Saturday, February 25, 2012

Upcoming attractions

As I mentioned in my last post, spring is coming and with it the apparent increase of mixed martial arts events in the area. I briefly mentioned in that post the latest installment of Shogun Fights that is taking place in Baltimore in April with its usual slew of fighters from local gyms.

Word is starting to get around, with Ocean City among the localities beginning to promote the event. While the fight card for the next Shogun Fights appears to be still shrouded in secrecy, based on my past experiences at the event, I have no doubt that a very entertaining and competitive card is taking shape.

In addition to local events, local fighters continue to make a name for themselves on the national MMA stage. It was recently announced that Mike "The Hulk" Easton, a fighter from Team Lloyd Irvin in Camp Springs, will get another chance to compete on the local stage when he takes on Yves Jabouin at the UFC's next live event in the D.C. area May 15 in Fairfax, Va.

I have seen both of Easton's fights in the UFC, both live and in person, and he is a talented fighter with an apparent mean streak who's not afraid to really mix it up with his opponent. He won his first UFC bout with a stoppage and won a unanimous decision in his second fight, which was more a product of his opponent being extremely game and willing to stand in there and bang. If Easton gets past Jabouin in May we may see him step up and begin fighting the higher echelon of fighters in the UFC's bantamweight division.

Spring is generally seen as a time for rebirth or emerging, and MMA in Maryland is no exception. There are some exciting things coming down the pike.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Keeping busy

With spring right around the corner, or if you live in the mid-Atlantic like I do, it seems like the weather went straight from fall to spring and totally passed over winter, there tends to be an uptick in events from all different areas and mixed martial arts is no exception. It seems that more events are scheduled as the weather gets warmer and people emerge from their winter hibernation.

A pair of upcoming events in the area lead the way and Evolve Academy in Gaithersburg is taking advantage by sending several of their fighters to compete at both Operation Octagon in Virginia in March and the well-known Shogun Fights in Baltimore in April, according to the school's recent e-newsletter.

Operation Octagon will feature Rosanna Garcia, one of Evolve's female fighters, while Shogun Fights will feature several Evolve fighters, including Jason "JMo" Morris. Evolve is part of the Team Lloyd Irvin camp in Camp Springs, which as I've said before, is one of the premier fight camps in MMA and has fighters competing on cards worldwide.

I have no doubt that as we go forward into spring and summer, we will see more Maryland fighters from schools across the state stepping up to the plate and making their mark in the fight game. In addition to the beautiful weather, spring and summer is an exciting time to be a MMA fan.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A bump in the road

I know I've made much of how the sport of mixed martial arts is growing in Maryland through gyms such as Team Lloyd Irvin and events such as Shogun Fights. And while it is true that the sport seems to be growing every single day in our state, there are always going to be growing pains or bumps in the road.

In this case, the bumps come from local fighters who while climbing the ladder to gain more recognition for themselves and those they train with, unfortunately suffer a loss that while not particularly crippling to their potential careers, is still something no fighter wants to see.

Popular local fighter Binky Jones, who has trained with well-known local gyms such as Team Ground Control, suffered a second-round knockout loss at a recent card in Pennsylvania. Joey Kirwan, brother of Frederick-based fighter Jacob Kirwan, also came out on the short end of the stick at that event, suffering a third-round submission loss.

It is always discouraging for any fighter to suffer a loss. But while I don't know these fighters personally, having read and witnessed how fighters here in Maryland compete, I have no doubt they will both bounce back. It's been said that you can learn more about yourself from a loss than a win and I'm sure these fighters will go back to the drawing board and emerge better competitors.