Milwaukee’s Duke Roufus and Red Schafer are halfway into a ten-day stay at American Top Team In Columbia, Missouri. A number of notable fighters with upcoming fights have gathered there for a mini camp including Alan “The Talent” Belcher and Brad “The Hillbilly Heartthrob” Imes. Below are short descriptions of the fighters and their upcoming fights:
Alan “The Talent” Belcher
Alan Belcher who is (12-4) in MMA and (3-2) in the UFC made his UFC debut against Yushin Okami at UFC 62 in August 2006. Belcher is a stand up fighter but he was never able to close the distance in that fight. His lack of takedown defense made him susceptible to Okami’s takedowns and he lost a unanimous decision. He was then able to secure a victory over Jorge Santiago at Fight Night 7 last December before losing a one-sided affair to Kendall Grove at UFC 69 in Aril via a D’arce Choke. He filled in for an injured Eric Schafer and fought Sean Salmon at UFC 71 last May on less than two weeks notice at a weight class of 205lbs. Salmon made a rookie mistake and left his neck open while attempting a takedown. Belcher was able to capitalize and end the fight via guillotine in under a minute in the first round. Belcher’s contract would get extended and Sean Salmon would be cut from the UFC.
Belcher’s next appearance would be at UFC 77 against Kalib Starnes from Canada. Belcher showed that his training with Duke Roufus was paying off and he showed signs of a new fighter. He opened a hatchet wound like cut on the head of Starnes in round one with his new scrappy style, which included elbows and jumping knees. Doctors allowed the fight to go into the second round but it was quickly stopped early in the round and declared a TKO.
Belcher faces Ricardo Almeida who is (8-2) in MMA and has a black-belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu under Renzo Gracie. Almeida has not fought an MMA bout in two and a half years and has a (1-2) record in the Octagon. He has many notable wins including Nate Marquardt, Akira Shoji, Ryo Chonan, Ikuhisa Minowa, and Kazuo Misaki. His only losses came at the hands of Matt Lindland and Andrei Semenov. 5 of his 8 wins have been via decision. Despite the long layoff, Almeida is a very dangerous opponent for the young Belcher, who is still working on his grappling skills and has shown signs of fatigue in some bouts. He is going to need to be ready to go the distance and attempt to keep the fight standing in order to keep the fight out of Almeida’s world. This fight is scheduled for UFC 81 on February 2nd.
Brad “The Hillbilly Heartthrob” Imes
You may remember Brad Imes from the Ultimate Fighter Season 2. He faced Rashad Evans in the Finale of the show to determine who would become the heavyweight division’s Ultimate Fighter that season. He came up short and lost via split decision. Imes would fight two more times in the UFC against Dan Christison and Heath Herring losing both bouts. Since then he has been on a tear winning five-straight fights. He recently made news late last year when he defeated two opponents in a row via Gogoplata chokes. His last bout against Chris Blaire ended in round one with a TKO victory in the Palace Fighting Championships. Brad Imes (10-3) again returns to the Palace Fighting Championships on January 17, 2008 against Anthony Ruiz.
Eric “Ravishing Red” Schafer
Red Schafer is slated to fight at Gladiators Fighting 49: Warriors Return. The event will feature him in the main event and will happen in Milwaukee, WI on February 16, 2008.
Schafer is on hiatus from the UFC as he attempts to gain some additional cage experience and tune his skills. Schafer holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under MMA veteran Henry Matamoros and Pedro Sauer. He made his UFC debut at UFC 62 in August of 2006 against TUF 2 contestant Rob MacDonald from Canada. Schafer was able to quickly end the fight by an arm triangle in just over two minutes in the first round.
His next bout was scheduled for the TUF 4 finale against TUF 3 winner Michael Bisping last November but was cancelled due to Bisping’s visa issues the week of the bout. It was quickly rescheduled to UFC 66 in December. Six weeks prior to the bout Schafer suffered a torn meniscus in his knee that affected his ability to train properly. At UFC 66 he suffered a first round TKO loss to the English fighter in the final minute of round one. Despite the loss he was able to showcase some takedowns and submission attempts in that bout before succumbing to defeat. Early in 2007 he underwent surgery to repair the knee injury and returned to training.
His next bout was to occur at UFC 71 in May against the popular blogger Sean Salmon who had been previously knocked out by Rashad Evans at Fight Night 8 in January. Two weeks prior to the scheduled bout Schafer suffered a broken rib in training and was forced to withdraw.
At UFC 77 in October, Schafer fought in the “War of I-94” against former Roufus student Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar. He showed better stand up than previous bouts and managed to get the back of Bonnar but was not able to capitalize and finish the veteran. In the second round, Ravishing Red made the critical mistake of pulling guard for the second time in the match and would take punishment from Bonnar until Big John McCarthy stepped in to save him.
Most recently “Ravishing Red” Schafer participated in a submission grappling match at Gladiators Fighting 48: Season’s Beatings vs. Jesse “Candy Hands” Veium. Schafer managed to survive a very tight guillotine and secured a kimura shoulder lock and Veium was forced to tap at 1:36 in the first round. His opponent at Gladiators 49 will be Rob “The Bullrider” Wince and the bout will be for the Light Heavyweight Championship of Gladiators Fighting.
Robert “The Bullrider” Wince fights out of Hammer House in Columbus, Ohio and sports a (15-9) MMA record according to fcfighter.com. He is the current Light Heavyweight Champion of Gladiators Fighting. Wince, a journeyman fighter has fought notable fighters in David Heath, Sean Salmon, Matt Horwich, and Lodune Sincaid.
Four-time world champion kickboxer Duke Roufus (37-6-1) looks to get back in the ring against Tofan Pirani (54-10-1) on March 29, 2008 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in a kickboxing match. The show entitled “Knock Out Kings” will have Roufus in the main event against a five-time K-1 participant and European Champion in Parini. Tofan Pirani fights out of Stockholm, Sweden at Saltjobaden Muaythai. In May of this year Duke Roufus beat K-1 Brazil Grand Champion Eduardo Mairorino in Canada.
American Top Team Instructors at the Columbia, Missouri school include Ben Askren, Dustin Denes, Francisco “Kiko” France, and Wade Rome.
For their bios click here: http://attmo.com/attmo/Instructors.html
Best of luck to all fighters participating in this camp and to Ben Askren who is attempting to qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.