Martin Kampmann’s total domination of Paulo Thiago, epic fight by teammates Evan Dunham and Tyson Griffin and perhaps one of his best performances by Mike Pyle against Jesse Lennox.
Congratulations to all the guys for their great performances!
by Leland Roling- Bloody Elbow
The most appealing fight of the evening has to be the welterweight clash between special police forces’ officer and Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Paulo Thiago (13-1, 3-1 UFC) and Danish kickboxer and legitimate ground threat Martin Kampmann (16-3, 8-2 UFC). Not only is the match-up a solid test for both fighters in terms of styles, but the fight could determine who will move up in the ranks far enough to be matched in a contention bout next. Thiago has the most solid case as he’s defeated Josh Koscheck, Mike Swick, and Jacob Volkmann in his UFC career with his lone loss coming against Jon Fitch at UFC 100. Kampmann’s recent run was abruptly stopped at UFC 103 when he was knocked out by Paul Daley, but he did manage to defeat Jacob Volkmann at UFC 108 in quick fashion via guillotine choke.
While there is a possibility that the winner really puts himself into prime position for a run toward the top, my own attraction sits on how this fight will play out in what we could call an evenly-matched bout between well-rounded combatants. Thiago’s boxing has improved immensely to the point in which I’ve found myself surprised in his learning ability and determination in correcting past problems that have plagued his form. Kampmann’s ground tactics continue to get him out of tough situations, and it’s improved to a point where he’s positionally solid in his control and form.
Kampmann’s striking is going to be the question, and while he hails from a region in the world that’s notorious for kickboxers — Kampmann hasn’t shown the crisp kickboxing of a K-1 veteran. He doesn’t loop his overhands horribly all of the time, but he tends to tire and fall into the mold. His defense is lacking, and that’s probably one of the most consistent criticisms of his stand-up game.
Thiago, on the other hand, looked sloppy in his battle with Josh Koscheck, but a perfectly-placed uppercut downed the AKA veteran. Jon Fitch didn’t give him the opportunity to punch, but Thiago did show some wizardry in his grappling skills. Jacob Volkmann and Mike Swick were victims of an ever-improving arsenal of strikes that Thiago has been molding. Crisp, straight punches that landed accurately, and Swick was the recipient of the follow-up of submission knowledge from Thiago’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu background while Volkmann held off Thiago long enough to lose via judges’ decision.
On the ground, I think Paulo is hands down a better fighter. We haven’t seen a whole lot of Thiago off his back in recent memory, but the Jon Fitch fight is a good example of looking at the potential that is there. Thiago was able to work in some great reversals of position, but Fitch’s wrestling was too much. Kampmann is a crafty ground fighter, but Paulo’s black belt-level skill will trump anything Kampmann can muster.
I also think Thiago has that mental edge as a fight in the Octagon is probably a safer reality than his every day job of hunting drug lords in Brazil. I don’t want to take anything away from Kampmann, but very few in this sport have a day job that is more dangerous or unnerving than Paulo Thiago. It surely must help him maintain composure in the heat of battle, and that’s a plus.
In the end, I think some fans will be a bit surprised at the progression of Paulo Thiago. He’s certainly rode the roller coaster in the UFC with an upset victory over Koscheck, a standard loss to a blanketing wrestler in Jon Fitch, and two subsequent wins that earned him some much deserved accolades. I think he’s going to put on a good performance and make a claim as to being the next man to fight for contention.
The never-ending pile of week-old garbage bags being tossed at UFC 115 is indicative of two things: one, the UFC has done a poor job of hyping the card and two, many fans don’t seem to appreciate quality matchmaking. There really is no other explanation for why a prelim slate with quality fighters like Mario Miranda and Mike Pyle is being treated with the kind of revulsion that should be reserved for skinheads with leprosy.
Further adding to my confusion is the twin-bill of prelims set to air on SpikeTV that make for arguably the best lightweight matches you’ll see on free TV this year. Tyson Griffin and Evan Dunham may well decide the next serious lightweight contender in their bout, and Matt Wiman and Mac Danzig will undoubtedly be fighting tooth and nail to avoid getting the pink slip of doom.
More true facts await all readers wise enough to continue, so put down the pipe laced with forum-talk and get knowledge on proper.
First things first: big ups to Xtreme Couture teammates Tyson Griffin and Evan Dunham for agreeing to do that thing they get paid to do — fight. Too many quality matchups have been botched by teammates acting like they’d be violating their imaginary warrior code by engaging in sport with a friend. Thanks to the manliness of Griffin and Dunham, the fans get to see one of the best lightweight matchups you’ll ever get on free TV.
The style clash itself is fascinating, as these two are mirror images of each other in almost every way. Standing, Dunham is a southpaw with a nasty left cross and the jab to set it up. Griffin is all about stepping in with leg kicks and uncorking close-quarters combinations. Just how committed Dunham is to pumping that jab will be vital to his early success, as he has gained a somewhat valid reputation for starting slow.
Griffin doesn’t exactly come out of the gate like a Xenomorph either, but he does set up his game early by closing the pocket and establishing his range. In contrast, Dunham’s inability to find his range quickly is really what holds him back. It took five minutes of Efrain Escudero reading him the riot act before he started snapping the jab and consequently turned the fight around. That telephone pole jab is especially important in this fight. Dunham has a marked reach advantage and could potentially neutralize Griffin’s offense by keeping him outside the pocket.
A more realistic scenario, however, is Dunham popping some one-two’s and suddenly finding Griffin attached to his leg like an anthropomorphized bear-trap. While Dunham has flashed some astute takedown defense before, if Griffin wants him on the mat, then that is where the fight is headed. Resolving the quantum entanglement between these two gets no easier there, as Dunham is incredibly active off his back while Griffin happens to have borderline impenetrable submission defense and is shockingly nimble in scrambles for a guy built like a box with muscles.
What Griffin lacks is serious ground striking. Even from top control, getting into a pure grappling match with Dunham is likely more trouble than it’s worth. Shades of Griffin’s bout with Thiago Tavares seem to be a distinct possibility in this one should it hit the floor. In that event, scoring largely becomes a matter of perception. The less discussed possibility is what happens if Dunham gains top control, but the truth is that you’re looking at identical scripts regardless of who scores the initial takedown.
I genuinely doubt there will be an obvious winner as far as scoring goes, but I do expect Dunham to get the better of Griffin on the feet and fight him to a standstill on the mat. The slow starts that have plagued Dunham before will likely cost him early, but his durability will carry him long enough for his technique to eventually take over. Regardless of whether the verdict is split or unanimous, the forums will turn into Nero’s Rome within seconds of Dunham’s hand being raised.
Xtreme Couture invites you to our UFC 115 Viewing Party and concert (Imagine Dragons) which is held on the strip at the Monte Carlo Pub – Saturday June 12th from 5:30 pm – ??.
Forget the PPV party at your friends house and join us to cheer for your favorite fighter and our team ( Martin Kampmann, Evan Dunham, Tyson Griffin and Mike Pyle).
Mingle with our fighters, trainers and staff and after the fights stay and check out the live tunes.
The Pub will be showing all the prelims on Spike and the UFC 115 countdown show and doors will open for the closed circuit starting at 5:30pm.
Mention you are part of the Xtreme Couture Group so you will get $5 off the door ($15 admission) and be in our VIP section with the best viewing area!
Monte Carlo Pub
3770 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV (702) 730-7420
Visit our (information/ clothing sales table) in the VIP section and we’ll give you buy one free drink tickets!
During the fights we will be giving away merchandise and we are also having a free raffle drawing for a framed Randy Couture autographed drawing done by Richard Slone – a $250 value!
Winner will be announced after the main event!
Due to the demand We highly suggest to pre-purchase your tickets!! Call the Pub (702) 730-7420.
1. Deep, wet sand that you sink into if you try to walk on it. 2. A treacherous situation that tends to entrap and destroy.
Mike “Quicksand” Pyle is the former WEC Welterweight champion, and an experienced veteran in the sport of mixed martial arts. This Saturday, Mike will take on Jessie “The Ox” Lennox at UFC 115.
[Kevin Sampson] Mike, first of all, I want to thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me today. I really do appreciate it.
[Mike Pyle] You’re welcome.
[Kevin Sampson] Just a little bit of background: What originally got you involved in martial arts and competitively in Mixed Martial Arts?
[Mike Pyle] The UFC did. I watched the old films. This guy who was training Tae Kwon Do with me was like, “Man, you gotta check this cage fighter stuff they got going on. There’s this guy that lays around on the ground and breaks people’s arms and s—t.” And I was like “Okay, let’s check it out.” And of course, it was Royce [Gracie] who was going around breaking everyone’s arms and choking the s—t out of ‘em. So I was like, “I’m interested in that.” So, I started looking for grappling schools and things like that.
[Kevin Sampson] Your very first professional fight was against Quinton Jackson. Apparently that is the first mixed martial arts fight of record for both you, and for “Rampage” Jackson. What can you tell me about that fight?
[Mike Pyle] I was 175 pounds soaking wet. And he was like 200 pounds or so. I agreed to it. I wasn’t thrown in there. I learned that I needed to get better at striking, not just rely on Jiu Jitsu only because that’s all I was trying to do, and he was able to counter that easily with his brute strength. Picked me up, throwing me around. Throwing me out of the ring. It opened up my eyes up that I needed to get more well-rounded.
[Kevin Sampson] What would you say is your proudest achievement in your Mixed Martial Arts career?
[Mike Pyle] I’m gonna have to say making it to the UFC. And just being able to be professional. Those two things are the chief things for me. Just being able to do what I love for a living and being able to do it in the UFC, the UFC, from what I’ve experienced, they just take better care of you. It’s more on top of things and more well-organized.
[Kevin Sampson] When I was looking over your record, the thing that really jumps out at me is this: Mike Pyle, the only fighter who has ever made Jon Fitch submit. What can you tell me about that fight?
[Mike Pyle] Oh, it was earlier in both of our careers and I think I was just a bit more advanced than him at the time. I believe he and I spoke after and I believe that was his first or second fight. He hadn’t been training in a lot of Jiu Jitsu and, of course, that was my background. And he wanted, as a wrestler, to go to the ground, so when it did go to the ground, I just had a bit more of an advantage and experience on the ground than he did at the time. We’ve both come a long ways since then. I was just a better man that night, that’s all. I’m sure he went back to the drawing board and began to learn how to stay out of a rear naked choke or to learn it.
[Kevin Sampson] Another of the big names on your record a little later on in your career in the WEC: Shonie Carter. Once again, you got the win by submission. Can you tell me a bit about that fight?
[Mike Pyle] Yeah. So you know it was a little nerve-wracking or whatever. But I was defending my title [Mike was WEC Welterweight Champion at the time] and there was no way I was going to let anybody come in and take it. I went after him right off, cracked his nose real good, he started bleeding everywhere. He took me down, and he slowly sunk in Quicksand. I caught him in a triangle.
[Kevin Sampson] Upcoming fight: Next Saturday, you’re going to be fighting Jessie “The Ox” Lennox. What can you tell me about your opponent?
[Mike Pyle] Well, he a tough kid. He had a tough fight with Rick Story. So he had a good, tough fight there. He was getting hit with some tough shots and he was able to stay in there and go the whole fight. From that I can tell, he’s a tough kid. That’s about it, I’m just going to go in there and give him the business.
[Kevin Sampson] How do you think you match up with him?
[Mike Pyle] I think I match up well with him. I’m a bit longer than him, so striking might play a role more in the favor for me. I feel that I have the competition advantage as well.
[Kevin Sampson] Something I’d noticed. As I was reading through your biography online, it said that you picked up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by watching videos and more or less teaching yourself.
[Mike Pyle] Yeah I’ve never had any instructor in grappling.
[Kevin Sampson] So no formal teaching?
[Mike Pyle] Nuh uh. Completely self-taught.
[Kevin Sampson] It’s crazy, because without any formal training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and yet you have 16 of your 19 wins by submission. That’s really impressive.
[Mike Pyle] Yeah, thanks. Yeah, I’m completely self-taught, for the most part, in mixed martial arts. The first half of my fighting career was just me and that was it.
[Kevin Sampson] What’s your favorite submissions move, anyway?
[Mike Pyle] I would have to say that it would be any type of strangulation.
[Kevin Sampson] So rear naked or guillotine or darce choke?
[Mike Pyle] Yeah, as long it’s a choke. Back in the day, when the warriors would fight. Okay, you get the guy in the arm bar, he can still stab you or kill you with the other arm. He’s not done, you know what I mean? But, you get him in a choke and that’s it. That’s as good as done.
[Kevin Sampson] Outside of submissions, where would you say you are most dangerous and most effective?
[Mike Pyle] Well, I don’t know. I knocked out Gustavo Machado. My hands are a lot more lethal than people think—my striking and my knees and things. A bit more lethal than they show on record. Hopefully, in this fight, that’ll show because I’ll have the advantage in the striking, I think, in this fight. Competition-wise, I think I’ve got it. I’ve got the advantage. I’ve gone against bigger, tougher guys. I’ve finished bigger, tougher guys in fights. I’ve been in knock-down-drag-out fights. I’ve been there and I’ve done that in pretty much all of the organizations out there, including the UFC.
[Kevin Sampson] You have yourself, Martin Kampmann, Tyson Griffin, and Mac Danzig all on the same card. What’s that like at Xtreme Couture with so many people getting ready for their next fight on all the same day?
[Mike Pyle] Gets you amped, man! Gets you on your toes! Gets you ready to go! It helps a lot.
[Kevin Sampson] In the main event Saturday, who do you have, Rich Franklin or Chuck Liddell?
[Mike Pyle] It is a tough one to call, but I’d almost bet my truck on Liddell.
[Kevin Sampson] Brock Lesnar or Shane Carwin?
[Mike Pyle] I’d like to see Carwin take it.
[Kevin Sampson] Philadelphia Flyers or Chicago Blackhawks?
[Mike Pyle] Philly.
[Kevin Sampson] Lakers or Celtics?
[Mike Pyle] Lakers, baby!
[Kevin Sampson] Any piece of advice you’d give to anyone getting into Mixed Martial Arts?
[Mike Pyle] Anybody who’s looking to get into Mixed Martial Arts, you’d better be ready to work hard and be 100% dedicated, because this is the hardest job an athlete has in the world today, hands down. So, it’s not a walk in the park. It’s not as easy as it looks on TV. It’s hard, it takes dedication, it takes emotion, it takes sacrifice, you better believe it. Learn to give up all those things and work hard. Cuz it’s hard. Nothing easy about it all.
[Kevin Sampson] I appreciate you talking to me today, and good luck in your fight Mike!
[Mike Pyle] Thanks a lot.
UFC lightweight up-and-comer, Evan Dunham has been speaking today about the odd situation he faces next weekend in Vancouver, Canada where he’ll take on Xtreme Couture team mate, Tyson Griffin on the main card of the evening.
Speaking via CagePotato.com,, Dunham said:
“Tyson and I are training buds. We don’t go and hang out with each other outside of the gym. I don’t really hang out with many people outside the gym (laughs) to tell you the truth. I like to go get my work done and go home. As fighters I think he knows me a lot since he helped me a whole lot in my fight against Aurelio since he had fought Aurelio before. Stylistically I know him very well. I know he likes to stand. He’s got great hands, he’s got great kicks. He’s a scrapper on the ground, he’s got great wrestling defense. I think we know each other very well. And he’s able to compare notes on me with our other training partners out there. They know what to expect and I know what to expect.”
“I think you just have to look at it very generally. You can’t look at just one day, or what has worked for and against him in the past. You have to look at the broad picture of it. You have to look at his overall tendencies and my overall tendencies and where his and my strengths and weaknesses lie.”
On what he feels will be the biggest factor on the night, Dunham said:
“Conditioning. Both of us like to push the pace. He’s a very aggressive fighter and so am I. He knows that I have a very hard work ethic so I think that he and Jake Bonacci are going to work very hard on that for him. There is no doubt in my mind that they are training very hard knowing that I’m not going to give up, that I’m going to be there in the third round. I expect the same out of him. He will go all day.”
Dunham was the man responsible for bursting the bubble of “Ultimate Fighter” season eight winner, Efrain Escudero last time out, submitting him in the third round.
In the latest MMA:30 2 minute update we talk to Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker about moving to PPV, Mike Pyle about his fight at UFC 115, Chandella Powell about being the newest UFC Octagon girl, and Randy Couture about fighting James Toney at UFC 118