UFC’s Florian can take all the heat

Local fight fans are looking
forward to the visit of UFC star Kenny Florian next month.

He is coming to Cayman for two
seminars to pass on mixed martial arts tips and help generate more interest in
the sport.

Karate instructor Bob Daigle wants
to help promote sports tourism in Cayman and also make it the MMA capital of
the Caribbean.

By bringing the lightweight ace here
on 12 June for the seminars and to meet the mixed martial arts community,
Daigle is starting something that he hopes will become a huge industry in these
recession-hit times.

Florian is excited too about
visiting Cayman for the first time and getting away from chilly Boston for a
few days.

Florian will be available for one
hour to fans prior to the pay-per-view event UFC 115 Chuck ‘Iceman’ Liddle
against Rich Franklin at Aqua Beach on 12 June.

Mixed martial arts is one of the
fastest growing sports in the world. Its popularity is in contrast to boxing
that is in decline partly because there are few great matches in the noble art
anymore.

The excitement and unpredictability
of MMA matches was highlighted on Saturday when previously unbeaten Lyoto Machida
was knocked out in the first round by Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua while the brief and
spectacular career of Kimbo Slice is over after he was pounded out by Matt M at
UFC 113 in Montreal.

Rua buckled Machida with a right
hand, then pounced on him and pounded him out to secure the belt at 3:35 of the
first round and avenge a controversial close defeat in their previous
fight, at UFC 104 in October. 

In addition to the coveted title,
Rua received a $65,000 bonus for knockout of the night.

Aqua Beach, Cayman’s No.1 bar for
showing MMA, was packed on Saturday watching the fights. There was a wave of excitement
when Cayman27 ads appeared on the screen advertising Florian’s visit. 

“It’s going to be great, very
exciting,” Florian said. “I’m really looking forward to it. I don’t know too
much about Cayman but I do know it’s beautiful and I’m looking forward to the response
and sharing my knowledge with MMA fans there.

“I’ll be checking out the island,
relaxing and going to the beach.

“MMA has grown a lot but it isn’t
completely mainstream yet. The UFC is doing its part in making the sport
progress. Having MMA Live on ESPN has helped it grow in huge leaps.”

Florian’s academy is one of the
most popular amongst the top UFC fighters.

“It’s is going well. It’s close to
downtown Boston and is so popular that people from all over the US and all over
the world come by. I have about 200 members.”

Florian fights Gray Maynard on a
UFC show on 28 August. It’s a tough one but Florian is already in good shape.
“I train all year round. I walk around at about 172 pounds but it’s not too hard
to get down to the 155 pounds lightweight limit.”

After beating Maynard he hopes for
a rematch with world champion BJ Penn. “Facing BJ is the goal but I can’t
dismiss Maynard because he’s unbeaten and one of the best in the top 10.”

For more information on the
Florian seminars, go to: [email protected]
and www.caymanmma.ning.com
or ring: 916-0227.

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