Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Abu Dhabi Pro 2015 Results

From over at BJJ Heroes:

It was tight as always but some good upsets in there. The different time limit and refs who will do things like disqualify both competitors (ask Keenan about that one) leads to some matches ending differently than they might at a longer 10 minute grind 'em out session like in the IBJJF. It also means more action than ADCC matches where counter-wrestling and patience often seem to win the day.

Among the "upsets" Victor Estima beating Keenan, a virtual unknown from Brazil beating one of the Miyaos, and Keenan not performing as expected all surprised me. . Leandro seemed to be much more in control against Keenan this time around with his bottom game, achieving 2 sweeps to Keenan's one (if I recall correctly).

Lucas Lepri was in top form as well, and put another win on the resume against the tough Satoshi (who has won the Abu Dhabi Pro before).  In the final, Lucas employed his usual top pressure passing game against a very game Gabriel Rollo who actually have Lucas a good run with his open guard and defending the pass. I couldn't tell on the video available of Lepri vs Satoshi what the takedown scored was, because it looked like Satoshi went to pull guard as Lucas did something and the ref awarded Lepri 2 points. At any rate. Lepri had earlier used his usual pressure passing to pressure with a stack pass kind of position Satoshi into turtling, but Satoshi wisely got to a one legged, ready to give up the single leg type of half -position rather than conceding turtle for too long and Lucas spinning to the back the way he would later do in the final against Gabriel Rollo.

In other news, the indomitable Buchecha submitted everyone until the final and put on the pressure to control and crush Trans' game from top position after a takedown. 

Final: Marcus Almeida (2) x Alexander Trans (0)
Champion’s run:
  • Semi Final: Ricardo Evangelista (won by Guillotine)
  • ¼ Final: Rodrigo Pereira (won by choke from the back)
BLACK BELT ADULT: Under 95KG, male
Final: Felipe Pena (8) x Jackson Sousa (2)
Champion’s run:
BLACK BELT ADULT: Under 85KG, male
Final: Leandro Lo (0 pts, 2 advantages) x Victor Estima (0 pts, 0 advantages)
Champion’s run:
  • Semi Final: AJ Sousa (by points)
  • ¼ Final: Felipe “Sagat” (Toe Hold)
  • ⅛ Final: Igor Basílio (Cross Choke)
  • Round 1: Max Carvalho (6×0)
BLACK BELT ADULT: Under 75KG, male
Final: Lucas Lepri (Choke from the back) x Gabriel Rollo
Champion’s run:
BLACK BELT ADULT: Under 65KG, male
Final: Gianni Grippo (1 advantage) x Isaque Paiva"

Lucas Lepri Abu Dhabi World Pro 2015 -75kg Final


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Leandro Lo vs Keenan Cornelius Abu Dhabi World Pro 2015

Leandro comes out on top with his two favorite sweeps: the spider hook + half x-guard type sweep and his other version where he comes up on a single leg as the guy retreats from the same position.

Amazing stuff:

Because You Didn't Ask: Jon Jones, The Lottery, & Southpark's Britney's New Look Episode

A few years ago there was a Southpark episode which cleverly paralleled American culture's sadistic joy in watching the elite crash and burn in real time. It satirized Britney Spears' crack-up on social and celebrity media and ends with the alluding to Miley Cyrus as the next sacrifice.

It's a clever satire which borrows from the American short story, "The Lottery" which hopefully you read in an American literature or short story fiction class.

Let me get the disclaimers out of the way:
1) I don't condone illegal behavior

2) I think the wealthy often get away with egregious behavior and it underscores one of many disparities in a system fraught with inequality.

3) I do believe our justice system criminalizes addiction and related behavior(s) rather than treating it/them as an illness.

4) We have a system which is unfairly influenced by dogmatic adherence to statistically ineffective punishment methods (including a clear lack of rehabilitation efforts), and undue influence from those who stand to profit from privatizing the criminal justice system by incarcerating rather than rehabilitating members of our society.

5) His notoriety is a blessing and a curse and like it or not, being in the public eye will garner more scrutiny. 

That being said, let's look at some assertions/speculation:
Jon Jones had weed with him.
What percentage of our population has smoked weed? How many others continue to do so successfully/not getting caught?

Jon Jones was busted for cocaine.

Again, a sizable portion of our population has tried the schedule 1 substance.
Now, you may begin to say "well, I only tried it...." and that's where the rationalization begins.
If you tell yourself weed isn't a drug the way cocaine're rationalizing.
If you smoke weed regularly, but look down on Jon Jones for using cocaine, depending on the state in which you're either a criminal or totally within your rights.

There's a number of rationalizations or inner narrative deal-making methods when people publicly voice their outrage about Jon Jones' alleged behavior.

Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge while drunk and left a woman to drown to death in it.
This I don't say to mitigate his behavior but to then point out the ensuing justice system basically white washing Kennedy's behavior and giving him a pass. There will always be apologists and I am not one for Jon Jones.
I am, however, depressingly unsurprised to see the faux outrage by many people who have plenty of skeletons in their own closet, there's just aren't publicly known.
I say this also to point out that the majority of those crowing the loudest didn't like Jon Jones to begin with.
We often resent those more successful than us.
We love to resent those we feel are more smug and successful than us.
Remember all the TMZ style MMA coverage when it was alleged GSP has gotten some girl pregnant?
What are we? High school girls in the locker room? 

Ultimately, what was likely a youthful indiscretion (the cocaine positive test) has become a full blown problem. 
It's hard to convince someone who's the undisputed best in the world at something that they are not in control (of an addiction for example). 
It's likewise hard to convince someone like Mayweather he has a problem beating women as long as he makes a ton of money, has sycophants in his ear(s) and largely gets a pass for it. 

I write all this not because I think Jon Jones needs this punishment or that punishment, I write it because much of the outrage is simply rationalized hypocrisy on display. 
You can believe he should be held accountable without the vitriolic, emotionally charged tirades you see being thrown around by people who've likely at some point done similar behavior or others along the same lines. All the moral grand standing is just sad, self-justified hypocrisy.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cyborg Prepping for Josh Barnett at Metamoris 6

Aside from his leg lock game and solid wrestling, Barnett's size and frame is one of his biggest assets. Even Lister seemed to really struggle with getting off bottom. Barnett is patient and the submission only format definitely favors the large Barnett grinding you down from top position.

At any rate, Cyborg does have a win of Buchecha at the last ADCC in the Absolute and Buchecha's physicality and agility in that weight class is frightening, but stylistically, Barnett's game is very different.

Weekend Recap: Fight Lab in Charlotte, UFC 186 et al

Headed out to Charlotte to do a superfight for Fight Lab. Video coming soon. The rules were 3 minute rounds with 3 judges scoring each round and a clear cut emphasis on aggressiveness. If I heard correctly, my opponent showed up weighing 168. I knew 3 minutes wasn't a lot of time to get to the mat and break down someone with about 20 lb's on me.
I lost a split decision. I honestly felt I won and feel I would have won a 7 minute match under normal rules but that wasn't what I found out we were doing the week of the match.
At any rate, I did some learning, saw my buddy I started BJJ with, and got to compete on top of the rooftop Epicenter in Charlotte.
Can't complain all around.

I headed back to town and caught the UFC on PPV due to a rare Saturday night off.
I went 4-2 with my picks on the admittedly lackluster card.
Almeida got an early stoppage of Jabouin who wasn't really out but didn't really protest the stoppage to hard either. Cote looked stronger throughout against Riggs who didn't keep the dominant positions he got by taking the back et cetera. Cote looked absolutely flat in his previous outing but didn't look so shopworn this time around. Johnson did what he did and looked impressive doing it. He got another stoppage win which is more than a some of the other champs in various divisions can say.
Even my boy Dominic Cruz (of whom I am a HUGE fan) didn't have any stoppage wins while champion in the UFC (Yes, I'm looking at you Jose Aldo). I actually left during the Rampage/Maldonado fight because 1) it was boring and 2) I had been sitting down since the prelims. I underestimated Almeida which won't happen again. He looked good, very good in fact, and I see bright things for him. I haven't seen enough of the other parts of his game to say whether or not I think he'll be champ, but he definitely has the killer instinct and edge of youth on his side.

Anyhow, I hit up open mat Sunday afternoon, worked until early this morning at my downtown job, I'm going to rest today, and start back training tomorrow after I work all night again tonight. My superfight at the 2nd installment of the Toro Cup is May 16th. It's 15 minutes submission only, then if necessary a 5 minute round that is points or submission, and if still deadlocked, we go to sudden death overtime where the first points scored win.
It's a cool format and one that produces some serious excitement. I know a ton of the guys on this 2nd card, and I'm excited about virtually all of the matches. 
My opponent, Josh Murdock is a guy for whom I have a lot of respect for him and his game. It's going to be a tough match.

I'm going to head down to Charlotte and train either this week or next to get some different looks and have some guys come after me as the visiting purple belt featherweight in the room.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

"Reason from Essential Truths," Competition, Specialization, et al....

I often hear the words of Elon Musk in my head saying, "reason from essential truths."

He was discussing why he decided to invent a car battery out of the materials he did and he said that his process was to look at the materials and chemicals and raw components that were cheapest and then engineer from that end of the problem.

Rather than say, looking at how car batteries have traditionally been made and improving on the slight improvements of others in this constant cycle of slight improvements.  He then noted that the prices of the materials would change in respond to changes in demand and he noted the fluid nature of supply, demand, and innovation.

He also reasons that  if you enter a crowded field you must either do the same thing as many others but much, much, much better, OR you can approach the problem from an entirely different angle and think along the lines of the old adage "outside the box."

I competed (poorly) this past weekend due to personal issues, lack of focus, a lack of focus on peaking at the right time, and my realization that if I'm going to compete every single month or more this year, not every tournament can feel like it's "do or die". Some tournaments will have to be off days. Some days will have to be trial and error where I let my game unconsciously unfold and simply try to do what I've been doing while rolling as of late, not just my tried and true previously winning formula.

It's also the realization that I can doggedly figure out a way to win at purple belt now, or develop skills I've reasoned are necessary at the brown belt and black belt level and long term.

My essential truths are that I want: 
1) a very difficult combination of open guards for my opponents to pass
2) a pressure, swarming guard passing style that works both at weight and against bigger opponents
3) a very small set of submission for which I hunt in key positions that follow my preferred sweeps and/or guard passes, and a precise set of sequential submissions in the closed guard

At blue belt, after knee surgery, I developed a gameplan that won me 3-6 or even 7 matches in a day that looked nearly identical: pull half guard, deep half guard sweep, over/under pass, knee on belly, lapel choke.

At purple I began developing more versatility in my open guard because with the exception of DLR or perhaps Spider-guard, or Bernardo Faria at HW doing deep half to his single leg transition, I've seen guys like the Miyaos and Gianni Grippo falter at black belt because what worked at brown belt was not versatile or varied enough to work against craftier black belts (well, that or their application of it against more experience black belts was not highly developed enough to trump that edge in strength, experience, et cetera).

This may or may not be the case. I'm a purple belt....what honestly can I say with certainty?
What I must do, however, is believe in my process and the work I've done and will continue to do.
Innovators are un-handicapped by the nature of expert failure, or by being so deeply entrenched in the hierarchy or system of which they find themselves a part.
Malcolm Gladwell has a great talk about the qualities of innovators which is that they are curious/passionate, deliberate in their willingness to dedicate hours and hours in pursuit of their goal/passion, and most importantly they persist in the face of doubt/ridicule/criticism on the part of the established experts and/or peer(s) in their area. 

Off Topic:
I've competed in some submission only superfights as of late (still hate the term "Superfight") and it has encouraged me to more aggressively hunt for the submission whilst rolling, something that can be subtly forgotten when you focus so much on position before submission and controlling your partner/opponent et cetera. This Friday I'm competing up in weight (as is normally the case when I take superfights, and it's a 3 round format with some changes to the traditional scoring in the hopes of making the match more entertaining.
There's a time to doggedly pursue one pass, one sweep, one position, et cetera.
There's also a time to play, to experiment, try things out without expectation of "winning" or "failing." The key then is choosing the right mix or combination.
Everyone trains hard
Everyone diets.
Everyone rolls.
Et cetera.

The secret sauce then is that intangible mystery ingredient when it comes down to where you spend your hours and minutes and seconds.
It's why Kron Gracie who grew up with Rickson and a fundamental treasure trove of Jiu-Jitsu access can beat Otavio Sousa in submission only 20 minute match at Metamoris and ADCC champion in his weight class, but Otavio Sousa is 2x world champion at black belt with a 10 minute time limit in their weight class in the Gi.

It's how Lucas Lepri can win his black belt world championships in the Gi something like 7 years apart and still be relevant in the sport Jiu-Jitsu world as a competitor.

Happy training and such.

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.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Jiu-Jitsu Lifestyle - Documentary

Finished my day class/open mat training, had lunch with some training partners and now I watch Jiu-Jitsu and drink some coffee until I head back for evening class.
Meanwhile, I stumbled across this thanks to a youtube recommendation.
Never seen it before.



UFC on FOX: Machida vs Rockhold - Full Countdown Episode and Fight Predictions

I went 4-2 for the UFC in Poland event. There were some unknown fights on that card that I just would not recommend betting on in any circumstance. Too many variables: not knowing the level of opposition and the likelihood of fighting cans on local level cards abroad.

That brings me to 17-11 in the past 3 events.

This weekend we have a pretty good event for free TV in the form of Machida vs Rockhold for a "maybe it is, maybe it isn't, depends on how they both do against one another and if/when Belfort fights Weidman and if/how that goes" as is the case with the insanely unclear title contention road in the UFC (a huge foible on their part as a business model. People love Bellator because at least the tournament portion is linear and straight forward barring injury by a fighter who advances through the bracket.

Rockhold has looked great in his UFC run, but Machida is great at winning decisions. That being said, Rockhold has only lost by TKO. So we have an interesting set of variables to consider. Machida looked exceedingly flat against Weidman, but other than that, who has dominated or even really put it to Machida (minus that atrocious Rampage fight)? 

 I think Machida hands the less experienced Rockhold (who normally towers over his opponents) a decision loss because Machida has fought as high as HW and LHW and Rockhold faltered against the TRT-monster in the form of former belt holder in two divisions Belfort.

I think you can accurately pick winners based on the narrative the UFC is trying to build: ala who makes for a better storyline and build-up in subsequent fights (not always the case, but a good bet a good % of the time. At any rate, obviously Paige van Zant is the pick in her fight but women fighters are notoriously unreliable in betting as has been my personal experience. Just ask Carla Esparza or Rose Namajunas about that topic. Their level of opposition is also so erratic early on in their careers pre-UFC or they simply lack the depth of fights pre-UFC to accurately handicap their fights when I'm betting actual money.

Jacare submits Camozzi in two rounds because I think Camozii will look to fend off the takedown at all costs and survive a bit longer this time around. 

I like Max Holloway but his resume lacks the star power (minus a certain Notorious Conor McGregor) whereas the only guys Cub has lost to have names like Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo among others).  Holloway showed his durability in being the only guy to not be stopped by McGregor so I think Cub shucks and jives enough while picking him apart to pick up the decision win.

I'm officially on the Beneil Dariush hype train. I correctly had him upsetting Cruickshank last time around but the real bet here is whether Jim Miller is on the downturn of a career that at one point had him with the longest win streak in the UFC's log jammed for years because of 2-3 fight title series Lightweight division.

Cerrone hurt him then finished him but I don't know that I see Dariush being able to do the same, and Dariush's previous loss to Ramsey Nijem is troubling not because he is young but because I don't see Jim Miller losing to Ramsey Nijem on almost any given night. That being said, I'm picking Miller to win a decision here based on top control and pressure because other than Cerrone, Healy has been one of the few guys to out-Miller Jim Miller with a grinding attack and I just don't know that Dariush can enforce that type of gameplan.
 Win or lose, I see Dariush challenging for the title eventually because of just how much room he has to grow this early in his career.

Ovince's wins over guys like Nikita, Shogun, and Ryan Jimmo plus his frightening power have me thinking Cummins will get tagged and remain too gun shy to impose the takedown on Ovince. Ovince even when he's lost has normally impressed me with his size, speed, and athleticism.
I just don't see Cummins winning this fight because he lacks the pop in his hands to make Ovince respect him on the feet. 

With 14 decision wins on his resume, it's hard to bet against Mizugaki especially when he tends to win unless your name is Dominic Cruz or Brian Bowles, Urijah Faber, and Chris Cariaso: all former belt holders in various organizations or title challengers. 

I don't like betting on guys coming off of such long layoffs like Jim Hettes, but I think his grappling acumen and transitions are not only highly entertaining to watch but keep guys in danger quite a bit. I see Brandao flaking out like he normally does and giving up his back and getting finished pretty quickly by the onslaught of submission attempts Hettes will impose following his versatile takedown game. I think/hope the time away due to injury brings back the Hettes we saw early in his UFC career who was a blast to watch just due to the sheer versatility of his fighting style.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

2 superfights & 2 Tournaments in the next month: US Grappling Raleigh, Fight Lab 46, Copa America, Toro Cup 2

April 18th: This weekend I'm reffing for the US Grappling organization and competing in the purple belt featherweight and purple belt absolute. It's a well-run, well-organized tournament and one of the best I've done since I began competing in Jiu-Jitsu. If you're in the area/the state, come through. I'll wake up early, referee, compete, then head to my weekend job downtown and hopefully be able to see the UFC on FOX with Machida vs Rockhold where I work. 

April 24th: Next Friday, in Charlotte I'm part of the Combat Sports Expo put on by the MMA promotion, Fight Lab. I have a superfight (still hate that term) with John Schell of Schell Shock BJJ. 

April 25th: The day/morning after, I'll be competing at the Copa America in in Charlotte. 
I haven't done one of their tournaments before and I'm not reffing so it'll be fun to just show up compete, have my matches, feel like a competitor and leave town. I like hitting tournaments I  haven't done in other parts of the state in the hopes of seeing some new faces in my bracket(s).

May 16th: One last big announcement, despite my poor showing at the first Toro Cup, I've been given a second chance at the Toro Cup 2 invitational grappling event. I'll be facing a guy for whom I have a lot of respect, Josh Murdock. Josh and I have trained together before and we both refereee and compete at the US Grappling Tournaments. It will be a highly entertaining match as we both like to mix it up and play a loose, active, versatile game.

Kurt Osiander on Take it Uneasy Podcast

If you're in the area of North Carolina, Kurt Osiander is doing a seminar in Raleigh, at Gracie Raleigh's location this coming Sunday.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

All Grappling PPV Warz! Female matches, Counter-Programming, Free Streaming, Oh My!

It sound like 5Ive is going to anti-Metamoris and ante up by offering one of the biggest cash prizes in grappling for females. It's a smart move, akin to Copa Podio streaming their event free to counter the counter-programming of Metamoris scheduling their card on the same day for the second time in a row. 5Ive will endear itself to virtually every female grappler and also pick up the male fans who choose not to economically support Metamoris going forward.

Fellow Jiu-Jitsu/Grappling blogger extraordinaire posted his thoughts and position of the economic feasibility of women grappling and PPV money dollars with a number of salient points among them, this one: "Think of a blue and a purple belt sitting 10 rows up for Nicolini-Musumeci: even if those people aren’t interested in, say, Chael-Babalu, having a match featuring one or both of those women draws them in even if you wouldn’t otherwise get them to buy the event."

For whatever fans you may get that will pay to see Chael Sonnen or a Jeff Monson, there are, I believe, enough hard core Jiu-Jitsu enthusiasts that would pay to see a Galvao/Dern match or a Nicollini/Mesquita match that would not be tuning in due to a Sonnen or a Babalu (I'm a HUGE Babalu fan, please note). 

Jeff's other most salient point, that it is a better business model to garner support rather than alienate women grapplers and by extension those willing to support women's grappling by adopting an anti-Metamoris stance also rings true. For those of us who train with, see the dedication of our female counterparts, or even date a girl who also trains, it's tough to spend $$ to support an organization with such a blanket and patently dismissive stance toward the ladies of the mat.

Ralek and company have taken a very, very UFC-monopoly style approach to the market and that is their choice. I think a key difference is that Jiu-Jitsu with it's larger aggregate of skill divisions make this harder to corner the market. Obviously the IBJJF and black belt and nogi expert whatever divisions can be somewhat skewed in the reality of only a handful of truly elite level competitions, but a regular competitor such as myself will gladly support events like Jiu-Jitsu battle or Osiander's Finisher Series and that Metamoris runs the dangerous risk of alienating it's own relatively niche audience almost before it truly takes flight. Even if not morally sound if done solely as "insurance," perhaps, putting on some female matches would have been akin to doing what they said they would do rather than that they actually did when they subbed in a Marcelo Garcia brown belt rather than the Royce Gracie black belt who won the online poll to face Magalhaes in a previous PPV event.

At any rate, with the option to free stream Copa Podio versus support the ladies whom I personally see train, compete, and have refereed for I find myself having to stand across the line in the sand and side against what could have been the premier grappling event, or at least one of them, in the world.

It's stupid and a waste and honestly I expected better business acumen from them if nothing else.
It's hard to listen to commentary and talk about the nobility of the sport and competition but then out of earshot or at a different venue lament that women matches don't make $ so we don't do them.

Le sigh.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Getting the "W"

I don't really get why they give 2nd and 3rd place medals
Been a busy couple of weeks. I quit my job, rather, resigned to be more accurate.

Competed at the Submission Only, took 2nd in the purple belt featherweight, lost first round of the absolute. I've had a nagging shoulder injury that came after getting sick a few weeks back but I'm thankful I've still managed to train a good bit.

Making sure I don't let Jeff Shaw open up his spider/DLR game
The week following the Submission Only, I had a superfight (still hate that term) with a good friend and fellow Jiu-Jitsu addict, Jeff Shaw of Dirty White Belt Blogger Fame at the Bull City Brawl in Durham.

I managed to get the submission win at about the 6:40 mark with an ezekiel I set up by hunting for the arm triangle from technical mount/back take territory.

I played a conservative game on top, not letting him open up his guard because I knew his DLR and spider guard game would give me a lot of trouble if he got it going.

Felt good to get the win if not much else because I didn't open my game up and didn't feel like I had much finesse in the match. I just grinded out pressure passing and the old school Jiu-Jitsu gameplan of smash and pass then threatened submissions until I got the ezekiel.

Coming up I have US Grappling Raleigh on the 18th, a superfight in Charlotte at the Fight Lab MMA event on the 24th, then I plan on competing the next day at the Copa America in Gastonia, NC.

Win or learn.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Combat Sports Weekend: Bellator, WSOF, & a UFC Fight Pass Card Picks

I don't even care that I'm going to miss the UFC Fight Pass Poland non-card that's this weekend. If I had a friend who had fight pass and time to kill I might watch it.
I've posted my pics for the fights I know enough to wager on but the rest of the card is chock full of guys I simply do not know and cannot find much if any information regarding their record and that of their former opponents. Wager at your own risk. 

IN reality, I'm super excited about this Friday night Bellator card.

IT features:
"main CARD
Spike TV, 9 p.m. ET
Will Brooks vs. Dave Jansen
for lightweight title
Brooks vs Jansen will be a great fight. Joe Schilling looks to follow up his KO of Manhoef with another one. Marcin Held vs Sarnavskiy will also likely be a great fight.
It's hard to complain to Bellator for booking this card. I've got Jansen by split decision but honestly this fight is a toss up, Schilling by KO, Held by toe hold in the 3rd round and Volko by TKO.

I'm less enthused about the WSOF card but I'll ask whatever establishment I'm at to put it on another TV during Bellator. I don't know why the only two non-UFC promotions are counter-programming one another on a weekend with NO UFC on Saturday night but people with way more money and TV experience I guess make those decisions.  

Thursday Morning Blow Your Mind Time: 30+ Mins of Mendes Bros Rolling

In case you needed your mind blown first thing, here's 30+ minutes of sparring/rolling/randori/whatever/amazing-ness at the Mendes Bros. Art of Jiu-Jitsu Academy.
Other than the random Bull Terrier event, Rickson Cup or the Worlds, we've only seen two of our sport's best competitors a handful of times this year.

It's tough when you spend much of the year just waiting to see your favorite guys have maybe, what? 15 matches a year? If that. 3 matches at this event, 4 matches maybe at the 365 calendar days a year. I like that the IBJJF will force black belts to qualify but former world champs I take it won't have to qualify. For example, I think this year I'll only get to see Lucas Lepri at the Worlds. One of my favorite competitors I won't see compete for nearly a year.

I have digressed: watching the Mendes Brothers is kind of like watching Moebius working on his craft, or say, a master violin maker: you know that you don't appreciate the vast majority of the finer artistry of what they're doing but even a layman can see that they are light years ahead of many of their peers in terms of application and precision. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Recent Match - Submission Only & upcoming competition schedule

It's always strange to me in tournaments when I hit triangles, or a straight armbar because it's not that I don't know how to do them, but rather, I don't hit them in training nearly as often as I hit them competing (or at least that's how it feels).

Purple belt has taught me to look at the bracket as only the match I having coming up. I've had some great wins and nearly flawless matches at purple belt, but I've also had matches where I made one mistake and never got it back. I've yet to medal in the absolute at purple belt and that's also on my list of goals for this year.

I've got US Grappling Raleigh coming up on the 18th, and Copa America the weekend after on the 25th in Charlotte.

I am hopefully booked for the 2nd installment of the Toro Cup and will get another superfight (yes, I still hate that term) for the Bull City Brawl event in Durham in June.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Friday, April 3, 2015

MMA Betting Man's Picks - UFC Fight Night 63: Mendes vs Lamas

I think Mendes does what Lamas does but better in just about every area. Mendes looks really, really good against Aldo the second time around (but he did pull a Johnny Hendricks and shoot like 2 takedowns in 25 minutes but he also knocked Aldo down in the first round so what do I know?)

It's hard to bet against Masvidal who I think is a more versatile version of Iaquinta whose stoppage of Lauzon hasn't done much to change my impression of him.

Some girls are fighting but I don't watch women fight so I'll go with the submission record of Dudieva over Pena.

Guida is fighting which is interesting I had no idea he was still in the UFC. Gray Maynard also is on the card after some time away as well. Interestingly enough, my coach has helped corner Gray Maynard before. Poirier will try to shake off the sting of getting put down by Conor McGregor earlier this year (my how time flies) and should do so over Ferreira.