Thursday, January 29, 2015

My UFC 183 Picks & Prognostications for Silva vs Diaz et al

Let me start by saying there are some fights on this card I simply would not lay actual money on. Fights with intangibles like guys coming off of considerable layoffs, guys fighting out of their weight class, fighters with more UFC fights but only a win or two against top flight guys and some up and comers poised to transition to the top 5 or top 10 of their division.
In short, dangerous fights on which to wager cash.

I've gone 17 correct and 7 incorrect picks across the most recent 2 UFC events. Not bad.

I don't know how much Thiago Alves has left in the tank. I haven't seen him fighting enough recently to feel certain he will top Jordan Mein.
Woodley has only one top flight win on his resume (Koscheck, the Condit fight was a knee injury accident) and Gastelum has been surging as of late. That being said, Woodley has never lost by submission, and I don't see Gastelum KO'ing Woodley.

Boetsch has only lost in the UFC to the likes of guys near the top of the division however unspectacular his fighting style may  be and I'm not completely sold on Thales Leites as of yet. Boetsch's come from behind win against Okami shows he's that guy well on his way to losing and you winning your money until he clips the guy in the 3rd round up against the cage.

Those are 3 fights that I just would not bet money on personally.
Well, maybe 4. This will sound crazy, but every fighter gets old.
Is Saturday the day Silva gets old?

I don't know.
He's 39.
Diaz always finds a way to blow it when it matters most, and Silva has looked bigger than the opponent even when fighting at LHW and Diaz is long of frame, but fights at welterweight.

This sounds crazy, but I wouldn't bet money on that fight either.
There's a lot of intangibles when I look at the fights for Saturday. Guys who haven't loss by submission fighting guys who won the majority of their fights by submission are the easy picks for wagering your dollars for example. Other fights with guys who have been inconsistent or not fought recently are tough to handicap.

I see no reason why Ian McCall won't exercise the same gameplan he did in his last outing and pull of a stick and move win over Lineker. They talk up Lineker all the time and his "hands of stone" moniker but the guy has missed weight several times, fades as the fight progresses and I've never seen him do much other than really look for one big punch. McCall fights smart when he chooses to and I see him stamping his way toward another eventual title shot here.

Hettes returns to action and Brandao looked terrible in his last outing, I see Hettes breaking Brandao here with his transitions and submission attempts, though I don't like the fight because I haven't seen Hettes fight in quite awhile either. Herman has looked progressively worse in his Octagon appearances as of late and Brunson is a beast. Brunson losing to Romero who is poised to claim a title shot should he get by Jacare is no slouch and I see Brunson battering Herman to a late stoppage. 

Unibet's Guide to UFC 183: Silva vs Diaz

I'll be putting up my picks on Thursday. I went 8 for 12 on the UFC on FOX 14 card and I went 9 for 12 at the UFC Fight Night Boston card. Not bad. I'm picking back up MMA betting here soon and it's good to see I've still got the touch.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Countdown to UFC 183: Diaz vs Silva, Woodley vs Gastelum, Lauzon vs Iaquinta



Instructional Review: Lucas Lepri Championship Guard Passing

The guard passers I've studied the most are Gui Mendes and Lucas Lepri.
I've watched every available match/footage of them on the internet. Multiple times.

Early on, Rafael Lovato and his pressure passing and concept of fighting/getting to a starting or headquarters position had a big impact on how I look at the spaces/positions between techniques in Jiu-Jitsu.

Every month or so I take a few hours and go back and rewatch their passing games as they've evolved over the years.
I never fail to notice a bit more, or see smaller and smaller details in terms of how they may grip a leg, or how they may be setting up a pass, or hopefully, occasionally I pick up on a sense of HOW they combine their various guard passes.
There's a lot of intangibles in studying competition footage, however, I am a firm believer that you can pick up underlying subtleties and commonalities by soaking in footage.

My Rafael Lovato Pressure Passing DVD review has been a continual hit based on my traffic to this site, and it's high time I hit another DVD review.

Let me preface by saying I don't digest a lot of pure instructional material.
In fact, it takes me many sessions to digest just a couple moves or in this case guard passes.

It's a blessing in a curse to admit that I'm enamored with a particular competitor before I begin analyzing their content. I may have specific components of their game which I wish they would focus on, or perhaps it could sway me to resist the urge to criticize the content.

At any rate, here we go:
I've broken down my review into further sub sections and cheesily ranked them by belt color:
white belt - hardly worth watching or noting
blue belt - middle of the range. not bad but not great or good. passable is the best adjective here, often feels like a review with perhaps a few details you may normally gloss over.
brown belt - worth watching and noting, seems like some effort was made in this area and often has an "ah ha!" moment or clarifies a gray area for you.
black belt - excellent. top notch, about as good as you could expect or want.

Production Quality: black belt - looks good, clear audio, feels like you're sitting right there and watching Lucas explain the move/details to you.

Elaboration on Theory: white or blue belt at best. I'm a big "why?" person in understanding why a competitor prefers say being on top or pulling guard. I like to and really, honestly, need to know their why to better retain the information. This is not a knock on Lucas, but as cheesy as it sounds, some of the analogies Rafael Lovato Jr. used I can still remember almost verbatim in my head and that is the proof that it worked as an analogy. I can remember it something like a year or two later from one or two viewings.

Length/Number of Techniques: black belt - deals with open guard, DLR, closed guard, et cetera.

Depth of Explanation for Individual Techniques: black belt - good instruction, clear and easy to follow

Ease of Use in Rolling: brown belt 
Used several of the guard passes within a week or two digestion but prefer a system of techniques which chain together in a bit more obvious manner, again, I'm reminded of Lovato's instructional which really shined in that regard. 

Overall Rating: brown belt. I've learend a ton just by watching Lucas Lepri compete over the years, and it does have a greater dearth of techniques than the Lovato Pressure Passing system, but I have consistently used the information I got from Lovato's system over the years and will continue to use more than some of the guard passes I picked up from this DVD.

Let me be clear in saying that I can see other practitioners preferring this one to Lovato's due to the brevity of Lovato's which does feel short in comparison to the standard length/depth of a lot of instructionals out there. At any rate, if there's an underlying system to what Lucas does (which I'm sure there is as he is a 2x black belt world champion) a few moments to elaborate on that would have gone a long way. I'm an educator by trade and understanding the why is even more important to me than the how.

What I'm Watching - Full IBJJF Europeans 2015: Sunday Matches

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

10 Ways to Fail at Jiu-Jitsu

1. Show up sporadically. The less frequent the better. Better yet, get your blue belt and quit like most people. Don't even waste your time once you can get the belt most people who kind of train get.
2. Ask "why not?" questions. A "why not?" questions results from your starting belief based in why something will not work. "Why?" questions are powerful. "Why should I learn closed guard?" "Why do we learn to fight off of our back in Jiu-Jitsu?"  "Why do we wear a gi?"

"Why not?" questions are along the lines of saying why things won't work without having actually tried the technique. Or asking why you haven't gotten a stripe, a promotion, a belt, a pat on the back, or whatever.

Also, be sure to refer to why it would or wouldn't work in another grappling sport if you have a background in that. If you've wrestled, forget learning how to fight off your back. If you've played Judo, just pin everyone, who needs to advance position? If you're an MMA fighter (or want to be/like telling girls at the bar Friday and Saturday night that you train UFC) you especially don't need to learn much Jiu-Jitsu.

3. Train every round in rolling like it is the World Championships. Do not tap until you fear something will tear any second. Extra points for only rolling with people smaller than you, newer than you, and being sure to always be not tired enough from hard training to instruct lower belts/same rank as you.

4. Don't compete. Figure that if it works in the gym against people you're comfortable rolling with it will work any other time. Better yet, avoid open mats and training with people you normally don't train with regularly. People who drop in from out of town can creep in underneath your radar. Avoid them because who wants to lose to someone in front of your regular training partners?

5. Don't train takedowns or gripfighting.

6. Don't cross train. Learning some gripfighting couldn't possibly help your takedowns for Jiu-Jitsu. Avoid leglocks because they are cheap and don't count.

7. Avoid NoGi training at all costs. If you do roll without the Gi, sem kimono we call it, blame any missed opportunities or lack of success on the other person's athleticism and/or sweat.

8. Make fun of closed guard as a stalling position then go learn Lapel guard because it's modern and lets you tie the person up.

9. Decide that there can be no overlap between Jiu-Jitsu as martial art and Jiu-Jitsu as sport/competition. Doggedly believe in one or the other and make fun of anyone/criticize those who do not share your preference.

10. Don't drill. Miss the instructional time and just roll regularly at open mats with little to no concerted learning time.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

UFC 183 Extended Preview: Nick Diaz vs Anderson Silva

Don't be afraid to fail.
Part of me finds this fight hard to fathom.
Silva has fought as high as light heavyweight and frame-wise, looked bigger and taller than the LHW's he's faced.
The other part of me, wonders, can Nick Diaz somehow topple a man who was undefeated for such a length of time as Silva?
I don't know, but I'm intrigued. The hype machine and videos for this match-up did what I didn't think was possible....make me curious. A week from Saturday, we find out.

Monday Morning Hangover - UFC on Fox 14: Gustaffson vs Johnson

Man, what a hangover for some of the fighters and gamblers out there.
Hendo is not the same man without the TRT. I think the back of the dreaded head shot that can wobble anyone AND Hendo simply not taking a punch the way he once did are also to blame, but Hendo's days as an elite fighter have come to a close.

It occurred to me during Gustaffson's walkout when he checked his hair in the camera that he was perhaps less worried about Johnson's power than he should have been. It reoccurred to me when he winked and nodded to Johnson in the center of the octagon during the referee's instructions.

I had also forgotten the fights in which Johnson once actually hurt or tagged brutally knocked the other guy out.
Ultimatley, I have given Johnson a ton of static for missing weight and getting booted from the UFC. Now, I must give him his due props.
He beat the unarguable number 1 contender for Jon Jones' strap, and stopped him in one round, something Jon  Jones did not do.
I also didn't think Gustaffson would sit right in mid-range the way he did to get clipped that that short punch that bgean the beginning of the end as it were.

But, that's why they call it a puncher's chance.
Unlike McGregor who had a guy gleamed for him to bust wide open but be durable, Johnson has legitimate KO power and more 1st round KO's and -1 minute stoppages than anyone in UFC history (a fun fact I didn't know until the teleprompter informed me mere minutes before the fight).
At any rate, overall, I went 6 for 10 with my picks, which in gambling world is slightly above where you need to be at a minimum. On the other hand, it's also called gambling and I essentially wagered that non-TRT Hendo had enough starch in his punches and Mousasi's not enough to win my parlay bet (Hendo, Bader, Gustaffson).

And one last one for the purpose of information:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Takedowns for Jiu-Jitsu: Keep it Simple, Use Your Feet

Over the years, anyone who knows I'm a black belt in Judo and used to compete regularly asks me what takedowns I like for Jiu-Jitsu. My answer is always the same.

I look for low risk opportunities to knock the guy down.
It doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to work, and by "work", I mean but him on his back.
Knowing that at any moment in the match he can simply sit down or jump guard, it's silly to waste a ton of energy dragging him around the mat like my life depends on it.

I'm not saying I don't see big, huge, audience-thrillings takedowns in Jiu-Jitsu. I'm just saying I don't see them very often.
You see some nice cross grip seionages by guys like Rodolfo Vieira. But up to this point, he remains an outlier because I see few other guys effectively using it.
I could make a cool video with some sweet takedowns from Judo that you virtually never see in competition at the higher belts, but why?

At any rate, my takedowns are virtually always set up from a low risk (I define low risk as a low risk of counter/low risk of me ending up on bottom after a reverseral) foot sweep.

The three components of effective throwing, to me, remain always: effective gripping, good posture (this changes a bit due to the posture/stance/guard pulling in sport Jiu-Jitsu), and getting the other guy MOVING (and if he doesn't move, get him moving by attacking his feet).

An object in motion is much easier to move than a guy with the death grip in flat-footed land.
If he's stiff, tense, uncomfortable on the feet, I use my feet to get him moving. In each of the videos linked here you see my feet initiating the takedown. The beauty, or rather, the advantage of flat-footed opponents with bent over posture is that their feet are stationary targets. So while this gives them seemingly strong, defensive grips, their posture is poor and their are slow moving once you begin targeting their feet to set up your takedowns.


And in NoGi, the rule is the same. I use an arm drag/pull to get my foot entry and trap the foot to hit and over/under type grip to end up on top.

Specialization: Tokui Waza, Tai Otoshi, Judo, and 10,000 Hours within Training Methodology

We do a lot of drilling at my new academy, Zenith BJJ. Most of class time is spent drilling, actually. Morning class is almost exclusively drilling. My coach has a wrestling background. I started grappling coming from Judo. The concept of tirelessly grinding out focused repetition on a set of positions, submissions, and transitions, or throws was how I started in grappling.

When I was actively competing in Judo, I logged at least 300-500 uchikomis or "fit-ins" as we call them each day (outside of class time/practice). In class when instructed most of my mind capacity/focus is on fit-ins or set-ups for my chosen throw, Tai Otoshi. You can practice against a wall, with a partner, with rubber tire tubes (the way I did) or with elastic bands.  The throw which I have unequivocally and undoubtedly spent more time and energy studying and trying, failing, and attempting is Tai Otoshi. I enter with a modified, almost Sei Otoshi grip, rather than the steering wheel circular kazushi motion often taught classically. I'll let hardcore Judo purists debate what to cal it.
Whatever it is, this is my speciality. I can explain how I set it up against a right handed player, against a left handed player, in a circular motion, going sideways, diagonal...whatever. No matter what I am doing on my feet, if I am playing my A game, everything has this throw in mind as the end goal. It took me roughly 3 years of practice and failure to begin scoring and winning with this technique in competition. I have acked any black belt with whom I have trained how they do it, how they were taught, and how they teach it and I take it in and balance it with my current knowledge.

This is mastery. That is not saying that I have this throw mastered, or that I know everything, or that I am the best.
To me, "mastery" is the deliberate, methodical pursuit of progressive improvement.


Jits TV Cribs: Buchecha

A day in the life....


Friday, January 23, 2015

Brazilian Nationals: Paulo Miyao, Claudio Calasans....


UFC on FOx 14: Picks & Predictions & Prognostications, Oh My!

As usual, I've predicted way more finishes than will likely occur.
Whatever. My main picks and my parlay are here.
I've got Gustaffson, Henderson, and Ryan Bader.

I like Johnson's power, but his wins, and notable wins in his prior UFC run came from outsizing and rarely making weight. His wins at LHW are not exactly notable in the UFC: Kingsbury and Lil' Nog.
He's dangerous and he is definitely a can opener.
His record though requires more analysis than just the highlight reels of finishing ridiculously undersized men.
He's faltered when he's faced top tier competition and I see Gustaffson breaking him mentally and finishing him here. Phil Davis wanted no part of exchanging with Johnson. Lil' Nog has never impressed me in the UFC. His non-UFC list is washouts or never was guys at the big show level.
Not to be unnecessarily harsh, but, he's still in development in my book.

Phil Davis has not filled in the holes in his game. Ryan Bader has only lost to top guys (other than a bizarre loss to Tito Ortiz *shakes head*). I see Bader picking up another win here. When you've only lost to title holders or's hard for me to think Phil Davis will beat you here.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fight Night Boston: Conor McGregor Post Fight Interview

It was Sunday night, barren downtown where I live, so I found the fights at a sports bar and sat down in a recliner to appreciate Conor McGregor's continuing ascension to fight Jose Aldo.

Aldo can call him a joker and Lamas can make videos, but McGregor's name is in everyone else's mouth. If that's not notoriety or notorious or whatever, I don't know what is.

At any rate, as soon as the fights ended, before the post fight interview, N'Sync began playing in the bar/restaurant. I tried to track down the manager who was nowhere to be found on a Sunday night because the bartender doesn't have access to the remote to change the volume on the 50 *&^%ing TV's that line the walls of the place.

At any rate, it's a great interview and the second salvo in what will culminate in a fever pitch of pre-fight build-up.
Can't wait.

Road to the Octagon: UFC on FOX 14 - Gustaffson vs Johnson Full Episode

Unfortnately, I'll be working my other job. I'll be trying to get it put on a nearby TV though, that's for sure.
The prelims are full of local-ish-Euro-whatever guys. I'm sure they'll stack some more wins for the Swedes this time than last time when they had a poor showing.
The main event is a great, PPV worthy fight.
The co-main with Hendo (non-TRT-sauced Hendo) vs Mousasi (who as I earlier predicted hasn't really pulled the trigger since importing to the UFC, and a not bad match-up of Phil Davis vs Ryan Bader.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Higher % Sweep For Me

I can't speak for other featherweights, but this is a high percentage sweep/position for me.
The shin to shin lets you counter knee through style passing from even much larger/heavier players who might otherwise cut the distance and force their way through:

There are a variety of follow-up sweeps that present themselves depending on how your opponent reacts all the while stuffing a high % sweep for the guard passer (the knee through is effectively nullfied I have found unless the guy is simply HUGE in comparison to you.

Inside the Octagon: UFC on FOX 14 - Stockholm

Monday, January 19, 2015

Gripfighting & Takedowns for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu - Newbreed Open - Charlotte 2015 - 2 of my Matches

 Woke up at 5am, drove to Charlotte and reffereed all day. Hadn't planned on competing but the opportunity arose so I grabbed my training gi and belt and had two matches.

Gripfight. Takedown. Pass. Submit.

You'll notice I start out with a right handed over the top power grip as he allows me to control his left sleeve. I look for an outside foot sweep to get him moving. Unlike a lot of Judo players, I play ambidextrously, and feel about as comfortable on either side thanks to having to learn how to play left handed due to several elbow injuries and a knee injury over the years.
I end up with a left over the top power grip and again control his sleeve and look for an outside trip.
I briefly control what I call the inside elbow with  my left arm positioned inside of his arm but allow him to swim back inside because with my grip over his I have a deep entry shoulder throw I often hit regardless of their grip and he was flaring his elbows considerably so I knew he wouldn't be able to stop my entry if I went for it.
I look for an uchimata because I see him twisted out of position and his weight on his right foot is light but he steps off.
At 1 minute in I hit my sumi gaeshi because he lets me again grip over the top and cross grip his left arm.

His chief/primary mistakes were playing bent over, arms extended, not attacking with any real entries for throws or takedowns, and allowing me to grip him over the back due to his poor posture.


I could tell my opponent has probably wrestled due to his heavy lead leg stance early on.
Because of his posture + his feet positioning, I get my over the back grip and almost immediately look for an ouchigari, one of my primary set-up attacks on the feet, especially in Jiu-Jitsu. I like to follow up with a kouchigari but it's not appropriate due to how he steps off of it. I hit him with the footsweep I felt like would be there because of his narrow/extreme foot forward stance and there's not much he can do to stop it.

His primary mistake was posture. His secondary mistake was his extreme foot forward/narrow stance which made the foot sweep pretty much inevitable, honestly.

UFC Fight Night 59: McGregor vs Siver Monday Morning Hangover - Full Video Highlights, Post Fight Press Conference

As for McGregor vs Siver:
Siver looked good in interviews. Look good backstage.When he was getting checked cageside before the fight.....I could tell it wouldn't last until the 4th round as I'd previously bet.
Siver was done for based on his face. It reminded me a lot of Chad Mendes before his first fight with Aldo. He looked fine in prefight video and such but his look on his face when the referee asked him if he was ready said it all.

Click HERE for ESPN's highlight of the McGregor/Siver mauling.

I went 9-3 with my picks for UFC Fight Night 59 last night.

I had a feeling Larkin might come on strong and get the kill after hearing him speak in interviews that he wasn't using his killer instinct.

McGregor looked good. The jab early on, then setting up long, straight left hands eventually put Siver away as much as him breaking mentally. It's strange to see the moment in some of McGregor's most recent fights when the guys being to chip away and crumble. I don't see it as clearly with other fighters, but it looks like the moment where that tiny seed of doubt they had, that perhaps this guy McGregor really is what he says he is....begins to become concrete and real and terrifying in their brain. McGregor's publicity stunt cage climb is also the first salvo in the beginning of what is going to be a long, arduous, psychological battle between him and Aldo. I am interested stylistically because Mendes (also a southpaw) was able to put Aldo on his *&^ a few times in their fight. I don't think that McGregor has the same power delivery, but his long, straight left hands do seem to erode a fighter in a relatively short amount of time. The real question is the karate/overly heavy stance of McGregor versus the leg kicks that have chopped down many before him. I trust that McGregor and Kavanaugh have been gameplanning for an Aldo fight for quite some time. This is truly the beginning of a campaign I will follow very, very closely.

Cerrone I thought would actually benefit from having fought recently. I thought he would be a bit sharper and not come out as lazy as he has in other fights. He fought almost exactly the fight I thought he would except for abandoning some body lock to takedown transition opportunities in the 3rd round. Fighting twice in two weeks at that level is bonkers if you stop and think about it. He pulled it off. I doubt anyone can ever doubt his man world qualifications at this point. Credit to Henderson for taking the fight against a guy he's beaten by 5 round decision and submission.
Tibau fought much more of a stand-up fight than was advisable and something I think will actually cost him fights in the future. Urijah Hall beat a game Ron Stallings who you could tell put up more of a fight than perhaps Hall expected but those elbows from the top were all that was necessary to put and end to the contest.

At any rate, I also picked up my parlay bet with McGregor, Siver, and Tibau.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Unibet Breaks Down Conor McGregor vs Siver

Dan Hardy gives some spot on fight analysis in these segments. Siver is tough, covers up well, and throws enough variety and puts takedowns out there I don't think this will be a first round demolition like some might expect. I do think McGregor will break down the tough, durable Siver and perhaps finish him in the 3rd round.

Friday, January 16, 2015

UFC Fight Night Boston: Embedded Vlog - Ep. 2 - Conor McGregor

Ericcson, 10 Years to Mastery, & Deliberate Practice (and what it means for your grappling/training)

I'm big on reading and digesting the current research on skill acquisition.

I'm slowly working my way through virtually all of the articles published with Ericcson's name attached to them. It's a relatively lengthy process but it has proved worthwhile in coming to understand the long-term implications of skill acquisition and nearly 10 years or more necessary for expert level performance.

As a purple belt, and as a competitor, and as someone who works two jobs in addition to training, I'm always looking to maximize my training.

I'm also overhauling my training to be more evidence-based.
That is, doing things because evidence suggests they work/are effective, rather than because that's how it has always been done or simply "because" or because no one's bothered to think of doing it differently than how they were taught.

Progress and growth are almost always uncomfortable for the entrenched, for the advantaged, for those that benefit from the system in place.

The unspoken code of how things "ought" to be played or how things "should be" has always been an area of resistance for me. I never knew quite what it was, but the combination of personality traits of being "open" to outside or unconventional ideas and the trait of being "disagreeable" that is uncaring for the social approval of others is where it likely stems from.

At any rate, information is all well and good but ultimately worthless if not implemented with action.

The takeaways: internal motivation, access to expert feedback, guided/explicit instruction, and persistence/perserverance all prove necessary to achieve expert level performance. Aside from all the hype surrounding 10 years/10,000 hour rule, you're left with some sobering realities about structuring your practice/training time.
Showing up and simply rolling likely results in a heightened sensitivity to achieving the state of "flow" which is relatively speaking less effortful performance "in state".

Lackadaisical drilling ultimatley, evidence suggests produces minimal improvement if at all.

White Belt to........
Drilling for motor memory and situational drilling much like running certain plays in practice for other sports, or situational drilling and developing sensititivy to the finer points of various positions or submissions or likely reactions to various submission set-ups or positional escapes would qualify as "deliberate practice".
Practice designed to address strenghts and/or weaknesses which takes into account pre-existing knowledge of the competitor/individual/learner is an essential requirement in maximizing training time.

Beyond that (drilling more and more hours out of the day), the motivation, expert feedback, "repeated exposure to task", varying training methodology to avoid "staleness" or "burn out", addressing of resource and motivation constraints and how you actually divide up your training time (submission, positions, drilling, positional or situational rolling/drilling) and seeking out exposure to feedback beyond training with the same individuals but training elsewhere and also competition as another source of potential feedback all seem to comprise the maximal conventions for accelerating expert performance.

Kron Gracie Takes His Ball and Goes Home: Will do ADCC, But Not IBJJF

“I will continue dedicating myself to MMA in 2015, but fighting in the ADCC interests me, yes.. The Jiu-Jitsu Worlds does not interest me, I see fighters with a different goal from mine. They want to hold your sleeve, grab you and wait for time to pass. They just want to stall the game. I do not see this as a real fight, I see only as a strategy to win. For me, Jiu-Jitsu is much more than that"


2015 End of Days: The Year UFC Fighters Begin Wearing Shirts?

I'm not really sure what to say.
I know all great truths begin as blasphemies or whatever, but dudes fighting in rashguards just feels bizarre to me.

Who knows, maybe it's the horseless carriage effect of the car as an idea that I'm just not ready to accept.

All I do know it is looks weird as I imagine it.


My Picks for UFC Fight Night 59 Boston: McGregor vs Siver

In retrospect after each UFC event, I find that I was hopeful for more finishes than almost ever happen.

I used to do a fair bit of MMA/sports gambling/betting but got out of habit/practice when I stopped fighting after I blew out my knee.

In fact, I didn't watch much MMA for nearly two years. I still follow the sport, but sport Jiu-Jitsu is my focus for now and don't follow the events with the same focus I once did. If you look at some of the fights for who/what Joe Silva would be thinking/betting/planning, the betting makes more sense.

That being said, I'll bet with the statistics on a bunch of unknown fighters on the card. I don't know much if anything about the guys outside of the main card other than Howard/Larkin.

There's some good fights on the undercard for betting, especially with a number of guys with a number of losses that seem to suit the finishes of their opponent.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

UFC Rising: Conor McGregor - Full Episode

Be Disagreeable: The Right Attitude - Malcolm Gladwell

Innovation always begins as blasphemy.

In other disagreeable.


A Closer Look: McGregor vs Poirier and Siver vs Kelly, and MMA Math

In case your hype train needed some extra coal to get going out of the station, here's a look back at McGregor's most recent fight.


Unlike some complainers in the MMA media, I'm interested in this fight. McGregor was a breath of hype and excitement in a year marked by some otherwise terribly lackluster cards for the world's premier mixed martial arts organization.
There were whole cards which basically had one fight I cared about. Some fading stars, some injured champs, and though last year closed out well, there were months where I didn't mind missing UFC cards at all. At any rate, I don't see Siver as much ofa different style match-up for McGregor. Siver has a mean spinning back kick but I think his arms look even shorter than Poirier's and Siver I think will be an easier target for McGregor. That being said, barring an errant back/ear/side of head shot like the one Poirier took, I see Siver lasting a bit longer.

Siver punches better backing up, but opts to put his head down and wing it, a plan I'm sure SBG coach and McGregor have taken into account in their training. Siver bounces around more and punches backing up more than Poirier who just never looked very comfortable against McGregor. Siver throws in more front and high kicks but I don't see those being a game changer in this fight honestly.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

MMA Weekend Video Train: UFC 183: Diaz vs Silva, WSOF Shields vs Foster, Bellator 132 Frieire vs Strauss

Conor McGregor ESPN Interview

People who don't train or haven't fought will be all in a tizzy about a cut on his nose.
One of the funniest parts to me of being cleared to fight is the questionnaire the doctor asks you about your recent training/history.
Things like: do you have any injuries, any possible concussions, any knockouts or loss of consciousness in training....
The only guys who I've ever known to have answered the questions truthfully were looking for a way out of the fight.
The rest of us say that training camp went well, have our blood pressure taken, do the other stuff and go warm up.

BJJ Travel Show: BJJ No-Mad: First Rule of the Fight Club

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

White Belt's Guide to UFC Fight Night 59: McGregor vs Siver, Cerrone vs Henderson

Other than Chris Leben, I'm not sure if anyone has turned around in two weeks and won a 2nd UFC fight.
Cerrone will try to do just that in a couple of weeks against Benson Henderson, a man who has beaten him previously by 5 round decision and by guillotine.

That being said, Benson has since gone on to defeat the likes of Guida, Alvarez, Edgar, Khabilov, Bocek, but also lose to Pettis by armbar, and by decision, AND most recently getting KO'd for the first time in his career by Rafael Dos Anjos.

I don't think Cerrone has beaten the same level of competition in that time, but for some reason I think Cerrone breaks the streak here and beats Benson. Benson simply hasn't continued to progress in watching him fight recently.

For all the hype and hoopla, many will tune in to see McGregor stake his claim at a crack at Jose Aldo, which frankly, criticism aside, I'd be excited to see because Jose hasn't sold a fight in ages. He hasn't helped his cause by ceasing to finish with precision like he did early on, and picking guys apart for 5 rounds will not win you new fans, just ask GSP.

I don't see this going differently than many of Conor's other foes, and somehow, he psyches guys out. You could see it in Dustin Poirier once the first round began. He began to fold. He looked nothing like the guy I had seen in previous UFC fights in is body language.
I see Conor perhaps going 3 rounds in this one, but no, I'll go with another finish here, perhaps, round 2. I honestly don't care much for the other fights.

Urijah Hall vs whoever is a gimme fight.

John Howard vs Larkin is a good scrap, I see Larkin picking Howard apart who will spend much of the fight looking to get Larkin down but Larkin has gotten better in his successive UFC fights for the most part and I think Larkin does the job here and grinds out a split or unanimous decision. 

I think Tibau will out beast mode Norman who would do well do circle and avoid being pressed against the cage and grinded on the way Tibau almost always does.


Magid Hage vs Clark Gracie - US National Pro 2015

Conor McGregor Skills Breakdown/Evolution

Interesting analysis of McGregor's evolution.
Granted, it lacks UFC footage, but it is interesting to see old footage of a guy who is on his 5th UFC fight and is now a shot away from the title.


(You're Not Training Hard Enough Reminder) Jiu-Jitsu Life: The Miyao Brothers

Be it due to translation or not, I'm always struck by the simplicity of the interviews or statements by the Miyao brothers.
It's refreshing to hear them chalk up their success to hard work and their "train, train, train" mentality.
When someone like Leandro Lo says you're the hardest working guys he knows, I take that to mean something.
At any rate, it's more than just hard, long training in their secret sauce. As the Mendes brothers would likely elaborate, having a near twin or actual twin/brother with whom to share your dedication and get the kind of feedback undeterred by jealousy, evny, pride, et cetera, is clearly invaluable.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Polaris Pro BJJ Highlights

Polaris Pro BJJ - Angelica Galvao vs Michelle Nicolini, Kit Dale vs Victor Silverio

Michelle Nicolini vs Angelica Galvao

Kit Dale vs Victor Silverio

All the Gamblingz!: Bellator, World Series of Fighting, & UFC Fight Night This Weekend

It's an awesomely busy weekend in mixed martial arts this weekend.
Pitbull Freire faces Strauss on Bellator for your Friday night, Jake Shields fights on WSOF on Saturday evening, and McGregor's hype train may reach a new fury on Sunday.
I've highlight my picks in RED. If I didn't highlight a fighter, I either don't care enough to look at their compu stats-whatever, or don't know enough about them to make a wager.

Bellator 132, Friday Night, 9pm:
"Patricio Freire vs. Daniel Straus
for featherweight title
Bubba Jenkins vs. Georgi Karakhanyan
Houston Alexander vs. Virgil Zwicker
Fernando Gonzalez vs. Marius Zaromskis "

WSOF - Saturday Evening, 9pm:
"Brian Foster vs. Jake Shields
Brian Cobb vs. Johnny Nunez
Brendan Kornberger vs. Krasimir Mladenov
Bryson Hansen vs. Rudy Morales
Adam Cella vs. Danny Davis Jr. "
UFC Fight Night - Sunday Night, prelims starting at 7pm:
"main CARD
FOX Sports 1, 10 p.m. ET
Conor McGregor vs. Dennis Siver
Donald Cerrone vs. Benson Henderson
Uriah Hall vs. opponent TBA
Norman Parke vs. Gleison Tibau
preliminary CARD
FOX Sports 1, 7 p.m. ET
Cathal Pendred vs. Sean Spencer
John Howard vs. Lorenz Larkin
Zhang Lipeng vs. Chris Wade
Patrick Holohan vs. Shane Howell
Johnny Case vs. Frankie Perez
Charles Rosa vs. Sean Soriano "

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Polaris Jiu-Jitsu PPV This Weekend: Competitor Profiles

Eduardo Telles

Garry Tonon


Victor Silverio

Oli Geddes


Keenan Cornelius

Polaris PPV This Weekend: Angelica Galvao & Michelle Nicolini Video Profiles

This Saturday, 130 EST, tune in. High profile matches.
Super excited.



Jiu-Jitsu Couple/Polaris BJJ PPV, This Week in BJJ Episode 68 - Angelica & Andrea Galvao

Something I'll eventually open up about/and give my thoughts on, dating someone who also trains Jiu-Jitsu. I tend to keep my personal life largely out of this blog and definitely my romantic life.
Until then, I'll let a far more notable member, well both members, of a Jiu-Jitsu couple chime in on what it's like for those who have dated someone with whom they train.

At any rate, it's cool to see a semi-Polaris BJJ PPV video detailing a bit more about Angelica Galvao than most of us probably know and then the following interview with her, and her husband, Andre Galvao with Budo Jake.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

White Belt's 60 Second Guide to Polaris BJJ PPV This Weekend

Keenan will finish Marte in less than 10 minutes. Having seen Lucas Leite get the quick armbar on Marte awhile back, I don't see Keenan having much trouble dispatching Marte.

Tonon via heel hook scramble in less than 5 minutes

I see a Draw here unless Lister gets the heel hook early.

Telles will patiently grind down Fowler and get the finish by about 8 minutes, collar choke, from the back.

AJ by RNC because it's NoGi.

Silverio is a beast, and I've heard conflicting stories that Kit is actually training now versus not training at all.
Silverio has looked increasingly good at black belt, and especially in the Gi. I have to take him by decision/will go the distance but a match I think will be tough.

I gotta go with Nicolini by back choke/lapel choke because I love her shin to shin guard.

And lastly, I'll take Darragh because he seemed like one of the nicest guys on the BJJ Kumite series.

Making Money in Jiu-Jitsu: Reffing

Asked for an opportunity to referee for New Bread Grappling's next event January 17th in Charlotte. I won't get to referee AND compete that day, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to watch some Jiu-Jitsu and get paid to work on my referee'ing skills.

Come out to the event.

There's a magical place where simply loving Jiu-Jitsu means people pay you money. There's a magical place where being good at Jiu-Jitsu means people pay you money. There's a magical place where winning medals in what amounts to an amateur sport (unpaid largely) means people pay you money. How many brown belts can you name? I know Kit Dale. I knew the guys on the BJJ Kumite.
That's it. Are they they only good brown belts out there? No, of course not.
Promotion and sometimes self-promotion (ask Conor McGregor represents a necessary evil - IF YOU are complaining about money or notoriety).
If you pay your way through Jiu-Jitsu, congratulations. If you lament that people know Kit Dale but don't know you, what are you doing every day to become as high profile as him?
Hearing a black belt complain they are broke means they either do not run their business well or simply expect that being good at Jiu-Jitsu entitles them to being paid well.

Do they take constructive feedback on their lesson planning? Do they legitimately ask students who do not return why they left? Are they willing to change with the times?

At any rate, I'm grateful that as a purple belt I am finally able to make some money with organizations like US Grappling and now Newbreed to do something that ultimately also directly helps my competition game and understanding of the sport.

Guys want to post an instagram pic of a sponsor's product and get paid to travel.
It's ridiculous. Loyalty, just like business, is a two way street. Any time one side takes the other for granted someone may take their business or loyalty, as the case may be, elsewhere.

Monday, January 5, 2015

What I'm Reading, Who I'm Watching, Et Cetera....Guilherme Mendes' Passing & Michael Lieira Jr.

Been rewatching all of Guilherme Mendes' matches available online.
All of them.

I've been drilling guard passing nearly every day I've trained since switching teams.
I've also therefore been going back and picking up small details watching his guard passing style now that I drill more pieces of his style of guard passing.

I watch a lot of Gui Mendes because he finishes with my favorite submission: the cross collar/lapel choke/brabo/whatever from knee on belly.
I began passing and staying in knee on belly after I tore my ACL and returned to training earlier than recommended. I knew I couldn't go to full mount so I learned to sweep and come up and pass and float in knee on belly. The necessity taught me knee on belly and the position and then the submission came pretty naturally. 
It's interesting to go back and rewatch a competitor's style 6 months or so later or even with 3 more months of training under your belt.

I find that you tend to have a better sense of their mindset and approach to passing, sweeping, whatever, with each level up in your mat time bank account.

Some nuances I've noticed that perhaps I didn't early on. His gripping of the outside knee/pant leg and the other hand grips the lapel sets up his lapel grip/back step-kick out-whatever you call it pass.
The pant leg grip is a big thing with Rafa and Gui and in fact, I dare say Rafa uses it more than Gui.
That being said, I watch more of Gui's matches because he cuts through/knee slice passes to the knee on belly then cross collar/brabo choke the way that I prefer to finish.

Bernardo Faria recently commented on his blue belt half-guard game. That is, he's been working his half-guard game since blue belt.
It has won him two world championships and taken him through very tough, close matches with Buchecha and Rodolfo among a slew of other world class bad*&^ competitors.

I'm a big watcher of any move or position or sequence you see one person pull off time and again against people who know it is coming, or positions you see in several weight classes (deep half guard, or sit-up guard among others). 

I'm also struck by how little time they spend in things like spider guard or leg lasso. I can think of only a handful of matches where players successfully set up a spider hook or a leg lasso type position.
The spider hook was quickly cleared and the leg lasso was bypassed and turned into a leg drag style position on that side. 

Read this bio piece on Michael Lieira Jr., recently promoted Atos black belt.

It's a cool time to watch the newly minted black belts begin plying their wares as Cobrinha still competes, the Mendes bros are facing off with the Miyaos, and Gianni Grippo has come along as well. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

UFC 182 Jones vs Cormier Hangover/A January to Remember

I picked a solid % correctly last night.
Jon Jones beat an early better than expected in the standup department looking Cormier who faded over rounds 4-5.

Shawn Jordan got a KO.
Dunham picked up a win over a self-slapping in the face Rodrigo Damm obviously in need of a FOTN Bonus.
Castillo got steamrolled by a guy no one had ever heard of, losing by spinning backfist that will surely be on highlight reels for years to come (that's why they call them upsets).
Tavares out grinded and out beasted on Nate Marquardt.
Burkman survived for 3 rounds by back pedaling and winging big punches in spurts.
Donald Cerrone coasted in places and walked down Myles Jury who panicked after nearly getting finished in the 1st round from a ridiculous omoplata to back take locked in with a body triangle.
Cerrone truly has the skillset to take it to Pettis, but that thunderous body kick stoppage is hard to forget. Cerrone is a bit too durable against nearly everyone that he's the right amount of hittable for a guy like Pettis who's power is deceptive. His punches stunned Melendez enough to sink in that guillotine. His kicks finished Cerrone and set up the finish against Henderson.

I went 6-1 in my picks. Not a bad night.
Overall, the card was solid if not uninspired with most of the fights going as anticipated.
That flyweight fight was atrocious to watch.
I felt like I was watching a commercial for the upcoming UFC calendar. The UFC was clearly banking on hyping match-ups to marginally interested fans tuning into see Jones/Cormier.

On to Janurary - On the 18th the Hype Train heads to its next stop with McGregor fighting for a title shot against Siver. It's hard to not be excited for this fight. Also on that card Henderson fights Alvarez in a real turning point fight for both men.

A week later, another fight with clear title shot aspirations has Gustaffson vs Johnson in a very dangerous fight.

We end the month with Nick Daiz vs Anderson Silva. Are you not entertained? I mean, really.