Ridge Kiley has competed against and with some of the best wrestlers in the world. Recently, though, he got the chance to test his developing MMA skills with the elite fighters out there.
Kiley, owner of Unrivaled Sports Performance and coach for Team Unrivaled, brought two of his fighters with him on a trip to California to train at Team Alpha Male’s gym in Sacramento. Kiley and former UFC fighter Duane “Bang” Ludwig formed a quick union when the two met up earlier this year.
Livingston Lukow, who recently turned pro, and amateur fighter Cody Keck accompanied Kiley on the trip. The coach talked with FightLine about the experiences gained.
“The trip started off with a bang, no pun intended, with wrestling practice right off the plane,” Kiley said. “Being a wrestler, I highly anticipated wrestling the Team Alpha Male studs. I walked into practice and was immediately put with Chris Holdsworth (a former Ultimate Fighter winner). Chris is a stud and I had a blast wrestling him.
“His hips are awesome and it was a great challenge for myself. Chad Mendes (a former UFC title contender) was my second partner and it was a battle for two rounds. Him and I were hitting shots and re-shots back and forth. It was a great way to start the trip off.”
Kiley stated the entire adventure was “all business,” adding “we only had time to eat, train and sleep.”
“It was the perfect ending to Livingston’s fight camp as he made his pro debut April 25.”
As for Keck, he drilled with Joseph Benavidez, who recently competed at UFC 172 and submitted Tim Elliott.
“He was drilling with Benavidez and Cody had no clue it was him until I told him,” Kiley laughed. “That was pretty humorous.”
Along with working on his wrestling, Kiley had a personal session with Ludwig to improve his striking. Unrivaled Sports Performance is an affiliate of the Bang Muay Thai System.
“I have always learned from the best wrestlers and coaches in the world, so learning a new sport from the best in the world was awesome,” he said. “Afterwards, my knuckles and hand were purple and swollen. Coach (Ludwig) say I hit hard; I’ll take his word for it.
“Being an athlete, I feel like I pick things up very quickly. I have enjoyed learning the striking aspect of MMA, not only for myself, but for my fighters.”
Getting to see how Ludwig, who will leave Team Alpha Male soon to open his own gym in Colorado, trained the fighters was also eye-opening for Kiley.
“I was able to learn new training methods, techniques and much, much more,” he added. “My fighters were able to practice against new, experienced guys. In sports and in life, if you aren’t getting better, you’re getting worse. This trip enabled me to learn to keep constant, steady improvement for myself and my athletes.”
At a recent show in Nebraska, Kiley’s Team Unrivaled went 3-0. Lukow won his pro debut with a second round TKO, while Keck also earned a second round TKO. Justin Schenk picked up a second round submission victory.