American Top Team boxing coach and Olympic gold medalist Howard Davis Jr. spoke with me about his work with Chuck Liddell prior to his UFC 97 loss against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Contrary to what some people believe, Davis said he really did work with Liddell for about two and a half months, and while he didn’t change his style he did try to add a couple tools to Liddell’s game. Here Davis talks about what Liddell’s recent loss means for his career, and whether he thinks the former UFC champ should call it quits like Dana White is insisting he do. He also touches on the addictive “drug” of being a world champion fighter, and why he thinks Liddell has seemed more vulnerable in recent bouts – and it’s not because he’s getting old.
After spending a few days at American Top Team in Florida last week, I came away with a real appreciation for how hard Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante works in the gym. From a grueling session with his strength and conditioning coach to his intense sparring matches with WEC champ Mike Brown and others from the ATT stable, JZ is putting in serious work to get ready for Tatsuya Kawajiri at Dream.9 later this month. In this video he talks about the important psychological benefits of his training, whether he’d get in the ring with Fedor Emelianenko like Shinya Aoki did, and one of the stranger things that’s happened to him while fighting in Japan.
B.J. Penn shows us how he’s preparing to whip Kenny Florian’s text message-denying ass this summer – in some dude’s garage. Okay, it doesn’t look all that impressive, but you should know that Marv Marinovich is the father of former USC quarterback and NFL washout Todd Marinovich, who just happened to be profiled in Esquire magazine last month (see, we read stuff). In the article Marv is portrayed as a revolutionary in the field of sports training and also as a complete nutjob who tried to make his son into a football cyborg and wound up at least partially helping to make him into a drug addict. Now he’s got his hands on B.J. Penn. Look out, world.
Last week yours truly was in Florida at American Top Team while on an assignment for Fight! Magazine, and I learned a number of interesting things about what goes on inside the walls of one of America’s best fight gyms. For instance, here’s WEC featherweight champ Mike Brown getting suited up for another day of training and explaining why he wears business socks to work out in. You can’t argue with his results, though that might be due more to his training partners than his attire. The day before this interview was filmed I saw him in a heated sparring match with “JZ” Cavalcante that left both men bloodied before the action spilled out of the ring. Needless to say, they train hard down at ATT. Keep an eye out for more videos coming later this week.
At long last, we present the video of Wednesday’s grappling exhibition between Fedor Emelianenko and Shinya Aoki at DEEP/M-1 Challenge 3rd Edition. As you’ll see, the whole thing was really just a good-natured joke, with both fighters putting on a display that was more slapstick than combat. (But man do Emelianenko’s throws look smooth when they’re done with a 160-pound training dummy.) Fun stuff. Now let’s see the UFC do this with Lesnar and Penn…
(Marlon Sandro vs. Nick Denis; props to MMA Scraps.)
After a shaky start that saw Maximo Blanco get DQ’d after misinterpreting the "foot stomps yes, soccer kicks no" rule, and Travis Wiuff getting kneed in the balls about two dozen times before losing via TKO, Sengoku managed to put on a pretty damn entertaining show yesterday (or late Friday for us). The focal point of "Eighth Battle" was the quarterfinals of their featherweight grand prix, and unsuprisingly, top-ten featherweights Hatsu Hioki and Marlon Sandro advanced to the semis; Hioki was able to submit Ronnie Mann in the opening round, while Sandro needed all of 19 seconds to flatten Nick Denis with punches.
Elsewhere in the bracket, Michihiro Omigawa continued his career comeback, stopping Nam Phan with ground-and-pound late in the first round; after entering the tournament with a 4-7-1 record, Omigawa now holds back-to-back wins over two very credible featherweights. Korean fighter Chan Sung Jung wasn’t so fortunate, as he dropped a decision to Masanori Kanehara in what many fans felt was a race-based robbery.
Complete results from the event and more fight videos after the jump…
All that hype, and it only came down to six minutes of utter domination. If you caught the light-welterweight title fight between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton last night, you saw more proof that Pac-Man is one of the best boxers to have ever lived. The video is above; watch as Pacquiao opens with a 10-7 first round on the strength of two knockdowns, then delivers the finishing blow at the end of the second. Pac’s trainer Freddie Roach had predicted a third-round knockout via left hook, explaining later that Hatton tends to leave himself open when he throws his jab. Turns out, Pacquiao is even better than he thought. Could Money Mayweather be next?
As promised, here’s the video of what some are calling the "submission of the decade" — Toby Imada‘s come-from-behind upset victory over Jorge Masvidal at Friday’s Bellator event via inverted mid-air triangle-choke. Enjoy it, because you may not see something like this ever again.
Internet video savant Lookoutawhale has done it again. Here we get a chance to see what it might have looked like if the production teams from both Pride and the UFC had gotten drunk together and engaged in an orgy of fight hype. The result is a beautiful and slightly comical love child. It really makes you grateful for the wonders of technology and the things it can be used for when people have too much time and not enough of a social life. The special appearance by Bruce Lee at the end is what takes this from mere tomfoolery and carries it into the realm of genius. Bravo, Mr. Whale.