about the backlash that comes with consecutive losses, albeit to top 155-pounders Evan Dunham and Takanori Gomi. “I feel like I’m my worst critic. There’s nothing that anybody can say or tweet or facebook about me that I’m not gonna say tenfold.”
So if you think the 26-year old is caught in a downward spiral that will continue into his UFC 123 bout this weekend against Nik Lentz, think again. For him, Saturday night kicks off a new beginning to a career that is far from over.
“I took a lot of time off after the Gomi fight and did a lot of soul searching and all that kinda stuff and I definitely feel like my career is kinda just starting,” said Griffin, who admits that following his decision loss to Xtreme Couture teammate Dunham in June, he started to re-evaluate where he was in his career and in life. But then came the Gomi fight less than two months later and a crushing 64 second knockout defeat. The hill then became a mountain, but he’s packed his proverbial hiking boots for the trip.
“I started that rejuvenation before I fought Gomi,” he said. “I was really motivated after losing to Evan Dunham the way I did and really took it into my own hands about why I lost and how. Mentally I may not have been ready to take another fight as fast as I did with Gomi and I kinda got stuck going through the motions, but whatever happened happened for that fight. So I continued that renewing thought after the time off and getting back in there, so it’s been good.”
What Griffin’s soul searching consisted of was going through every aspect of his life and seeing where he could remove distractions and improve the quality of his training.
“I’ve always been one to get in the gym and push hard and train hard, but if your mind’s not into it, it really doesn’t matter what you’re doing,” he said. “So I definitely rearranged some things, I feel like I’m re-dedicated to the sport, and re-dedicated to my career as a professional fighter.”
He also brought in a secret weapon that’s not so secret anymore – his brother, former Oklahoma State wrestler Kyle Griffin.
“I always joke around and tell people that he’s the wrestler, I’m the athlete,” laughed Tyson. “I always played a bunch of different sports, and then in the summer I was doing football camp and he was still the guy competing in wrestling and doing freestyle and Greco and things of that nature. So having my brother move down here recently, I’m basically getting back to doing a lot of wrestling, and keeping things simple and technical. He’s definitely been a big help.”
And though Griffin has always been seen as a wrestling-based fighter, as the quality of the game elevates, so must every aspect of a fighter’s game. For Griffin, who began wrestling in middle school, he will find himself at a disadvantage against someone like Lentz, a Division I college wrestler.
“I’ve really relied on my athleticism and my creativity when it comes to wrestling and it’s hard to do against these guys who have been wrestling since they were four years old,” he admits, but that just comes part and parcel with a game that is always evolving. Luckily for Griffin, he’s been paying attention the entire time.
“People, critics, fans, whoever they may be, forget the curve of the sport,” he said. “I’ve been at this for a little bit now, even though I’m young and I am an overthinker. (Laughs) But one of things I think about is the way the sport’s gone. It’s gone from barroom brawling Tank Abbott to Royce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to everybody learning the submissions and no one getting submitted, then everybody learning how to knock people out and people not wanting to get knocked out and learning how to wrestle, so the sport itself is getting to be that competitive where every guy is good at everything and sometimes the only way to win is to win the wrestling part of it. Everybody’s good at striking and their defense is good enough to not get knocked out, their submission defense is good enough to not get submitted, and so there are definitely more than two edges on the sword these days. It’s crazy thinking about the game plans that you have to come up with. You really just have to train everything all the time.”
Against Lentz, Griffin will have to be prepared for everything because despite his less than scintillating win over Andre Winner earlier this year, the Minnesotan can handle himself wherever the fight goes, and if he wants it to end up on the mat with him in total positional control, he can probably pull that off. That’s not what Griffin wants though, and he’s prepared accordingly.
“I think he’s a smart fighter,” said Griffin of Lentz. “He fought Andre Winner very smart and beat him at his weakness. That’s what mixed martial arts is all about. I always say that the people who want to knock him for that need to go watch kickboxing, because this is mixed martial arts. If you watch The Ultimate Fighter show, you heard (American Kickboxing Academy trainer) Bob Cook say that wrestling wins fights, and if you want to knock the other guy out, you’ve got to be the better wrestler and keep the fight there. With that said, I’ve been working on everything and getting back to my roots. I’m expecting a tough, hard-nosed Nik Lentz that brings the pace, and if he thinks the smart thing to do is to take me down, I’m ready for that, and if he wants to stand up with me, I’m ready for that as well. More than anything, I’m looking to fight my fight and push the pace and use my biggest weapon, which is my conditioning. If I get caught by Nik Lentz, so be it – that’s the game we play with four ounce gloves – but I’m not gonna let anybody beat me by decision. If they beat me by decision, they’re gonna have to earn it a lot tougher.”
If anything, Griffin has made it clear that there are no doubts in his mind after his last two bouts, no questions of whether he can make it to the next level that seemed a given after he won five of his first six UFC fights. Instead, Griffin is aware that this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and that he’s just getting started on the second leg of the race.
“It’s definitely a marathon,” he said. “I’ve dealt with the pressures, I’ve performed well and I have to live up to that. I can’t rest on my talent, if you will, or just my conditioning or hard work. It’s a combination of everything.”
A little luck never hurt either, and if he’s looking for some interesting omens surrounding his ‘new beginning’, he only needs to look at the UFC 123 fight card, where he’s opening the event for the first time since his Octagon debut against David Lee back in 2006. Also on that card? Matt Hughes and BJ Penn, who compete in their rubber match this weekend.
Griffin chuckles when informed of those two tidbits.
“I can’t really say I’m superstitious; I’m kinda almost the opposite,” he said. “But that definitely sounds like a good omen to me.”
Author: Anthony Kristo – UFC
A lightweight bout between contenders Kenny Florian (14-5 MMA, 11-4 UFC) and Evan Dunham (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) originally targeted for UFC 126 in February instead is expected to headline the Jan. 22 “UFC Fight Night 23: UFC Fight for the Troops 2” event.
Heavy.com first reported the change, which MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has confirmed with a source close to the organization.
Although not announced, UFC Fight Night 23 is expected to take place in Texas with Fort Hood.
It’ll likely air on Spike TV, though as of Monday morning, officials told MMAjunkie.com that details are still being finalized and that working with the military can be a “slow process” because of security concerns.
Both Florian and Dunham look to recover from recent losses.
Dunham faced former UFC lightweight champ Sean Sherk in September and was dealt the first loss of his career via close split decision. After suffering a huge gash near his right eye in the opening round of the UFC 119 fight, Dunham battled back with an impressive blend of striking from distance and a capable takedown attack. Nevertheless, Sherk was granted the decision.
Prior to the loss, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt posted UFC wins over Per Eklund, Marcus Aurelio, Efrain Escudero and Tyson Griffin.
Florian, meanwhile, returns to the cage for the first time since suffering a unanimous-decision loss to Gray Maynard at UFC 118 in August. In a fight to determine the 155-pound division’s next title challenger, Florian was unable to defend against Maynard’s wrestling attack and lost the fight on all three judges’ cards.
The former title challenger now is just 2-2 in his past four fights, though the defeats have come at the hands of current No. 1 contender Maynard and former lightweight champion B.J. Penn.
LONDON – While a cursory examination of Mike Pyle’s impressive UFC 120 win over the previously undefeated John Hathaway on Saturday night in London might suggest his impressive head movement and superior grappling were the keys to the biggest victory of his 11 year career, “Quicksand” would beg to differ.
For Pyle (20-7-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC), the long-awaited transition from “best fighter not in the UFC” to “UFC welterweight contender” is due entirely to one thing.
“You train yourself on the focus mitts, right?” Pyle asked MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “Well, you’ve got to train yourself mentally, and there’s mental preparations for being inside of something this big.
“This is the biggest, best sport that’s going right now, and it doesn’t get any better. You have to do everything you can to prepare yourself physically and mentally. That’s what I did when I got the call. I stepped up and took care of business.”
Pyle has long been considered a gym superstar, and his reputation among his Xtreme Couture teammates has long been top notch. But despite brief runs with Affliction, EliteXC, the IFL, Sengoku and Strikeforce, Pyle never earned the reputation of a fighter that could deliver under pressure.
While Pyle appeared guarded when pressed to reveal exactly what steps he had taken to shore up his mental approach to fighting, he did admit the change was the key to his win over Hathaway, as well as a June victory over Jesse Lennox.
“It’s just a matter of stepping up your game,” Pyle said. “I took the right steps and saw the right people. It’s helped tremendously, and it’s something I’ll never neglect again.
“It just took me a little bit longer to get over the UFC jitters. Like I said, this is the big show. It’s a lot bigger than any other show I’ve ever fought on. I have to train myself for that, and I’m taking all the proper steps.”
A huge underdog in the fight with Hathaway, Pyle never played the part. He was almost strangely confident in the weeks leading up to the contest, and he wasn’t afraid to voice his plans to shock the world.
While many MMA observers had tagged Hathaway as Britain’s next big thing, Pyle said he always knew he could win. It wasn’t so much any flaws that he observed in Hathaway’s game but simply that he began fighting professionally before “The Hitman” was even a freshman.
“I just knew I could beat the kid,” Pyle said. “I’ve been fighting since 1998. I think he was probably doing homework in high school at the time – maybe even middle school.
“I’m seasoned. I train with the best. I feel that it’s out there, and I just knew that I would be able to outwork the kid, 100 percent. In my heart, I knew that I could beat him.”
And beat him, he did. Soundly, in fact, with the unanimous decision only coming because Hathaway somehow lasted through a tight inverted triangle in the second round that was accompanied by a seemingly never-ending barrage of punches to the face.
Whether it was his boxing, his wrestling or simply his mental approach, Pyle’s UFC 120 win was undoubtedly one of the best – and certainly most important – performances of his career.
And while the 35-year-old has long flown low on most MMA fans’ radar, that will likely no longer be the case.
“When [UFC officials] called, and they gave me this opportunity to take and this fight and be on this card, I was very thankful,” Pyle said. “I rose to the occasion; I beat the kid.
“(I was) a severe underdog coming out here. I loved it. I loved the crowd. I loved that they didn’t like me as much, but maybe I captured a few fans afterward.”
As was previously expected, UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar (13-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) will defend his title against undefeated challenger Gray Maynard (10-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) at UFC 125.
While not officially announced by the organization, UFC 125 is expected to take place Jan. 1 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and air on pay-per-view.
Edgar and Maynard, of course, met once before, and it was the current challenger who came out on top. It was Maynard who handed Edgar his lone career defeat in an April 2008 bout at UFC Fight Night 13.
However, Edgar bounced back with a pair of decision wins over Hermes Franca and Sean Sherk, as well as a submission win over Matt Veach, and was awarded a title shot against then-champion B.J. Penn.
Despite seemingly insurmountable odds against him, Edgar defeated Penn in a hotly contested UFC 112 decision. In August, Edgar solidified the legitimacy of his title by again defeating Penn, though it came in even more dominating fashion the second time around.
Meanwhile, Maynard followed up his win over Edgar with a five-straight decision victories over a murderers’ row of opponents in Rich Clementi, Jim Miller, Roger Huerta, Nate Diaz and Kenny Florian. Despite the wins, Maynard was passed over in favor of Edgar for the first shot at the belt.
Additionally, MMAjunkie.com has learned that with the Edgar-Maynard booking, a middleweight title fight between champion Anderson Silva and challenger Vitor Belfort will likely take place at the UFC’s annual Super Bowl card.
UFC officials had targeted the matchup for Jan. 1, but the champion reportedly asked for the delay in order to fully heal the aching ribs that affected him in the days leading up to his now-legendary UFC 117 contest with Chael Sonnen.
Courtesy of MMA Junkie
Twenty-three-year-old British welterweight John Hathaway has made a big splash in the welterweight division. But Mike Pyle is not impressed.
Pyle, who meets Hathaway (14-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) at UFC 120 as a replacement for injured Dong Hyun Kim, says his young opponent is in over his head this time.
“I will beat the [expletive] out of John Hathaway,” Pyle (20-7-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
The undefeated Hathaway earned a fourth consecutive octagon victory and took a huge step in his career when he routed former lightweight contender Diego Sanchez at UFC 114. But the deck was stacked in his favor, according to Pyle. The Brit had advantages in height, reach and weight.
“Let’s face it; the fight that he had with Diego wasn’t an awesome, back-and-forth fight,” the 34-year-old Pyle said. “Diego’s a small, somewhat average (sized) [155-pound fighter].”
There won’t be any such advantages when Pyle gets his hands on the youngster.
“I’m a big welterweight, (and) I’m a long welterweight,” he said. “[Hathaway has] fought a lot of shorter opponents. He’s had a reach advantage, and he’s been able to use that really well. He stayed away from actually having to get in a fight with [Diego].
“That’s all going to change. He will be tested – 100 percent guaranteed.”
If Pyle sounds a little more fired up for this fight than others, it’s for good reason. He’s been in the fight game for 11 years and faced many who went on to become huge stars in MMA. Some he beat, and others he didn’t. But the respect he garners from those who have trained with him is almost universal. They speak of a guy who’s a beast. A guy with amazing submission skills. A guy who chews up and spits out training partners without regard to size.
And also, a guy who has a hard time putting it all together when the chips are down.
Pyle delivered in his most recent performance when he submitted Jesse Lennox with a triangle choke at UFC 115, a move that appeared destined for a performance bonus before Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic rained on the parade by tapping out Pat Barry in the co-main event. But he’s still trying to find traction in the ocean-deep welterweight division; Pyle’s current UFC win percentage stands at .500 with wins over Lennox and Chris Wilson and losses to Jake Ellenberger and Brock Larson.
Naturally, Pyle says he’s going to be better fighter come Oct. 16, when the two meet at The 02 in London, and he’s going to show fans what they’ve been missing.
If Hathaway wants to stand and trade, he says, no problem.
“I don’t really care. It’s not an, ‘Oh my god, if I don’t get this kid down, there’s nothing I can do (situation),'” Pyle said. “I could knock the kid out. I almost knocked out the last dude.
“This kid’s going to be in for hell. I ain’t Diego Sanchez. [Hathaway’s] last fight was a good and easy fight. This time, he’s in for the fight of his life.”
That doesn’t mean that Pyle won’t have a little fun in London. He’s looking forward to the boos that are likely to welcome his arrival as an American on British soil, and he’s planning something special for his turn as a heel. He won’t say what it is, but he hints at something patriotic.
“You’ll just have to see, man,” he said. “I can’t wait for them to boo me. I’m going to suck it all up and spit it right back out at all them crooked-teethed Englishmen.”
That attitude will surely make a splash across the pond.
From MMA Junkie
Tags: Martin Kampmann
Martin Kampmann is fighting Alexander Barros Jan 17-09 on the UFC 93 card in Dublin. The event will be broadcast on PPV at 10 pm ET or live at 3pm ET.
Martin Is 13-2 and has gone 4-1 in his career for the UFC. Martin is known for his explosive kickboxing and has solid ground skill. While being known as a striker he has finished 3 of his opponents in the UFC by submission. Martin is also making his debut at welterweight (170 lbs). His opponent Martin Barros 13-5-0 is a south paw, accomplished grappler and a product of Gracie Barra. This will be Barros’s debut in the UFC.
Xtreme Couture: “Martin you looked great in training camp and we wish you the BEST OF LUCK!”
By: Elena Reid