Wednesday, July 31, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Gordon/Pena Verbal Sparring, AJ Holdeth Choke, Dern Takes Strawweight Fight for Return?

Dern is the most weight missing-est fighter in women's mma, so after a long layoff and carrying a human inside of her, what are the odds she makes weight? Speaking of weight misses, Burns who came in heavy for a bunch of grappling matches (Kasai & Polaris) is now going to move up for his UFC career to welterweight.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Urijah Faber Starting Grappling Team Event, Craig Jones Supergroup, Mousasi Still Takin' Shots at Lovato

Mmmm. Craig Jones' squad looking like: Jake Shields, Nick Rodriguez, Lachlan Giles, and Edwin Najmi. That's a hard group to best across the weight classes, though what is the weight combined total allowed for the event? Will be interesting to see this come to fruition.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

UFC 240: Holloway Cruises/Cyborg Looks Human, Abu Dhabi Pro BJJ Japan: Doederlein Wrecks Shop, & Fight2Win Weekend Wrap-Up

Holloway never took many chances against Edgar. It was clear coming off of losing in front of his kid to Dustin Poirier, retain the title and cruise to a comfortable win was the game plan. He shrugged off takedowns, and only once really poured on a patented Holloway 10 piece combo, and when he looked to have hurt Edgar still didn't pour it on.

Cyborg looks strangely human any time she fights a woman nearly her size. Spencer was hurt a couple times but Cyborg didn't have the gas to put her away when she did, and found herself pressed up against the cage. I'm actually interested to see her fight Kayla. I think Kayla would drag Cyborg down off the cage the way other women have not, and Cyborg against a woman she doesn't manhandle in the clinch or put on the backfoot looks quite different from the wrecking ball she was when fighting Japanese women 20 lbs smaller than her et cetera, or puffed up bantamweights who have never really even been in her weight class. Call it what you want, but you wouldn't give the same dominating legend status to a guy who spent over a decade beating up guys coming up from a different weight class one after another, so I will remain an outspoken critic of Cyborg the same way I find the Gabi Garcia fights with women with virtually no pro fights and who are almost my mom's age a fluff record with no meaningful wins.

The rest of the card was passable if not basically a bunch of fight pass level prelims streamed as a main card. Niko Price waged war til he got slept taking punches while playing guard. Aubin-Mercier lost a crucial third round and got out single-legged and out volume'd on the feet to a decision loss. Tucker actually put on a good scrap utilizing improved chain wrestling to get to the back and finish his opponent face down, ass up as they say.

It figures the first time I'm actually awake through an entire main card it's a UFC on Fox if even that, more like a Fight Night level card. Cyborg vs someone and Holloway vs Edgar sold the event, but the rest was padding if I ever saw it.

On to the other combat sports event this weekend:
Doederlein absolutely crushing the lightweight competition at the King of the Mats in Japan...5 submissions in 6 matches, thankfully disproving that high level black belt matches (all under 6 minutes too!) has to be as boring as watching paint dry. The other guys for their part engaged in pull your pants down/grab ankles matches rife with penalties with a couple other submissions (Cleber for his part made for some entertaining matches and a stepover/spinning kneebar FTW), but had it not been for Doederlein it would have been a crucially boring event to watch through. 6 minute matches and guys burning the first minute to 90 seconds refusing to come on top. Doederlein hit armbars, some nice sweeps, a kimura reversal from standing, his ankle lock of doom (I asked him about it at a recent seminar he did in NYC - which btw, super nice guys, super helpful walking around during the drilling portion of the seminar and approachable to answer questions, 10/10 would highly recommend his seminars).

But, the tide is turning, folks. The penalties are beginning to come forth, and soon, much like Judo and Wrestling, if JiuJitsu would be a spectator sport, these silly ankle grabbing-fest and refusing to do anything more than try to berimbolo underneath for 5 minutes straight will fade into obsolescence. You heard it here first.

On that note there was also a Fight2Win this weekend....some of the Sub Only matches are the same: Johnson vs Spriggs was Spriggs throwing the same head post and ankle grab cartwheel style pass for 5 minutes then faking two foot lock attempts with 20 seconds left. Thanks for showing up guys....not. A Judo match stole the show with a beautiful footsweep to step over lapel strangle finish. JT Torres didn't get bullied by Vagner's endless rough collar ties and chest shoves/jabs, wrestled him down, passed, mounted or nearly mounted, and almost took his back. Vagner's ADCC gameplan works if he harasses/fouls you into taking a bad shot, but he simply will not shoot of his own accord other than the most sparingly, and as a result, if his foul you into irritation plan doesn't work/kimura you as you take him down, it's unlikely he'll win ADCC as I expect them facing one another this fall at ADCC again will look exactly the same.

I spend a lot of my Igram content flaming various matches, but Padilla put on a great match with Dom Hoskins hammering through to a leg lock finish. We managed a couple other foot locks and a kneebar win earlier on the card as well, giving hope to the growth of JiuJitsu as a spectator sport outside of butt flopping and ankle grabbing. 

A Lot of the Abu Dhabi Lightweight KOTM Matches...

Saturday, July 27, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Dillon Moves Up, Dante Leon in ADCC, Gordon Ryan Talks Moving Goalposts, et al

It has been interesting watching the ever changing standard and rhetoric surrounding Gordon's success. He pretty succinctly addresses it here: first it was who has he beaten? how will he do without heel hooks? then it was how would he do in IBJJF? then it was why doesn't he compete Gi et cetera.

Roger, who's been the stalwart competitor they reference as being about the basics et cetera is now re-branding as being progressive and modern. I guess marketing is marketing, people.

Monday, July 22, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Tonon vs Hall Dream Match-Up, Yuri Wrestling Superfight? et al

Fight2Win Bringing High End Matches this Weekend: JT Torres vs Vagner Rocha

As a kid, I would have to trick my mom into renting UFC's on VHS from Blockbuster. The fact that since then we've moved to multiple organizations, the content was on FOX for awhile, there's PFL & Bellator, we've had a reality show for however many unwatchable seasons...and now there's grappling content week after week and every month, well, it's a great time to be a competitor and/or a fan.

At any rate, this weekend, Fight2Win is bringing us more matches....
Saturday night spotlights:
Main Event
Wleter Weight NOGI Black Belt Title
Vagner Rocha (Fight Sports) vs JT Torres (Essential BJJ)
Co Main Event
220lbs Black Belt NOGI
Tim Spriggs (TLI) vs Tex Johnson
165lbs Black Belt GI
Claudia Doval (De La Riva) vs Maria Malyjasiak (Abmar Barbosa)

Vagner Rocha vs JT Torres, which stylistically is a bad match-up for Vagner. Vagner rarely shoots, and JT's wrestling as highlighted in the last ADCC is more offensive than Vagner's "foul you until you get frustrated and take a bad shot" game plan. Elsewhere on the card Spriggs faces the guy who left NYC amid a rape accusation and has slowly begun to reappear with a losing effort to Craig Jones and now this match.  Spriggs recently beat Bones at the NY Pro in a hotly contested match with much of the crowd boo'ing over stalling, takedown or fleeing the boundary points and a pass that wasn't awarded points as well. Probably the most controversial match of the event with a ton of people watching, a ton of people booing, and a ton of questionable calls.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

UFC on ESPN 4 Recap & Reflections: Harris Sleeps Oleinik, Edwards Delivers, Pennington Cruises...

I tuned in for a fair bit of the prelims and part of the main card, caught up on 'tings from the main card today.

I rarely bet on HW fights for the exact reason Harris clipped Oleinik in 12 seconds. Big dudes, someone might get slept. Meanwhile Arlovski and Rothwell about beat one another into retirement. Both guys were exhausted at the close of three very hard fought rounds. Arlovski is 40, still dangerous, and has shored up some of the defensive holes in his game, but this fight has me worried about his ability to fight 5 rounds in a title fight, especially with the likes of the gas tank of guys like Stipe or DC. Anyhow, the former champ is still dangerous, and is now on a 4 or 5 fight win streak, which is more than a lot of guys ever put together in the HW division. Rothwell for his part is still always dangerous, his awkward Frankenstein lurching stand-up style notwithstanding and is a tall order to beat for everyone on any given day, and even the more experienced vets in the division as he took Ivanov to a 5 round decision, beat Barnett and has faced my competent fighters in his career.

Pennington won, but despite her win streak, she poses no threat whatsoever to Nunes. Her post fight speech about working on her hands sounds good, but she will get picked apart with straight jabs and crosses by Nunes as he comes forward square, has no level changes to any takedown options, and offers virtually no threat to the champ or any other competent striker who circles off the cage or chains together striking with takedowns from the clinch.

Edwards did a lot of semi subtle things well against RDA: he stayed just out of range of RDA's low kick at virtually all times, ate very few of them, he kept RDA slightly out of punching range as he was the shorter/stockier man, landed errant high kicks that RDA checked but look good to judges, controlled the clinch by pressing RDA against the cage, picked up the first round on the scorecards with that duck under/well-timed takedown, would set in one hook as RDA would look for the kimura and cage walk to try and peel him off. Edwards never seemed interested in pouring it on, but he fought a much smarter fight than I would've given him credit for. I kept finding myself fast forwarding to how this fight would look against a true welterweight with a similar style (Masvidal). Masvidal also is content to counter, cirlce, pot shot and occasionally has he dials in your tells/style, pour it on in later rounds 3-5. Both men have a resume of work worthy of a title shot, and frankly, I'd like to see Masvidal get the title shot, then Edwards afterward. Masvidal has collected the bigger scalps and deserves a title shot after fight practically everyone else in the division over the past however many years.

I think Masvidal beats him most of the times they fight (in or out of a cage) as Edwards showed a real lack of ability or wherewithal to lead the fight with RDA. When he punches first, it's a very state, reaching/pushing jab/cross combo, feet planted and heavy, and his gameplan to plant just beyond range and counter will simply not work against Masvidal who is much more fleet of foot, sticks out his jab and hook with speed and pop, and has a less predictable set of tools he'll be using which Edwards will have to counter.

Hardy picked up another stoppage win but given the stuff you've read, I'm not gonna spend any time belaboring what that means or doesn't mean. It's hard to tell if his opponent was out or staying deep on the single leg, but the ref stopped it so yet again we're left with some uncertainty as to a Hardy finish/ability et cetera. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Ryan Hall Talks Kron, Dubious Dom does Judo, Gunnar Nelson Eyes Funky Town

A lot to unpack here. Gabi Garcia *fought a woman old enough to be my grandmother and was a retired pro wrestler* is willing to fight Julia Budd who she outweights by 40 lbs or more. I'd hope so, I mean she's been beating up women old enough to be her mom and undersized for her entire career. Ryan Hall's at #14 in the rankings after his one sided win over Elkins.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

JitzKing & Subversiv 2 Recap & Reflections

JitzKing brought together some solid names such as Cocco, Martinez & Combs for both a bracket and superfights.

Combs positionally managed to pass and take Martinez's back which I will admit caught me by surprise. Cocco dropped a leg lock loss to Tackett, the up and coming (hate that phrase) purple belt from CheckMat who is staying busy this year and picking up solid wins at Midwest Finishers Sub Only, this event, and others.

Some entertaining matches but wildly disparate scoring in terms of how long guys needed positions to be scored, resetting out of bounds or not et cetera. It always drives me insane all the effort that goes into an event in terms of planning, getting guys on board, booking superfights, arranging sponsors.....only then to have the actual matches marred by rules that are wildly inconsistently enforced, unenforced at all (see the Cummings headbutt incidents and guys literally running circles rather than engaging at the last Rise Invitational et cetera), or just improperly scored. Tackett beat some solid competition, but especially the Cocco match was a big scalp for him to collect en route to winning this event.

Subversiv 2: DJ Jackson put on his standard "inaction" match gameplan winning by eking out ride time with a style as aesthetically pleasing as watching two guys ankle grab and butt scoot. If only a guard pass existed where you could inch forward on both knees, head low and squeezing the guy for 2-5 minutes at time...if only. If only the human body were built differently I guess, right?

Miyao against Geo: Miyao did the standard of egg beater motions with the legs and desperately trying a toe hold with no control over the leg being attacked and while useful for praying for advantages in the closing seconds of IBJJF matches or other rule sets, just looks silly and fake in a sub only format. If Geo had tapped to a foot lock of those mechanics he'd probably have to burn his NoGi gear and hang himself in a closet in California to appease the grappling Gods. Geo for his part never committed to a sustained guard pass attack, opting to continually kneel, place his knee in the middle, then look to roll thru to the truck, or untie the knots presented by various semi plausible attacks by Miyao. All this would be for not as the experience and years training for EBI format took over in the OT when Geo strangled Miyao from the back in the first OT round.

The Judo matches were passable, with some solid repertoire of throws and a nice spin/far side armbar finish snuck in there and a nice break of pace in a card filled with NoGi and JiuJitsu matches. F2Win has likely hit on a real crowd pleasing format in terms of a variety of skillsets, and therefore a less monotonous event format for crowds that brings in a more diverse set of grapplers/skillsets.

When I return to competing and my knee is 100% and I'm back wrestling/training Judo again regularly, I find it hard to believe that I won't put in an application for a Judo rules match. 2020, folks, you heard it here first. 

Bellator Announces Featherweight Grand Prix First Round Match-Ups With a Twist.....

In an additional twist, they'll be rebracketing after the first round, which, oddly enough, kinda refutes the purpose of a y'know...bracket. Why redo the whole bracket after first round if not to have some control over the outcome throughout the process?
It's a bit suspicious to me frankly if not also simply against the spirit of having a bracket in the first place. It leads to questions about influence over who will face who when beyond just the initial draw which is always the achilles heel of how a bracket is done unless totally randomized by a lottery draw.

"On Monday, Bellator announced the field for its 16-man featherweight tournament, which gets underway in September with four opening-round bouts each at Bellator 226 and Bellator 228.
They are as follows:
Bellator 226
  • Pedro Carvalho vs. Sam Sicilia – featherweight tournament opening round
  • Derek Campos vs. Daniel Straus – featherweight tournament opening round
  • Adam Borics vs. Pat Curran – featherweight tournament opening round
  • Tywan Claxton vs. Emmanuel Sanchez – featherweight tournament opening round
Bellator 228
  • Champ Patricio Freire vs. Juan Archuleta – for featherweight title, featherweight tournament opening round
  • Georgi Karakhanyan vs. A.J. McKee – featherweight tournament opening round
  • Darrion Caldwell vs. Henry Corrales – featherweight tournament opening round
  • Saul Rogers vs. Daniel Weichel – featherweight tournament opening round"

Monday, July 15, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Garry Tonon, Ryan Hall says Kron Needs More Wins, MMA fighter exposing Frauds....

SMH, they're punishing the Chinese MMA fighter who's been exposing these fake kung-fu guys in China.

Anyone watch the UFC broadcast Saturday and catch Bisping saying it's hard to train how to avoid an Imanari roll? Hall out here just playing with these dudes and willing to flop to the ground and throw up heel hook entries and the guys flee and flail. Love it. 

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Kayla Harrison Smashes, Gabi Confirms IBJJF Roid Testing not al

Interesting to hear Gabi confirm that the testing at IBJJF is in fact not random.

That being said, some of the guys can't even pass a test one day per year, so y'know....whatevs.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Andris Brunovskis - Closed Guard Overhook: Fist Choke & Triangle

I've been using this position as a hub to get to a lot of things for a long time. It's also the core of what I teach from open guard and the idea of choke points whereby I have many legitimate attacking options, and my opponent has to be judicious about getting caught first, before he/she/they can look to pass and/or advance position.

I tend to finish with a keylock/Frank Mir style armbar from bottom oftentimes, but have hit almost every other conceivable thing from this position: fish punch choke, triangle, triangle + keylock (another favorite of mine), spin underneath & hook the leg to straight armbar, omoplata + dig out leg to kneeba,  they drive their head low and you get the guillotine and/or butterfly sweep from there.....there's a ton of transitions off of this position that are all legit threat options, and both Gi and NoGi I've had a ton of success from here against advanced guys.

I can't recommend this position enough.


Sunday, July 7, 2019

Adam Wardzinski Covers 5 Most Common Butterfly Mistakes

It's always surprising to me the number of folks who teach/cover/use the butterfly sweep without the driving action of the toes into the mat, or that don't emphasize the proper head it is straight from the horse's mouth:

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest Post UFC 239: Nate Diaz Gonna Nate Diaz (feat. Khabib)

UFC 239: Sunday Morning CTE/Hangover - Nunes' Shin, Rockholds low hands, Masvidal's Knee, Jones Zzzzz

Masvidal is now King Troll over Askren for all time.
The Lawler fight to me was telling in that the first time he faced top flight competition he looked incredibly beatable. I expected Masvidal to take longer, but Askren did the look down and extend arms thing he got away with for a long time against lower tier guys and Masvidal made him pay for being so predictable. I think Askren still drags to the mat a lot of guys, but the more explosive dynamic strikers will only be emboldened by the Lawler/Masvidal fights into throwing similar odd angles and knees et cetera his way as Askren has always very directly tired to just walk/run down guys with his arms outstretched.

Rockhold's low hands got him caught again. I was worried when he was in close range with Jan as Rockhold has been tagged when he's not at kicking rage by other not LHW's, and that step up into a heavier weight class, it meant curtains, especially shortly after that kick that wobbled him at the end of round 1.

I dozed off for the first two rounds of the Santos/Jones fight, watched part of round 3 and felt like it would be 2 more rounds of what I'd seen so I went back to sleep.

Nunes dispatched Holm who was awkwardly hopping a bit too long on that rear leg to do the knee push kick that Winklejohn + Jon Jones have utilized to great effect. Nunes for her part looked good putting punches and kicks together, and exchanging with Holm, and Nunes looked a good bit less tentative while punching that I might've expected.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Gabi-Lovato-PED Matrix, Agazarm Persona non grata (shocker) al

Who I'm Watching/What I'm Studying/New Ideas....Shhhhh

I'm approaching 5 months post op ACL/Meniscus surgery. I'm back doing a fair bit of positional training but obviously still a lot of things I have to be wary of and mindful training. Having been through this year long process getting back to 100% with my previous ACL/Meniscus surgery helps in that I've been through the ups and downs of how long it takes to get back to form and the diligence and patience to not overdo it week to week as my leg feels better.

I've been able to resume EBI overtime back attack rounds, am learning to pass in some alternative ways, and been back training in the Gi quite a bit more as the pace is slower and obviously there's less grabbing of my leg et cetera.

So far in the past month I've watched all the available footage of Keenan at black belt, every black belt match of Brunovskis, and all of the black belt matches of 3 other guys who shall remain nameless as they have very stylized/specific gameplans that I basically don't want to reveal before I come back to competition. I've gone through entire black belt careers of a number of guys both with what's available on YouTube and FloGrappling. I've also gone back and rewatched every EBI and the last few ADCC's of what's available online.

I'm back doing some NoGi training but no leg locks as of yet and it will be awhile before I do. It's not the end of the world, I've spent the time re-acclimating to back control, and passing with some new ideas and details that are changing how I do about those positions due to the constraint of being mindful about my knee.

I've mentioned it before but both in Judo and in JiuJitsu injury has been some of the better problem solving with constraint that I've benefitted from in all my years grappling.

Prior to my first ACL surgery I didn't use knee on belly nor do I use RDLR or deep half but coming back from surgery I adjustedand adopted the above 3 into my game by the time I began competing at blue belt again, and then into purple belt not long after I returned to competition.

My game has changed immeasurably since then (both from what I changed in training around the injury and post recovery period and just my overall grappling knowledge and acumen), and the addition of different grips, increased knowledge and diligence and willingness to train positionally has already began to pay dividends in my game overall as I'm bringing some very new, but already very effective new components to what I'm doing when I will be back competing January 2020.
It's possible I may return to competition in December but I went into the surgery accepting I might lose all of 2019. It took me 10 months to return to competing last time, but I was a blue belt then and the level I compete it, and the level necessary to not only win but do so convincingly may require a bit more patience coming back. I know a lot of guys complain after ACL surgery for years afterward and have problems or additional surgeries, so avoiding either of those scenarios is goal number 1.

My first knee surgery 7 years ago was a success and I've never had any problems with it at all, so it can be done, but it requires a lot of diligence, finishing PT, and patience coming back. 

Friday, July 5, 2019

BJJ Scout Previews Ben Askren vs Jorge Masvidal - UFC 239

My suspicions regarding Askren's resume seemed to be well founded when he faced Robbie Lawler. Askren looked as beatable as he's ever looked facing his first real world champ level fighter in his career. Masvidal has 1) I think learned from his recent wins that patience is a virtue and 2) he continues this entertaining act that he's just a scrapper with a basic b*tch gameplan but Masvidal's wins have made clear to me that he is 1) much more professional than he pretends and 2) is a more more astute student of the game than he lets on as well.

My pick is actually Masvidal by decision in a 3 round affair with Masvidal taking 2 of the 3 rounds with some knockdowns and an increasingly ineffective Askren running after him.

Learning Leg Locks via Instructional(s): Unpalatable Truth & Actionable Ideas

Folks who follow me on social media (and guys I've trained with previously but we're now in different states et cetera) will DM me and ask me how best to learn leg locks if they're somewhere/at a school where there's limited knowledge. This question on their part in and of itself shows me an important distinction.

I see a lot of guys on the good ole Igram who think you can literally just watch a series of moves and put together a leg lock game. On the one hand, before I moved, I reverse engineered parts of moves/games from watching famous guys (baseball bat choke from Gui Mendes, Reverse de la Riva from Bruno Frazatto, deep half and over/under pass from Bernardo Faria, Kneebars from Bendy and Ninja) due a lack of higher end competition where I was and did I put things in my game? Sure. Was it always, in fact, a poor man's version of something? Yes. The difference between access to real high end tournament tested information and also a room full of guys all getting that information and training on a daily basis is.......hard to articulate. The accrued advantage of that interest compounding day after day, month after month....well, you do the math. This is the unpalatable truth. But, in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.

The short answer is that, there's no short cut. Spoiler alert, right? The long(er) answer is for a great conceptual understanding of leg locks, and some tried and true sequences that will show results both in training and in competition, get Danaher's leg locks because his is the most comprehensive coverage of the subject. The other, the one I actually used to start and did a ton of trial and error with was Kneebar king of leg locks by Bendy Casimir and Ninja. The other more helpful piece of advice, if you're actually serious about learning leg locks is......

I started having some success in training with these before I ever moved and began training at Renzo's in the city.

More specifically, a friend recently DM'd me asking how to go about learning leg locks/instructionals or at least making a start, and I told him the hands on approach is find a guy who IS ACTUALLY ABLE TO LEG LOCK PEOPLE IN COMPETITION and pay him for a private on one leg lock: basic ankle lock. You'll find out in a private on just one leg lock the depth of their knowledge about the bite, finishing mechanics, entries, and some basic concepts rather than waste a ton of money for 6 months et cetera. A good teacher, can show you a basic entry, some basic finishing details, a basic series to drill to finish, and given the lack of understanding of leg locks, something you should have success with within a few weeks to be honest. If they show it to you, and a month goes by and you can't even ankle lock a blue belt, then either you didn't pick up enough to learn anything meaningful and/or what they taught you is subpar or borderline wrong.

I see a ton of content online taught by guys who the defenses are plain wrong, or no longer are reliable as there's enough good content about breaking mechanics available, that those escapes simply are not high percentage: see the Darce counter to the heel hook, the handfighting, and leg triangle to buy time once your legs are entangled. See also the dive on the toe hold counter to a lot of leg lock entries. This is like the days of the toe hold counter the berimbolo. Works great against low level guys but inevitably, at the higher levels just gets your back taken.

These things are all options, but as you watch enough footage, you've hopefully realized that these alone, are not enough to reliably invest in to prepare and rely on against a guy really trying to structurally damage your knee/ankle/leg.

Below is a short highlight of me hitting an outside heel hook, an outside heel hook with both legs inside, a kneebar, et al. My point is, it's all advanced division submissions and displays a propensity to attack the leg in a variety of ways. I made a point in 2018 to hit every leg lock there is in competition. I can't tell the guys I coach or offer criticism on leg locks online if I don't feel like I'm speaking from experience and demonstrable experience. If I've reliably been able to finish people in competition with a variety of leg attack submissions, at the advanced division level (I had 40 matches for the year and finished 20 opponents regardless of event format), I feel confident in saying the things that I do. This is to say nothing of the training room time both at Renzos in the city, Renzo Gracie Brooklyn, Bancho MMA, and training time with guys both experienced at attacking legs but also defending and escaping. But training time is behind closed doors and I could say a lot of things with little or no recourse if they are untrue. Tournaments are for everyone to see.

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Option B: I would get Danaher's instructional, start drilling, and start paying your dues by dropping into schools where they have open mats and their guys compete advanced nogi and start paying your dues. I spent what felt like forever in the blue basement (first 6 months plus doing NoGi 2x a day most days) getting relentlessly leg locked sometimes 3-5x some rounds. Guys want to learn how to cook but don't wanna get burned. Same as any part of JiuJitsu. Good guard passers gonna pass your guard. Good leg lockers gonna leg lock you and slowly over time you'll start to recognize the basic positions and transitions, and learn to hang on a bit longer to tap so you're not just panic tapping to every single leg entanglement.

I think a lot of guys want to jump to heel hooks, but never picked up basic mechanics of an ankle lock or kneebar, then wonder why their whole ability to control the leg and the transitions is sh*t. Because you wanted to learn the RNC day 1 instead of some fundamentals. Leg locks are the same, man. Start with the basics, start with the one that's most available (ankle lock), and you can attack it Gi and NoGi, and you'll start to pick up the body awareness, anticipation, and bite/leg control mechanics that will serve you well in attacking the heel hook later on.

UFC 239 Picks: Jones/Santos, Nunes/Holm, Masvidal/Askren

Does Jon Jones pick apart Santos and/or take him down and rough him up before getting vintage Jon Jones stoppage or does Jones get clipped by the blitzkrieg that is Santos? I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think Santos will do what he does and actually blitz Jones early, as history has shown trying to talk and fight a measured fight with Jon Jones is the guaranteed loss (ask DC and many others). I'm actually thinking Santos pulls it off as all things fade, and someone will be the guy to Weidman Anderson Silva or in this case Santos Jon Jones. My pick is Santos vs TKO.

Masvidal vs Askren - the one time Lawler hurt Askren he very nearly decapitated him and piledrived him. I see Masvidal who is a much more measured puncher hurting Askren as some point as he proved with the Till punch that he really does hit accurately. The Till punch was something Masvidal had been setting up if you go back and watch the duration of the fight and Masvidal for all his jive and persona, is actually much more a student of the game than he's given credit for. You see it in his fighting style and in his evolution as a mixed martial artist. Don't get me wrong, the dude is hilarious and the Leon Edwards scrap notwithstanding, that part of him is real, but he's also very, very sharp as evidenced by some of the ongoing improvements in his game, and I think one of his greatest assets is playing himself off as this type of character when in reality he is much more multi-faceted and much more professional in his approach to the game. My pick is Masvidal by TKO in 3 after he knocks Askren down 4-5 times and Askren increasingly takes longer and longer to get to his feet.

Nunes vs Holm. I've said this before but I see this as Holm vs Cyborg 2 but in an alternate dimension of sorts. Nunes is rangier version of Cyborg with more volume and comparable fight IQ if not more tools. Holm's inability to adjust in 5 round fights be it either how he's walking into the power punch of an opponent, or the same 4-5 strike combos with mixed success, is alarming to say the least. It's something of an oxymoron but on one hand she has an incredibly amount of fight experience over the vast majority of women fights in the UFC, but as evidenced in her fights, either in training camp or due to deep set patterns, she seems unable to adjust on the fly to basic circling/footwork patterns or tools being relied upon by her opponents, the Cyborg fight was a great example.
At any rate, Nunes wins by 5 round decision because Holm will stay with her legs underneath her circling, but Holm will have to face Schevchenko for a belt if she wants to win one.

Blachowicz vs Rockhold
Rockhold debuts at 205. It's interesting to see how guys who had a significant height/weight advantage adjust after moving up, occasionally you get a Santos who moves up to a new weight class and literally becomes  a new more dangerous wrecking machine, but often, guys struggle without that attribute in their pocket. Blackhowicz is good at all the things he does, if not overly dangerous in terms of workrate and unorthodox skills. Rockhold comes from an elite level camp so I doubt Blachowicz can throw anything his way he's never seen in the training room.
Rockhold by stoppage in the 3rd round.

Sanchez vs Chiesa
Chiesa has the range to really fight a smart fight and punish Diego from the outside. Chiesa tho' inexplicably has had some hiccups in fights as of late, so it remains to be see if he can return to form. His weight cut miss and RNC loss to Lee were concerning but easy to overthink as Lee was on his way to the top of the division with some notable wins. At any rate, the smart choice is Chiesa by decision after getting to Diego's back at least once and riding out the round along with some clinchwork to takedowns against the cage.

Marlon Vera will pick up another win as he's got the chops to move to the top 5 of the division.

Gilbert Melendez will look to not lose his last 5 fights after being gone for awhile thanks to a steroid pop 2 years ago. If he can't win this fight, then it is in fact the end of his tenure in the UFC as they tend not to pay for guys to stock around that long unless you're BJ Penn (too soon?)

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Kasai Super Series Card & Predictions: Rocha vs Leon, Craig Jones vs ***, et al

Predictions are as follows:

Leon won't mind being on bottom, as Canuto slight of hand to try and get Leon out of position on the feet. I expect Leon to sit to guard rather than take a chance on Canuto faking him out of position and scoring two points. Leon looked very good against Najmi if not a bit lackadaisical at the outset as he adjusted, but turned it up later in the match. This probably won't fly against the aggressive style and constant reset and untie and back away and come back then fake out then run around style of Canuto in NoGi. It's frustrating watching Canuto who has all the movement in the world but when threatened will endlessly disengage in NoGi matches in particular or on the feet (see matches with Vagner & Eddie Cummings amongst others).

This is a hard one to call, I could forsee some negative points pulled out, and Leon winning on penalty points or Canuto getting to Leon's back in transition if Leon plays open guard NoGi lazily at the outset of the match like he did against Najmi.

 Celso vs Vagner  -  endless head fakes and reaches and non commital  collar ties plus aggressive shoving and chops with the forearm from Vagner because disregard those training videos in his actuall matches he don't doesn't actually wrestle: rather he will harass your head and neck and shove and chop and collar tie until you take a bad shot or sit to guard (don't believe me? Watch his entire ADCC run and superfights in the past year). Vagner submitting Leon or even getting him down, and Vinicius is a capable wrestler + been around for ages. I expect a lot of handfighting and collar ties with Celso doing the actual work on the feet trying to take Vagner down and Vagner being on the back foot.

Craig has a win of ***. I guess for obvious reasons, this match couldn't be made at whatever NYC event due to some lingering questions in NYC for ***. Tex will pull and Craig won't necessarily be an idiot and play leg spaghetti. *** struggled to tap Demente in NoGi, which suggests that if Craig plays smart at all on top, *** doesn't have enough bullets in his leg lock submission game to catch Craig. I could see *** looking for that RNC grip ankle lock and actually getting his back taken, but more likely, Craig will stay on top, be smart, and eventually pass.

Khera will wrestle*&^% Cocco to death, probably score a takedown, or endlessly back and forth side to side try to pass and smash, winning on a guard pass or ref decision. Khera did Quintet which is sub only and literally attempted zero submissions so you already know what this match is gonna look like.

Lutes vs Araujo for the tree trunk specimen grapple match of the evening. I see Valdir actually having the size and strength to not get manhandled by Lutes, and perhaps even Lutes creating a scramble and scoring a sweep.

Boogeyman vs Tibau. Tibau looked flat in the sub grappling superfight I saw awhile back so my pick is Boogeyman by submission.

"Main Card
Dante Leon vs Renato Canuto 170lb
Celso Venicius vs Vagner Rocha 170lb
Tex Johnson vs Craig Jones 205lb
Mayssa Bastos vs Talita Alencar 115lb
Jorge "Macacao" Patino vs Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante 170lb
Mansher Khera vs Enrico Cocco 170lb
Richie Martinez vs Gleison Tibau 180lb
Matheus Lutes vs Valdir Araujo 175lb
Tony Way vs John Lineker 155lb"

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

UFC 239 Full Countdown Episode: Jones vs Santos & Nunes vs Holm & Inside the Octagon Breakdown Analysis

I hope Santos doesn't fade the way Anthony did in the last fight, or that Jones doesn't carry him if he does. Jones obviously had a reason (bet a ton of money on a decision win which had veeeeeerrry long odds in Vegas, in fact the only odds longer than a Jones loss was a decision win by Jones, so you do the math ;)  but also I expect Nunes vs Holm will look like a more active Holm vs Cyborg fight repeat. Holm acquitted herself well, but Nunes is a higher volume striker, and Holm's depressing insistence on circling only one direction in that fight has me concerned about some basic tactical choices.

I don't see Holm beating a more voluminous striker than Cyborg with power, and that is exactly Nunes.

As for Santos, as we've seen Jones has enough tools (wrestling) to fight dangerous strikers, and the fight IQ to do so as well. Unlike Anthony, I expect Santos to actually do the gameplan he's saying he will which is a torrid pace and barrage striking, what remains to be seen is if Jones gets caught in the blitzkrieg. I'm not terribly interested in this card TBH, but the only reason I'm really tuning in is to see Masvidal vs Askren, people!!!!!! *&^% yeah!!! Elsewhere on the card we've got Chiese, Diego Sanchez, and Melendez.


BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Overtime rules shots fired again, Keenan/Atos theories, Japanese necktie....