Sunday, March 25, 2007

ATT's Ben Stark on Panther Fight League

By Keith Mills

Ben “The Hebrew Hammer” Stark is one of the newest members of American Top Team to make waves in the MMA scene. Although Ben has only been fighting for about a year so far going 3-0 he is fighting on the first Panther Fight League show, one of the new crop of mid-level shows planning on hosting events in locations all across the country and even internationally. Even though this card is getting a lot of attention for also having the return of UFC vet Marcus “Conan” Silveira and the MMA debut of Marcos “Parrumpinha” Da Matta look for Ben to possibly emerge with the most attention.

KM: What do you think of being on this show? BS: I’m very excited about it. I didn’t realize such a big shot until I saw the card and saw who was on it and where I was fighting on the card. I thought I’d be A-card at the best. I thought I was the fourth fight of the night, not fourth to last. I’m very flattered by the faith people I train with have in me. They see a lot of potential in me and I hope to make them proud.

KM: What do you know about Panther Fight League? Isn’t Carlos from ATT matchmaker? BS: I’m not 100% sure, I believe so. I know they are based out of New York from an entertainment firm and they have a bunch of money to throw around, that is about it. I know very little about it in general.

KM: Who is your opponent? BS: Jirka Hilvati. I believe he trains out of Royce Gracie/Harlan MMA in Port St. Lucie. All I know is he comes from the Czech Republic, he has a kickboxing background, and when he fought in AFC 19 he didn’t make weight.

KM: How do you think the fight will go? BS: I know I can hang with anyone standing if I deem to do so. It just so happens who I’ve fought I’ve been in my best position on the ground. I believe that will be another case of that. I’d like to stand and bang because I’ve been working on that and feel very confident but if the opportunity presents itself I’m just going to put him out on the floor.

KM: You are on the poster. How does that feel to be the poster boy for this show? BS: I was stoked when I saw it. I was running around the gym when I saw it, like ‘what do you think of that’. It has always been in my plans to be the big man on campus eventually. I didn’t think it would happen after three fights and I’m not really the big man anywhere

KM: That photo was from AFC 17 against Joe Kennedy. Tell me about that fight. BS: I didn’t find my range and he hit me with a big flurry, caught me off guard with a couple right hooks. We clinched and he hip tossed me over into my guard. I was trying to work some rubber guard and he backed out. We stood back up and I hit him with a one-two, we clinched again, I got double unders, foot swept him, mounted him, he rolled over, I took his back, isolated the arm, cut to the triangle, and went for the armbar.

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