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Tag: Team Alpha Male

Team Alpha Male Searching for New Head Coach as Duane Ludwig Leaves to Start Gym in Colorado


(Duane Ludwig and his Bang Bros. / Photo via CombatLifestyle.com)

When Duane “Bang” Ludwig came on as head coach of Team Alpha Male, it was like a magic bullet for the Sacramento-based crew, who began performing markedly better in all aspects of the game. Now, Ludwig is leaving after a year and a half with Urijah Faber and his gang — and there might be some hurt feelings on both sides.

The basic story is this: Ludwig wants to leave Team Alpha Male in order to open his own gym in Colorado. Yesterday morning, he told Faber about his plans privately, assuring Faber that he’d stay on to complete upcoming training camps for team members. Instead of keeping things discreet, Faber posted a public ad on TeamAlphaMale.com later that day, stating that the team needed a new coach. The news was then reported on last night’s edition of UFC Tonight, and the cat was fully out of the bag.

It wasn’t f*cking supposed to be like this, man,” Ludwig told MMAjunkie yesterday. “I’m not going to bounce on anybody’s fight camp. Then he f*cking went and told the team and did a press release before I knew. I’m like, ‘What the hell?’…I was just giving Urijah the heads up; I didn’t really have much planned. I think he kind of jumped (the gun).

Faber confirmed that Ludwig will remain with the team until May 24th — the same day as UFC 173, which will feature Team Alpha Male fighters TJ Dillashaw and Chris Holdsworth. He also name-checked Mark Hominick, Dan Hardy, Muay Thai trainer Mark Beecher, and grappling coach Robert Follis as guys he’d like to see as Ludwig’s replacement. (Hominick already seems interested.) After the jump: Ludwig explains the strictly-business reasoning behind starting his own gym…

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UFC on Fox 9: The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly


(Uh…guys? I’m pretty sure that’s Herb Dean. / Screencap via r/MMA)

By Mark Dorsey

Before we get into the endless promotion for the year-ending and stacked UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva 2, let’s take one last, clear-eyed look at what went down at WEC UFC on Fox 9. The injury-cursed event seemed destined to be a disappointment to many fans who consider the lighter fighters boring, especially considering it was the lightest fight card in UFC history, with an average weight of just over 145 pounds. The fact that the fights were taking place at the Sleep Train Arena seemed like a bad omen, foretelling the coma-inducing boredom that might have resulted from a night of decisions. Nevertheless, despite the haters, the smaller guys provided a card of highly entertaining fights and they showcased why many MMA purists consider them the most exciting fighters in the sport.

The Good
• Too often, referees only get noticed when they screw up. However, the officials for this card should be praised for a solid night of work in which they did their jobs properly and kept the focus where it belongs: the fighters. Props to John McCarthy, Herb Dean, and Mike Beltran for getting through the 11-fight card with no critical errors. Even Dana White, who has been openly critical of MMA officiating in the past, praised both Big John and Herb Dean, saying, “These are the best guys” and complimented his one-time nemesis, McCarthy, saying, “When John is in that Octagon, he is in absolute and total control.”

• Much has been written lately about the success of Team Alpha Male under head trainer, Daune “Bang” Ludwig. Saturday night gave the camp an opportunity to showcase how deserving they were of that praise, with four fighters from the Sacramento-based crew competing. As a whole, the team didn’t perform flawlessly, but they did manage to win two of their four fights. It was a great night for Urijah Faber, as the hometown hero steamrolled Michael McDonald and established himself — again — as the top contender in the Bantamweight division. Chad Mendes also did what he needed to, beating Nik Lentz by unanimous decision. On the losing side, Danny Castillo dropped a close decision to Edson Barboza that many thought should have been a draw, and Joseph Benavidez got knocked out cold by Demetrious Johnson. Other than Benavidez, Team Alpha looked good, and judging from their backstage reaction to Urijah Faber’s win, they truly are a tightknit group that will continue their upward trajectory.

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Catch the ‘UFC on FOX 9: Johnson vs. Benavidez II’ Weigh-Ins Right Here Starting at 7 p.m. EST

In just a few minutes, the weigh-ins for UFC on FOX 9 kick off from the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. Funny, I didn’t know they named an arena after Francis Carmont, and in America no less (*lights fireworks and releases flock of doves*). If our past few posts about this event are any indication, three fighters will fail to make weight tonight, two fighters will injure themselves backstage, and the entire attending audience will be consumed in a wave of Godzilla’s all-cleansing fire. Seriously, have you guys seen the trailer for the Godzilla remake yet? It looks insane.

Anyway, Team Alpha Male will look to continue their run of dominance under Duane Ludwig (“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Bang Era!”), but they’ll be facing some stiff opposition in the forms of Edson Barboza, Nik Lentz, and Michael McDonald. So swing by CagePotato starting at 7 p.m. EST to catch the weigh-ins and swing by tomorrow at 8 p.m. for our liveblog of the event.

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The BANG Effect: A Statistical Look at 2013′s Most Improved MMA Team [DATABOMB]


(Duane Ludwig [right] with one of his star pupils. / Photo via Sherdog)

By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics

An unlikely new coaching star, Duane “Bang” Ludwig has surged to the forefront of the competitive MMA coaching landscape after a fortuitous change of scenery. Ludwig is the obvious candidate for 2013′s “MMA Coach of the Year,” and few would question this, despite little fan awareness of his coaching prowess just one year ago.

Ludwig certainly had a tough 2012 that included three consecutive UFC losses, each one by first-round stoppage, the last of which added a fight-ending and career-threatening knee injury to the insult. But almost immediately after beginning the lengthy rehabilitation process, Ludwig got an unexpected phone call from Urijah Faber, and the creator of the Bang Muay Thai system suddenly migrated from the suburbs of Denver, Colorado to Sacramento, California.

Since Ludwig’s arrival at Team Alpha Male in December of 2012, his team’s fighters have been posting wins and highlight reel finishes at an unlikely pace. It’s even more unlikely, literally, when you consider the low share of TKO finishes that normally occur in the smaller weight classes where most Alpha Male fighters compete. The MMA media have been quick to point to the undeniable results of Team Alpha Male’s performance in the UFC as evidence that Ludwig was the missing ingredient to a team with championship potential. To be fair, the team already included former champions and contenders under Zuffa banners, but none that currently held a UFC belt. Now heading into this weekend’s UFC on FOX 9 card, Team Alpha Male has a chance to rack up not just four more wins, but capture its first UFC title of the Bang Era, and hold leading contender status in several divisions.

With all this hype around a team that is making a lot of noise, it’s a legitimate question to ask: Are they really better, or is this just a nice run of luck? The sudden emergence of Duane Ludwig as the MMA Coach of the Year is an extraordinary claim, and if Carl Sagan were still around (and an MMA fan), he would suggest that we demand extraordinary evidence before reaching such a bold conclusion. So I’m going to run the numbers in excruciating detail just to make sure.

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Following UFC Release, Leonard Garcia Leaves Team Jackson for Alpha Male, In Talks With WSOF


(Don’t worry, Leonard, the worst is over!) 

It’s been a rough couple of years for Leonard Garcia to say the least. Sure, he was able to remain employed with the UFC despite five straight losses, but Garcia isn’t the type of guy to take his job, let alone a losing streak, lightly. At least, he wasn’t. But somewhere along the line, Garcia became stagnant, he became complacent. He knew all the ins and outs of Team Jackson — one of the highest-acclaimed martial arts gyms in the world — yet he didn’t seem to be progressing as a fighter in the slightest.

But all of that changed when he was finally released from his Zuffa contract following a lackluster decision loss to Cody McKenzie at UFC 159 last month. Realizing that a change was not only necessary, but critical if he were to ever attempt a third run in the UFC, the 33-year old recently told MMAFighting that phase two (phase 3?) of his career will start with a new training camp and a new organization:

I’m going to go out to Team Alpha Male for a little while. My cousin (Ed note: Like, actual cousin or like how Donald Cerrone is “your brother?”) Duane Ludwig is out there, and I talked it over with Greg (Jackson). Greg said, ‘Yeah, the problem is guys that can take you down and hold you down.’ And now I’m going to go to a whole team of guys who are really, really good at that.

Just being the new guy in the room is going to help me a lot, because it’s something different. It’s a style I’ve never seen. Their style is unfamiliar to me. I don’t know all their tricks like I do at Jackson’s. Like, we know each other so well at Jackson’s, and I think that’s caused me to become flat.

I talked it over with both camps and they’re both okay with it. I feel like this is a move that should’ve been a long time ago, but it takes situations like this to make it happen.

Team Alpha Male consists of several of Garcia’s former WEC cohorts; Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez, Chad Mendes — who have all either held titles or fought for them in their WEC or UFC careers, often both. The move is undoubtedly a sound idea for Garcia, and the ultra-aggressive yet cardio-heavy style Team Alpha Male has become known for should meld with him nicely.

As for the organization Garcia will likely call home next? The answer might surprise you.

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**UPDATED ** UFC Fighter Chad Mendes Being Sought By Police In Connection To A Bar Brawl Involving 40 People

(Well. . . . . . . Is a mugshot really necessary?)

If you Google search the phrase “alpha male back door” the results include things about a jealous monkey attacking a man as well as something about a she-male’s back door. You can thank me later for not linking the Potato Nation to the latter but former #1 contender Chad Mendes, a member of Team Alpha Male, is being sought by Hanford, California authorities after he “allegedly sucker punched a patron in the face and took off running out the back door” according to the Hanford Sentinel.

As many as 40 people were involved in an inebriated fracas (or as I like to call it – a SHITSTORM) at the Lacy Inn Bar. By all accounts, a police officer was on patrol and drove past the business where he/she witnessed two men fighting. When the cop stopped to break up the scuffle, one of the combatants turned their aggression towards the officer. When johnny law called for back-up a multitude of presumably drunken patrons came spilling out of the bar like they were entering a big box electronics store on Black Friday. I thought this shit only happened in old Clint Eastwood movies starring an orangutan.

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UFC on FOX 3 Exclusive: Danny Castillo Talks TRT, The WEC, And His Upcoming Fight With John Cholish


(You see, Shamar, MMA is a lot like dodgeball – the fat guys always get knocked out first.) 

By Jared Jones

After the WEC merged with the UFC in early 2011, most MMA fans were quick to write off the competitors in its lightweight division, claiming that they would simply be outmatched by their UFC counterparts. The success of current lightweight champ Ben Henderson, along with that of guys like Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis quickly disproved this notion, but one fighter who has gone almost completely unnoticed at 155 has been that of Danny Castillo. The Team Alpha Male standout’s record currently stands at 3-1 in the UFC, including a win over former number one contender Joe Stevenson in his promotional debut. On the heels of a split decision victory over noted striker Anthony Njokuani at UFC 141 in December, Castillo will be looking to build on his current two-fight win streak against Strikeforce veteran and submission savant John Cholish on the preliminary card of next weekend’s UFC on FOX 3 event. We were recently able to snag an interview with “Last Call,” who dished on everything from TRT to his stance on teammates fighting teammates. Enjoy, and make sure to follow Danny and all his Alpha Male cohorts on Twitter.

CAGEPOTATO.COM: Thanks for interview opportunity, Danny. I was wondering if we could first talk about your UFC 141 victory over Anthony Njokuani. How would you assess your performance in that fight?

Danny Castillo: “I would rate my performance about a D+. It wasn’t the best fight of my career. I was able to get a victory on four weeks of training, and I had just fought prior to that in November against Shamar Bailey. I pretty much went in there with the gameplan to wrestle the whole time; I knew that that was one of the flaws in [Njokuani's] game. He’s a dangerous fighter. He was one of the most exciting fighters in the WEC, and he’s probably one of the top five strikers inside the UFC. On four weeks notice, I wasn’t prepared to necessarily stand with him or to sit in the pocket against his strengths. His ground game was greatly improved, and now that I’ve done some training with him I understand why; he’s got a phenomenal Jiu-Jitsu coach in Sergio Penha. As far as I’m concerned, I think I won the first and the third round. I probably had about six takedowns throughout the fight, and I think I did enough to win the fight.”

Follow us after the jump for Castillo’s thoughts on the TRT debate, the possibility of fighting a teammate, and more. 

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4x All-American Wrestler Lance Palmer Wins in MMA Debut

For a guy nicknamed “The Party”, you’d think that he’d have a hotter chick.

At this time last year, MMA pundits were intrigued by Lance Palmer’s announcement that he intended to move to Sacramento to pursue a career in MMA. Lance Palmer was a four time Ohio High School State Champion, the subject of the documentary Pinned and a four time NCAA All-American at Ohio State, so we all dropped what we were doing to…okay fine. We were all busy covering the freak show that was Sylvia vs. Pudzianowski. It seemed important at the time. Anyway, Palmer moved to Sacramento in August of 2010 to join Team Alpha Male, and made his professional MMA debut last night at Fight for Wrestling 3 in Bakersfield California. By the way, the event was a fundraiser for Cal State Bakersfield’s wrestling program, which no longer receives support from the school.

His opponent, Emelio Gonzales, made his professional debut at the beginning of the month, losing by a first round rear naked choke. Predictably, Lance Palmer wasted little time getting this one to the ground. After securing an earlier takedown, Palmer was careful to avoid submission attempts from Gonzales. After a failed armbar attempt by Gonzales, Palmer took his back and sunk in a rear naked choke.

After the jump, be sure to watch the video of the fight with your sound on. Normally, spectators who yell out instructions at the fighters are extremely annoying. However, there’s something equally tragic and hilarious about assuming the woman yelling instructions at Emelio Gonzales throughout the fight is his mother.

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Rankings Spotlight: MMA’s Top 5 Fight Gyms

(Obviously the body of a man with a severe testosterone deficiency. Pic: Team Quest)

This is a tricky thing, trying to rank the best fight camps in mixed martial arts. With so many top level fighters constantly on the move and the teams themselves ceaselessly forging, then breaking alliances with the speed and bitterness of your average Tito-Jenna Twitter spat, it’s hard to keep it all straight in your head. Take welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre, for instance. Obviously a feather in the cap for any MMA gym, but how do we consider GSP – the prototypical camp-jumper — for the purposes of our precious little lists? Is he a Team Jackson guy? A TriStar guy? A (*snort*) Freddie Roach guy? Hard to know. Still, in the face of this uncertainty we soldier on. Why? Because of our commitment to you, P-Nation. And our commitment to making you mad with our off-base picks

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