Friday, April 24, 2015

Quasi-Expert Opinion for UFC 186: Johnson vs Horiguchi

This weekend's car is one that I'll be among many to say doesn't feel like a PPV card.

I mean, Horiguchi is on a UFC 4 fight win streak, with some stoppages, yet, he's fought largely on cards the casual fan hasn't seen. 
Demetrious Johnson who hasn't moved the needle much when on free TV is now headlining something people are being asked to pay for when Bellator and WSOF offer shows on free TV or cable TV.

I took some bad beats on the last UFC on FOX card with guys like Machida and Swanson losing by submission, Hettes getting cut for a TKO loss in a fight that was his to win, and Paige Van Zant living up to the hype train.
That puts me at 21-16 for picks across the past 4 UFC events.

I'll be competing in a superfight (will always hate that term) Friday night at the Epicenter rooftop venue in Charlotte, sleeping, then competing at the Copa America tournament there in Charlotte.
Hopefully, I'll find time Saturday night to take in the fights on this admittedly lackluster card.

Horiguchi hasn't lost since 2012 when he lost a 3 round decision and it is his only loss.
That being said, Demetrious has been pouring it on as of late and finished 3 of his last 4 opponents, including a KO of Benavidez a man who came close to beating him previously.

It's hard to think Horiguchi is the guy to dethrone Demetrious Johnson. I like Horiguchi's awkward style and looping punches and distance but Johnson's speed, crisp punching, and takedowns/scrambles are simply hard to ignore. That being said, Demetrious has been hurt in previous fights and I think Horiguchi has better goods to stop him stylistically than say, Benavidez, who is harshly put, a lesser version of Johnson.

Bisping vs Dolloway:
This is a classic match-up where Bisping has really only lost in recent years to the very best of the division and Dolloway has faltered when moving up against top tier competition. Expect Dolloway to favor the Tim Kennedy gameplan and attempt to drag Bisping down over 3 rounds. I think Bisping is sharp enough to expect this and I think unless Bisping has lost a step more than I think against all but the best guys, I think Bisping picks Dolloway apart over 3 rounds in a semi-competitive fight.

Rampage vs Maldonado:
Frankly, I don't care. Maldonado while crowd pleasing is just that: crowd pleasing and a perfect foil for the stand-up preferring Rampage who has lost some of his shine over the past few years. I don't see Maldonado winning this fight in any way shape or form as he is simply too hittable.

Makdessi KO's whoever he's fighting. Makdessi's resume has some recognizable names and has looked pretty good with his unorthodox striking when last I saw him fight.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Embrace the Grind/Why I Compete

I was working my other job recently and a regular customer said I looked tired and beat up and nodded to the scuff on my face. I had competed in Virginia and headed back to NC to work my job downtown logging 7 hours of driving reffing/competing then about to work from 10-4am.

He asked why.

I don't even recall what I told him, but suffice to say, whatever I did say doesn't even begin to cover the motivation(s) I have to compete.

Competition provides a sense of purpose in my life. Competing gives me something to which I can look forward. It gives me the little bit of extra push when I'm rolling or when I think "that's enough" that induces me to stay on the mat.

It forces me to go to open mats at other gyms and seek out new looks and unfamiliar rolling partners in the hopes of that little bit of extra preparation I may need.

I'm not a medal chaser in the sense that winning gives me some overwhelming sense of validation.

I don't even really like winning as much as I hate losing. The rush of winning, hedonia, in its exhilaration, lasts so briefly it's not sustainable in the sense of being what keeps me coming back. The greater sense of purpose and meaning I feel as I look back over the sacrifices I've made in terms of free time, rest, the time spent driving out of town, driving back, the nights resting in my car after waking up, driving 3 hours, competing and refereeing then driving hours back to NC to then work at my other job....the rest I get after a weekend like that is hard to describe. It's the rest of having done everything you could and having been as productive with your time as possible.

I firmly believe if you want what others have, do what others do.

If you want something more or different (not necessarily better) than what everyone else willing to do what others are not willing to do.  Purple belt has been a long, intense, frustrating grind coming up on a year and 4 months. Whatever training I did at white and blue abjectly pales in comparison to the work I've put in at purple. 

I see the gap already distinctly widening at purple belt between the recreational level Jiu-Jitsu practitioners and the competitive or even professional level enthusiasts.

Right around the time you've been riding to Chicago for 10 plus hours you wonder why you signed up for this.

Right around the time you drove to another state and didn't win a single match you wonder why you signed up for this.

Right around the time you skip the 20th friend's birthday dinner, or the sleeping in and waking up late on Saturday morning with your girlfriend, or the Thanksgiving dinner or the whatever-the-*&^%-it-is you wonder why you signed up for this.

I don't always win but I always learn.

When I do win, I know it was paid in full by giving up other things. It's not talent. It's not luck. It's not "my day."

It was paid for in advance.

Weekend Wrap-Up & That's Why It's Called Gambling - UFC on FOX: Machida vs Rockhold

Worked the US Grappling Raleigh event Saturday. Only had one person in my purple belt featherweight division. I lost by collar choke at about 3 1/2 minutes in.  I followed that up by losing in the first round of the absolute on points. I had a near back take that I should have turn into a leg drag/come on top type of scramble but I didn't and so I lost. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that.

I am incredibly glad I didn't do any straight betting this past weekend.
Machida and Swanson both got submitted and Paige Van Zant lived up to the hype train in her debut.
Jim Hettes got a cut and lost a fight I was positive he would win. At the last second I was doubting if Dariush was ready for Miller but he subbed him in impressive fashion. I should have stayed hanging on the Dariush hype train like I had been up until that point. Sky's the limit for that guy. 

Ouch. Some underdog bettors out there definitely did okay this weekend.

Travis Stevens on Take it Uneasy Podcast

I listened to this awhile back.
It's worth re-listening to.