Posts Tagged ‘Karo’The Heat’Parisyan’

By Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

When Phil Baroni started fighting the sport of MMA was known as a somewhat ‘brainless tough man competition’, where the brutal usually trumped the tactician. However, Baroni was one of the first to bring a blend of disciplines together to win with regularity. His tremendous hand speed, and stiff wrestling pedigree made him one of the first all-around fighters in MMA.

Once he made it to television,Baroni’s career took off. As the UFC was starting to grow into a major sport, Baroni’s brash character, and aggressive style made him an instant draw. People paid to see him win, and they also paid to see him loose. His polarizing persona forced you to make it a decision. You either loved him or you hated him, but either way you wanted to see him fight.

His fight against Dave Menne at UFC 39, and rivalries with Matt Lindland and the late Evan Tanner will always be considered as all-time UFC classics.

Since then “The New York Bad Ass” has fought in every major organization around the world (Several stints with the UFC, Strikeforce, Pride, Dream, Elite XC, ONE FC, Titan FC and  others), and is now set to make his promotional debut for Bellator MMA against Karo Parisyan (23-10 MMA) on July 25. On paper the fight seems like a “cross roads” bout, as both fighters are trying to right their once promising careers. However for Baroni, its just another fight!

“I still have the fire!” Baroni said. “I love to train. I’m happy and I have a lot left to prove. I feel my career has been a letdown, and maybe a bust.” Baroni said. Those of us who watched him fight however would disagree. “I’m looking to this fight to set the record straight.”

That record has seen him fight everyone from Frank Shamrock to Ryo Chonan. Adding Parisyan’s name to the win column would certainly pave the way for more big name fights. “Karo is coming off a big win over Ron Keslar, who was a sparring  partner of mine at AKA, and Keslar beat War Machine who is another friend, so its a big fight me.”, Baroni chuckled. “I need to show these young guys I’m still the big dog!”

Currently still under contract with One FC, “The New York Bad Ass” was able to secure a fight with Bellator while still under contract with the Asian promotion in part due to the negotiations of former CEO Bjorn Rebney. With Rebney no longer in charge, Baroni is excited to fight for his former Strikeforce boss Scott Coker; who is now running the Bellator operations.

“When I was coming out of Pride I met Scott Coker; He came up to me and told me ‘I want to be in the Phil Baroni’ business.” Baroni said. “He promotes fighters.” Coker unlike his predecessor at Bellator, and unlike Dana White prefered to remain behind the curtain. A trait that left a lasting impression with Baroni. “You see these guys like Dana White and Bob Arum, become big stars as promoters, doing media scrums, and its like ‘who cares?’ they are just promoters! I just don’t understand it.” Baroni said.

As a promoter, Coker prefered to see his fighters in the limelight. The fact that Scott Coker prefers to stand behind his fighters motivates Baroni more.

“If you look at the Strikeforce fights, it was Frank Shamrock vs. Phil Baroni, or it was Frank Shamrock vs. Cung Le. It wasn’t Strikeforce a hundred and whatever, it was about the fighters, not the promotion!” Baroni said. “When Coker came to me after Pride, it meant something, it motivated me, ‘Now I want to repay that faith and make him[Coker] happy he is in the ‘Phil Baroni’ business.”

A good showing in his promotional debut would certainly secure that faith. However, win or loose “The New York Bad Ass” already has plans to drop in weight and fight at 155 lbs. Baroni claims he could have made the weight for his debut with Bellator, however he “could’t say no to a big name like Karo.” A fighter he not only respects, but recognizes as a legitimate threat. “Karo is coming off a big win, he is a real tough dude, the guy was one of the best in the UFC for a long time.” Baroni said. “I know he had some personal issues in the past, but he seems past all that now, and looked strong in his last fight.”

This fight will also be the first test for Baroni’s surgically repaired ankle. The long recovery from the injury has tested him mentally and physically. A test he would have never passed without the help of his loving wife Angela. “She didn’t give up on me, and she held it down while i was recovering!” With her support he has been able to continue fighting, and again looking to regain his former form.

A return to OKG Gym in Las Vegas is another reason for the drop to 155. “Nick told me if I wanted to come back to OKG I had to prove to him I was serious.” With his injures healed, and his weight in check it appears Baroni has passed all of the test he needed, now he needs to parlay that confidence into a great performance.

Although confident about his chances again, Baroni understands he may have to win over the pundits. “I’m not stupid, I know what the critics say” Baroni lamented. “They think I’m washed up, especially coming off the injury, but the public didn’t really see my fights in One FC, and the critics don’t see me training hard everyday. That is why this is also an opportunity for me to reintroduce myself to the American MMA fan.” Baroni said.

A win over Parisyan on national television would certainly go a long way to regain that notoriety. A loss however, would not define him. Guys like Phil Baroni are cut from a different cloth. His interests carry outside the world of fighting, and he currently owns his own business along with partner boxer Paulie Malignaggi (Future Legend), and also spends a lot of his time helping charities raise money.

“Recently I started volunteering for the One Step Closer Foundation that works with families of and individuals with, cerebral palsy.” Baroni’s nephew Christopher is one of the children who receives assistance from the charity. “I see first hand how hard it can be financially on families, it breaks my heart to see people like my sister struggle to afford things they need.” Baroni said. The charity utilizes the fighters loyal fan base to help raise money through events like their charity poker event which raised $63,000 that directly helped those in need, those like Christopher.

Baroni wears a green armband in support of the charity, and if you would like to make a donation please visit their site at: http://www.onestepcloserfoundation.org

The future for Phil Baroni will be defined by Phil Baroni, not by the critics. His legacy is secured in the concrete memories of the true fan, alongside the Chuck Liddells and Randy Coutures. He may not have won a title (Yet!), but his popularity can never be questioned. Despite what anyone may say, he is and always will be “The Best Eva!”

Make sure you watch Phil Baroni at Bellator 122 on July 25th, when he takes on Karo Parisyan. The fight will be live on SPIKE TV Check you local listings or log on to Bellator MMA.

 

You can follow: Phil Baroni on Twitter: https://twitter.com/philbaroni

Phil Baroni is Sponsored By: Future Legend http://www.futurelegend.co/ a company he owns with Boxer Paulie Malignaggi.

He Trains out of One Kick Gym in Las Vegas http://onekickgym.com/index.html

Phil Baroni would also like to thank the following:

Havoc Boxing for making “The best boxing robe in the business” Phil is their First MMA Sponsored Fighter Following the Likes of Diego Corrales and Sugar Shane Mosley

Tracy from Affliction Clothing,

Garden of Life Raw Meals

Lana’s Egg Whites

Special Thanks: to Chiat Sityodtong from Evolve Singapore.

 

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Blagoi Ivanov

 

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

 

Bellator MMA’s roster of fighters is a diverse group of young talent, coupled with a few older lions who are looking for to either return to form, win a world title, or too  prove to themselves that they can still mix it up with the best. Three fighters that we will focus on tonight are Blagoi Ivanov, Karo Parisyan, and Vladimir Matyushenko.

On the Cusp of Immortality

Two years ago, Blagoi Ivanov was at the start of a very promising Bellator MMA career. He came to the company on the heels of defeating MMA Legend Fedor Emelianenko in the World Sambo Championships. Everything was going according to plan. Until armed thugs confronted Ivanov and a group of friends in his homeland of Bulgaria, at a nightclub. During the melee, Ivanov was stabbed under the armpit with a 12 inch blade. The wound pierced his heart, and lungs. Emergency surgery was performed to save the young fighters life, but then infections set in. Ivanov was placed into a medically induced coma, where he lay near death for over 80 days, in the dark.

When he awoke, he was a shell of his former self. The once strapping heavyweight was closer to a welterweight in size, and walking and breathing became his new hurdles. His career was effectively over as a fighter, however someone forgot to tell him. He spoke with Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebeney and promised that he would return. After one year of intense training, Ivanov began to put on the weight he slept off, and slowly but surely began regaining his facilities.

Since his return, Ivanov appeared to not have missed a step. He has remained undefeated. His latest win at Bellator 116 over former UFC fighter Lavar Johnson, came via a slick Americana late in the first round that forced ‘Big’ to tap. The win has earned Ivanov a place in the Heavyweight Tournament Finals where he will face former Title holder Alexander Volkov for a shot at the World Title. In two years Ivanov has been in places not many have gone before. He keeps defying the odds at every turn, he is a champion in life, and soon may have the belt to match.

Return to Form

From 2002-2008 Karo Parisyan was one of the worlds top welterweight fighters. He was fighting all over the world, and was on the verge of a title shot. During this run, the young judoka was considered one of the sports most talented fighters. With wins over Nick Diaz, Josh Burkman, Ryo Chonan, Former Champion Matt Serra, and Chris Lytle, Parisyan seemed set to have a long successful career. Then the wheels fell off!

Parisyan spoke with us before his fight with Rick Hawn, and told us how his life spun out of control. Substances that initially were designed to heal the nagging injuries a fighter must deal with, became part of his every-day routine. He was cut from the UFC, and seemed to be another case of wasted talent.

Like a real champion, Parisyan woke up one day and realized what he was losing. He sought help and slowly began to find himself again. He also started to feel that fire in his belly, that once labeled him ‘The Heat’. Taking some fights on the regional circuit may be difficult for a fighter who once fought at the top, however it was that same humility that led Parisyan back into the light.

After a few fights with mixed results, ‘The Heat’ began to churn into an inferno again. With his weight in check, and his problems in his rear view mirror, Parisyan was given a second chance with Bellator. His first fight against Rick Hawn was a difficult task, however Parisyan attacked from the opening bell. His hands looked up to speed, his movement was working and then he got caught. Hawn won the fight but it was obvious to everyone in attendance that Parisyan was on his way back.

His next fight was equally difficult. At Bellator 116 Parisyan was paired with AKA’s Ron Kesslar who is coming off a big win over War Machine. On paper the match pitted judoka v wrestler. However its was Parisyan’s hands that made the difference. late in the second round, Parisyan dropped Kesslar with a series of punches and was able to finish with impressive ground and pound.

The win solidified Parisyan’s chances for being selected in the next welterweight tournament. Parisyan, at one time could have been one of the best in the world. In fact he was one of the best. However real champions are not made they are built. In Parisyan’s case he is rebuilt. This version, the 2.0 version is much more humble and intelligent. Like the phoenix before him, ‘The Heat’ has risen from the fire and the future looks very bright!

Farewell to A Legend

Vladimir Matyushenko has fought everywhere, and in every major organization. ‘The Janitor’ has long been one of the top light heavyweight fighters in the world. The former IFL Champion, fought in the UFC, Bellator, IFL, IFC, and Affliction and many other organizations around the world. With a record of  27-8, Matyushenko has shared the cage with a ‘who’s who’ of the MMA elite.

At Bellator 116, Matyushenko lost to Joey Beltran via North South choke late in the 3rd round. The legend left his gloves in the cage signifying his retirement. Like a wrestler leaving his shoes on the mat, ‘The Janitor’ said goodbye to the world of fighting but will remain relevant in MMA as one of the best wrestling coaches alive. Vladimir is living the American dream. He came to this country speaking only the language of a wrestler, now he is revered as legend. Matyushenko will continue as the head wrestling coach at Dynamix MMA in Santa Monica where he will be an amazing influence on all fighters young and old for many years to come.

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Main Card Analysis and Predictions

Karo ‘The Heat’ Parisyan (22-9) vs Rick Hawn (14-2)

An very interesting match-up kicks off the Spike TV televised main card, as former UFC title contender Karo Parisyan makes his Bellator debut against former lightweight tournament winner Rick Hawn. As high level Judo practitioners they are no stranger too each other, and the competition has fueled a heated rivalry. Simply put these guys don’t like each other. Parisyan is finally healthy again, after several years of injuries, and personal issues that cost him his status in the division.  Hawn, makes his return to welterweight in hopes of winning another title shot. However, Parisyan is a savvy veteran, who is in great shape for the first time in a long time, so he should turn some heads with his performance.

Predictions: Rick Hawn via Decision


Magomedrasul ‘Frodo’ Khasbulaev (20-5) vs Mike Richman (15-2)

Khasbulaev won his last fight vs Marlon Sandro in very impressive fashion. Dominating the perennial contender for 2 1/2 rounds before finishing him with strikes late in the third frame. In doing so ‘Frodo’ (as he is called), earned a featherweight tournament finals position against Mike Richman who won a hotly contested decision to Alexander ‘Popo’ Bezzera. Richman may have the edge in striking technique, but Khasbulaev will have a decisive strength advantage.

Prediction: Khasbulaev via TKO rd 2


Brett Cooper (19-7) vs Doug ‘The Rhino’ Marshall (17-6)

The middleweight tournament finals features the classic striker vs grappler match-up. Cooper is a very well rounded mixed martial artist, who has a very strong wrestling base. However, it was his chin and fortitude that was on display in his last fight, which saw Cooper nearly out on his feet at one point, only to come back and win by KO. Marshall’s journey to the finals was much more controversial as he won a a split decision over Sultan Aliev, in a fight many thought he lost. Marshall will need to learn from that fight, and avoid the wrestling of Cooper if he wants to win this fight. Cooper, needs to stay away from Marshall’s power striking game, and stay in his chest.

Prediction: Cooper via Decision


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Pat Curran Champion (18-4) vs Shahbulat Shamhalaev Challenger (12-1-1) For The Featherweight Title

Shamhalev is riding a 6 fight win streak, that allowed him to step in for the injured Daniel Strauss (who will get his shot eventually according to Bjorn Rebeney) and stake his claim to the title. In his way, is one of the “Faces” of  Bellator Pat Curran. Curran is currently ranked #3 or #4 in the world at featherweight, and is in the midst of a 5 fight win streak that has seen him win and defend the featherweight strap. Shamhalaev will look to neutralize Curran’s strong wrestling with his Sambo back-round. This fight should be an exciting slug fest.

Prediction: Shamhalaev via 3rd rd TKO

Commentary on Bellator:

In the movie “Field of Dreams” the voice of a ghost eerily yet soothingly tells Kevin Costner’s character “if you build it, they will come!” In summary, he does…and they do!

This seems to be the exact format that Bellator has been using from the beginning. Simply put, if they have exciting fights, people will watch, no matter what the names of the fighters are, and even if you can’t pronounce them.

Since the move to Spike TV, Bellator has enjoyed very high ratings. The simple reason for the surge, the fighters! Unlike other promotions that use pomp and circumstance to create drama, and too build hype, Bellator approaches their setup as a fight fan would, not as an event coordinator! The result, a rear view mirror filled with exciting fights.

Leading the charge, is a long list of talented fighters from Russia, with even longer names. A place now dubbed “The New Brazil” according Bjorn Rebeney Bellator CEO. Fighters such as: Shahbulat Shamhalaev, Magomedrasul Khasbulaev have followed the success of Alexander Schlemenko and are now on the precipice of their own title shots.

Bellator’s growth is assured, not because of the popularity of the sport, but because people will always watch exciting fighters fight each other, no matter who is listed on the marquee.



TUF 17 - Wear What the Fighters Wear

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Interviewed by Karisa Winett The Clinch Report

Contributions by Jonathan King and John Walsh

The fire of competition is built on years of training, and is fueled by many motivations. For many fighters, these motivations change. They become infected with injury, or influenced by family and friends. Often the pure love of competition is lost in the search for a paycheck, or for recognition. Talent alone is not enough to counter life’s heavy hands, but it does serve for a starting point, should the fire begin to burn again. For Karo ‘The Heat’ Parisyan, the furnace is once again stoked, fueled, and ‘The Heat’ is back on!

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At one time, Karo Parisyan was one of the most talented fighters on the UFC roster. His judo pedigree coupled with his brazilian jujitsu back-round made him one of the deadliest ground fighters in the game. With notable wins over Josh Thompson, Nick Diaz, Matt Serra, and Chris Lytle, Parisyan earned himself a shot for the #1 contender position against Diego Sanchez. Although losing the fight via decision in a back and forth affair, Parisyan solidified his reputation as the fight earned a Fight of the Year nod.

Everything seemed to be going great, but then slowly the fire began to go out. Injuries mounted, that led to poor performances and an addiction pain killers arose in attempt to keep himself fighting. After being cut from the UFC, Parisyan continued fighting injured, and soon found himself a memory in terms of relevance in the MMA world.

Then in 2012 Parisyan began the slow process of rebuilding the fire that once fueled him. Slowly under the watchful eye of Team Hayastan leader Gokor Chivichyan, ‘The Heat’ began feeling healthy again, and with two wins in less than two months, he appeared to be in great form.

With the return to form, Parisyan was able to secure a deal with Bellator. His first fight however, would not be a tune up, he would be fighting former Judo rival Rick Hawn at Bellator 95 April 4th at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City New Jersey. The fight will air live on Spike TV. Hawn, is returning to the 170 lbs division after his loss to Michael Chandler in a 155 lbs title fight. Although the two have never fought in MMA before, they have competed against each other in Judo, and have built quite a rivalry.

“I don’t like Rick Hawn” Parisyan said. “He has said alot of bad things about me, saying he didn’t want to be compared to me!” [in reference a statement Rick Hawn made before transitioning to MMA when he was compared to Karo for his Judo back-round by a reporter Hawn Responded :”“I wouldn’t want to compare myself to him, kind of just because I can’t stand the guy,” said Hawn. “I’ll be better than he was. He had a base with judo but he wasn’t as good. My judo is a little more advanced.”] “He should be happy to compared to me, I helped put Judo on the map for guys like him.” Parisyan said

Although Parisyan does not like Hawn, he does respect his ability. “His right hand is really good, he has been knocking guys out with that, and he is a really strong athlete.” Parisyan said. “But I’m walking around heavier, and have built more strength I used to walk around at 172 and fight at 170, but now I’m closer to 190.” The new strength has shown in the gym, as he is now sparring with bigger guys, and pushing them around.

For Parisyan the future is uncertain, but his focus is clearly placed on his April 4th fight. “I have a three fight deal with Bellator, maybe I will enter a tournament, we will see what they say after this fight.” Parisyan said. For now, the fire will continue to grow. Fueled solely by the motivation too “Shut a few people up…and to kick Rick Hawns ass!”  Parisyan said.


TUF 17 - Wear What the Fighters Wear