Team Alpha Male: A Powerhouse Waiting To Be Crowned

Team Alpha Male (“TAM”) is the Sacramento based MMA fight club that plays home to a number of the UFC’s most notable fighters; at least through the fly, bantam and featherweight divisions.

Four of its members, Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez, Chad Mendes and Chris Holdsworth, the most recent winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” series, have been on a torrid pace through 2013, having collectively amassed nine straight wins in a row, and now they stand to do something truly remarkable; going on a championship roll.

Over the stretch of a two week period TAM has had or will have, beginning with Chris Holdsworth’s TUF 18 win and ending on December 14th with the UFC on Fox 9 card, the opportunity to take home a tournament title (check), the flyweight division championship, as well as place two other fighters (Faber & Mendez) in number one contender spots for the bantamweight and featherweight divisions, respectively.

By anyone’s account, that’s a heck of a 14 day run and if successful, will poise the club a mere two fights away from being the first team in UFC history to hold three championship titles at one time; a remarkable feet.

Can it be done?

The odds are probably long, but they’re not insurmountable. First, Joseph Benavidez must beat Demetrious Johnson and claim the flyweight belt. In his previous outing with Johnson back in September of last year (UFC 152), “Mighty Mouse” left Benavidez with the losing side of a split decision. Since the loss, Benavidez has gone 3 & 0, demonstrated a 66% finishing rate and has looked improved in all areas. Of the three belts that would be up for grabs, fly, bantam & featherweight, Johnson’s belt might be the easiest for TAM to seize.  

The next hurdle for TAM on the 14th will be to secure the bantam and featherweight contender’s slots. To do that, Faber will have to beat Michael McDonald and Medes will have to best Nik Lentz.

On the face of it, it’s a reasonable expectation that this could well be done. Faber has it all over McDonald in terms of fight experience (35 – 18), the quality of opponents that he’s faced and the wars that he’s been in. Fans should not be shocked if Urijah closes out the year with his fourth straight win, and then subsequently draws the winner of Cruz / Barao.

As to Mendes, he looks as if he might have an easy night of it too, as he reaches down from his number one featherweight ranking, to take on number eight ranked Nik Lentz. Although Lentz is a four year UFC veteran with an 8 – 2 – 1 & 1 record (draw / no contest), he’s shown little in the way of stoppage ability, having culled only one submission & one TKO discontinuance, over his UFC tenure; 25% FR. Comparatively, “Money” has gone 6 & 1 in the UFC and has stopped his last four fights by either KO or TKO, bringing his UFC finishing rate up to a solid 75%. In a nutshell, it would probably be fair to say that Mendes should be able to walk out of the ring on the 14th with his ranking intact and looking at the winner of Aldo / Lamas.

As such, and if all things hold true for TAM in Sacramento come mid-month, TAM could easily be sitting around the breakfast table on the morning of the 15th with one title, two number one contenders slots and the men’s TUF 18 tournament win, and all in a span of two weeks; good for them.

Beyond that, there will be questions of rematches or matches with the likes of Dominick Cruz, Renan Barao, Jose Aldo or Ricardo Lamas for the team to contend with. And if TAM’s Faber and Mendes can somehow beat that murder’s row and claim those other two belts, then it would be hard to argue that the Duane “Bang” Ludwig led team wasn’t the best camp in all of MMA.  

Outer Photo: Don McPeak for USA TODAY Sports

 



7 Comments

  1. Profile photo of Zip

    Zip

    December 3, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    This has been a group of studs for some time now. I'd be surprised if they didn't produce a champion or two, or three.

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      December 3, 2013 at 11:35 pm

      Zip,

      Strangely, I find myself pulling for the whole team, simply because I think it would be awesome for it to happen.

      Benavidez has a tough row to hoe, but he can cut it if he tries hard enough; he nearly did the first time. That said. Mighty Mouse is a heck of an athlete and a truly positive spirit. He's a wall to overcome a flyweight. This will be a great fight. It fails to receive it's due, because both guys are really nice and they don't smack talk; they're just great athletes, fighters, family men and human beings. No loser in that fight, Zip.

      Sadly for Demetrious, I will be rooting for Benavidez. Why? I simply like the story and I'd love to see it come true. To be honest, if they pull it off, it would make a heck of a movie. Tons of drama in that story, Zip.

      By, the way my friend….hope all is well with you and yours, and may you have an awesome Christmas, should we not have a chance to communicate in the next 20, best of to your family. Brian.

  2. Profile photo of TheXperience

    TheXperience

    December 3, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    "Johnson’s belt might be the easiest for TAM to seize"

    I have to strongly disagree…

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      December 4, 2013 at 2:09 am

      TE..I struggled with the three, did "my" evaluation of the MMA….not math, but chronology…and came up with that assessment.

      If you strongly disagree, then I strongly agree with your disagreement.

      The talent on all of this is such, that none of should be surprised by anything.

      If you see it differently then I TE, then I can see how you might and then it becomes nothing more than a debate, between online peers.

      Of course, the beatuy of it is, that a week this Saturday TE, either you or I, will be able to come back and say, "I told you so".

      I care not if I am right or wrong, but for the sake of the back-story, I hope I'm right.

      Shoot me TE, I love an underdog and a good story; always vote with my heart.

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      December 4, 2013 at 2:24 am

      TE…in defense of my assertion:

      Of the three belts, which would you declare the easiest to seize?

      Experience, my choices, as are yours now, are limited and ugly.

      Good, fast, cheap, pick two Experience; damned if you do, damned if you don't.

      • Profile photo of TheXperience

        TheXperience

        December 4, 2013 at 1:13 pm

        It's tough.. i'll give you that. But i believe it's easier for Faber to take out Cruz, than Ben to take out Mighty. In my opinion Faber beat Cruz the last time they fought already and he's improved with leaps and bounds. Still have to see Cruz in action but i highly doubt he evolved like Faber.

        Now Mighty is something else… He is IMO the best flyweight in the world PERIOD! He's just a level above the rest and he keeps showing massive improvement with every single fight. Now i'm a big fan of Ben too.. he's amazing and he has sick power for such a small bundle of meat.

        He also improved since he last fought Mighty but i believe he's still playing "catch up", with his newly found skill he might've beat 2012 Mighty Mouse, but i think he'll come up short again, again and again unless he catches him with a lucky shot. Mighty will only loose that belt if he makes a "mistake" and he's not likely to make one.

        Mighty's footwork, speed and physical strength for such a small man is just amazing. Topped off with him easily being in the Top 3 of most technical MMA fighters in the world… hard to beat that man!

        I give Mendes more of a chance of beating Aldo, than i give Ben to beat Mighty.

        IMO the easiest belt to take is Cruz's… followed by Aldo's and the hardest to take is Mighty's and if Mighty successfully defends that belt next week. He's gonna hold on to it for a very very very long time!

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