Sunday, December 30, 2018

Grappling Industries Philly 03/12 - Craig Jones vs Tim Spriggs’s no time limit sub only. Get ready for an hour plus match. Spriggs will bring a DJ Jackson conservative guard pass style to avoid the leg locks. It’ll be a longer version of his ADCC matches. I’m glad they’re putting on Superfights to hype the events...but this pairing is gonna be tedious.

Friday, December 28, 2018

UAE King of the Mats Brackets Released 

Group A is super hard to pick, man...Arges, Mathiessen, Burns...I’ll how ith either Arges or Mathiesen, with Mathiesen winnings the pool because submission wins are worth more than points wins.

Pool B, DJ Jackson or Satoshi, but the ironically named "Action" Jackson rarely wins by submission preferring a takedown and possible guard pass if anything and other guys in the Pool I could see winning for the same reason I chose Mathiesen. 

Mathiesen is my pick for the whole thing. 

UAE King of the Mats Returns Jan. 12th - Middleweight Grand Prix 

Big names coming Jan. 12th 

Quintet Announces first Team for 2nd Fight Night Event: Feb 3rd

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Biggest Grappling Moments of 2018

This is not a comprehensive list. This isn't your list. This isn't the aggregate list of grappling both Gi and NoGi and across rule sets. This is just my personal list back through 2018 as a stroll down memory lane in semi chronological order. Enjoy. If you disagree, roast me on Instagram @zegrapplez

ACB 10 - features the following list of competitors: Quixinho, Musumeci, Hinger, Cavaca, Mafra, Rocha, Caporal, Simoes, Barral, Gaudio, Calasans, Wardzinski, Andre, Lerpi, Santos, Buchecha, both Miyaos, Augusto Mendes, and Panza. This amazing start to the year for ACB would prove ironic as the title matches in particular and even some of the undercard matches were guys riding out the 1 min penalized guard pull duration then sweep battles from 50/50.

Jon Calestine wins EBI and puts a new name in the mix for best -135/145 submission grapplers alongside Eddie Cummings & Geo Martinez, the only men to win at either 145 or 135 since EBI began.

Quintet 3 happened and despite the lack of heel hooks, this king of the mat/team challenge played out in about as entertaining a fashion as was humanly possible.
"Team Polaris X Team 10th Planet
Match 1 – Vitor Shaolin lost to PJ Barch by rolling armbar
Match 2 – Gregor Gracie defeated PJ Barch by kneebar
Match 3 – Gregor Gracie defeated Amir Allam by kimura
Match 4 – Gregor Gracie lost to Geo Martinez by kimura
Match 5 – Marcin Held defeated Geo Martinez by kneebar
Match 6 – Marcin Held lost to Richie Martinez by shoulder lock
Match 7 – Craig Jones defeated Richie Martinez by Caio Terra footlock
Match 8 – Craig Jones defeated Adam Sachnoff by RNC"
Gi Worlds 2018:
Malfacine became 10 time world champ, submitted all of his opponents
Musumeci became 2 time black belt gi world champion, back to back - first American to do so.
Lepri continued his legacy as greatest Lightweight competitor of all time.

ACB Basically Stops doing Pro Events because Gi competitors were boring. Promises to return with a different format. 

Gordon Ryan basically carries Team Alpha Male to victory at Quintet.

EBI Combat JiuJitsu Produces 2 10th Planet winners (Ben Eddy & Jon Blank) so EBI officially makes men's EBI all combat JiuJitsu (shocker)

ADCC Trials - Great event, was there in person, lost first round like a clown. Got to see a ton of exciting brackets play out and some very tense, close matches. Loved it. Some familiar faces punched tickets as Ethan Crelinsten makes his 2nd ADCC trip. Mansher Khera is headed back. Jon Satava is headed back.

Gordon wins double gold Pan/Worlds NoGi - silences a lot of his critics and cements victory of Yuri Simoes and Cyborg. Mahamed Aly pulls out to avoid getting crushed and so does Tim Spriggs.

EBI Combat JiuJitsu Produces two 10th Planet winners (Ben Eddy & Jon Blank) so EBI officially makes men's EBI all combat JiuJitsu (shocker)

EBI 18: Female Strawweights crowns the 3rd women's EBI Champ:  Mayssa Bastos joins Erin Blanchfield & Bia Mesquita as the triumvirate of women's Sub Only grappling inner circle.

Honorable Mentions:
Garry Tonon made his debut and fought 3x total in 2018, winning all three fights.

Finishers Sub Only & Onnit Invitational putting on professional level events to fill the void left by the changing format and focus of EBI. Finishers Sub Only recently announced they're expanding to the Midwest.

Black Belt CBD pumped a ton of money into the sport with its inaugural event (as always, we'll have to wait and see if it was a one off).

Fight2Win continues to put on shows across the country.

Grappling Industries continues expanding globally, and with its round robin format and laxity with leg reaping even in the Gi and the added submission legality, it will be interesting to see how the submission level changes in the coming years at lower belt levels and if this lures guys away from the stale IBJJF format.

FILA continues its quiet move into supporting JiuJitsu and submission grappling at a world level & Fuji also is semi quietly putting on events in what I suspect is a push by both organizations to position themselves to helm the sport into the Olympics. Fuji has the backing with its Judo development and FILA with wrestling. What makes it obvious is how lowkey both organizations are about doing events. They clearly have the funding to support the sport and make a big push, but I suspect they are corralling support at the grass roots level for down the road when the real fight for who will get that IOC support and funding when JiuJitsu joins the Olympics.

Dillon Danis actually finally made his Pro Debut.

2018 - The Year of Not so Super Superfights in Submission Grappling

Well, the results are in...and we've got some repeat offenders. Don't even get me started on some of those ACB matches in the Gi, or some Worlds matches. If you disagree, come hit me up over on my Instagram @zegrapplez

Frank Mir vs Satoshi Ishii  - Ishii unable to pass despite having the physicality to outclass Frank Mir. Would rather pour bleach in my eyes than watch again.

Frank Mir vs Forrest Griffin - Griffin was visibly frustrated as Frank Mir made it a non-match. Frank Mir showing up to collect a paycheck.

Craig Jones vs Palhares - Rolles was even pissed as I was at the event and saw him speaking to Palhares moments after. Palhares literally refused to engage in any capacity...and the dude is supposed to be one of the most fearsome leg lockers out there.

Cyborg vs Ryan* Not a superfight but had to make it on the list
- a terrible look for the decade plus black belt who initially said he exaggerated collar ties, then backtracked and said Ryan deserved it et cetera

Satoshi Ishii vs Dan Strauss (Strauss is a previous offender for that match with Jake Shields)
For being much bigger, coming from a more competitive background, Ishii basically can't pass guard. See also the match with Frank Mir.

Canuto vs Eddie Cummings - Canuto burns nearly 9 minutes off the clock with only 2 actual extended periods of touching Eddie in the first 10 minutes total. Loses on a penalty or because they awarded Eddie for actually attempting a submission whilst they were touching. I can't exactly recall.

Vagner vs Akbari - literally the last minute Vagner pulls a technical sit but otherwise I think Vagner shoots once in 9 minutes, but Akbari for his part also barely shoots for almost 9 minutes.

Vagner vs Lutes - circle, aggressive collar tie, circle, post on the head, shove the chest. Repeat.

Vagner vs Canuto - minutes and minutes of Vagner borderline fouling and Canuto circling and breakdancing and hip faking. Both guys will say things like "make my opponent uncomfortable" and "bring the pressure" and "come forward always" in the lead up to the match. I guess, bro.

Werdum vs Barbosa - let's stand up and collar tie and pretend to handfight for 10 minutes. This match was pretty obviously a work.

Honorable Mention *
Diniz vs Strauss but Diniz at least got to the back
Mansher Khera vs Lachlan Giles 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

EBI 19 Bantamweights: Combat JiuJitsu 

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest #101 - Merry Christmas, Ben Askren, Danis, et al

RVCA Grappler Shorts - NoGi Gear Review 

Click HERE, I ordered mine from RVCA because their customer service is probably the best I've experienced ordering grappling gear other than MUAE. The guys at MUAE shipped me Gi from South Korea and it got here in like one week.
Land *&^%ing speed record.

These are my favorite NoGi shorts to train in. Bar none. I've had my first pair for about 6 months, and liked the fit, weight, feel, and durability so at that point so I ordered a second pair. Shorter length NoGi Shorts can flare out leading to training partners or competitors getting their toes caught in them, I haven't had that problem with these, and given the usage of X-Guard and Reverse X-Guard at the gym(s) where I train, I'd say the cut of the shorts is spot on.
I'm not a die hard RVCA fan. Their overall aesthetic is cool and tugs at my SoCal growing up days, but these are simply a great pair of shorts for training.
They're all black so I can wear them to compete IBJJF. They fit great. That being said, if you feel awkward in shorter shorts for training/like the long AF board short look, these aren’t for you. 

Scramble NoGi Toshi Review 

Was gifted this matching set about a year ago from a good buddy of mine/training partner - @Tazagarami. I like gear that's sturdy enough to avoid feeling like a soggy wet t-shirt and hanging too loosely, and also get through repeated use week after week in my rotation of training gear. I like the Scramble gear as it's held up, as well as the velcro in the shorts/crotch & waist band.
I've had a number of brands/gear where this is the first thing to give out over the course of 6 months -1 year, but at over a year since I got a hold of this gear, the shorts are still doing fine and the stitching in the Rashguard as well has held up remarkably well. I haven't noticed any discernible fading or holes as of yet, and like I said, that's at a little over a year or being worn at least a couple times a week in my training gear rotation.
You can scoop up the matching set for $130 ($20 cheaper than the Shoyoroll matching NoGi set I just acquired. 

Kasai Super Series Dallas Super Fight(s) - Feb. 2nd 

Ryan VS Rocha - hard to imagine Rocha will do better than the guys at NoGi Worlds, esp. if you add in heel hooks.
Vagner va Lutes for the aggressive collar tie championship of the world
Canuto VS Andre if you like watching Canuto dance and cartwheel and run time off the clock for minutes on end
DeBlass vs Bastos in what will be 5+ minutes of half-guard
Johnson vs Abreu - maybe Abreu gives up an easy ankle lock or kneebar like most of the guys who inexplicably don’t defend basic leg lock attacks in matches with Johnson (if you think I’m exaggerating watch his match with Sousa at NoGi Pans or that no name guy at the trials who grabbed Tex’s foot then got counter leg locked 30 seconds later.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Shoyoroll NoGi Gear Review 

Got ahold of the a NoGi Matching set from the latest Shoyoroll drop.

Shoyoroll fits snug, so I'd suggest ordering on the next size up if you're torn between sizes. That being said, it feels great, I definitely felt a bit cooler than normal training in the gear. It doesn't hang loose, no tangled toes or fingers in excess fabric after about 1 1/2 weeks of wearing it.
I've worn/tried out/borrowed/and bought used Shoyoroll Gis and liked them, but wasn't interested in paying full price. That being said, after a midday training session when it's hot AF in the blue basement at Renzo's, I'll say that will indeed plan on buying their NoGi gear again, despite the price being about 1/3 higher than what I would pay for other brands.
The space under the armpit has vents/whatever that does legitimately make it cooler to train in, and avoids that plastic bag constrictor feeling you get in other long sleeved rashguards. I train in long sleeved rashguards in an effort to minimize skin exposure as we have a ton of visitors at Renzo's and people coming from the airport, the subway, whatever, may not have washed their hands et cetera.
All in all, it was $20 more than my Scramble matching set I bought a year ago. The stitching and construction seems sturdy, so we'll see how it holds up.
10/10 will buy again.

UFC Countdown 232 - Jones vs Gustaffson 2, Nunes vs Cyborg

Well, they're moving the event so that it can continue. I guess it's the era of Pride when USADA or doing the due diligence to prevent questionable substances is just a comical elephant in the room. Uh, the show must go on?

Also, can Cyborg and Nunes drop the "I don't want to fight another Brazilian" line. Brazilian dudes have been giving each other grievous bodily injury and brain damage in Vale Tudo and MMA for decades. Welcome to the big show. Get over it.

Inside the Octagon Breaks Down UFC Musical Chairs 232 (Jones got a weird Drug Test! Oops?!)

Man. Something about this...just kinda confirms what Mark Hunt said. USADA is just there to pop guys who don't generate money. Jones has an atypical finding, so we'll just move the UFC to a different state.

Ugh. It just feels....scummy, I guess, for lack of a better word.

Chiesa Being Lame in Pursuit of $$ from Post Bus Melee

I get it. Sue the guy. This, somehow, seems lame. 

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Berimbolos Don't Work! - Keenan Cornelius Elaborates

I like that he counters an early and easily predictable counter to the crab ride/body lock argument by clarifying that crab ride is not the same as berimbolo but a possible end result of a completed berimbolo, and this sort of cognizance on his part is the sort of thing I look for in competitors and instructors when listening to their mindset behind statements of belief regarding how or why they have a preference or belief on a particular technique or subset of techniques

Friday, December 21, 2018

FloGrappling Snubs Gordon Ryan for Black Belt of the Year 

Beat a number of world champions and ADCC champions, won double gold at Pans & Worlds NoGi. 

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Ralph Gracie Fight Video, Ryan Hall, & Gordon Ryan Q&A

Note that the IBJJF says as per its own policies any penalties and final decisions need not be announced publicly.
Hard to argue that you're the premier organization unless they handle the incident accordingly....interested to see how this plays out.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Gordon Ryan Day - Ultra Heavy & Open Class Finish This Afternoon: IBJJF NoGi Worlds 2018

@ Ultra Heavy: 

2:06PM EST - Gordon faces Yuri (who he’s beaten). Assuming he wins he faces the winner of Cyborg (who he’s beaten) vs Max Dos Santos Gimenis (who he’s beaten) which goes on at 2:18PM EST.

The final for Ultra Heavy is at 5:06PM EST 

Absolute: Gordon faces Yuri @ the end of the day. 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Combat Sports Wrap-Up: 2 Bellator's & a UFC (and Gordon Ryan Pillaging the NoGi Worlds)

We got the long awaited Brent Primus vs Chandler rematch and Chandler did his best Chandler which was wade through dangerous strikes to outwrestle and ground and pound forehead on chest old school Mark Kerr/Coleman style Primus in a lopsipded decision.
AJ McKee picked up a quick submission win. Robson Gracie picked up a win in his first fight. Robson I see at Renzo's on the regular, he's always been cool to me, glad to see him fighting and picking up a win.

I was headed home at 1030pm after finishing the UFC on Fox final card/main card. What a gift. Normally, we're one fight into a main card at that time. I headed home just in time to see Neiman in a tough fight with a ton of skills on display take out a very dangerous opponent in Ed Ruth. I see Neiman at Renzo's in passing, and it was a pleasure to see his attacking style of Jiu-Jitsu off his back using a variety of things in the fight. Williams guard/clamp- trapping, leg attack entanglements, armbar reversal to a backtake, Ruth with some phantom tapping, and eventually old school get to mount, force your opponent to turtle, and the RNC. Can't wait to see him face the winner of Rory vs Jon Fitch. Machida picked up a narrow win over Carvalho and looks to challenge for a belt sooner rather than later.

Over in the UFC, Hooker faced the brutal stand-up onslaught of Barboza in a fight that should've been stopped a solid 2 minutes before it was and the man simply slumped down onto both knees in the middle of the cage after repeated heel/spinning back heel hicks to the mid section and torrid punches and punishment. His corner also could've taken a cue from what was happening and seen that no further punishment was necessary and saved him face and further unnecessary abuse.

Iaquinta and Lee put on a real scrap with Lee taking the back twice but not finishing and Iaquinta decisively winning the other 2 rounds and a very close first round between the two of them. The backpedaling of Lee throughout the stand-up portion of the fight likely cost him the nod from the judges in that crucial first round as the 2-5 rounds were decidedly for either guy at 2 and 2.

Rob Font showed that Pettis is in fact NOT a bantamweight with a clear cut unanimous decision with takedowns, ground and pound, a kimura reversal/escape from bottom and about 200 jabs landed. Oliveria used a body lock mat return style takedown to put Miller in trouble early and sink in a RNC putting an emphatic win to his resume over Miller who was the first man to beat him professionally 8 years ago. Wild. 8 years ago, man.

I was getting my haircut by my barber and missed the rest of the prelims and I'll have to go back over them tomorrow at some point after NoGi Worlds wraps late tomorrow evening.

Gordon Ryan savaged a number of opponents (not sure but that 40 something to 0 score prior to armbar finish may be a black belt record) and Team Lloyd Irvin which is always spouting the "no bitchassness" mantra did 2 high profile no shows (Aly and Spriggs). Hmmm. I guess the street only goes one way for them. If Gordon had pulled out "due to injury" last minute and avoided Aly they would have milked it for all it's worth. 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Odds, Ends, & Observations for 2018 & Beyond (?)

Been thinking lately...

Watching politics, and gossip, and jealousy, and perceived betrayal unfold within the gym(s). Watching sport grappling and MMA grow and change and evolve. Watching younger guys have their first big surgery/injury and be sidelined. Watching guys have quick success within a few years of starting grappling. Thinking about guys like Lepri who won his first black belt world title in the Gi in 2007 then didn't win another until 2014. It's also interesting to watch as competitors leave JiuJitsu for MMA, then later some return (Bruno Frazatto for example) and/or watch MMA fighters retire and begin doing sport grappling or even riding out Steroid suspensions by competing in pro grappling events (that's a debate for another day). Steroid usage is still the elephant in the room with the IBJJF doing testing of 10 athletes one day per year at only black belt adult. The lower belts and Masters and the rest of the year statistically much more than just "likely" riddled with cheaters on banned substances of everything from anabolic to diuretics et cetera.

At any rate, with 10 years spent in Judo, 5 MMA fights (and about 10-15 other training camps for fights that fell through), moving over to Gi training, then/now focusing on submission grappling I've seen a variety of trends and observations settle to the bottom the truth of it. You now have "juvenile" competitors who've been training for 10 years before they even turn 18. You've got a variety of rule formats with IBJJF opening up a ton of 30+ divisions but also a movement away from the Gi and the traditional IBJJF point/regulation format and in terms of submission legality across the sport as a whole. EBI in a way became the first non IBJJF and non ADCC format that really gained notoriety (I'm aware of the myriad of other efforts like Metamoris and random one or two off pro grappling events) but EBI A) still exists (though no longer for men's pure submission grappling format without strikes) that has continued and B)introduced a real format change beyond the scope of a blend of IBJJF's hierarchy of points and positions or the more takedown-wrestling heavy brand of ADCC submission wrestling.
C) you've got streaming services like flograppling and fight pass organizing an outlet for fans to invest money back into the sport and to event organizers by proxy.

It's been humorous to watch guys barely out of their teens expect to be treated like professional athletes because they win medals in an amateur sport. Social media is a whole other part of this equation of the ever changing landscape of competitive grappling. On the other hand, USA Judo has banned it's paid athletes from doing JiuJitsu professionally. 2018 was an eventful year and next year promises more of the same with Worlds, ADCC, EBI changing of the guard with slaps which has created space for someone or something to take its place.

NoGi Worlds 2018 - Thoughts on Brackets & Divisions & 34 Female Black Belt Competitors Total

Sigh. Sport has a long way to go. especially for the women.
The men's divisions aren't even that packed with notable black belt brackets like Feather totally up for grabs.

Black Belt men's picks and anecdotes of familiar faces:
Rooster - Paiva
Light Feather - Joao, Pinheiro, Hashimoto. Joao is the safe bet to take it, but Hashimoto continues to move up and up and improve as he gets more black belt experience. Joao will be the only Miyao competing as his brother got an additional ban of 3 months for violating his previous steroid ban prior to it's ending.
(Bendy Casimir is who I studied Kneebars by (Kneebar King of Leg locks on YouTube!) He had trained with a coach of mine at the time, Sean Spangler who had trained with Bendy in Vegas - who is on my bucket list of guys to get a private from down the road when I hit Vegas at some point) before moving to NYC. Alex Ecklin runs a pair of BJJ schools (with his teammate Van) in Brooklyn which I drop by occasionally. Suraj I met ages ago when I was in Florida for a wedding, we were both purple belts at the time. I see he's now a black belt and I was recently promoted to brown.
Feather - Marangoni or Cobrinha's son on black belt level experience/gamesmanship.
Castelle lost to my friend Rosenthal last week at Onnit. Murdock I worked with for the same grappling tournament company for several years and we fought for the same MMA organization.
Light - Grippo or Iwasaki, but likely Grippo. Without Miyao allowed to compete (as they did at Kasai recently), I see Grippo pretty handily taking this one. Iwasaki will podium though, is my expectation or Domingos.
Middle - is a stacked division, especially in this format with Giles, Perez, Lieira, Coco, Conaill, Canuto, Leon, Silverio. I honestly can't pick this division at all with so many solid, experienced black belts with high level experience and accolades.
Stanley Rosa I know through his coach Doug, who's an OG Renzo black belt, and I've rolled with him a few times at Renzos when he's there dropping in to train. Enrique is the son of an OG Renzo black belt, I've trained with him a few times when he's regularly at Renzo's to train.

Medium Heavy - Tinoco, Diniz, Hinger, Borovic, Gabriel Arges, Kit Dale, and Murilo Santana
- also an impossibly hard division to pick a winner or honestly, even the podium overall. Wow.

Skipping a few divisions I don't watch to get to Gordon Ryan's division of Ultra Heavy:
Gordon Ryan, Dopp, Cyborg, Tex Johnson, Mahamed Aly....

I'm gonna go with Ryan taking the cake, and Cyborg or Aly or Johnson rounding out the podium.

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest 95: Creeps in BJJ, EBI 18, UAEJJF in Tajikistan Allegedly Hot Mess Express & My Thoughts on EBI 18

A couple thoughts: if there's equal pay at an EBI event, then I'm going to lobby equal criticism and commentary. The winner couldn't lock a triangle properly. I'm not nitpicking details and nuances, I mean, could not lock a triangle. Fortunately her opponent also lacked any real semblance of a recognizable triangle counter/response.
You could counter my criticism by saying, "well, go back and watch EBI 2 or 3 from the men's division" and my counter argument would be: locking a triangle correctly to the point that some casual fans who train UFC recreationally could do it more efficiently...or that....women's jiujitsu isn't existing in a vacuum. Watch EBI. Previous EBI's are available for dissection and analysis to anyone preparing for the event......Another woeful area of a boondoggle was the armbar overtime positions utilized: women starting with their knees flared/ankles crossed and posting to the headside arm - allowing opponents to immediately bridge and begin a stack escape.....on the back control allowing the attacker to clasp their hands tight under the neck instead of the sternum as the rules specify. I'm not only criticizing the athletes but the coaches, the training partners, and Bravo for using a number of competitors of lower rank, or upper belts who primarily compete in the Gi and/or virtually do not compete submission only or leg lock allowed events. I also think it's bogus AF he neglected to add a Renzo NYC competitor named Katya (who I've seen day in and day out since I moved to the city 2.5 years ago and has actually competed sub only and leg lock allowed events for the past couple years. I suspect it's sour grapes for him and would've been on suicide watch if yet again a Renzo NYC competitor won an event put on by him (as to why he got ride of men's EBI and is running with Combat JiuJitsu which 10th Planet guys have had some consistent success rather than pure sport submission grappling under the EBI format).

Welcome to equality. If an event provides equal pay, expect the same level of expectation on behalf of fans, on behalf of the athletes in terms of preparedness et cetera. I believe Bravo when he says he couldn't find 16 black belt competitors at this weight class as you can look at the NoGi Worlds this weekend and the total number of females competing at black belt across ALL weight classes is 34. Total. Anyhow, I watched the event, and in an effort to shoe equality in action rather than principle, I'm not going to refrain from undue criticism et cetera in a misguided and paternal desire to shield the poor, defenseless women athletes from the same which I would say about male competitors. Sugarcoating the deficient areas helps no one.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Road to the Octagon: Iaquinta vs Lee 2

Bellator on Friday with the long awaited and much maligned Primus vs Chandler freahshow ending first fight rematch. I kinda thought Primus would fade away and pull a Randamie and just duck the fight altogether, TBH. At any rate, that's Friday. Saturday I'll be teaching in Brooklyn, getting a fresh haircut from barber, then enjoying the main card starting at 8pm. I love anytime a card starts early, even if it's on Cable TV with commercials.

A solid cable TV card to limp us on through to the end of the year card with it's 2 title fights. I'm not thrilled a 3 time USADA fail is getting an immediate title shot, but y'know, this is the fight game, not the what makes sense ethically game. I kinda don't really care to see Jon Jones fight again as it's been years of outside the cage chicanery and titles stripped, and the like. I would like to see Gustaffson get redemption as I think he actually won the first fight. It's once again time to see if Jon Jones' extra curricular life choices catch up to him in the cage and what he's really been up to with all the down time on and off over the past few years. I've run off the track, we've got Iaquinta vs Lee as both men look to stay in title picture contention. I don't see Lee beating Khabib but we all know Iaquinta didn't care any better but that was on very short of shortest notices.

Barboza vs Hooker: Font vs Pettis:

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Welsh Fans not exactly Hype on Sport Jitz, Polaris, et al

Keenan & AJ Agazarm - Twitter Fingers Twitching 

AJ posted on a post regarding Keenan’s loss to Craig Jones this weekend: 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

UFC 231: Holloway & Ortega & Polaris 8 Wrap-Up

Holloway brought a Nick Diaz reminiscent game plan to land 5-9 punch combinations on Ortega. I knew when I watched the Inside the Octagon breakdown and revealed Ortega's takedown success is 14%, that Ortega was in for a long night. I didn't bet any cash because as a rule I don't bet on fights with someone coming off a year long layoff (plus those still undetermined heavy weight cut concussion symptoms et cetera). Gunnar fell victim to that year long layoff rust and nearly paid the price for it against Oliveira. Holloway busted up Ortega who stayed game and was still dangerous when the fight was stopped, but with that eye swollen shut and Holloway's success switching to south paw very real unavoidable punishment of the unnecessary variety lay in wait in a 5th round.

Shevchenko faded a bit over the last 3 rounds but banked at least 4 rounds and busted up Joanna with varied strikes and takedowns from the standing clinch. Hopefully, women's MMA has advanced far enough that we'll soon see them stop using various sundry head-arm takedowns. That will be when we know that women's MMA is advancing to the modern age.

Gunanr Nelson' picked a serious comeback fight that puts him right back after that starching by Ponzinibbio and a year plus away from the sport due to injury. Without the ring rust, I think he would've finished Cowboy from the back first round, but instead he had to weather some real punishment, get Cowboy to the mat, and then punish him with precision to get him to expose the back. Those laser like elbows were exactly the amount needed to force Oliveira to give up his back and he was tapping before the choke was even in.

Manuwa has fallen victim to the "I'm gonna call out pro boxers" curse and then proceed to lose by violent KO in most of my next fights (Santos last night, Oezdemir), and a tough loss to Jan Blachowicz.

Eye picked up a tough, close win over Chookagian. The card seemed to mercifully fly by as a quick night of fights. I was at a holiday party for work so that probably helped.

Polaris 8

Bessa and Lillius elicited boos from the crowd by forcing spectators to watch a Gi 50/50 battle. I guess they've forgotten about Gi matches and ACB and how no one in their right mind wants to watch that bull*&^$. Way to bring the non-heat as the one Gi match people probably tuned in to see due to its proximity to the main card.

Strauss and Ishii was as boring as I expected with Ishii unable to pass guard, and Strauss having a tough time forcing opportunities from bottom as the smaller man.

Imanari vs Ryan exchanged leg locks which was exciting to watch 2 leg locking styles and generations do battle. Ryan eventually used a leg lock exchange to get to the back which I had considered a likely scenare. Imanari fended off several choke attempts and wisely avoided having a hand trapped, but also failed to address the crook of the elbow/choking arm with thumb posts and as he went to peel off the secondary hand it was far too late.

Munch beat Lachlan Giles by way of 4,345 failed guard pass attempts I guess. It's hard to recall that many nonstop guard pass attempts that still largely barely advance in another match in recent memory. Lachlan had one nice leg entanglement but Munch's usual knee in the middle/slice  non-commital guard passing style and head down, ass up posture prevented most meaningful exchanges.

Vagner utilized sharper transitions to put Benson in trouble. Benson went for a toe hold that gave up the back against a standing Vagner (sigh) and would escape but that proved a bad omen as with barely a minute left, Vagner got the short choke palm to palm grip with the body triangle side lock in the mat to strap Benson's hips.

Much more exciting in spots than some previous installments when even the NoGi matches would all go to a dubious decision.

I felt like most of the match Keenan did most of the work and was forcing Craig to untie knows and traps rather than actually implement any meaningful guard passing. Keenan seemed to fade down the stretch (also what makes me suspect he's actually not on steroids unlike the other obvious caricatures with whom he trains out on the west coast.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Stuart Cooper Films - The Craig Jones Story

Hung out with Craig back when this place Juice-Ology was open around the corner from Renzo's and a bunch of us would eat there between morning and noon class. How he comes across in interviews is the same as how he is in real life. Refreshing.

Polaris Prologue Episode 3

EBI 18 - Women’s Brackets 

Left hand side of the bracket, I expect Pati Fontes to make it through to the final. Right hand side, it'll be interesting to see if Lila pulls off a submission against Danielle Kelly. I don't see why Nina Navid won't get past Fiona, then face the winner of whoever wins between Kelly and Smadja-Cruz. My pick to win the whole thing is Pati Fontes.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Finishers Sub Only -125 lb Bracket Released 

Show the Art/Finishers Sub Only 125 lb EBI Format This Saturday Dec. 1st, FREE ON YouTube 7pm EST 

They turned down FloGrappling money/offers and fightpass to keep it free for anyone with access to WiFi. Can’t say much more than that. A lot of social media and folks claim they want to grow the sport and blah blah but these guys legitimately do believe that and show it with their actions and choices. I did their Open Tournament @ 145 and took a last minute spot when someone pulled out of the -155 Pro Event they held the following day. Great guys who love grappling, competition, and the sport as a whole and put a lot of time and energy into making a professional but accessible platform for competitors.

I’m expecting to see Sam Micale in the final. He’s beaten several of the competitors and is looking to avenge he some losses he has to other guys in the bracket. I’ve beaten two guys in the bracket, and having trained with Sam, I think it’s his event to win along with a few other experienced competitors.

I’ve got a Superfight at the event @ 145 lbs, EBI Format also.
Support Grass Roots JiuJitsu. Tune in Saturday evening 7pm on YouTube.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Paulo Miyao Popped for Add’l 3 Month Penalty for Violating USADA Inelegiblity Ban 

Guess they’re kinda saying they’ll enforce penalties.
He competed while serving his original two year ban (took them nearly a year to even confirm that one) and so they tacked on 3 more months of ineligibility time.

Throwback Adult Purple Belt Gi & NoGi Featherweight Submissions

Even back then, it was exceedingly rare that I won on points. If I won, I won by submission.

Double lapel choke from the back back when I still competed in the Gi:

These were my last 2 NoGi matches I did prior to moving to NYC:

Monday, November 26, 2018

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest #89 - Roberto Jimenez, Viral Neck Man MMA Plans, White belt Armbars Thief....

A lot to unpack here.....

Slap, I mean Combat JiuJitsu in Florida This Weekend 

Polaris 8 Announces Ross Nicholls vs Mansher Khera - Dec. 9th (Spoiler Alert - will look identical to the Gianni Match from Grapplefest 3)

This will look identical to the match Nicholls just had with Gianni where Gianni literally attempted ZERO submissions despite 20 minutes and plenty of time on top, in side control, et cetera.
 Khera goes for about that same rate of submissions on a good day....anyone recall his atrociously boring Quintet match?

Real talk: why do promotions sign up guys who for sub only matches knowing full well that said athletes have shown time and time again they will virtually never concede any position or even use dominant position to attempt a submission?

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Some Recent Submission Wins of Mine @ Grappling Industries NYC & Boston

Awhile back I went 4-0 for the day at a Grappling Industries Advanced -145 in Boston, all submissions, about 10 mins of mat time total. Most recently I went 3-0 for the day at Grappling Industries in NYC at -145 with 2 submissions and a ref's decision. Sometime in the fall I did another Grappling Industries at -155 in NYC but picked up 2 wins on points and a walkover with a teammate (quite a frustrating run of a day of not getting any submission wins).

Grapplefest 3 Results: An Upset and Spoiler Alert

ADCC trials (not in 'Murica or Brazil) winner Nichols beat Gianni Grippo in a 20 min sub only match.
Nichols racked up some submission attempts to take the win while Gianni scored what would've been points. Alert the news media.

Grippo teammates Matheus Diniz put the pressure to Strauss and got to the back but did not finish and took the win. 

BJJ Scout - BJJ Digest - Combat JiuJitsu Fake News, Sambo Submissions et al

Where’s all the support for Women’s EBI 18? 

I hear a lot of complaints about the lack of equal pay in JiuJitsu for women. I don’t see a lot of those same vocal female athletes who put on women’s training events and seminars giving up press and publicity for EBI featuring women that’s coming up soon. So is the women’s pay things a plug to induce support for your personal event that you stand to profit/benefit from? Is it just lip service to garner attention? Or do you actually care about supporting an event that is actually paying women athletes? People would rather complain than support part of an actual, legitimate, attempt at a solution which addresses the disparity. There’s a disproportionate number of athleisure, lifestyle, and fashion brands that purport to/support and (at least claim to) care about women athletes as part of their marketing campaign. There’s deep pockets in the fashion industry and sporting goods, just walk into a LuLu Lemon store and look at the prices. I’m not buying the whole complain complain complain standard of equal pay while not actually supporting events or recurring efforts to actually invest money into the sport and athletes.

Ricky Palacios Missed Weight Twice for Tito/Chuck 3 Golden Boy Card 

Everyone give this guys a round of applause. God knows what the guy was weighing two weeks out from the fight. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

MMA Blowout Bonanza Weekend: Nov 30-Dec 1st

This weekend we get a forgettable UFC China card, buuuuuuuut wait, there's weekend we get:

UFC TUF Finale: RDAnjos vs Usman, 2 TUF finale fights, Benavidez vs Perez, and Caraway vs someone
Bellator 210: NJokuani vs Salter & Rickels vs Vasconcelos
LFA: Johns vs Yanez

KSW: Khalidov vs Narkun
Bellator 211: Sakara vs Kauppinen
UFC Fight Night 142: Dos Santos vs Tuivasa, Mark Hunt vs someone, Yushin Okami, Wilson Reis, Nakamura, and Hirota

Wow. We used to get maybe one UFC PPV a month....back in my day.....what a time to be a fan

Sunday, November 18, 2018

UFC Argentina: Magny vs Ponzinibbio

Woke up at 630am to weigh-in at Grappling Industries in lower Manhattan so I could then head uptown to CCNY to coach at the IBJJF NY Open, then was back at Grappling Industries by 130ish PM to coach and compete in the Advanced Adult -145. I won my division with 2 submissions (inverted triangle & heel hook) and a ref's decision: was deep on leg attack & handfighting, but due to poor time management, and forgetting their format is 5 minutes, I wasn't expeditious enough on getting to the finish.

Was a struggle to get up and get going afterward to watch the fights down in Argentina.
Calvillo missed weight then did a sob story about family and how important this was for her (but was lounging on a beach just recently instead of cutting weight according to social medai *ahem*). She got a submission win which is what you have to do to sorta break even after missing weight by 3 lbs over the weight class.
Lamas looked sharp in his fight with Elkins, Elkins looked a bit unable to get to the bodylock and cage (places where he did have success when he got there). Lamas' Octagon awareness did him in good stead here, and got him the win and an eventual stoppage after some heavy knees and shots had opened up the perennial bleeder Elkins. I would love to see Elkins get a title shot before he retires, but many a great man has been unable to fight for the belt in this division, and with the current holding pattern, who knows?
Heinisch did well in his debut. Was willing to take chances, throw up submissions, work, and land heavy elbows and other shots against Mutante. Tough fight but Heinisch looked largely unmarked after the fight.
Canetti took some heavy shots but the ole' block the knees from the Thai clinch with the forearms did not work, and was later finished after a torrid Tazmanian devil pace in the first round. Dunno how this 40 year old ish dude fights at this pace when other fighters do less in 3 rounds than he does in 1.
Johnny Walker absolutely starched his opponent Rountree, who himself, was just coming off of a starching of OG world class level kickboxer Saki. Those be the wages of fisticuffs, elbows, kicks, and knees man. Big dudes throwing heavy strikes and someone falls down. All in all, a solid card for a Saturday night and non-PPV. There's a lot of cards left to fill out -2 months of UFC programming in 2018. What a year it's been already though.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest #85 - Barber Wants Dern, Ryan Wants Werdum, Royce and Son have story time with Ariel

Werdum vs Hulk was an abomination (see the comic book reference?)

Dern I don't think ever fights for the belt. She's too busy looking like she's walking around at my walking weight to fight and make weight again or challenge for a belt down the road.

I'm doing Advanced Adult division this weekend @ Grappling Industries. Anyone in NYC who's there, hit me up. Busy weekend with a Naga and the NY Open & Grappling Industries all in the same weekend and a UFC with Magny vs Ponzinibbio down south of the border et cetera. Darren Elkins returns to action, and Bellator brings a card to us tomorrow night. What a time to be a combat sports fan...

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Kasai 4 Results & Reflections 

Arrived in time for the first undercard bout. The undercard in general were mostly tight matches decided by a sweep or a guard pass, with a number of submissions occurring. It's always interesting to see guys doing superfight who don't even bother to compete in any of the local/nyc area open events. It typically shows in their performance as a number of the guys wouldn't even win the Grappling Industries Manhattan bracket for their belt/experience. But, I digress. Tony Bergamo and Silvio Duran had a spirited affair with some bottom guard retention resembling kicks to the chest and face, and some rough collar ties and chest thumping, complete with celebrating winning by a sweep that was escaping a back take, and acting like it was winning the Worlds or something. Anyhow, Junny and Rey had a rematch or a third match or whatever, much like their Finishers match, Junny dominated positionally and racked up points, but with no overtime in place as at Finishers Sub Only, picked up a win whereas in the OT at Finishers he lost via RNC with Rey on his back. Rey is apparently opening up 10th planet NYC in early 2019. News came shortly before the main card began that due to NYSAC blood test stipulations, Gordon Ryan's match with Matheus Diniz was off (go see his Igram post about it for a succinct explanation, I don't want anyone to say I misquoted him or misrepresented what happened because there's enough internet trolls misrepresenting what happened already). Kasai did announce an event in Dallas featuring Gordon Ryan vs Joao Rocha for February which is exciting news, as well as 2 more add'l events (a qualifier - though they did quietly cancel the last qualifier the week of, and they announced an Open EGC event). TBH, I started planning to leave early once I saw that Gordon's superfight was cancelled. The bracket played out largely how I expected with Paulo and Gianni and Augusto scoring points and safely winning bracket matches to head toward the final. Augusto came out for his match with Gianni with a limp, tried to shoot a well-timed takedown, but no points, and Gianni attacked some wrist locks from closed guard in an effort to eke out some submission attempt points, but by and large, the Grand Prix matches while tightly contested at points basically resembled NoGi Worlds matches with little in the way of leg lock or submission attempts and mainly passing efforts by more experienced black belts. Crelinsten picked up a win via submission attempt points over Kim Terra, Bruno Frazatto hurt his knee in his first match with Geo Martinez (I couldn't see by the angle if it was a leg entanglement, or as a result of a toe hold attack by Geo). Honest opinion, Geo took some bad calls (1 definite, another more questionable) at this event. Overall, like the 155 Grand Prix, there were no submissions this time around (the 155 had one submission when Celso Vinicius guillotined Enrico Coco).

I left before the Canuto vs Vagner match because if I'd waited around and had to take the express train home after watching Canuto backpedal and slap, and shuck and jive for nearly 6 minutes like last time they had a match, I would've been pissed. So I headed home after the conclusion of the grand prix matches. Lutes beat an outmatched opponent with a north-south choke.
Glad I was there to support east coast pro grappling/jiujitsu/whatever/this format, and the Hammerstein Ballroom is a legit venue for an event. I remember before the IBJJF events were even held every month, so to be in NYC at a venue like Hammerstein Ballroom, with UFC's on every weekend almost, and with Pro events held under a variety of rule sets now, it's pretty cool that this is the norm now for being a fan of grappling.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The myth of being respectful in BJJ

A lot of old school guys with businesses, and affiliations, and reputations to protect seemed concerned about all this trash talk in JiuJitsu. This is the sport where we literally aim to strangle or cripple our opponents if necessary. It’s also a sport that proved its efficacy by fighting it out with other styles that all those previous behind the Wizard of Oz curtains and claims of being too deadly and all that silliness was just smoke and mirrors. Helio brought a coffin to the match with Kimura. Count Koma proved grappling was great and that his knowledge AND application was superior wherever he went by throwing down from city to city. There’s a soft period in JiuJitsu these days with guys who haven’t fought opening up schools, guys who rarely if ever roll with their students, and random McDojo esque grappling schools far and wide. Guys who want to cry foul because someone else is out there laying claim to being he greatest and trying to back it up. If you doubt what someone like Gordon says, challenge him. If you just want to have an opinion congrats, the sport is grappling not "I don’t like what you’re saying." Helio had to prove it out there under the lights and anyone today who says talking trash or laying down the gauntlet isn’t at the heart of BJJ should pick up a history book. 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Schedule Set for Kasai 4 Tomorrow

Hannette Staack talks brass tacks for Female BJJ Athletes (and thoughts on guys demanding pro athlete pay) 

Real talk. A number of events have been and are paying male/female athletes equally and really though, this is bigger than gender: JiuJitsu athletes want to be paid like pro athletes but there’s almost nothing professional about them other than hours on the mat. The Spyder Invitational? Guys getting paid for literally two matches and coasting in one of the matches at that. Lemme score a sweep and stall with a minute left. Lemme tie this guy up in lapels and win on an advantage. And expect people will want to see it? Spare me.
ACB was a canary in the coal mine. The boring ass Gi matches and 50/50 stall fests literally shuttered an event paging dozens of guys who’d hardly been ever paid by the IBJJF until the semi new Pro events. Dudes cry about the IBJJF and show up and put on boring AF Superfights more boring than two blue belts I coach on Thursday night. Spectator sport? Paid like a pro sport? Who are you kidding?

I tried watching the event and was literally bored and tired of the quality of the stream prior to even making it to the superfight where Werdum and Hulk both said the usual "I'm coming to finish him" and "it's going to be a war." Man, if I had a scoop of BCAA's for every time a guy said that then put on a *&^%ing snoozefest of a match, I'd be a lot less sore, that's for sure.

Masakazu Imanari vs Nicky Ryan @ Polaris 8 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Kasai FW Grand Prix Brackets Set (and a last minute replacement)

It’s going down in NYC Saturday night at the Hammerstein. I’ve been to each of the Kasai events thus far and this one looks amazing.
Calestine has withdrawn and Frank Rosenthal will step into his spot. 

Polaris 8 Announces Benson Henderson vs Vagner Rocha 

Actually pretty interested for this one, because against AJ, Henderson showed an ability to really roughhouse to prove a point when he felt like it, and dirty Vagner’s tactics will probably backfire. Benson is far more dynamic o his feet and will change levels and blast Rocha off the stage rather than let Vagner abuse him with borderline slaps and rough collar ties and finger joint manipulations. I think Vagner’s plodding hand-heavy work on the feet is no match for Benson’s dynamic wrestling. Nor will Benson get out of his game because Vagner tries to psych him out with his tactics. 

Charles Oliveira to Rematch Jim Miller: Dec. 15th 

Oliveira, the most submitting-est fighter in UFC history will get a chance to sub the first guy to tap him in MMA. Miller himself had a ton of legit submission wins over JiuJitsu black belts inside the cage. Below is Oliveira’s record. Wildness.