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Hook heard all the way from Vegas
Superior Cage Combat 4
Birmingham MMA Examiner
February 20, 2012
It was the nasty hook heard around the world that put Anthony Hamilton to the ground. In 1:15 seconds into Round 1 at Superior Cage Combat 4 in Las Vegas on Feb. 16 the light at the end of the tunnel for “The Freight Train” was “Big Ticket”. Lights out to be exact.
The matchup– Anthony Hamilton – the rising star that is an 8:0 undefeated pro heavyweight from the world famous Jackson gym. Greg Jackson is a mixed martial arts trainer, who operates the Jackson’s MMA training camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jackson has trained many successful fighters, including current UFC welterweight champion Georges St.-Pierre and UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Sherdog.com reports that Jackson’s camp has a win percentage of 81%. Jackson has recently been reported in the news as being the corner man to Jon Jones at UFC 145. Greg Jackson has won 3 World MMA Awards. He won “Best Coach” and “Best Gym” in 2009 as well as “Coach of the Year” in 2010. Escorting Hamilton to the octagon was former UFC veteran Keith Jardine. In 2011, Jardine signed a deal with Strikeforce. He holds notable victories over the likes of Chuck Liddell, and Forrest Griffin. Pretty intimidating statistics.
His opponent was Walt “Big Ticket” Harris – a 3:1 pro MMA heavyweight from a tiny little gym located in Birmingham, Alabama. As an amateur, Walt had a 23:1 record. Escorting Walt to the octagon were his coaches – Coach Jon Dye and Coach Al Price of Champions Freestyle Fight Team. It was all over in less than 75 seconds. By way of KO – the victor Walt Harris.
How does a tiny little gym in Alabama rise to the same level of professional athletic competition as a world famous gym? How does a fighter go from small town Alabama to knocking out an undefeated Greg Jackson fighter?
By putting in a lot of hard work and time, and hard work, and dedication and did I mention hard work. There is no secret formula to success. It all boils down to coaching, training, preparation and according to Coach Dye “God’s gift of amazing athletic abilities”. All of which played a key role in Walt’s success. Other factors include studying fight footage of Hamiltons’ and identifying his weaknesses. Coach Dye studied video after video and analyzed his technique and realized that when Hamilton got fighters to the ground he would allow enough space to dig an underhook. According to Coach Dye “we worked on digging that underhook and getting back to our feet.” Getting back to his feet included having his teammates hold him down while Walt learned how to get back to his feet. One of his teammates; a former Linebacker from 2009 National Championship Alabama Crimson Tide, Eryk Anders. “I also noticed Hamilton threw a weak jab. I knew Walt was fast enough and good enough to pull it off and everything we worked on happened perfectly. Anthony jabbed and Walt threw it over the top just like we worked on”. Walt remembers hearing Coach Dye yell at him to watch the kicks and let his hands go. He did. A few seconds later Hamilton was down and out. Awarding Harris the “KO of the Night”.
While in Vegas, Walt and his coaches were at Randy Couture’s gym watching their pro’s practice. Coach Dye remembers thinking that as much talent as they have at that gym that he has just as much talent at his own gym in Birmingham. “I want every fighter to know that you don’t have to come from a Couture or Jackson gym to be a top fighter. No one from Alabama has ever knocked out an undefeated Jackson fighter until now and it’s a good feeling. The best feeling in the world is to take a guy that didn’t know how to fight and in 3 years time take him to Vegas and have him knock out a guy from one of the big name gyms. I told Walt what to do to win and it worked.” Just last year Walt signed with First Round Management, based in Miami, FL. His sponsors are Lemak Sports Medicine, Gamma Labs, Full Contact Fighter, Elite Nutrition, Dreammakers Inc, and Combat Corner.
What is next on the agenda for Walt and Champions Freestyle Fight Team? Walt’s next fight will be announced shortly. The Team – Coach Dye has some amazing athletes at his tiny gym including, Corey Jones, Fred Weaver, Adrian Miles, Tyler Sly, Kyle Causey, Cole Mason and Eryk Anders. His team will be fighting this Friday, Feb. 24 in Biloxi, MS for Kage Wars 5 and Sat. Feb 25 in Jackson, MS for Beatdown in Jacktown. For more information on Champions Freestyle MMA contact Jon Dye at (205) 410-2698.