Dallas, Texas. It was only fitting that in a state where everything is bigger the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix would continue here. The Dallas Mavericks finally won their first title. The entire city and all its surrounding areas are still reliving that moment to the point every other song on the radio has some kind of Mavericks, “Thank you, Dirk” promo to precede the next track. The days leading into the Grand Prix though had the combat loyalists already staking claims and picking sides that even the minute leading to the fight was adrenaline-filled. As a fan of the sport, I have always found enough joy just sitting back at home or at the local sports bar watching my guys get the job done. It was not until I attended the Grand Prix, my first MMA event no less, that watching two men go at it in a high stakes brawl became an even greater experience.
For the mixed martial arts fans that don’t already know of “The Assassin” Chris Lozano (6-0), they will soon enough. MMA Gospel’s very first Young Gun has set the welterweight division ablaze in his only year-and-a-half long professional MMA career, racking up six consecutive wins – all via KO or TKO – and having yet to feel the sting of defeat. The 28-year-old Cleveland, Ohio native began his foray in the world of martial arts when he took up wrestling at age five; after many dedicated years in the sport, Lozano parlayed his natural athleticism and new-found combat prowess into successful studies in Tae Kwon Do and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, for which he is a red belt and blue belt, respectively. Then, MMA called his name.
The Cleveland “Assassin” made his professional MMA debut with the North American Allied Fight Series (NAAFS) in June 2009, knocking out fellow newcomer Marcus Kruck (0-1) in just 37 seconds. His sophomore effort two months later resulted in a 47 second knockout with Lozano again on the winning side, prompting the organization to offer Lozano, now only two fights into his pro career, a shot at their middleweight title then held by WEC veteran Allan Weickert (6-8). Just six months after his debut, Chris fought for the NAAFS Middleweight Championship and won, dethroning the champ via first round knockout. He followed up his victory over Weickert with another knockout, this time in the Freestyle Cagefighting Fighting (FCF) promotion, then returned to NAAFS to successfully defend his title by TKO’ing UFC veteran “Dynamite” Jason Dent (21-11). “The Assassin” clearly was making his name in the local circuits and quickly rising to superstar status.
For all the men and women in uniform serving and fighting each day to protect Americans’ lives and freedom, it seems fitting at the very least that the UFC presents a second installment of Fight for the Troops as a way of saying “thank you”. This Saturday night from Fort Hood, Texas, UFC Fight for the Troops 2 aims to do just that and show both American and worldwide audiences just how grateful citizens are for the troops’ service. Before the card’s main event featuring the explosive “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard (25-8-2) versus Jiu-Jitsu wizard Evan Dunham (10-1), undefeated The Ultimate Fighter 10 alum Matt Mitrione (3-0) competes against “The Thrashing Machine” Tim Hague (10-4) in the co-main event, former WEC featherweights George Roop (11-5) and “The Machine” Mark Hominick (18-7) battle it out as a supporting event, and proceeding American Top Team stand-out “Magrinho” Cole Miller (17-4) taking on “Handsome” Matt Wiman (12-5), two of the heavyweight division’s heavy-limbed strikers are set to take the stage at Fort Hood for a stand-up war. On one end of the Octagon will stand the energetically animated yet equally lethal kickboxer in “Hype or Die” Pat Barry (4-3). The opposite side will bear a former King of the Cage contender and concrete-handed “The Mexicutioner” Joey Beltran (10-3). With a majority of both fighters’ bouts ending in a (T)KO, the troops returning back home are promised a fight nothing short of memorable.
Just one week before the highly anticipated XBox 360 and PS3 game EA Sports’ MMA hits stores on October 19, the people at EA Sports and Sherdog have teamed up to offer a unique training experience called “Sherdog MMA Fighter Exchange”.
The program closely follows the Career Mode featured in the game, where one’s fighter trains under some of the best martial artists in the world. In EA Sports’ MMA’s Career Mode experience, fighters can travel the globe to learn new techniques and disciplines from top MMA trainers like “The Natural” Randy Couture (19-10), Pat Miletich (29-7-2), Rickson Gracie (11-0), and “El Guapo” Bas Rutten (28-4-1). EA Sports’ MMA is the only game of its kind, allowing players and fans to go beyond the cage and around the world to experience different fighting environments, rule sets, and training locations.
It’s been a long hard road for “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock (27-14-2). From his first appearance against Masakatsu Funaki (39-12-1) at Pancrase: Yes, We Are Hybrid Wrestlers 1 in September of 1993 to his recent dismantlement by “The Rock” Pedro Rizzo (18-9) at Impact FC 2: The Uprising in July of this year, Ken Shamrock has faced 31 separate opponents ranging from the legendary Royce Gracie (14-3-3) and “El Guapo” Bas Rutten (28-4-1) to modern era superstars “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz (15-7-1) and ”Ace” Rich Franklin (27-5). He has recently fallen on hard times, however, dropping five of his last six outings and posting a meager 3-8 record since the turn of the century. This has led many fans and journalists to implore the UFC hall-of-famer to hang up his four-ounce gloves for good. Shamrock sees it differently. In fact he believes the exact opposite. He doesn’t believe that he should stop fighting, he told Sherdog.com that he should fight more…and I, for one, believe him.
Let’s all get together for MMA story time:
In the beginning, four men sat in the locker room of a Japanese pro-wrestling show contemplating the validity of Japanese shoot fighting’s oldest principle: nobody will ever pay to see real fights; they come for entertainment, not reality. A year later, on September 21, 1993, they formed a promotion to test this principle. The result was an organization where the best kick boxers, catch wrestlers, and shoot fighters of the day would meet in a bout that followed the rules of worked shoot fighting but an actual combative competition. They called it Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling. The four men were Masakatsu Funaki (39-12-1), Minoru Suzuki (27-20-1), Yusuke Fuke (16-29-3), and “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock (27-14-2). This was the birth of what we call mixed martial arts today. Three months later, just four days after competing in the third Pancrase show, Ken Shamrock became arguably the biggest star of the first UFC. Despite a loss in the semi-finals to Royce Gracie the fans were drawn to the chiseled features and movie star persona of “The Worlds Most Dangerous Man.” This is just a small piece of the history of the man who was arguably the most important fighter in history of MMA.