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Manny Gamburyan ready to roll at Staples Center

Mixed martial arts: Glendale-trained fighter looking to end three-fight skid against Omigawa on Saturday in L.A.

August 02, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • Glendale-trained fighter Manny Gamburyan will take on Michihiro Omigawa on the UFC on FOX 4 undercard Saturday at Staples Center.
Glendale-trained fighter Manny Gamburyan will take… (Courtesy of WEC )

For roughly five years, beginning with a memorable stint on "The Ultimate Fighter," Manny Gamburyan has found a home under the Ultimate Fighting Championship umbrella.

It's included an ultra-successful campaign in the UFC's one-time sibling company, World Extreme Cagefighting, in which the Glendale-trained fighter earned a featherweight title shot.

Alas, Gamburyan's title rendezvous with champion Jose Aldo ended in defeat and was the genesis for a current three-fight losing streak. Hence, as Gamburyan prepares for battle not far from his North Hollywood home on Saturday at the Staples Center against Michihiro Omigawa on the UFC on FOX 4 undercard, he might very well be fighting to stay within the organization that he has called home since 2007.

"Every fight is a fight you have to win," Gamburyan said. "The situation, though, with how things have been going, there is more pressure."

Two straight losses often signal the end of a UFC fighter's run in the organization, thus a fourth consecutive loss for Gamburyan (11-7) could be disastrous. And the venerable Omigawa (13-11-1) is in much the same situation, as he's coming off a defeat and losses in three of his last four bouts.

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Pressure and losing streaks aside, Gamburyan is anxious to get into the octagon for his 145-pound bout, which will be televised live on Fuel TV ahead of the main card airing on FOX, which will be main-evented by light-heavyweights Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Brandon Vera.

"Day by day it gets more exciting," Gamburyan said. "It's gonna mean a lot to me to get a 'W' and get back on track."

Long regarded for his judo skills and grappling prowess, Gamburyan, in large part due to his work at the Glendale Fighting Club under striking coach Edmond Tarverdyan, has grown more and more confident with his stand-up game. He believes that the power in his hands, which led him to arguably his career's biggest triumph when he knocked out Mike Thomas Brown in April of 2010, could very well be the difference in Saturday's tilt.

"I've got heavy hands," Gamburyan said. "He's got a good chin, but once I connect he's gonna go down."

Gamburyan's knockout of Brown was his third straight win at the time and led him to the title bout against Aldo. Since the championship loss to Aldo on Sept. 30, 2010, Gamburyan returned to the UFC (the company absorbed the WEC) and lost a majority decision to Tyson Griffin in June of 2011 before a unanimous decision loss to Diego Nunes on Dec. 30, 2011.

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