Will change pay off for Brown?
Local fighter switches gyms; Brazilian Gadelha to return
After three straight losses, Amber Brown made a change.
More change, it appears, is coming. Brown (6-4), an MMA atomweight from Albuquerque, is scheduled to face Texan Tessa Simpson (5-2) tonight on Invicta FC 26 in Kansas City, Mo.
It will be Brown’s first fight after switching from one Albuquerque gym, FIT-NHB, to another, Luttrell-Yee.
“She started with us right after her March fight (a loss by unanimous decision to Ashley Cummins),” coach Ray Yee said Thursday in a phone interview. “... She’s made a huge amount of progress. Definitely, I think she’s a completely different fighter now.”
One complication: Brown weighed in Thursday at 106.3 pounds, threetenths over the allowable atomweight limit, and will forfeit 25 percent of her fight purse.
Brown has gained muscle mass since moving to Luttrell-Yee, Yee said, and simply wasn’t able to safely make the atomweight limit.
“It was a really hard cut,” Yee said. “We started at 4 a.m. (Thursday) morning, and we missed the mark by just a little bit.
“We even cut her hair, literally cut her hair. Her body has just changed.”
Brown’s next fight, Yee said, likely will be at the 115-pound strawweight limit.
Tonight’s Invicta card will be streamed on UFC Fight Pass, starting at 6 p.m. GADELHA: Last May, Brazilian UFC fighter Claudia Gadelha announced she was moving to Albuquerque in order to train full time at Luttrell-Yee. But after her Sept. 22 loss to Jessica Andrade by unanimous decision in Japan, she went home to Brazil and has been there ever since.
Not to worry, Yee said.
“We expect her back (in Albuquerque) next week,” he said. “She’s coming back with her parents.”
After a grueling 10 months during which she fought three times, Yee said, Gadelha (15-3) simply needed a break.
“She pretty much went from one (fight) camp, rested a week or two and went back to another training regimen,” he said. “I think it was a good time towards the end of the year after a tough fight. We encouraged her to take the rest of the year off.
“... I spoke to her a couple of days ago, and she said, ‘I’ll be home before Christmas.’”
Gadelha turned 29 on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Pablo, Gadelha’s beloved bull terrier, has been in the care of fellow Brazilian and LuttrellYee teammate Fernanda Priscila. Invicta FC announced Thursday that it has signed Priscila (3-1), an atomweight, to a contract.
SURGERY FOR NICCO: Albuquerque’s Nicco Montaño, the newly crowned UFC women’s flyweight champion, told MMA Weekly she’ll need surgery to repair a broken sesamoid bone in her left foot.
Montaño (4-2), who trains at FITNHB, has said she considered pulling out of the Dec. 1 The Ultimate Fighter 26 finale — which was to determine the first-ever flyweight champion — because of the pain the broken foot was causing and because it had interfered with her weight cut to the 125-pound limit. But, fighting through the pain and making weight, she defeated Roxanne Modaferri by unanimous decision.
“I need to have surgery,” Montano said. “I definitely need to get that fixed before anything else — the sooner the better.”
SWANSON: UFC featherweight Cub Swanson (25-7), who trains in Albuquerque at Jackson-Wink, told mmajunkie.com that a victory on Saturday against Brian Ortega (12-0) on UFC Fight Night Fresno could put him in line for a title shot against champion Max Holloway.
Swanson is the UFC’s No. 4 challenger, ranked behind Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar and Ricardo Lamas. Edgar was to have fought Holloway for the title last Saturday, but pulled out due to an injury. Aldo stepped in against Holloway and was knocked out in the third round.
Edgar’s misfortune, Swanson said, could be his ticket to a title shot.
“I think people jump people (in the rankings) all the time,” he said.
Saturday’s card will be televised on Fox Sports 1, starting at 6 p.m.
Claudia Gadelha is expected to return to Albuquerque next week to resume training full time at the Luttrell-Yee gym.