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MMA Cage Crusaders (MED)

MMA Cage Crusaders (MED)

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Dennis Bermudez

Dennis Bermudez competes in the Featherweight division of the UFC. He turned professional in 2009 and signed with the UFC in 2011 to compete in The Ultimate Fighter: Team Bisping vs. Team Miller. In the first episode, Bermudez fought reigning King of the Cage bantamweight champion, Jimmie Rivera, to gain entry into the Ultimate Fighter house. After being rocked in the first round, Bermudez came back strong in the Round 2 to defeat Rivera via TKO.

Bermudez was selected to be a part of Team Mayhem as the team’s first pick. In his quarterfinal bout, he fought Stephen Bass, winning the fight in the second round via TKO. In his next fight, he faced Akira Corassani in the semi-finals via first round submission.  This victory moved him into the finals where he faced Diego Brandao at the Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale. 

Bermudez faced Pablo Garza at UFC on Fox 3, winning via unanimous decision. He then fought Tommy Hayden at UFC 150. Bermudez won late into round one. Bermudez next faced Matt Grice on February 23, 2013 at UFC 157. He won via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28). The back and forth action earned both fighters Fight of the Night honors and much praise from MMA observers proclaiming it was an early front-runner for “Fight of the Year”. Bermudez defeated Max Holloway at UFC 160 via split decision. He then squared off against Jimy Hettes at UFC 171 where he via TKO in the third round, and won his first Performance of the Night bonus award. In his highest profile fight to date, Bermudez faced Clay Guida on at UFC on Fox 12. He won the bout via submission in the second round, and earned a Performance of the Night bonus award for the second time in a row. Bermudez faced Rony Jason on at UFC Fight Night 92 and won the fight by unanimous decision. In February of 2017, Bermudez vs Chan Sung Jung was the main event bout for UFC Fight Night 104 in Houston, TX. He lost the bout to the “Korean Zombie” via TKO in the 1st round.  Bermudez is scheduled to face Darren Elkins on July 22, 2017 at UFC on Fox 25.  

   

Carla Esparza

Carla Esparza competes in the Strawweight division of the UFC. Largely known for her grappling abilities, Esparza was the first UFC Strawweight Champion, the first Invicta FC Strawweight Champion, and was generally considered the best strawweight fighter in the world while holding each title. She earned the UFC championship by winning a 16-woman tournament that was televised on the reality series The Ultimate Fighter. She also competed in Bellator MMA’s first women’s tournament. Esparza is currently ranked the #7 Strawweight fighter in the UFC. 

In 2011, Esparza made her XFC debut against Felice Herrig at XFC 15 defeating Herrig via unanimous decision. Esparza signed with Invicta Fighting Championship in 2012 and defeated Sarah Schneider via TKO in her debut.  In May 2012, it was announced that Esparza had signed with the upstart all-female Invicta Fighting Championships promotion. Esparza defeated Alvarez via TKO at 2:53 of round one in October 2012. She faced Bec Hyatt for the Invicta FC Strawweight Championship and won the fight via unanimous decision to become the first Invicta FC Strawweight Champion.

Esparza was signed by the UFC along with 10 other strawweight fighters to compete on season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter, which would crown the first ever UFC Strawweight Champion. Esparza was the top seed in the tournament. She faced Angela Hill in the preliminary round and won via submission in the first round. In the quarterfinal round, she faced Tecia Torres and won the fight via majority decision. She then faced Jessica Penne in the semi-final, and again won by unanimous decision. By winning the tournament on The Ultimate Fighter, Esparza advanced to the final on December 12, 2014 against Rose Namajunas. After dominating much of the fight with her grappling and ground strikes, she defeated Namjunas via rear-naked choke in the third round to become the inaugural UFC Strawweight Champion. The result also earned Esparza a Performance of the Night bonus. In her first title defense, she faced kickboxer Joanna Jędrzejczyk in March 2015 at UFC 185. Jędrzejczyk won via TKO in the second round. Esparza underwent shoulder surgery in mid-2015 and subsequently was out of action for the rest of the year. She returned at UFC 197, defeating Juliana Lima via unanimous decision. 

Benson Henderson

After a successful collegiate wrestling career and a lifelong love for martial arts, proud Korean-American Benson Henderson set his sights on testing his skills inside the cages of mixed martial arts. Success came quickly for the Colorado native as he dominated the opposition on smaller stages across the sport, and it wasn’t long before Henderson received the call to compete under the WEC banner. Henderson wasn’t interested in playing second best to any 155-pound fighter in the sport, and immediately set out to prove himself in the increasingly competitive ranks of the lightweight fold. “Smooth” would make his official WEC debut in January of 2009 and made an instant impact by submitting veteran Anthony Njokuani in the second round of their tilt at WEC 38. The victory marked a triumphant arrival for The MMA Lab leader, and three fights later when he tapped out champion Jamie Varner, Henderson was crowned the new lightweight king.

Henderson found victory in his first three showings with UFC and that earned him a shot at the UFC title held by Frankie Edgar. The two men would collide at UFC 144 in Saitama, Japan and Henderson solidified his place as the best 155-pound fighter on the planet. The proud champion successfully defended on two more occasions as he defeated Nate Diaz and his Team Cesar Gracie counterpart Gilbert Melendez.  While the victory was his third consecutive defense and put Henderson alongside MMA legend B.J. Penn as one of the greatest lightweight champions of all time, another challenge was lurking around the corner. After his scheduled opponent No. 1 contender T.J. Grant was forced out of their title bout at UFC 164, the UFC tapped Henderson’s rival Anthony Pettis to face the champion on Aug. 31 in Milwaukee. Three years had passed since Henderson and Pettis collided in what came to be 2010’s “Fight of the Year,” and there was a hovering sense of redemption going into the fight. Henderson took on perennial top-ranked fighter Josh Thomson at UFC on Fox 11 back in January, and that fire amplified in his fourth round submission finish over gritty Dagestani Rustam Khabilov at Fight Night 42 back in June. With the lightweight title on hiatus for the time being, Henderson has decided to put the most talent-rich division under the UFC banner on his back as he’s continued to trudge forward, taking on all comers and continuing his pursuit of greatness.

 

Gray Maynard

Maynard wrestled alongside former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans at Michigan State University and were also roommates. In 2001, he placed eighth at the NCAA Division I Collegiate Wrestling Championship at 157 lb weight class and in 2002 and 2003, he placed seventh. The performance earned the MSU co-captain All-American honors for the third time in his collegiate career. Upon his graduation, Maynard ranked 11th all-time in MSU history with 106 career wins and seventh with 26 falls. After not making the 2004 US Olympic wrestling team, Maynard considered retirement from the sport. He was then recruited to be a sparring partner for mixed martial arts fighter and former Lightweight UFC champion B.J. Penn. With his exposure to the new sport, Maynard sought to compete in it.

With his wrestling connections, he eventually became a student and training partner of UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture. Maynard was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter 5, which featured Lightweights exclusively. He was selected by B.J. Penn to be on his team and was Penn’s pick to make it to the finals. Maynard defeated Kenny Florian on August 28, 2010 at UFC 118 via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28). Maynard took Florian down at will and controlled him on the mat, thus becoming the #1 contender for the UFC Lightweight Championship. In a Fight of the Night winning contest, Maynard and the champion Frankie Edgar fought to a split draw on January 1, 2011 at UFC 125, resulting in Edgar retaining his belt. The title fight was the Fight of the Night and Fight of the Year in 2011. Early reports were that that former WEC champion Anthony Pettis would receive the next title shot, but Dana White later announced that instead Edgar vs Maynard 3 would be the next lightweight title fight at UFC 130. On May 9, it was announced that injuries to both forced the fight to be removed from the card. The third bout between Edgar and Maynard took place on October 8, 2011 as the main event. Maynard headlined the UFC on Fox Fight in Atlantic City where he defeated Clay Guida via split decision. 

 

 


 

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE – MMA Cage Crusaders (Med)
Day Date Activity Location (City/Country)
Thursday 10 August 2017 Clinic Moron AB, Spain
Friday 11 August 2017 Clinic NSA Rota, Spain
Sunday 13 August 2017 Clinic NAS Sigonella, Italy
Tuesday 15 August 2017 Clinic Camp MK, Romania
Thursday 17 August 2017 Clinic Camp Novo Selo, Bulgaria

 

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