Bradenton fighters plan to dominate AFN 27 event

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One local martial arts school intends to dominate the competition at the upcoming AFN #27 event scheduled for Friday, November 6th, 2015. The Pahlavan Promotions Amateur Fight Night event will be held in St. Petersburg, Florida at the Downtown Hilton. The Champions MMA fight team from the small town of Bradenton, Florida are planning to compete in seven of 22 scheduled bouts. Stephanie Melendez, the Tampa Bay MMA Examiner, went to the Champions MMAto interview these 7 fighters and learn more about them.

Sajan Melcher is 25 years old. He is proud of his Philippino and German ethnicity. Melcher has a record of 3-4-0. He believes in self emersion into martial arts. Melcher has spent a total of 9 years training in combat sports. His training includes a year with World Champion Kick boxer Erik Marshall, 2 years of high school wrestling and 3 years at Champions MMA with Raul Amaya and Justo Martinez. Melcher aspires to be a professional martial artist and to perhaps compete in the 1FC one day. Melcher would eventually like to run his own gym.

Felipe Sandoval is 22 years old. He has a record of 3-1 MMA and 1-0 KB. Sandoval praises Raul “Smash Mode” Amaya his trainer, at Champions MMA, for the training he has received. He believes in competing for himself only. He states that although he appreciates the support of his family that he competes only “to test myself not for anyone else”. He states that martial arts is an “important outlet” for him in his life. Sandoval has been training in combat sports for a total of 5 years.

Johnathan Ortiz is 22 years old. He has a record of 1-0 MMA and 2-0 KB. Oritz has been training at Champions MMA for over a year. Ortiz has also trained at 4th Street Boxing in St. Petersburg in his teens. His goals in life included the pursuit a professional MMA career. He states that he started his life from a “troubled beginning but sought out martial arts as a form of self discipline”. Ortiz states it has taught him “to learn to take orders, respect authority and as an alternative to anger”. He believes the best thing about martial arts is that “you know what you will get out of it by what you put into it”.

Julian Birch is 20 years old. He has no fight record currently and participates in his first fight on Friday night. He has been training at Champions for 6 months and wrestled during high school. He has a total of 5 years of combat sports training. Birch is currently in college studying Biology but has the “potential goal to go into medicine and study orthopedics”. He speaks highly of his training at Champions MMA and believes in the core training he has been taught. Birch believes this core training, combined with his ability to execute it will help him prevail. He believes his internal reflection in martial arts brings him an additional strength towards ultimate success.

Tyler Montague is 19 years old. He has a record of 2-0 MMA and 0-1 KB. He has been training at Champions MMA for almost a year and “wrestled during his high school years”. Montague has a total of 6 years in combat sports. He credits his mothers amateur kickboxing career when he was 5 to starting his fascination with martial arts. Montague states that his father was also an inspirational figure that he draws from in his training, although not for martial arts but due to the fact that his father “does not know how to say he can’t”. He confessed, that during high school he wrestled with “3 broken vertebrae in his back despite the pain”. Montague stated this was due to his “don’t back down spirit” and the fact he didn’t know his back was broken at the time.

Isael Navarro is 12 years old. He is a Lee Middle school student with a fight record of 2-1-1 in boxing. Navarro also trains at the Sarasota Boxing Club and is currently training every day in preparation for his fight. He states that what he looks forward to most about Fridays fight is “winning”. Navarro has professional boxing aspirations and when asked if he prefers big fight venues or small he stated that he liked the big ones better because “they are more professional like”.

Jordan Ramirez is 11 years old. Ramirez is a Lee Middle school student who has been training at Champions for the past 3 years. Currently his training includes a 1.8 mile run and training at the gym 3 days a week. His favorite thing about training is that “he works hard and does not slack off” and his least favorite thing is the repetition. Ramirez says he likes martial arts at Champions MMA because he likes the techniques and to exercise. He has had one previous exhibition fight.

Champions MMA is located at 1980 1st Street in Bradenton, Florida (near the Red Barn Flea Market). The gym is ran by Professional fighters Raul “Smash Mode” Amaya and Justo Martinez. Champions MMA prides itself on being a team environment for individuals to train to be the best fighters that they can become.

The Pahlavan Promotions event AFN #27 is open to the public and tickets are on sale now. The St. Petersburg Hilton is located at 333 1st Street South. The doors open at 5:00 p.m. and the first fight is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. The fight will also be available online via pay Per View thanks to SPTV Sports to over 100 million households in the USA and over 1 Billion worldwide. The fight card has 22 scheduled fights. If you need more information please visit

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