Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Main Event

Maryland is continuing its push into the forefront of mixed martial arts on the national stage. Previously, I had written about a fighter from Evolve Academy making the cut for the latest season of "The Ultimate Fighter". Now, another Maryland MMA gym is muscling its way into the spotlight.

Team Lloyd Irvin of Camp Springs, which is known for churning out talent that has competed in the UFC and other organizations, has one of its fighters in one of its highest profile-bouts to date. "Mr. Wonderful" Phil Davis - who trains at the gym, according to a recent Lloyd Irvin e-newsletter - is in the main event tonight on "UFC Fight Night", facing Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, better known as the twin brother of Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira.

Many are starting to compare Davis to Jon "Bones" Jones, who, if you saw UFC 128 last weekend like I did, absolutely DESTROYED Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and won the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, all at the tender age of 23. It's definitely too early to tell if Davis is another Jones in the making. Jones appears to be a once-in-a-lifetime phenom who has completely dominated his division so far. It remains to be seen if Davis can measure up and overcome the same type of competition Jones has, and tonight's fight against "Lil' Nog" will be a good place to start.

But speaking of big events, Shogun Fights 4 is scheduled to take place next month in Baltimore. The card for the event is still taking shape, but looking at some of the planned bouts already listed on the site, it looks like another entertaining show is on the horizon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Getting the word out

It's always encouraging for me when I see mainstream news outlets cover mixed martial arts. While the sport is covered extensively throughout the sports media world and particularly the MMA world, reading about it in a mainstream outlet where you're not used to reading something like that is always gratifying.

So it was much to my pleasure when I saw that the Carroll County Times wrote a feature article about Shaddock MMA in Eldersburg. The article says it's in Sykesville, which is right next door to Eldersburg, but I have spoken to owner John Shaddock and was told it is in fact in Eldersburg. So I take the man at his word.

It was interesting to find out that UFC welterweight Kamal Shalorus helps to train people at Shaddock MMA. There are a few UFC fighters who train at gyms in Maryland but it would be interesting to find out how exactly Shalorus found his way to the tranquility of Carroll County. Shalorus will be a part of UFC's next pay-per-view on Saturday as he takes on Jim Miller.

The article also mentions that Shaddock has an extensive background in boxing and even quotes him as saying boxing is too controlled by promoters, which I agree with wholeheartedly. Boxing is rampant with corruption and an oversaturation of weight divisions, which in turn dilutes the product. The fact Floyd Mayweather is being allowed to duck Manny Pacquiao, when it's the only boxing match that myself and other people would be bothered to watch, shows how much of a joke boxing has become.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Local boy makes good

I'm finally able to write again after first dealing with a back issue and then being as sick to my stomach as I've ever been in my life. This past Sunday was not a good day to be me.

But while I've been less than stellar, Evolve Academy in Gaithersburg is riding high by virtue of having one its fighters, Zach Davis, on the new season of "The Ultimate Fighter". Davis will be one of 14 welterweights who will be coached by UFC heavyweights Brock Lesnar and Junior Dos Santos.

I saw Zach fight at the last Shogun Fights show in November and I remember him being very impressive in victory. Like all fighters who compete on the show, he is contractually bound to not speak about what went on during the show's filming while the show is being aired on TV. I myself would probably not be able to keep myself from spilling the beans. But if I was faced with a multi-million dollar lawsuit if I did, I would probably shut the hell up pretty quick.

Learning that a local fighter will be on "The Ultimate Fighter" gives me an extra incentive to watch this season. While I always enjoy watching new fighters scrap and fight for their chance to do something special, watching someone local is always exciting.