Quinn, Lloveras ready for war

The idea that the Abner Lloveras-Ryan Quinn showdown next Friday is an extreme contrast of styles might be somewhat overstated.

Both fighters seem more than willing to do whatever it takes to win, even if that means stepping outside of their comfort zone when they face one another Friday, June 15th, 2012 at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, R.I..

“I just go into every fight looking to break it down round to round, minute to minute, scramble to scramble,” said Quinn (8-3-1, 2 KOs), a former collegiate wrestler who is widely considered the expert “grappler” in this fight. “The goal regardless is to win.”

Quinn’s counterpart, the “striker” in this thrilling main event presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports, is Lloveras (14-6, 5 KOs), a native of Barcelona, Spain, who now trains in Ludlow, Mass., and was a gold medalist two years ago in the Spanish Olympic Boxing Tournament.

With Todd Chattelle and Mike Campbell scratched from the lineup due to injury, the Lloveras-Quinn bout has now become one of the most talked-about and most highly-anticipated fights on the card, and, perhaps throughout the world. Popular mixed martial arts website rated the fight as one of its Top 10 Must-See Fights in June, a list that includes bouts in Tokyo, Russia and Germany.

The title of the show, “Proving Grounds,” is also fitting considering both fighters are out to prove they’re capable of more than what their records indicate. Given the fact all fights start standing up, which both sides understand, Lloveras would appear to have the initial edge, but the 5-foot-8 Quinn is always a threat to take his opponent to the ground. Still, Lloveras is unfazed, mainly because the former boxing standout is also a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

“If he wants to take it to the ground, I welcome it,” said Lloveras, who, in addition to his five knockouts, also has four submission victories. “I’m very comfortable there.”

What about Quinn? What if he can’t get Lloveras to the ground and is forced to stand toe-to-toe with a lean, 5-foot-11, former Olympic boxing champion?

“If I have to trade blows with him, yes, I will,” Quinn said. “He’s going to be tough to get in on. He’s probably going to try to stay outside and keep his hands in my face. He’s got a tricky right hand, but he also knows how to use his length.

“I’m ready for anything.”

That, in a nutshell, is Quinn’s modus operandi. Since making the transition from wrestling to mixed martial arts in college, the New Fairfield, Conn., native has done everything within his power to earn elite status, which includes a willingness to fight anyone at any given time. His 8-3 record is even more impressive when you look beyond the numbers; the combined record of his last six opponents is 47-18, and Quinn is 4-1-1 in those fights, including a win over previously-unbeaten welterweight Dhiego Lima and a loss to Ultmate Fighting Championships (UFC) contender Ricardo Funch, one of Lloveras’ teammates at Marco Alvan’s Team Link facility in Ludlow. Quinn is also unbeaten in four Bellator Fighting Championships bouts.

“I want to get noticed by beating these guys,” Quinn said, “and when I wrestled I used to bump up and down in weight just to fight the tougher guys. That’s the only way I know how to do it. In New England, you won’t find lesser fights. They’re all tough. Also, in training I’m going up against some of the best, so that just motives me and pushes me even harder and harder.”

The loss to Funch in December is in Quinn’s rearview mirror, though he still feels he has some catching up to do despite his recent win over “The Ultimate Fighter” alum Marc Stevens in March.

“I don’t care what anyone says – losses set you back,” Quinn said. “I feel that for every fight I lose, I have to win at least three in a row just to get back to that level.”

As he prepares to face Lloveras, arguably his toughest test to date, Quinn is almost halfway to his own personal redemption. He’s also on his way down to the lightweight division, where he plans to fight at 155 pounds instead of the welterweight limit of 170. Next week’s fight is at a catch weight of 160.

“I’m shorter, so it’d make sense for me to fight at 155,” he said. “I’ve been saying for a while I’d get there, but it seems that the only offers that would come my way would be at 170. I actually had an offer around this same time to fight at 170, but I knew if I took it it’d be that much harder to eventually get down to 155. My coaches wouldn’t steer me in the wrong direction. I know this is the right move for me; it’s just a matter of staying disciplined.”

Being shorter in the welterweight division has its perks, particular against taller opponents because it makes it easier for Quinn to shoot for takedowns, something he hopes he can use to his advantage against Lloveras.

“I’m just trying to put everything together,” he said. “Hopefully, switching to a new a weight class helps. What you see with me is what you get. I’m sure they’ve studied the fight against Funch and think they saw some weaknesses. They leave no stone unturned. No one should ever underestimate part of anyone’s game, but I’m sure my grappling is what they’re looking for.”

“Working with Ricardo in the gym everyday has helped me prepare for this fight,” added Lloveras. “I know how Quinn likes to fight. I know he’s a great wrestler, but I’m a great wrestler, too, so I have no problem if he wants to take it to the ground. If he does, he’ll have to be ready for my knees.”

“Proving Grounds” also boasts a dynamic featherweight battle between Wai Kru veteran Calvin Kattar (12-2, 7 KOs) of Methuen, Mass., and Chris Foster (4-2, 2 KOs) of the Lion’s Den in Middletown, Conn., in addition to the return of rising CES bantamweight Andre Soukhamthath (1-1) of Woonsocket, R.I.

Featherweight Nate Andrews of Providence, R.I., will make his professional debut against Pedro da Silva (1-3, 1 KO) of Boston; newcomer Jay Bakanowski of Northborough, Mass., will battle unbeaten welterweight Leon Davis (2-0) of Springfield, Mass., in his debut; and newcomer Billy Giovanella of Bellingham, Mass., will debut against Gilvan Santos (1-2) of Framingham, Mass., in a three-round bantamweight bout.

“Proving Grounds” also features a three-round welterweight battle between undefeated Nick Drummond (3-0, 1 KO) of Boston and newcomer Sergii Musiienko of Framingham; a middleweight showdown between Bob Burton (2-1) of Brockton, Mass., and Boulder, Colo., native Chandler Holderness (8-3, 3 KOs); and a welterweight matchup between Pawtucket’s Keith Jeffrey (7-2-1) and Harley Beekman (4-1, 2 KOs) of Amsterdam, N.Y. Lightweight Joe Pingitore (1-0, 1 KO) of Johnston, R.I., will also be featured in a separate three-round bout.

Tickets for “Proving Grounds” are $35.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at or, at the Players Club booth at Twin River, or through any TicketMaster location. Doors open 6 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7.

(Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “Proving Grounds.” Anybody under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must enter through the West entrance).

Article posted on 08.06.2012

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