Bellator

Louis “Handgunzz” Taylor: Ready, Aim, Fire!

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Chicago’s Louis “Handgunzz” Taylor is ready to shoot ’em up bang-bang in the Bellator cage Friday night and enjoy the sweet taste of victory again.  The Chicago Fight Team veteran makes his return to Northwest Indiana, where he earned several wins early in his career, to face Joe Vedepo when Bellator Fighting Championships comes to “The Venue” at the Hammond Horseshoe Casino.  Taylor hasn’t fought since suffering a first round TKO loss to Perry Filkins last January in New Hampshire.

“My last loss was a real bummer,” says the veteran middleweight.  “Because I didn’t put in the work needed to go 3 rounds. But who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

The job developing Taylor’s ‘new tricks’ goes to his longtime coach Roberto Ramirez, founder of Chicago Fight Team.  “We have been working with Lou and his overall game especially his footwork and boxing,” says Ramirez.  “Our new boxing coach Hector Ramirez(no relation) used to be a coach at Windy City Boxing and has been working with Lou for this fight.  In his last loss we saw some things that we needed to work on and I believe there will be a big difference in his overall MMA game come fight night.”

Although he’s working on his striking, Taylor isn’t neglecting his ground game.  He’s a former wrestling standout at Eastern Illinois University and shed sweat on the same mats as UFC welterweight legend Matt Hughes.  Ramirez promises Taylor will be fully prepared.  “Lou has trained his but off during this camp and should be ready standing or on the ground.”

Taylor believes fighting just over the Illinois/Indiana border will make a huge difference.  “Fighting close to home means I get to hear my mom, wife and sister scream my name. That I can hear my childhood friends scream ‘Let’s go Handgunz” and ‘Get um Boo Boo!’  It’s what gives fighting meaning again, just knowing they are there for me.”

He’s anxious to get back into the cage, since he has not fought in almost a year.  “The past year has been full of grief and disappointment, canceled fights and a stalling occupation.”  Taylor tried to book fights in the Chicago area to stay busy but always ran into obstacles.   “I wanted to prove myself bad. I did that but even proving yourself has its downside, like a lack of willing local fights.”   Taylor has previously fought for Bellator and Strikeforce.  He  faces a problem many fighters around the country struggle with after building a name for themselves on the local circuit.  “I get no love from the local promotions so it’s a huge deal to actually have a full training camp and not just be a replacement fight.”

Many big names from the Chicago area like Miguel Torres, Clay Guida, Stephan Bonnar and Andrei Arlovski have left to train at high profile gyms elsewhere.  But Taylor is keeping the Windy City as his base of operations, citing the bond with his coach.  “My relationship with Roberto Ramirez is a great friendship. He is a good coach but a great person and I can’t walk away from a person who leads with his heart and let the chips fall how they may.”

Louis Taylor (left) and coach Roberto Ramirez (right)

The benefits of their relationship goes both ways.  “Having Lou at the gym is always a big plus. Not only is Lou a great fighter he is also a great coach and a loyal teammate. He always finds the time to for the new students and vets. He is ‘def’ like the big brother of CFT MMA.  On a more personal note Louis is not only my fighter and student he is my good friend and like my young brother. He has a great heart and is a loving father.”

The 33 year old’s opponent has been in the fight game a long time and poses certain match up problems.  “Joe Vedepo has been around the block, fighting and training from the midwest to Florida. He is definitly one of the best I have ever had the chance to get locked in a cage with.”  Coach Ramirez adds, “his opponent being a south paw possesses that unatural stance and footwork being a lefty but Lou is prepared.  He likes to bang and is an overall tough guy and tough opponent and we prepared for anything he intends to throw at Lou. This is MMA and anything can happen we have the home crowd in this fight and Lou is itching to show the Chicago crowd he is the best 185 pounder in Chicago and in the Midwest.”

Never one to shy from bold statements, Taylor foresees his hand raised in victory Friday night, “I plan on winning this fight, winning a few more with Bellator next year on SpikeTV. Getting into the tourney, winning the tourney, defending my belt and retiring the champ!”

You can follow Louis “Handgunz” Taylor on Facebook at Facebook.com/Handgunnz and on Instagram @personashadow.

L.J. Tabano

 

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