No Hendricks Hangover for Brenneman

By Brian Knapp and David S. Holloway Jan 21, 2011
Charlie Brenneman sees value in his mistakes. He can learn from them.

Five months after he succumbed to strikes from two-time NCAA wrestling champion Johny Hendricks, Brenneman will square off with Nova Uniao standout Amilcar Alves in a preliminary welterweight bout at UFC “Fight for the Troops 2” on Saturday at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas. The AMA Fight Club representative took the first round from the favored Hendricks in their August encounter at UFC 117, only to be victimized and stopped by a series of powerful left hands less than a minute into the second.

The experience taught Brenneman a valuable lesson.

“I learned to move my head and not stand in front of my opponent,” he told Sherdog.com. “I took a lot from that fight. My team and I have done a great job of working on my weaknesses.”

In Alves, he faces a foe on the rebound. A protégé of Andre Pederneiras, the Brazilian judoka came up short in his promotional debut at UFC 118 in August, as he submitted to a straight armbar from Mike Pierce at the TD Garden in Boston. The defeat snapped an eight-fight winning streak for Alves, who trains alongside reigning UFC featherweight champion and pound-for-pound ace Jose Aldo in Brazil.

“I believe he’s a black belt in three disciplines,” Brenneman said, “so he presents a lot of dangers.”

In addition to the countless hours he spent under head trainer Mike Constantino at the AMA Fight Club in New Jersey, Brenneman sought out Brazilian jiu-jitsu savant Renzo Gracie and former middleweight King of Pancrase Ricardo Almeida during the weeks leading up to “Fight for the Troops 2.” Meanwhile, he sharpened his stand-up skills with Mark Henry, the boxing coach many credit with UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar’s rise to prominence.

“These guys have helped my all-around game tremendously,” Brenneman said. “I’m literally training with some of the best guys in the world.”

Brenneman’s wrestling remains his bread and butter. The 29-year-old attended Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, where he nearly achieved All-American status and capped his collegiate career in 2004 with a top 12 finish in nationals. Brenneman made his Octagon debut at UFC Fight Night 21 in March, when he outpointed 2009 Dream welterweight grand prix finalist Jason High en route to a unanimous decision. High was released after the bout, a one-and-done casualty on the Zuffa LLC chopping block.

With roster space at a premium following the UFC-WEC merger, the heat will be on rebounding fighters like Brenneman and Alves to compete at their optimum levels. Neither man has ever lost back-to-back fights. “It’s huge for me to get a win,” Brenneman said. “No one likes to lose twice in a row, and the UFC sure doesn’t like it, either. I’m coming to perform to the best of my abilities. My goal is to perform and, with that performance, hopefully get a victory. I don’t feel any more pressure than I ever have. My pressure comes from myself and the standard of fighting I set for myself.”
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