by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The evolution of the mixed martial arts “super camp” has been widely recognized for the past few years as the sport has grown. From Pat Miletich’s legendary team to American Top Team to Greg Jackson’s team, the super camps of MMA produce some of the best fighters in the sport.
A new contender to enter the fray as a top super camp is Arizona Combat Sports, led by brothers Trevor and Todd Lally, and they will look for a clean sweep on Wednesday night as three of their top athletes compete at UFC Fight Night 18 in Nashville, Tenn.
Leading the way in the main event is Carlos Condit, who is actually a newcomer to Arizona Combat Sports, switching to the team last December. According to lead trainer Trevor Lally, Condit has all the makings of being a champion once again, in the UFC.
“He’s ready to bang, he’s ready to wrestle, his jiu-jitsu’s getting a lot better, and just what that guy brings to the table, you cannot break him,” said Lally.
The talent that Condit possesses got him to the pinnacle in the WEC where he reigned as welterweight champion, but now he has a whole new list of challenges ahead in the UFC. Lally believes that if Condit translates what he brings to the training room into the Octagon, he’ll do just fine.
“It’s his physical toughness,” he named as one of Condit’s best qualities. “We have one of our toughest guys banging with him every other night, his name’s Steve Steinbeiss, that guy he breaks the will of every guy we’ve ever had in here. I mean everybody, until you’re talking about Carlos, who if Steve pushes him back an inch, that guy literally bites down on his mouthpiece and takes it upon himself to push Steve back. I’ve never seen it done too much before.”
While Condit focuses his attention on Martin Kampmann, teammate Ryan Bader will look to make his first appearance in the UFC since winning the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter a successful one, as he faces Carmelo Marrero in a light heavyweight contest.
“People haven’t even seen Ryan Bader yet,” Lally said about the former Arizona State wrestler. “You give this kid a year, his athleticism is so unknown to most of the MMA fans and fighters, that if he gets it together – doesn’t reach as much, moves his feet a little bit more – he is so damn fast and so damn strong for his size and weight class.
“His athleticism is a step above most of the fighters at the top five at 205.”
Another asset that Arizona Combat Sports has in its arsenal is former All-American wrestler and Arizona State assistant coach Aaron Simpson, who will make his UFC debut on the same night as his teammates when he faces former training partner Tim McKenzie.
Simpson has long been credited for helping former students Ryan Bader and C.B. Dollaway reach their potential in collegiate wrestling, and Lally says that ability has led him to being a big help at the gym now as well.
“I would say the biggest thing Aaron brings to the table is just his cool headedness. Aaron’s a great motivator, you cannot not like the guy,” Lally said.
With a slew of All-American wrestlers, top-notch strikers, and teammates like WEC champion Jamie Varner, as well as top middleweight contender Thales Leites, in the gym, it’s no wonder that every piece of the puzzle is important at Arizona Combat Sports.
“Everybody we have here adds to somebody else’s game,” Lally commented about his team.
Trevor and Todd Lally will look to go 3-0 at UFC Fight Night on Wednesday as Carlos Condit faces Martin Kampmann, Ryan Bader takes on Carmelo Marrero and Aaron Simpson squares off with Tim McKenzie.