“I Can Stand with Almost Anyone Inside the Cage” – Q&A with Alex Zaya

ARMY veteran and TAEKWONDO Specialist Alex Zaya will be stepping inside the Cage for the 2nd time this year. This will be for Premiere Combat Groups Amateur Mixed Martial Arts event at Cowboys Dance Hall in San Antonio, TX on April 6th. Here’s a few words with the man.
Alex Zaya

sPidA: Since making your amateur MMA debut in Austin, TX for CAGE WAR earlier this year, how has your training changed if any?

Zaya: Well I took the fight on short notice and just came off of an injury. Only trained for a month. I’ve been mostly a boxer and worked on my stand up but I’ve been training a lot on my ground game with BTT/Texas. I’ve done a lot of strength & conditioning. I am in better shape than my last fight.

sPidA: Will fighting in your hometown add any pressure since friends and family will be in attendance?

Zaya: Yes, fighting in front of family and friends scares the heck out of me. I know I can stand with almost anyone inside the cage. I plan on stopping his ground attack and take him-out standing.

sPidA: This will be your 2nd fight in 2013…you looking to stay busy this year?

Zaya: I honestly don’t know because my children are getting older and they need me more and more. If I can find a balance I will continue to fight. I know my opponents will only get harder with each fight. My skills are decent but will get better as well.

sPidA: Your first fight was a stand up war, are you looking to test your ground game or pretty much taking it where it goes?

Zaya: My ground game is designed to get off the ground and to not get submitted or ground and pounded out but if I have an opportunity I’ll go for a submission.

sPidA: Who’s helping you with your training for this fight? Will they also be coaching you the night of the fight?

Zaya: Well of course Santo Randazzo will be in my corner and my other coach is with BTT and has 3 other fighters competing on the same card, so its just Randazzo but I am used it just being us.

sPidA: Any one you would like to thank before we wrap this up?

Zaya: I would like to thank GOD for my ability, health and children. My Coach Santo Randazzo for always having my back. Thank you Arlene Alveraz for pushing me. Thanks Sergio and Richard from BTT for beating me up in BJJ. My friends and family for supporting me.

PREMIERE COMBAT GROUP / May 19th @ Cowboys Dance Hall in San Antonio, TX

Premiere Combat Group has done it once more. Bringing a great fight card and a night of great Mixed Martial Arts action. Being the longest running promotion in San Antonio, PCG has definitely turned itself into a legit business.  Thank you both Trevor Bird and Jennifer Ray for making San Antonio your home! Here is the fight card as of May 9th. Don’t wait to long as these shows have been selling out…..SEE YOU THERE!

Bout 1: Daniel Ownes /1-2/ ALIVE MMA -vs- James Lenten / 0-1/Victoria MMA  (185lbs)

Bout 2: Max Trevino /0-0 / LAREDO MMA -vs- Pablo Ramos /0-0/ XTREME MMA  (205lbs)

Bout 3: Brent Edlemen /0-0/ Marra Senki -vs-  Steven Trevino /1-1/ Rodrigo Pinheiro  (170lbs

Bout: 4 Chris Jackson /1-0/ South Austin Gym -vs- Kevin Troyer /1-0/ Vandry BJJ  (145lbs)

Bout 5: Aaron Gomez /1-2 / Weapons at Hand -vs- Alfredo Vargas /1-0 / Texas Fighting Syndicate (125lbs)

Bout 6: Eric Hallier /0-0 / Marra Senki -vs- Tommy Guerrero /1-0/ PARAGON BJJ  (155lbs)

Bout 7:Josh Lazarte  /2-1 / Weapons at Hand -vs- Phillip Gomez  /2-3 / BRUTAL MMA  (135lbs)

Bout 8: Luis de los Santos /Submission Concepts /0-0/ -vs- Tyler Keen /2-0/ New Braunfels Brawlers (145lbs)

Bout 9 (MAIN EVENT)

Jessica Prado LAREDO MMA / 0-0 / -vs- Katherine Roy /0-0 / WARRIORS EDGE (125lbs)

“I am determined to prove everyone that has said I can’t – WRONG!” A few words from Tommy “GUNN” Guerrero

Danny Flick , Josh Rios , Polo Sanchez and Tommy"GUNN"Guerro

sPidA: Your coming off a great win on your MMA debut, was a submission your game plan or were you just prepared where ever it went?

Guerrero:For my debut i was ready for anything, i just wanted to make the fight entertaining for the fans and for everyone that came out to support me. This was my debut, i had been waiting for this moment for years so i didnt want to lose my first fight. When i got to the venue i was thinking i would be neverous walking to the cage but i was mentally and physically prepared, i was not nervous at all and i was very calm during my fight. It was just the right time to do work.

sPidA: You representing a great fight team, what guys do you have out there pushing you to reach your limits?

Guerrero: Man Full Contact Fight Academy is full of talent. We have guys like Hector Munoz, Roger Narvaez,Cory Bellino,and Josh Rios to name a few. These guys push me to the limit and they do not take it easy on me lol, at the same time they help alot. I am greatful to be part of such a great team and although the Flick brothers are not in town anymore , they too helped me so much. My jiu jitsu coach Aurelio Gallegos also has alot to do with us being well versed in the ground game.

sPidA : Has competing in MMA been in the works or was seeing your training partners compete just motivate you to do so?

Guerrero: To be honest i have been training MMA since 2007 and i was supposed to make my debut a few years back but things just kept on happening, then in 2009 i herniated 2 discs and that just set me back even further. I was so depressed that i couldnt train or do anything but be in pain. My doctor told me that i was never going to train or be the same again and i was determined to prove him and everyone else that said i wouldnt train again wrong. So i did alot of research and found a book online from a Dr. who specailized in spinal injuries. I bought that and followed his directions and i also found a local chiropracter who had a drx – 9000 (spinal decompression machine) and nearly a year later i was back at it.

sPidA: You’ve been to Cowboys Dance Hall before making your debut, what are your thoughts on the place, enjoy yourself there as a fan?

Guerrero: Cowboys Dance Hall is a great place for MMA! So many fans come out to not only support their local mma fighter but the sport of mma and that is awsome.They also advertise pretty well, facebook, the radio etc. so they are pretty popular.  As a fan of MMA myself I enjoy watching the fights, Jen does a awsome job of match making and that makes for some exciting fights.

spidA: I know your Team trains in all aspects of the fight game, is there one your better at(strking/grappling) are you still improving both?

Guerrero: I am still improving on both. I love the stand up game and my jiu jitsu is good. our jiu jitsu program run by Aurelio Gallegos is one of the best in Texas. We have 3 BJJ Black Belts in one place and so many technical jiu jitsu guys so our ground game is no joke. Our stand up is second to non, Hector Munoz has very technical kickboxing and im eager to get to the level he is at. I just need to let my hands go on this next fight and thats what we are working on. My hands are good, i have been boxing since 2001 but soon enough i will show what my hands are like, and with kicks being involved its just even better because i love to throw combos that end with kicks.

sPidA:  With promotions like M1 Global,BELLATOR and the UFC are you setting your goals to reach these promtotions?

Guerrero: I would love to fight for anyone of those promotions. Bellator puts on some awsome fights and the possibility of fighting for them is more realistic since they travel alot and have come to our area a few times. Id also like to fight in Japan, But of course the UFC is the main one. Im far from it but i will do my best to get there.

sPidA: What was the first live MMA bout you had seen, do you remember your thoughts on watching it live?

Guerrero: My first live event was one of the Renegade Extreme Fighting fights back in the day. A family friend from my home town of Alice, Texas would fight and i got to go with him and I got to be back stage. I also had my seconds license at 17 so being around the fighters and guys like Rocky Long and Carlo Prater who were very friendly got me hooked! Just to see the fighters before their fight, during and after was just like wow, these guys just put it all out there, i couldnt wait to get my turn. Oh and i got to meet my favortie fighter Yves Edwards at one of the Renegade Events in Houston that was a great night lol

sPidA: When not training, whats a chill day for you? (unwind,TV, Flying a kite ,<~kidding)

Guerrero: I am a huge History buff so i like to read up on history when ever i can. I also work in the I.T field so dealing with new technology is common so i like to read up and learn about how things work and how i can become a better I. T Professional. I also like to watch Ghost Adventures and Nat Geo and i cant forget playing Xbox live, That is always fun. But most importantly Im really close to my family, so when im not training i like to spend as much time as i can with them. I work 8-5, then go home to get my things and head to Corpus by 5:30. It takes me about 45 min to get to the gym so if they are home after 5 i get to see them briefly but usually they are not and by the time i get home from training my mom and step dad are asleep and my sisters are at their houses. You know time flies and i see my nieces and nephews growing up so fast it makes me sad that im not involved more in their lives. I wish that i could spend more time with everyone but one day this life i have chosen will be worth it.

sPidA: With a nickname like GUNN, can your opponents always expect an all out war,who gave you the nickname or how did it come about?

Guerrero: The nick name Tommy Gunn has been around since i was a kid. Before i chose to fight the older guys would say “whats up Tommy Gunn” so when i decided to fight i knew what i was gonna use. My opponents should expect to go all out for 15 minutes because thats what i train for but with the Gunns (my striking) should be what they worry about, but Im always ready for anything and everything.

sPidA: Is your family involved in your choice of acticities,how has their reaction been to watching your fight or hearing of it?

Guerrero: My family is very supportive of what i do.Since my jiu jitsu tournaments they have always been involved and now MMA they want to be there for me. My mom doesnt agree with it but she accepts it lol. She will see when i buy her a house one day that I chose a good profession. One of my sisters and uncles got to see my fight live along with one of my nieces and nephews and numerous cousins so they were very excited when i won. When i got home my family including my mom who never wants to hear about it was asking details lol so it was cool to come home with my first victory. There will be more to come thats for sure and hopefully they will be recorded so i can show my grandpa who is now a MMA fan. He used to bad mouth the guys hugging on the ground but now he is retired and watches alot of MMA reruns so he likes to see his favorite fighter Urijah Faber fight lol. He was so upset when Mike Brown beat Faber, he now hates Mike Brown. He also appreciates the submissions, its funny to sit with him and watch fights with the things he says like grab the arm and the neck so i hope we will be watching my fights on his tv or he will be watching me fights live on tv.

sPidA: If you could fight any other athlete in the world(non MMA) whom would it be and why?

Guerrero: If i could fight any other athlete non MMA I would have to choose Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore lol just kidding id say i would like to fight Juan Manuel Marquez. Not because i dont like him, because i think he is one of the best Mexican boxers out there. So if i got to fight him i would get to say i fought a legend in the sport of boxing. For some reason i also want to say Eli Manning because im a Dallas Cowboy fan and he upsets me alot lol
sPidA: Thank you for your time bro,I’ll be seeing ya come May, anything else you’d like to blast to end this inreview?

Guerrero: Your welcome and Thank you for taking the time to interview me. I know im just coming up but i intend to make a name for my self in MMA. I just want to thank the Lord for another day of life and for me being able to do the things im doing now and for the people in my life. I want to thank my family who I love very much for being there for me and put up with me. My friends who support what i do and my team mates and coaches who put it on me and help me prepare for my fights or tournaments. and to the MMA fans who come out to support their fighter, thank you for making this sport a great one!

“THERE’S NO CRYING HERE” Interview with Lisa Villegas by sPidA

Earlier this year, I was able to catch up with Elizabeth (Lisa) Villegas at her Ammy MMA debut for the Premiere Combat League in San Antonio @ Cowboys Dance Hall. Lets get right to it!

spida: How long have you been involved in Martial Arts?

Elizabeth: My brother Robert has been doing this since like forever. Can’t rember when exactly but since we were kids. I used to help him practice by holding his mitts but I didn’t get into it till a few years ago.

spida: So you came back to train with him?

Elizabeth: Yes. I wanted to start working out and lose weight so I came to him. I really liked it, not the getting hit part but the hitting people part. (laughter)

spida: With the recent ZUFFA buy out of STRIKEFORCE, do you think they will they keep the women’s MMA division going? What are your thoughts?

Elizabeth: Women train just as hard as the men. They should keep it going and even start one in the UFC. I think people in general will pay to watch women compete in MMA or any combat sport in general.

spida: You had your Ammy MMA debut here in San Antonio @ Cowboys Dance Hall, were you prepared physically and mentally going into the fight?

Elizabeth: Oh yes! I trained hard for months. Everyday for hrs. I was ready physically but it didnt register till days closer to the fight. My kids were worried, I was thinking the worst and when I saw my opponent, I was thinking , wow, I’m really doing this.

spida: Your opponent was a muay thai champion, how do you feel knowing that you were able to stand up with someone that actually held a title?

Elizabeth: I felt great! I mean, I need a lot of work but I felt really good. I can fight on the ground but I’m definetly a stand up fighter.

spida: How is training with your brother? I met him years back @ Battle at the Beach. I think it was “04” but even then he looked great and comfortable fighting.

Elizabeth: My brother is a great coach – he’s hardcore! He doesnt like weakness. He’ll kick me – he’ll punch me. He doesnt take it easy on me.

spida: Thats cool, not the him punching you part (laughter) but obviously he doesnt take it easy on you because your his sister.

Elizabeth: Oh no, when I’m in the gym, I’m his student. He doesn’t take it easy on me at all. If I’m crying he’ll tell me, “Don’t be crying! Are you going to cry in the Cage, “THERE’S NO CRYING HERE!”

spida: I take it thats where the mental toughness comes in. What I mean is, you’re in a fight and your opponent wont be taking it easy on you. You have 2 boys, correct? How old are they and are they involved in sports or martial arts?

Elizabeth: I do and they’re 9 and the oldest is 15. The youngest is enrolled at my brothers school. My oldest is more into school sports like track and football but does jiu-jitsu at my brothers too.

spida: Say your oldest decides he wants to fight in MMA, what’s your stance on that?

Elizabeth: Ahh..I don’t think I would like that. I mean we’ve talked about it but I wouldn’t want him to.

spida: I probably understand why you wouldn’t but just to be sure, why wouldn’t you want him to fight in MMA when you’re doing it yourself?

Elizabeth: Because, he’s my baby! I wouldnt want him to get punched or hurt!

spida: What’s next for you? Are you looking to fight again anytime soon?

Elizabeth: I had something set up but they couldnt find me an opponent at my weigh class so I’m looking to drop to 170 and make sure I can get an opponent. Hopefully within the next few months.

spida: So what’s your training regimen like right now? Are you still training to fight or taking it easy?

Elizabeth: I train right after work. I head to my brothers gym and do the womens kickboxing class, the mens muay-thai and then jiu-jitsu. After that we hit the gym and I’m on the treadmill and elliptical. We do different things everyday such as weights, machines, just mix it up! It’s only 3-4hrs a day.

spida: Only? Wow! That’s enough for me for a week. (laughter) What are you looking to do? Keep fighting Ammy or possibly Pro?

Elizabeth: Yes, thats the plan. Not sure how many Ammy fights I need to turn Pro but thats the plan. I mean I’m up there in age so I dont feel like I have that much time left.

spida: Okay I wont even go there! (laughter by both) With your busy schedule, what is your daily routine like?

Elizabeth: It’s hard but I manage! My boys stay with there dad while I train. Sunday is all about family. We have dinner, go to the movies and just spend time together but like I said, I dont want to be doing this for 10yrs.

spida: Do your bosses know that you’re training and fighting?

Elizabeth: Yes they know a bout me fighting. They’re very supportive and know I have a set schedule. They support me and help me with my hrs at work. They were there at my fight! When I went back to work everybody was excited and glad with my win.

spida: We have a mutual friend Elektra. How much has she helped you? Is she your cheerleader?

Elizabeth: (laughter by both) Yes, oh my, she is a little lady but she is hard on me. She’s my number one fan! She’s always pumps me up at the gym and even for my fight.

spida: I am a huge supporter of women MMA. Thank you Lisa for taking time away from your busy schedule for this. Any last words or comments?

Elizabeth: I’d like to thank my brother and coach Robert Villegas. My friends and everybody at my great team mates and everyone at the school. Especially Elektra! She has been their not just in the gym but as a really great friend. My parents who don’t support this but I would like to definetly thank them. You guys too, thank you.