Saturday, March 31, 2018

Kasai 2 Card set & add'l match format info

An interesting spread of match formats for this one: the Grand Prix is 6 min matches allowing all submissions and IBJJF scoring. The Superfights and he undercard provide an additional bevy of format options both Gi and NoGi:
The short match time and now that the cat's out of the bag as to his tools, will be interesting to see how Craif Jones stacks up against position and solid points experienced competitors in Diniz and Jackson. I expect a lot of knee wrestling from them as counters to Jones' danger off his back. I got to see Jones train first hand for a week when he was at RGA awhile back, funny dude, interested to see how his game has changed evolved while traveling and competing and being on the road basically nonstop since his ADCC performance.  

The Superfights offer an interesting mix of formats with no true EBi format offering (I have to guess/suspect some competitors refusing to agree to EBi overtime rounds):
And last but not least the undercard with a dearth of primarily east coast talent waging war for bragging rights and jumping up in exposure: 

Hard not to be incredibly excited for this one when it streams on flograppling: the Grand Prix alone is worth it but the super fights and up and coming talent on the undercard all culminate in a deep pool of talent for a grappling card. The jump up in talent from Kasai's first card to its second (and by no means am I saying the first event wasn't impressive) is considerable. They're really pulling no punches. 


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Hey Guys! Toquinho fights next week...

In case you still follow his career, he's plying his unpredictable wares over in Russia for FightNights Global. Event should be found for free streaming online at VK.Com/fightnightsofficial
We've come a loooong way from UFC's being borderline illegal in various states in the US or only on PPV. What a time to be a fan. After competing yesterday i watched the Cage Warriors Super Saturday card on UFC Fight Pass which is only a measly $10 a month. What a bargain. 

Kasai 2 - 3 Superfights

The Grand Prix MW aside, two of the Superfights are pretty high stakes. After slaying several 10th Planet black belts, Nicky Ryan faces Geo Martinez. Renato defends his Kasai title against Eddie Cummings who's been largely MIA from competition since winning EBI at featherweight and losing in the finals to Geo at Bantamweight.

UFC Accounces Darren Till VS Wonderboy Thompson

It's official. 

Kneebar from Grappling Industries NYC Yesterday

Shoutout to my teammates and coaches for getting me there and ready to win 3 matches in under 3 minutes of mat time, all via leg lock (2 heel hooks and this kneebar).
Also a quick shoutout to Kneebar king of leg locks because I started drilling kneebars before I moved to NYC and it was a big help with some of the details before I had access to leg lock firepower at Renzo's in NYC.

Heel Hook from Grappling Industries NYC Yesterday

Shout to to my coaches and teammates for getting me there and prepared. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Garry Tonon One FC Debut tomorrow 830am EST. Mehrdad Janzemini 2pm EST on Cage Warriors

Garry Tonon makes his MMA debut for One FC tomorrow at 830am EST (streaming on Twitter) and Mehrdad '9 Shots' Janzemini fights tomorrow at 2pm EST for Cage Warriors (available on Fight Pass). 

Watch Khabib UFC 223 Training Camp Episode 2

Watched the first one the other day and here's the second one:
No new territory charted in this one, they've left out any real sparring footage/striking and included only some short clips more playfully grappling and fighting for takedowns than anything, a testament to the intensity of the pressure of this title fight and the respect for Ferguson as an opponent.
They show some footage of interviewing Khabib's father, and head/original coach, and he emphasizes the choices men face and their expectations in Dagestan and the reality of growing up there and sport as a viable career and in service of the strength of their nation in uncertain times. 

This fight has me as excited for a UFC fight since Conor faced Alvarez for the title, insomuch as I fully expect a lot of grappling as well, and I'm exceedingly interested to see how this fight unfolds. Ferguson is tough and his penchant for fighting through adversity is what I really hope to see take Khabib through 5 grueling rounds.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Anastasia Yankova Joins Bellator 200 in May

I've been starting to dig into Bellator's women's divisions as the UFC divisions are already full of mismatches like Schevchenko fight we watched Mario Yamasaki officiate. I dug up some info on one of the fighters I did recall from press and media: Anastasia Yankova. Ruling her flyweight division is Llima-lei Macfarlane who last saw action winning the inaugural belt in November. It's problematic because Anastasia hasn't even made the flyweight limit in her past two Bellator performances but this is the state of the growing pains of women's MMA as it comes into its own. As the divisions are thin, the fan in me wishes the UFC just had all the talent but competing organizations will drive up the pay for fighters and press from one organization will carry over should fighters switch bosses as contracts expire. But with Schevchenko looking to take the strap at 135 in the UFC, Anastasia on a few years may be on tap to face her. 

Rafael Dos Anjos vs Colby Covington for Interim Belt in Rio

City might erupt into flames/martial law declared....

Sunday, March 18, 2018

IBJJF Team Closeouts: Eyeroll

Closing out blue, purple, brown, and women's belt divisions and depriving the spectators of a final.....bruh. Booooooooooring. If you can fight it out in the gym you can do it with people watching. 

Kasai 2 - April 14th Preview: How it Looks Thus Far

Streaming on Flograppling......HERE. We. Go. 

The Grand Prix by itself is worth tuning in to see. 
We've got....a bunch of guys coming off of productive recent months: 
Craig Jones - coming off of the ADCC performance last fall, recently winning the Polaris MW belt whilst facing and submitting Jake Shields and looking for a better showing than his last Kasai match which was a debatable points/loss against Murilo Santana. 
Boogeyman Martinez - recently won the Combat JiuJitsu WW title in a bracket format event.
Dante Leon - following a successful run at black belt, he's moved up to black belt and is competing still in both Gi and NoGi with a combination of takedowns top and bottom, and solid submission wins to his credit 
DJ Jackson
Kasai Pro Qualifiers winner: Calvanese - won the Kasai 2 qualifer event this past March facing a stiff pool of competitors and beating LeClerc of Tristar in the finals on points 
Matheus Diniz - always on the grind in the IBJJF events (having also previously competed in EBI). Interested to see what his gameplan is for 6 minute matches in a pool of competitors with such diverse styles. 
And 2 spots as yet unnanounced for the bracket......

In addition, there are superfights announced:
Nicky Ryan vs Geo Martinez
Eddie Cummings vs Renato Canuto
Frank Rosenthal vs Zach Maslany 

UFC London Fight Night 127: Thoughts and Reflections.....?

Tuned in to see the main card.

Sobotta and Edwards fought an uneventful bout, Edwards turned it up as Sobotta just sorta ended up on bottom and Edwards got the "stoppage" with 1 second left. Unremarkable. Edwards would then predictably call out Till after that but Edwards will get obliterated if he fights the way he did last night against Till.

Ware vs Duquesnoy: the weight cut seemed to take the pep outta Duquesnoy's step in rounds 2 and 3. Had Ware pressed with some takedowns instead of passable standup he could've taken a decision pretty handily.

Blachowicz vs Manuwa
I didn't expect much from this rematch but Manuwa made it one by having not evolved at all and Blachowicz has made some legitimate strides. Blachowicz landed some solid combos that hurt Manuwa and combined with some well-timed takedowns, Manuwa's one-dimensional style was effectively exposed. They immediately started talking a third match (shut up commentators and Dan Hardy) and let's let the LHW division move forward as DC is now moved up for a HW title shot and Gustaffson and Oezdemir and others are all sitting around ready to brawl.

Volkov landed some flurries to Werdum's forearms at times, but looked completely beatable as an opponent. Werdum never kicked it into high gear to put Volkov and ultimately paid the price for not putting him away, by getting clipped by a combo and then finished in the 4th round. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Garry Tonon MMA Debut Next Weekend

Nearly 3 years ago I came up to visit NYC. I trained at Renzo's and knew I would come back and join the team. Having been there for the past nearly two years, I've seen a lot of guys walk in the door and say the same thing. A lot of guys who come train for a week, promise to return and don't. Few guys make the jump and move to NYC or surrounding areas, in fact, no one has that I'm aware of since I did it. 
About a year after visiting, I bit the bullet and moved. I'm coming up on two years in NYC and training at RGA. To put things in perspective. It was less than two weeks before Gordon Ryan would become known to a broader grappling public by winning the EBI Absolute. Everything Gordon has done since then is deserving of it's own post to chronicle the trajectory of his meteoric rise to fame and notoriety in the ensuing two years. I choose not to post about the ins and outs of the academy as that's not what the blog is for nor was started for long before I made the jump to the greatest city on earth. 

At any rate, in the  2 years meantime I mentioned, Garry would win EBI 155 lb division (cutting down pretty short notice when Eddie Cummings withdrew from an injury), then EBI 205 lb division, and EBI  the lightweight title yet again very soon after his ADCC appearance. At any rate, I've gotten to see the day in and day out work getting ready for his MMA debut next weekend and like with all things done at RGA, an organized plan of development will be on display. 
Can't wait. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Absolut Championship Berkut MMA Signs Marcin Held

They've locked up the absolute vast majority of Gi competitors for JiuJitsu competition in the past two years. Does this begin a slide toward aggressive signings in MMA? 

Thoughts on Wardzinski's Upcoming 3rd Match Facing Felipe Pena at ACB 12

Some macro dissection and them some specifics I've noticed in watching the progression from their first encounter which ended in a submission win for Pena to the match under ACB rules going the distance more recently which Pena got the win as well (but no finish). The jump from Wardzinkski's performance where he got strangled versus the second time he want around going to distance has me wondering how Wardzinkski will do coming off of quite a bit of competition experience and wins in the meantime when they do it for the second time under ACB rules and the third time overall. The rule regarding no guard pulling without penalty for the first minute and the lack of advantages do create some different match dynamics but also the 5 minute round length as well rather than if this were an IBJJF length black belt adult match.

As a bit of prep I watched Wardzinski's match with Magalhaes (another big, heavy, tough to sweep experienced competitor. That match is a lot of Magalhaes just sitting on top resisting sweeps and almost not real legit attempts to pass or take any chances. It wasn't much of a showing on his part. Wardzinski's utilized an X-guard to toe hold attack to sweep and almost take the back, and later another almost sweep from bottom from an X or Reverse X-guard type position. I have to assume Vinny's plan was to sit on his hooks for as long as possible in an attempt to wear them out. Magalhaes slows by the third round and the sweep that almost scored in round 2 is successful as Magalhaes doesn't break space/retreat and clear a foot/grip to get back to his feet and stop the momentum as Wardzinski follows him to top position. Wardzinski immediately looks to pass and Vinny didn't offer much resistance. Vinny would later recompose his guard and look to score with a Z-guard position but ultimately Wardzinski retained top position and rode out the clock and winning on the strength of points scored in that round.

So, onto Wardzinski's first time facing Pena and some initial thoughts: Pena is a more aggressive passer and his longer frame immediately looks to pose a greater threat to Wardzinski's favored butterfly-x-reverse-x positions. Wardzinksi nearly scored with a sweep as he used his single leg x/butterfly hook to get deep underneath and uproot and roll Pena but Pena recovered before points for the sweep could be scored. The early going from bottom is classic Wardzinski utilizing a 2 on 1 grip at sleeve and behind the tricep grip to then reach for Pena's belt. Pena responded by posting with his free right hand and intermittently framing against Wardzinski's face.
Wardzinski reached high over the back with or for the belt grip (can't see from the angle and as he want back, Pena was able to smash his lone butterfly hook and this aaaaaaaaalmost conceded the pass for Pena into what looks like an insanely heavy side control. I also can't tell if Pena's left arm which Wardzinski had locked in the 2 on 1 sleeve and tricep grip was punching down or gripping one of Wardzinski's knees or pants also blocked from view by the angle). Wardzinski fought out before points and recomposed his guard. Fast forward and Pena's standing passing powers him through to a double under position which gets him the stack style pass and into a heavy side mount then back attack as Wardzinski scrambles and concedes the mount and in the midst of efforts to escape Pena chains together strangles to eventually finish an ezekiel choke.

Their second match picks up right where the other began, with Pena standing passing and forcing his way through to pant grips and Wardzinski inverting and scrambling to avoid Pena's standing passing. By this time, Wardzinski is utilizing more single leg X positions in his game but as he goes tall to sweep with it Pena just steps out and immediately collapses down into a heavy passing position. Pena isn't a guy I've studied in depth but the variety of passing styles he utilizes did surprise me in watching this match. That combined with his length and frame and size is kinda terrifying to watch as a guard player myself. Wardzinski has new tricks by now as well with a nice double sleeve grip knee lever style sweep which he combines with his usual butterfly sweep to great effect in combo nearly toppling Pena over. In particular, Pena's mix of passing to force inverstion, grabbing the back of the pants, and also collapsing his long frame down into half-guard pose murderous problems for any guard player.
Pena literally appears to smile when Wardzinski got for single leg X, then Pena gets to the back as Wardzinski attempts to keep Pena's left leg/foot isolated to no avail.
Overall, Wardzinski accounts himself much better and I suspect the 5 min rounds actually better suit Wardzinski because I have to assume that in that second round had Pena gotten to his back midway through a 10 minute IBJJF round, it would've probably been another strangle finish.

Dillon Danis Bellator Opponent & Debut Set

Let's just hope he doesn't get Aaron Pico'd. This is a softball for him to hit out the park, so we'll see. April 28th party people.....

Thursday, March 15, 2018

ACB 13 - May 5th - Taking shape with Gi and NoGi Matches

Gordon Ryan aims to take out another ADCC champ. Also features Buchecha vs Rocha & Lo vs Arges for ACB titles. AJ Sousa gets to face Romulo Barral which is I guess a match to make. I'd say AJ doesn't deserve it but kinda the point of ACB is to make some matches we might not otherwise see. Overall, already worth tuning into. 

With Amanda Nunes Booked, Now Cyborg wanna talk big

Le sigh. I know Cyborg ain't talking aboutsomeone  else fighting someone not really in their weight class. 
So Y'know....

Cyborg should be glad anyone seen as a semi-legitimate threat wants to fight her because this execution-import train of women in their UFC debut who aren't even in her weight class that culminated in that first round stoppage last go round isn't really that entertaining. The promise of violence that they billed as Mike Tyson like just isn't as overall appealing when it's two women. Say what you want, or disagree, but I haven't seen audiences as willing to be invested in it the way they were Tuson, and to be frank, it's not been much Tyson-Esque stoppages of late, more like her opponents folding before even actually being violently put away all Evinger and Kunitskaya.

ACB 12 Card Announced: Bonkers of course

The same night as Kasai 2. Le sigh.
Hard to ignore 3 grappling title matches. The amount of solid grappling and by solid I mean truly elite level grappling going on throughout the year is exponentially higher than even 3-4 years ago. What a time to be a grappling enthusiast. Wardzinski really has his work cut out for him as do Quexinho and Chantre. I don't see Chantre getting past Joao by any means as Joao's insistence on the back will likely be Samir's undoing but the 5 min rounds with a minute restriction on unpenalized guard pulls means Joao has 4 minutes to work. Expect a lot of borderline disengaging by Samir as I don't see him passing Joao's guard by any stretch of the imagination. Samir has a solid anti-JiuJitsu game he uses to much effect in NoGi ala his last ACB NoGi match vs Tomoyuki, but in the Gi when he can't flee, and there's more grips, he won't be able to do much with Joao. 

Wardzinski has a loss at the UAE Pro Final in 2017 (by submission/strangle) and a loss in an ACB title match more recently. At any rate, Wardzinski has gotten more competitive with Pena each time (more on that in another post). 
Quexinho likewise has his work cut out for him with Paulo. Quexinho is coming off the podium at the Pans (3rd) for the 5th year in a row, and Paulo is still serving his two year suspension for steroids. Paulo's been staying busy doing UAEJJF and ACB events so I don't think his hiatus from IBJJF events will be much of a hindrance. As for Wardzinski Pena is the type of guy to absolutely test his butterfly guard. Pena's length and frame is the kryptonite to the game but Wardzinkski has truly had a breakout year. Pena would be world champ but a pesky steroid piss test took that title from him. I think Pena is still a bit too much for Wardzinksi over 5 rounds but it's a stepping stone to the experience Wardzinski needs on his way to a possible black belt world title in the future.  The rest of the event is ridiculous as well with everyone from Hinger to Najmi to Calasans. 

Kasai 2 Delivers the Heat: Nicky Ryan vs Geo Martinez

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Finally Got Around to Watching Polaris 6

Ffion Davies beat an undersized opponent with pretty one-dimensional smash passing, advancing to 3/4 mount, re-passing, hunting for the head-arm choke but then transitioning to S-mount for an armbar. 
Matuda finished her outmatched opponent after she stuck her foot basically into an ankle lock. Marcin Held had a quick leg lock transition then knees hikes guard he used to transition to an armbar nearly lifted off the mat but adjusted the bite with his legs and got the armbar finish. Benson Henderson kept the heat and takedowns on AJ Sousa who seemed to wilt a bit under the physical bullying and talk of Benson Henderson. Benson dominated with forcing AJ to turtle and driving him out of bounds and off the stage multiple times. AJ shot some low singles and doubles in efforts to then reverse but Benson was
Having none of it and minus a semi close armbar-kimura transition, didn't have much to show for his half of the 15 mins of the match. 
Craig Jones utilized his z guard briefly to transition to a leg lock and it looked like Shields hesitated between deciding. Where playing legs or just bailing and that cost him. 
There was another match between Grimshaw and Canha that was positional passing and side mount et cetera but that I skimmed through almost to the end.   

Mackenzie Dern Returns to Octagon May 12 - UFC 224 in Brazil

Wonder how thick her accent eill be post fight for that one....

Polaris Squad for Sakuraba's Grappling Team Promotion (Quintet) Announced

Monday, March 12, 2018

Two IBJJF Podium diseases

1) Athletes failing to disclose it was a non-adult division titles when posting online. Great you won, just mention it's Master 2 et cetera. You didn't forget to mention the weight class, so call it what it is. It's not the same as winning adult and don't pretend it is. Omission is what it is. 

2) It was only a matter of time before guys and gals closing out started telling themselves they both won first. That's now how that works. You guys wanna handshake it out or flip a coin, whatevs, but you don't get to not fight for the final and say you both won. That's just not how that works. It's already lame for spectators to see athletes not face one another for the final, but to jump on to saying you both won first is....nah buddy. You guys didn't face one another, doesn't mean you both get to say you won. 

PFL (formerly WSOF) Signs Story and Brooks for $1million Tourney

Well, two recognizable names are attached. I keep habitant flashbacks to this IFL when I see a huge mma format begin this way, but hey, Bellator survived long enough to find its own nice, all things are possible, right?

Kasai Announces Eddie Cummings vs Renato Canuto Superfight

Kasai has doubled down on putting together superfights to accompany their Grand Prix format. An already stacked middleweight Grand Prix which features the likes of Craig Jones, DJ Jackson, Matheus Diniz, Boogeyman, and Dante Leon. 

Quick 2018 Pans Black Belt Champ List

Single Rory MacDonald Sponsor Paid more than entire Reebok Payout at UFC Austin

To the tune of $250,000.
Premier organization in the world? Hard to say it when single sponsors are paying a fighter more than your entire athlete payout for an event. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

I saw the IBJJF Pan Ams USADA flyer

Comically, it's taking place during the first day of the only group who's tested (black belt adult). Saw this lonesome lil' guy in the stairwell down to the warm up area. Then I was treated to watching some Teens and masters divisions...suspiciously some Teens looking comically ripped compared to just a year ago. High school sports is as a whole in America untested (something like three states have anything resembling a testing program) and the piss test cannot actually be supervised due to their status as minors et cetera. Even when it was in Texes with a multi million dollar program, 60 kids opted to not take the test. Nothing to see there. With several thousand competitors at he Pans, simple math is if you test 10 athletes (black adult belt divisions) out of even just 1000, you're only testing .01. 
Pans will end up having something like several thousand total by the time it's all said and done. In a sport where the only testing is one day per year and entire divisions are completely untested....I mean, c'mon, is it all hard work and Jesus? 

Slow News Day: Boxer Tweets UFC

The Mayweather protege is following the PBF script and drumming up some free publicity by saying he wants to fight in the UFC. Blah. Slow day otherwise for MMA because this month only has two UFC's and a Bellator to boast did we ever get by in the days of a few UFC's per year? And only on PPV?