|I Love It|
The last day of the Fighter Exchange for Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza is a fairly low-key affair. With an evening flight to Sao Paulo, where he will meet up with family before heading back to Rio, he's hanging out with at the Jiu-Jitsu Pro Gear shop in Lawndale, run by his manager Gilberto Faria...
In 2009, San Jose became the 10th city in the United States to surpass 1 million residents. Still, the third largest city in California always seems to be forgotten when people discuss the state’s Bay Area.
Sports fans polarize the Bay Area: it's San Francisco against Oakland, with the Niners and Giants against the Raiders and Athletics. San Jose is usually an afterthought. Perhaps fitting for the city's cultural and entrepreneurial progressivism, MMA has helped give San Jose its own sports identity. It serves as home base for Strikeforce, and plays host to a litany of MMA gyms that have helped turn the city -- and the Bay Arena on the whole -- into a serious MMA hotbed.
Of all those gyms, the crown jewel is American Kickboxing Academy. Over the last decade, the trinity of Dave Camarillo, Bob Cook and Javier Mendez have honed one of the strongest stables of MMA talent, including the likes of Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Josh Thomson and Cain Velasquez.
The gym has become renowned for its ability to turn crossover athletes -- especially former collegiate wrestlers -- into well-rounded, elite prizefighters. In a city that’s produced more U.S. patents than any other, it's only apropos AKA has its own patented formula for success.