Much hype has been made this week about Jon “Bones” Jones and what some people are calling “the new breed” of super fighters, multi-talented athletes with multi-level skills, that are set to change the sport of MMA.
And this weekend is no exception as another young and hungry fighter steps into the Octagon looking to make his mark.
This in itself is not news… after all, we can find fighters grounding and pounding, sweating and swearing, brawling and sprawling every weekend.
But coincidentally, Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres who is making his official UFC debut Saturday at UFC Fight Night 24 in Seattle, is also managed by the same “dream team” that handles Jon “Bones” Jones, Authentic Sports Management.
Riccardo Llorente of Authentic Sports Management compared Caceres to Jones.
“He has a similar style to ‘Bones’, he’s a very talented fighter and he is going to go very far in this sport,” Llorente told ProMMAnow.com’s Susan Cingari.
And he should know. Between he and Malki Kawa, CEO and President of the Miami-based marketing and management company, Authentic Sports Management, they represent some of the top talent in the sport, including KenFlo, Thiago Alves, Carlos Condit, Alan Belcher, Michael Johnson, Ben Henderson, Rashad Evans, George Santiago, Brad Tavares, Cole Miller, Steve Bruno and Alex Caceres.
Caceres, who was a member of Team GSP on season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter is set to do battle with a more experienced Mackenz Semerzier in promises to be an exciting match-up.
Semerzier needs this win and needs it bad, he’s lost his last three fights, and Caceres is not going to go down without a fight.
“Looking at him, he pretty much looks like a tough opponent. So I’m just going to focus on this guy and just try to take him out,” said Alex.
Caceres has been training non stop twice a day, since the end of the show last year, up in Canada at TriStar with Firas Zahabi, working on everything from his strength to his striking to his ground game.
“Alex is a very good grappler and striker and he’s been working hard on his wrestling and he’s really improved in every aspect of his game. Here at TriStar we don’t really do just one thing or look at one area. Our style is that we mix it up when we train our fighters,” Zahabi said.
And mixing it up has been working well for Caceres so far.
“I don’t have a set schedule. It always varies. It all depends on what my body is feeling that day whether I can do the thing or not. Or whether I should do the thing that day or just stick to the technique. It switches day to day. I’m sore differently everyday. So, I’ve got to see how my body works,” said Caceres.
Fans will remember UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva made headlines last month when he knocked out Vitor Belfort with a devastating front kick that he reportedly learned from legendary martial arts action star Steven Seagal.
Similarly, Caceres has found his own martial arts film star to work with. He has employed the help of Taimak Guarriello, who portrayed Leroy Green, a Bruce Lee-inspired martial artist in search of “The Glow” in the 1985 film classic “The Last Dragon”.
Taimak holds a 7th degree black belt and has trained in Shoalin Kung Fu, Chinese Goju, Boxing, MMA, Aikido, Kickboxing, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, and Fencing and was recently inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
He along with the BJJ master John Danaher have been training Alex for several weeks at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City. He talked about how he hooked up with Alex.
“I was watching The Ultimate Fighter show. I was actually going to go to sleep and I turned it on and I see this kid running around and I was laughing because he has a lot of showman in him and then I was waiting to see if he could fight and he could fight, and I thought it was really charming. He happened to be at an event that my brother was promoting in Florida and my brother said, ‘So Taimak do you want to talk to him?’ And he got me on the phone with him and the rest is history,” said Taimak.
For Caceres, meeting Taimak was more than just a coincidence.
“It’s kind of like living a dream ya know for me. I had it in my head it’s like when you want something and it becomes reality I guess, it’s really kind of hard to explain,” Caceres said.
Taimak has been helping Alex with his stand up game and commented on their work.
“Alex came to me mentally prepared and physically prepared. Now I am just doing some minor adjustments. He already had a style that was elusive and effective, I’m just making it more specific,” Taimak said.
While physical preparation is a necessary part of the game plan, we all know a fighter’s self confidence can be crucial especially in the case of a UFC debut. But Alex feels he’s ready.
“I feel better about myself and my movements and my confidence is definitely building. That’s where it’s going to come from, that big boost of confidence is important, me believing in myself,” said Caceres.
Taimak said he has high hopes for his young protege and is very impressed with him.
“Alex learns really quickly he’s got a really good head. He’s definitely someone to look out for in the future He’s already proven he can train and compete on a good level now he’s going to take it to another level,” said Taimak.
Be sure to check out Alex’s fight tonight on the UFC’s Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/UFC). The live UFC Fight Night 24 Facebook stream starts at approximately 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.