Training Durnell: Fight Week

                             Training Durnell: Fight Week 

Welp bros, its every MMA fighters favorite week to post about on Facebook; Fight Week.

We have spent 9 long weeks preparing for Saturday's title attack against Tiger Schulman's Jimmie Rivera and heading in our confidence is high.  Durnell has been steadily improving since week 1 and we have had no major injuries or issues *knocks on wood* during camp which is a rarity with the shit we had to do to get ready for this.  When your sparring sessions include Mark Cherico, Dave Sachs, Justin Steave, Ryan Aerrola, Bill Hutchinson etc. you are bound to wake up feeling like you drunkenly tried jumping off the deck again. 

"Bro did you see how close I was to landing that? My insurance card is in my wallet." 

Our biggest focus now is cutting the last few pounds before weigh ins as gracefully as possible.   Durnell typically comes in 10-15 pounds over a day or two out.   

Which may seem alarmingly high, but is actually pretty standard procedure. 

A few tricks and a couple hours in a sauna and this one will be a wrap too.   The real weight cut starts 7-8 weeks out and if done correctly, should be relatively painless.

Our gameplan is worked out, our padwork and sparring is on point and so with all things being considered, this was a very solid camp and we are heading into the fight with no excuses. 

Fight week always conjures up weird feelings for me about life in general .  When you are preparing to compete in a fight at this level, against an opponent of this caliber, you can't  help but feel a strong sense of purpose with a respect to how committed this game really gets. Win or lose, this is going fight is going to be a war and Rivera is going to have to deal with Durnell for 25 minutes all the while absorbing all of the energy and  techniques we have practiced tirelessly along the way.   The strategy is simplified down to the most basic concepts and as complicated as a round by round road map of where we want to be after each.  But at the end of the day, this is a fight and it will evolve and turn wherever it decides to go.

As for me, I am leaving for Atlantic City in about half an hour (it's currently 8:45am) so I will see you guys on the other side.   Check my Facebook and Instagram for updates. 


3 Title Fights Highlight “BATTLE IN THE BALLROOM XIII” On Nov. 1ST

Battle In The Ballroom XIII

WHAT: Live Amateur Boxing

WHEN: Sat. Nov. 1, 2014

WHERE: Historic Slovenian Nat’l Ballroom

(6417 St. Clair Ave. / Cleveland, OH 44103)

 Cleveland, OH – October 1, 2014 – After 12 straight packed to the rafters, standing room only crowds, 3 title fights will highlight “BATTLE IN THE BALLROOM XIII”, on Saturday, November 1.

The 10-bout card will take place at the Historic Slovenian Nat’l Ballroom, located at 6417 St. Clair Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. Built by immigrants in 1924, the ballroom was designated a Cleveland landmark in 1984.

“The Historic Slovenian Nat’l Ballroom is an amazing venue to showcase Cleveland’s top talent and we’re thrilled to be back for this event. The crowd is electrifying, and the intimacy of the venue makes everyone feel a part of the show,” said Kincaid.


  • HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP:  Alante Green (champion) vs. Michael Shook (challenger)
  • MASTERS LT. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP:  John McGinnis (champion) vs. Brian Meyer (challenger)
  • WOMENS FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP:  Gia Genco (challenger) vs. Caitlin Engler (challenger)

In a “NE OHIO HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP” bout, Empire Boxing Club’s Alante Green puts his title on the line against Pittsburgh’s Michael Shook from The Pittsburgh Boxing Club. The explosive Green captured the title on January 19, 2013 in a thrilling 3-round war. He then defended the title with a crunching 2nd round KO on September 23, 2013.

Check out the rest after the jump:

“The Deathstar” Looks To Keep On Destroying

The newest addition to Club STU Jesse Saxon has put together another awesome interview and this time it's with Pinnacle FC featured fighter Khama Worthy.  Worthy is set to take on Matt DiMarcantonio (6-4) November 26th at Pinnacle FC 9 in our Co-Feature bout of the evening.  You can reserve your tickets for this event here.  Check out the interview below:

A long time ago in a cage far, far away…

Khama “The Deathstar” Worthy (6-2) shuffles his feet around the Pinnacle cage. His hands up, chin tucked, and eyes locked onto his opponent, Anthony Morgan. The corners get revved back up as the second round opens—shouting their instructions. Morgan approaches the round looking for an opportunity to establish himself, while Worthy looks for an opening to end the fight. The two pugilists resume their roles as the crowd gets back into full swing, yelling with cheers. The other local fighters are all on the edges of their seats; keeping a close eye on the Pittsburgh native Worthy who has earned his place on the ‘must-watch’ list of the MMA circuit. Then, it’s over. Morgan is on the mat and Worthy is playing to crowd. If you didn’t know any better you might say that the TKO came without warning, but with Worthy that just isn’t the case.

“Fighting is an art that’s displayed violently.” Worthy says. “I really think this [fighting] is one of the things that God put me on this planet to do.” Which is an easy thing for anyone to say about their love; but when your love becomes your job, and you embrace it in the way that Worthy does, it has a little more credibility. That’s because Worthy is known for his ‘violent displays’ in the cage, but he’s also renown for grinding out infamous workouts and pushing his training partners to new levels as well. I spoke to one of those partners, who upon his first few times training with Worthy, felt like he’d ‘never be able to keep up sparring,’ because Worthy was ‘just so good.’ But that’s the grind.

Check out the rest after the jump:

The Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Care About Ethan Goss Vs. Rich Cantolina 2

Ethan Goss (6-4) is set to take on Rich Cantolina (10-7) this weekend in a rematch of their 3 round war that happened almost a year ago this month.  Check out the Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Care About Rich Cantolina and Ethan Goss below:

Its Cantolina's first fight with his new team

Cantolina abruptly left Fight Club Pittsburgh a few weeks ago and has been spending this time training and the newly established Top Tier MMA team out in Bellevue Pa. I dont know the specifics but I get the impression some feelings were hurt and some egos were damaged, this could be a little extra motivation for the Raging Bull as he lines himself up for what is the 4th time he has rematched someone in his amateur career.  It will also be a good chance to see how he performs under a new camp and will be Top Tier’s first higher profile effort to date.

The winner may get a shot at Jake Schilling Nov. 26th

If Goss comes out on top and is willing and able to take on Schilling late November,  it would be a rematch of their scrap that went down back at Pinnacle FC 8, where after a back and forth battle on the floor, Schilling snagged Goss in a pretty slick triangle mid way through round 2. I usually don't see the need for rematches on fights that end in a finish but this one was pretty close until the end.  Don't believe me, just watch

Things between FCP and Cantolina have been a bit strained sense he left and word on the street is that the feelings are mutual. However, If Richie was able to put together another win over Goss, there may be an opportunity for Cantolina to square off against former teammate and training partner Jake Schilling for the featherweight title this coming November. This kinda feels like the end of Rocky 5 where Rocky and Tommy Gun handle their beef in Rock's outdoor ring.

No top 5 is complete without a shitty 80’s reference but seriously bros, who wouldn’t be interested in watching former friends, turned suggested foes punch one another in the face for free for a while?  #AmIRight? #OfCourseIam

The First Fight turned into a shoot-out and I’d guess the 2nd will be the same.

If you haven't had a chance to check out their first engagement, go ahead and check that out right here. The first fight included alittle bit of everything from wild exchanges and scrambles to some technical attacks and a ton of heart. This is the type of chemistry that CDMMA is hoping will happen again.  Both guys look to sort things out on the feet and have active ground games to keep the fight interesting should it hit the floor.  The fact that they have already fought before and are vying to produce a similar result, should be factor in here somewhere as well. 

Goss has a knack for keeping things interesting

Goss is a gritty, straightforward guy with a no frills attitude.   He's coming in looking to push Rich here and this will be his first time re-matching a former opponent.  Let's see how he does with a second chance and some pre-fight motivation.   He’s also not afraid to go out and risk it all for the win.  If you saw Goss fight before and thought “I like this kid but I just can’t figure out why” well I just told you, he risks his face and circulation(s) for your entertainment. 

Come now bros, you can’t ask for more than that.

Real talk

The last fight was pretty damn close (Split decision) and both guys are oddly similar in terms of style and stature.  I think Richie is a little slicker on the feet and that might end up being the edge but Goss can bite down and say “fuck it” with the best of them.  If you’re in there with a guy willing to say fuck it and mean it, well, you’re running the risk of waking up with Chip Snyder hovering over you (probably 3 punches late if we are being candid here) asking you what state you’re in (PA just in case).

There’s obviously more to fighting than that and frankly both Goss and Cantolina are pretty talented guys.  So much so, I’m still a bit puzzled as to why they are still willing to do this for free at this stage but I’m not a manager, just an asshole with a computer and sometime to kill.

This is Richie's 4th official rematch in his amateur career.  Here is his official rematch record (4wins/3losses).

2/0 Mark Macdonald 

2/1 Gary Taylor 

0/2 Cheyne Jenkins

I can’t tell if this actually will help or hurt his chances. I guess you could argue the experience factor weighs in and maybe he has a better understanding of what to prepare for?  I feel like I might be reaching a bit there but I'd have to guess that one guy having 7 rematches in his career taking on a guy in his first career rematch has to hold some kind of quasi advantage.

Right? I feel like there's a chance I am totally off on that. 

Anyway, this fight should be fun and I can’t wait to see the grainy, shaky cell phone videos Saturday night that will no doubt make their way to Facebook shortly after this one wraps.  If you're not doing anything Saturday night and are in Altoona for whatever reason, this one is worth the trip. 

Sammy Vasquez Fights At The Consol Energy Center In Two Weeks:

The Pride Of Pittsburgh II 11/14: 

We are only two weeks away from one of the most highly anticipated boxing events to go down around here in a long time.  Sammy Vasquez (16-0) returns to the Consol Energy center to take on Alberto Mosquera (21-1) in a IBF/USBA welterweight title affair scheduled for 10 rounds (I think).  

Chalk Mosquera up in the "good enough" category with his his lone loss coming in his last bout via KO in the 9th.  Mosquera has fought and beaten a handful of undefeated prospects before so it's safe to assume that he's comfortable in his current position as "opponent" but no one on his docket matches Sammy's status. 

Also on the card is a hometown match up between Monty Meza-Clay (36-3) and "Lightning" Rod Salka (19-3).   I have noticed that most fans are genuinely split between either camp and there is definitely not a clearly defined favorite being declared early on.   This is going to be a huge fight for the area for a bunch of reasons but most importantly it features two local guys against each other instead of shopping them around for opponents to bring in.   This cultural of bringing in opponents from out of state so that local fighters don't have to compete against one another is fairly prevalent in both regional MMA and boxing, but more so in the boxing world where the rule of thumb is generally to protect the assets for as long as possible.  At least until the money's right anyway.  This fight is breaking that trend a little and the attention this match up will receive is worth upsetting the apple cart for awhile. 

Tickets are on sale now and if this is anything like the last event, it's worth every penny. 

Bobby Emmons’ game plan: “(Punch) him back when he punches me”

Bobby Emmons Takes On Justin Steave Nov. 26th For Pinnacle

Bobby Emmons (4-4) is the type of fighter that I love. I’ve also never been afraid to tell anybody that Justin Steave (6-4) is one of my favorite fighters, period. And it just so happens that these two have signed on the dotted line for a date on November 26th, where instead of flowers and wine there will be fists and arm bars.

Emmons became a favorite of Pinnacle FC brass in May, when he stepped up on 8 days’ notice to take on the ultra-tough AJ Bosley at Pinnacle FC 7. Not only that, but he drove 500 miles, ate a Primanti Bros. sandwich and drank a beer. And oh yeah, he submitted Bosley with an arm bar in the first round.

“My last four fights combined have actually ben on 8 weeks’ total notice,” said Emmons. “But I try and at least stay in decent shape, so the difference here will be game planning/cardio confidence.”

On that very same card, one Justin Steave was busy moving his record inside the Pinnacle FC cage to a nice and shiny 3-0 by submitting former Bellator mainstay Brylan Vanartsdalen in just 57 seconds. So after that event, Pinnacle matchmaker Dave Klick came up with the brilliant idea of pitting two of the more intriguing fighters to ever step foot in a Pinnacle cage, and he decided to do so as a Thanksgiving appetizer.

Sure it may seem like a striker vs. grappler on paper, but Emmons isn’t afraid to put his “White Trash BJJ” on the back burner for a nice little scrap, and Steave may have the footwork of a beautiful ballerina, but he also knows some White Belt Survival techniques and has actually earned half of his wins as a pro via submission.

Still, Steave probably knows that Emmons will want him on the ground, and Emmons probably knows that he’ll get punched in the face. That’s why it’s a fight, and Bobby has a pretty simple game plan for what to do when that inevitable jab does snap his head back: “by punching him back when he punches me.”

It’s also no secret that “The Hawk” has struggled a bit against dominant wrestler-types who do nothing more than hold him down. That’s what has happened during at least two of his losses, and for the other one a guy ran from him for 15 minutes and got a hometown decision. That’s part of why this matchup is so fun. It could either end with one punch or a quick submission, or we could get 15 minutes of two iron-willed fighters slugging it out.

“I’m not there to hold anyone down,” Emmons said. “[That’s] not my style at all. We both go for finishes and that’s what will make this fight exciting.”

Get your tickets now.