Thursday, July 27, 2017

BJJ Scout: Weidman vs Gastelum - Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Watching the evolution of a fighter or grappler over time is truly a gift of the modern era. Add to that insight from people far more observant and calculating and analytical than your humble narrator and the internet legitimately possesses so much to add to the evolution of grappling and combat sports.

Watching the change in Weidman's tactics and in particular that 10 finger posture controlling grip high on the opponents back to continually drag or chop him down to the back when combined with the riding vs back taking is everything that watching grappling evolve is about.

It's amazing to see a guy as good as Weidman is, with his grappling chops, adjust and change and truly change how guys see and approach the game. Another guy obviously is Maia, watching for example, his fight with Jake Shields that he lost (I honestly think Shields escaping the backpack (an earlier version of it) then ending up on top won Shields one more round out of the three and therefore the decision). At any rate, Weidman's grappling game was just simply fluid. I think Gastelum's success against talented grappler Tim Kennedy also gave him a bit too much confidence in this bout. Gastelum at times appeared to lack urgency in dealing with Weidman's top game. That's of course easy for me to say as I'm at home watching and he could have been doing his best but simply was not prepared for the change in Weidman's top control and decision to eschew back control. It's honestly amazing to go back and see the change in the game of guys from even several fights previously. Here, though, Weidman's body lock to takedown to that ankle pick off the cage, it all just looked and seemed fluid and eventually, with a guy like Weidman on top of you, keeping you there with a top game you likely didn't prepare for...the end came as a result of the top control and opportunity simply arose.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

BJJ Scout - Cormier vs Jones - Clinch Fighting Preview/Analysis

Dude is on fire this week (if it even is someone who identifies as male...). I've posted a ton about this DC/Jon Jones fight but frankly, I haven't been this excited for a rematch or a title fight or a unification bout in......I couldn't even tell you how long. BJJ Scout as always shows a narrative of the fight/stylistic match-up which I had not previously noted.

Personally, I noticed that in a larger context, either DC abandoned (I doubt it) or Jones adjusted (likely) to DC's head control after the first couple rounds. That being said, it's easy to forget that DC was coming down to LHW and had not fought 5 rounds at that weight before. Early on, especially, DC had to strictly diet to reach LHW because of his weight cutting experience/effects after the Olympics. The real question is, how much more mileage does DC have? Jon Jones' inactivity is a concern but moreso because of how focused or unfocused he has been with no looming fights (other than several he was pulled from for various indiscretions. Did the window of time where Jones' physical abilities and talent and optimal age range pass ala Muhammad Ali after his time spent incarcerated? Not to say that either man is now washed up or done, but with Ali there were some notable changes to be sure. I always chalked up the loss in the first fight to DC's fatigue setting in + Jones' ability to adjust. I also forgot until I rewatched the fight just how scrappy a fight it was. I mean, they really put it one one another for 5 rounds. It concerns me that DC has had as many fights go the championship distance as he has since winning the belt (ala it may have caught up with Dominic Cruz - not to mention an insane injury layoff period)......but we'll see. I promise this is probably the last DC/Jones post until the actual fight.


Monday, July 24, 2017

UFC Rewind: Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier First Fight


UFC 214 Countdown Special Full Episode: Cormier vs Jones 2, Maia vs Woodley, Cyborg vs Evinger





Inside the Octagon Breakdown of UFC 214: Cormier vs Jones 2

Fair play, as I've been a total nonce in talking ill about the UFC's lack of starpower and entertaining match-ups for the past two months or so, this card promises/has high expectations. A long, long, long awaited rematch with the added narrative of "Mr. Towel Hands" Cormier and Jon "I love trouble" Jones.....Cyborg fighting a woman who's remotely close to her size, Lawler vs Cerrone in a contest of aging gladiators who like to cause and absorb brain damage, Jimi "I am totally risking my title shot to face a guy with one impressive win in the UFC" Manuwa, and Demian "backpack" Maia vs Tyron "my last two fights were a draw and a razor thin mind blowingly boring decision" Woodley.

The undercard has Renan Barao in desperate need of a win and Ricardo Lamas fighting to stay in the middle of the pack.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

UFC on FOX Strong Island : Weidman vs Gastelum

Not gonna lie, that straight left that put Weidman on his butt had me scared for a second, but Weidman's excellently timed takedowns from that upper body ride position he forces (note that sweet ankle pick from against the cage also) led to overwhelming Gastelum on the mat. Gastelum stayed relaxed and composed and frankly, not enough urgency getting a guy like Weidman from off the top of him on the ground.

I've been hard on the UFC cards as of late (critical AF) but other than the lack of Jiu-Jitsu overall on the card (some great chain wrestling in the Elkins/Bermudez scrap), the main card was full of entertaining fights despite only one stoppage (from Weidman).

Lyman Good came back from suspension to lose a close decision to Dos Santos (who continues to get it done with wins in tough fights, and Darren Elkins stayed busier, more active, and use his clinch/body control to drag Bermudez into round-losing positions on the mat.
I was glad to see Elkins take less damage in this fight and his move to team Alpha Male definitely paid him dividends here in a bout with a tough, dangerous opponent in Bermudez.
On that note, Almeida shored up some of his exposure to punches but the knockdowns let to some lopsided scores (one was 30-26) in what didn't bely the close nature of the fight overall. It was a fun scrap but Almeida needed the occasional shot/takedown attempt to force Rivera to have to change modes rather than just counter punch and threaten the takedown. Almeida's striking is super diverse at times, but overall if that puzzle is solved, he's predictable as he moves up the chain of opposition in the weight class.

Cummins time spent working on his boxing paid big dividends as the head hunting Villante continually missed with his jab and seemed befuddled as to how to put together the combinations in punching to win rounds against Cummins. Cummins as usual scared me with his early cut due to a head clash and then the way he abandoned that low single leg when Villante fresh in the beginning of the fight was hammerfisting him behind the ear. Credit to Dos Santos, Cummins, and Cummins for pulling out wins against very tough opposition. Lyman Good will be back, as the ring rust was a probably the deciding factor. Gastelum looked a bit undersized at 185 but his speed and composure against a former champ like Weidman is a long way from his early UFC fights. I find it tough to believe he'll do well going back down to welterweight given how laughably poor his weight fails were, but who knows, maybe he really has matured in that area of his fight preparation?

The hilarious DC/Jon Jones interview was a great boon to the show overall that ended with Jon Jones abruptly leaving as Brian Stann was closing it out. I'll always tune in to see two guys who are almost polar opposites and honestly do not like one another. It's a solid close to July for the UFC. Fight Week's cards were weak but that was due several fights falling through (though we did get an Interim Middleweight belt out of it), but this card and the one next week will make it one of the more eventful months this year for the UFC. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Odds & Ends: Thoughts as of late regarding grappling and the sport as a whole

Been (re)watching the early Eddie Bravo Invitationals. Interesting how almost none of the matches go to overtime, and by the time we get to EBI 10 or 11, that has considerably changed. The Danaher Death Squad still submits all their bracket patch to the finals, but the submission finish rate in overtime has changed. No real observation other than that.

Roger rematches Buchecha this weekend. Truly a match for the ages. Possibly the greatest legitimate rematch/match to be made at this time. Rodolfo has come close, but no one has really put it to Buchecha at black belt. The few times I can recall him down on points (by a sweep or something) he would come roaring back to life like some Disney villain returned from the dead for one last rage.

Fight 2 Win Pro has two cards left this month. 5 Grappling offered up a premise that had the potential for fireworks as it featured lightweights on down but since I normally bag on the heavier weight classes for being boring AF, I gotta pay the piper on this one. I fell asleep watching it. The competitors past the first round honestly didn't spend much time submission hunting, content to play open guard or propose the appearance of clearing hooks and passing, but it was largely a ho-hum affair with some featured superfights that were forgettable minus Horlando Monteiro's triangle of Shrock, a semi-competitive Keenan/Diniz match-up and an atrocious women's match featured as well.

The Absolut Championship Berkut seems to produce a good amount of submissions and action, but it's also held in a region rumored to have anti-gay pogroms/cleansings with beyond dubious ties to organized crime and B movie style villainous henchmen. The same troublesome human rights abuses and concerns float around Abu Dhabi as well.

Beatriz Mesquita won $10k at the Pro Grappling Championship in an effort to make clear the organization offers equal pay for men and women. I didn't see many if any of the ladies harping on the BJJ-equality tip plugging the event or promoting it on their social media, but will surely sign up and compete for the IBJJF and try to get on the podium. It's hard to take serious your complaints about inequality when you do nothing to help promote organizations actively actually....y'know.....putting their money where their mouth is. If you're only going to complain that the organization for which you choose freely to compete doesn't offer equal pay but ignore an organization that does, then your complaints honestly feel semi-half-hearted at best. Also, frankly, the level of competition is not even remotely comparable. There. I said it. We're all thinking it. It's true. If we could acknowledge that first then continue the discussion, I might be willing to entertain following points, but after sitting through that atrocious nogi women's match on the 5Grappling broadcast, you can't possibly tell me that the level of competition is even within the same galaxy.
EBI is also offering a women's event coming up.....again, the question: how many people will order it as a PPV, and/or what will the viewership be like. on FightPass. There's a thousand fashion/lifestyle/women business owner's that can support women's grappling and athletics the way men have for decades with their own money and attendance. I'm not sure why in grappling we're expected to do it for a sense of political correctness when the NBA for example doesn't force you to watch women play? I don't really care either way, as a viewer/spectator I don't have to pay for or support events which I don't choose to. I have allowed my flograppling account to lapse b/c frankly the website interphase was terrible. I'm considering signing back up to simply support grappling and support the sport as a whole. If I want to show my appreciation for the sport and the dearth of viewing opportunities, I have to support the organizations making that possible.

I say these things not as inflammatory, or clickbait, or out of really anything other than part of the discourse of grappling fans and patrons. We ultimately with our time and energy and money determine the landscape of the sport.

Furthermore, the steroid issue. Are we all just going to pretend it's not going on? Are we going to just remain silent as a mute when guys are caught red-handed? If we remain silent, we're giving our tacit acceptance of it as a reality. It would bother me less if there wasn't this whole mantra of "train super hard and long and be dedicated and it's technique" and blah blah blah...but that's what we spout, then turn around and watch as the purple brown and black belts are roided to the 9's most if not all of the year (black belts may get tested on a set date literally once per year. Watch guys at the Worlds, then look at them a month later competing......see the guys "focusing on the ADCC" and skipping Worlds (the one day per year they might face a steroid test.....it's a farce and a travesty and it's pathetic. I said it. It's the giant looming elephant in our sport. It's why guys came over from Pride to the UFC and looked like shells of themselves. It's part of a trend that will filter down into the lower belts because black belts set the standard.

Jiu-Jitsu in the Olympics and out of competition testing would go a long, long, long way. I was actually previously anti-BJJ in the Olympics, but if it brought additional PED testing, I am 100% for it.

Demian Maia fights at the end of the month, against the Anti-Jiu-Jitsu style: strong punches and wrestling background. It remains to be seen if the short camp and turnaround leaves the nearly 40 yr old fighter capable of beating the Woodley who is willing to fight an atrociously boring fight in order to win. Jacare is back to the drawing board after a loss to Whitaker and a shoulder. Lovato and Rader are working their way up the C and B level shows in MMA. This may well be a golden era in sport grappling with the monthly and weekly (almost) offerings on flograppling and polaris and EBI and other smaller EBI style format invitationals and cards like Sapateiro and Radius and Global Grappling League and Show the Art Finishers.......as it is, I should be less negative and enjoy it as much as I can. That being said, I keep a wary eye on trends that damage the integrity of the sport, especially PEDs. We cannot be a sport that remains quiet nor ignores the blatant and expect to be taken seriously on a broader stage.


ACB -60kg: Laercio Fernandes vs Tomoyuki Hashimoto

ACB -60kg: Milton Bastos vs Isaac Doederlein

Showtime Announces McGregor/Mayweather All Access Broadcast Dates

Get ready for McGregor to truly become a household name. 
Starting July 28th, Friday's at 10pm the Emmy award winning production will follow the fighters in the lead up to the fight for 4 consecutive Friday's. 

If McGregor was a star in his own right before? It will be unimaginable in a couple months time. This is literally the plot of a Rocky movie in a lot of ways. 
Strange and amazing times indeed friends. 


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

UFC on FOX 25: Weidman vs Gastelum - Fireworks on Cable TV Saturday Night!

With the long awaited and previously cancelled DC vs Jon Jones card at the very end of the month, and the Interim Middleweight belt up for grabs between Whitaker vs Romero not long ago, this card kinda snuck up on me frankly. Elsewhere in the combat sports universe 5 years later, Roger Gracie rematches Buchecha. It's rare in any sport two guys so clearly the head and shoulders above the rest best face off at a point where it's still compelling. Roger of the old school vaunted fundamentals and slow paced game and Buchecha of the new super athlete breed of frightening precision, athleticism, and power.

That being said, back to the UFC and this card......this event, man, it's got a great main card. The main event, and the 3 other main card fights all promise fireworks.
I doubt any of these fights will go the distance. I think perhaps Weidman and Gastelum could go the distance but only in the sense that I doubt very seriously the other 3 will and it would be quite a night if the entire main card was a series of stoppages. The UFC's cards of late haven't exactly been stoking my fan flame but this card features just the kind of stylistic match-ups that could put an end to that.

Weidman vs Gastelum - the UFC matchmaking narrative is painfully obvious, Weidman coming off 3 losses (only to top flight competition, and a controversial loss in his last fight due to the beleaguered unified rules regarding a downed opponent and knees), still finds himself where he's at: having lost 3 in a row. Gastelum has reinvented himself at a weight class up after blowing several fights due to coming in laughably overweight, then managed to set himself back again with a marijuana/banned substance test failure. I dunno how much more he could stunt his own career's growth but that being said, the UFC clearly is placing both of them at a crossroads: Weidman to prove he's at least a gatekeeper to divisional elite status or Gastelum is now the guy who beats former champs. Gastelum has shown surprising speed as of late, and he was never the kind of guy I was hyped on at the outset, but his skillset has served him well against I think the benefit of pivotal timing: he beat a non-TRT Belfort, he beat a soon-to-retire-doesn't fight consistently-Tim Kennedy, Johnny Hendricks (less impressive as time goes on), and Neil Magny (certainly a decent name but not a title challenger nor a former champ. Weidman has only lost to Whitaker, Romero, and Gegard Mousasi which deserves an *.
I think Weidman collides with Gastelum due to a rough run but shows he's still more than Gastelum can chew apart. Weidman via 4th round submission.

Bermudez vs Elkins - Bermudez has that potential to finish just about anyone on any given night. His record speaks of this: a loss to Lamas and Jeremy Stephens and Chan Sung Jung (having hurt his opponent just previously) but wins over Rony Jason and Kawajiri and Clay Guida. Elkins claim to fame is a come from behind stoppage win over Mirsad Bektic. Not exactly the stuff legends are made of. Entertaining, yes? World beating, no. I couldn't help but notice his speech in the UFC special and wonder if his nickname "the damage" is already indicative of early onset brain damage. It's a nice hype reel build-up so talk about heart and an iron chin but when your best wins are Hioki and Pepey, I'm not betting any coin on your chances my friend.

Villante vs Cummins - Cummins is a guy I've grown to like. As his style has evolved and his Tom Hardy-esque Charlie Bronson look at current, it's hard not to enjoy his pre-fight build up and his in cage style. The guy comes to finish and works hard to do it every minute of the round. He's the kind of guy who parlayed a total hail mary shot to get in the UFC on a late notice fight and here we are several years later in an opportunity to really move into the slate of guys we care about in his division as the merry go round of Jon Jones, DC, and Gustaffson has frankly grown tiresome to your humble narrator. It's also easy to forget that Cummins has lost by stoppage to most of the marginally good guys he's faced: Lil Nog, Glover Teixeira, and OSP among them. His best win is a majority decision over Blackhowicz. I'll just leave that there. Villante has alternated wins and losses (almost entirely) since coming to the UFC. He's got losses to Shogun, Latifi, and Lawlor but wins over Safarov, Perosh, and Corey Anderson. Cummins resume of losses is mor eimpressive than Villante so I have to give him the nod here but honestly either guy who throw it out the window and not get up.

Almeida vs Rivera - Time was not long ago before a Garbrandt blitzkrieg that Almeida was the second coming of the Chute Boxe style Brazilian hard charging Muay Thai onslaught. Problem was, Almeida would get wobbled even in fights he won. This failed him dearly in a fight that was another HL reel for now champ Garbrandt. He rebounded with a stoppage win over Albert Morales and he will likely continue to do just that until he runs into a guy with enough firepower to pounce when he gets hurt....and Rivera may be that guy. Except he hasn't stopped anyone in a fight since Marcus Brimage over 2 years ago....and all his wins dating back to Bellator/before the UFC and otherwise have been decisions. 3 rounds in a long time to go with Almeida and not get blasted. Garbrandt and one other guy are the only ones to not get stopped by Almeida since he came to the UFC. It's hard not to pick Almeida here by a series of punches, kicks, elbows, and knees.

One of my Jiu-Jitsu coaches, Rafael Natal is on the Prelims, and Alex Oliveira is on there as well. Lyman Good returns from a PED-enforced exile to cap off the solid prelim offering. I'm super excited this card is on FOX, and starts early with a main card kickoff of 8pm. 

Why Claims the Athletic Commission Shouldn't Allow McGregor vs Mayweather Are Bogus

1) absurd mismatches are actually far more par the course in boxing than in MMA. Look at the padded pro records of guys being groomed on boxing where you'll have a prospect with 9 KO's in as many fights taking on some guy who hasn't won a fight in several years and watch the violent head bouncing off the canvas KO that follows. 

2) boxing has a long history of allowing guys with visible signs of pugilistica dementia (cotton mouth, clearly faded reflexes, increasingly erratic out of the ring behavior) continue to fight well past when any casual observer can tell the man has accrued life altering long term damage (watch interview of James Toney's speech patterns or Meldrick Taylor or Mickey Ward, or Arturo Gatti RIP among others). 


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

UFC Road to the Octagon: Weidman vs Gastelum


Rebranded WSOF Brings 2nd PFL Card July 29th

Jake Shields, Yushin Okami, Mike Kyle, and some other recognizable names will fill out a solid Cable TV cars at the rebranded WSOF event at the end of the month. Details and dates for their coming big payout format/League have yet to be solidified, but any competition to the UFC and Bellator is welcome. Competing MMA presentations to more casual viewers I think help promote the sport as a whole and build overall sport awareness. Also, guys making money outside the UFC is a good thing. The UFC finds itself clinging to its assertion that it is the premier organization but if guys are leaving for package deals elsewhere, how long will that ring true with those paying attention to more than Countdown specials and their hyperbolic monologues? 

ACB Berkut -60kg/-65kg Results

Putting Demian Maia in Perspectice: Infographic

Reebok Athlete Pay: By the Numbers

The tiered system is part of it but this past Sunday's Glasgow card was the second lowest event pay out for the Reebok deal: More importantly look at what athletes are making for a CALENDAR YEAR of rocking Reebok uniforms in the undisputed premier MMA organization on earth: 

Ponzinnibio and Gunnar Nelson, one of whom is one of the biggest Euro MMA stars in the UFC made $5,000 for being the Main Event. I don't even need to know what the ratings were to know this is a joke. It's like the person who tips the waiter/waitress the change left on a dollar. Frankly, just don't tip if that's what you're going to do. Just own the fact that you're a &$@? rather than throw some change down. 



Sunday, July 16, 2017

Reminder: Busy July Remaining for the UFC


July already saw a great Gaethje debut, and an Interim Middleweight champion crowned.

But as it is, Gunnar Nelson lost his fight this weekend in Scotland as he works his way up the food chain to what undoubtedly I still think will be a title shot eventually. I don't really know what else for that card mattered in the short term, but some mid level Euro/UK talent got exposed or a notch up if they were facing fellow countrymen. 

July 22nd - Weidman vs Gastelum. Bermudez vs Elkins, Thomas Almeida vs Jimmie Rivera, Oliveira vs LaFlare, Natal vs Chico.

July 29th - the big enchilada.....Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier rematch, Tyron Woodley faces Demian Maia, Cyborg faces Evinger.....3 title fights in one night. Cerrone vs Lawler, Manuwa takes a fight he doesn't need against a guy coming off an impressive UFC debut - Oezdimir, Renan Barao vs Aljamain Sterling, Northcutt vs Makdessi, and Burkman vs Dober.

This card alone is bonkers. Even if 2-3 cards drop off, it'll be better than most of the recent UFC PPV's in memory.


5Grappling Lightweight Invitational: Grippo Wins Submission Lacking Event

Some odds and ends from watching the event...I literally fell asleep before the semis.
I don't think it was just me being a Negative Nancy...at one point the announcer told the crowd to "Maaake some noise".....and literally you could hear crickets.
Not a single person yelled.
Not one.
Several of the competitors in the bracket seemed completely content to play open guard and/or look like they were thinking about passing and that was pretty much it. Jamil looked like he literally could have cared less to have been there despite getting the nod from referees judging matches with virtually none or almost no submission attempts in the 6 min time frame of his two matches en route to the finals. Grippo in his first match fed the lapel from side control and attempted the step over with the leg/lapel-feed choke twice, but rode the clock out for the remainder. Shrock fell into a crafty triangle by Monteiro. The rest of it was pretty ho-hum. I'm beginning to honestly have to admit that Gi events can seriously stop plugging the submission only format and shorter time limits because honestly, the matches lacked the intensity of event a regular IBJJF event. Dunno if guys were tired from American Nationals or what, it simply felt like a lot of faking it or dancing about from a big chunk of the bracket. Keenan got Matheus into some deep trouble with his lapel guard eventually, after Matheus would break grips and back away from the guard almost every 30 seconds, but Keenan in his return to competing you could tell was a bit winded from his layoff due to injury in Japan awhile back.

I saw 2 submissions but frankly, a lot of the matches felt lackadaisical at best and I've seen better work and hustle in videos of Worlds camps and Pan Ams camps that various gyms put up for public viewing.

I wanted to like this event. I was ready to like the event. Was super excited to see a lighter weight class invitational bracket but the guys they had really did not bring and many didn't seem much excited to be there after their entrance and bumping hands.
I just can't bring myself to pretend that I did. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Justin Gaethje & Eddie Alvarez to Coach TUF 26/Women's Flyweight

It's news but I'd be lying if I didn't admit it's not a cast I care to watch a season of fights worth. 

ACB Berkut Announces -60kg/-65kg First Rd Match-Ups

ISAQUE PAIVA (Saikoo) x KIM TERRA (Caio Terra Association)
Barn burner of a match right here! This has all the ingredients to be the most entertaining match of the tournament, with both athletes being fitted with very strong offensive and fluid games. Isaque is coming in after a strong performance at the Sao Paulo BJJ Pro event – which he won, while Terra is well know for being an always game opponent with a competent and versatile game.
LEO VIEIRA (Checkmat) x – GABRIEL MARANGONI (Marangoni JJ/Caio Terra Association)
Unequivocally the biggest moment of the ACBJJ Grand Prix will be when 2x ADCC Champ Leonardo Vieira enters the mat. The 41 year old decided to return to competition this year, making one of the biggest weight cuts of his career since reaching adulthood. An outstanding challenge for the Checkmat team co-founder.
On the other side of the arena will be Gabriel Marangoni, someone who has worked extensively with Vieira, being a former member of Checkmat himself. Gabriel is a cutting edge competitor and will not be an easy prey to the former champion.
AUGUSTO MENDES ‘TANQUINHO’ (Soul Fighters) x RAFAEL MANSUR (Ns Brotherhood)
Another fantastic match-up between a rising star in the featherweight division, and a former world champion – one of the most important competitors in the sport over the past 10 years. Tanquinho’s style is focused on top pressure and an earthquake proof base, making him almost impossible to sweep. On the other side is Mansur, a student of Leandro Lo who brings a modern style of jiu jitsu with aggressive back takes and foot attacks, a very interesting clash between old-school and modern BJJ.
OSVALDO MOIZINHO ‘QUEIXINHO’ (Ares BJJA) x PAULO MIYAO (Unity/PSLPB)

2 Reasons to Watch Bellator Tomorrow

Rafael Lovato continues his MMA ascent and another NCAA division standout wrestler is featured as well. Let's hope he does better than Aaron Pico.

This Sunday's Fight Night Glasgow Breakdown: Gunnar Nelson vs Pinzinibbio

I've been a fan of Gunnar's karate stand-up and submission heavy grappling style.
Ponzinibbio's aggression vs Gunnar's precision in the striking category. I like seeing stuff other than sloppy kickboxing, or standard Muay Thai stance stalking forward, so bring on the karate guys and guys with other backgrounds.

Ponzinnibio it's a guy who I've seen sporadically on undercards et cetera, but somehow had largely forgotten about. He definitely brings the heat with his hands and really commits to his strikes.
I'm excited for this bout for good reason.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

BJJ Scout Breaks Down Woodley vs Maia

I think the timing Woodley demanded for this fight says a lot about his fear/respect for Maia's skillset. He knows that he's facing a guy with the grappling chops to put him where he for the most part has not been in his MMA career. On his back on the ground with Maia in his guard looking to pass and/or with a dominating finisher on his back with hooks firmly set.
If Woodley is going to fight Maia, he wants Maia to have to enter camp soon after a tough weight cut and have less time to game plan. Hey, battles are won before the day on the battlefield, right?

I fear this fight for Maia for the same reasons a lot of people do. Woodley will fight an atrociously boring fight (then later say people don't like him because they're racist or the UFC doesn't push him). Woodley backs up against anyone with reason to threaten him (cue the Thompson fight for roughly 8 1/2 rounds out of 10), and Maia's pressuring forward to chain takedowns leaves him visibly gassed as the fight wears on.

I think the Masvidal fight however was great prep for Maia for the type of fight he can expect: a fighter looking to pot shot him from the outside and avoid any real meaningful clinching....but can Woodley avoid backing into the cage for 5 rounds? Is he willing to put his back against the cage having seen how many guys from there had there back taken by Maia? Having followed Maia since he came to the UFC, I sincerely hope he can pull it off......it's going to be tough.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

UFC 214: Cormier vs Jones 2 - Extended Preview


Videodrome Tuesday: Official Mayweather vs Mcgregor Trailer/Promo


Videodrome Tuesday - Justin Gaethje: UFC Origins/Road to the Octagon

Superstar brewing.....add one part great origin story sprinkled with words like "work ethic" "willpower" "knock out or get knocked out" "coal miner father".....add several parts highlight reel finishes, add one part stand n' bang UFC debut over solid ranked opponent....add one part Americana folk background...I liken it to the meteoric rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin in  pro wrestling....it's all the pieces necessary to become a true "needle mover" as the UFC brass is like to say since Conor McGregor showed the kind of money there is to be made.

America loves the rags to riches, pull yourself up by your bootstraps narrative. We worship it. If you don't live in LA, NYC, or Miami, you can easily forget what rural America looks like an in fact represents the vast majority of our landmass.
If the UFC can't turn this guy into a household name in MMA it's simply due to a lack of effort. I find it impossible to believe the guy won't find traction unless it's due to a lack of effort.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Gray Maynard Lays on Ishihara for 3 rounds for the Win, Calls out Artem Lobov, Disses Ryan Hall

Gray Maynard is still bitter about the Ryan Hall fight. (That being Gray Maynard's second such fight as he was a part of the worst fight of all time with Clay Guida). For a guy who abjectly refused to go to the ground with Ryan Hall every time Hall flopped down after a kick or a punch, Maynard happily laid on his most recent opponent for 3 rounds.

Afterward, he called out Artem Lobov who I guess has name recognition b/c of the McGregor association but is coming off a loss. 

Gegard Mousasi Throws up the Deuces to UFC: Heads to Bellator

This Weekend: Bellator Friday, UFC Sunday

I've been singing this tune for awhile, but as of late, for several reasons I find myself plodding thru UFC events and really enjoying Bellator events. This past weeks TUF and 213 were similar.

The TUF Finale ( which lost Dillashaw vs Garbrandt due to injury would have been quite the addition to the card) really only picked up with Taylor vs Lima and Gaethje Vs Johnson. 

UFC 213 had some good scraps with Font, Oleinik, and a thrilling main event, that was fine on its own after Nunes got sick or wussed out depending on who you ask. 

That being said I feel like this weekend's UFC offering other than the Gunnar Nelson bout and Felder vs Stevie Ray. I don't even know the rest of the names on the card. It's a card over in Europe and I guess it's building the brand there, but with two bouts and I guess the ranks of fading stars and names used on that insanely anemic Brazil card that had Holm Vs Correia headlining, it's a lackadaisical effort no matter how you slice it. 

Bellator is giving me Campos, Joe Warren and Kendall Grove and it's on Cable TV. Overall, FightPass is a legitimate bargain for the sheer dearth of combat sports and grappling events on it. I'm curious to see how the UFC and a FOX talk brass tacks when their broadcast deal expires. Does the ownership of the new congomerate make them seem a viable continued commodity? Does Fox continue with the UFC simply so that another network doesn't buy that hunk of sports programming? Bellator is in the rear view mirror with a new deal and backers, and an interesting combo of legit fights, freak show bouts, faded UFC talent, able to put on faded legends.....I'm curious what the next year or two holds for the sport professionally and commercially. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

5Grappling Lightweight Tournament - San Diego, July 15th



5 Grappling Lightweight Card - with some bio's provided HERE. 

The same day as an IBJJF event, and 2 weeks after the American Nationals, The 5 Grappling folks are bringing us a very cool Lightweight pool of competitors along with 3 superfights.

Saggioro is coming off a Worlds appearance in the finals which is by far his biggest profile performance today. His division was full of monsters and threats and the fact he made it to the finals is no small testament to his emergence on the big field in his weight class. He literally lost by the smallest margin possible in professional Gi Jiu-Jitsu....1 single advantage to Cobrinha, the only man on par with Rafa in this division for going on 10 years. It was a true breakout performance for Saggioro and now all eyes are watching him.

Braga is quietly reappearing on the mats to compete, the disputed originator of the Berimbolo is of the old guard but he will have his hands full facing the likes of this squadron of younger competitors.

I saw some clips of Lucas Pinheiro's slickness at the American Nationals on Instagram earlier today. He will be undersized for this bracket but I think he'll win a match or two depending on the draw. Pinheiro made it to the 3rd place round along with Hashimoto while Caio Terra and Bruno Malfacine battled it out yet again. Being 3rd to those guys is quite the accomplishment after nearing a decade of those two resting atop the roosterweight pyramid unequaled by any close or even distant 3rd place figure.

Jamil Hill trains on the team whose name I still refuse to speak (we all gonna just pretend that whole incident didn't take place? or that it led to the discovery of the earlier college incident of a equally barbaric nature?)

Moving on, Gianni Grippo, the hope for American Jiu-Jitsu among others to get a black belt World title continues to have on days and off days whilst competing, most recently taking 3rd at the Worlds in a ridiculously stacked featherweight division.

Sinistro has been winning matches in tough divisions against tough guys for awhile. Never one to be counted out, I always get the feeling it could be his day when he competes. I've seen him win and lose to guys depending on how sharp he is that day but I expect him to get out of the first round depending on the draw. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

July 16th - Gunnar Nelson Returns to Action

Videodrome Thursday: Flograppling Presents Bernardo Faria Unstoppable

Most of the deep half-guard that I used to do, I got from Bernardo Faria footage. The guy's insistence on a single position (it's more complicated and developed than that, I know) and its nuances and development and entries always made sense to me coming from Judo where they have a name for it, "tokui waza" meaning pet technique, or the thing for which you are always looking to improve and build the core of your game around. At any rate, enjoy:

UFC 213: Inside the Octagon Breakdown Nunes vs Shevchenko & Romero vs Whitaker


AND

Monday, July 3, 2017

TuF 25 Finale Picks and Season Summary

This is the first Ultimate Fighter season of which I've watched more than a couple episodes since Dominic Cruz was a coach to give you any idea of my recent faith/investment in the show. Not sure why but I've had a resurgence in my time allotted to watching Bellator/UFC/WSOF as of late and this is part of it.

On to the season: either Cody Garbrandt is just coming across different than he tries to say he is (bringing out the guy with a disability to parade in the cage when he won his belt - talk about virtue signalling) or  Dillashaw is just amazing at seeming like a nice guy, but all the claims about TJ just fall on deaf ears when I'm watching the show.

I just don't get how it was ever supposed to work out? Faber was still fighting.....Garbrandt was coming up....Dillashaw was moving up....all in the same weight class. As with everything there's two sides to every story....but how was that ever going to end well? I see the same scenario is Manuwa and Gustaffson had a third LHW in their gym who was moving into title contention...anyway, if Dillashaw is the snake they say he is, he does a great job of sitting back and letting Bucholz and Garbrandt look terrible and douchey.

Before his upset of barao I thought Dillashaw was a poor man's Dominic Cruz and truthfully, I still largely stand by my review of him, but he's a solid addition to the weight class, he has truly become well rounded since his early TUF/UFC days and the narrative of beef between him in the 3 ring circus of Dominic cruZ team alpha Faber/Garbrandt and Dillashaw gives the division some narrative instead of how bland it might be otherwise....think of how bland flyweight is or was until this rift between Mighty Mouse Demetrious Johnson and the UFC/Dana White?

That being said the season at this point wih its redemption narrative was mildly entertaining in a where are they now kinda way of seeing guys post-UFC run struggling with the cliched fighter pro narratives of baby momma drama, child custody, listlessness after getting their UFC pink slip, and uncertainty of place in the world etc. it's like seeing a guy who fizzles out of the NBA go play ball in Europe but he's got no insurance, the pay is poor and the brain damage is always accruing. At any rate, I'll prob watch about half the episodes of whatever next season they put together depending on the coaches and what the gimmick is because mid-week there's no UFC on and I don't really watch any other shows weekly. 

On To The Finale: 
Michael Johnson welcomes a very tough Justin Gaethje to the UFC who is no maiden with downcast eyes. The guy is tough and has heat in his strikes. Johnson to his credit has fought quite a few legit guys on his division. Gaethje's last WSOF bout was very telling in that I think Firminho is more on par with the level of opposition Gaethje can expect in the UFC if not considerably more and.......

Gathje I think got very lucky in his last WSOF bout with the Doctor stoppage win as I think Firminho was gonna pull out the W in a very close fight. Gaethje has never lost and is coming in with 4 stoppage wins on his last 5 wins, but as we saw with David Branch and Marlin Moraes as they debuted (well, Branch re-debuted) having a belt and stopping guys in the WSOF isn't the opposition.same as fighting in the UFC as evidenced by Moraes losing to Assuncao, and Branch winning a clinch-heavy closely contested split decision. 

Johnson's lost to Khabib by kimura (I mean, that's not a knock on Johnson), stopped Dustin Poirier in one round, lost a decision 2-1 rounds to Nate Diaz, and beat Edson Barbosa. He's also got wins over Danny Castillo, Gleason Tibau and Joe Lauzon. 

Johnson has stoppages on his resumes (the first guy to put away Gleison Tibau) and Poirier but also frustratingly has gassed mid fight in some of his losses that frankly to me looks more like overtraining or weight cut rather than he didn't do his best to prepare. Debuts are always tough to call
But I have to give the nod by split decision to Johnson based on the strength of his resume at the big show level. 

Diego Lima will be facing TBA, but hopefully no one from Garbrandt's team as they literally had no one advance in the shows fights/brackets. 

The explosive Diakese brings his British cliched striking heavy skillet to face Drakkar Klose who's got two Unan Dec. Wins on the UFC thus far - matchmaker's goal here is to put a stoppage win for the audience on the main card. Diakese should get a nice HL reel stoppage here by the 2nd round. 

Brad Tavares is still plugging away following his TUF stint and at times has shown real flashes of dominance in his fights. He's alternated wins and losses going back his previous 6 scraps. Elias Theodoru has been slightly more consistent but has a semi solid resume at  5-1 on his past 6 fights. He was most recently seen winning a decision over Cesar Mutante Ferreira and a Unan. decision over Sam Alvey prior to that. 
I'm gonna go with Theodoru in this one by decision as I don't see him getting finished but Theodoru seems fresher and has less mileage on him in UFC years in a good way.

Bosse is coming off an entertaining stand and bang fest with Sean O'Connell and a quick KO of James Te Huna. He's 2-1 in the UFC this far but at 35 has to make moves quickly before his ship sails. 
Cannonier is coming off a Unan. decision loss to perennial 2nd or third best LHW Glover Teixeira and 2 stoppage wins prior to that. One man is going to sleep in this bout based on their styles and their resumes.  I'm gonna say Bosse pulls off a KO here in a nicely entertaining scrap with minimal clinching. 

Buried on the prelims is the death rattle of Ed Herman also a TUF alumni vs CB Dolloway. Dolloway had himself a nice little streak at one point but primarily seems to win 1-2 fights then lose 2-3 in convicting stoppage fashion. This is probably a fighting for their UFC job style fight as despite that their names were Machida, Bisping, and Marquardt, Dolloway has lost 3 in a row, and Herman has only underwhelmed in his past 5 fights. Dolloway has shown submission holes previously but I just can't get on Herman any more. Dolloway by TKO in the 3rd round. 

Angela Hill returns to action after a tough loss to Andrade who simply pressed forward longer and harder than bill could dance and avoid and pick her off. She took a lot of punishment in that fight as it wore on and it will be interesting to see if it made her round the curve, or if it took some of the wind out of her sails long term. Angela Hill gets  Win here over unknown opposition. 

Believe it or not, Gray Maynard is still fighting. He's racked up 1-2 record since his 3 fight skid of stoppage losses to Ross Pearson Nate Diaz and TJ grant. He's also the alumni of two of the most frustrating fights in UFC history against Clay Guida and Ryan hall. Since 2013 heal only won a unanimous decision against Fernando Bruno and lost 5 fights. He's getting softball here in the form of Ishihara who has gone 2-2 in the UFC with wins over no one whose name you'd recognize. 




Sunday, July 2, 2017

UFC 213 Nunes vs Schevchenko & Romero vs Whitaker - Picks & Predictions

So, the Countdown show mentions that this card follows UFC Fight Week and that previously it has been a slot for monumental cards. Then mentions Anthony Pettis, and tells us we're seeing a rematch as a fight for a belt and an Interim belt being handed out because Bisping was healthy enough to fight GSP but not anyone else. Curious.

At any rate, despite my Negative Nancy monologue going into this card, the UFC hype train almost has me interested in this card if nothing else in that by crowning an Interim champ Bisping will, possibly, have to fight Romero, a guy he has straight ducked for a minute now. I don't really care because Romero for all his God this and God that soft spoken talk somehow in the cage finds every opportunity to bend or break the rules with everything from feigning eye gouges or groin shots to fence grabbing to staying late on his stool between rounds. He also has curiously been injured for periods and his gas tank has noticeably decreased since USADA took effect. His last few fights have looked like a guy who knows he can only throw perhaps 5 punches and kicks for the first 2 rounds, and defend perhaps two takedowns, and save something for a 3rd round.

Well, despite my mountain of misgivings....here....we....are.

I think Nunes looks best if she can hurt and intimidate her opponent early. I think the 3rd round scare however and the southpaw stance and legitimate all around skills of Schevchenko have her on the backfoot psychologically in this bout. I think Schevchenko coming back from being convincingly down 2 rounds showed Nunes something about Schevchenko that a front runner like Nunes doesn't have. I think Schevchenko pulls out a Unan. Dec. over a closely contested 5 rounds but that Schevchenko's gas tank prevails.

I think Whitaker beats a Romero who is doing almost nothing by rounds 4 and 5. The fight between Blaydes and Omielanczuk I can't pick b/c I honestly don't recall any previous bouts on these guys and nor do they ring a bell. Overeem vs Werdum.....man. I also don't like a long-time cheater like Overeem, but he is crafty.....hmmm. I'm gonna go with Werdum for this one.
Miller was stopped by Chiesa in a strange fight but was basically picked apart and eventually battered by the much longer, rangier Chiesa. That is not Pettis's skillset as he likes to fight off the backfoot and fend off takedowns. I have to think that Pettis turns the corner here and gets a win over the even more mileage packing Miller.
Travis Browne is and should be fighting for his UFC job at this point. Especially after losing a fight he was winning against Derrick Browne. I think Browne pulls it off against third tier and mid level guys unless he's just completely lost his edge.

The rest of the card....as I mentioned is the leftover pieces of other PPV's or Fight Night event prelims....and I can't pretend I'll be going out anywhere to watch these fights. I wouldn't even order this on PPV with a bunch of guys I train with to watch this card. This is a straight up lay in your bed, eat ice cream, relax in comfort and watch it PPV because I don't watch other professional sports. So this is my Saturday NFL or Nascar or NBA regular season game day that I watch because I'm simply a fan of mixed martial arts. That being said, I don't know if it's programming saturation/audience fatigue, or simply the plain hard cold fact that a lot of events are simply mediocre to mid-level at best. I dunno, I just have a hard time telling myself a lot of emphasis went into this card.

Also, waiting til midnight to see these co-main events.....I can't make any promises. By the time the prelims pass, and the undercard goes through, being awake at midnight to see 2 potentially 5 round fights? Yeesh. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

So I watched the PFL ( Professional Fight League) Daytona Event: (WSOF)

1) the broadcast ran early for some reason so I tuned in to have missed 3 of the 4 fights, saw what was essentially the last fight (Zeferino's fight), then they broadcast the event from the beginning

2) NBCSN puts it on at 1030pm normally, a sure sign that not only is it not a priority in programming they just bury it with a brutally awkward time slot

3) Bas Rutten in your ear distracting one of your coaches for a MID-FIGHT INTERVIEW in a fight that will be decided by the 3rd round is a terrible idea

4) awkward commentary trio of randy couture, Kayla Harrison and some guy saying things like "the Daytona Plunge!" when one fighter jumps up to try and land a punch on a downed opponent

5) humidity and rain made the mat incredibly slippery in the fights which was obviously giving the fighters problems other than just fighting another professional in a cage

6) Kayla Harrison giving technical insight on the striking portion of the fights felt forced at best. Randy Couture does an effective job exchanging grappling to a audience/fanbase which may have little or no grappling experience

7) One of the judges scored the Zeferino fight 30-27 against Zeferino which made NO sense whatsoever.

8) the event with only 4 fights delivered several competitive/close fights, several of which were decided by the 3rd round, with grappling and striking in most of the bouts which was a welcome change from some of the kickboxing-centric affairs I've seen as of late on UFC and Bellator cards

9) Jon Fitch got a win by finish. Go figure.

VERDICT: I'll be tuning again when it's not stacked up against a Bellator or UFC card, but the organization will have to do something to be worth tuning into without the spate of post-UFC resumes or freakshow fights that Bellator will throw out there or the legends retirement tour they've offered up intermittently over the past year or so. The problem is, as I see it, that as Bellator found out the tournament format has some issues as guys get injured in fights, and the general public if asked will tell you a tournament format makes sense, but my suspicion is that fading UFC names and freakshow fights did more for Bellator's visibility than their tournament format, as evidenced by the fact that they abandoned it. I liked WSOF, I liked a number of guys on its roster, and as a guy who has fought before, I'm always pro-fighter in the sense that the more organizations are out there, the better it is for fighters in terms of options and life as opposed to the UFC monopoly. That being said, I just don't see what PFL now offers as a I don't want to say gimmick or novelty, but simply something that will be unique to its product. I'm all for having another avenue to watch professional MMA on non-PPV, but their guys simply lack the visibility to compete with Bellator and the UFC as distinct brands within a sport that some people still call "UFC" as opposed to knowing mixed martial arts is the actual title of the sport itself.


Travis Stevens - Taping Fingers/Hands/et cetera


Create Your Own Jon Fitch Meme

Ouch. What a caption.