Posts Tagged ‘Mike Bruno’

by: Jonathan King The Clinch Report


Only a small percentage of gladiators lived long enough too fight in Rome. However every single one hoped too not only live, but those that embraced this barbaric path dreamed of fighting on the grandest of all stages the Roman Colosseum. Since then nations have risen and fallen, with that gladiator code still festering in the few who continued the fighting spirit.

Today the closest thing we have to the Gladiator is the mixed martial artist, and the UFC is the only stage as grand or at least comparable too the Colosseum. Like the warriors before Mike Bruno (11-4 MMA) and Vagner Rocha (7-3 MMA 1-2 UFC) have been in each others company previously, coming through the ranks. However with a 3 fight stint in the UFC only Rocha has tasted the nectar of the UFC gods, a thirst he longs for still, and one he shares with Bruno

Although it is a normal scenario for Howard Davis’s Fight Time Promotions to feature a young promising fighter, against a UFC vet trying to get back to the show. This fight is anything but ordinary. Bad blood fueled by a team split, jealousy, and smack talk has led too a genuine feeling of disgust shared by both fighters. “When Vagner made it to the UFC, I was extremely jealous, and being young I made the mistake of running my mouth” Bruno said. Before the Brookins fight, Mike Bruno was heard on the Rudolfo Roman Show begging Brookins “To smash” his former teammate.

A salvo that Rocha believes was from a jealous ex-teammate. “I have openly apologized, because I was in a bad spot, but he apparently he is interested,” Bruno said.  Animosity between opponents is common, however the war of words between the two has at times, become quite volatile. Recently Rocha called out Bruno for being a jealous boring fighter, that lacked any quality finishing skills. With Rocha becoming more aggressive, the war of words was back on and has become increasingly personal. “I was willing to let it go, and just be professional, but either way the outcome will be the same, with me smashing him,” Bruno said, seemingly content to let his performance speak for itself.

The match up of styles adds to the intrigue of this bout. Rocha the savvy Brazilian Ju Jitsu veteran, is slick on the ground and possesses lethal submission skills from any position. “I know he is world class on the ground, he used to train at Top Team”, Bruno said. “He also has a very tough chin”, said Bruno referring to Rocha’s UFC fight with title contender Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, who peppered Rocha for three rounds, before winning a unanimous decision. With his world class wrestling pedigree the younger stronger Bruno is not afraid to enter the Brazilians world. “I have no problem putting my wrestling against his jujitsu.” Bruno said.

As the promotion stalwart, Bruno has fought victoriously 4 times in Fight Time, and in the main event 3 times. Training daily with American Top Team has enabled Bruno to grow tremendously with MMA veterans such as: Mike Brown, Cole Miller, Hector Lombard, Stefane Dias (strength coach), Thiago Alves.  His arsenal continues to improve.

At the helm of this project is Mike’s older brother and UFC veteran Steve ‘Hollywood’ Bruno, who also recently began fighting with the promotion. As a dynamic striker Steve has chiseled away at his  younger brother, turning a power wrestler, into  a well round mixed martial artist capable and comfortable wherever the fight may go. “Steve has been an amazing mentor for me, not only as my brother, but he has a very high MMA I.Q., he knows the business inside out,” Bruno said. With both Bruno’s scheduled to compete on this card, its sure to be a family affair.

Fight Analysis: Besides his wrestling and improved striking skills, Mike Bruno is freakishly strong at 155 lbs. He is notorious for is Rampage-esque slams, and his relentless ground-and-pound attack. Once in a dominant position, Bruno’s hands drop like pile-drivers, at lighting speed. His elbows are lacerating, and they seem to finish beneath his opponents. Vagner Rocha is very experienced and on paper his jujitsu is more refined. He will look to capitalize on a mistake, and try to catch an over aggressive Bruno. Although a very close match-up on paper, it seems Bruno has several advantages, with Rocha only holding one.

Prediction: Mike Bruno via TKO rd 2. I cannot see Rocha stopping Bruno’s relentless power doubles, or his ground and pound.



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!