Thursday, December 24, 2015

Because You Didn't Ask: Demian Maia Vs Gunnar Nelson, Rockhold Vs Weidman et al

1) I am back training and blogging. It's been almost exactly 4 months. Until yesterday I had not stepped foot on a mat, had not watched a single UFC fight or even a single Jiu-Jitsu match since the end of August. I did some adult-ing, took the only break I've had in training other than when I had my ACL reconstructed......and let's get down to business.

2) Watched Rockhold vs Weidman. Rockhold's dominance once he got to mount was impressive as few men in MMA have really shown many holes in Weidman's game. I can only surmise that Rockhold's top pressure is something like the Star Killer Base in the new Star Wars flick I also just saw. As usual, I'm late to the party, but better late than never. Rockhold did have moments where he looked human and overtly taking big mouthfuls of air, but despite that first round scare with the backtake by Weidman, Rockhold finished the very tough and resilient Weidman on the ground. No mean feat.

3) It's refreshing to see Maia, come out and almost immediately take guys down rather than have a sloppy kickboxing match with two takedown attempts (Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber, Johnny Hendricks - are you all paying attention?). Maia with that standing body triangle which he maintains like an octopus opening a jar underwater, then slick but basic armbar from the back sequence was a joy to watch - who would've thought? Straight Jiu-Jitsu through positional dominance: old school Gracies in action: clinch, takedown, dominant position, an MMA fight? Mind. Blown. Maia when the takedown failed, stayed with it and would seamlessly go straight back to it if/when Nelson did get back to his feet and inevitably drag Nelson into the deep water. Maia must train accordingly as that kind of relentless grind is exhausting. Nelson had his flashes of brilliance with countering some takedowns at the last second by switching hips, but his brief flashes on top were miniscule compared to Maia's newfound reliance on his ground game which he had eschewed earlier in the mid-section of his career. He has clearly worked his wrestling and clinch work to specifically hunt for whatever it takes to drag his opponent to the mat where his back control is suffocating.

4) Despite my 4 month hiatus from training, US Grappling has an event in my hometown of Raleigh, so I'll be back on the grind reffing and competing midway into January. It's been an interesting two years at purple belt thus far and I can only imagine what this upcoming year holds in store.

Happy Holidays.