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BABY JOE HEADS TO BELLATOR

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By Patrick Lujan

Baby Joe is going mainstream with Bellator.

Taimanglo, one of Guam’s premiere athletes and a MMA mainstay, signed his contract with the promotion last week and will make his Bellator debut on Thursday, March 28 (Friday afternoon, Chamorro Standard Time) at the Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida.

Taimanglo will be cornered by sdfasdfsf (courtesy photo)

Taimanglo will be cornered by David Avellan, who Baby Joe says is ” one of the best MMA/jits coaches in the world.” (courtesy photo)

“It took me a while,” Taimanglo said from Irvin, California where he’s wrapping up his training camp. “It’s been in the works (with Bellator) for over a year. When I went last year to train with (UFC champion) Dominic (Cruz), after I broke my hand in July and then the PXC fight, it postponed it.

“When I came out here again to train, the opportunity presented itself again. Timing was perfect and just a couple of weeks ago, they got in contact with me to do the show. Bellator is a really good, established organization so I wasn’t hesitant to be a part of that.”

For more than a month, Taimanglo (17-4-1) has been training with Alliance MMA in Chula Vista, California – a gym founded by UFC fighter Brandon Vera and home to the likes of Cruz, Phil Davis, Alexander Gustafsson, Ross Pearson and Michael Chandler.

The Juggernaut vs. Bam Bam

Taimanglo will be fighting in the featherweight division (145-lb) for this fight against South Carolina’s Ronnie ‘Bam Bam’ Rodgers (15-10).

“He’s a wrestler and a grinder,” Taimanglo said about his opponent. “He’s a tough guy. He fought seven times last year so I’m up for the challenge.”

Baby Joe says he wants to take care of business in Bellator 94 and move on to the promotion’s bantamweight tournament (135-lb).

“That’s my goal, to be the bantamweight champion.”

In His Corner

Taimanglo will fly into Miami on Tuesday with the weigh-ins Wednesday and fight night on Thursday. Cornering him will be David Avellan, a well-respected grappler and a black belt in jiu-jitsu from Alliance MMA.

“I’ve been working with him for over a month already and he’s been very helpful, a very nice guy and knowledgeable of the MMA game. He’s opened up my mind with all his knowledge.”

He’ll be walking into the cage with his Guam flag draped over his shoulders.

“Oh ya, definitely. I brought it with me.”

Grateful for the Support

As he ventures into his new career in Bellator, Taimanglo didn’t forget the support that has come his way.

“I want to thank everybody that’s supported me through this journey. It’s been epic so far. I appreciate everyone who’s’ been giving me support: So Kel Industries/Productions, Elegant Reflections, Alliance MMA, Camachili Tree Store, Guardyagrill,  DJ Quen, Club Xscape, my family and GSPN.”

Bellator 94 is scheduled to air on Spike TV and for his Guam fans, Taimanglo said he’s bringing the same fire they are used to seeing.

“They’ve seen it all. I’m just going to bring it this fight like I do in every fight. I’m looking to finish him and put him away.”

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COMING SOON …

QUICK HITS

After suffering a TKO loss on One 154, Brandon Vera left his gloves in the cage, symbolizing the end of his MMA career. Happy retirement Brandon!
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The Guahan Junior Barbarians represented Guam well in Singapore. The girls U18 took first place in their division in the 13th Centaurs International Youth Rugby Tournament while the boys captured second place playing ironman rugby with no subs.

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