by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Team Link has become a breeding ground for some of the best talent around the world of mixed martial arts of late. With fighters such as Gabriel Gonzaga helping to build the foundation along with head trainer Marco Alvan, top competitors such as Paulo Filho have stepped up and called the team home.
Recently, MMAWeekly spoke to Alvan, who gave an update for many of Team Link’s top fighters and prospects.
GABRIEL GONZAGA READY TO FIGHT; WERDUM IS NEXT
After suffering a tough loss in his shot at the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title, Gonzaga has recovered from a broken nose and is now ready to move on to new competition.
“When the fight was offered to (Gonzaga), he took it at the same time,” Alvan said about the match-up with Fabricio Werdum. “He knew that it was a possibility to happen and he liked the idea. He thinks the first time was a great fight, but now is completely different circumstances. Both improved a lot and it is going to be a great fight.”
The bout is set to take place at UFC 80 in New Castle, England, and marks a return to the country where Gonzaga scored his biggest win to date when he knocked out former Pride champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.
As Alvan alluded to, the fight with Werdum is a rematch. The two met in September of 2003 at the first Jungle Fight event in Brazil, where Gonzaga lost via TKO in the third round.
PAULO FILHO JOINS TEAM LINK
World Extreme Cagefighting middleweight titleholder Paulo Filho officially joined Team Link recently, moving on from Brazilian Top Team. He will arrive in Massachusetts in November to start final preparations for a bout he hopes will take place in December.
Rumors circulated recently that Filho would fight former UFC welterweight Frank Trigg, but nothing was ever finalized and now it appears the bout is off the table.
Plans are currently still in the works for Filho to fight on the WEC card – featuring a featherweight title bout between Urijah Faber and Jeff Curran – but no opponent has been named.
THIAGO SILVA READY TO FACE HOUSTON ALEXANDER
Sporting an undefeated professional record and 2-0 inside the Octagon, Thiago Silva will face off against Houston Alexander at UFC 78 in New Jersey on Nov. 17.
Silva has looked impressive in his two fights in the UFC. This bout with Alexander could create another top contender for the 205-pound championship.
“If Thiago fights smart in this fight, he has all the tools to win,” said Alvan about the match-up with Alexander. “I think it is the opportunity that Thiago was waiting for to show all the UFC fans that he can be in the top of the UFC 205-pound division.”
Alvan doesn’t believe that Silva has any extra pressure on him stepping into this fight with an undefeated record and says if anyone has pressure coming into the bout, it’s Alexander.
“Thiago knows how to deal with that because every fight he needs to put his clean record on the table,” Alvan stated. “I think the pressure is on Houston because he finished his first two fights in the UFC fast with spectacular TKOs, but now he knows that Thiago (is) coming with the same idea. That is the TKO.”
TEAM LINK GOES 3-0 AT EXTREME FIGHTING INTERNATIONAL
Last weekend, three of the top up-and-coming fighters from Team Link competed in the Extreme Fighting International event held in Springfield, Mass. with all three coming out victorious.
Nate Woodger won at 205 pounds, Gabriel “Gladiator” Santos at 185 pounds and Armenian Karn Gregorian kept his perfect record of 5-0 intact en route to becoming the light heavyweight champion.