Lavar Johnson is one of the toughest heavy weights to come out of the Central Valley. From Madera, California, this 6'2" beast of a man known as, "The Black Superman" or Lavar "Big" Johnson, has stunned opponents with his heavy hands and decapitating uppercuts. Johnson began his fighting career with the Tough Man competition. It was at a friends house where Johnson heard a radio commercial that was advertising the Tough Man event. Johnson had turned to his friend sitting next to him and asked him, "Do you think I should do that?" Five minutes later he hung up the phone and said to his friend, "I fight next week." Five months after his Tough Man debut and conquering all his bouts by knock out, he is an MMA fighter. His first MMA bout was against Doug "The Rhino" Marshall. "I didn't train for that fight," Lavar said. Just like he did not train for his Tough Man fights, but he still managed to win. "The only thing I would do was hit the bag," said Johnson.
Jorge Ruiz discovered the meaning of hard work at an early age. Jorge grew up in a typical Mexican household in Riverside County, where every summer, Christmas, and Easter Break, and letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not forget the weekends, was dedicated to working in the fields picking fruit or pruning vineyards. By the age of ten, Jorge understood the importance of his hard work and how vital it was to his familyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s livelihood. Despite not having a normal childhood, Jorge was able to take a negative situation and turn into something positive for his future.
He comes from a wrestling background that began in the 5th grade and ended with the Fresno City Wrestling Team. Soon after, Moreno followed fellow teammates, Billy and Jorge Evangelista, to train Muay Thai with Jasper, who is Buhawe's head trainer. Before the new training complex was built,Team Buhawe trained at a nearby park and at GoldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Gym. Buhawe has come a long way, as well as, Mike Moreno. His striking is at its best and his Jiu-Jitsu is only getting stronger especially after a second place finish at the MundialÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Blue Belt division.
"Well being VP for the PFC is more of a hobby, its fun" Jeff explains "I take care of most of the back office things that need attention. Make sure everything is in its place for the show." "If thats your hobby then what do you call MMA training and now fighting" I ask. "Well I guess I have two hobbies, VP for the PFC and MMA and one job" Jeff replies. "Actually I started training for self defense."
"I tell people I train Rocky style and they don't believe me" says Jeremy Luchau, "Some times it gets up to 110 degrees in here" talking about the Barn where he trains. The Barn is simple; bags, concrete, sweat and pain . No AC, no fancy stands, no fancy lights just an old-fashioned gym where you can smell the workouts. On the day that I visited the barn outside the temperature read 92 meaning inside the barn was around 98; hot and humid.
Phil looked crisp working the pads with Parga and says the Rhino should not be taking him lightly. Collins insisted we quoted him saying, Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Rhino said he was going to give me a Central Valley ass-whooping but Merced is closer to being the center of the Valley so I will be giving him the ass-whooping.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Its 105 degrees outside and the inside Pacific Martial Arts it feels about the same if not hotter. Mike and I walk in to find Doug “the Rhino” Marshall, working on his striking and defense as his trainer Mike Popp’s looks on.
Lemoore favorite Mike Martinez or "Just" Mike Martinez as many know him is one of the many fighters out of Team Ochoa. Mike is a 23 year old striker from Lemoore California. An athlete his whole life, Mike was looking for something to fill the void in his life after joining the work force. A friend introduced him to "Poppies" Martinez and Team Ochoa and the rest is history. That was in August of 2006.
Billy Evangelista will be no walk over as he too has been in a few battles and has always managed to come out victorious. Evangelista has a background in wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, and a strong Muay Thai background. Evangelista prefers a stand-up fight so this will make for a very exciting fight for all fans. But, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not forget that PhanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s last few fights proved that his stand-up fighting is a force to be wreckin with.
"Its an independent sport. Its just you in there (ring), no one else." Franco discussing what he enjoys most about MMA. "You can box, kick, and wrestle. Its not one dimensional."
Bloody Mayhem met up with PFCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 145 lb champion Jorge Evangelista in his home away from home the Buhawe training center. We discussed his recent battle with Art Arcienega where he staked his claim as the featherweight champ and also on how he came to the mixed martial art world.
Tom Theofanopoulos is the founder of Oakdale MMA one of the homes of the last stand fight team.Tom has been involved with Kajukenbo for more than 30 years, and holds a eighth degree professorship title red and black belt. Kajukenbo is considered to be one of the first martial arts known to man. "I was born in Greece from the Sparta/Corinth area. When I first started learning about martial arts." Tom said. "I always had a fascination with Greek martial arts of pancration wrestling and boxing. So I think in my heart of hearts I always wanted to participate in those types of events. So when MMA came around and got real popular, I felt that it was a resurgence of those arts rebirthing all over again." Tom explains.
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