Leicester Shootfighters Review of the Year 2010
First Anniversary of Leicester Mixed Martial Arts Academy
Wow, what a year it’s been!
Many years in the making, the Leicester Shootfighters team now has it’s own gym. We have more space, better facilities and a larger group of students training than ever before which all added up to an amazing first year for “Leicester Mixed Martial Arts Academy”.
Let’s take a walk through some of the highlights of our first 12 months at the new location….
Having our own venue meant we were able to host an amazing line up of seminars in 2010. From a world champion grappler to a PrideFC champion, this was without doubt the best line up at any gym in the UK this year. Here is a list of the instructors we’ve had down:
Wanderlei Silva – MMA legend, PrideFC Champion, UFC veteran.
Pablo Popovitch – BJJ Black Belt, ADCC and World No-Gi Champion.
Paul Daley – UFC and Strikeforce fighter.
Ross Pearson & Andre Winner – UFC fighters, finalists of The Ultimate Fighter Season 9.
James Wilks – UFC fighter, The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 winner.
Marcelo Brigadeiro – Only Luta Livre black belt teaching in the UK.
Roli Delgado – BJJ Black Belt, UFC veteran.
Dr Rosi Sexton – The UK’s top female mixed martial artist.
Having an array of top fighters and coaches from around the world visiting the gym to teach has been a huge benefit to us. I try to remain a constant student always progressing our style and from attending these events I’ve personally learnt more in the last few months than in the previous couple of years put together! A big thank you to these great coaches for sharing their knowledge and to everyone who supported the events.
2010 saw many fighters visiting Leicester MMA Academy to train. UFC star Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy could be found on sessions early in the year alongside his Rough House team mates such as Andre Winner and Nick Osipczak.
Sengoku star Yasubey Enomoto, Ultimate Fighter winner James Wilks, UFC veteran Roli Delgado, Irish fighter Joseph Duffy and Nordin Asrih from Germany were among other notable fighters who also dropped by to train on classes.
Ultimate Challenge and Cage Rage star Jason Young came up for a few days during fight camp and we also hosted training for teams from Josh Gavin’s The Dojo in Scotland, Gary Cross’s G4 MMA and Cornwall’s Pure Grappling.
Early in the year head coach Nathan Leverton was still training Team Rough House fighters and this took him across to America to corner Andre Winner in his win over Rafaello Oliveira at UFC Ultimate Fight Night 21 and to Abu Dhabi for Nick Osipczak‘s controversial split decision loss at UFC 112. However, from July this year Nathan has withdrawn from his role with Team Rough House to focus his whole attention on Leicester Mixed Martial Arts Academy, it’s students and it’s ever growing competition team.
It has been an incredible year for the Leicester Shootfighters squad this year. In all, the amateur team went 16-2 on single bouts (with both losses being close decisions) and also took multiple medals and titles in amateur tournaments.
The team kicked off the year in style at the WTKA Open English Championships, sweeping the amateur MMA tournaments taking gold in every category we entered. Aaron Brown, Liam Corrigan, David Mawdsley and JD Hylton all took the top spots in their weight divisions and we cleaned out the -66kg class taking all the medals thanks to the very strong line up of Kieren Lewin, Aiden Hayes and Jamie Molyneaux. Jacob Constantinou also competed and took bronze.
In February Jacob defeated David Spout by unanimous decision in an amateur MMA bout at AFK Promotions while away at university in Sheffield and in November he also picked up a first round submission win at Total Carnage as well as winning an amateur K-1 fight.
A trip to Nottingham in April for the first Clash of Warriors Amateur MMA Championships saw another four wins for the team. Andre Hayes, Aiden Hayes and Liam Corrigan all dispatched their opponents quickly with slick first round submissions whilst Daniel Swan ground out a hard earned decision win. Ranjeet Baria lost by decision in our first fight of the night.
This year saw Mahmood Besharate go to 3-0 at semi-pro MMA. In May he picked up his second win by TKO with a first round stoppage of Matt Harrison at Fight Force but with many fights falling through for Mahmood didn’t fight again until September but this time submitted Irish fighter Rich Edgeworth by RNC in round 2 of their bout at Fight Stars 6.
With multiple shows being cancelled or postponed it meant that the team didn’t get to fight again over the summer but came back strong in September managing to squeeze a total seven fighters on the Fight UK card held in Whitwick, Leicestershire. Jamie Molyneaux, Guy Lewis and Aiden Hayes all won by first round submission with Aiden picking up the Submission of the Night bonus with his GoGo Plata win. Kieren Lewin defeated the more experienced Chris Pritchett buy unanimous decision, LJ Adams made her debut grinding out a tough win over kickboxing champion Helena Martin and Daniel Swan came back from a difficult first round against Ash Bray to secure a come-from-behind win by RNC in the second round. Jacob Constantinou lost a close majority decision.
Fight UK’s follow up show in November found Ranjeet Baria and Kieren both returning to the cage against more experienced fighters but coming through to take both win by armbar in the first round.
Also in November Subaig Singh made his debut for the team with a first round submission win by RNC at Clash of Warriors 10: Fearless.
The Leicester Shootfighters MMA Team has gone from strength to strength this year and now includes over 20 competitors preparing to fight in 2011. We are very proud of everyone who has competed representing the club and grateful to all their supporters and team mates both on and off the mat who made their successes possible.
Submission Grappling Competitions
With more of an MMA focus in 2010 we weren’t able to attend as many grappling events as usual but didn’t manage to make a big splash at those we did attend winning two national team titles!
On May 1st Leicester Shootfighters won the team trophy at the 2010 U.M.A. Open No Gi Groundfighting Championships, finishing the event with 11 medals and 85 points (more than twice that of the second place team!). Andre Hayes and JD Hylton both won gold medals in their first advanced divisions. Liam Corrigan won gold in the -75kg advanced, triangling his way to the final where he beat respected Gracie Barra BJJ brown belt Rob Stevens by decision. Caz Tweedy and LJ Adams took gold and silver in the women’s combined u95kg, Caz submitting both her opponents quickly despite being under 60kg. Satyan defeated twin brother Shivan in the final of the novice -65kg which made for an all Mehta family top 2 spots. Chris Hughes put in a great performance taking silver in the +95kg novice in his first comp. Jacob Constantinou took bronze in his first advanced division at 85kg behind two veterans of the UK grappling scene. Jamie Molyneaux and Daniel Swan took joint bronze in the advanced -65kg with solid showings. Michael Panebianco, Chris White, Ed Pang, Karsten Lenjoint, Andrew Bailey, Matt Steady and Nathan Matts also competed, racking up a lot of wins between them despite an official trying to screw us all day! This was the largest team we’d ever entered for a tournament and they put on a blinding performance.
A planned trip to the Ground Control Nationals 2010 in November became a run at the team title when the event was moved from Manchester to Nottingham. With the event so close to home we rallied the troops and stormed the event becoming Ground Control Nationals 2010 Team Champions and scooping the cash prize which has gone towards buying new kit for the gym. We picked up a total of nine medals (eight in advanced and intermediate divisions) along the way and narrowly missed out on many more. Liam Corrigan and Daniel Swan won their divisions with Ranjeet Baria, Luke Welford, Jamie Molyneaux, Nathan Matts, Guy Lewis, LJ Adams and Chris Miles all picking up medals too.
We are so proud of the grappling team for their performances at these events. The atmosphere and camaraderie at both was fantastic and picking up the UMA and Ground Control team titles were truly highlights of the year.
Of course, these weren’t the only events attended, other notable performances included 4 of 6 competitors taking medals at Ground Control’s “Beat the Heat” summer event putting Leicester Shootfighters in at 4th place in the team rankings! A brilliant achievement for such a small group. Congratulations also to Caz Tweedy on winning the No-Gi British Championships and Mission Submission women’s titles to go alongside her U.M.A. Groundfighting tournament win earlier in the year.
Our large matted area makes the gym a perfect venue for events and 2010 saw the return of our popular open mat and club competitions.
June saw the gym become a sweatbox as more than 50 grapplers from Leicester, Loughborough, Derby, Nottingham and further afield all descended on Leicester MMA Academy for it’s first open mat training session. Over 3 hours of rolling, sharing techniques, matches on the Xbox and a raffle made for a fun day.
Over 40 students competed in our summer and winter Submission Wrestling club competitions this year. The atmosphere at both events was brilliant and there were some fantastic bouts including some spectacular submissions such as flying triangles and Peruvian neckties! These events are a great way for people to test their skills and prepare for open competition if that is their goal and we appreciate the support of all the competitors and supporters who made them possible.
2010 was also the start of our first women only events. Caz Tweedy and LJ Adams ran a series of women only grappling and fitness sessions which have now become twice-monthly and these innovative open classes taught by women for women have attracted female martial artists from as far afield as Cornwall, Manchester and Yorkshire. Guest instructor in October was the UK’s top female fighter Dr Rosi Sexton.
All these events and more will return in 2011!
The opening of our new academy has meant a lot more coverage for the team, both locally and internationally.
In Men’s Fitness November 2010 issue, their ‘Fight Special’, Leicester Shootfighters is listed in their top 5 UK MMA gyms which was fantastic exposure. The gym has also been covered in various MMA magazines and blogs and clips of training appeared in the UFC Countdown TV show. Additionally, head coach Nathan Leverton has been interviewed several times on radio here and in the US and provided technique sequences for online and print publications.
Firstly, if you read even part of the text above thank you for your time! It was been such a busy year and that piece turned out MUCH longer than I expected.
Thank you to all the companies who have helped us this year. In particular: Caged Steel for their donation of gloves and training gear, Empire Fight Shop and Demon Fightwear for training clothing, Eazee and Meesha Graphics for their help with clothing lines, Combat Network Magazine for the exposure and Fight UK for the exposure and fitting so many our team on the fightcards!
And finally, thank you to everyone who trained at Leicester MMA Academy this year. Every single one of you has made the above achievements possible. We hope you all enjoyed your years training and will be back in 2011. See you all on the mats soon.