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Shogun Fights

March 30, 2024

The East Coast’s Premier MMA Organization

The brain-child of John Rallo, Shogun fights regularly packs several of the largest venues in the region including Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, The Theater at MGM National Harbor and Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Ft Lauderdale. A hotbed for celebrities and UFC stars, Shogun events will continue to be a Baltimore mainstay for a time to come.

With a successful (albeit short) MMA career and stint as a celebrity bodyguard under his belt, working with the likes of Tommy Lee and Sylvester Stallone, Rallo focused on opening a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy after receiving his blackbelt from Renzo Gracie himself. During this time he worked towards legalizing MMA in the state of Maryland, eventually passing legalization in one session – an unheard of feat with new legislature. With the arena wide-open, Rallo has spent years promoting shows and building a roster of packed talent, with several fighters going to the UFC, Invicta, Bellator, Dana White’s Contender Series and PFL amongst others.

John Rallo Owner / Operator

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  • No Bets Barred: Will Dustin Poirier finish his story at UFC 302 and claim lightweight gold?
    by Jed Meshew on May 30, 2024 at 12:00 am

    Dustin Poirier | Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images UFC 302 takes place this Saturday in New Jersey with Dustin Poirier once again challenging for the lightweight title, this time against the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Islam Makhachev, and the No Bets Barred boys are back to break it down. Co-hosts Conner Burks and Jed Meshew kick things off with a brief discussion about the optimal UFC schedule before diving into the UFC 302 talk. . Will Poirier finally claim undisputed UFC gold and finish his story or will Makhachev deny him yet again? Can Paulo Costa pull off the upset on Sean Strickland to get himself back into title contention? Just how fun will Kevin Holland vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk be? All this and more are discussed on this week’s episode. Tune in for episode 89 of No Bets Barred. New episodes of the No Bets Barred podcast drop every Wednesday and are available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever else you find your favorite podcasts. The latest episode can be heard below.

  • Cesar Almeida reacts to new gloves debuting at UFC 302: ‘It didn’t change much’
    by Guilherme Cruz on May 29, 2024 at 11:00 pm

    Cesar Almeida punches Lucas Fernando with the new gloves on DWCS | Photo by Al Powers/Zuffa LLC UFC debuts new gloves on Saturday in New Jersey, but Brazilian middleweight Cesar Almeida had a head start compared to other UFC 302 competitors. Almeida faces Roman Kopylov on the preliminary portion of Saturday’s pay-per-view event in Newark, N.J., but was one of the fighters to wear the new UFC gloves as part of a test on the promotion’s Contender Series in 2023. The new gloves were officially announced in April 2024, but were discreetly tested by fighters on last year’s shows at the UFC APEX. “I’m used to them already,” Almeida told MMA Fighting. All fighters competing at UFC 302 received new gloves to wear in camp for the event. “We used in training, even did the wraps with the cutman at the UFC PI, but it didn’t change much. Maybe it’s a bit lighter, some veterans complained about it. But, to me, it’s the same thing.” Almeida won a decision over Lucas Fernando on Contender Series wearing the new gloves but switched back to the classic UFC gloves for his octagon debut in April 2024, knocking out Dylan Budka. Almeida now returns to wearing the new gloves at UFC 302. “I’ve hit pads using them, I’ve grappled with them,” Almeida said, “and it protects your wrist a little bit more, it’s smaller here and there, but it doesn’t change much in my opinion, to be honest.” The Brazilian striker, who holds kickboxing wins over the likes of Alex Pereira and ex-GLORY contender Serkan Ozcaglayan, hunts for his second UFC win after pocketing a performance bonus in his April debut for the second-round stoppage of Budka. Kopylov has never been knocked out before in MMA, but Almeida knows “there’s always a first time for everything.” “A win [by knockout] will put me up there already, but we’re preparing to fight three rounds,” Almeida said. “I’m training to end it early, but my head is prepared to go three rounds if I have to. I don’t think he will try to take me down, but this is MMA now. You can see the numbers. I think he will try to keep it where he’s more comfortable, which is the stand-up fight, and so will I. “I think [UFC] wants to see ‘Cesinha’ the striker this time. I wasn’t able to show that because my previous opponents tried something different. I didn’t have the chance to stand and brawl for real in the UFC. It’s going to be a kickboxing match with small gloves, and that’s what people want to see.”

  • UFC 302 Embedded, episode 3: ‘Shut up and train’
    by Damon Martin on May 29, 2024 at 10:30 pm

    On the third episode of UFC 302 Embedded, former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov lays down the rules for a successful training regimen to get everybody ready for a fight, including UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev. Meanwhile, Sean Strickland prepares for his flight out east to New Jersey and even manages to make some new friends on the plane. Paulo Costa throws out the first pitch at the New York Mets game and Dustin Poirier teaches his famous guillotine choke, plus more.

  • Michael Page roasts Ian Machado Garry, calls him ‘a bad BBL version’ of Conor McGregor
    by Jed Meshew on May 29, 2024 at 10:00 pm

    Michael Page | Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images Michael Page has some unflattering thoughts on Ian Machado Garry. In June, Page fights Garry at UFC 303. When the fight was announced, many fans were surprised by the timing, as just one month later, UFC returns to Manchester for UFC 304, and many expected the English fighter to be a part of that card. And according to Page, that was originally the plan, before Garry threw a wrench into things. “They kind of confirmed, ‘Yeah, Manchester is probably going to be that time,’” Page said Wednesday on The MMA Hour. “I actually had asked for Ian Garry and they said he’s not available because he’s fighting Colby [Covington]. Then I heard that Colby, I think there’s a medical issue or something. ... They said he’s not going to be able to make it, so you can take that fight and we’ll do it for June. And I was like, ‘Yeah! Let’s go!’ And then realized the time, ‘Actually, to be fair, can we just do it in Manchester? You guys already told me it was going to be Manchester, can we just do it there? It makes sense. He’s an Irish guy, I’m an English guy. It makes sense.’ “Ian Garry was like, he’s not doing it on any other show apart from June, and was kind of bragging that he accepted the fight. I found it funny because I think he thought I was turning the fight down, where I was just asking for it to be pushed a month later to give me a bit more time. So he seemed a bit excited about me supposedly not accepting the fight, and I was like, no. For that fight I’ll do it on short notice, it’s not a problem for me. I would have just preferred to push it one extra month just to give myself a little bit more time.” While the timing may be a bit odd, there is one major benefit to competing on the International Fight Week card: Conor McGregor. McGregor headlines UFC 303 against Michael Chandler, making that card likely to be the biggest UFC event of the summer. And “Venom” believes that was the reason Garry was adamant about not changing the date. “I think he d*ck-rides Conor McGregor,” Page said. “He’s like the fake version of Conor McGregor. If Conor McGregor was a natural, pretty woman, he’s like the BBL version, a bad BBL version. ‘BBL’ Garry. (Meshew note: “BBL” refers to “Brazilian Butt Lift” and is a term that has taken off on social media recently to mean a cheap facsimile or low-grade version of something.) “It feels like he’s just grabbing on the coattails of Conor. For me, it doesn’t bother me either way. Obviously, being on a card with Conor is amazing. Yes, we know there’s going to be loads of eyes, but I love creating my own shine. It doesn’t bother me either way. I could be on the worst card in the world and if I’m on it, I’m going to bring eyes, I’m going to make noise, I’m going to do big things. I’m going to create attention for that show, I don’t need anybody else. But for him, I think he’s trying the fast route to the top and the fast route to fame, which only last so long. I’m glad this has happened, because I’m looking forward to derailing this hype.” Despite his harsh words for Garry, “MVP” made it clear he has no animosity towards “The Future,” he just isn’t a fan of Garry’s public persona. “His antics just feel a bit fake, a bit forced,” Page said. “Something I’ve said about Colby before as well. Trying too hard. I don’t really believe that’s his personality. I’m sure he’s actually a cool guy, but he’s trying to create as much attention, whether it be negative of not. For me, just be yourself, whatever yourself is. Don’t get me wrong, try to market yourself correctly, but just being the bad guy because, it seems a bit fake. It seems a bit forced. But it is what it is. Obviously he created a lot of noise for himself, but that kind of stuff, in my opinion, won’t last very long.” Fake persona or not, Page understands that Garry is far from a pushover. Only 26 years old and still undefeated in his career, Garry already is the No. 7 ranked welterweight in UFC. But when fight night rolls around, “MVP” is confident he will get his hand raised yet again. “I don’t know if [Garry] has got the right mindset, but he’s definitely got the right attributes,” Page said. “It doesn’t bother me. His attributes, for me, I’d put myself against anybody standing and I feel like I’ll come out on top. So yes, I have to be on point ... but I still fancy myself coming out on top.” UFC 303 takes place on June 29 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

  • Islam Makhachev: Dustin Poirier ‘doesn’t believe he can beat me,’ talks Khabib Nurmagomedov’s return
    by Damon Martin on May 29, 2024 at 9:00 pm

    Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images Islam Makhachev has a lot of respect for Dustin Poirier, even if he gives him no chance to actually win at UFC 302. As he prepares to defend his lightweight title in Saturday’s main event from New Jersey, Makhachev addressed Poirier as an opponent after the American earned the opportunity with a single win over Benoit Saint Denis back in March. In many ways, Makhachev sees Poirier as the same fighter who faced his friend, mentor, and coach Khabib Nurmagomedov back in 2019. The only difference now is Poirier is five years older. “Honestly, he’s the same,” Makhachev said at UFC 302 media day. “Maybe [he’s older]. He doesn’t believe he can beat me. His coach doesn’t believe he can beat me. I know I can make this fight easy. “I will finish him. Because I am on a different level. I am the best fighter in the world right now.” Make no mistake, Makhachev admires Poirier and is actually rather excited for this fight after spending all of 2023 locked up in a pair of matchups against former UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. That being said, Makhachev knows there’s a blueprint to follow when it comes to beating Poirier — and the two-time title challenger hasn’t shown any real proficiency in proving that strategy wrong. “Honestly, my style is the worst style for him,” Makhachev said. “He can beat some strikers. He’s one of the best strikers in this game, but we’re not strikers. We’re MMA fighters. My skills are on a different level. “I can strike with him, but I told you guys, if I want to make this fight easy, I know the way and everybody [else] know the way. Always when his opponent pressure him, take him down, he has the same problems always.” If Makhachev didn’t feel like he had enough advantages already, he added one more piece to the puzzle with Nurmagomedov returning to coach and corner him for the upcoming fight on Saturday. While the retired UFC Hall of Famer still helped Makhachev during his training camps, Nurmagomedov opted to stop cornering teammates more than a year ago to instead put more of a focus on his family and businesses outside of fighting. Nurmagomedov kept a hectic travel schedule working with all the fighters in his camp, so he bowed out completely until making his return to corner Makhachev at UFC 302. “This means a lot,” Makhachev said of Nurmagomedov returning to his corner. “This is like [adding] to striking 20 percent, to wrestling 20 percent, to the plan. It’s always great to have Khabib in the corner. Because I think he gives me good advice in a lot of fights. I remember with Gleison Tibau, he told me try to land the left hook. I did and I finished him. With [Dan] Hooker, he gave me very good advice when I finished him by armbar. With the title fight, he gave me a lot of good advice. “Always good to have Khabib in the corner. It’s not just for me. Good news, everybody was happy when Khabib said, ‘I will be in the corner.’ Everybody understands he’s going to corner them too, and everybody was happy.” Makhachev credits Nurmagomedov as an incredible coach, who pushes his fighters with the same kind of work ethic and discipline that was taught to him by his late father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. As far as the decision to come back and corner fighters again, Makhachev felt like Nurmagomedov could do just about anything but sit on the sidelines as nothing more than an observer. “I think No. 1, he missed the feeling,” Makhachev said. “I think he was very nervous when he sits in a room watching the fight. He always takes care of us. He wants to help. That’s why he’s here, he’s going to be in my corner.” Nurmagomedov put together a pretty impressive résumé as a coach and cornerman before taking a step back from the sport, but he’ll attempt to continue that momentum with his return for Makhachev’s fight at UFC 302. Obviously, Makhachev expects a dominant win, but even if he vanquishes Poirier as expected, he still hopes “The Diamond” decides to shine a little longer rather than possibly calling it a career. “I hope he [doesn’t] retire after this fight,” Makhachev said of Poirier. “I think he’s one of the biggest names in the sport. That’s why I respect him. I respect him because he has a lot of crazy fights in this sport. Just happy to beat someone who has a big name like Dustin. For the legacy, it’s going to be maybe the biggest name on my list.”


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