Category Archives: Hard Knocks 365

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Eddie Alvarez made his much anticipated debut on Sunday for One Championship as he faced off against Timofey Nastyukhin as part of the One Lightweight Grand Prix quarterfinal round.

Nastyukhin shocked the crowd by stopping Alvarez in the opening round to progress to the next stage of the tournament while the heavy favourite Alvarez ponders his next step.

Newly-crowned Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, a longtime teammate of Alvarez at Hard Knocks 365, reached out to the former UFC lightweight champion through Twitter to offer his support.

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MMA veteran Eric Wisely will return to the UFC for the first time in seven years, when he faces Brazilian powerhouse Gilbert Burns at UFC Fort Lauderdale on April 27, first reported by Combate.

Eric Wisely (33-9-1) returns to the UFC on an 11-fight win streak. Wisely fought last weekend at Cage Aggression 24, when he defeated short-notice replacement Will Shutt via second-round TKO. The 34-year-old fighting out of Clinton, Iowa, is not only the #1 ranked lightweight in Iowa, but he is also the #1 ranked lightweight in the United States (that was not signed to a major promotion) per Tapology. Wisely has not lost since Bellator 119 in 2014, and fought four times in 2018.

Gilbert Burns (14-3) is also in good form as of late. The Brazilian has won three of his last four bouts inside the Octagon. Most recently, Burns dominated Canadian Olivier Aubin-Mercier for three rounds to win a unanimous decision last December. Burns also holds wins over Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira, Dan Moret and Christos Giagos throughout his UFC career. Burns will be fighting at home as he fights out of Boca Raton, Florida, and trains out of Hard Knocks 365. The 32-year old is ranked 25th in the world at lightweight per Tapology.

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On Saturday night, on the main card of UFC Philadelphia, former lightweight contender Michael Johnson partook in his latest featherweight bout, taking on the dangerous Josh Emmett.

Unfortunately for Johnson and his fans, this fight did not go as planned, as he found himself on the receiving end of a 2019 Knockout of the Year contender late in the third round.

Despite this undeniably brutal loss, Michael Johnson seems to be in good spirits.

The featherweight fighter issued a quick statement about the loss on Instagram, assuring that he’ll be back soon.

“Great fight and hats off to Emmett,” Johnson wrote on his official Instagram account. “I’ve slipped and fell in the game several times, and I’m always back on feet. See ya guys soon

With this tough setback, Michael Johnson returns to the loss column after a pair of victories over Artem Lobov and Andre Fili. Prior to these wins, he lost three in a row against Darren Elkins, Justin Gaethje and Khabib Nurmagomedov. The Hardknocks 365 fighter is now 19-14 overall.

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Linton Vassell is a very big guy. One need only look at a couple of weigh-in photos of the burly, 6-foot-4-inch Brit standing alongside “normal” light heavyweights to appreciate this reality. Speaking to ahead of his bout with Valentin Moldavsky at Bellator 218 this weekend — his debut at heavyweight — Vassell exudes a palpable sense of relief. It isn’t difficult to conclude that making the 205-pound divisional limit must have been taxing for Vassell, a fact he readily acknowledges. In fact, he claims his decision to move up in weight was made even before his last fight, a third-round TKO loss to Phil Davis at Bellator 200 last May.

“I had a bad weight cut going into the Phil Davis fight, and I was just like ‘I’m over this,’” Vassell said. “Win or lose, I was going to move up. I’d had quite enough of cutting that weight. I’d usually walk around weighing about 240, and then kind of pre-cut to about 225 to try and make it not such a hard [water] cut, and I’d just gotten over it. I was like, ‘Just let me eat and enjoy it and fight as a heavyweight now.’”

More than a mere loosening of the belt, Vassell claims that the move to heavyweight changes his entire approach to fight preparation. “Now I get to be a proper heavyweight, rather than a heavyweight trying to be a light heavyweight,” he said. “I get to eat, drink, train like a heavyweight. I can enjoy a good meal, eat pretty much what I want. Before, talking to you a week away from a fight, I’d be eating a little plate of vegetables or something. Now I can have carbs again!

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With Daniel Cormier now the reigning heavyweight champion and Alexander Gustafsson recently losing his second attempt at UFC 232, the general belief seems to be there are no real threats to Jon Jones (24-1-1) at light heavyweight, especially given the way he outclassed Anthony Smith at UFC 235.

However, former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold (16-4) is one who could pose a threat to “Bones” according to two-weight ONE Championship champion and Hard Knocks 365 teammate Aung La N Sang.

Rockhold recently signaled his intentions of moving up to light heavyweight and earlier this year, called out a “beatable” Jones and warned him that he was coming soon.

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Another Bellator MMA event, another blue-chip wrestling prospect ready to show the world he can fight.

Friday night, University of Missouri wrestling product Johnny Eblen (4-0) makes his promotional debut when he takes on Chauncey Foxworth at Bellator 218 in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

During his time wrestling in college, Eblen never viewed fighting as a goal. Once his collegiate career came to an end, Eblen looked to enter the “real world” by getting a blue-collar job.

“It just kind of presented itself,” Eblen told FloCombat. “I was always interested in fighting, but I didn’t really know how to go about it. After my wrestling career, I was just focusing on my next career. I didn’t know exactly what it was going to be. I ended up going to South Florida for a paving job. I was doing estimating.”

While in Florida, Eblen would enter the realm of MMA through a human portal—renowned American Top Team wrestling coach Steve Mocco.

“When I was down there, I met up with Steve Mocco because we both coached high school wrestling down here,” Eblen said. “I coached at American Heritage Delray, and he has a little camp at American Top Team—Mocco Wrestling.

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There’s no doubt that Luke Rockhold is one of the best middleweights in the world, but would the former UFC 185-pound champion be able to give Jon Jones a run for his money?

Since losing to Yoel Romero last year, Rockhold announced his plans to move up to the light heavyweight division and, when he does eventually make the switch, Hard Knocks 365 teammate Aung La N Sang says reigning LHW champ Jones needs to be on guard.

Speaking to Abhinav Kini of The Body Lock in a recent interview, two-division ONE FC champion La N Sang said Rockhold has the skillset to pose a real threat to ‘Bones’ at 205-pounds.

“I do think he [Rockhold] has the skillset that will be a threat for Jon Jones,” he said. He’s got a high-level grappling game and he’s got a different dimension that a lot of 205-ers don’t have.”

La N Sang went on to say that Rockhold will be able to perform much better at light heavyweight due to the easy weight cut.

“205 is a better weight class for Luke. He is so much stronger at 205. He walks around naturally at 225 so he’s a big, big guy.”

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FLORIDA (TR) – The sun-drenched landscape of Fort Lauderdale may seem a world away from the Japanese metropolis of Tokyo, but for Aung La N Sang(“The Burmese Python”) the two cities are intimately connected, representing both his present and future.

Inside the renowned Hard Knocks 365 gym, the ONE Championship’s Light Heavyweight and Middleweight World Champion is deep in camp preparing for his upcoming middleweight title defense against Japan’s Ken Hasegawa.

The two square off for the second time in their careers at the event “A New Era” which will be held at the iconic Ryogoku Kokugikan on March 31.

The pair’s first clashed was last June at “Spirit Of A Warrior,” in what is considered the greatest World Title bout in ONE Championship history. “The Burmese Python” emerged victorious from the bruising encounter, stopping Hasegawa in the fifth. However, the back and forth nature of the contest meant a rematch was inevitable.

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When Dana White wrapped the belt around Kamaru Usman’s waist at UFC 235, the victory extended beyond an individual accomplishment. After years of being one of the best coaches in the world, Henri Hooft finally had a UFC champion, and his team, Hard Knocks 365, could finally claim they won gold at the highest level.

The moment was a powerful one—not only for “The Nigerian Nightmare”—but his training partners as well, including Missouri’s Evan Elder.

A relatively new member of Hard Knocks 365, the 21-year-old lightweight was deeply inspired to see the ultimate success of a friend who he battles inside the gym.

“For one, it was awesome knowing I train at the same gym as that guy,” Elder told FloCombat. “Number two, that guy is an awesome guy anyways. It even made me a little emotional seeing how emotional he got after the fight. Just like all of us, we put so much time and effort into all of this. It’s awesome to see that pay off.

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