THREE UFC VETS WILL FIGHT IN ROCHESTER
Three Ultimate Fighting Championship veterans will be on the card, including Elgin’s Tommy “The Farmboy” Speer, when Gladiators presents a mixed martial arts show Saturday at Graham Arena.
Speer, Brad Kohler and Chad Reiner are competing, and all have experience with MMA’s top organization, the UFC.
The fight card includes six professional bouts and five amateur fights. Three Gladiators championship belts also will be on the line.
Speer (12-5) returns to action for the first time since he defeated Jeremy Lafferty in Rochester on May 15. He could face his biggest challenge ever in Rochester when he takes on highly ranked Ashkan Morvari, who trains with American Top Team of Savage.
Morvari (8-3) is ranked No. 3 by Minnesota MMA News at 155 pounds. He will bump up a weight class to take on Speer, who is ranked No. 2 at 170.
Morvari is known as an elite wrestler with good ground-and-pound skills.
“I think he was a Division II wrestler, and I know he’s got good cardio,” Speer said. “I’m sure he’ll try to make it a grinding wrestling match. But I’m fine with that. I just don’t think he has as many tools as I do.”
Speer continues to train at the Mario Roberto Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Rochester. Roberto’s new gym opened in northwest Rochester, cutting Speer’s commute from Elgin. Speer also has been working with Roberto’s new strength and conditioning coach, Adam Rozmenoski.
“Having Adam there now is great; a lot of the elite fighters have their own personal trainer, and it feels like that’s what I have now with Adam,” Speer said.
Reiner (24-11), who trains in Nebraska, will get a major test from Minnesotan Robbie Gotreau at 170 pounds.
Reiner is a standout ground fighter with excellent jiu-jitsu skills, and Gotreau is one of the best wrestlers among Minnesota fighters. He was a three-time All-American at Augsburg and now has a 3-0 record in MMA. Gotreau also trains with the American Top Team in Savage. He is ranked No. 8.
Kohler, who owns one of the most replayed knockouts in UFC history, will take on local product Cam Befort, who is ranked No. 9 at heavyweight.
Kohler is now 46 years old and he has announced that this will be the last fight of his career. His last UFC fight was in 1999, and he’s 1-1 since returning to MMA in 2010.
Two title fights are on the professional portion of the card: Zumbrota-Mazeppa graduate Travis Perzynski will take on Trevor Suter (15-4) for the Gladiators 155-pound title, and Rochester’s Chris Barden faces Matt Gabel (5-1) for the 185-pound title.
Perzynski has rolled up a career record of 29-6-1 record and is ranked No. 2 at 155. The former Team Crazy member is now training with the Minnesota Fight Factory in the Twin Cities.
Suter was a collegiate wrestler down in Iowa.
Barden has been training with Aaron Vold at Compound MMA. He will be tested by Gabel, who is another outstanding wrestler from Iowa.
Finally, Team Crazy’s Ryan Stock will take on Derek Abram at 165 pounds.
The amateur portion of the card features a pair of former Byron High School standouts.
Eric Yngsdal is 2-0 in MMA and will take on Wisconsin’s Mike Zinda at 155 pounds. Yngsdal is a former Class AA state wrestling champion who went on to wrestle for a year at Minnesota State, Mankato. Yngsdal still is a student at MSU and trains with Mankato MMA.
Also on the card is Byron graduate Heath Rud. He’ll take on Iowa’s Cody Kiefer for the 185-pound Gladiators amateur title. Rud, a former high school wrestler taking classes at Rochester Community and Technical College, is 3-2 in MMA.
Tickets are $20 for general admission and $40 for reserved table seating. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and fights are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.http://www.postbulletin.com/newsmanager/templates/localnews_story.asp?z=22&a=471778 Be sure to check out Ben’s excellent website at www.mnmmanews.com
SPEER WANTS TO GET BACK TO THE “NEXT LEVEL”
Elgin’s Tommy Speer has been to the apex of the mixed martial arts universe.
Still green and learning the sport, Speer ascended all the way to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, considered the top MMA organization in the world.
But a pair of losses against elite fighters — Mac Danzig and Anthony Johnson — set Speer back, and he was released from his UFC contract.
When Speer was released, his intention was to drop into the World Extreme Cagefighting organization, which is owned by the UFC. However, within a few weeks, the WEC announced it was cutting its 170-pound division, leaving Speer without a home.
Since then, Speer (12-5) has fought all over North America, including places like Canada, Virginia and Illinois. He’s rolled up five wins since he left the UFC, but a pair of losses to prospects Beau Baker and Ryan Ford left Speer pondering his future.
But now Speer knows what he wants. He’s dead set on making it back to the big time.
That trek officially begins Saturday, when Speer returns to action in Rochester against highly regarded Ashkan Morvari at Graham Arena.
Morvari figures to offer a significant challenge for “The Farmboy.” He’s ranked No. 3 by Minnesota MMA News at 155 pounds, though he’ll bump up to 170 to face Speer. Morvari trains with American Top Team of Savage, Minn., and has a collegiate wrestling background.
Though Morvari should offer a significant test, Speer is confident of his skills.
“Just knowing the trainer I have and how long I’ve been working at this, I feel like I have the edge; I have more ways to finish the fight,” Speer said. “I have a good scouting report on (Morvari). I know he’s going to want to make it a wrestling match. And I’m fine with that. I’m comfortable working on the ground. And I definitely feel my standup is better than his if he wants to keep it standing.”
Speer hopes a win over Morvari will be the first step in the right direction. He plans to remain very active for the rest of 2010, and he’s hoping to catch a big break in 2011.
“Honestly, getting back to the UFC would be great, but I don’t even care if it’s the UFC. I’d be just as happy with Strikeforce or one of the bigger promotions in Japan,” Speer said. “I really just want to keep pushing and make it to the top level I can get to, whatever that may be.”
Speer said his training is leading him in the right direction. He’s practicing two times a day at the Mario Roberto Jiu-Jitsu Academy.
Roberto opened a new gym in northwest Rochester earlier this year, and it’s closer to Speer’s home outside of Elgin. That’s made getting to practices easier.
Roberto’s gym also recently added a strength and conditioning coach — Adam Rozmenoski.
“Mario’s new gym is great,” Speer said. “It’s made scheduling pretty easy for me. And I love going to practice now. This will be my second fight since the new gym opened. Everything is so organized there, plus it’s less than a 20-minute drive for me now.
“Adam has helped, too. He’s great. It’s like I have my own personal trainer, and I am definitely taking advantage of that.”
Speer could fight again in November, and his name already has been rumored as part of a mega card that is being co-promoted by Speer’s manager, Monte Cox, at Target Center on Dec. 11.
“I feel like I have everything I need in my life and training to make a go of it,” Speer said. “I want to get to the highest level, and hopefully I can keep on that path and make something big happen in 2011.”
Coach Rozmenoski was born and raised in Black River Falls, WI. His family was deeply involved in amateur wrestling, and therefore he grew up competing in a wide variety of sports. Adam graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where he received a Bachelors of Science degree in Recreational and Sports Management, with emphasis on Strength and Conditioning as well as Coaching. During college Coach Roz played Lacrosse, and wrestled for the UW-L for two years.
His extensive coaching career includes work with Logan High School’s Football, Baseball, and Wrestling programs, as well as being the Head Wrestling Coach for Lincoln Middle School. While at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse he acted as a strength coach for several collegiate sports programs. Coach Rozmenoski has several years of experience as a Personal Trainer, having worked with amateur and professional athletes of all levels, maximizing their performance inside and outside the weight room.
Adam is certified by USA Weightlifting as a Class 1 coach. He is also certified through the YMCA as a Personal Trainer and he has received the coveted CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
From 2008 to 2010 he worked as the Head Strength Coach for Safe Weightlifting & Athletic Strength Center in Rochester, MN. At this facility he was able to further refine his coaching skills, developing a strong group of athletes in the Rochester area. He has worked with a wide range of individuals, such as an Arena Football League lineman, a NBA Europe Basketball player, professional MMA fighters and several collegiate athletes in sports such as football, soccer, track & field, baseball and swimming.
Adam now competes as an elite Olympic Weightlifter. Coach Rozmenoski lifting credentials are outstading: he has won 2 Minnesota state titles, and placed 4th in the 2010 Olympic Weightlifting National Championships. He was also awarded the Lifter of the Year award in 2009.
The MRJJA MMA & Fitness Center is proud to have Coach Rozmenoski as part of our staff, and we are certain our students will greatly benefit from his know-how and experience.
Here is what Coach Roz has to say about working at the MRJJA:
“As the new Strength and Conditioning Coach at the MRJJA I am happy to bring all of my experience and expertise to the program. We have several different strength and conditioning classes, as well as personal training sessions, structured in a way that we can address the specific needs of each individual. We are confident we will be able to help each student reach their strength and conditioning goals, whether he/she is a professional athlete or just somebody wanting to get in the best shape ever!
Our FIGHTIN’ FIT class will consist of a strength and conditioning cross-training program that will work on developing the endurance, power, and strength needed for superior athletic performance. Our model is based on intense, short, fast-paced interval training circuits that are used by professional MMA fighters to prepare for their fights. This class is sure to push every single student to the next level!
Our ATHLETE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (ADP), is a sports-specific program that will be custom-tailored to satisfy athletes’ needs according to the sport they compete in. We have developed specific guidelines for wrestling, football, hockey, basketball and other sports. It is a proven fact that if you intend on excelling at your chosen sport, you need to first develop your athletic skills to their fullest.
Our OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING program is designed to teach individuals the Olympic Lifts, and help them develop unprecedented explosive power! Our FAT BURNING BOOT CAMP, as the name implies, focuses on health promotion and weight loss.
I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to work with our students at the MRJJA. This is a state-of-the-art facility, and one that is already well-known for its excellence in martial arts training. We expect nothing but great results from our students, and our goal is to take fitness standards in Rochester to another level. Come train with us, and you won’t be disappointed!”http://www.mnmmanews.com/minnesota-mma-news/241-welcome-to-rochesters-academy.html Be sure to check out Ben’s excellent website at www.mnmmanews.com
WELCOME TO ROCHESTER’S ACADEMY
In 2004, Mario Roberto packed up his things and left Brazil for Rochester, Minn., where his wife already was working in the medical field.
Already a medical doctor himself in Brazil, Roberto decided it was time to follow his heart. And his heart wasn’t into being a doctor.
Instead, Roberto wanted a career in martial arts. He had received his black belt in 1998 from Anibal Braga, so when Roberto arrived in Rochester, he started looking for a place to teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
He stumbled across the Fourth Street Boxing Gym, and Roberto said it was a perfect fit.
For the next six years, Roberto taught jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts classes at Fourth Street. But he always knew he wanted to open his own gym, or more importantly, to create “the perfect gym.”
So in 2010, Roberto finally did it. He opened the doors to Mario Roberto Jiu-Jitsu Academy in northwest Rochester. It’s a state-of-the-art facility, featuring a 30-foot MMA cage, a full jiu-jitsu mat area, an extensive weight room, a full collection of cardio machines and many other intricacies (kettle bells, a tractor tire and sledgehammers, gymnastics rings, a strongman heavy stone … you name it) intended to get people into “fighting” shape.
Minnesota MMA News caught up with Roberto to talk about his new digs.
So Mario, when you first came to Rochester, how did you find Fourth Street?
ROBERTO: It’s an interesting story actually. I was just on an internet forum, posting and just basically asking what the scene was like in Rochester. I told people I was a BJJ black belt, and I wanted to start teaching. A guy named
Gary Ryan, he actually got me started there. He brought me to Fourth Street, and it was a perfect match. It was a fighters’ gym, a fighters’ atmosphere. I have a great relationship with those guys there.
But did you always know you wanted to have your own gym?
ROBERTO: It was always my goal to have a great gym, not necessarily always to move out on my own. I wasn’t dissatisfied at Fourth Street, not at all. There were just certain things I wanted to do, and there wasn’t space to do that at Fourth Street. There were already two rings in Fourth Street, so there was no room for a cage. We had to expand, so this was what I needed to do. But we parted on great terms.
Was it a little scary going out on your own, taking a risk like this?
ROBERTO: Absolutely. But I’m a risk taker. If you’re not feeling like you’re flying by the seat of your pants, you’re living life too safely. He who dares wins.
Not many people in Minnesota know this, but your 30-foot cage has a special story. It’s the old YAMMA Pitfighting cage, which was sold off when YAMMA went bankrupt. Of course, you got rid of that crazy incline, but how did the YAMMA cage end up in Rochester?
ROBERTO: It’s a funny story, especially since it’s the cage that one of the top two pro fighters (Travis Wiuff) out of our gym had probably his best one-night performance in. (Wiuff won the only YAMMA Pitfighting Heavyweight Tournament.) After they (went bankrupt), some guy in Wisconsin bought the cage. But it was such a big cage, and it was taking up all of the space in his shop, so he needed to get it out of there and sell it. We went all the way out to Hayward, Wis., to pick it up. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the biggest cage in the four-state area. I was looking for something, not necessarily this big, but I came across it, and I was able to negotiate a good price. I couldn’t turn down the deal. One of the unique things, aside from the size, is that it has double doors, unlike the UFC cage, which has one. The wiring and coating (of the cage itself), the thickness there is just unbelievable. YAMMA put a lot of money into it.
Yeah, at 30 feet, that’s a big cage … you could get lost in there. So did you have to do some serious measuring at the gym before you committed to purchasing it?
ROBERTO: Actually, I bought the cage before I finalized the floor plan for the gym. We had to come in here and measure, and we actually had to knock out one of the back walls for it to fit in there and allow us to still make it back to my office. There aren’t a lot of places that can hold a 30-foot cage.
Your new facility is focusing a great deal on fitness. But why will fighters love it?
ROBERTO: Basically, I believe it’s one of the best outfitted facilities in the upper Midwest. It has everything a pro fighter needs for training. All of the equipment, and basically everything in here, is fitted toward performance instead of looks. We’ve got the full set of kettle bells, and we have no machines; I don’t believe in machines. We have a cardio room, with anything you need. There are some basic things like bikes and treadmills, but then there are higher-end things like the VersaClimber and the rowers. You can train for all kinds of levels. It really has everything a pro fighter would need, but we also have everything the average person needs just to get fit. As far as classes, we provide training in every single area. The two main disciplines are BJJ and Thai boxing. We have high-level wrestlers in here, Division I wrestlers in this gym. I mean, it’s Minnesota; it’s like ‘Field of Dreams.’ ‘If you build it they (wrestlers) will come.’
What’s an average class size?
ROBERTO: We’ve got everything, from a small class of 10 to 12, and a big class of 20-plus. We have the freakish day where we get 25 or so.
I know you’re the longest tenured BJJ black belt in Minnesota. When did you get it?
ROBERTO: I got it from Anibal Braga in 1998, July 14. Everything in my life has been on the 14th. I was born on Jan. 14. So I made sure to get my black belt on the 14th. … I think it makes me a third-degree black belt. But I don’t wear it. It’s not a big deal to me; it just tells me I’m older.
Do you have many guys who are training to fight, minus the guys we know like Wiuff and Tommy Speer?
ROBERTO: Yes and no. We do train some elite guys, and we have a few up-and-coming prospects. We are about to start a fighters-only session, for those who want to compete. But everybody who steps into the gym has different goals. We want to cater to everyone.
So when are we going to see Mario Roberto in the cage again?
ROBERTO: I don’t know. I wanted to go to Thailand and have a Muay Thai fight, but with the political upheaval there now, I don’t know when that will happen. Maybe 2011. As for MMA, I can’t say I’m thrilled about fighting again. I’m always looking for my next thrill. I’ve already done MMA. Now Thai boxing in Thailand, yeah, I’m for that. With MMA, I feel like I’m in good enough shape that I could go back any time. I never say never. Who knows? If I get motivated enough, maybe. I’m the kind of person who says you either do things 100 percent or you don’t do them at all. I can’t handle subpar effort, especially from myself. We’ll see if I can get motivated to fight again.
How’s the gym doing? Are you adding plenty of new members?
ROBERTO: Pretty good. It’s been a great success. This has been the biggest month ever for us. It’s bigger than ever before, and it’s still growing. We keep branching out, and we just opened a fitness class. We’re really trying to establish our fitness program. We want to be a powerhouse in fitness, too.
Have you given out any black belts in Rochester?
ROBERTO: No, none in Rochester. I’ve given out four overall. It’s a very subjective thing. It varies from teacher to teacher. In general, a lot of guys are promoted too fast. I’m old school. I like to wear belts tight. I would rather be the best blue belt instead of the worst purple belt. There’s something wrong with it when you’ve got these guys giving out purple belts after two years. I don’t care how skilled you are, that’s just not right. There are little things you just can’t pick up in two years, the spatial awareness and experience. We build our system around fundamentals. With the guys I gave black belts to (one in Brazil, one in Texas and two in Indiana), they averaged about 10 years of experience each.
Finally, what should fighters know about Mario Roberto Jiu-Jitsu Academy?
ROBERTO: Just the fact that we’re open to anybody from any team. There are a lot of politics in Minnesota MMA. I can’t believe how much. It’s sad to see it, and it’s sad how childish it all is. I’m here to train people to get better at fighting. Whether they fight for Team Crazy or whatever other team, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m here to train people. One thing that tears me up is seeing guys from our area lose. It sucks to see people from outside come in to Rochester and mopping the floor with us. We have enough good guys here, that that shouldn’t happen. It would be nice for us to all work together. I’d love to help anyone with their ground game, since that’s our focus here. It doesn’t matter if they want to rep Team A or Team B, I don’t care. They all have an open invite to come in here and check us out. Shoot me an email or give me a call. I’m all for taking the politics out of this stuff.
Mario Roberto has agreed to do a weekly technique segment here at MinnesotaMMANews.com. Roberto’s first segment, highlighting the fundamentals of the basic jab, is up on the site already. To find his segment each week, look for the MRJJA CORNER link in the main menu. This week’s video segment can be found at this link.
To find out more about MRJJA, visit Roberto’s website at www.mrjja.com or stop by the gym at 4915 Suite B, Highway 52 North, in Rochester.http://www.postbulletin.com/newsmanager/templates/localnews_story.asp?z=22&a=455142 Be sure to check out Ben’s excellent website at www.mnmmanews.com
SUPER MARIO’S GYM WILL FOCUS ON “FIGHTING FIT”
For years, Mario Roberto ran jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts classes out of the Fourth Street Gym in Rochester.
But Roberto had bigger dreams. So after years of saving and planning, Roberto has opened a gym he can call his own.
Roberto, who originally is from Brazil, opened the Mario Roberto Jiu-Jitsu Academy earlier this year, with a grand opening planned for this month.
It’s a state-of-the-art facility, featuring a complete weight room, a wide-open mat area, locker rooms, an impressive range of cardio machines and a 30-foot MMA-style cage.
In short, it has everything Roberto envisioned.
“I had been saving for quite a while, and I guess it was somewhat of a risk,” Roberto said. “I put a lot of money into the facility. But it was something that needed to be done. And now I get the satisfaction of walking in here and seeing the kind of gym I envisioned.”
Roberto’s new gym, which is located on the north side of the Slumberland North complex (4915 Highway 52, Suite B), has been designed to accommodate students of all kinds, from professional mixed martial artists to beginners who are simply looking to get into shape.
Members at MRJJA will have access to high level martial arts and fitness training, and Roberto said there will be a special emphasis placed on the fitness aspect.
Classes in jiu-jitsu, grappling, Muay Thai, self-defense and mixed martial arts are being offered. Roberto also would like to rejuvenate the kids program.
“We are going to be able to cater to people who don’t necessarily want to train MMA, but want to get into the MMA lifestyle,” Roberto said. “MMA fighters are probably the fittest athletes on the face of the earth. But you don’t necessarily need to be a fighter to train like one. We’re calling it ‘fighting fit.’ There’s fit and then there’s fighting fit.”
Roberto’s “fighting fit” starts in his meticulously designed weight room. There, gym members will find a full set of kettle bells, gymnastics rings, bumper plates, glute-ham raise benches and much more.
“We’ve tried to create a strength room that revolves around functionality rather than looks,” Roberto said. “We’re offering something that other health clubs or gyms don’t do. We are training for performance here and performance alone. The looks are just a side result.”
Roberto took the same approach with his cardio equipment, securing top-of-the-line “Life Fitness” machines.
While Roberto, who was a licensed and practicing medical doctor in Brazil before moving to Rochester in 2004, has some high-profile regular clients like UFC veterans Travis Wiuff and Tommy Speer, he said the majority of his clients will never compete.
“We want the layman to come in here and be able to train like a fighter,” Roberto said. “We want everyone to be able to go through the things that our pro fighters do to push himself or herself to the limit and to get to their goals. We feel like what we offer can do a lot more on a personal-life basis, with weight loss, self confidence, self-defense skills.”
Roberto always offers free trial classes for those simply looking to “check out” the gym. Plus, during the grand opening month of June, Roberto is offering a promotion — new members receive the first month free.
Roberto, who is the longest tenured Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt (1998) in Minnesota, is betting new members won’t be disappointed.
“Our goal is to provide the best experience for every single one of our clients,” Roberto said. “We want to provide the best fitness facility around, and we believe that the hard training that’s involved with martial arts can help anyone.”http://www.mnmmanews.com/minnesota-mma-news/209-wiuff-realistic-about-his-future.html Be sure to check out Ben’s excellent website at www.mnmmanews.com
Travis “Diesel” Wiuff is in a good place.
After winning seven of his last eight fights, including last Friday’s 34-second destruction of Josh Barnes at “Moosin: God of Martial Arts” in Worcester, Mass., Wiuff is happy with his place in the fight game.
He’s also realistic about his future.
Part of being in a “good place” includes Wiuff’s current training regimen. Wiuff feels his current setup is the best of his career. And looking at the list of names he’s currently working with, it’s no surprise that Wiuff has found his happy place.
When Wiuff is training for a fight, he’s got a “team” of training partners, based in different places, who all specialize in different areas.
For his strength and conditioning, Wiuff works with Wes Emmert at the Rochester Athletic Club. For his jiu-jitsu, Wiuff is with the best, Mario Roberto. For striking and muay thai, he heads to the Twin Cities to work with Sergio Cunha at the Minnesota Fight Factory.
“I feel really good right now,” Wiuff said. “The guys I’m working with, the group I’ve put together, it’s by far, above and beyond, the best I’ve ever worked with. Having Mario and Dan Leckel at Mario’s place, they’ve been amazing. Mario’s the best. I didn’t realize that until I went other places, and not just in Minnesota. But I’m very fortunate to have him right here where I live. And then working with Wes at the RAC, he’s done great things for my conditioning. And Sergio with my striking, he’s great. It’s the perfect setup. Everything is coming together.”
Yet, Wiuff remains grounded.
His latest victory was impressive. Wiuff was scheduled to face Korean Mu Bae Choi at Moosin, but he backed out of the fight early last week. At the last minute, they were able to secure Josh Barnes to fill in for Choi.
“We were very lucky to find Josh because we were very close to being too late to find a replacement,” Wiuff said.
Wiuff was able to watch a little video of Barnes prior to the fight. But he admits he didn’t know much, other than that he had been helping to train Tim Sylvia, who was fighting in the night’s main event.
Once the fight started, however, Wiuff noticed something important.
“I noticed he had his chin straight up and that he wasn’t tucking it at all,” Wiuff said. “From the little tape I did see of him, I knew he didn’t respond well to getting hit. So I knew if I could touch his chin at all, it was going to be a short fight.”
Wiuff threw a right hand that missed, and then he ducked under Barnes’ hook. After that, he unloaded with a left hook of his own that wobbled Barnes. He followed with a four-punch combination that dropped Barnes. Wiuff didn’t let up, following Barnes to the ground and finishing the fight in just 34 seconds.
“He was out,” Wiuff said. “The left hook really rocked him, wobbled his knees. I landed another right, and then another left hook. On the second left, I broke my hand.”
Wiuff said he enjoyed fighting for Moosin.
“It was great, and they treated me really well,” Wiuff said. “Everything ran smooth. It was well organized, especially for being a new promotion. Plus the payday was good. I would definitely fight for them again.”
So, Wiuff is coming off of two impressive wins, including last month’s victory over former UFC heavyweight title contender, Jeff Monson, at Target Center.
But Wiuff isn’t kidding himself. He’s not getting his hopes up about catching a big break with a major promotion just yet.
Wiuff said the win over Barnes, who is just 5-5 as a pro, isn’t anything to write home about. “I’m by no means happy knocking out a guy who’s 5-4 (going in). Obviously, it feels good to win, but I’m no where near as excited as I was after beating Monson,” Wiuff said. “The guy didn’t have a great record, and it’s definitely not the biggest win of my career. But the exposure was good.”
Wiuff (61-14) doesn’t have his next fight lined up. He said he’ll likely take about six weeks off to allow his broken hand to recover. He’ll look to return to the cage in late July or August.
Diesel talked with his agent, Monte Cox, after the fight, and he said a return trip to Japan could be in the works.
Despite winning seven of his last eight, Wiuff said he doesn’t expect the UFC to come calling. He knows he needs a few more quality wins to really earn a shot at that level.
“The UFC is great and the exposure you get there is great, but I’m sure I’d get paid a lot more to fight in Japan,” Wiuff said. “Of course, the UFC is the ultimate goal. But I’m honest with myself. I’m a self-aware man. The quality of the opponents, other than Monson, that I’ve been beating hasn’t been great. I still need some more victories against quality opponents. But there are a few guys in Japan I’d like to fight. So, hopefully I can just keep winning. I’m being realistic about it. I know I have to earn it. But I definitely feel good where I’m at now. I’ll take a little break now, which I need to since I’ve fought the last five months straight, and then we’ll see what comes up.”http://www.postbulletin.com/newsmanager/templates/localnews_story.asp?z=22&a=453976 Be sure to check out Ben’s excellent website at www.mnmmanews.com
WIUFF SCORES SPEEDY KO
WORCESTER, Mass. — Rochester mixed martial artist Travis “Diesel” Wiuff continued his recent hot streak, scoring a quick technical knockout victory on Friday night.
Wiuff was fighting Friday in the co-main event of “Moosin: God of Martial Arts” at the DCU Center. The event was carried live on pay-per-view.
Wiuff, who is an Owatonna native with a career MMA record of 61-14, was scheduled to face Korean Mu Bae Choi. But just three days before the event, Choi was forced out for undisclosed reasons.
Choi was replaced by Bellator and King of the Cage veteran Josh Barnes.
Wiuff needed just 34 seconds to finish Barnes. He landed a left hook that hurt Barnes. Wiuff then came forward with a four-punch combination that dropped Barnes. He followed Barnes to the mat and rained down punches until the referee stopped the fight.
Wiuff has now won seven of his past eight fights, with his only loss being a controversial one to Mike Kyle at a King of the Cage event in New Mexico last February. Wiuff defeated for UFC heavyweight title contender Jeff Monson at the Target Center last month.
After starting his pro career 4-0, Barnes has now gone just 1-4 in his past five fights to drop to 5-5.http://www.postbulletin.com/newsmanager/templates/localnews_story.asp?z=22&a=452863 Be sure to check out Ben’s excellent website at www.mnmmanews.com
SPEER EARNS 14TH WIN AS A PRO
For a brief moment, it appeared Elgin’s Tommy Speer might be in danger during the main event of Saturday’s “Gladiators” mixed martial arts event at Graham Arena.
Lake City’s Jeremy Lafferty used a throw to put Speer on his back early in the first round of their 175-pound fight.
Lafferty even landed a few punches. But Speer remained calm, looked for submissions and seized his opportunity when it presented itself.
A kneebar attempt forced Lafferty to give up his dominant position, and Speer pounced when he did. With Speer on top, the fight didn’t last much longer as “The Farmboy” rained down punches and earned a technical knockout victory over Lafferty just 2:02 into the first round.
“I’m happy,” Speer said of the win. “I could have done better, but I didn’t feel like I was in any real trouble. I think maybe I got a little too relaxed before the fight. We had to wait around so long, I think that probably hurt.”
Speer, who trains at Mario Roberto Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Rochester, improved to 14-5 as a professional, while Lafferty, who trains with Team Crazy in Lake City, dropped to 20-14.
In the night’s co-main event, Team Crazy’s Travis Perzynski suffered a unanimous-decision loss to Omaha, Neb., native Alonzo Martinez. Perzynski landed an overhand right to start the fight, dropping Martinez, who is an HDNet Fights veteran. But Martinez was able to recover and he
dominated the rest of the first round.
Martinez, for the most part, used his wrestling skills to beat Perzynski. He scored at least two takedowns in each round. While Perzynski got the better of the striking, Martinez’s wrestling allowed him to grind out a victory.
“I think I’ve been working on jiu-jitsu and striking so much, I haven’t worked as much on my wrestling lately,” Perzynski said. “It’s disappointing, but he’s a strong fighter. I’ll go right back to practice and be looking for that next opportunity.”
Overall, it was a rough night for Team Crazy. The local club went 0-for-5, with Perzynski, Dan Copp, A.J. Alexander, Webster Cox and Lafferty suffering losses.
“It was definitely a rough night, but we knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Team Crazy coach Kevin Garlitch said. “I’m proud of all of them, though. They all came to fight.”
Perzynski dropped to 29-6-1.
On the other side of the coin was the team from the Winnipeg Academy of Mixed Martial Arts. The Canadians were a perfect 4-0 Saturday at Graham Arena. Curtis Brigham-trained Keith Katona, Brad Katona, Andrija Pavlic and Corey Houston all earned victories.
Other than Speer, the only Rochester-area fighter to grab a victory Saturday was Byron’s Heath Rud.
The former standout wrestler looked sharp in his return to Rochester. Rud, who trains with UFC veteran Logan Clark at Rochester MMA, sunk in a deep rear-naked choke and finished his fight against Omaha, Neb., native Jarrod Lheureux midway through the first round.
Former Dover-Eyota wrestling standout and fellow Rochester MMA member Logan Otomo lost his amateur debut. He submitted due to a triangle choke in the first round against WAMMA’s Keith Katona.
Rochester’s Chris Barden suffered a first-round loss to WAMMA’s Pavlic. Barden tapped out due to strikes early in the first.
175 — Tommy Speer def. Jeremy Lafferty by TKO (ref stop due to strikes) at 2:02 of first round.
160 — Alonzo Martinez def. Travis Perzynski by unanimous decision (all three judges 30-27).
160 — Sean Wilson def. Dan Copp by submission due to a guillotine choke at :55 of first round.
195 — Andrija Pavlic def. Chris Barden by submission due to strikes at 1:38 of first round.
205 — Marcus Sursa def. Eric Hammerich by submission due to a rear-naked choke at :46 of first round.
145 — Corey Houston def. Webster Cox submission due to a rear-naked choke at 4:42 of second round.
145 — Trevor Suter (0-0) def. A.J. Armstrong by submission due to a triangle choke in first round.
125 — Keith Katona def. Logan Otomo by submission due to a triangle choke at 2:31 of first round.
170 — Heath Rud def. Jarrod Lheureux by submission due to a rear-naked choke at 2:30 of first round.
130 — Brad Katona def. Zach Kellso by submission due to a rear-naked choke at 1:39 of second round.http://www.postbulletin.com/newsmanager/templates/localnews_story.asp?z=22&a=452032 Be sure to check out Ben’s excellent website at www.mnmmanews.com
SPEER VS. LAFFERTY IN THE MAIN EVENT OF ‘GLADIATORS’
Elgin’s Tommy “The Farmboy” Speer will take on Lake City’s Jeremy Lafferty in the main event of Saturday’s “Gladiators” mixed martial arts event at Graham Arena.
The event is being sponsored by Kathy’s Pub and Andy’s Liquor. There currently are 11 fights scheduled, including seven professional bouts.
Lafferty, who trains with Kevin Garlitch at Team Crazy, is on a five-fight winning streak, while the UFC veteran Speer is coming off of a loss to Ryan Ford in Canada last March.
“This is a fight Lafferty wanted,” Speer said. “I don’t think he deserves to be in the cage with me, and I’m going to show him that Saturday. He’s got a puncher’s chance, but that’s about it.”
Garlitch said Lafferty is ready for the challenge. Speer easily will be his toughest opponent to date.
“Lafferty’s cardio is off the charts, and that’s always been his downfall in the past,” Garlitch said. “He’s a violent fighter, so I’m excited to see what happens. Tommy’s been knocked out before, so that’s what we’ll be looking for.”
Speer has been training exclusively in Rochester at Mario Roberto Jiu-Jitsu Academy. He said it’s still a thrill for him to fight in his own backyard. “It’s always fun fighting here,” Speer said. “It’s also comfortable to be able to stay at home the night before the fight instead of in some hotel.”
Speer and Lafferty will meet at 175 pounds.
Three more of Garlitch’s fighters have tough professional fights Saturday. Travis “Carefree” Perzynski will put his 29-5-1 record on the line against Omaha, Neb., native Alonzo Martinez (26-13-1).
Martinez has fought some of the sport’s best, including Clay Guida, Alvin Robinson, Ryan Roberts, Yves Edwards and Toby Imada. He’s a Bellator veteran and brings a four-fight winning streak to Rochester.
Perzynski holds a win over Pat Curran, who is in the Bellator lightweight tournament finals. The Team Crazy standout is now completely healthy; a leg injury forced him out of his scheduled fight against James Warfield last month.
“We’ve seen Alonzo fight a lot,” Garlitch said. “It’s going to be a very tough fight for Travis, but it’s a fight he needs to win if he’s going to get to the next level.”
Perzynski and Martinez will meet at 160 pounds.
Perzynski’s Team Crazy teammate, Dan Copp, will take on Omaha’s Sean Wilson (21-14) also at 160.
Wilson is coming off of a loss to Clay French at a King of the Cage event in April.
Copp is a college student in Mankato, but he recently rejoined Team Crazy for the summer. He spent much of the past year competing in pro boxing bouts.
“It’s a tough fight for Dan,” Garlitch said. “But we have a good scouting report on Wilson because (Perzynski) has a win over him. We know Wilson has some deadly moves on the ground.”
Also competing as a professional for Team Crazy on Saturday is former Lake City wrestler Webster Cox, who will take on Corey Houston.
Cox brings a 7-2 record into the 145-pound fight. Houston, who trains at the Winnipeg Academy of Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA), is 1-0 as a pro.
“Webster’s a stud wrestler, and I think this Houston kid has like 15 pro boxing matches, so it should be interesting,” Garlitch said.
There will be three other pro fights Saturday, including Rochester’s Chris Barden taking on WAMMA trained Andrija Pavlic. Barden is coming off a win over Nick Almen at Treasure Island Resort and Casino on April 30.
In a battle of two of the best training camps in the country, Greg Jackson-trained Marcus Sursa will take on Pat Miletich-trained Eric Hammerich. Sursa is 6-5 at 205 pounds, but all five of his losses came to fighters who either have been or are in the UFC.
Making his pro debut will be Trevor Sutter of Iowa. Sutter’s opponent is expected to be announced today.
During the amateur portion of the card, former Dover-Eyota standout wrestler and Logan Clark-trained Logan Otomo will make his debut against WAMMA’s Keith Katona.
Otomo’s teammate at Rochester MMA, Heath Rud, will take on Omaha’s Jarrod Lheureux. Other fights include Brad Katona against Zach Kellso and Cole Clark against Nick Enns.
Fights are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $25 in advance at Kathy’s Pub or from participating fighters. At the door, tickets are $30.
What: A mixed martial arts card sponsored by Kathy’s Pub and Andy’s Liquor.
Where: Graham Arena.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Who: Tommy Speer (13-5) will fight Jeremy Lafferty (15-10) in the main event. Other pro fights include Travis Perzynski (29-5-1) vs. Alonzo Martinez (26-13-1), Dan Copp (7-6) vs. Sean Wilson (21-14), Chris Barden (11-12) vs. Andrija Pavlic (1-1), Marcus Sursa (6-5) vs. Eric Hammerich (3-3), Corey Houston (1-0) vs. Webster Cox (7-2) and Trevor Sutter (0-0) vs. TBD. Amateur fights include Logan Otomo (0-0) vs. Keith Katona (1-0), Heath Rud (2-2) vs. Jarrod Lheureux (1-0), Brad Katona (2-0) vs. Zach Kellso (1-1-1) and Cole Clark (0-0) vs. Nick Enns (1-0).http://www.mnmmanews.com/minnesota-mma-news/190-speer-jumps-back-on-the-horse.html Be sure to check out Ben’s excellent website at www.mnmmanews.com
Saturday night, Elgin’s Tommy “The Farmboy” Speer is returning to the cage for the first time since suffering a first-round loss to Canada’s Ryan Ford in March.
Speer is in the main event as part of “Gladiators,” an 11-fight card sponsored by Kathy’s Pub at Rochester’s Graham Arena.
The Farmboy will settle some bad blood when he takes on former teammate Jeremy Lafferty, who brings a three-fight winning streak into the bout. Lafferty is one of the longest running members of Lake City-based Team Crazy. Speer (13-5) also got his start with Team Crazy, but now he’s training at Mario Roberto Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Rochester.
Speer trained exclusively in Rochester for this fight, and it looks like he may not return to the HIT Squad in Illinois. We caught up with Speer while he was preparing for his local grudge match against Lafferty.
Tommy, this is something I have to ask you about. You’re the last fighter I ever thought would not make weight, but you didn’t make 170 for the fight against Ford. So, what happened?
SPEER: Leading up to the fight, I was the biggest I’ve ever been while in shape. But I don’t think that was the real reason I didn’t make it. I think if I had cut weight the way I wanted to, I would have made it. But my trainers at HIT Squad, they wanted me to do it their way and cut all of the weight in the last 24 hours. So I was walking around at more than 200 pounds the week of the fight, and over 190 just a few days before. My way to cut is gradually cutting throughout the week, but they wanted it all to come off that last day. I still should have been able to do it. I thought it would come off a lot faster. I’m not sure if there was too much sodium in my body or what. But it was very painful and very traumatizing. It’s the most uncomfortable I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I worked out for six straight hours, non-stop, with plastics on. I could smell myself I had sweat so much. I had to make 171, and I weighed in at 171.8. When I showed up that day, I weighed 172.5, so we quickly ran to a Gold’s Gym in some mall there in Edmonton. I got in another steam room because there was no sauna to be found. I just couldn’t sweat any more out.
Are you done training at HIT squad? Do you think you’ll ever go back there?
SPEER: I won’t say I’ll never go back. But I do think that’s the last time I’ll go down there so close to a fight to prepare. I won’t leave for a fight from there again. I wouldn’t mind going down there to visit or like six weeks before a fight to maybe train for a little bit. But I just feel like I have what I need up here, and I’m much more comfortable up here.
Now that you’ve had a chance to step back and look at the video, is there anything you would do differently in that Ford fight?
SPEER: I don’t know what I would have done differently during the fight itself. If I had known I was going to gas from that weight cut and have no strength, I guess maybe I would have not gone to the ground and just tried to knock him out in the first 30 seconds. But I felt decent after weigh-ins and leading up to the fight. Then right when I started and I grabbed a hold of him, I could feel my energy level was gone. Other than that, it’s tough to say. I was able to get on top of him, but I just didn’t feel like I had the strength to ground-and-pound. So I started going for submissions, and I actually had one sunk in pretty deep, too, a north-south choke that he somehow slipped out of.
You’re fighting in Rochester again, which means fans will probably start chanting “Tom-my Spe-er, Tom-my Spe-er!!!!” before the first fight even starts Saturday night. Is fighting in Rochester still a thrill for you?
SPEER: Yeah, it always is. Plus, it’s a lot easier. It’s so much easier to get ready for a fight when I know how my day is going to go. I’ve done this so many times, and I know the routine. I know what I’m walking into and I know what to expect. I always fight my best when I get up in the morning, do some work, help milk the cows and then take off to get ready for the fight. I love fighting here, but I think I love being comfortable even more. The routine is great. It’s so much better than showing up a day before the weigh-ins and sleeping in a hotel, then going to a venue that you’ve never seen before. It’s nice to sleep in your own bed and know exactly what’s going to happen.
You’re fighting Team Crazy’s Jeremy Lafferty. What do you know about him?
SPEER: I know he’s probably got a better record as a street fighter. He’s a brawler, but that’s about it. When I first started out, I worked out with him a little bit, back before I got with Mario Roberto. Lafferty has nowhere near my strength. Judging by his grappling skills, well, let’s just say I don’t think he has any. The only thing he has is brawling strikes, a puncher’s chance. He’s never fought anybody close to my strength.
You and Lafferty used to train together. Is there legitimate bad blood there or is it just talk?
SPEER: Yeah, there is from him toward me. Here’s the story, and it’s funny. Me and some of my buddies were driving back from a night out at the bars in Rochester, and I was the designated driver that night so I wasn’t drinking. I was with a bunch of buddies from Houston and Rushford, and we were like a mile from my house. And we are driving and there’s a vehicle in front of us, and we have no idea who it is. But we knew they were drunk because they were swerving all over the place. So my buddies are telling me to flash my lights at them and try to get them to pull over, you know, to scare them. So I did it, and they pulled over, and then after we went past them, they came racing up behind us. So my buddy tells me to pull over, and the plan was for my buddies to all jump out of the car and go running toward their car to scare them. I pull over, and my buddies all get out, but I stay in the truck. My buddies run back there and it’s an instant fight. This was maybe two winters ago. I got out once to look and see what was going on, and they’re rolling around in the snow fighting. I look down and see who it is, and one of the guys is Lafferty, sure enough. I’m like, ‘Oh no, I can’t believe I know who this is.’ So the fight gets done, and I’m just hoping none of my buddies mentions my name. But my buddies Squirrely and Slap roughed up Lafferty pretty good, and so they’re arguing afterward. So I did get out of the truck, and I apologized to Lafferty. I mean, if I had known it was him, it wouldn’t have happened. But I told him I was really sorry, and that night he accepted the apology, and we went on our way. Ever since then, he’s been walking around saying he wants to fight me. Of course, he never says that to me. We’ve seen each other since then, and he never says anything. So I brought it to the show’s attention that if they needed an opponent for me, that I know Lafferty wants to fight me. That’s kind of the back story on the bad blood. I don’t really have any for him, but I guess he has plenty for me.
Nice. Of course, there are a few people on the Minnesota MMA News message boards saying you’re going to lose this fight. Why won’t that happen?
SPEER: Because I’m way better than him. I don’t think he’s put enough time into training, and the numbers don’t lie. Literally, if I didn’t want to upset the crowd, I would go out there and beat him in 30 seconds, just to show how good he’s not. I don’t think he deserves to be in the cage with me. Whoever is posting that (on the message boards) is probably drunk or doesn’t have a high-school diploma. The only chance he has for winning is a puncher’s chance. If he came in there and took me down, well, I probably wouldn’t try to even stop it because if he put me on my back, I’d be able to put him in a triangle or an armbar in a matter of seconds. If he wants to take me down, go ahead. If I take him down, it might take me a little longer to finish, but I don’t see him wanting to grapple with me.
Knowing what you know about Lafferty, how much work have you done for this fight?
SPEER: I’ve kept a pretty good routine, running every morning, lifting and then getting in there and training with Mario Roberto. I haven’t been doing a lot of the conditioning, a lot of the things that will make you want to take a break right after a fight. I said I didn’t want to beat my body up too bad for this fight, and I wanted to be ready to fight again right after this. I told my manager that. I told him I would be ready to go again as soon as he found something for me. I’ll look for a little more serious fight after this one.
How’s the weight now and what are you fighting at on Saturday?
SPEER: They asked me, and I told them I didn’t care what weight the fight was at. I said if he’s at 185, that’s fine. If he wanted to do it at 170, that’s fine. So they ended up coming up with 175. I’m at 190 today (Monday). I know I’m fine at 190, because that’s what I’d normally try to be at when I’m fighting at 170. Actually, normally I’d be at like 195 the Monday before the fight. But I don’t ever want to come close again, not with the trauma I went through. I’m a huge 170. Maybe some day I’ll go to 185, but I know I won’t be the biggest guy at that weight. I’ll still be a big fighter at that weight, but I’ll have a reach disadvantage. At 170, I’m usually the strongest guy. The only time I wasn’t bigger than my opponent was for Anthony Johnson.
Have you been training exclusively with Mario Roberto for this fight? And what do you think of his new gym?
SPEER: Yeah, I’ve been with Mario every day at his new gym, and it’s great. That new gym is quite a comfy place to be. You want to go back there every day. There’s so much space, a cage, plenty of mats and powerlifting stuff. Plus there’s a bunch of cardio equipment, mountain-climbing machine and stuff like that. I love it. There’s a full set of kettle bells, too. It’s a great place to train, and I have everything I need there.
Do you have a game plan for this fight?
SPEER: No. We’ll just see if he comes in and he’s ready to strike. A lot of people are telling me he really wants this fight, and that he’s supposedly said that he can’t wait for Round 2. Well, I guess that means he’s working on his cardio. I also heard someone say that Lafferty said that I may win the fight in the cage, but that he’ll win the fight in the bar afterward. Well, that could be really tough for him to find me at the bar when he’s in the hospital.