Monday, January 29, 2018

Manuwa Exists Again, Comments on Daniel Cormier

 Well, despite getting trounced from a punch in the clinch by the guy DC just crushed (Volkan Oezdemir), Manuwa I guess has recovered from his starching and wants to get some press. I don't blame him, it's the fight game, but I'd suspect he might get more traction if he aimed a bit more believably, and tried to pick off a guy on his way into the top 10. 

Joanna Begins Rolling Out Excuses

Let the cavalcade's hard to drum up sympathy when you spent the entire buildup basically saying that Rose had zero chance of beating you. It was gratifying to see Joanna's mind games fail and her get drummed over so completely in less than one round. The fight didn't go long enough for me to give much credence to her claims of it being the weight cut, she simply got drilled with a straight punch, was wobbled, got drilled again, then Rose pounced. 

PFL (used to be WSOF) Announces Format & Dates

Finally some specifics about their big plan for the coming season. I guess it's another run at the IFL. Old school sports know it alls have the league idea ingrained in their minds. I don't know that I agree or disagree regardless, but Bellator has largely done away with it's tournament format minus the occasional bracket to determine a new champ, ala the HW tourney they're doing.

Some highlights included a touted $10 million prize pool, but we'll see how that's broken down and actually paid out to the 72 athletes mentioned. They're staking claim to Thursday nights for their live events, running from June to August, with a playoff season, and a final championship. They've hired a CEO with a ton of experience, but we'll see if it goes the way of the IFL. Fingers crossed.  

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Upcoming NoGi/Heel Hook Grappling Events Through Mid April 2018

February 3rd - Show the Art/Finishers Sub Only:
What began as a small east coast invitational event has really grown over the past few years into a feeder for EBI and showcase for up and comers willing to try the EBI format. Several of my teammates have won it, and it's actually one of the first places where I saw Gordon Ryan competing and picking up wins before I even considered moving to NYC or transitioning to NoGi. The previous 170 lb champ, Serra BJJ's James Gonzales (who most recently put on a grew showing at the Combat JiuJitsu Worlds 1 Event) will face a bracket containing Gary Gioni, Chase Davis, David Porter, Alex Nemeth, Jon Blank, Pierre Leclerc, and a number of others. Every event these guys has put on has been amazing and I've rewatched several of the streams as they are all available on youtube. They put on a great event and put money in the pocket of the competitors and have featured both Teens and Women's superfights. If you're a fan of NoGi Grappling and EBI format, you'd be remiss to miss this event in person or streaming online. I've trained with a numebr of guys on the card either at RGA or previously and I'm excited to see how the bracket plays out. It also features a superfight between Jason Rau (Rise Invitational Champion) and Serra BJJ representative against Marcel Goncalves.

February 10th - Fight2Win Pro  Jake Shields vs Kit Dale: always one to stay busy, Jake Shields is going to face Kit Date at F2Win Pro 62 in California a week before he takes on Kit Dale's teammate Craig Jones for Polaris.

February 17th - Polaris 6 - features a stacked Pro event featuring: Jake Shields vs Craig Jones, Agazarm vs Benson Henderson, Gezary Matuda vs TBD, & Marcin Held vs Fishgold, preceded by an undercard which includes: "GI MATCH – Emilia Tuukkanen X Leoni Munslow
GI MATCH – Jay Butler X Sean McDonagh
GI MATCH – Santeri Lilius X Bradley Hill
GI MATCH – Tommy Langaker X Charlie McDonald
GI MATCH – Jake Mckenzie X Yousuf Nabi
NO GI MATCH – Ross Nichols X Tommi Pulkkanen"

February 17th - EBI 15: Featherweights
In addition to the bracket of competitors looking to dethrone Eddie Cummings (and Geo Martinez coming up from 135 to Eddie's weight class after Eddie cut down to 135 to attempt and detrone him there, Nick Honstein (Combat JiuJitsu champion) will face Ben Eddy who recently defeated Wilson Reis in a Combat JiuJitsu rules match. According to, the bracket will include:
"Joe Soto- UFC Fighter. Former Bellator and Tachi Palace champion.
Sergio Hernandez -Baret Yoshida Black Belt.
Kevin Berbrich – Eddie Bravo Black Belt 10th Planet Oceanside Jiu Jitsu Coach
Jason Hayden – BJJ brown belt. Leg-Lock enthusiast. Rodrigo Lima – black belt from Caio Terra Association, Joe Baize, Rafael Domingos, Mike Davila, Ashley Williams, Joao Alfredo Tavares Marinho, John Battle, Sergio Perez and Edwin “Junny” Ocasio". 
As the sport and EBI format spreads, it's cool to see guys with more and more experience competing in this format making the rounds and bouncing between EBI format events and such. Battle I've seen in some superfights, at a previous EBI and from Show the Art Finishers. Sergio Hernandez I've seen compete at Ultimate Mat Warriors and actually got to train with when I visited California last fall at Baret Yoshida's gym (also got to roll with Baret, everyone at their gym was very welcoming and great to train with). Sergio is a previous EBI competitor. Rafael Domingos has competed in EBI before winning some matches then losing to champ Garry Tonon). Mike Davila has competed at Finishers Sub Only, and EBI as well (previously losing to champ Eddie Cummings).

April 14th - Kasai Middleweight - 185 lb Tournament
March 3rd - Qualifier for 185 lb Kasai Event scheduled for April 14th. As much for the bracket of Middlweights, I'm excited to see who they get for the superfights. They pulled together Gordon Ryan vs Yuri Simoes and a rematch of Murilo Santana vs Craig Jones from the ADCC to headline the card at their inaugural event. Amazing event. The production was top notch, the card moved smoothly, and I got to see a ton of top flight competitors all in one evening.

Big Things in the First Third of 2018 in MMA

It's kinda ridiculous what's on tap for the first 4 months of MMA in 2018:

We already had a card that featured Stipe become the most prolifc HW champ in UFC history AND DC defend his title against one of the more dangerous contenders at LHW. It's not even the end of January and this is what's happened and is in store. Last year was a flagship year for the UFC by any  metric, no matter how much of a Negative Nancy you try to be. Flat out. End of discussion. If this year can keep pace with its first quarter I see no reason why it can't do the same and hit at least the same water mark.

February 10th - Rockhold vs Romero
February 16th - Mitrione rematches Roy Nelson as part of Bellator HW tourney
March 2nd - Caldwell defends his Bellator belt
March 3rd - Holloway vs Edgar
April 7th - Khabib vs Ferguson & Thug Rose vs Joanna Rematch
April 13th - Chandler rematches Primus in Bellator
April 14th - Gaethje returns after a tough stoppage loss to Alvarez to face Poirier who is coming off of a dominant win over former champ Pettis
April 28th - Fedor faces Frank Mir in another first round matchup of the Bellator HW Legends Grand Prix

Thoughts on UFC Fight Night Charlotte: Jacare vs Brunson Part Deux

The main card delivered overall. Camacho and Dober put on a slugfest for the fans. Gillespie showed improved grappling transitions and positional control and insanely heavy hips to flatten out Rinaldi and get the finish. Jacare stayed patient and clipped Brunson to get the win without taking too much punishment. I still saw some holes in Jacare's striking that a guy like Rockhold will likely exploit as he is more of a volume striker and has a build similar to Brunson in that he's taller than Jacare.

We're left with Jacare in a position where he's actually already lost to each of the 3 guys ahead of him: Romero, Whitaker, and Rockhold. Granted, the Rockhold fight was awhile ago, but still. It's hard to think Jacare is that much changed stylistically. His striking still seems "robotic" was the term used last night and I think that's fair. His takedown was stuffed by Brunson, and against Rockhold and Whitaker and Romero, that is a major concern because each of those men has firepower in their striking, and enough to put him down for the count whereas I don't see Jacare one punch KO finish any of those three. Romero's more plodding less volume-based attack as of late is the fight I think Jacare can win, but Rockhold and Whitaker are better versions of Brunson with strong grappling, clinch, and takedown defense to boot.

Fili vs Bermudez was a solid main card fight for a UFC on FOX or PPV event. I honestly thought Bermudez did more than enough with leg kicks and clinch work against the cage to take the fight. The Camacho fight was also poorly judged with inexplicable scores from at least one of the judges. 

Results/Reflections on ACB JJ 10 & Bellator: Larkin vs Gonzalez

Some marginally organized thoughts having watched the event stream live:

5 mins rounds do seem to produce a decent amount of action. The rule against guard pulling the first minute is also interesting but means that minus a takedown, we're left with 4 minutes of mat time which is simply not a lot of time to pass a top flight competitor's guard, but guys also push harder to pass knowing they've only got 4-5 minutes? I don't know. Having worked as a referee, competed many times, and competed in Judo, JiuJitsu, MMA, and submission grappling, and Sub Only grappling matches....what is the right rule set? I could blame the lack of finishes on the time limit, but frankly, the Kasai event recently had very few finishes and it was NoGi and allowed heel hooks, y'know? So, I don't want to wax too much on that. I think the size differential in some of the matches did lead to some finishes, but overall, everyone got paid, and a ton of good matches did occur.

I tuned in as the Simoes Bilarov match was beginning. Bilarov is definitely one to watch in the Gi and NoGi as despite high profile IBJJF background of others he's faced, he definitely holds his own against the top tier guys. The fact he avoided the collar drag takedown Yuri hit on Travis Stevens is a testament to his overall ability. Had he kept the pace high, I think he would have bested Yuri, but he let Yuri suck him into a more static game and slow down his advantage in that department.

As for the commentary team. I could be nice and say it's not their job to research every big name guy on the card and their background, but oh wait, it is. I doubt the ACB team skimped on paying them, you're a commentator, research the competitors. They're only the biggest names in all of Sport JiuJitsu. Pull out your iPhone man, c'mon. It was lazy at best, and shoddy work at worst. At various instances, it was painfully obvious commentators honestly did not know much about various competitors ala grand generalizations like "Calasans is a Judoka, I think." A 6 second google search with the phrase "Calasans BJJ Heroes" links directly to his bio page with info such as: "He is the son of Judo personality Calasans Camargo, the youngest Brazilian Judoka to have ever received his coral belt (white and red – received when he was 38 years old), and his uncle (who is his father’s identical twin) is also a black belt in Judo" and "winning a spot with the Brazilian National Wrestling Team."

But y'know, you could just wax over all that and say "I think he's a Judoka." Do your homework man, this is literally the biggest Sport Gi JiuJitsu event of ALL TIME and you didn't bother to look up basic bio's on the competitors.  I could off the top of my head say more about virtually every competitor featured than what was espoused during the broadcast. Wasted opportunity to stress the insane level of talent and accolades of the competitors gathered for this incredible talent pool.

Gaudio did some hulking out on Calasans who I have every reason to believe is ridiculously strong but Gaudio was simply more aggressive and just consistently not letting Calasans get started. Gaudio just was all on him with even some near sweep to mount points from closed guard. Calasans conservatism cost him as it has in the past in some other high profile matches.

Erberth blew it against Wardzinski, inexplicably tapped/had a meltdown ala his loss to Langaker recently at the Euros. Not sure what's going on with his recent flake out, but who knows. Guy is all over the place in general so maybe some humility will do him well. 

Marcio Andre attempted to use lapel guard to shut down Lepri's passing but no dice homey. Otavio tried the same against Lo, with much the same effect. That being said, Lepri is absolutely huge now and looked less impressive against Otavio than he did when they were in the same weight class.

Buchecha vs Aly - Moral victory for Aly in that he actually did manage to score  points twice, no easy feat but as per usual, Buchecha just pumped it up a half step and went super hulk mode and beasted the F&@$ outta him. Aly was lucky Buchecha didn't really attempt to counter some telegraphed throw entries while standing and big foot sweeps misses where he was very much outta balance.

Mendes paid the price for his switch to MMA and ADCC prep against Paulo's Gi-centric style. The first deep berimbolo attempt was a good suggestion that Mendes wasn't quite as sharp in the Gi as he'd need to be to fend off Miyao's bottom game.

All in all, it's hard to not enjoy a card that features such an incredible portion of the current sport landscape's top notch talent, but as I'm training full-time NoGi, I'd be lying if I didn't say I found myself bored during extended tie-ups with the lapel. The two halves of the sport are diverging further and further, and that's not a bad thing. Let them be what they are. They can differentiate and overlap at times.
For FULL RESULTS, BJJ Heroes has a more in depth write up HERE of matches not mentioned.  

Bellator - Larkin poured it on in the last 30 seconds of the third round, but did the necessary deed to just make sure he got a win and the monkey of losing his previous fights in Bellator after being a high profile UFC roster member to jump ship to Bellator.
Watched the Saad Awad/Ambrose fight and Larkin then called it a night. A real lowly card for Bellator but they doing big things and for a night with no UFC.
 Combat sports, these days, come a long way from renting UFC on VHS from

Friday, January 26, 2018

Miocic to Face Cormier at UFC 226 - Big Money Weight Whatever Fight of 2018 So Far

The UFC is really bringing the heat last year and this year. It is not even the end of January and so far we have this fight booked, Khabib vs Tony and Romero vs Rockhold (only because Whitaker is legitimately out of action for the time being).

I've been harsh on the UFC at times, but they are seriously delivering the heat with these match-ups. For anyone naysaying this, Cormier ran roughshod through the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP Tourney they did beating a ton of tough HW's.
If he beats Miocic, he should call it a day and ride out into the sunset. He'll do what Jon Jones didn't do and capture the belt in two of the toughest divisions in MMA. 

Pre-Event Thoughts on the UFC Fight Night Charlotte: Jacare vs Brunson 2

Frankly, I sorta assumed this would be a lackluster card when it was announced minus a marquee main event, but I'm pretty interested to see each of the three fights touted on the Countdown special.

Rinaldi has his work cut out for him. Gillespie has the pedigree to give anyone trouble. I want back and watched Gillespie's fights last night and had forgotten them as it turns out. To simply call him a grinder, I think is a bit of wishful thinking. He does some good things off the clinch and in other spots that show real promise. For example, off the break in his fight with Gonzales he tags him with a short elbow that wobbles his opponent. The presence of mind to throw it at that moment, kinda made the broadcast team and me re-watching it remember that he does enough of these (not absurd or unexpected things) but rather good, well-timed things that are more than just his wrestling pedigree would suggest to make him a real danger for anyone in the weight class.

Gillespie won't get tired or really slow down. He will drive for the takedown, shoot and reshoot, but also come forward punching et cetera. I'm actually pretty excited about this fight now that I'm thinking about it and because I rewatched two of Gillespie's fights last night.

Jacare relocating his training to a place full of guys with whom I have no real understanding or recognition of their background in MMA concerns me, particularly because he's coming off of a layoff and because Brunson has put together a solid win streak coming off of stints at Greg Jackson's and now it appears based on the Countdown special with some East Coast folks in Atlanta. If Jacare pre-the loss to Whitaker comes out, I think he takes Brunson down by putting takedowns behind his big overhand punch. If he falters for the takedown (Whitaker managed to do exceedingly well against the massively powerful and daunting Romero) as it did with Whitaker (think Whitaker was taken down but wisely got back to his feet avoiding much real damage if I recall correctly) I think it's a tough night for Jacare. The Whitaker fight showed me a real fear isn't the right word, but a real deflation that seemed to set in when he didn't keep the takedown on Whitaker. That being said, he immediately got shoulder surgery after and that would explain it had he further damaged it mid-fight et cetera.
But it's an alarming trend: when Jacare doens't get the top position via takedown he seeks, against the very best guys, (Romero and Whitaker) he loses. Now, is Brunson in that top tier of competition? It's honestly very hard to say. I really see this fight one completely one way or the other: Jacare by takedown and submission or Brunson picking apart an increasingly frustrated Jacare over 3 rounds to take a smartly fought decision.

Fili vs Bermudez: Bermudez faces off against another Team Alpha Male prospect, but not one that can out wrestle him the way Elkins did. Seeing Elkins finish Michael Johnson does more to tell me that Bermudez lost that fight but that I don't really know how much stock I lost in Bermudez and because Elkins is just stylistically so completely different a fight than his teammate was/is for Bermudez. Bermudez hits hard. Period. He also has strong, smothering, aggressive wrestling. Fili's 4 UFC losses to the likes of now Champ Holloway, Kattar, Yair Rodriguez, and Castro are telling in that he lost each of them a different way: 2 different submission, a KO, and a decision. Bernudez does several things well, and integrated well enough to tell me that I doubt Bermudez has more routes to victory than Fili.

Bermudez got guillotined by Ricardo Lamas (Lamas has a serious guillotine, got TKO'd by Jeremy Stephens, among the hardest strikers in the division, got decisioned by a clinch heavy attack by Elkins, and a KO by Chan Sung Jung). I don't think Fili stylistically is any of those fighters. I think Bernudez lands some big shots and finishes and/or punishes Fili for however long the fight lasts.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

UFC road to the Octagon: Jacare vs Brunson

It's a rematch, folks. We'll see. Brunson, to be fair, is a completely different fighter. You can't even really compare Brunson from over 5 years ago til now. That being said, Jacare has also wildly improved since Strikeforce. I have a hard time anyone other than Whitaker or Romero beats Jacare, Rockhold as well. And on those nights, I think Jacare can also potentially get the win.

Bellator Announces Fedor Emelianenko vs Frank Mir for April 28th

April 28th, it's going down folks.
This is where we are in 2018. Former UFC HW champ vs Former Pride champ. Both at the inauspicious tail ends of hall of fame/legend status careers.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Great Moments in Leg Lock History: Gordon Ryan vs Cyborg ADCC 2017

I'm not sure which match I find more impressive, this one, or his match with Romulo. Perhaps the Romulo one simply because he hits the takedown, passes, takes the back, and finishes, however, this is great moments in leg lock history, not great moments in comprehensive 4 part JiuJitsu positional hierarchy leading to submission series. At any rate, the speed and finesse with which Gordon bypasses Cyborg's minimal defenses and solutions to the problems presented was efficient, measured, progressive, and seamless. This match, I'm not exaggerating, was much easier than what I see on a daily basis at Renzo's in the training room. I heard some of the feedback about the interview was that Danaher came off as condescending, aside from being around him Monday-Friday each week, people confuse him calmly stating facts and observations with being condescending. Gordon bypassed the game of a guy who's been a black belt considerably longer than Gordon has even been on the mats. It is what it is. Call is hubris, don't like it, resent it, but not liking it doesn't make it not true.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Great moments in Leg Lock history: Garry Tonon vs Masakazu Imanari

Imanari was the original leg lock guy in the sense that due to HL reels of his MMA fights he was known for this niche part of grappling. His eccentric personality added to the mystique but he had never competed stateside in MMA or grappling. Polaris, again, to their credit, made it happen.
Imanari's finishes of Matt Brown and Jorge Gurgel had given him the same reputation akin to Palhares as a guy, who when he cranked, he cranked without reservation.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Great Moments in Leg Lock History - Garry Tonon faces Rousimar Palhares

Not even arguably, but definitively, the most anticipated leg lock battle in modern JiuJitsu was easily this match. Palhares' reputation as a guy who cranked submissions after physical and verbal taps, his dismissal from the UFC, his strange behavior at the ADCC....the litany of things to fear was palpable in the run up to this event. Polaris made it happen and despite the lack of a finish Garry's JiuJitsu and efficiency was the clear winner. His head and arm butterfly sweep to leg lock entries to back take to just all of it was seamless.
This is the gold standard for leg locks in sport grappling at the professional level and the long vaunted technique over size mantra in JiuJitsu we all come up hearing about in the sales pitch of what separates JiuJitsu from the rest of the pack in martial arts.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Great moments in leg lock history: Ken shamrock hits first leg lock in the UFC

Jump to roughly 1:05 to catch it. I wasn't able to find the fight in it's entirety, but it's a familiar tale: striker with no grappling training whatsoever faces grappler and gets submitted with someone he does not understand. The world of martial arts changed forever.

UFC 220 & Bellator 192 Doubleheader Hangover

Quick thoughts:

Stipe showed why he's the best UFC heavyweight of all time. Defended the belt 3x. Even when he doesn't stop the guy he completely dominates him minus a few punches from Ngannou. 
The blueprint to beat Ngannou is exposed. All Stipe has to do left if anything is fight Cain, but Cain only fights every two years anyway, so who knows?

DC showed it was gonna be curtains when he got the late first round takedown and got Volkan to expose his back in an effort to get up. DC really does this well. See his two fights with Anthony Johnson for evidence as well. DC made Volkan look average after several terrifying KO victories. DC's grappling and crucifix and standing clinch work were also impressive. He slipped the dangerous punches, made Volkan respect his punches, and sucked him into his world. Curtains.

I didn't watch the UFC main card nor the prelims, preferring the Bellator main card with Lima vs Rory and Chandler vs Yamauchi. Rory won 4 of the 5 rounds, despite what looked like an alien growing out of his leg, or a broken leg. He managed to score the takedown in rounds 4 and 5 despite basically using one leg. 
Not a barnburner of a fight as Rory's plan was clearly to take Lima where he wanted and methodically break him down, but despite the leg kick punishment injury, Rory took the title in convincing fashion minus that terrible flop to half-guard/full mount incident after the leg injury. Chandler showed how hard it is to throw up submissions off your back against a top tier guy, especially when you keep the opponent's head in the cage for the better part of each round. If Yamauchi had a more chained together attack instead of semi pulling guard at times it would have been a closer fight. Chandler did the right prep work in camp with head and spine in vertical alignment and heavy hips and judicious punches down. He opted to save it for the third round to emphatically rain down blows but it was a convincing return for the guy who wants to roll it back against Primus.

Shoutout to Bellator for that cringeworthy tv show placement interview: 

Finally got around to watching combat JiuJitsu worlds 1

Some thoughts and reflections:
Half-guard and an opponent who doesn't follow you to the ground was a common problem in some of the matches. The split squat, one knee down, open hand strikes to a bottom opponent in some form of half or open guard led to some pretty forceful strikes. The guy screaming before and during his match with Vagner was hilarious. The competition level was pretty uneven at times with some top tier guys for the format and some guys who were cannon fodder.

That being said, the strikes did provide the temptation in the overtime rounds to cause a couple fellas to lose position. I'd be okay with seeing an additional second overtime round implemented, but this is a minor criticism and not even that, I'm just always interested to see how guys handle the overtime positions and submission attempts vs ride time dynamic.
I like that it lures guys into the bracket that would likely normally be unwilling to do a pure EBI event. The change strikes make to the dynamic does lure in some name fishes to swim in the EBI waters.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Great Moments in Leg Lock History: Kazushi Sakuraba vs Carlos Newton

Couldn't find the full match itself, but you can see the kneebar if you jump to 1:17 of the video embedded below.
Known more for his rivalry with the Gracie family and the Kimura, his record actually reveals a diverse array of finishes with a variety of submissions.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Ultimate Mat Warriors 3 - Heavyweights: Tomorrow in SoCal

I've watched their previous two installments thanks to their being available on ze YouTube. Watch it live tomorrow folks. 

Great Moments in Leg Lock History: Dean Lister vs Saulo Ribeiro

Dean Lister was one of the early  "I don't care that leg locks are frowned upon" guys. Danaher mentioned him on the Joe Rogan Podcast as the guy who in one sentence opened his mind to the notion of legs representing half the body and that it was foolish to ignore half of the body's surface area.
In addition, Dean has fought on most of the major stages in the world both in fighting and competitive grappling.
Let's take it back to the stepover kneebar heard round the world.

Eddie Bravo Releases EBI 15 Lineup

Hot off the presses, big news day in competitive grappling.

Jake Shields vs Kit Dale @ F2W Pro 62

A week before he takes on Craig Jones at Polaris 6, Shields will face the other famous Australian grappler, Kit Dale. 

Heather Hardy Next Opponent Tailor Made

Looks like she'll get a non-grappling centric opponent up next. She's facing a fellow Pro boxer but with less wins and coming off a loss as she is. It's not like you can say she's ducking the grapplers due to the lack of female grappling talent in Bellator and women's MMA, but I'm not sold on the package deal thus far. 

Polaris 6 Adds Benson Henderson be AJ Agazarm for Feb. 17th

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thanks to Twitter Deal - OneFC Saturday Event Broadcast Free

This Saturday in the morning you can watch the prelims for the OneFC event (mainly I care because Masakazu Imanari returns to action).

EBI 15 - Featherweights: Feb 17th

Same day as Polaris 6, bummer. Curious to see what the field looks like for this event. Big name guys tend to go the way of crickets when these cash money paid events come around, weird. Eddie Cummings returns to defend his featherweight title. Word is, Geo Martinez is competing as well. Interested to see a rematch in the final between these two. Already a solid month ahead in February 2018.

Great Moments in Leg Lock History: Minowaman vs Bob Sapp

Say what you will about Bob Sapp. Finishing a guy with legs the size of my torso is what it is.
We'd be remiss to fail to mention Minowaman in this stroll through the early days of leg locks in MMA (well, mixed martial arts of the modern-ish era outside of Vale Tudo).

Pre-Gaming: UFC 220 & Bellator 192 Thoughts/Picks

Rampage va Chael - I think Chael struggles to take Rampage down at times and large parts of the fight are "fought" or leaned on against the cage. Rampage at HW will be hard to take down from the clinch I expect. Toss up for me, I'll take Chael "the voice" by split decision. 

Lima vs MacDonald - does Lima have what it takes to beat the guy who was 2nd best WW in the UFC? It's hard to say. Rory has the advantage in the strength of his resume in spades. I think Rory puts Lima down and submits him. 

Chandler vs Yamauchi - glad he's back and recovered from the leg/ankle snapping fight against Brent Primus. Methinks Primus knows he got out of there with a freak accident win and has t seemed enthused about rematching Chandler. Chandler has wins over Benson Henderson, Pitbull Freire, David Rickels, and Derek Campos. Prior to that he lost twice to Will Brooks and once to Eddie Alvarez. I like Yamauchi, but Chandler's resume speaks for itself. Yamauchi has a talented list of submissions wins and a surprisingly dangerous guard for MMA, but I don't see Chandler spending much time there as his in and out, long stance and powerful straight cross do most of his work for him. Yamauchi lost a decision to a clinch heavy attack from Bubba Jenkins but that was 3 fights ago, unless Yamauchi can stun Chandler with an errant high kick et cetera, I see Chandler winning a clear decision. 

Karakhanyan vs Corrales
K as I'll call him Bc I'm putting these thoughts down on my iPhone/blogger app, is a guy I've always liked watching fight. He comes to win, comes to get stoppages and is virtually always eclectic in his fights. He's for sedwral guillotine wins packed in with a diverse striking attack. Corrales has lost when he bumped up to the upper tier of Bellator's stable (losses to E. Sanchez, Daniel Straus, and Pitbull Friere). I expect a spirited affair but a clear win likely by stoppage from Karkhanyan. 

Pico vs Kruchten - Kruchten's record looks good on paper, but my suspicion is the Bellator brass picked him for that reason, I'll say this -Pico hasn't really taken the softball route when fighting on the big stage. He's fought experience guys, stern tests in their own right, and frankly, it's bitten him before (his debut). Time will tell if he needs to dial it back and work over some beatable folks the way they're doing the Heather Hardy opponent picking for her fights. 

Stipe vs Ngannou - a lot of folks are picking Ngannou. Stipe is a guy who fought Mark Hunt, Werdum, Overeem, Dos Santos, Arlovski, Gonzaga, and Toy Nelson. Barring him aging the way fighters at HW can do in an instant, I think he puts Ngannou on his back and pounds him out in half-guard showing that Ngannou really doesn't know what to do if he doesn't land the big KO. 

DC vs Oezdemir - unless DC gets caught the way he did by a tactical stand-up set-up the way Jon Jones did setting up that high kick, I think DC puts Oezdemir with his striking blended to a takedown to a back take. DC really does put it together well. Putting Anthony Johnson down and finishing him twice the same way (just did it more efficiently the second time).

Almeida vs Font - Almeida has only lost to Cody Garbrandt and Jimmie Rivera. I'll leave it at that. 
Gleison Tibau vs Makhachev - Tibau had never been stopped too Michael Johnson. Since then he's gone he's gone 3-2 after 3 decision wins and 3 losses on the form of an RNC loss to Tony Ferguson and pissing hot for PEDs. Makhachev is part of the burgeoning Dagestani roster in the UFC. He's 3-1 in the UFC with an RNC win, 2 decision wins, and a KO loss to Adriano Martins. Tibau is a stern test for anyone as since he's gone to the UFC he's only been stopped twice and has wins over guys with names like Rafael dos Anjos, Kurt Pellegrino, Rafaello Oliveira, Pat Healy, and a ton of other mid level fighters. This is a stern test and unless Gleison fades due to ring rust, he's too much for the Dagestani native to win over with a decision. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Late to the Party: Eddie Bravo Posted Combat JiuJitsu Worlds 1

Say what you will about the guy, between his approach to NoGi, his EBI ruleset, and his Combat JiuJitsu rule set, the guy has undoubtedly and irreovacably changed the face of modern grappling, or at least created some new niche areas for advancement. I actually briefly met him at the weigh-ins for the Bellator PPV at Madison Square Gardens. Nice guy. Amicable. Crazy to think how instrumental he's been in shaping and driving the Sub Only movement.

Great Moments in Leg Lock History: Genki Sudo vs Butterbean

Are you not entertained? Japan....thank you for the years of absurd matches taking us back to the carnival, barn storming days of challenging the local or not so local tough guys to make a living. 

Thoughts on Danaher on Joe Rogan's Podcast

As a guy who is at Renzo's Mon-Friday each week and occasionally the weekends as well, I'm no stranger to how Danaher can cut through to the base of analysis. I can affirm that he is a genius. How knowledge just of grappling along, Gi or NoGi, confirms this. His knowledge of fighting and the various ways the sports and disciplines intersect is perhaps even more startling. The fact fact that it is one man is even more hard to fathom. This would all be true even were it not for physical limitation brought on by the issues he discussed on the podcast. The dude comes in without fail to teach his classes day in and day out often getting off a late plane flight and/or coming directly back to the gym to teach.  

I'm lucky (by that I meanI packed up my life and left and now have built all my jobs and work and lack of a personal life around training here in NYC under Danaher). In the shadow of his recent involvement in sport grappling it's easy to forget his role in the careers of GSP and Weidman. If excellence and mastery is the ability to replicate performance on demand, it's hard to argue with his ability to coach and be involved in highly successful combat athletes in a way that is transformative and essential and powerful. He's a storehouse of anecdotes, and stories of travel, history, and insight that it just not articulable in words in this blogpost. His name will be in vogue for awhile now because of the podcast, but the man is there day in and day out tirelessly giving of himself to the school and his athletes. It's staggering when you stop and consider his accomplishments even up to this point.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bellator 192 UFC 220 Almost Head to Head

Bellator starts at 9. Frankly, I'm gonna watch Bellator until the co-main events for the UFC. Thomas Almeida is the only guy on the undercard for the UFC whom I'm very interested in. The Bellator main card has Lima, Rory, Kharkaniyan, Chandler can Yamauchi, and of course Chael vs Rampage. I could tune in to watch the building of some UFC potential guys for a couple hours til the co-main event but Lima, Rory, and Chandler are know commodities to me. 

I'll miss the Legends World Tour match between Chael vs Rampage but I expect some good/great fights on the Bellator Undercard. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Least Punching-est Champ Woodley says no one a clear contender

Woodley is straying into Anderson Silva territory. Remember that era where Anderson complained about virtually every contender put before him? Thales Leites & Demian Maia, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen....none of them deserved a shot according to the champ at the time. Despite some abysmal performances like the aforementioned Leites and Maia fights, Anderson talked down virtually every contender. It's not much for hyping a fight when the champ says they're undeserving (and in the event you lose, you end up looking like Garbrandt or Joanna- when you lose decisively to someone you said didn't deserve a shot? Why should you get an immediate rematch?) 
It's no secret Woodley's two lowest punch stay title fight records and the largely passive first fight draw with Thompson have made me by no means a fan. At any rate, Holloway has endeared himself to fans by saying line 'em up. Give me whoever's next. Ferguson did the same with Lee. At any rate, it's curious to see champs demure about fighting whoever comes up next, especially guys with considerable win streaks. Woodley wants a money fight coming off of 3 lackluster title fights in a row. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

UFC Fight Night 124 Reactions

Led off the broadcast I saw with Talita surviving an early drubbing in round one. Didn't agree with the 30-27 scores but she lost nonetheless. 
Usman put on a total snoozer then tried to cut a wrestling promo and wisely called out Covington. Frevola came in a bit over amped and chin up and paid the price. Krause used his wrestling and top game to gut out a decision and with a sweet flying armbar attempt to boot. 

Darren Elkins stole the show for me. I was betting Johnson would fade after round one as he has against others and an ill-advised turtle position half scramble led to his back taken and RNC'd. 

Stephens vs Choi wasn't the instant bloodfest bonanza classic UFC brass was hoping for but it was a violent stoppage for the HL reels. Stephens will probably never compile the consistency for a title shot but hey, not everyone does in the fight game. This weekend we have two title fights (are you out there listening gypsy MMA curse demon?). The HW and LhW belts are on the line. Solid weekend ahead with Bellator unadvisedly going toe to toe with the UFC's title doubleheader. 

A Rose by Any Other Name....Despite Best Efforts Fighters Still Weight Cut Dangerously

Despite banning IV's (though I'm told by guys in the UFC some fighters still game the system), some states implementing how much you can gain back after weighing on, Uriah Hall's collapse en route to weigh-ins is proof the dangerous practice continues. It's also why you see some fighters fade inexplicably toward the first downturn of their career. Weight cutting throughout the year exacts a serious toll on your body's various physiological systems, to say nothing of the concept or rapidly dehydrating your body then rehydrating it then getting punched, kicked and perhaps knee'd in the skull. 
I had two terrible MMA fight performances as a result of cutting too much weight too quickly. At any rate, as usual, a real tragedy sired key attributed to weight cutting will have to happen at the high profile level to force more stern response. 

If nothing else, fans should care because virtually all research suggests and supports the idea that it negatively impacts athletic performance and decision-making. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Whitaker Ruled Ineligible, Yoel Romero to Face Rockhold

So Yoel the cheatingest rule bendingest Jesus loving dude in MMA will fight for the belt. Sigh. 
Same day we lose the Alves/Cummings fight and Hall cuts so much weight he faints and has a seizure and scraps his fight with Belfort. Gypsy curse on full auto today, folks.

Zak Cummings uses the Zab Judah Weight Cut Line

Man. The crazy weird things that happen these days when guys need to make weight. Their bodies inexplicably shut down despite sweating the cut was going great. They get mysterious viruses. They slip on banana peels. Bruh. C'mon man. Zab Judah once famously dos the shower slip excuse right before a fight. 

Not Sure if Excited for UFC Fight Night 124 Stephens vs Choi or Just a Hardcore Fan

Stephens vs Choi
The phrases "Just Bleed" and "stand n' bang" come to mind. I don't care much for this bout, nor do I care much for waiting around all night to see it. Lots of overblown words and narrative building about heart and grit and determination and guts will be thrown around for as long as this fight lasts. I see it unfortunately for the long term brain health of both men going the distance of 5 rounds.

Belfort vs Hall - UFC throws one last aging veteran at Hall in an attempt to parlay some shine onto Hall who has just fluctuated up and down wildly at times in the UFC and on TUF. I don't frankly care about this bout and will probably be dozing off by the time it starts.

Usman vs Meek
Usman has pieced together 6 wins in a row in the UFC, capping off his last performance with a dominant stoppage of Sergio Moraes (his notches include the likes of Sean Strickland, Warley Alves and other beginning tier opposition. Meek on the other hand took a decision win over Jordan Mein and beat the notorious Rousimar Palhares overseas in his two most recent fights). Usman is as stern a debut test as one could find, but methinks Usman also had looked good because of who he has faced. Moraes looked flat and tentative from the outset of Usman's last bout. Credit to Usman for making the most of it, but otherwise, I'm largely unsold on Usman's fights thus far having seen 4-5 of them.

Elkins vs Johnson
Elkins coming off a win over game Bermudez, Johnson off of a loss to Khabib and Gaethje but before that beat Dustin Poirier and before that losses to Beneil Dariush & Nate Diaz but before that he beat Edson Barboza. Man. I didn't realize it until pulling up his record but Johnson has faced murderer's row of experienced and dangerous guys in the UFC. Elkins has piled up 5 wins, but against far less notable competition.

Krause vs White
Krause won several TUF fights despite showing the penchant for fading at times in his fights in terms of cardio. Frustratingly he also shows great promise in instances in his fights. He's beaten the likes of Jamie Varner, Toby Imada, Sam Stout, and Shane Campbell. White got here by picking up wins over Artem Lobov and Mitch Clarke while dropping fights to Tony Martin, Clay Collard, and a couple others. I don't think either guy is exceptional but Krause should win via a slighter better resume and time spent in the TUF House grinder.

Alves vs Cummings
Cummings somehow managed to get injured within a day or two of the fight so this one is off. Poor Alves. Dude has had a run of bad luck in his career at times. Bummer. This was going to be a good scrap.