hardknocks365 September 7, 2018

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A 21-second knockout loss to Chidi Njokuani at Bellator 167 brought along some hard lessons for previously unbeaten Andre Fialho.

Fialho learned, for instance, that he “wasn’t made of iron.” He learned that, unlike what he’d once thought, he wasn’t invincible. He learned that his hands weren’t going to land and get the job done every time.

“I was overconfident,” Fialho told MMAjunkie. “I wasn’t afraid of what others could do.”

It was an important loss for Fialho. And seven months later, at Bellator 181, he had a chance to show he’d learned.

Judging by the fact he came out on the winning end, beating A.J. Matthews via split decision, one could think that’s just what he did. But the reality isn’t that simple.

Official outcome aside, Fialho was “embarrassed” by his display. He admits he underestimated Matthews – who hadn’t won a fight in almost two years. He was upset that he’d been given an opponent that he felt so superior to. And he’d later find out that, for all his first pro loss taught him, there was still a long way to go.

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Logan Storley is quickly becoming impossible to ignore.

The 25-year-old Bellator MMA welterweight transitioned to MMA after a storied NCAA wrestling career at the University of Minnesota, and the results have been nothing short of impressive.

Most recently, Storley upped his professional record to 9-0 with a mauling of AJ Matthews at Bellator 204 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Watch the Hard Knocks 365 product’s work at that event, courtesy of Bellator MMA, below.

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Mammoth heavyweight Steve Mowry will make his Bellator debut at September’s Bellator 205 event.

MMAjunkie today verified with a Bellator official that Mowry (4-0 MMA, 0-0 MMA) will make his promotional debut at Bellator 205 against another debuting fighter in Ben Moa (4-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA).

The heavyweight matchup will air on the preliminary portion of the Sept. 21 card, which streams on MMAjunkie prior to the Paramount-televised main card at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho.

Mowry, 25, is just over two years into his professional MMA career. He’s off to a hot start, winning all four of his fights by stoppage, with each victory coming via a different method.

Training out of Hard Knocks 365 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Mowry has fought all of his bouts under the Titan FC banner. His most recent fight was a second-round TKO of Said Sowma at Titan FC 49 in April.

He meets Moa, 37, who made his promotional debut in July 2017 and had won all his bouts by stoppage due to strikes, including three finishes in the first round.

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UFC fighter Desmond Green was involved in a five-vehicle crash early Saturday morning, according to authorities in Davie, Florida.

Green suffered minor injuries, but two people — Emelina Morfa, 67, and Emma Suarez Hernandez, 76 — were killed.

Alvaro Feola, a spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol, told reporters that Green lost control of his Dodge Durango just before 6:15 a.m. on Interstate 75. The SUV veered into the path of a tractor-trailer, causing a chain-reaction crash with three other vehicles.

The driver of a Toyota Yaris, in which Morfa and Suarez Hernandez were passengers, was seriously hurt and is being treated at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. Armando Alvarez, 23, was driving an Acura 3.2TL and also suffered minor injuries.

Feola told reporters the Florida Highway Patrol is still investigating why Green lost control of his vehicle.

Green (21-7) trains in Florida with Hard Knocks 365. He has won six of his past eight fights and was set to face Mairbek Taisumov in Moscow on Sept. 15.

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Xtreme Action Park in Fort Lauderdale is filled with enough games and activities to keep you busy for days. Their latest addition will put a sweaty smile on the faces of every gym rat in So-Flo. Deco’s Chris Van Vliet has all the deets on the new workout destination.

We’ve been to Xtreme Action Park a few times over the last year or so. Actually, the last time I was there, I was reporting live 20 feet above the ground on their ropes course. Now, they’ve got something that lets you train like a pro athlete — while training with pro athletes.

Xtreme Action Park is the largest indoor entertainment venue in Florida.

You name it, and this Fort Lauderdale fun factory has it — go-karts, roller skating, tons of games, and now they’ve added a mind-blowing new space called “Hard Knocks 365.”

Tony Villani: “Hard Knocks 365 is like a coming together of a lot of sports training and fitness and sports disciplines under one roof.”

If you’re a professional or amateur athlete looking for a place to get a complete workout, your search has ended.

Tony Villani: “We basketball courts here, we have XPE Sports speed and agility and all types of sports training that goes on there. We have a great kickboxing and MMA program.”

And it’s a favorite for top MMA fighters who duke it out in the octagon.

Tony Villani: “Yeah, so we have some top UFC fighters from all over the country that choose this location to train at.”

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Imagine revising for weeks ahead of a history exam, then being told just one week before exam day that you’ll actually be turning in a biology paper.

That’s not too far off what welterweight Danny Roberts (16-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) had to deal with at UFC Fight Night 134 this past weekend in Hamburg, Germany.

Roberts (16-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) had gone through a full training camp at Hard Knocks 365 in Florida, preparing studiously for a bout with fellow hard-hitting welterweight Alan Jouban. But when injury forced the American off the card, the UFC drafted in a late replacement.

The promotion settled on German debutant and KSW veteran David Zawada, who was almost everything Jouban wasn’t. Both had a host of knockouts on their respective records, but Zawada’s fighting style and orthodox stance were certainly different to Jouban’s southpaw kickboxing style. And with precious little footage of Zawada (16-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) floating around on the Internet for Roberts’ team to study, the Brit described feeling like he was “fighting blind” as he was forced to adapt on the fly against a very different opponent.

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Florida is home to many of the best fighters and teams in the sport today. Arguably the best team in the business today is located in Coconut Creek. American Top Team is home to over 100 professional fighters and many world champions. Current UFC welterweight interim champion Colby Covington and UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunez call ATT home. Hayder Hassan, UFC veteran and next up for the Phoenix FCwelterweight title, was born in Fort Lauderdale and calls ATT home as well. Hayder was the driving force for American Top Team on the TUF series pitting ATT vs. Blackzilians.

Another large gym in the state is the somewhat new Hard Knocks 365 gym. The gym is located in Fort Lauderdale and is partly run by former world kickboxing champion and coach Henri Hooft. The gym is home to such UFC fighters as Michael “The Menace” Johnson, Gilbert Burns, and Danny “Hot Chocolate” Roberts.

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Finding reliable treatments for injuries can be difficult in sports, especially mixed martial arts. Surgery can become an inevitability, but once touched by a surgeon’s knife, the human body is sometimes never the same. Yet there may be hope for combat-sports athletes trying to dodge surgeries, heal nagging injuries and avoid fight cancellations. That hope may come in the form of platelet-rich plasma treatment.

MMA can be brutal on an athlete’s body. From its violence inside the cage to the daily grind of a training camp, injuries eventually pile up. As a result, careers are sidetracked and fighters are often forced to drop out at the last minute, much to the dismay of promoters and fans. To avoid or mitigate injuries, fighters and their trainers try all manner of treatments: massage therapists, chiropractors, ice baths, cryotherapy, hydrotherapy, assigned diets, electrical muscle stimulation and even naps. In the last few years, PRP has joined a litany of treatments as fighters seek to repair debilitating injuries in an affordable and healthy way.

PRP entered the sports-fan lexicon in 2013, when NBA great Kobe Bryant used Regenokine treatment to improve his knee arthritis. Bryant’s decision seemed that of a desperate player realizing his sporting mortality after averaging just 13 points per game — the second-lowest mark of his career — during an injury-shortened 2013-14 season. However, when he returned the next year, the 36-year-old averaged 22 points per game and was awarded a spot on the Western Conference all-star team.

From that moment on, the sports world was put on notice regarding these new options to treat physical ailments. However, while similar, Regenokine is different from traditional PRP treatment. Why? Because substances are added to the healing mix being injected into patients. In contrast, traditional PRP does not add anything the body did not already include. As a result, PRP remains a legal treatment option for professional athletes in the United States. Some of the biggest names in professional sports have sought out this therapy. For example, NBA stars Isaiah Thomas (groin) and Stephen Curry (knee), and MLB pitchers Garrett Richards (elbow) and Stephen Strasburg (elbow) have undergone PRP treatment in recent years. The stars of MMA are no different.

Southern Florida’s NovaGenix clinic has specialized in PRP treatment for years, working with fighters and trainers from nearby powerhouse gyms like American Top Team and Hard Knocks 365. As co-founder Tim Bruce explained on a recent episode of the Fight Strength Podcast, PRP treatments consist of drawing 50 cubic centimeters of a patient’s blood and mixing it with an anti-coagulant. The mix is then put into a centrifuge where it is spun. The goal is to separate the platelets from the blood/anti-coagulant mix. Platelets secrete cytokines, or growth factors, and those cytokines help to draw in cells that are used to heal an injury. Once separated, what is left is about eight CCs of a platelet-rich yellowy substance.

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Careers in mixed martial arts have peaks and valleys, just like any other professional sport. True talents with staying power learn to evolve. Bellator MMA mainstay Linton Vassell finds himself in a position where change has become necessary to remain relevant. As such, he plans to move from 205 pounds to heavyweight.

Vassell has been a stalwart of Bellator’s light heavyweight division since the promotion signed him in August 2013. He was with the company as it changed formats and leadership, and he has been a 205-pound title contender during both the Bjorn Rebney and Scott Coker eras. However, similar to what he saw the company do a few years ago, he too finds himself in a transition to something new. In an era where so many veteran fighters — Diego Sanchez, Rashad Evans and Wanderlei Silva, to name a few — often choose to go down a division late in their careers, Vassell is making the sensible decision to move up in weight.

“I’m 35 now,” he told Sherdog.com. “I wouldn’t say the weight cut was hard, but I feel like it’s time to start a new journey.”

For a man who stands 6-foot-4 and often walks around at 235 pounds, the decision to head to heavyweight made a lot of sense. Cutting weight at the backend of a career only gets more difficult.

“I feel like it’ll work better for me,” Vassell said.

As a light heavyweight, his camps usually spanned eight weeks, in part so he could slowly work off the 30 pounds to make the 205-pound limit. Competing at heavyweight would require a six-week camp, meaning far less wear and tear on his body. Vassell’s early light heavyweight bouts raised his profile in the United Kingdom and ultimately drew Bellator’s attention.

“I found that I had more success in the light heavyweight division,” he said, “so I carried on, won a few belts in the UK and got signed by Bellator.”

However, Vassell admits his efforts to capture 205-pound gold in Bellator have run their course. Recent losses to Ryan Bader and Phil Davis affirmed that reality.

“Unfortunately, the two big losses that I just had definitely helped me make the decision,” Vassell said. “I’ve always wanted to go back to heavyweight. I used to fight heavyweight when I was first starting off.”

Vassell claims that over the years he has let Bellator officials know of his interest in returning to the heavyweight division, yet he was never given ideas for potential opponents. He thinks he will settle in at his fighting weight of 240 pounds once he returns to twice-a-day training. While bulking up does not ensure he will be able to compete with some of the promotion’s biggest heavyweights, Vassell does not sound the least bit concerned.

“I feel like I’ve got the grappling, the striking [and] the power [to compete],” he said. “I feel like I’m going to be a great addition to the heavyweight division.”

Vassell draws his confidence from the work he puts in at Hard Knocks 365 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There, he trains alongside the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Matt Mitrione, the 6-foot-11, 266-pound Stefan Struve and the 6-foot-8, 238-pound Steve Mowry. Vassell believes his grappling skills will prove vital to any success he enjoys as a heavyweight.

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The Bellator heavyweight division just got a lot bigger.

MMAjunkie today verified with a Bellator official that the promotion has inked 6-foot-8 heavyweight Steven Mowry to an exclusive multi-fight contract.

Mowry (4-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) also posted a photo on social media of him signing the contract (via Instagram):

Mowry, 25, is less than two years into his professional MMA career. He’s off to a hot start, winning all four of his fights by stoppage, with each victory coming via a different method.

Training out of Hard Knocks 365 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Mowry has fought all of his bouts under the Titan FC banner. His most recent fight was a second-round TKO of Said Sowma at Titan FC 49 in April.

Mowry said he’s not yet sure when he will make his Bellator debut. However, he did share a comment to MMAjunkie thanking those around him for helping him take a prominent step forward in his career.

“I would like to thank God, my coaches and teammates past and present,” Mowry said. “And the countless people who make my dreams possible.”

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