Dustin Jacoby

Dustin Jacoby

Dustin Jacoby puts his hand up for GLORY Dubai

Dustin Jacoby vs. Mourad Bouzidi at GLORY 20

© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
Photos: Glory Sports International

Dustin Jacoby enters GLORY 20 on late notice after stepping in as a replacement for Pat Barry against Mourad Bouzidi in the GLORY Superfight Series on April 3 in Dubai. But eleventh-hour invitations don’t bother Dustin who is a specialist in the fine art of gatecrashing, as he demonstrated at the Road to Glory USA Tournament in 2013.

Just two days out from the Xtreme Fight Night 11: Road to Glory Tournament, Dustin Jacoby was invited as a ‘fill in’ to help make up numbers in the eight-man contest. Not only did he receive late notice but this marked Dustin’s kickboxing debut.

Dustin Jacoby Hits a Homer

On first base, Dustin faced Randy Blake in the quarter finals – a bout he won via TKO in round three after referee Al Wichgers called game off while Randy was still standing, but unable to defend himself.

On second base, Dustin Jacoby hit off with Roy Boughton in the semi finals and frustrated Roy by being an elusive target, while moving off line and at odd angles from Boughton’s strikes, before winning by TKO in the opening round.

Then on third base, Dustin Jacoby met with Brian Collette for the final where Dustin stopped Brian in dramatic fashion, KO-ing him with a furious combo that saw Collette falling to the canvas as the first round bell rang, making Dustin the Road to Glory eight-man Tournament Champion.

Dustin Jacoby is an aggressive fighter who goes into feeding frenzy the moment he smells blood like Mr Wolf at dinner time. He possesses bunker-buster jabs that can rattle anyone’s cage, loves to unload liver shots with his left fist, and can pulverize victims with straight crosses. He really does have “a background in kick-ya-arse fighting”.

Knucklepit appreciates Dustin Jacoby taking time out to chat about his upcoming GLORY Superfight against Mourad Bouzidi.

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Izzy Carnwath

Izzy Carnwath

IMMAF Communications Director and Safe MMA Volunteer, Izzy Carnwath

IMMAF Communications Director and Safe MMA Volunteer, Izzy Carnwath

Izzy Carnwath Part 2
© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com

Former publicist for the international MMA organization, BAMMA, Izzy Carnwath is now a behind-the-scenes power player ensuring the healthy development of Mixed Martial Arts worldwide.  And while this career move is a big step forward for Izzy, she admits there are aspects of her former life she does miss.

“I really love my work at IMMAF, but if anything I miss the day-to-day connection with fighters the most, as my work is much more on the administrative side now,” says Izzy Carnwath. “I’m much more likely to be dealing with officials, coaches and other industry professionals at present, so I’m usually one step away from the fighters. I miss the excitement of the regular build up to events, but I’m looking forward to enjoying the more regular events at IMMAF as it develops its competition circuit.”

IMMAF Structure and Goals

The IMMAF, where Izzy plays a key role as Communications Director, was founded in 2012, and is the international governing body for MMA, with its main goals being to standardize MMA rules and safety – an endeavour Izzy Carnwath explains in more elaborate detail:

  • The goal is to further the development of the sport from recreational to elite level, through driving the development of common sets of rules, safety regulations and structures.
  • IMMAF is focused on working towards gaining formal and informal worldwide recognition for the sport of MMA. Formal recognition is needed on every level – regional, national and global.
  • Through organising national federations, the IMMAF aims to provide a structured community for all national federations.
  • Organising international Amateur competition is also a priority.

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Mourad Bouzidi

Mourad Bouzidi vs. Randy Blake

Mourad Bouzidi knees Randy Blake at GLORY 15

Mourad Bouzidi showed he was in top form for his 100th pro fight at GLORY 15 against Randy Blake, and Mourad is keen to do the same at GLORY 20: Dubai.

Mourad Bouzidi vs. Dustin Jacoby at GLORY 20
© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
Photos: Glory Sports International

When the ref waved the red flag the action started aggressively; Randy hurling right crosses and long-range jabs, while Mourad replied with fist combos, and savage leg kicks – something Jason Wilnis and other kickboxers from the Netherlands are also renowned for.

Each time Mourad Bouzidi and Randy Blake clinched, Mourad scored with deep driving knees to Randy’s body, before Mouzad put Randy on the mats with another crushing leg kick.

Mourad continually closed in on Randy by dispatching combination punches and tomahawk leg-kicks – kicks which not only enable Mourad to negate taller opponents’ reach advantages, but cause his opponents to slow down and concentrate on defending their punished legs.

Any time Randy struck out with high kicks, Mourad retaliated with another low kick, and when Randy attempted low kicks Mourad countered with harder, deeper penetrating low kicks.

By the third round Mourad dominated with more knees to the body as the clinches became more frequent. Randy Blake put up a brave fight, but Mourad Bouzidi outgunned him.

On April 3, Mourad ‘The Silent Power’ Bouzidi throws down with Dustin Jacoby at GLORY 20 in Dubai, and if Mourad is smokin’ like he was at GLORY 15, he will be a tough man to pull up.

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Jason Wilnis

Jason Wilnis vs. Wayne Barrett

Jason Wilnis vs. Wayne Barrett at GLORY 18

Jason Wilnis vs. Alex Pereira at GLORY 20

© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
Photos: Glory Sports International

The first time Jason Wilnis faced Alex Pereira was in November 2012 at It’s Showtime World Title 85 KG Max in Sao Paolo, Brazil, after Jason entered the competition as an eleventh-hour replacement.

Eight seconds into the opening round, Alex Pereira dispatched an inside leg kick, and from then on Jason Wilnis gave a workshop on how leg kicks should be delivered: rock hard, fast and furiously.

Jason let Alex know he also had heavy hands – despite the commentators not seeming to notice the Dutchman was also in the ring – while using his titanium forearms as a breakwall against incoming strikes.

In round two Jason ‘Tyson’ Wilnis shocked the Sao Paolo audience, and the commentators, when he dropped Alex Pereira with a left hook to the liver. Shortly afterwards Jason downed Alex with a brutal leg kick that ended the fight in spectacular fashion.

At GLORY 18, Jason Wilnis crossed paths with Wayne Barrett. Wayne was ready for Jason’s ferocious leg kicks and made a practice of catching the kicks; however Jason mixed it up with ripping leg kicks off his lead leg as well, then he sent Wayne to the canvas with a right cross, just seconds before the close of round one.

In round two Jason dropped Wayne with a left hook, and although Wayne Barrett went the distance, Jason Wilnis walked away from the event with the unanimous decision.

On April 3, Jason Wilnis (Netherlands) returns to GLORY for the four-man middleweight contender tournament in Dubai, where he will be facing Alex Pereira (Brazil) in the first semi final, while Wayne Barrett (USA) takes on Simon Marcus (Canada) in the second semi.

Knucklepit appreciates Jason Wilnis taking time out to chat about the upcoming elimination contest.

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Andy Ristie

Andy Ristie

Surinamese Kickboxing Legend Andy Ristie

Andy Ristie vs. Robin van Roosmalen at GLORY 20

© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
photos © GLORY Sports International

On November 23, 2013, Andy Ristie shook the foundations of international kickboxing by KO-ing Giorgio Petrosyan and then Robin van Roosmalen for the GLORY World Series Lightweight championship at GLORY 12.

Since then, Andy KO’d Ky Hollenbeck, and stopped Samuel Paiva and Steve Moxon via TKOs, with his only defeat since 2012 being to Davit Kiria, with Andy Ristie being on a three-fight winning streak leading into GLORY 20’s main event at the Dubai World Trade Centre on April 3.

Born in Suriname, Andy Ristie (47-4-1) is a fast starter who likes to punish his opponents from the opening bell. He uses his 5’1112” height to target adversaries with brutal knees to the body and head, is a power puncher – particularly with left hooks and left uppercuts, and likes to jam incoming opponents with front kicks. Despite his unconventional and unpredictable fighting style, Andy attacks with pin-point accuracy, often delivering combos, and likes to target the kidneys and liver as well as to go head hunting with kicks, knees or punches.

Andy Ristie kindly chatted with Knucklepit prior to his GLORY Lightweight World Title match at the Dubai World Trade Centre on April 3.

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Mike Grundy

Mike Grundy

BAMMA featherweight star Mike Grundy

Mike Grundy vs. Damian Stasiak at BAMMA 19

Mike Grundy Part 4
© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
special thanks to Matt Bourne
photos © BAMMA

On March 20, BAMMA announced it had added extra firepower to BAMMA 19’s card with the inclusion of two bouts: featherweights Mike Grundy vs. Damian Stasiak, and heavyweights Tom Aspinal vs. Satish Jamia.

Mike Grundy and Tom Aspinal fight out of the respected Team Kaobon gym, where Mike is head wrestling coach, and both men thrilled MMA fans with their spectacular victories at BAMMA 18 whilst maintaining their undefeated records.

Mike Grundy was originally slated to face Dino Gambatesa at BAMMA 18; however Gambatesa’s withdrawal resulted in Frenchman Mamadou Guyeye being recruited as a replacement against Grundy – a change Mike took in his usual, cool stride. “It made no difference to my prep at all as I train the same for each fight.  I concentrate on what I am going to do and my coach will tweak a few things to suit the fight,” says Grundy.

Of the short notice, Commonwealth wrestling bronze medallist, Mike Grundy says “As soon as I fought on BAMMA 18 I was keen to fight on BAMMA 19, and although the fight was only confirmed the other day, I am always in training and keen to compete.”

On March 28, Mike Grundy (3-0) goes into battle with Poland’s Damian Stasiak (7-2), at Winter Gardens in Blackpool, England, and Mike kindly chatted with Knucklepit a week out from BAMMA 19.

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Tom Aspinall

Tom Aspinall

Tom Aspinall hurling a big right at Ricky King.

Tom Aspinall vs. Satish Jamia at BAMMA 19

© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
special thanks to Matt Bourne
photos © BAMMA

Not many MMA athletes make as big a debut on such an international stage as Tom Aspinall did at BAMMA 18 when he stopped Ricky King at just 49 seconds into the opening round.

To stop an opponent that early in a match by KO or TKO is pretty special, but to actually submit a respected adversary in such short time is truly outstanding. And BAMMA consultant Chris Zorba did forewarn MMA fans of Tom’s exceptional abilities prior to the bout, saying “Tom Aspinall is potentially the most exciting and most talented UK MMA Heavyweight we have seen.”

On March 28, fight fans will get the opportunity to see Tom Aspinall in action again when he takes on Satish Jamia (3-3) at Winter Gardens, Blackpool, for BAMMA 19. “I’m looking forward to fighting my first international opponent,” Tom Aspinall told BAMMA. “I respect him, but when the door closes, that all goes out of the window as I will be looking to put all my hard work into practice and finishing him.”

The highly respected Team Kaobon gym will have two of their victorious athletes from BAMMA 18 competing again on March 28 with Tom Aspinall vs. Satish Jamia (heavyweight), and Mike Grundy vs. Damian Stasiak (lightweight). Tom Aspinall kindly chatted with Knucklepit in his lead up to BAMMA 19.

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Jimmy Spicuzza

Jimmy Spicuzza

WSOF’s Jimmy Spicuzza

Jimmy Spicuzza vs. Benny ‘El Hijo’ Madrid at WSOF 19

© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
photos © WSOF

The first thing that stands out about Jimmy Spicuzza in the cage is his poise: he’s an incredibly motivated and self-disciplined fighter. Under pressure, he’s cool, patient and prepared to wait for openings, like a snake about to strike its victim. And Jimmy likes to soften up his adversaries with heavy strikes, or wear them down in clinches before taking them to the ground for more punishment.

“The motivation and discipline come from the way I was raised and I think it’s just one of those things that you either have or you don’t, says Jimmy Spicuzza. “Anything I do, I do to be the best, so I’m either giving it my all or I don’t do it… I don’t cut corners.”

Born in Chicago, Jimmy Spicuzza relocated to Las Vegas 24 years ago where he fights out of Drysdale Jiu-Jitsu, is currently a purple belt in BJJ, and has been doing his Jiu-jitsu under Robert Drysdale for the past 4.5 years.

On March 28, lightweights Jimmy Spicuzza and Benny ‘El Hijo’ Madrid lock horns at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix for WSOF 19, and Knucklepit was fortunate to catch up with Jimmy Spicuzza for the following interview.

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Dean Sugden

Dean Sugden

Dean Sugden unloading a left hook

Suggy’s Gym and NMA Gym Head Coach, Dean Sugden

© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
special thanks to June Rowlands
First photo by Angela Cross
other photos by Rick Wilks

A former WKA world kickboxing champion at 72.5kg (light middleweight), Dean Sugden held the ISKA Light Middleweight European Title at 72.5kg and defeated the current WKA British Champion for the vacant WKU British Title at 75kg. Dean also held the IKF British Version at the same weight and at the same time, which he admits “was quite rare for someone to unify the main versions of the British Title.”

Today Dean Sugden is affectionately known as ‘The Boss’ at NMA Fitness Centre and Suggy’s Gym where he helps train world champions, including sons Chad Sugden (kickboxing), Regis Sugden (MMA) and nephew Fergus Taylor (boxing).

So what is the difference between NMA and Suggy’s Gym? “We’ve been teaching kickboxing since 1988,” says Dean Sugden. “And in 2001 we opened NMA Fitness Centre, where we run classes and personal training for fighters and fitness under Newark Marital Arts, Newark Amateur Boxing Club and Suggy’s Gym. All the amateur fighters, including children, fight out of NMA or Newark ABC. Suggy’s Gym was formed to look after the home-grown talent as they became professional fighters in their respective combat sports.”

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Connor Grant

Connor Grant

Eighteen-year-old KI fighter Connor Grant.

Connor Grant vs. Jamie Gibson at The Colosseum

©Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
special thanks to Darren Knowles

On March 28, fight promoter Tony T-Bone Dias will be hosting an evening of kickboxing, Thai boxing and KI-rules bouts at The Colosseum: Gladiators Go To Battle. “There will be 13 fights, including Am F/C Kickboxing, K1, Kids L/C Titles and one A-Class Thai fight,” says T-Bone.

“The main event is the retirement fight of head coach Dave Philips from Legions Gym in York. He’s fighting veteran Mal Richardson who’s had over 200 fights including Boxing, K1 and MMA. Mal has been in with the likes of Danny Mitchel. They will be fighting 5×3 minutes A-Class Thai.”

Also on the card is a featherweight match between BMAA’s Connor Grant and Jamie Gibson from United Martial Arts College in a 68kg K1 fight that is drawing a lot of interest. Connor goes into this competition with a 3-3-0 record, while Jamie’s is 1-1-0, with four non-decision interclub competitions.

Doors open at 5pm at the Energise Sports Complex in Cornlands Road, York, England for The Colosseum, with the first fight kicking off at 6pm. For tickets call 07956 612667.

Knucklepit was fortunate to catch up with Connor Grant prior to the event for the following interview.

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