Robson Gracie Jr “Every event I’m going to be fighting, there’s going to be a family member by my side”

Robson Gracie Jr takes on Ameer Bashir at Bellator 234. Kharitonov vs Vassell is the headliner but intriguing fights bolster the entire card. The event emanates from Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel. The card is set to go Thursday, November 14th at 4:00 pm EST. The two welterweights are slated to fight on the preliminary portion of this Bellator MMA event. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu prodigy looks to notch another win under the Bellator banner.

Robson Gracie Jr

Gracie is quite enjoying his time overseas and notices similarities to home. He said, “Israel, Tel Aviv is an amazing place. I really love it. Reminds me a lot of Rio.”As much as Bashir is the next opponent, Gracie is looking at being better than the prior version of himself that entered a Bellator cage. Gracie stated, “I focus on my own efforts. I couldn’t see many things about him. So I trained anyway my style.”

The arrangement with Bellator has been one that Gracie greatly appreciates. Gracie stated, “I really like the guys here. The crew is really nice. I see the way they treat everybody so I’m really happy with them.” With 2019 coming to a close, Gracie is looking to fight three or four times next year.

The journey in Bellator MMA has been an individual journey but has also informed the collective legacy of the Gracies. He quipped, “It started with Neiman and then Royce. Every event I’m going to be fighting, there’s going to be a family member by my side.”

Bellator 234

Robson Gracie Jr competed on the same card where Neiman Gracie fought Rory MacDonald for the belt. These kinds of happenings galvanize Robson Gracie Jr’s spirit before competing. Gracie stated, “I feel more motivated when it’s a family member. So when I was in New York it was amazing. We did the full camp together. There’s a different energy of the thing when I have more than one at the same event.”

His brother also provides him a lot of insights. Gracie said, “Renzo, his experience is amazing.” Robson Jr has trained with individuals that invented the half guard. It’s quite amazing when you consider who Robson Gracie Jr has been able to learn from. Some of the most influential grappling minds of the last several generations.

Robson Gracie Jr also has an interest in fighting in Japan. The Gracies have a rich history competing over there and Bellator has a good relationship with JMMA promotion Rizin FF. As far as interest in a Rizin crossover fight, Gracie said, “It’s going to be a dream come true if I fight in Japan. I grow up watching PRIDE and stuff. I was dreaming to fight in Japan”

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Linton Vassell “I feel like I’m just going to be the better athlete all around”

Linton Vassell takes on Sergei Kharitonov at Bellator 234. The event emanates from Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel. Longtime light-heavyweight Vassell makes his second foray into the Bellator cage as a heavyweight against the legendary Kharitonov. It is the main event of a card set to go Thursday, November 14th at 4:00 pm EST. Vassell looks to overcome a three-fight losing skid by defeating a man in Kharitonov who is 11-1 since 2011.

Linton Vassell

Kharitonov has been a notable name in the MMA world for over a decade now. Despite runs in PRIDE and Strikeforce, Kharitonov was not a fighter Vassell saw much of in his early fandom days. Vassell stated, “The only people I really knew were like Randy Couture, Royce Gracie, Chuck. Them names. I never really watched K1 or that type of stuff. I didn’t really know Kharitonov until Bellator. That’s no disrespect. Obviously I’ve been watching his fights once he joined Bellator.”

The long-time light-heavyweight made a move to switch divisions after a tough weight cut and subsequent loss to a former 205 lb champion in Bellator. Linton Vassell said, “I had the fight against Phil Davis and that was when I decided to leave light-heavyweight.” Heading into this bout, he has figured out how to carry the weight around better this time out at heavyweight. Vassell is an intriguing addition to the Bellator heavyweight landscape.

Despite the loss in his Bellator heavyweight debut to Valentin Moldavsky, Vassell still had takeaways from the fight. He quipped, “I felt the energy but I just felt like that extra weight I had on me because I’d never been at that weight that heavy. Obviously played a factor on the ground. Other than that I felt strong and powerful. If I could take him down, I did. I busted him up.”

Bellator 234

Despite not seeing as much of Kharitonov’s earlier work, he is still cognizant of the skills he’ll bring to the table. Vassell said, “He is very good at what works for him. I’ve seen what I can do to prevent him from doing what he wants to do. I feel like I’m just going to be the better athlete all around.”

To recover from hard training ahead of fights, Vassell uses things like acupuncture,  a chiropractor, and CBD for recuperation. One would need as many avenues for rest as possible when considering the sparring partners Vassell regularly clashes with. Jairzinho Rozenstruik is a big fixture in the camp but Vassell shouted out some other killers too.

Vassell said, “He’s (Jairzinho) my main training partner for this fight. Vitor Belfort….Aung La N Sang. Some top boys getting ready and I’m getting them ready as well. A lot of them I’ve fought now.”

Vassell has now had a six-year run with Bellator and he stated, “Crazy right? Time goes fast when you’re having fun.” Part of that long Bellator journey has seen him twice contend for the light-heavyweight title with one of those fights happening with Ryan Bader.

Even with switching a weight division, Vassell still sees Ryan Bader as the guy firmly affixed to the throne. As far as if a Ryan Bader fight in 2020 will go down, Vassell quipped, “I’m not looking past my next challenge. I’ve got to deal with him first. Then we’ll start talking about a couple things.”

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Salahdine Parnasse Set for First Title Defense at KSW 52

KSW 52: Askham vs Khalidov is approaching with the massive event set for Saturday December 07, 2019. The event will take place in Gliwice, Poland inside Arena Gliwice. Friend of MMA Sucka, Salahdine Parnasse, is set to make his first title defense on the card. The event can be seen worldwide on KSWtv.

Beginning of the Salahdine Parnasse Dynasty

Current interim featherweight champion Parnasse (13-0-1) will make the first defense against seasoned veteran Ivan Buchinger (36-6) who is making his KSW debut. Since his infamous knockout by Conor McGregor in Cage Warriors, Buchinger has ripped off a 15-2 run.

Salahdine Parnasse is currently 4-0 in KSW with victories over several former champions. The 21 year old phenom prospect knocked out Roman Szymanski at KSW 48 in April 2019 via second round TKO. The dangerous French striker is ready to get back into the cage quickly. “I feel good and in shape,” Parnasse told MMA Sucka. “I am ready to defend this belt and I will give everything to keep it.” Parnasse also stated he was in a hurry to get back into action.

Unifying the Belts

Buchinger is not a fighter to be overlooked. Fans cannot help but think about the future matchup to unify the belts should Parnasse remain undefeated. The stage would be set for the double champion Mateusz Gamrot (15-0) to meet the undefeated Parnasse in a potential fight of the year candidate in 2020. Gamrot recently competed in the 2019 ADCC Championships in September 2019. Hopefully he will return to the cage in the beginning of 2020. The question could be though will Gamrot challenge Parnasse or the current lightweight interim champion, “Stormin’” Norman Parke (28-6-1) when he is ready to return to the KSW cage.

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The Cannabis Chronicles: Houston Alexander

The lastest feature on MMASucka’s Cannabis Chronicles is UFC legend Houston Alexander. In his 16 year professional MMA career, Alexander has fought huge names such as Keith Jardine, Alessio Sakara, James Irvin, Kimbo Slice, Joey Beltran, Razak Al-Hassan, and Jan Blachowicz. Alexander finished his career with a 17-16-1-2 record with 12 of his 17 wins being by knockout or TKO. Now in 2019 he has become a personal trainer, a radio personality and a motivational speaker. Alexander came from the same UFC time period as formally featured Chuck Liddell, so it’s interesting to see the differences and similarities in their cannabis opinions.

Is Houston Alexander For Or Against Cannabis In MMA?

We started by asking Alexander is he ever used cannabis during his MMA career and what his overall thoughts were on fighters that do use cannabis. Alexander said, ” I don’t smoke weed. If the doctors are using it medically to help ease pain, then I’m all for it. I’ve never drank or smoked while in camp, so i cant comment on weather its good or bad for you. I also don’t know enough about CBD to comment.”

PED Use in MMA

Alexander then told us that he would like to comment on PED violations. Stating, “I am a big advocate of a clean sport! USADA needs to be stricter on offenders. Its not fair for those who work their asses off!” He also mentioned that PED use is where you can determine weather a fighter is a professional or not. He said, “Rules are rules, as a professional athlete you have to follow them. I’m sure you can set aside your personal from professional if needed. We are all grown ass men and women!”

What Does Houston Alexander Feel PED Punishments Should Be?

Since we got a good understanding of how Alexander felt about fighters who use PEDs, we decided to ask him, if he ran USADA what would the suspensions be for PED violators? He responded by saying, “Shit, first time? 3 year suspension. Second time you should be banned from the sport.” Alexander has zero tolerance for people who cheat.

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Chelsea Hackett eager to build a strong resume with sights set on the UFC ahead of Eternal 49

“My goal is to get into the UFC by 22.”

As a 20-year-old yet to make her MMA debut, you could say Chelsea Hackett was a little ambitious when she spoke to Fight News Australia earlier this year. Checking in with “Hammer” ahead of her fight on Eternal MMA 49 this Friday, she provided an update.

“It’s – yeah, that’s still the plan,” she laughs.

She knows how it sounds.

“This time next year,” she qualifies, still with a chuckle in her voice. “I kinda want to have my foot in the door, but we’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”

However, there’s a reason Hackett is one of Australia’s most promising female prospects. A former Muay Thai fighter, she compiled a record of 16-4-3 in 23 fights and claimed back-to-back gold in the IFMA Muay Thai World Championships in 2014 and 2015. But even before Muay Thai, she’d invested four years in taekwondo and earned her black belt in the discipline. After committing to MMA last year, she now has two fights under her belt.

Those bold plans aren’t so bold, really.

Having said that, she’s intent on enjoying the journey and isn’t looking to rush. And for her, the novelty of being a young UFC signee isn’t the incentive.

“UFC is the biggest pedestal to get to and I think when you get there, it would feel like all your hard work has paid off; all the hours in the gym, all the years fighting,” she explained. “I know I’m young and everyone says, ‘Oh, you’re so young’, but I’ve been doing martial arts since I was 8. I’m now 21. This is something I’ve done for so long. It’s not like I’ve done it and then got sick of it and had a break. I’ve done this full time since I was 12. I just think that I have what it takes to get there and I can get there at a young age.”

That she intends to do by building her resume from the best fighters Australia and New Zealand has to offer, which includes Nicole Szepesvary, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, whom she faces on Friday. Although she hasn’t competed for almost two years, Szepesvary will be the more experienced MMA fighter, entering the bout with a 2-1 professional record and 4-0 amateur record.

“She’s obviously got the jiu-jitsu background. She does show a lot of holes in her striking – her standup game, but I feel like it has worked for her,” Hackett said. “But I definitely think coming in to fighting me, that’s not gonna be an advantage for her and I’m going to make sure I make it a disadvantage.”

The bout was originally scheduled for Eternal MMA 48 in Melbourne, the same weekend as UFC 243, but Szepesvary had to postpone the fight due to injury. Although she was excited to be competing in Melbourne for the first time on a big card, Hackett is consoled by the fact she’ll be fighting at home on the Gold Coast.

Facing an additional six weeks of camp, the CMBT Training Centre athlete “reset” her mind to the new date and continued to train. It’s an experience Hackett has become familiar with in her brief MMA career.

“I had like three or four pull-outs for my debut. My last pull-out happening three days before the fight, which was devastating.”

Her actual debut opponent, Mel Zeman, offered to face Hackett on three days’ notice, but being based in Thailand made it logistically too difficult to organise in time. However, Hackett “accepted her challenge” and the bout was made for eight weeks later.

Attempting to stay active has been a difficult task since committing to MMA. Hackett feels as though she’s been in camp for the whole year in trying to line up fights. While she believes Australia has the quality of competition needed to get her UFC ready, she admits “the pool of women’s MMA in Australia is quite small.”

Having bypassed the amateur scene, Hackett is 1-0-1 In her only two professional MMA fights. In her last bout at Eternal MMA 46 in July, Hackett defeated Danielle Hayes via unanimous decision.

“[Hayes] was a credible opponent; she was really good,” said Hackett.

With 10 Muay Thai fights of her own, Hayes went 3-0 as an amateur before dropping her professional debut prior to the bout with Hackett.

“Three of those fights were in [Las] Vegas, so she’s been at that level, and the fact that I got to fight her and step in the cage with her and beat her on my second MMA fight, I think that gave me really good credibility as well.”

Hackett’s debut in May was a little less smooth. Just one minute into the fight, she found herself stuck in a deep armbar.

“When I watch the fight back it freaks me out a little bit because my arm was fully extended, but I just remember being in that exact moment and my mind was so strong,” she explained. “There was just no way I was going to tap.”

An armbar which Zeman seamlessly transitioned into a snug triangle choke made for two very intense minutes. Eventually managing to shake Zeman off, Hackett freed herself and regained composure. Perhaps a little too wary of being in that predicament again, she was deducted a point for grabbing the fence during a takedown attempt. But the following two rounds were another story entirely. Hackett completely dominated Zeman on the feet, showcasing a relentless, multi-faceted striking attack. The bout, ultimately ruled a draw, was a huge lesson for Hackett.

“I learned so much from that fight. I learned a lot about myself and also things I needed to take into my second fight. I think the biggest thing was, with my second fight, I wanted to prove that I wasn’t just a Muay Thai fighter and it was trial and error coming into MMA. It’s not like that at all. I look at myself as an MMA fighter now and that’s what I want to be known as.”

Eternal MMA 49 takes place at Southport Sharks on the Gold Coast in Queensland this Friday, November 1. Headlining the card is a lightweight title fight between champion David Martinez (6-0) and Josh Togo (6-3). The main card, which features Hackett vs. Szepesvary, will broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass at 9.30 pm AEST.

Bec Rawlings submitted by Ilara Joanne in Bellator debut

VIDEO: Shamrock FC 324’s Derik Scott on ‘talking trash’ with The Rock, being a positive presence

Derik Scott has one of the more positive, refreshing approaches to life and combat sports.

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