YourMMA recently conducted an interview with SBG Mainline focussing on the highlights and lowlights of 2013.
You can read the interview below.
Be sure to check out YourMMA’s website here and make sure you follow them on twitter and Facebook for all the latest news.
In this series, ‘2013: A Year In Review’, we’ll be looking back on a great year for UK MMA by talking to some of the top gyms and promotions, getting their highlights, lowlights and achievements from the last twelve months. Stay tuned to all of the articles by following us on twitter and liking us on facebook.
Manchester’s SBG branch have been on the circuit for many years under the guidance of head coach Karl Tanswell. However, 2013 really was a year where lots of their MMA team started to make themselves known, or increased their prominence.
The city centre gym is teeming with talent and there are several pros leading the way, as well as a host of active, high-level BJJ practitioners. Delve into what constituted this massive year for the team, thanks to head coach Karl Tanswell.
Can you give us an overview of the team and its history?
The gym started as Defence Unlimited back in 1995. We didn’t become SBG until a few years later. We had fighters compete in NHB and Vale Tudo shows as early as 1997 or maybe even earlier, before MMA was a mainstream sport. Since then the team has evolved along with the sport and we have had fighters in hundreds of tournaments globally, from the smallest local shows right up to the biggest promotions in the world.
We have had three gyms in Manchester City Centre over the years, and were the first doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and mixed martial arts.
Can you tell us about the facilities and the coaching staff at SBG?
The gym has a large matted space for general training and classes, a full size cage for sparring rounds and a strength and conditioning area. Because of a huge increase in memberships we are now looking to relocate to bigger premises.
The current staff structure includes:
Myself (Karl Tanswell) as Head Coach, Trainer – BJJ black belt, licensed pro boxing trainer.
Ella Tanswell, my wife who deals with the business side of things – BJJ Blue Belt, Muay Thai World Kickboxing Champion, and a very funny person!
Simon Kenny, who is our gym manager and deals with all the memberships, gym websites, media, marketing and communications – BJJ Blue Belt
Matt Inman – MMA Coach, BJJ Brown Belt, Pro MMA Fighter, Pro Boxer, Cornerman
Jon Bond – Striking Coach, ABA Boxing Instructor, Jivamukti Yoga Instructor, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Cornerman
Casey Jones – BJJ Coach – BJJ Black Belt
Chris Coltrane – BJJ Coach – BJJ Black Belt
Glyn Powditch – BJJ Coach – BJJ Black Belt
Stephen Li – Muay Thai Coach – BJJ Blue Belt
We also have an instructor candidate program starting in the next few weeks in which we will guide a number of candidates through to SBG coach status.
How did the gym/team grow in 2013?
The gym grows exponentially every year. We have 3 classes every evening Monday to Thursday, a class on Friday evening, morning time BJJ sessions, Pro Team sessions every day, and open mat and Sparring on Saturday. The only downtime is Sunday when we prepare the gym for another week of training but the cleaning session usually ends up with some rolling time with my wife.
We have changed the timetable a number of times over the last year to include new classes and develop upcoming instructors. This year I was also very proud to award BJJ black belts to two of my long time students, Glyn Powditch and Chris Coltrane, and also award Matt Inman his BJJ brown belt.
2013 fight team review
I don’t like highlighting individuals because all of the guys work extremely hard and grow each day. With this sport, a loss or bad decision doesn’t always equate to a poor performance. Not to mention some of the guys fight more frequently than others and some have been dormant for a while.
Some comments on our current fight team
Matt Inman, currently on a 3 fight win streak for Cage Warriors and looking to continue to rack up the wins. Matt is a work horse and incredibly talented, will travel anywhere in the world to fight and doesn’t complain, even if the fight is cancelled.
Alex Minogue, although he has lost his last two bouts, his performances have been the best of his career and I am incredibly proud of him.
Aaron Wilkinson had an impressive win over Bola Omoyele even though he went in to the fight as the underdog. He is now on the Bellator roster so expect big things from him this year.
Jordan Desborough made his Cage Warriors debut in september, winning his fight via TKO in the second round. The night’s event was also holding a four man bantamweight tournament to decide the CWFC world champion. Initially Jordan was listed as second alternate in tournament in the event of injury; two weeks prior to the event, he was moved up to first alternate.
Jordan was called upon to fight for the belt in the final when Brett Johns’ original opponent was forced to pull out. Let’s just say Jordan was very happy even though on paper he was a huge underdog. Jordan ended up fighting seven rounds that night, five of those championship rounds, only to lose the final to a split decision. Jordan had a bit of an upset in his last outing at Cage Warriors 62 but these are the fights you learn from.
David Graham signed to Cage Warriors and we hope to see him fight this year.
Josh Jarvis, Jordan Desborough’s older brother, successfully defended his FCC Flyweight title
Jim Ratcliffe won two fights by first round KO within four weeks of each other.
Emmanuel Akpan demonstrated devastating stand up technique winning two bouts by KO on FCC shows.
Paul Douglas showed awesome boxing technique and dominating ground control winning all of is bouts in 2013 and we can expect the same in 2014. Paul runs his own roofing business so unfortunately cannot train full time but still manages to put on very impressive performances and usually brings a huge fan base with him.
And then there were notable first round stoppages for debutants Carl Prince, Jav Mirza, Orelando Flemming and Joel Finnan.
What were the top performances and finishes of the year?
Matt Inman’s heel hook finish of Mohsen Bahari at Cage Warriors 57 was particularly bittersweet as most people think Matt only has good stand up, but he is also a high level BJJ practitioner. Jim Ratcliffe showed sharp stand up with two first round KO’s within a month of one another. Aaron ‘The Heartbreaker” Wilkinson winning fights with body and mind.
Who was the fight team MVP of 2013? And rookie of the year?
Again, I don’t like naming individuals, especially when we have such a huge talent pool at SBG Mainline Manchester. However, three rookies that stand out this year were Joel Finnan, Jav Mirza and Orelando Flemming who all won their amateur MMA debuts in true SBG fashion, all with first round stoppages. Also, Emmanuel Akpan continues to impress with his devastating striking ability, as does Paul Douglas with superior striking.
Were there any fighters who you feel didn’t have the year they should have?
I am proud of all the gyms fighters win, lose or draw. I was disappointed with a few dodgy decisions this year and a few of the losses some of the guys had but that’s the nature of the fight game. I know all the guys are big enough and professional enough to suck it up and move on.
What where the high and low moments of 2013?
Seeing Casey Jones, my first black belt and one of the best BJJ coaches I’ve seen, move away is definitely a low point. That said, seeing him getting married and moving abroad is the upside. Fight-wise, no low points. We are not going to ponder or make excuses. It is what it is.
Any memorable stories at the gym, an event or fight team trip in 2013?
Awarding Chris Coltrane and Glyn Powditch their black belts was a very emotional and rewarding experience for me. Having my coach Matt Thornton there and having him notice the fact that although Chris rolled with fresh opponents for just under two hours he wasn’t submitted. Amazing.
There is something sad, funny and inspiring every day at SBG Mainline, especially with Alex Minogue around.
I had two particularly memorable fight trips this year, both with Matt Inman for Cage Warriors. The first was our trip to Grozny, Chechnya for Cage Warriors 58 and the second was our trip to Jordan for Cage Warriors 61.
Who is the gym joker?
Alex Minogue is without doubt the biggest joker in the gym; he has the attention span of a 5 year old. I have to bollock him constantly but he helps keep morale high and I love him dearly. As much as he winds me up, he knows when to knuckle down and put in the hard work. His game has increased considerably over the last 12 months and his last two fights have been outstanding; his best performances to date by far and he continues to evolve.
Any new fighters/rookies to look out for in 2014?
Saul Rogers has joined the Pro Team. It’s great to have him on board. He’s a great athlete with a good work ethic and willing to learn. I believe he can go all the way.
Dave Graham, although not a new fighter, hasn’t fought for a while; he is now signed to Cage Warriors so we hope to see him show off his skills this year. We also look forward to seeing David Johnson back in the cage after a long lay off.
As for the amateur guys, tons of them but I’m not going to big anyone up because firstly I have to get them fights, and secondly I don’t want them to turn into Facebook MMA Cage Fighters spouting off all the time before they have actually done anything.
What are your goals for the gym in 2014?
As I mentioned earlier the gym membership has grown exponentially over the last couple of years so bigger premises is definitely one of this year’s goals.
As for coaches, you cannot get better coaches than SBG coaches; they wouldn’t be coaching for me if they weren’t at the top of their game. However, we do hope to bring through more coaches to assist with the addition of new classes and the influx of new members. I would just like to add that without the help of Matt Inman, Jon Bond and Aaron Wilkinson at fight shows all over the country this year would have been a lot more difficult.
Thanks to Toxic Fightwear for fitting out a lot of the guys this year and fightstoremma for hooking me up. Thanks to Simon Kenny, my right hand man for just getting on with the job and keeping it real, Ella Tanswell for making it all possible and keeping me sane, and each and every member of SBG Manchester and SBG Worldwide because its all about the community.
Original Article can be found here