Tampa, FL: Mixed Martial Arts superstar Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira is the only man in MMA history to capture both the UFC and PRIDE heavyweight championships — and his renowned mastery of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu helped earn him the coveted position of team trainer on the current season of Spike TV’s hit series “Ultimate Fighter.” Nogueira’s MMA credentials are beyond dispute; he clearly understands the sport on a level few can approach, which lends his prognostications considerable weight.
So when Antonio Nogueira claims that 9-2 Luis “Baboon” Palomino of Miami, Florida just might be MMA’s next great champion, it’s a prediction worth noting.
“Luis had a pair of losses and didn’t really understand the intricacies of MMA before I began working with him,” said Nogueira, “which makes sense when you realize that he never competed as an amateur before turning pro. But the progress we’ve made at the Team Nogueira training facility in Miami is just incredible; his striking prowess and overall knowledge of Jiu-Jitsu grows almost daily. Luis is currently riding a five-fight winning streak, and despite our size difference, he’s the one fighter I always want to spar with whenever I’m preparing for a bout. He’s that good, and I’m proud to have him as my protg.”
Palomino will have an opportunity to justify his mentor’s faith when he battles John “The Mulatto Mauler” Mahlow for the lightweight title at Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC)’s “Salute to Our Armed Forces 6: Clash of the Continents” on Friday, December 5 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. This will be XFC’s fifth fight card at the St. Pete Times Forum; the previous four fight cards drew a combined total of 43,700 fans.
In Palomino’s last fight, he was the underdog against then-undefeated Eric Reynolds of Bradenton, Florida. Reynolds had steamrolled through the first nine fights of his young career — winning them all by first-round stoppage — and was headlining MMA cards for smaller promotions throughout Florida. Just before fighting Palomino, Reynolds signed a contract to face lightweight champion John Mahlow at XFC’s next stadium event… contingent, of course, on the continuation of his undefeated record.
Fifty seconds later, Eric Reynolds was knocked out cold by an overhand right — and Luis Palomino was standing in his place for a shot at the XFC lightweight title.
“When I turn on the TV and watch Team Nogueira competing on `Ultimate Fighter,’ I still get chills,” said Palomino, who also credited ground coach Daniel Valverde and striking coach Cesar Carneiro for his development. “I mean, how lucky am I to have the legendary Antonio Nogueira as my personal trainer — not because I’m on a TV show, but because he honestly, truly believes I can be a great champion? And after countless hours of sparring with Antonio, there’s nothing Mahlow can do that would surprise me. No disrespect, but there’s just no way I’m leaving Tampa without that title.”
John Mahlow spoke highly of Palomino, but made it clear he plans on retaining his title. “I was originally preparing to fight Reynolds, but this fight is so much bigger now,” said Mahlow from his Ft. Lauderdale, Florida training camp. “And I’m glad Palomino is confident. Hell, having the reigning interim UFC heavyweight champion as your trainer would give anyone extra confidence. But once that steel door slams shut and we’re trapped inside the cage together, it doesn’t matter who your friends are. It doesn’t matter if you have a celebrity trainer. The only thing that matters is finding out who’s the better fighter — and the XFC world title looks too good around my waist to hand over to Palomino. He’ll have to kill me to take it.”
For interview requests with Luis Palomino or lightweight champion John Mahlow, please contact Scott Pinsker at 727.871.3204, or [email protected]
About Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC): Xtreme Fighting Championships — better known to MMA fight fans worldwide as XFC — is the Southeast’s leading independent MMA promotion. Recognized by MMA enthusiasts for staging the industry’s largest live events, XFC’s last four shows at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida all drew over ten thousand fans each, setting an international MMA attendance record. XFC’s next mega-event, “XFC’s Salute to Our Armed Forces 6: Clash of the Continents,” is scheduled for Friday, December 5, at the St. Pete Times Forum. Deeply appreciative of the courage and sacrifice of the U.S. military, XFC offers free admittance to all combat veterans. For more information about XFC, please visit www.mmaxfc.com.