Even though they beat each up a couple of times a day, seven days a week, Bridgeport's Josh Baker and Todd Bevan are the best of friends.
That's the nature of Mixed Martial Arts. How else do you train without having to scrap with somebody - anybody? You can run, shadow box and hit the heavy bag, but until you enter the ring - or cage in this instance - you have to mix it up. There's no other way!
Both of the local cagefighters realize that, and they also realize that if they want to be the best at what they do, they must train with the best.
T-L Photo/KIM NORTH
BRIDGEPORT NATIVES Todd Bevan (left)?and Josh Baker are currently in Sacramento training with Team Alpha Male as they pursue their MMA careers.
Last Sunday morning, the two former Bulldog athletes boarded a plane at Pittsburgh International Airport for the two biggest weeks of their MMA lives.
Their destination: Sacramento, Cal., and Team Alpha Male, which is an elite MMA fight team that includes some of the world's best fighters, especially in the lower weights.
"I'm very excited to get a chance to see where I stack up against the best fighters in the world," Bevan disclosed before a practice at the Bull Pen Fight Club in the Nelson Jordan Center last week. "That's all I ever wanted to know. I'm looking forward to the opportunity."
Baker echoed those thoughts.
"It will be exciting to train with the best fighters in the world," he allowed. "In my opinion, their gym is the best in the world for fighters 155-pound-and-under."
Baker is actually the one that introduced Bevan to the sport.
"I wouldn't be here without Josh," Bevan, who is 3-0 as a professional and 8-0 as an amateur at 155 pounds. "He's the one who got me into the gym and he's my main man in the trenches (workouts) every day. We grind together every day like no one knows."
Baker, who is 5-0 as a pro at 135 pounds after a 5-1 amateur career, said, "Todd is my No. 1 sparring partner. it's awesome what we've been able to accomplish in a short time. Having him in Sacramento with me will make it that much more comfortable."
The opportunity to train with Team Alpha Male arose when a sponsor who wished to remain anonymous approached the pair just hours before Bevan's last fight.
Team Alpha Male is best known for Urijah "The California Kid" Faber, who has an upcoming title fight.
SPEAKING OF title fights, there will be another world title bout at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort's "The Harv" on Saturday, Nov. 30 when Paul "The Pittsburgh Kid" Spadafora (48-0-1, 19KO) challenges Johan "El Terrible" Perez (17-1-1, 12KO), who hails from Caracas, Venezuela, for the WBA Super Lightweight Interim World Title belt.
The main event scheduled for 12 rounds is in conjunction with Roy Jones Jr. & Oscar De La Hoya & TNT Promotions.
Following an extended period of lows, Spadafora has astonishingly roared back over the last year with three victories over top contenders to move back into the top of his weight division.
Should "The Pittsburgh Kid" emerge victorious, he would tie the late great Rocky Marciano's all-time record with 49 wins against no losses.
Only time will tell.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org