Archive for December, 2011

In the world of Mixed Martial Arts, only a handful of gyms have consistently maintained a stable of champion fighters. Ricardo Liborio’s American Top Team since its inception has been one of the best schools in MMA. known for producing champions, the roster of fighters is littered with strap-holders and contenders in all organizations , and at every weight class. It must be something in the air in Coconut Creek Florida, that creates mixed martial arts legends. This environment directed by Liborio, and Marcus “Conan” Silveira, enables young talented fighters to be baptized by fire against  savy veterans. Lightweight Mike Bruno, is currently one these fighters earning his degree daily.

Born in Bensonhurst Brooklyn’s rough streets, Bruno’s family moved to Boca Raton Florida following his father’s retirement from the NYPD.  As a precocious youngster, like most younger brothers toughness was instilled early on. Watching professional wrestling inspired Bruno to use this desire competitively. As a high school wrestler, the competitive drive was fueled by inspiration . ” As a family we ordered UFC 3 on pay per view”, Bruno said. Following that event Mike and his older brother Steve just started “Doing all of the moves we saw on pay per view. Ken Shamrock and Marco Ruas where my favorites during the mid 90s when I started watching. Then I fell in love with Frank Shamrock, Kevin Randleman and Kazushi Sakuraba.” Bruno said.

His biggest influence in the sport, is his brother Steve. Steve Bruno began fighting as a professional in 2000. The following year the elder Bruno was fighting in the UFC. While watching his older brother fight, Mike thought, “I want to do this and I can do this , that was at age 15.”  Bruno said. With his interest growing, High School wrestling gave Mike the venue to set his foundation. Distractions arose, inspiration faded, and Bruno finished his junior year with a humdrum 20-10 record. His senior year was much different. “Watching a video called  ‘The Competitor Supreme’ by Dan Gable is where I developed the drive from to become a top-level competitor.” Bruno said. “I saw it while I was in training for my senior year of wrestling in high school.” The results were remarkable. That year Bruno wrestled his way to a dominating mark of 35-3, setting the school record.

With his high school days coming to an end, at 17 years old, Bruno decided that he was going to join American Top Team. However, like anyone else he had to pay his dues first. ” I met Ricardo Liborio and told him I want to be a pro fighter, Bruno said. “He told me to come to the regular classes that the paying customers go too”. At American Top Team your pedigree may get you recognized, but your talent and work ethic is what earns your spot as a professional fighter. For Bruno, that did not take very long at all.  “I took one regular class and submitted everyone, then Mr. Liborio told me that I could join the pro team.”

Since 2004, the younger Bruno has amassed a 10-4 MMA record. He has fought all over the world, and with each performance his style and power continue to evolve. Currently signed to Fight Time Promotions in Florida, Mike is looking forward to taking the next step. “I learn something everyday!” Bruno said.  “Working with pioneers such as Conan, and Liborio is an amazing feeling.” Being surrounded by some of the best fighters in the world helps a little too!

Bruno at times is still star struck by the amazing roster of fighters he trains with everyday. Besides his brother Steve, Mike trains regularly with an all-star cast of MMA royalty. With fighters such as Thiago Alves, Cole Miller, Hector Lombard, Gleison Tibau, Micah Miller, Mike Brown, and Brad Pickett testing him daily Bruno is now looking forward to take his place on the larger stages. “I see myself next year in Bellator or Strikeforce challengers.” Bruno said. No longer a rookie to the sport, the years have given way to a more mature fighter. “You grow up, mature and learn from your mistakes.” Bruno said. “I’m ready.”

With a fight already scheduled in February of 2012, Mike Bruno is ready to start the year off with another win. His trademark wrestling-infused ground and pound, always offers a glimpse into his dominant grappling days. However, the more mature fighter has added an updated striking game to compliment his already potent ground game. He will look to put those skills on display early on in 2012. “I am booked for Feb 17th and then again in April .” Bruno said.

In the fight game there are very few certainties. The revolving door of relevance, mirrors the short window of opportunity. There are no guarantees. The only things you can rely on are god given talent, ever evolving skills, and the team you surround yourself with.  Fighting is not a team sport, but training to fight is! You can only be as good as those around you. With the cast surrounding Mike Bruno, and the skill he has displayed thus far, it would be hard to bet against him!

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UFC 141 Main Card Predictions:

John Fitch (26-3-1 MMA) v. Johnny Hendricks (11-1 MMA)

Its been almost a year since John Fitch and BJ Penn fought to a draw in February 2012. Since then Fitch has undergone surgery, and suffered a few setbacks trying to get back into the octagon. His record however, should put all doubt aside. Fitch has notable wins over Thiago Alves, Mike Pierce, Paulo Thiago, Diego Sanchez, and many others. Basically John Fitch has beat everyone except the champion! His fights may be drawn out wrestling matches, that may not be as exciting as two guys standing and trading swollen faces, but his record and toughness silence all. Simply put, all John Fitch does is win!

Johnny Hendricks is looking to continue his rise in the 170lbs division with a solid performance against a very game John Fitch. Hendricks is a former wrestling champion, who has seen his striking improve with every fight. Since losing a decision to Rick Story in December 2010, Hendricks has put together consecutive victories over Mike Pierce, and TJ Waldburger.Hendricks has been recently training with his old collegiate wrestling team, preparing for the ground fighting Fitch.

Prediction: John Fitch via unanimous decision

Nathan Diaz (14-7 MMA) v. Donald Cerrone (17-3-1nc MMA)

This is a fight that should leave us all slack-jawed and hypnotized. Both fighters are virtually evenly matched in all areas of the game. Nathan Diaz has been moving out of his older brother (Nick)’s shadow since winning the Ultimate Fighter. With his latest and most impressive victory over Takinori Gomi, Diaz firmly planted his feet in the title mix for the 155lbs weight class. The Stockton California native is a cardio freak like his older brother, competing in triathlons, and xterra events to stay in pinnacle condition. His boxing skills, combined with Cesar Gracie inspired jujitsu make Nathan Diaz one of the most well-rounded fighters in any division.

Greg Jackson has produced some of the best fighters in MMA, Donald Cerrone certainly adds to that stable of greatness. ‘The Cowboy’ posses a great combination of striking, wrestling, and jujitsu. His latest win over Dennis Siver in dominating fashion pushed Cerrone back to the top of the contender list. Greg Jackson insists that Cerrone is full of tricks, that he plans to display against the very tough Diaz. Both fighters can strike, and grapple, this is going to be a shootout!

Prediction: Nathan Diaz via 2nd round submission

Brock Lesnar (5-2 MMA) v. Alistair Overeem (35-11-1 MMA)

Brock Lesnar is one of the largest and strongest men in the UFC. His wrestling pedigree and sheer size made him an instant contender in the division, simply because he was so massive. His athleticism for a man his size is almost unfathomable. At almost 300 pounds (by the time the fight starts) he shoots faster than most lightweight wrestlers. Lesnar’s critics are quick to point out his striking weakness. His technical striking may be lacking, but anyone he punches will certainly feel differently (ask Heath Herring and his broken orbital bone from a right cross). Every fighter he has faced, he has taken down. He will look to do the same against Overeem.

Dutch strikers usually have a glaring hole in their game, the Dutch are not known for their grappling prowess. Alistair Overeem is the exception to this rule. His record proves this as he has more wins by submission (19) then he does by TKO (14). His vicious legs, knees, and elbows have left a wake of defeated champions behind him. Currently he is the Dream, Strikeforce, and K-1 Heavyweight Champions, and since moving up in weight he has looked unbeatable! Overeem will look to avoid Lesnar’s take-downs by utilizing distance. Once inside, Lesnar had better be aware of Overeem’s tendency to use his patent guillotine choke.

Prediction: Brock Lesnar via rd 2 TKO

 

The new Flyweight division is set to kick of on March 3, 2012. Beginning with a 4 man tournament, the UFC will eventually crown the winner the first ever Flyweight champion.  The initial fights will see Ian McCall in his octagon debut against former bantamweight contender Demetrious Johnson(14-2 MMA). The winner of this fight will square off against the winner of Joseph Benevides vs.  Yasuhiro Urushitani (also making UFC debut) .

The 125lb limit weight class, will be on display for a  worldwide audience. The flyweight division will be featured as part of the UFC on FOX 2 which is still without a venue.  Johnson was initially scheduled to fight Eddie Wineland at bantamweight, it is unclear who, or if  Wineland will fight on that evening, now that Johnson will be competing in the tournament.

Ian McCall(11-2 MMA), is widely regarded as the best flyweight in the world. He enters the octagon for the first time, as the current Tachi Palace Fights Flyweight Champion. The 27-year-old is undefeated (4-0) since dropping down in weight.  Yasuhiro Urushitani at 35 years old may be making is UFC debut, however he is no stranger to the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Urushitani (19-4-6 MMA) is currently riding a five fight win streak, and is the current Shooto Champion.

Joseph Benevides (15-2 MMA) is looking to solidify himself as a champion. His only two losses came to current Bantamweight Champion, and Team Alpha Male slayer Dominick Cruz. With Cruz set to fight Alpha Male teammate Urijah Faber, and Jose Aldo set to defend his Featherweight Title against Chad Mendes, Benevides is looking to solidify his teams dominance in the lighter weight divisions.

The flyweight division will offer fight fans, fast paced fights, that feature extraordinary technique.

 

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has always been one of the toughest men in the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Last night he improved on that legend. After being locked up in a kimura, by Frank Mir, Noguera rolled three times, instead of tapping, in order to find a way out of the hold. He was rewarded with a spiral fracture of the arm that will probably cause his retirement. Some times, tapping is the best options.”If your gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough”

Watch the fighters making weight before the UFC 140 Events in Canada!

UFC 140 Dana Whites Video Blog!

Posted: December 9, 2011 in Combat Sports

A behind the scenes look at UFC 140, an event that featured one of the best fights in Mixed Martial Arts history. Very interesting to see the fighters immediately following the fights. Dana White offers the fans a glimpse behind the curtain, to show just what goes into these events.

Maurico ‘Shogun’ Rua hardly looks like himself, as he wears the dents from Henderson’s knuckles.

Carlos Condit, talks about GSP and Nick Diaz. Also predicts he will be first interim champion, and once GSP returns, he will be undisputed Champion.

GsP will be out of action for 6-9 months, as he recovers from ACL surgery. The question looms, with two bad knees, will GSP be able to return to form?