Thursday, May 30, 2013

Caio Terra/Soul Fighters Mundials Preparations Part Deux and Trois

A pleasant addition to the Mundials coverage this year and leading up to excitement business, are the more notable camps providing some footage (marketing) of their camps and faces preparing together.



Because You Didn't Ask: My Humble IBJJF Black Belt Bracket Predictions (Before the IBJJF has Completed the Brackets

The brackets aren't complete, but based on what I see actually listed on the IBJJF website, I've made some predictions. Right now, a ton of notable names are not laid out in the brackets - everyone from Lovato to Claudio Calasans to either of the Mendes brothers, so I will try to find time to amend these predictions as to how the bracket will play out whenever the "world championships" brackets are actually laid out. Professional tournament and such. It's not like the tournament is only 3 days away from the black belt division beginning or anything:

Brown Belt - expect the Miyaos to close out at weight, Gianni to win his division, and Keenan to win at both weight and absolute.

Rooster/Galo - Bruno Malfacine. Without Gui or Caio standing in his way (both of whom he has beaten), I don't see any names that will likely challenge Bruno. Actually, I've just read Caio will be in this division, so I'm calling another Rooster Finale between Bruno and Caio, with Bruno just a bit too strong for Caio and squeaking out a points win.

Light Feather/Pluma - Samuel Braga will win through his side of the field, dpending on where Gui ends up competing in the bracket but I don't think Braga has what it takes to top the mercurial Gui.

Feather/Pena - Expect Cobrinha to come through to the final after winning his field and facing Theodoro Canal in the semi-final, after beating G. Goncalves Martins in the quarterfinal. On the other side, I see no reason why Augusto Mendes won't come through to the final and they will rematch in their battle from the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials. Tanquinho has said this will be his final Mundials, win lose or draw, but I'll peg Cobrinha's will to win another title to eke him out over a Mendes last name other than Rafael. Again, with the bracket incomplete, how it plays out will depend largely upon wherever Rafael Mendes finds himself. That being said, Tanquinho has always stylistically done well against Rafael Mendes and I could actually see him beating Rafael Mendes. You read it here first!

Light/Leve - Langhi will top Mendelhson (one of the US's best shots in the division and at black belt to do well or medal) and get to the final where he will face Zak Maxwell (the other best US competitor to nab a medal or become a world champion). There are times when Maxwell looks amazing and other times when he has struggled against long-time black belts. I think Magid Hage will represent himself well and he did in fact catch Maxwell (along with Clark Gracie and another black belt with his now famed baseball choke at the abu dhabi pro trials in San Diego), but it remains to be seen if Magid Hage has more up his sleeve than what was his unknown baseball choke. I think Langhi tops Maxwell in a very tight final and wins his second world title in the Gi. But between the likes of the above and guys like Roberto Satoshi and JT Torres, it is exceedingly difficult to call this bracket or how it plays out. Each and every match has the potential to end either way with guys like this competing. It remains to be seen how Torres handles his move to Atos (he accounted himself well at the Copa Podio fighting well and competitively against the inimitable Leandro Lo and others in the division and accounted himself well at the Pan Ams most recently).

Middle/Medio - Otavio is going to lay waste to his half of the field in relatively short order. He has looked crazy dominant at both weight AND absolute this year and at the various IBJJF's and I don't see a single name on his half of the bracket I think will have anything for him. Other than Kron Gracie (not listed I assume due to Metamoris II obligations), I haven't seen anyone with the kryptonite to the world champion super powers of Otavio, who if anything, looks even more dominant this year than last year leading up to the Mundials.

Medium Heavy/Meio Pesado - A division I admittedly know little about, Romulo will (pending his knee injury from the match with Galvao at the Abu Dhabi Pro) win his half of the bracket and face Abmar Barbosa in what will Definitely be an exciting match with Romulo pulling out the victory as long as he's not fighting seriously impaired by the Abu Dhabi Pro injury.

Heavy/Pesado - Rodolfo will punch his ticket to the final by beating Yuri Simoes in the semifinals, and will then beat either Nivaldo Lima or Alexandre Ceconi de Souza in the final.

Super Heavy - Super Pesado - With Leo Noguiera out with a knee injury, I'll call Bernardo Rocha on the strength and preparation of his work with Alliance to take home the world title.

Ultra Heavy/Pesadissimo - Buchecha. Igor Silva and Vinicius will fight it out on their half of the bracket in the semi finals, but Buchecha will come out on top at weight and in the absolute.

Some other bloggers predictions at I Fight in Pajamas - HERE and Bishop BJJ - HERE.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Nova Uniao 2013 Mundials Preparations

The camp most known for its MMA exports (Renan Barao, Jose Aldo et cetera) is working hard to prepare for the Mundials. Gustavo Dantas is amongst their most well known BJJ members, but as their motto states: "From the Gi we came; To the Gi we shall remain."
    - Founded by Andre Pederneiras and a longtime producer of high level competitors, it will be interesting to see how some of the smaller teams fare at the Mundials.

Metamoris II Video Countdown: Andre Galvao vs Rafael Lovato Jr. & Brendan Schaub vs Roberto Cyborg Abreu

June 9th, it is GOING DOWN.

Brendan Schaub vs Cyborg Abreu:

Caio Terra/Soul Fighters 2013 Mundials Preparation

You'll catch some folks like Samir Chantre, Caio Terra, et cetera preparing for the worlds.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

GF/Grapple Fight/Gamma Filho Team Mundials Preparation Video

The first and only team to produce a non-Gracie lineage black belt world champion is on the grind preparing for the 2013 Mundials this weekend.

UFC 160 Video Highlights: Cain Catches Bigfoot and Dos Santos Heel Kicks Hunt to Buy Rematch

"Dos Santos will spinning back heel kick Mark Hunt on the temple. It will be amazing."
"No way....."

You may be tired of the headlines, but I'm not. We and by "we" I am definitely referring to myself complain when a card is short on stoppages and long on decisions. Well, the main card delivered this past weekend. We got a guy that may really take the belt from Ben Henderson in TJ Grant punching his ticket at a shot at the belt with a convincing stoppage of Gray Maynard who has only been stopped once previously by a current champion, Frankie Edgar.
We have Dos Santos semi-convincingly earning what is likely a rematch with Cain. We have Cain looking dominant stopping Bigfoot in a needless rematch but busy fight to keep the ring rust at bay which may truly have been the cause behind his previous loss to Dos Santos. The storylines are intriguing!

As is usually the case, a UFC card with semi-low expectations, turned out to have a great night of fights and stoppages for all of us visceral stand n' bangfest bonanza mixed martial arts fans of grown men on TRT and Testosterone and designer PED's punching one another with 5 oz. gloves.


Random Tuesday Grappling & Mixed Martial Arts News

Aaaaaand He's Gone: Forrest Griffin's Retirement Speech

Forrest Griffin's rise from TUF contender, admitted workhorse rather than technically skilled fighter, publishing of books, fan favorite, mercurial crier and runner after losing to Anderson Silva, will remain one of the stranger ones in UFC history.

His historic fight with Stephan Bonnar regardless of whatever some may say, was one of the watershed moments for the UFC and thus mixed martial arts.
I remember calling friends to tell them, "you have to change the channel right now".

That being said, in a move no one is surprised to see come, Forrest Griffin has retired.

The tone in his voice, and his candor in recent interviews before and after fights made it clear his heart was no longer completely in the sport of mixed martial arts.

See the speech below:


Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday Morning Metamoris II Countdown Video: Braulio Estima vs Rodolfo Vieira

Yes, the second installment of the Metamoris is coming out way.
The Mundials occupy the end of May and shortly thereafter on June 9th  we have the Torrance Academy/Gracies of Ryron , Rener, Ralek, and father Rorion putting together a professional grappling event.

This one seems to be utilizing somewhat of a 3 sided appeal to viewers: matching up some superstars (ala Braulio and Rodolfo), matching up some MMA fighters vs pure grapplers (Brendan Schaub vs Cyborg) and the old school Japan vs Brazil rivalry angle with Kron as father Rickson and Shinya as Kimura (with a slight MMA vs grappling angle thrown in that one as well).

At any rate, here's the countdown for Braulio vs Rodolfo.
Braulio looked a bit off his game (though he did try some berimbolo-esque stuff in his match with Xande at the Copa Podio recently), so we'll see if Rodolfo can put it to the legend that is Braulio Estima.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

UFC 160: in Pictures and GIFs- JDS Spinning Back Heel Kick and other Shenanighans


So I was working downtown last night, unaware that the ridiculously pleasing spinning back heel kick had struck again.
In the heavyweight division.

If anyone had told me Dos Santos would get a 3rd round KO set up by spinning back heel kick to the temple, I'd have politely told them to lay off the hard drugs.

Mind blowing. 
I feel somewhat vindicated in that I correctly said that having Cain fight Bigfoot was a laughable proposition at best, and that the editing department must have been paid overtime to concoct a narrative for the hype machine/countdown show whereby Bigfoot had a chance in *&^% of winning. 


In other news TJ Grant stamped his place in line for a shot at Benson Henderson (maybe a fight that won't end in decision MMA Gods? Please? Please?) with his dramatic KO of Gray Maynard.

And KJ Noons and Donald Cerrone had quite the fight as well, with Cerrone continuing his on again off again relationship with the winner's circle.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Knee Osotogari -

Same way my coach teaches me

IBJJF Mundials 2013 Schedule and Random Questions

Here it we just have to sit...and wait.

Will Cobrinha find an answer for Rafa? Will Caio do better up a weight class and will anyone come close to beating Malfacine without Caio to challenge him in the final?
Will Rodolfo face Buchecha again in the absolute? Will Braulio return to form so soon after focusing on MMA? Will Otavio Souza win his second world championship after the tear he's been on this year? Will Michael Langhi return to form after visa issues kept him out this past year? Will Atos claim the team points with its bevy of black belts?

Thursday – 30 May
9:00 AMBlue Adult Male – Rooster and Light Feather
10:20 AMBlue Adult Male – Feather
11:40 AMBlue Adult Male – Light
White Adult Male – Rooster
White Adult Female – Light Feather and Feather
1:15 PMBlue Adult Male – Middle
White Adult Male – Light Feather
2:45 PMBlue Adult Male – Medium Heavy
White Adult Male – Feather
4:00 PMBlue Adult Male – Heavy and Super Heavy
White Adult Male – Light and Middle
5:20 PMBlue Adult Male – Ultra Heavy
White Adult Male – Medium Heavy to Ultra Heavy
White Adult Female – Light to Heavy
6:40 PMWhite Master
White Senior
Blue Belt Male must register for Open Class until 7:30PM
No registration will be accepted on Friday
Friday – 31 May
9:00 AMPurple Adult Male – Rooster and Light Feather
Blue Adult Female – Light Feather
Purple Adult Female – Light Feather
10:30 AMBlue Adult Female – Feather and Light
Purple Adult Female – Feather and Light
11:45 AMPurple Adult Male – Feather
Blue Adult Female – Middle to Heavy
Purple Adult Female – Middle
1:15 PMPurple Adult Male – Light
Purple Adult Female – Medium Heavy and Heavy
Brown Adult Male – Rooster and Light Feather
Black Adult Male and Female – Open Class Registration
3:00 PMPurple Adult Male – Middle and Medium Heavy
Black Adult Male and Female – End ofOpen Class Registration
4:45 PMPurple Adult Male – Heavy to Ultra Heavy
Blue Adult Male – Open Class
6:20 PMBrown Adult Male – Feather and Light
Blue Adult Female – Open Class
NOTE: The athletes who register for the Black Belt open class division and get disqualification for non-showing are automatically  disqualified to compete in their original weight division as well.
Blue Belt Female must register for Open Class before 5PM
All Purple Belts Male and Female must register for Open Class until 7:30PM
No registration will be accepted on Saturday
Saturday – 1 Jun
9:00 AMBrown Adult Male – Middle to Heavy
10:45 AMBlack Adult Male – Open Class
Black Adult Female – Open Class
Brown Adult Male – Super Heavy and Ultra Heavy
Brown Adult Female – Light Feather and Feather
12:30 PMBrown Adult Female – Light to Heavy
White Juvenile 1 Male
White Juvenile 2 Male
White Juvenile 1 Female
White Juvenile 2 Female
Blue Juvenile 1 Male
1:10 PMBlue Juvenile 2 Male
Blue Juvenile 1 Female
Blue Juvenile 2 Female
1:50 PMBlack Adult Male – Rooster and Light Feather
Black Adult Female – Light Feather to Heavy
2:50 PMBlack Adult Male – Feather and Light
Purple Adult Male – Open Class
Purple Adult Female – Open Class
4:45 PMBlack Adult Male – Middle and Medium Heavy
Brown Adult Male – Open Class
Brown Adult Female – Open Class
6:45 PMBlack Adult Male – Heavy to Ultra Heavy
Blue Juvenile 1 Male – Open Class
Blue Juvenile 2 Male – Open Class
Blue Juvenile 1 Female – Open Class
Blue Juvenile 2 Female – Open Class
Brown Belt Male and Female must register for Open Class before 3PM
Juvenile Male and Female divisions must register for Open Class before 5PM
NOTE: The athletes who register for the Black Belt open class division and get disqualification for non-showing are automatically  disqualified to compete in their original weight division as well.
Sunday – 2 Jun
10:00 AMBlack Belt Male – Adult – Rooster and Light Feather – Quarter Finals
10:40 AMBlack Belt Male – Adult – Feather and Light – Quarter Finals
11:30 AMBlack Belt Male – Adult – Rooster and Light Feather – Semi Finals
Black Belt Male – Adult – Feather and Light – Semi Finals
12:20 PMBlack Belt Male – Adult – Middle and Medium Heavy – Quarter Finals
1:00 PMBlack Belt Male – Adult – Heavy, Super Heavy and Ultra Heavy – Quarter Finals
2:10 PMBlack Belt Male – Adult – Middle, Medium Heavy, Heavy, Super Heavy and Ultra Heavy – Semi Finals
3:00 PMBlack Belt Female – All weight divisions – Finals
4:40 PMBlack Belt Male Finals – All weight divisions and open class
Black Belt Female – Open class final

So You're Telling Me Cain Has the Real HW Belt?

Well, read it and think for yourself.

There's some stuff in between but basically, "In the early days of MMA, it was the UFC who established the first true Heavyweight champion...when UFC Heavyweight champion Randy Couture left the promotion as champ...and Overeem brought it to the UFC only to lose it to Bigfoot earlier this year."
Go read the full article at Bloody Elbow to understand.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Graciemag Spotlight on 10 Non-Black Belt Competitors to Watch

Atos Keeps Playing Pokemon: Picks up Satoshi and Souza

Ze Radiola at the Helm of Gracie Barra Mundials Preparation

That's me with the one and only Ze Radiola at Grace Barra Pernambuco (Recife, Brazil)

With guys like Otavio Souza, Romulo Barral, Estima bros.....and a bevy of other competitors, will Gracie Barra return to the top of the team points?

Cobrinha and Alliance Preparing for the Worlds

It's a ridiculous who's who of world champions and grapplers.

Claudio Calasans Comments on Preparation for Mundials

Main Achievements/Record:
From over at Graciemag:
"Last year you let the gold escape in the final against Otavio Sousa. What has changed for you since that Worlds?
I am coming experienced. Last year, I lost the final in the last 10 seconds. It made me grow a lot. I have to be focused on the fight the entire time. We can’t give the opponents a chance or leave it to the referees to decide. I’ve been trying to be more complete. I wasn’t training on top, for example, because I already had a good judoka base, but I reviewed it. Now I’ve been evolving to improve my timing and not miss the opportunity to takedown and score. I always train a lot of my guard and the guard passing. For each opponent, I will prepare a sharp strategy to make him feel him uncomfortable the whole time during the match."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Shut Up and Pass My Guard: Marcio Feitosa Guard Passing Webinar Tomorrow 1pm Pacific

Future Steroid Bust Alert! Josh Barnett Signs with the UFC

Ring any bells?

The first guy to lose a UFC title belt due to a steroid test who is also the guy that single-handedly sunk Affliction, and has a third failed steroid test on his resume is an Official UFC employee.
Part of me is interested to see Barnett tap out some lackluster UFC heavyweights.
Part of me will be interested to photoshop whatever victory he has turned into a NC due to a positive drug test.
Part of me is DEFINITELY NOT interested in blogging about a fight cancelled due to a failed drug test.



With guys like Che Mills fighting off in no man's UK-MMA land after losing to a guy who subsequently lost his fight on paper due to a marijuana failure on his drug test (*ahem Matthew Riddle), why is a 3 time steroid test failure signing with the UFC?

I'm all for serving your time in purgatory for breaking the rules, and yes, I think marijuana under a certain threshold is not performance-enhancing (hell, I don't think it would enhance any performance if over a certain threshold), but Barnett sunk Affliction/cancelled a great scheduled MMA fight AND lost the belt on a steroid test.

I mean....seriously.

No steroids in this group, no sir.

UFC Castaway: Che Mills Edition

It's not all doom and gloom for UFC castaways in the no man's land of non-UFC mixed martial arts.
A handful of guys like Eddie Alvarez, Shinya Aoki, and others manage to survive and probably make a living in the couple of options in MMA that read "ultimate fighting championship".

Che Mills, for example, has a nice little UK MTV (ah, the glorious concepts and culture we export to our neighbors across the pond and elsewhere) documentary done covering his rags to riches(?) rise through the ranks of the bloodsport that is mixed martial arts.

Che comes across as a likabl, fan-friendly guy that will very, very like end up back in the UFC in relatively short turnaround.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

UFC 160: The Happening - Full Video Countdown Episode & Prelim Breakdown

I've made no secret as to my thoughts on the absurd premise that Cain vs Bigfoot Part Deux is a ridiculously impassable attempt at a title fight unworthy of being put together, nor for the title, nor for a PPV headline.

That being said, it is what it is:

Cain will look dominant, perhaps I think not as dominant as he did the first time round, as Bigfoot HAS to come in with a game plan that doesn't involve getting taken down with the very first leg kick he throws in the fight. He has to come in with a better game plan, doesn't he? Then again, Ken Shamrock has to retire at some point, doesn't he?

For the first time in awhile, I am genuinely glad I work another job Saturday nights and I'll be getting paid rather than wasting time watching a rematch that was so one-sided the first time, it warrants a rematch the way Jon Fitch vs GSP warrants a rematch.
Anyhow, enjoy, I guess.

In rest of the card news; Gray Maynard gets a title shot eliminator (after his fight with Clay Guida he should be banned from main card bouts), against TJ Grant who admittedly I only vaguely recall seeing win some fights. Cerrone has a(n) "if I lose I must commit ritual suicide" bout with KJ "everyone loves to hate this guy" Noons.

The prelim card has Mike Pyle hopefully getting a big step up in the ladder after some impressive stoppages and wins in the UFC, Bermudez hopefully regaining momentum and moving up the deep 155 pool, two guys Colton and Robert I've never heard of, and Khabib coming in again as a dark horse in a fight he'll probably win and hopefully build some additional hype for his train. Bryan Bowles and Jeremy Stephens are also on suicide watch as they are now relegated to facebook prelims, the true backyardigans stomping ground of newcomers to the promotion or guys that have really fallen short in some recent bouts.

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook, 6:35 p.m. ET)

Updated: Team Alliance & Checkmat Prepare for 2013 Mundials

Kid Peligro discussing preparations with Alliance's Romero "Jacare" Cavalcanti:

"KP- The Worlds is les than 2 weeks away how is the team preparation going?
RJ- The team preparation is excellent, everyone of our athletes turned on the ignition button and the training sessions are frenetic, not only here but in all our affiliates, here Lucas and I are pushing the limits, we are going to be 30 strong from this main academy alone. In Sao Paulo and In Rio, Fabio (Gurgel) and Alexandre (Paiva) are in command of the daily activities. In Sao Paulo, where we host many of our tops, I know that Fabio made sure everyone is ready and will only travel at the right time to get the most out of their training. Everyone has been “sequestered” at the Academy training 3 times a day, it is hell, it is the time when the children cry and the mom doesn't’t listen
We also have camps in New York with Marcelo Garcia and Clemente and in LA, “Cobrinha” is leading the charge. They are all training like never before. It is war Kid and we are all ready wherever the Alliance Eagle flag flies you can believe it is blood,sweat and tears

KP- Which of your fighters have the greatest chance to get gold?
The usual group, Malfa (Bruno Malfacine), Corbinha, Lucas (Lepri), Langhi, Serginho, Tarsys, Bernardo, Leo Nogueira and Leo Leite, but we have some new faces that I am sure will be causing damage in the near future

KP- Alliance team has been supreme in the last few in all the major tournaments. How do you maintain that position?
We achieve everything with a lot of work, lots of effort and organization. Everyday we are on the mats, I am 60 years old but I still teach every day, Fabio and Gigi are the same way. We go to every tournament and we lead the team from the front, so show the team they can count on us 100%. This way we set the example for our other instructors to do the same. I know that Casquinha, Marcelinho, Cobrinha and all the other instructors are in the same beat and, as you can witness, our team is solid and we work very hard and that is the reason of our success.

KP- How do you keep you athletes motivated to train and prepare for tournaments
Well the main motivation has to come from within each person, of course our job is to direct and encourage this energy and being a part of the training regimen daily we demonstrate that we are there as well showcasing that without hard work one cannot achieve anything.

KP- What do you think of the new teams biting at your heels, Checkmat and Atos have made big strides lately
I think it is great having other teams pushing us, the tournaments get more exciting and it only helps us do more. I don’t see this as a negative thing but rather a positive situation for everyone.

KP- What do you think makes your team so successful time after time, what is the big difference.
The difference is that we are a great large team but we are very united, without any jealousies or false pride. We are all equal and the team is above us all at all times. We have a tradition of participating in all the Worlds since the event’s inception and without a doubt we will be fighting to get to the top yet again

KP- What are your plans for the immediate future
Our plans are to further improve our programs, for beginners, intermediates and advanced and the children’s program. We want to give our instructors the tools they need to have the same high standards everywhere whether they are here at the main academy, in Rio or Sao Paulo or anywhere in the World, we want the students to get the same high level teachings so that our methods of teaching make the difference to all students of Alliance regardless of where they are. We’ve been investing quite a bit on our association with seminars and classes and on Alliance Online to take this team to the next level

KP- Anything else you want to add?
I want to thank our instructors and our athletes as they are the ones that make the difference and also thank all our team sponsors, like Keiko, who has been a constant supporter and to all of you that help spread the word about our work, Budo Videos recently did a nice story about us. I also have to mention the IBJJF, their organization puts out a very professional event"

Kid Peligro discussing preparations with Leo Vieira of Checkmat:

"KP- The Worlds is 2 weeks away how is the team preparation going?
LV- Our camp has a fixed schedule but we are in many locations. We adapt so we can give support to our athletes that are located in deferent cities, that way we can train better and fit everyone’s schedule to get the most benefits to all. Our athletes are instructors in different cities and their commitment as athletes is as strong as their commitment and responsibilities to their students and academies. Then on weekends we get together, now as you can imagine, with the event so close we will have our team together with all our competitors from Brazil and Europe coming here.

KP- Which of our competitors have the strongest chance for Gold in the Worlds Black Belt division?
LV- Even thou everyone is looking at “Buchecha” as the favorite, just as I am, I see other possibilities of medals in all of my athletes. Jiu-Jitsu is like soccer, it is a “box of surprises” however the results are a function of the training combined with your STRATEGY. You can always increase your chances with dedication and preparation but there are many things that can alter the course of your event and your path to the podium in competitions. Just as we had a different Marcelo “Lapela” Mafra in the Pan we are preparing other “Surprises” this year in the Worlds

KP- Your team Checkmat has been nipping at the top of the podium, what do you believe you need to do to reach team gold?
LV- In a word, organization! For 3 years I couldn’t get a VISA for the USA and that absence is felt by our athletes, they lose some of their motivation and they lose the focus as a competition team. Then there was a surprise split in the team and the birth of Atos team that got many of out top athletes and that took away from our strength and our ability to add points and is also competing with us with the same objective which is to reach the top.
Now I am here for the tournament and to give a direction to our instructors and athletes to re-establish the structure that we once had for our team and increase our competitiveness

KP- To what you attribute the success that your team has had in the last events?
LV- I attribute the surge in our results to the dedication that our athletes to achieve good results and the commitment of our instructors with their students. We have excellent professionals and athletes that are always ready to help each other with the team goal as the main objective even putting their own personal goals aside. Those who had a different vision from this commitment to the team have moved away and this leads to a natural selection

KP- What are your immediate plans?
LV- Now the focus is the Worlds and to organize our team as a whole. My objective is to create a structure here in America where I can have easier integration with our athletes in Europe and Brazil. My plan is to have a training center here and to have that as our headquarters with offices, mat and lodging for our athletes and affiliates.

KP- Anything you want to add?
LV- I want to personally thank each and every member of our team, whether they are competitors or not, those who believe in our values, not because we have something to give back to them but more important for what we have to reciprocate in terms of feelings, help and sincerity. I want to thank our sponsors and partners who have followed us in competition and our rivals  who make the competition a chance for us to showcase our worth and give us reasons to better ourselves. CHECKMAT RULES !  Thanks KID"


Updated Memorial Day UFC 160 Cain vs Bigfoot Fight Card

I blogged about it HERE as to why I'm mystified this title fight is even happening, but.....
From over at -
Main Event:
Pay-per-view main card (10 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt
205 lbs.: James Te Huna vs. Glover Teixeira
155 lbs.: T.J. Grant vs. Gray Maynard
155 lbs.: Donald Cerrone vs. K.J. Noons
FX channel prelims (8 p.m. ET):
Facebook prelims (6:30 p.m. ET):

Aaaaand He's Gone: Augusto Tanquinho Mendes to MMA after Mundials Win, Lose, or Whatever.

From over at Graciemag:
“After this Worlds, I’ll only focus on MMA, whether I win or lose in Long Beach."

Tanquinho, who has recently beaten Cobrinha at the Abu Dhabi and previously has been one of the few to beat someone with the last name Mendes, will soon be missed in the sport Jiu-Jitsu world. It will be interesting to see his transition to MMA. Jacare recently made waves with his stunning finish of Chris Cammozi, but arguably, there's been a drought of high level Jiu-Jitsu transitioning well into MMA.
I was riding to lunch with one of my coaches yesterday and he mentioned that honestly, you have Roger Gracie, Jacare, and now Sergio Moraes fighting in the UFC. Beyond that Marcelo had some fights, Robson Moura fought in MMA as well, but at the highest levels of the sport (UFC, like it or not), it's become more less visible.
"Main Achievements:
  • World Pro Cup Champion (2011);
  • World No Gi Champion (2012);
  • 2x Rio Open Champion (2009, 2010);
  • 2x Brazilian Team Champion (Black Belt Division);
  • 2x World No-Gi Silver Medallist (2010, 2011);
  • Pan American Bronze Medallist (2009);
  • ADCC Brazilian Trials Champion (Submission de Campos – 2004);
  • 2x Silver Medallist at the Mundial as a Brown Belt & Black Belt (2011)
  • 3x Bronze at the Brazilian Nationals;
Weight Category: Peso Leve (Lightweight) 75kg – 167lbs
Team/Association: Soul Fighters"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

UFC 160: The Happening (Cain vs Bigfoot Part Why?) Countdown Special Debutes Tonight

If you're one of the several thousand people with FuelTV, you're in for a treat. The UFC's talented editing department and hype men will have their work cut out for them (earn those overtime bonuses) for attempting to convince you that Bigfoot has a shot in *&% of beating Cain after Cain put on a biblical (get it?) size beatdown on Cain in their previous fight.

If you're into watching the training montage's, Javier Mendes fluffing Cain's athleticism and movement and probably some Daniel Cormier thrown in there as well combined with repeated reels of Bigfoot KO'ing the not TRT'd to the gills Alistair Overeem in the 3rd round, tune in 9pm Tonight!

Bright Lights, Big Zeroes: John Cholish Pulls Back the Curtain on Fighter Pay

As fans, and as armchair experts, we often assume fighters in the UFC have sponsors lining up to hand them money, supplements, training gear, cars, chicks, whatever.

What we don't realize is that the totem pole of sponsorships drops off drastically when you're not on the main or televised card. To say nothing of a guy on a facebook prelim. He may be fortunate and through training or whatever networking to know some business owners that help him out/sponsor him, but it's a far cry from the costs of putting together a camp to prepare for the  big leagues of MMA/the UFC.

John Cholish comments on his loss to Gleison Tibau this weekend, "I have great coaches that take time off and travel. They deserve money, as well. To be completely honest, on a fight like this, I'm losing money to come down here. Flights, hotel rooms, food – and that doesn't even cover the cost of the time I have to pay for my coaches for training. It's funny because people talk about the fighters, but at the same time there's camps and coaches behind the fighters that you don't even see. So if a fighter is having a tough time making ends meet, how do you think his coaches are doing?"

There is not a lot of trickle down money for the support staff if you do the math. Prelim guys on the UFC are getting what, 3k to fight, 3k to win, 5k to fight, 5k to win?
You fight 4 times a year and you have $20,000 pre tax.
"Although his paydays for his losses to Castillo and Tibau won't be disclosed, Cholish made $4,000 to show and a $4,000 win bonus for his victory over Clarke 18 months ago."

And you're supposed to be a professional full-time fighter in the premier organization in the world?

I see shows like "Caged" on MTV, and these guys in the middle of nowhere thinking training UFC is a way out of poverty or out of whatever bad situation there is, and yes, training and Jiu-Jitsu have made me a far better person than I would ever be. I would disagree with the characterization that this is some ticket to a great life and millions of dollars. There's a handful of GSPs, Anderson Silvas, and Chuck Liddells in this sport. The notion that at any level other than the top of the UFC is actually livable pay comparable to a full-time job with benefits is laughable. The fighter health insurance was  a huge step in the right direction, but fighting in a pro level fight for at best maybe $6,000 dollars and you may fight 3-4 times in a year for what is the premier organization in the world is a far cry from being the big leagues.

I was fortunate to fight for an organization as an amateur that paid me travel money and actually ran a well put together promotion. I was also fortunate in knowing the owner of Cageside MMA who is as nice a guy in the business as I've ever met who has helped a ton of fighters along the way, far above and beyond virtually every other brand you've probably heard of.

Tournament Self-Review: US Grappling Virginia Beach Continued

Back when I had long hair, chillin' matside.

I posted my first two matches of the day HERE, where I primarily utilized the Bernardo Faria sweep to knee through passing to knee on belly then finished with a lapel choke from the top.

Second to last match of the Day, a rematch with a guy I beat at the Submission Only the month before:
I sit and immediately fight to deep half guard, then feed the lapel for my Bernardo Faria sweep, I end up in a double under type position from bottom with my opponent in a near mount type position, but I'm able to sweep and come up on top.
I get to my over/under position and pass briefly but he counters and I utilize the stack pass to settle into sidemount on the far side, I get to knee on belly and eventually finish with a lapel choke variation I got from Gui Mendes in one of the Art of Jiu-Jitsu videos.


Final match of the day, blue belt under 149 adult final:
I had failed to submit him in the 30+ division earlier b/c of a mistake I made in not fighting for the underhook which burned time off the clock as we scrambled before I got back to top position. I was determined to finish him this time around.

I hit my Kurt Osiander DLR sweep to top position from sit-up guard as I did in our previous match. He nearly swept me in the scramble but I come up to top.
I fight for my under/over pass but he had his leg partially across and my grip is entangled from the sweep but I know I can't reset my grips mid pass or I'll lose the progress I've made.
I fight to half-guard, obtain the underhook but then go back to the over/under pass position and finally backstep/over/under pass then settle into sidemount by keeping the pressure but I almost get swept as I get too high with my knee in the hip, fighting for the underhook and he almost gets his belly down like he did in our first match which forced me to spin to the back the first time around. This time I'm on my grip and settle after he tries to disrupt my base and I'm ride back to my low angle half-guard pass knee up cut through.
I go for my brabo but he defends, then I reset my grip and get the tap as I use mount to add pressure from the top.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Morning Extra: The Gracies and the Birth of Vale Tudo

Not subtitled, but some great Vale Tudo footage.

Old Man Walking Alert: 30+ Competitors at the Mundials - Graciemag

Helvecio Penna resides at the extreme end of the spectrum as the poster child for older competitors in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but one of the highlights of Jiu-Jitsu is that while it like most combat sports has its young stars and locomotives like Buchecha and Rodolfo, there exist a considerable portion of older competitors still capable of doing damage on the podium:

Graciemag breaks down 10 of them here:

1. Mario Reis (Alliance) – At 33, the featherweight from Rio Grande do Sul was once the ruler of the division. World champion in 2003 and 2004, Reis is also a record holder in podium appearances. Since 2003, he conquered at least a bronze medal in every Worlds edition. It’s very unlikely not to see Mario in one of the semifinals of the featherweight, probably against Rafael Mendes. Mario’s goal is to close out the division with teammate Rubens Cobrinha.
Rodrigo Cavaca at the 2010 Worlds
Rodrigo Cavaca at the 2010 Worlds
2. Rodrigo Cavaca (Checkmat) – At 32, Cavaca reached glory in the Worlds in 2010, when he defeated Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu for the ultra-heavyweight gold. Since then, a series of injuries kept Cavaca out of the game, but in 2013 he is back. He already won the Over 100kg division at the WPJJC and wants to repeat the feat in Long Beach, again closing out the division with pupil Marcus Buchecha.
Gabriel Vella defeated Roberto Cyborg at the 2013 Dallas Open
Gabriel Vella at the 2013 Dallas Open
3. Gabriel Vella (Street Sports BJJ) – At 32, Vella is a two-time world champion (2002/09) that has been away for a while. He is now back and because of a intense diet he is thinner and more active than ever. His recent showing at the Dallas Open proves that Vella is ready to do some damage at the super-heavyweight division and also at the absolute.
4. Bruno Bastos (Nova UniĆ£o) – At 33, Bruno is a fierce competitor with a a very dangerous game. A 2010 Worlds bronze medalist, Bruno is a also a Rio Open and New York Open champion. He is registered in the super-heavyweight division and a strong contender for a spot in the semifinals.
5. Denilson Pimenta (GF Team) – At 33, Pimenta is enrolled at the featherweight division. Bronze medalist in 2010, Denilson is always a tough opponent for whoever crosses his path. He is a strong contender to be in one of the semifinals of the division, on Sunday.
8. Gabriel Willcox (Brazilian Fight) – At 37, Gabriel is enrolled in the light-featherweight and has all the possibility to get at least at the quarterfinals, as he did last year. Any youngster who has to face Gabriel knows that he is in deep waters.
10 – Wellington “Megaton” Dias (Gracie Humaita) – At 45, Megaton holds a title that no other Jiu-jitsu competitor has. He competed in every edition of the Worlds as a black belt, since 1996. Registered again in the featherweight division, 2013 has a special flavor for Mega. For the first time, he will be competing at the Worlds in the same belt rank as his daughter Mackenzie Dern, 20.


Monday's (Rehashed) MMA Multimedia Mailbag: UFC on FX 8

I already posted about it yesterday b/c I couldn't wait to throw up some gif's and highlights of the spectacular spinning back heel kick of the 36 year old Belfort and the ridiculously smooth Jiu-Jitsu of Jacare.

Not to discredit anyone else who fought on the card, but Belfort and Jacare both stole the show with such ridiculously dominating performances and finishes, there's really not much else to say.
Anyone who knows me knows I loathe the phrase "to the next level," but last night, Jacare's Jiu-Jitsu was on another level compared to Camozzi. Once he was on top and softened him up with vicious ground and pound, Jacare then quickly advanced the hierarchy of positions and it was a wrap. Camozzi went to sleep literally mere seconds after Jacare set in the squeeze. It was so smooth it defies description. 


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hat Tip BJJ Ref Spot: Keystone Skills (In BJJ)

The man behind BJJ Ref Spot is a good friend and training partner of mine. When not plotting how to take over the world or other nonsensical debates, we manage to sometimes discuss training methodology and skill acquisition: He passed along this article by Daniel Coyle, author of the "Talent Code".
Keystone Skills: "the foundation on which other skills can be built — literally, inside the brain."
An example provided in the article is that of "Improving at analytic writing allow[s] students to improve at math, science, and social studies because it supports those skills in the same way that a keystone supports a foundation."

The article goes on to elaborate that "Every talent has its keystone skills. Think of a baseball hitter’s ability to identify the speed and location of a pitch. Or a violinist’s ability to precisely match pitch. Or a salesperson’s ability to connect quickly on an emotional level. Or a soccer player’s ability to swiftly “read” a game."

"All of these are keystone skills on which larger skills are built. They are exponentially more important to performance than any other skill. After all, it doesn’t matter how beautiful a baseball swing you have, if you can’t tell where the ball is located. It doesn’t matter how great a salesperson you are, if you can’t connect to people...The strange thing is, keystone skills are easily overlooked and under-practiced. Most of us approach performance the same way...— we try lots of things, in random order, and hope we get better"


As it applies to BJJ:
This is the old adage of the white belt who wants to learn the reverse omoplata flying shoulder whizzer attack but doesn't know how to effectively shrimp.

That being said, the culprits here are not only white belts.
New blue belts trying to newest fad rather than polishing the weapons sweeps and escapes they've only just begun to learn now that they are essentially a white belt who just began putting on a blue belt. The rabbit hole gets only deeper as you climb up the belt system I'd imagine.

There is so much to learn in Jiu-Jitsu....this is both the maddening and addicting part of it. Despite the doldrums and infuriating frustration of plateaus in training, those of us truly addicted, know that there is always more to learn. That the best in the world will tell you about how "so and so gives [them] the hardest time in training" or about the time "so and so completely crushed me on the mat". There is no endpoint in Jiu-Jitsu.

What the article means for those of us chugging along on the journey is we have to re-evaluate how we practice and train and perfect whatever technique it is you desire to polish. Sweep, submission, or pass, the move itself is not the only part of the timeline. Getting to that position is another larger, perhaps even more important question. How this position fits into your larger Jiu-Jitsu game (if at all) would be another larger context questions.
Then you have the actual drilling for the move itself and the finer points dependent upon your body type relative to your opponent's frame and weight.

I think as a general premise, the movements of shrimping, knee/elbow frame, and making frames in general are the very beginning cornerstone/keystone skills in Jiu-Jitsu. Knowing how to bridge would be another keystone skill.

After that you begin to realize the need to control distance before the pass has been finished by your opponent, getting onto your side as they pass rather than trying to bridge and shrimp after you've been cross-faced for example. Drilling fundamental is not sexy and it is not entertaining. It's not even fun to be honest.
But the players who spend their formative years escaping, then getting to good positions, then learning to finish, I suspect, in the long run, have the most developed Jiu-Jitsu.
What good is a cross collar choke from mount if you cannot maintain mount?
What good is mount if you cannot get to mount from side control?
What good is side control if you cannot sweep?
What good is a sweep if you cannot escape mount?
And the ladder is endless in both directions.

How a black belt sees Jiu-Jitsu:

How a white belt sees Jiu-Jitsu:

Vitor Belfort vs Luck Rockhold, Jacare vs Camozzi Full Video Highlights and Event Results

This is where you have to go to watch fights on FuelTV



Full Results below and a reminder why I am not a professional gambler -

My supremely expedited and abbreviated picks are listed HERE, of which I picked 10 winners correctly out of a total 12 fights I predicted. I put up my predictions after the first fight had ended.
In short, the name fighters won as intended, Brazil got a good card (far better than some previous ones, if only due to good fights rather than b/c of big names), and Belfort talked about the Jesus.
He seems to have adopted a "I'll knock out all of your contenders and get to Anderson that way " approach as he resisted the obvious prodding to call out Anderson. Whoever that announcer guy is tried to steer Belfort to calling out Anderson, but the Jesus (?) in Belfort resisted the temptation.
I figure if Cain has to rematch Bigfoot after the perversely dominating beatdown gave him the first go round, and after Bigfoots pretty much only KO'd a non-steroided/TRT'd Alistair, Belfort should get a second crack at Anderson. Hell, I watched Tito vs Ken Shamrock 3 times. What do I know?

Full Results via MMAJunkie:
"Vitor Belfort def. Luke Rockhold via knockout (strikes) - Round 1, 2:32
Ronaldo Souza def. Chris Camozzi via submission (arm-triangle choke) - Round 1, 3:37                     
Rafael dos Anjos def. Evan Dunham via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Rafael Natal def. Joao Zeferino via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook, 4:30 p.m. ET)
In other "fights that might have been" news, what happened to this fight??

Sunday is for Vitor Belfort's Spinning Back Heel Kick


Documentary Sunday: The Gracies and the Birth of Vale Tudo

Os Gracies e o nascimento do Vale-Tudo