El Orgullo del Valle Post Fight Analysis

jeff bonugli
[Photo courtesy of SouthTexasContender.com]
Fight promoter Jeff Bonugli was looking for fighters, and he got them. Ryan Spann out of Beaumont opened last Saturday night’s “El Orgullo del Valle” fight event with hands and feet blazing. Although his opponent, Robert Zamora, outweighed him by 26 pounds, it was a mismatch from the beginning, but in Spann’s favor. Spann is the kind of fighter one hates to fight; a towering 6’5 inches tall, with not an ounce to spare on his lean frame of 183 pounds. You take into account also his 82 inch reach, and it spells trouble. Spann, who trains with American Top Team in Beaumont came into this fight 1-0 as a pro, determined to extend his win record. A game Zamora (training out of Mission with Robert Torres) initiated the fray by moving in on Spann with a front kick. After a brief exchange Spann connected with a blistering round house kick to Zamora’s rib cage, which visibly hurt him. The fight went to the ground, and at 2:25 of the first round Spann applied a rear naked choke to end the match.

Julio Villarreal, (McAllen) got into the fight game to lose weight. To that end, he’s been successful, losing over one hundred pounds since taking up mixed martial arts. It wasn’t enough against Christopher Lopez out of San Antonio, though. Lopez quickly got down to business in his match with Villarreal, causing ref Jake Montalvo to stop the match at 1:39 of the first round, when Villarreal was unable to defend himself against the pounding Lopez was doling out. Coming into the match at 1-0, the very humble Lopez voiced no unreasonable expectations about his future. “I’ll take this game as far as it takes me. I’ll be happy with the results, what ever they are.” His immediate short range goal? “I want to meet again the guy I lost to as an amateur. I want to beat him.” He sports 5 wins and one loss as an amateur, and the fight he lost took place in January 2011, in a fight against Jared Perez that went the distance. The 28 year old Lopez, a marathon runner, fights out of Rangel Vale Tudo, and at age 28 is a veteran of the United States Marines. He’s a recent graduate from UTSA. Not exactly sure why, but this writer is partial to him.

You have to hand it to Gabe Reynaga. At 40 years old he took on 24 year old Jordan Morgan. Twice he attempted a spin back kick on Morgan, and each time Morgan walked on him. To Reynaga’s credit, he stayed in the fight, going the distance with Morgan, who won by unanimous decision.

One has difficulty not liking Ray Rodriguez out of New Braunfel’s “Warrior’s Edge. The kid exudes optimism. He was facing a tough Jean Cartagena Maldonado, fighting out of Seguin MMA, just 15 minutes down the road from where Rodriguez trains. The fact that Maldonado holds a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu did not faze Ray. Given his record, Maldonado is no pushover. He came into this fight 1-1 as a pro, with 6 straight wins as an amateur. Strange as this may seem, I felt he should have stuck to his standup in this fight. He has good standup, with very strong kicks and good hands, which, for the little I saw, I rated superior to Ray’s. Yeah, but his strength is in jiu jitsu, and that’s where he continued to go. Explain that to Ray Rodriguez, who put him in a guillotine hold in 54 seconds of the third round!

Alex Hernandez of Ohana quickly overwhelmed Mission’s David Salazar to end the fight in 34 seconds of the first round. Salazar had taken the fight on two weeks notice. One may be physically prepared, but it is the mental game which is tasked.

Jorge Cortez out of Ultra Fit MMA in Harlingen also took this fight on very short notice, but what a fight this was between him and Cory Bellino out of Full Contact Fight Academy in Corpus Christi! Bellino bloodied Cortez in the first round, but Cortez was landing punches as well, in an exciting round of stand up. In the second and third rounds, Bellino took Cortez to the mat, where he had the advantage, as Cortez seemed to be enjoying the stand up game. A close, exciting fight with all judges scoring it 28-29 in favor of Bellino.

Up to this point, every fight has been exciting! One would think the action would slow down. Not so. Next up was Matt Mooney of El Gallero Den in Mission, versus Juan Chapa, also out of Mission. This was probably the most evenly matched fight of the night, with both fighters debuting as pros with an amateur record of 1-0, with both fighters winning their match by submission. So you ask, if the fight only lasted 35 seconds, what was so exciting about it? Those were 35 seconds of great stand up, pure toe to toe confrontation. And then Matthew goes and stops it all by submitting Chapa with an arm bar, which Chapa admits he walked right in to, by thinking he could take Matt out with his hands. Chapa, who lost, will also be on the June Orgullo del Valle card.

Jose Ceja, making his pro debut, represented promoter Bonugli’s Green Ghost Academy in a match against jiu jitsu purple belt Rene Gonzalez, also out of Mission. Ceja landed a hard shot over Gonzalez’ left eye early on, and continued to put on the pressure for three rounds. This fight began with a bang and finished in like manner; action packed, with Ceja taking the fight by unanimous decision.

Up to this point, it had been a night of continuous action, seemingly one exciting fight after another, with each succeeding fight seemingly better than the last. Could it get any better? The best was yet to come. The much ballyhooed co main event between Leroy Martinez and Ricky Palacios was in the offing. There had been much smack talk and insults traded between the two men and their camps, situated only miles apart in Mission. Ricardo “El Gallero” Palacios was coming into this event 4 pounds over weight at 139 pounds, versus Leroy “El Guapo” Martinez at the required 135. Ricky was sporting a record of 1-0 as a pro, and 6-0 as an amateur, all by KO, something which surely did not escape Martinez, whose pro record was 1-1, with an amateur record of 2-2. No one was disappointed at the effort expended by the two. There had been the attempted psyche and shoving between the two at the weigh ins, and this continued into the ring. Palacio’s fight skills are evident in his record to this point; nonetheless, one danger in over confidence can be that training may be allowed to lag. In the first round, Martinez did every thing right. When going up against a striker of the caliber of Palacios, one takes the game to the ground, and Martinez was doing a good job with this. His attempts to get Palacios into a submission hold in the first round failed, but in this writer’s view, the first round went to Martinez. The second round, Palacios got into his game, eluding attempts to be taken to the ground, tagging Martinez at least a couple of times with hard shots to the face, softening him for a clean knockout at 1:22 of the second round.

The much anticipated duel between two good fighters is over, for the time being at least. One writer calls it a total win for the Palacios camp, citing this and two other wins. I don’t agree with his analysis. The first round was too close, and it gets tougher from here, with each fight getting progressively tougher as opponents study his style. Rick’s ground game needs work. Why is this important? You have in Rick Palacios a genuine knockout artist. Consider this: 6 -0 as an amateur, all six wins by KO. 1-0 as a pro boxer, this also by knock out. 2-0 as a pro, both by knock out. Nine fights, 9 KO’s. Future opponents would be foolish not to study his game, as did Leroy Martinez. Nullifying his standup is essential, as Martinez almost did. My advice would be to heal the breach between camps. Sparring partners like Leroy Martinez who can help with the ground game can be a blessing. Both fighters will benefit from each other’s experience. Heal the breach.

We come to the main event, Aaron Rosa versus Tony Melton. Tony Melton entered the fight a solid 264 pounds, the kind of opponent who will pose a threat to any unprepared fighter. He entered this event sporting a 7-3 pro record, and 1-0 as a pro K-1 kickboxer. All his MMA bouts have been almost exclusively stand up. And yes, Aaron Rosa came into the fight, by his own standards, less prepared than desired, and well over his fighting weight. His employment, entailing long hours, has eaten into his training time, and he had been able to train only sporadically. Predictably, the fight evolved into a boxing match, with Rosa having to fight Melton’s game. In a closely fought stand up game, Rosa won by decision, by virtue of landing more punches.

El Orgullo del Norte, first event is now in the past. It has all the markings of a first class event. If Jeff Bonugli has his way, it will come one day to match the UFC in drawing power and excellence.

A look inside Brazilian Top Team – Texas

“I don’t want you to just train at Brazilian Top Team, I want you to be a part of Brazilian Top Team”

Over the next few months I will try and provide an overall picture of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts gyms in San Antonio and Austin, Texas.

I will start with Brazilian Top Team – Texas, located in San Antonio. Brazilian Top Team – Texas is owned and operated by Professor Marcello Salazar Bergo. Marcello is a Third Degree Black Belt under Murilo Bustamante, a Fifth Degree Black Belt under the renowned Carlson Gracie. Professor Bustamante is also one of the founders of Brazilian Top Team.

It was not hard to research Marcello due to his volumes of videos on the web and titles in wrestling, grappling, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).  Sherdog  has Marcello listed as 8-1(6 victories by submission) as a professional MMA fighter.

I was able to sit down with Marcello after he finished teaching a BJJ class this past Tuesday night and here is what he had to stay;

Nomad: Please tell me about yourself?
Marcello: I was born in Rio de Janeiro on 27 March 1981. I am married to Larissa Gruenzner and have two children, Katarina Bergo and Olav Bergo.

Nomad: When did you first start training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Marcello: I started training BJJ and Judo at the age of eight, under Coach Juarez Soares, he only teaches kids classes. I stopped training for a few years then when I was fifteen I began training again…

Nomad: What was it like to training under the legendary Carlson Gracie?
Marcello: Carlson made the difference! We never knew what to expect when he would taught. I didn’t have the opportunity to train with him longer because he moved to USA. I remember him as a legend and the father of everything, he made the best fighters of the history and each one who trained with him still carrying part of his BJJ Style. Once Carlson moved to the United States and I began training under Murilo Bustamante and Mario Sperry. My BJJ philosophy still the same: You don’t just train at Brazilian Top Team – Texas… You are a part of Brazilian Top Team – Texas!

Nomad: Please tell me about your training under the Murilo Bustamante?
Marcello: Bustamante is a great leader to the team. He made history competing MMA and BJJ, his career was very successful. It is a honor to have him as my professor and friend.

Nomad: When did you receive your Black belt?
Marcello: I received by Black belt at the age of 24.

Nomad: How did you get the nick name “Barbarian”?
Marcello: They started call me the “Barbarian” because I always had the same song to fight: The Anvil of Crom.

Nomad: When did you come to the United States?
Marcello: About five years ago I signed with the extinct IFL to fight in USA. Also, I was invited to come to the United States to teach two UFC fighters, Mike Pierce and Rick Story. During that time I began exploring the idea to stay and open a new BTT school in California with my friend Marcelo Perdomo, however; ended up with the opportunity to own BTT – Texas and I took it, this was largely due to Bill Bradley.

Nomad: Tell me about your gym?
Marcello: BTT – Texas is a 9000 square foot training facility. We have 2,500 square foot of mat space, full MMA cage, weight training area, striking area, and lockers and showers. My wife, Larissa; is the manager, Nancy Martinez is our conditioning trainer, Richard Smith is our striking coach, Sam Hudson is our kids BJJ instructor and I am the head BJJ instructor. Also, I have few high rank students who help me with the classes.

Nomad: Do you have any black belts under you?
Marcello: Yes, I have two. Bill Bradley, owner of BTT – Portland and Christofer Easter who serves in the United States Armed Forces.

Nomad: What is your teaching philosophy?
Marcello: My philosophy is teach the BJJ Life Style, that means use the sport to increase the life quality. I have been sharing my experiences with my students, on the mat I learned more about myself and how interact as a human being.

On the mat I learned: how be tough, have discipline, care about my nutrition, work as a team and help teammates… Doing BJJ I have been making friends since I was a little kid: poor friends, rich, famous, anonymous… On the mat we are all equal and with different talents!
The loyalty is the key of our success, the result of one is the result of all because we all carry the same flag. I am proud to be part of this team and I can see that all the guys feel the same.

Nomad: Who is mostly responsible for your success in BJJ and MMA?
Marcello: For sure, it’s the people who I have around me since I started. My professor taught me BJJ not only to fight in IBJJF tournaments, because the Federation didn’t exist when I started, it was before the first world championship. We trained BJJ without rules as a self-defense, what made BJJ popular after defeat other styles of fight. That old school style is effective to fight, since I started I have been competing with success in: BJJ, Grappling, Wrestling, Sambo, and MMA. Our philosophy is always be open to innovate, adapt and create techniques. I get ready to fight by training with my students.

Nomad: You recently had two other Black Belts, Eduardo Ramos and Vinicius Gahyva, visiting your school, please tell us about them.
Marcello: They’re two great guys, Eduardo is a heavyweight who likes to play guard, Vinicius is a lightweight who likes to play on the top. I know them for more than 10 years and it is good to have the opportunity to bring them over here to train with the team.
I always have some black belts who come to visit our school, usually friends of mine from Rio de Janeiro. Also, I have two black belts under me in BTT-Texas and sometimes the guys from BTT-Plano come from Dallas to do cross-training.

Nomad: Do you plan on competing again?
Marcello: Oh yeah. I plan to never stop competing!
I like to feel the adrenaline of the challenged… The pain of the loss and the glory of the victory working together to make me a better fighter.

Nomad: What’s is on the horizon for BTT – Texas?
Marcello: We are in the process of opening a new BTT in Corpus Christi. The gym will be ran by my long time friend, Robert Moreira, a Fifth Degree BJJ Black Belt.

Nomad: How would you describe BTT – Texas?
Marcello: I don’t want BTT – Texas to just be a BJJ gym where we only open the doors for our classes. I want us to be more like a club, where the doors are always open and if you want to train then you just come. I want this gym to be much like the gym I was raised up in while in Brazil. A place to come and meet friends, grow as a person, learn Jiu Jitsu, share stories, and have fun.

Nomad: Do you have any last words for our readers?
Marcello: BTT – Texas wants to provide an environment where people of any background, experience and fitness level can learn and train in mixed martial arts, the core being Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gi and Nogi, Wrestling, Muay Thai and Boxing.

BTT – Texas will have five Amateur MMA fighters on the Alamo Showdown 4 card this August 31, 2012. Christopher Frazier, Caleb Murphree, and Edward Rodriguez will be making their MMA debut. Parker Reid will be looking for his fourth win and Jewel Snell will be fighting for the ABG Featherweight Title.

Professor Marcello Salazar Bergo can be contacted at:
BTT – Texas
5345 Glen Ridge Drive
San Antonio, TX. 78229
Phone: 210-248-9255
Email: brazilian.topteam.texas@gmail.com

TexasFighting.com’s Nomad invited to “The Big Easy”


At a recent submission tournament held in San Antonio, Spida Garay, and I were speaking about my travels around the world and how great it would be to share my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) training experiences with all the TexasFighting.com readers. So here goes.

This week I’m in New Orleans “The Big Easy”, Louisiana and honored to be the guest of Professor Matthias Meister, Owner and Head Instructor of NOLABJJ, Brazilian Jiu JItsu of New Orleans. Professor Matthias was born and raised in Switzerland. In 1986, after serving his country in the Swiss Army he moved to the United States. Not long after arriving in the United States, Professor Matthias became interested in BJJ after watching Royce Gracie fight in the first UFC event. Professor Matthias had already studied Judo as a teen so BJJ was not a strange sport for him. Professor Matthias received his black belt in 2009 under Professor Raphael Ellwanger, promoted through Carlos Gracie Jr.

Upon first entering NOLABJJ I was taken aback by the personality of the gym. This is one of the nicer BJJ gyms I have trained at in the United States. I would describe NOLABJJ as a modern MMA gym meets a restored old brick warehouse. The BJJ training area, 1,300 sq. ft., is outfitted with clean, well kept, Zebra mats.

After class I was able to interview Professor Matthias. When asked about his training philosophy, Matthias provided that his teachings “are all about fundamentals.” Matthias continued, “I try to stay on top of new moves as much as I can, but I realized a long time ago that without a solid understanding of the fundamental moves it is impossible to execute any advanced or complex moves.” Professor Matthias concluded with “This sport is a passion for me and I want to pass this on; it makes me happy when I see a student get hooked in BJJ since I know the huge benefits it holds for your mental and physical we being.”

While training at NOLABJJ I meet Victor Garza, a blue belt. Victor is originally from La Joya, Texas and began his BJJ training in Temecula, California under Professor Ricardo Guimaraes and Master Royler Gracie, while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. Victor told me that he has been training under Professor Matthias “for a little over a year and a half” and “NOLABJJ is by far the best school in New Orleans and offers several different styles of martial arts to its students.” Victor ended with, “We are blessed to have three black belts guiding us along the journey.”

From the moment I walked into the NOLABJJ I was impressed! NOLABJJ students were very welcoming and Professor Matthias made me feel at home. The gym was very clean, well kept, and well lit. I enjoyed training at NOLABJJ and being mentored by two black belts and a brown belt on the mat. I also enjoyed watching Professors Marco and Matthias roll with each other, it was very insightful. NOLABJJ was founded in 2000 and was the first BJJ school to become established in the Greater New Orleans area. NOLABJJ is a solid center for BJJ, with about 100 students enrolled, in the South and boasts three black belts; Professors Marco Macera, Edward Lirette, and Matthias Meister, for instructors. NOLABJJ also offers yoga, kickboxing, wrestling, and Sambo. The only down fall would be lack of parking.

The next time you travel to New Orleans please stop by and train with NOLABBJJ. NOLABJJ is located at 4521 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA., for more details please visit their web site at nolabjj.

Take a stroll with King Webb through Seguin MMA & CrossFit Gym

About Seguin MMA – (from SeguinMMA.com)
Seguin MMA offers a variety of fitness options to suit your needs such as classes that can benefit everyone from the average gym workout to professional mixed martial artists. Seguin MMA offers great instructors, equipment, & facilities all under one roof, allowing you to get an entire well rounded workout at one location.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art and combat sport that focuses on grappling and ground fighting. Like judo, it promotes the principle that smaller, weaker person can successfully defend themselves against a bigger, stronger assailant using leverage and proper technique; applying joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat them. BJJ can be trained for self defense, sport grappling tournaments (gi and no-gi) and mixed martial arts (MMA) competition. Sparring (commonly referred to as ‘rolling’) and live drilling play a major role in training.

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) combines boxing, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and muy thai to form a comprehensive system that can be enjoyed for fitness, competition, and self defense. At Seguin MMA you can take your training to the level you desire. Our instructors are highly skilled and experienced. Contact us today to find out how we can help you meet your training goals.

Thai Boxing (Muay Thai) is an ancient martial art incorporating fists, knees, kicks, and elbows. It’s success cannot be denied in modern combat sports. At Seguin MMA we offer expert instruction that can take you from right where you are today to where you want to be. Get started today! Boxing – The art and science of western boxing can be practiced for sport, fitness, and fun. At SMMA we provide access to a dedicated training facility, quality training partners, and a level of instruction that is second to none.