Baton Pass Fall Short in Sacramento

ufc-fox22The UFC is big in more places than ever before but there is no doubt that throughout the world there are pockets where it is bigger than anywhere else.

A lot of times these pockets form because there is a gym that has solidified itself in the community and became a hotbed for fighters to travel to in order to train.

When a gym gets known for their great training fighters move to that city in order to train and bigger name fighters are coming in and out.

Eventually, a city begins to become a destination for fighters and that makes the city a centre for fighting.

It has happened in Albuquerque where Jackson-Wink has become one of the largest gyms in MMA with fighters heading to New Mexico to train all the time.

South Florida, Montreal, and Denver have all been places where this phenomenon has happened thanks to big gyms.

It has also happened in Sacramento where Team Alpha Male has become a staple for the lighter weight classes in MMA.

It is one of the many hotbeds around North America where fighters go to get some of the best training in the world.

The entire gym was set up by Urijah Faber who himself was a ground-breaking star in the world of MMA.

Before there was a Conor McGregor or the other superstars from the UFC there was Faber who was one of the most sponsored fighters ever.

Through his time in other promotions, he was always one of the biggest stars and he backed up all of the hype that surrounded him.

He took that fame and launched Team Alpha Male where all of a sudden a number of promising prospects began to arise.

All were among the smaller weight classes but for a while, Alpha Male produced some of the biggest names in the sport at these smaller weight classes.

All the while Faber continued to fight and continued to put up amazing win totals.

He still couldn’t find his way to the UFC title though as his only losses came in championship fights against the best in the world.

He had done so much for the sport and had established his gym as a major part of Sacramento.

So it was fitting that when the UFC returned to Sacramento for a live FOX show, Faber was on the card.

It was also fitting that Faber fought in his adopted hometown for his last fight ever as he was set to retire after he took on Brad Pickett.

A win would make everything right in him walking away but more than that a win by himself along with a promising prospect from the camp would have made it a perfect night.

A long time Alpha Male member, Paige VanZant, was one of the first female stars to come out of the gym and a fighter with plenty of potentials.

Both fighters winning would have made the hometown crowd very happy but it also would have represented a passing of the baton from the first generation of the gym to the next generation.

The first part of that equation came true as Faber took on Pickett and after three rounds of displaying all of his skills he has developed over his long fighting career he took the unanimous decision

It was the best way he could have gone out as he went out as a winner and despite the fact that he couldn’t get a UFC belt he remains one of the best to ever fight.

The second part of the great night for Sacramento did not entirely go as planned though as VanZant could not get the win in front of her adopted hometown crowd.

She was taking on a tough test in the very experienced Michelle Waterson who was trying to make a name for herself after suffering a number of injuries over the last few years.

Waterson has everything to make a title run but with her injuries, she was quickly forgotten after her UFC debut.

She went into this main event looking to show that she was ready to start that run over and get a title in the UFC.

She showed why she has that ability when she took on VanZant in a big fight for both of these female fighters.

It did not last long as Waterson was able to land some big shots, even though she took a few as well, and eventually threw VanZant to the ground.

From there she quickly worked to the back and sunk in a rear naked choke to end the night in under four minutes.

For Waterson, it was a big win that should get her back on track in the strawweight division as she restarts after her injuries.

For Team Alpha Male it was a mixed night as their leader walked away from the sport one a high note but one of their brightest rising stars was stalled once again.

The passing of the baton from the first generation to the next didn’t quite happen but the fact is that Sacramento remains the home to one of the best gyms in the world.



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