MMA Blog – UFC TUF Preview

Top Rope Belts welcomes our new MMA correspondent Cory Taylor to the team. Check out Cory’s bio at the bottom of the page.

The 11th season of the successful reality MMA show ‘The Ultimate Fighter’  kicks off March 31st. This season showcases middleweight fighters coached by MMA legend and Hall of Fame’r Chuck Liddell and charismatic big mouth Tito Ortiz. I love TUF, even when its over the top and the fights are lame,I love TUF. Its produced some of the greatest fighters in mixed martial arts today and some of the most memorable MMA moments. Whether you are a fan of the sport or not, watching these crazy guys try and get along in the ‘house’ with other guys they are expected to fight without television or outside contact is pretty entertaining in itself. TUF is responsible for much of the casual viewership today and remains the UFC’s baby.  With that said, lets meet our new cast:

Scroll to the bottom for a video preview of the cast.


Fighting out of: Deerfield Beach, FL/American Top Team

Record: 7-3

Age: 32

A 2001 graduate of Hofstra University in Long Island, N.Y., Rich Attonito wrestled several different weight classes as a member of the Pride wrestling team including the 167-pound and 197-pound. divisions. Attonito has been training with American Top Team since he moved to Florida in 2006. He is the strength and conditioning coach for UFC veteran Luigi Fioravanti.


Fighting out of: Canyon, AZ/Apex MMA

Record: 11-5

Age: 28

Training partner to “TUF” alumni Santino DeFranco (season nine) and Efrain Escudero (season eight) at Apex MMA in Arizona, Seth Baczynski is a fulltime water inspector at Liberty Water.


Fighting out of: Coconut Creek, FL/American Top Team

Record: 7-2

Age: 24

A two-time All-State wrestler in high school, this single father is a jiu-jitsu brown belt and a published poet.


Fighting out of: Tulsa, OK/Absolute Combat Alliance

Record: 10-0

Age: 29

A member of the Absolute Combat Alliance camp in Tulsa, Okla., Josh Bryant sports a perfect 10-0 professional mixed martial arts record. When not training, Bryant works as a manager for Mazzio’s Italian Eatery in Oklahoma.


Fighting out of: Denver, CO/Gumm MMA

Record: 11-3

Age: 22

Camozzi is a freestyle fighter from Denver that works as a bouncer in his spare time. Two of his three losses are to “TUF” alumni Jesse Forbes (season three) and Jesse Taylor (season seven).


Fighting out of: Long Beach, CA/Team Oyama

Record: 5-1

Age: 31

Of Sioux Indian descent, Cooper is a pipe liner by day for Shell Oil and a devastating striker by night with four of his five wins coming via TKO.


Fighting out of: Meridian, ID/No camp

Record: 8-2

Age: 31

Jacen Flynn possesses an 8-2 mixed martial arts record that includes wins over UFC vets Dennis Kang and Dean Lister. Away from the octagon, he is a social worker.


Fighting out of: Ocala, FL/USA Martial Arts

Record: 4-0

Age: 23

Following one season at Weber International, where he starred on the football team as a linebacker and on special teams, Hammortree left the program in order to become a full-time firefighter in Ocala, Fla. The former high school wrestler owns a 4-0 professional record with all four of those bouts taking place in 2009.


Fighting out of: Thousand Oaks, CA/Big John McCarthy’s MMA

Record: 3-0

Age: 26

Joseph Henle splits time training at Big John McCarthy’s MMA and working as a substitute teacher and wrestling coach in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Henle earned his MBA in financial planning from California Lutheran University in 2006. He speaks fluent Japanese.


Fighting out of: Mound, MN/Northway MMA

Record: 6-0

Age: 25

The self-proclaimed baddest man in Minnesota, Charley Lynch owns a 6-0 professional record with zero of his bouts going to decision.


Fighting out of: Dumfries, VA/Chute Boxe

Record: 5-0

Age: 28

Son of a military father, Kris McCray was raised in Germany, where he excelled on the soccer pitch and garnered All-Europe honors in high school. In 1999, McCray moved permanently to the U.S., where he has served parts of eight years (six active, two inactive) as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve while also finding time to earn his associate’s degree in social studies from Northern Virginia Community College .


Fighting out of: Orem, UT/Throwdown Elite Fight Team

Record: 9-1

Age: 24

A Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist out of Orem, Utah, Court McGee beat “The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom” runner-up DaMarques Johnson in 2007 by submission.


Fighting out of: Orlando, FL/Jungle MMA

Record: 4-2

Age: 27

A teammate of “TUF” (season eight) alumnus Tom Lawlor at Jungle MMA, Clayton McKinney is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who supplements his training by working security at a local bar in Orlando.


Fighting out of: Albuquerque, NM/Jackson ‘s MMA

Record: 16-4-1

Age: 29

Kyle Noke, from Mooloolaba, Australia, is the former bodyguard of “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin. Currently training with Jackson ‘s MMA in New Mexico, Noke defeated “TUF” (season six) alum George Sotiropoulos in June 2005 and current castmate Kyacey Uscola this past September.


Fighting out of: Milford, OH/Vision MMA

Record: 8-1

Age: 27

Hailing from Milford, Ohio, O’Donnell suffered his first professional loss this past September against cast mate Costantinos Philippou. Before that, he had won eight contests, seven by submission.


Fighting out of: Coconut Creek, FL/American Top Team

Record: 5-1

Age: 23

Norman Paraisy was born and raised Paris, France. The 5-1 Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist left France in order to pursue MMA in the States and is now a member of American Top Team.


Fighting out of: Merrick, NY/Serra-Longo

Record: 5-1

Age: 30

Costantinos Philippou is a former boxer with three professional and more than 80 amateur fights on his record. The 30-year-old server from Merrick, N.Y., was born and raised in Greece. He currently trains out of the Serra-Longo camp.


Fighting out of: Buzzards Bay, MA/Sityodtong USA

Record: 9-2

Age: 27

Greg Rebello trains fulltime at Sityodtong USA in Massachusetts under the watchful eye of Mark DellaGrotte. Currently in peak physical condition, Rebello at one time weighed in more than 300 pounds before dedicating himself to fitness at the age of 18.


Fighting out of: Calgary, Canada/B.D.B. Martial Arts

Record: 10-0

Age: 30

Nick Ring returned to MMA in May 2009 following a three-year stint away from the sport after suffering a devastating knee injury. In that time, Ring boxed professionally to the tune of a 4-1 record with three knockouts.


Fighting out of: Clearfield, UT/Throwdown Elite Fight Team

Record: 10-0

Age: 24

A seventh-grade teacher by day, Jordan Smith is a former professional boxer that trains with fellow cast member Court McGee at Throwdown Elite Fight Team.


Fighting out of: Tamarac, FL/American Top Team

Record: 3-1

Age: 27

Born and raised a practitioner of the Orthodox Jewish religion until the age of 6, Ben Stark began training with American Top Team in Florida as a sophomore in college. When not at the gym, Stark picks up shifts at “The Original Fat Cats” music club and also finds time to breed snakes.


Fighting out of: Tucson, AZ/Apex MMA

Record: 5-2

Age: 26

Lyle Steffens is a firefighter and an EMT in Tucson, Arizona. He trains with fellow cast member Seth Baczynski at Apex MMA.


Fighting out of: Las Vegas, NV/TapouT

Record: 4-0

Age: 21

At 21, Brad Tavares is the youngest of this season’s cast members. Originally from Hilo, Hawaii , Tavares recently relocated to Las Vegas and trains fulltime with TapouT


Fighting out of: Marietta, GA/Team Khunpon/Roberto Traven BJJ

Record: 5-0

Age: 23

Warren Thompson, aka “The Kool-Aid Man,” is a Muay-Thai fighter from Marietta, Ga. The volunteer firefighter splits his training in Atlanta between Team Khunpon and Roberto Traven BJJ.


Fighting out of: Sacramento, CA/Team Alpha Male

Record: 18-15

Age: 28

Kyacey Uscola joins the cast with 33 professional MMA fights on his record. He trains with Team Alpha Male and Urijah Faber out of Sacramento.


Fighting out of: Keller, TX/Team Lutter

Record: 9-3

Age: 26

Born and raised in Texas, Cleburn Walker is a fulltime fighter and instructor at Team Lutter. He suffered a recent loss via submission to TUF (season three) alumnus Jesse Forbes this past June.


Fighting out of: Hudson, NH/Renzo Gracie/Mickey Wards Boxing Gym & Xtreme MMA

Record: 7-3

Age: 27

The former U.S. Navy officer currently works fulltime as a corrections officer for the Hillsborough County jail in Manchester, N.H . Weatherby rotates his training between two gyms: Renzo Gracie Academy in Derry, N.H., and Mickey Wards Boxing Gym & Xtreme MMA.


Fighting out of: Los Angeles, CA/Kings MMA

Record: 2-1

Age: 25

A standout varsity letterman in baseball and football, Yager was the 2001 Athlete of the Year at South Pasadena High School in California. He picked up training MMA as a hobby and went straight from training to the professional ranks in February 2008 as part of BET’s “Iron Ring,” where he defeated his opponent by TKO.

TUF 11 Cast Announced | UFC |

Cory Taylor currently lives in Bloomington, IN with his wife Jelayne.
A passionate MMA fan and practitioner, he operates
and is also an avid technology enthusiast while he works on finishing his degree
in computer science.

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