The Staples Center crowd was vocal in its support for local fighter Manny Gamburyan. The Hollywood resident, who trains at Hayastan MMA Academy in North Hollywood, weighed in at 145.5 pounds, as did featherweight opponent Michihiro Omigawa.
Escorting Gamburyan to the stage were striking coach Edmond Tarverdyan and Hayastan teammate and Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who frequently trains with Gamburyan.
Greeting Rousey once she strode onto the stage was UFC president Dana White, coincidentally wearing a T-shirt with the image of a naked Rousey from the cover of ESPN The Magazine’s recent Body Issue (linked here).
Fans were also happy to see light heavyweight Phil Davis and the return of welterweight Mike Swick.
But the loudest cheers came for Brazilian light heavyweights Lyoto Machida and Mauricio Rua.
Said Rua, who received the loudest applause: “I like it here a lot in L.A. I have many fans here. I’m very happy to fight here again.
I’m very happy because people here like Pride, they have good memories and I’m very happy.”