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Following his impressive win in Phoenix, Augusto Mendes eyeing top 15 fight in Fortaleza

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After scoring the biggest win of his young MMA career in Phoenix, Augusto Mendes is ready for his next fight. He picked up a win over Frankie Saenz and has already informed the UFC that he is ready to go. Next, he’d like a fight in his home country of Brazil.

Mendes picked up a split decision win over Saenz a couple of weeks ago in a back and forth battle. Despite scoring 2 knockdowns and controlling the majority of the fight, one judge scored the fight for the crowd favourite Saenz, which had Mendes on edge for a moment.

“I thought I was going to get a unanimous decision because in my mind I won the first and third rounds for sure,” Mendes said. “I lost the second because of the elbow but before that I was controlling the fight. I thought it was pretty clear that I won the first and third round and I was a little surprised that it was a split decision.”

Despite not getting the finish, “Tanquinho” was happy to get the W as it was a long road to Phoenix. After losing a fight on 5 days notice to current bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt last February, he spent almost a year healing from an ACL injury.

“I got hurt maybe 2 months after the fight with Cody,” Mendes explained. “I was training and it was an accident, it happens. I was defending a heel hook in the academy and my knee got stuck and I tore my ACL.”

“That was hard. It’s never easy going through surgery especially an ACL. It’s been like 8 months since my surgery and I stayed like 5 months and a half without training. Just doing rehabilitation, a lot of therapy and when about 5 months passed that’s when I started training.”

He would finally make his return in Phoenix in an event he asked to be on. Mendes has been living and training in Phoenix for the past 5 years at the MMA Lab as well as opening his own academy. Drawing the tough Frankie Saenz in his first fight back from surgery was a tall order but Mendes made the transition to MMA to fight the best.

“That’s why I signed with the UFC, to fight the toughest guys. I don’t choose fights, I just wanted to have a full camp and I can fight anyone. I work my ass off in the academy to be better every day and I don’t choose anyone. First it was Cody then it was Frankie Saenz and I want a top 15 next.”

He admits he took a risk by returning after 8 months and felt he could have used at least one more month to recover. However, he did not want to miss the opportunity to fight in front of his friends and students.

Mendes was able to show a very well rounded game as he mixed things up well with his striking and takedowns. Always feared for his world class jiu-jitsu, he showed much improved striking, scoring two knockdowns on Saenz.

Jan 15, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Augusto Mendes (left) against Frankie Saenz during UFC Fight Night at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

“A lot of people are talking about how my striking has developed over the past year but I was only working on it the past 2 months,” Mendes said. “Before that I had my ACL surgery, I was just doing therapy to my knee and I couldn’t even move so I know I’m going to get better.”

“I want to be a complete fighter not just a jiu-jitsu guy. When I have people worrying about my striking, my jiu-jitsu will shine. Right now everyone thinks about my jiu-jitsu and I’m going to surprise everyone with my hands so I’m working everyday to be a better athlete.”

Growing up in Brazil, Mendes like most young Brazilians wanted to be a soccer player. The influence of his older brother got him hooked onto jiu-jitsu and since then, “Tanquinho” hasn’t looked back. He achieved plenty of accolades competing, including the Rio Open Championship, Las Vegas Open championship and World Pro Trials championship, thriving in the world of jiu-jitsu. He also placed third in the Pan-American Championship, Brazilian National Championship and US open, achieving pretty much everything he could have aspired.

“In jiu-jitsu I already conquered everything that I wanted,” Mendes said. “MMA was completely new for me so I started to have goals.”

Now he has his eyes set on the top 15 and would like to return soon. After being sidelined for almost a year, Mendes is looking for at least 3 fights in 2017.

“I want to be active. I want to fight 3-4 times this year. If I don’t get Fortaleza, I’d like to fight in April, I want to be active this year. I want to fight someone in the top 15 and work my way up in the division so anyone who wants to face me, let’s get a fight.”

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Surveillance Video Shows Conor McGregor Smash Phone

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In a new video released by TMZ Sports, UFC star is shown knocking a phone down and smashing it in front of the Fountainebleau hotel located in Miami, Florida.

In true McGregor fashion, he followed up the destruction of the phone by doing his famous “billionaire strut.”

McGregor got into an altercation with Ahmed Abdirzak who was following and filming McGregor with his cell phone while McGregor and his entourage were leaving the hotel.

McGregor reportedly extended his hand to offer a hand shake, only to pull it back and smack the phone out of Abdirzak’s hand and proceeding to stomp on it.

After a few stomps, McGregor picks up the phone and walks away. He was later arrested, that same day, and has been charged with felony robbery and misdemeanor criminal mischief, which could land him in prison for up to 6 years.

McGregor has pled not guilty on all charges and is scheduled for trial beginning in May.

Abdirzak filed a lawsuit against McGregor stemming from the incident, but dropped his suit after the two sides worked out a settlement.

Abdirzak was reportedly demanding north of $15,000.

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INTERVIEW: John Kavanagh Talks Brave CF 13 in Belfast, Frans Mlambo’s Title Fight and SBG Ireland

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Renowned head coach of SBG Ireland, John Kavanagh has helped put Irish MMA on the map. With his star student and multiple time UFC champion, Conor McGregor taking over the MMA world, the two have opened up unlimited doors for the rest of the team.

Today, Kavanagh is leading some of the younger generation to world title fights and global organisations. On June 9th, one of his promising young fighters, Frans Mlambo will get a shot at gold when he takes on Stephen Loman for the Brave Combat Federation bantamweight title.

The two met back in the promotion’s first ever show in Bahrain when Loman picked up a unanimous decision win over Mlambo. It was a learning experience for the young South African who has picked up 3 straight finishes since. Kavanagh is confident that the former IMMAF world champion, Mlambo has all the tools to become champion.

Also competing on the Brave CF 13 card from SBG Ireland, is Cian Cowley (0-1) who takes on Daniel Olejniczak (2-1-1) and Tommy Martin (6-4) who takes on Wales’ Aidan James (1-0).

I spoke to John Kavanagh on the upcoming Brave CF 13 show, Mlambo’s improvements and the team’s preparation for their upcoming bouts. Check out the interview below.

Farah Hannoun: Brave Combat Federation are making their first trip to Europe, you’ve witnessed the organization’s growth so how excited are you to see them go to Belfast?

John Kavanagh: Brave is fast becoming one of the world’s biggest MMA shows so it’s of course great to have them visit Ireland. However, I would have preferred Dublin because that’s my hometown.

Farah Hannoun: Frans Mlambo is headlining the event, with a record of 5-2, he’s practically grown up in the cage, how proud are to see him turn things around with 3 straight finishes since losing to Loman the first time?

John Kavanagh: He’s earned that title shot with exciting finishes both by submission and KO. He’s finding his way in the cage nicely now.

Photo by Brave CF

Farah Hannoun: What adjustments has Mlambo made since the first fight with Loman? What do you feel like went wrong the first-time round?

John Kavanagh: His grappling was too weak back then. He’s one of the best strikers I’ve ever seen and now his grappling is catching up. Frans is one of the top 135lb fighters in the world.

Farah Hannoun: Cian Cowley is set to make the walk for the second time in his pro career when he takes on Daniel Olejniczak, in light of the legal issues he’s had the misfortune of dealing with, how hard was it for him to put all that aside and focus on the fight?

Photo by Severe MMA

John Kavanagh: Cian is very mature and focused. It’s not a problem for him to block out what’s going on outside.

Farah Hannoun: Also competing from SBG, is Tommy Martin who’s looking to bounce back when he takes on Aidan James, how’s he been looking at the gym and what can we expect from him?

John Kavanagh: Tommy is a technician. Clean striking, one of best doubles on my team and tidy on the ground. His opponent is similar, solid technician. This fight will be very interesting for those who like nice technique.

Farah Hannoun: You’ve played a massive role in the growth of Irish MMA, SBG and Conor McGregor. The impact that you and Conor have had has resulted in a lot of opportunities and a spotlight on the guys at the gym. Does the idea that people have the perception that the SBG guys get “special treatment” or extra opportunities bother you?

John Kavanagh: No, we’ve earned it 😉

Farah Hannoun: You must be really proud, bringing up a talent such as Frans from his IMMAF world champion days to now him getting a title shot at Brave CF, what are your thoughts on Frans as an individual and a fighter?

John Kavanagh: One of few 135lbs in the world with genuine 1 punch KO power. A very good singer and cook too!

Farah Hannoun: You wrote a mega successful book, Win or Learn, which is even a quote that people have been using a lot when competing in MMA. Your best-selling book was even translated to multiple languages and sold internationally which is incredible. Did you expect the book to be so successful when writing it and do you have plans on writing another one someday?

Photo via John Kavanagh Twitter

John Kavanagh: No, I thought maybe my mother would buy a few copies and that’d be it haha. I believe almost 50,000 sold worldwide and talk of a movie adaptation. It’s crazy. Maybe one more book when I’m retired.

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After his impressive finish over Niko Price at UFC Sao Paulo, Vicente Luque eyeing Darren Till

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When Luan Chagas was forced out of his fight versus Niko Price at UFC Sao Paulo, The UFC called Vicente Luque and he happily accepted.

He stepped in on short notice and took out one of the toughest surging welterweights in Niko Price.

He hurt Price with a counter right before locking in one of his favourite submissions, the D’arce choke. This marked Luque’s 5th win in 6 UFC outings making him one of the brightest young stars in the division.

“I wanted to go out there and have an impressive fight,” Luque said.

“I thought that was very important especially that I was coming off a 4 fight win streak then I had a loss so I wanted to keep that momentum. I think I did that and it definitely puts me back where I was before going after those top 15 guys.”

He now turns his attention to a fellow rising star, Darren Till. Till took out Cowboy Cerrone in the first round last month in Gdansk and Luque feels he would match up well with him.

“I would really like to fight Darren Till,” Luque said. “He’s a great striker and his last fight was really impressive against Cowboy. I’m a striker as well and I would love to test my striking and see who the best striker in the division is.”

Photo by Jeffrey Basinger

And should the UFC decide to go a different direction, Luque would be content fighting anyone in the top 15. With 5 wins and 5 finishes in the division, he feels he’s earned a high ranked opponent or a big name.

“I want a top 15 opponent for sure but if they don’t give me that I’ll be looking for someone with a big name,” Luque said. “Guys like Alan Jouban who already have a name and everybody knows who they are. Those are the guys that I want to be fighting.”

Another name Luque is interested in is Colby Covington who fought on the same card as him. Covington took out former title challenger Demian Maia and proceeded to cut a heavy promo, blasting the Brazilian crowd.

Covington’s harsh and controversial comments towards Brazil didn’t sit well for Luque who sees multiple benefits of fighting him.

“I definitely think that was disrespectful not only to Brazilians but to anybody that watches MMA,” Luque said. “I don’t think that’s the posture of an athlete. I don’t take it personally but I would love to fight him no matter what whether he was disrespectful or not because he’s a top contender.”

The welterweight division is arguably the most talked about division. With rising stars such as Darren Till, Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington and Mike Perry, Luque feels like his name should be thrown in the mix too.

“I think I’m getting up there and slowly getting my spot. I’m having good fights and I know what I’m capable of and that’s what I’m trying to show. I’m doing my thing and I feel that my fights speak for themselves.”

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