Tuesday, July 31, 2018

UFC 227 Countdown Full Episode: Garbrandt vs Dillashaw 2, Mighty Mouse vs Cejudo 2

The truth is, this card could be Dillashaw vs Mighty Mouse...but well, it's not. Mighty Mouse as a true to his core video gamer wants to rack up X amount of title defenses rather than risk losing by moving up a weight class or having Dillashaw come down and face him.....Mighty Mouse blamed fearing a failed weight cut, but oh wait, that happened when he faced a guy in his weight class, whereas Dillashaw hasn't previously missed weight...but I digress. It's okay Mighty Mouse, much like GSP opting to not move up to face Anderson Silva in his prime at 185, I get it. Mighty Mouse still remembers the day he lost to Dominic Cruz when he ventured plying his trade in a weight class up. Well, this is where we are. I'm tired of the instant rematches for champs when they get violently stopped inside of a round or 2. It just doesn't make sense....and especially not when guys like Cruz and Dillashaw lost the belt by the narrowest of margins, but then had to face murderer's row of top contenders to get another crack. But, again, this is where we are. I'm just incapable of being excited about watching Mighty Mouse face a guy he stopped so effortlessly last time out. The Garbrandt/Dillashaw fight is dangerous because as we saw last time, both men hurt one another....that being said, I trust in Dillashaw-Ludwig to craft changes in game planning and structuring training camp to best Garbrandt a second time around and to keep him guessing and missing and swinging.

Monday, July 30, 2018

UFC 227: Dillashaw vs Garbrandt - Predictions & Commentary

TJ Dillashaw vs Cody Garbrandt
'Twas a dangerous fight for both men last time, as proven by how hurt Dillashaw was in the first round, but then thunderously stopped Garbrandt in what had to be the most bitter pill on earth for Garbrandt to swallow. Now that Garbrandt knows he can be violently stopped....will the doubt creep in? I expect Dillashaw to use a more diverse attack and combine wrestling feints and knee taps to keep Garbandt swinging and missing. I also trust Duane Ludwig as Dillashaw's coach to help him implement just such a gameplan as the two together are a true combo of student and teacher.

Demetrious Johnson vs Cejudo
Billing these two as co-main when the first fight wasn't even competitive is a stretch...even while avoiding the fact that Demetrious could've challenged for a second belt against Dillashaw but instead of rematching a guy he crushed last time they faced one another, and Johnson has drubbed all other challengers by such a wide margin I forget the last time someone even won a round against him.

Renato Moicano vs Swanson
Moicano's sole loss is to Brian Ortega. So there's that. It means he could be a Max Holloway (who had only lost to McGregor) or....we'll find out where exactly he's at when he faces as tough a veteran gatekeeper/threat as he could find in the UFC featherweight division. I have to go with Swanson as he's faced stiffer competition, but any day now, I see his skills will make their decline due to how long he's been at this level in the game.

Santos vs Holland
Santos was really poised to move to the upper echelon of the division due to some violent stoppage wins but all that dematerialized with his last fight/loss to David Branch. It's interesting how that works in MMA, as Branch was a two weight class champ in WSOF, and he himself has only lost to the best that the UFC has to offer. Anyhow, Santos should obliterate this Holland guy because the UFC loves building up a devastating striker to pique that casual fan interest meter. Oh, and Santos has a giant phallic Thor hammer tattoo.

Bethe Correia vs Irene Aldana
Wow, Correia is still fighting. She's still plugging away after some real flat performances. I was never impressed with her to begin with, so I can't see her winning here. 

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Did ACB cancel everyone's contracts? & Thoughts on passivity and stalling in Grappling as a whole

I guess the warlord wasn't making idle threats....I'm hearing anecdotally and sensing the money train of guys paid like pro athletes is dead and buried. ACB which was hosting 4-6 BIG High Profile events paying something like nearly all the top tier athletes in Jiu-JItsu now has No pro events scheduled, only open tournaments listed and promoted online....it's a sad day, for the first time guys were getting paid like pro athletes throughout the year....and 50/50, butt scooting, and refusing to do more than look for a sweep to win probably killed it (Gi athletes, I'm looking at you). IBJJF already had to have it's own heart to heart over 50/50 and the refusing to come to top position whilst grabbing ankles for minutes on end.

All this Gi-based hatred/rebuke aside, ADCC is proof that high level guys can produce insanely boring NoGi matches. Orlando Sanchez won an ADCC basically scoring no points and conceding no takedowns.
ACB is alsp not exactly comparable because ACB's head guy was comparing lower level and MMA-centric competitors competing NoGi at the last event to having matches with high level Gi competitors with 5 minute rounds and 1 minute of no guard pulling, meaning you've got 4 minutes at most, to pull guard, and get to work and potentially submit a world class level competitor...that being said....the money was on the table, his expectations were made clear....the rule set clearly emphasized a desire for faster paced matches that were more viewer friendly...but the modern Gi game did a lot to shut that down. It's tough, because on one hand, any worthwhile competitor will game the system to every degree in order to whatever it takes to win. That single-minded determination to win no matter how ugly is the difference at world class levels. That being said.....as a whole, the money in any given sport comes from it being a spectator sport. Not everyone who watches the NBA played at even a high school team level. If you limit your sport's attention and visibility to only the level at which the very top echelon participant can perceive.....money and professional level money will likely always elude your competitors. 

As a former Judo player, having come up during the changeover from basically all takedowns including leg and ankle/grabs legal to upper body throws being allowed (what they now term freestyle Judo which is rarely practiced or used as a ruleset for tournaments) to then the change where any leg grab or contact below the waist for a takedown was grounds for an Immediate DQ, as well as continually changing gripping restrictions to emphasize and produce upright throwing (meanwhile encouraging more matwork due to the growing awareness of matwork thanks to MMA and Jiu-Jitsu), Judo looks very different aesthetically than it did when I was training and competing.
JiuJitsu in a desire to pay athletes, will likely be forced to enact rules which create a more dynamic pace and award aggression while simultaneously penalize passivity and stalling. Historically, this is supported by the rule sets of Judo and Wrestling, both of which place a premium on work rate and will ultimately DQ a competitor for perceived stalling or passivity (but ultimately this came about due to pressure by the IOC in order to broadcast the sports to a wider audience - remember when wrestling was ALMOST TAKEN OUT OF THE OLYMPICS???). Perhaps, JiuJitsu with its ethos and core belief will stay out of the Olympics and avoid this changing of the guard....but if the sport moves to the Olympics....the IOC will change the game....and what then occurs is from the top down the skills emphasized and the rule set enforced down to the national and state level changes as well.
That being said....the Olympics will also bring the USADA...and the podium I suspect will look very different, and at the lower belts, if included in the Olympics...these behemoth brown belts looking like cartoon characters even at 16 or 17 years old will suddenly not win 12 matches across weight classes looking as fresh on the second day as they did the first). Or maybe it's just Jesus and hard work helping them with the will to win? What do I know?

Back to ACB and it's impending official closure.....it will be interesting to see if the dozens and dozens of high level guys formerly on the roster will hold ranks and refuse to blame the folks who made atrociously boring matches or just call it like it is and say what everyone basically knows....the Gi matches led to some atrociously boring events with very few finishes.....unpopular opinion...but that warning message sent out by the head honcho after the last one was the canary in the coal mine...the writing on the wall. Interesting time for JiuJitsu and the current rule set now that there's a more viewer friendly experience in the form of sub only/EBI format with which to compare/contrast.

As always, criticism never sleeps, and the ongoing discussion is part of the healthy and at times painful growth of any sport. 

2018 Fila World Cup Grappling and Grappling Gi

Teammate of mine, Frank Rosenthal, is overseas doing this event:

Friday, July 27, 2018

Kasai 3 Announces Agazarm vs Durinho

UFC on Fox: Alvarez vs Poirier - Predictions & Such


Sure, Poirier had Alvarez hurt in their last fight, but so have many man. Alvarez's resume speaks for itself and as such, I think Poirier finds a way to not win the fight. Alvarez sensed/smelled some kind of crack in the armor last time around, and will simply do the same this time around.

Aldo vs Stephens
Seeing Aldo wilt under Holloway's boxing-centric assault suggested to me someone with even heavier firepower will put him down inside of a round or two as well (ie: Stephens). Stephens, once written off simply as a marauding brawler with chin has an underrated set of tools, a deceptive ability to strike and mix it up, and more than enough mileage left he can absorb to batter a no longer nearly as fearsome or feared Aldo. This is a tough night for Aldo indeed, as I see Stephens looking to batter him even soon than Holloway chose to do so.

Joanna.....not that I'm hype on Tecia, but Joanna is simply the same fighter she was previously...and without the aura of invincibility she lorded over opponents (ala the Anderson Silva era when guys were psychologically beaten before the fight even began). Like I said, I'm not some hype train riding Torres fan, but I simply expect that Joanna has become a far to predictable fighter with the same, if not slowly degrading skills due to making the weight and championship level fight training camps. She's been beaten twice, stopped once convincingly, and those women just below her on the food chain now see a name opponent that can be beaten, that will catapult them to a title shot. The sharks are circling. I see Torres winning a hard fought split decision by being slightly more active and at times backing Joanna up.

Aubin-Mercier for the win because I rarely see him lose, and he's only improved in most of the appearances I've seen him in.

Makdessi vs Pearson
Pearson's ability to hang in there and stay on the roster as long as he has is a sort of moral victory all it's own. I see Makdessi has having less mileage and shrugging off enough takedowns to take a split or unanimous decision by picking and moving and sticking and circling off after landing flurries of punches and some spinning backfists.

Cutelaba for the win because I think he's a dark horse to eventually move in the top 5 in his division.


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Quintet 2 - Recap & Analysis: Team 10th Planet wins the day

Team Tiger Muay Thai vs Team Reebok

Vandijck vs Dong Sik Yoon
It's a lot of Vandijck beasting on the 45 year old and good bit smaller Yoon. Vandijck hits some fireman's carries (kata guruma for you Judo players out there) into some top position, but never really consolidates any positions of dominance. Yoon for his part is also unable to set up any legit submission attempts.
Both men off the mat.

Suleiman vs Tokoro
Another, much more considerable, size differential.
Suleiman rolls through for a couple kneebar/leg lock attempts, but otherwise time expires with no real deep submission attempts on either side.
Both men off the mat.

Viking Wong vs Haisam Rida
Viking Wong taps as early as is humanly *&^%ing possible to a toe hold that Rida grabs a hold of while standing over X-guard. I think he basically grabbed the foot with both hands and Wong was already tapping. Not gonna lie...given that and the little conversation that was had with the referees and Wong before the match...feels....a bit....shall...we say.....suspect?

Alex Schild vs Haisam Rida
Rida looks for the toe hold again, and Schild gives up the kneebar. On a guy that huge, it's hard to explain why Schild couldn't clear the knee line given how short his legs (and small they are) compared to Rida. Hmm.

Stuart Cooper vs Haisam Rida
Rida gets the RNC against Cooper with 4:40 left in the match. Team TIger Muay Thai gets broadsided and blown out with Team Reebok (Sakuraba's squad) only having to utilize 3 of its members to run through their 5. Ouch.

Up Next, Team 10th Planet vs Team Vagabond
PJ Barch vs Suchorabski
Barch on the back, high, transitions to an armbar as he loses the back, Suchorabski looking for a leg attack immediately following escaping the armbar attempt. Looks like we got a live one here. Suchorabski gets to the back with the body triangle, then transitions to a mounted arm-triangle, but doesn't quite have the position to finish it. Suchorabski sits to the ground after a reset and stalling warning from the referee to both competitors, Barch cuts through the lazy guard sit immediately and transitions to the back then immediately to a kimura grip. Suchorabski defends some dangerous looking armbar attacks/transitions, the match ends with each guy reaching for an ankle lock but to no avail.
Both guys off the mat.

Richie Martinez vs Joao Assis
Joao dives into a half-guard pass and Boogeyman is deep on a gogoplata attempt, Joao eventually escapes and they reset. Boogeyman again deep on a gogoplata style attack but Joao bails on the pass in response and they reset. Boogeyman again deep on the gogoplata style attack but Joao again bails on the pass and they end up with legs entangled. A tense moment of Joao attacks an ankle lock, but Boogeyman's long legs buy him time to clear the feet/bite on the hips/leg and he escapes.
Both guys off the mat.

Geo Martinez vs Satoshi Ishii
Wow. Talk about a size mismatch. Christ.
Ishii HEAAAAAVY on an over/under pass which he gets then continues to circle toward north/south. 2 minutes left and Ishii locks up a kimura. Danger. After wrenching the arm free, Ishii is literally lifting Geo's whole body off the mat in an attempt to extricate it from defense and crank it behind Geo's back. Geo escapes. Wow. 20 seconds left and Ishii locks up another kimura and turns it into an armbar attempt followed by a Japanese neck scissor but times runs out. Gutsy performance by Geo, no other way to put it. Heavyweight Olympic gold medalist Judoka had him in a full kimura with 2 minutes left on the clock and he survived.

Allam vs Kazusionak
Kazusionak sits/jumps into a rolling kneebar. Mind blown. Couldn't have drilled it any more aesthetically.

Kazusionak vs Sachnoff
Kazusionak falling back on an achilles lock. All crank. All the extension. Sachnoff escapes. Gets to the back. Locks up a body triangle. Gets the RNC finish.

Sachnoff vs Dopidze
Sachnoff spends time on the smaller guy's back but doesn't get the finish.

The referees (3) will decide by flag/votes which team continues on. Nail biter, but not really as Sachnoff basically won the last match.

Team 10th Planet moves on to face Team Reebok (Haleo I guess?) in the finals.

Up first:

PJ Barch vs Daisuke Nakamura
Barch hits an armdrag to the back, transitions through to a high back mount position wi/out hooks, looking to consolidate the position. Barch with a body lock from the back, Nakamura holding onto a kimura until the ref's call stalling and reset them. On the reset, from standing, some clinch work, Barch shrugs his body lock grip into a read body lock and Nakamura goes down to both knees allowing Barch to look for the back mount. Barch on the back, digging for an RNC, a short choke, then transitions off the back to attack to an armbar or possible back triangle armbar but loses it with less than a minute to go. Barch is back to it with a stepover kimura, and is deep on it with a few remaining seconds but Daisuke doesn't tap and time runs out.
Both men off the mat.

Sakuraba vs Boogeyman
Sakuraba through to sidemount/scarf hold/kesa getame, but gives up the back, Boogeyman gets the truck and looking for a possible groin stretch/banana split submission or twister. Boogeyman catches him in a Darce. My heart cracks into a couple pieces. Sigh.

Boogeyman vs the Giant Rida
Rida looking to pass as Boogeyman sits. Rida jumping though to mount, then on the pass, then step over to the back, locks up the kimura grip and falls back on the armbar for the win. Looked like Boogeyman had space to escape, as Rida was reconfiguring his grip and had a few grip switches on the arm, but who knows.

Rida vs Geo
Rida on top of Geo who once again is facing a behemoth of a man. Looking for that toe hold but Geo doesn't leave his foot dangling like chum in the water, uses it to come up to top, and as Rida defends losing top position, his head hangs low and Geo locks up a guillotine, then goes high elbow as Rida is slow to defend the second hand. Geo transitions to mount and strangles the giant.

Geo vs Tokoro
Geo has him mounted 2.5 minutes in. Geo gets to the back, but loses it. Tokoro looking to pass. Both guys working and both are probably just glad to face someone roughly their own size. Both guys off the mat as the match ends in a draw.

Yoon vs Allam
Yoon has his work cut out for him as he faces the younger, considerably heavier man. 3.5 minutes in and Allam has the body triangle on the back. Ouch. Allam crushes the face, then Yoon gives up the chin and a palm to palm grip short grip choke finishes. Allam gets the win.

Team 10th Planet gets by Team Vagabond by the narrowest of margins, then gets the win(s) necessary in the final to take the day. Looking forward to see them face Team Polaris from the first Quintet.
Another interesting clash of styles and faces. Man, I love Quintet (even though there's no heel hooks). Some very gutsy performances and some surprise standouts as well. I gotta give credit where credit is due: watching Geo survive Satoshi wrenching on the kimura was the real deal. His finish of Rida as well, impressive stuff.
The strength of the back position and firepower to finish once there, the body triangle, and poor leg lock defense stood out as turning points in a number of matches.

I was gonna post the Spyder 2018 Quarterfinal matches and Final match...

...but the 3 matches I watched were atrociously boring so I didn't. Iwasaki played half-guard for 97% of the match and hit a sweep with a few seconds left. Miyao and Gabriel played footsies and 50/50 and double pulls for the duration of the match. There, saved you the 20-30 mins of your life watching it. 

BJJ Digest Episodes 29-32



Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Watched Dana White's Contender Series to see Nick Newell

It's a joke that this guy had to fight on the Contender Series to get a UFC shot at a contract, but that's a separate discussion.


Mike Davis vs Sodiq Yusuf
Yo. Best single round I've seen in a fight in ages. Ferocious punches, kicks, a takedown, a strangle attempt with a guillotine....legs buckled with kicks....man. Prob the best round I've seen in a fight in quite awhile. Better than most of that Hamburg card this past weekend all put together.
Yusuf landing some crunching leg kicks and the heavier punches in the first round.

Second round, Yusuf still with the heavier kicks, but doing a lot of backpedalling, and Davis walking him down, though eating leg kicks for it.

Third round: Yusuf buckles Davis' leg, then chooses to dance and pot shot, and shuck and jive rather than finish a man who's basically on one leg for an entire round. Sad. Showboating rather than finishing a man on one leg is.......regrettable.
Yusuf wins a decision.
Bummer to see him with Lloyd Irvin in his corner, but the guy who famously once gave Dominic Cruz a belt in the cage to grab some spotlight now literally turned away from the camera and made an effort to not even be seen on camera.  Lloyd Irvin has been predictably laying very, very low with all the #metoo going on, because the last thing he needs is that spreading to JiuJitsu and shutting down his network of schools after barely holding it together with the Keenan/JT exodus that happened with the scope of the allegations that surfaced and other.....cases (both unresolved and resolved). Wow, it's only been 5 years. Criticism never sleeps. I won't rehash it here because this post was supposed to be about Nick Newell finally getting a shot at a UFC contract, but use the internet to read and decide for yourself.

Birchler vs Crute
Crute got a standing TKO with about 18 seconds left in the first round. He looks a bit undersized for LHW, and frankly, underpowered, but we'll see how the Aussie does from here on out.

Newell vs Munoz
Newell gave up some takedowns, and Munoz managed to land some stiff punches at times throughout. It wasn't a barnstormer level performance for either guy. As the fight wore on, the commentary became about how Munoz had a 20 month layoff, and the show and the narratives feel (predictably) more scripted than even the company man UFC commentary on PPV's.
Munoz won the fight 30-27 and now Dana can justify retroactively why he never brought Newell over to the UFC. 

Fight Night Calgary: Road to the Octagon - Alvarez vs Poirier, Aldo vs Stephens, Joanna vs Torres


Monday, July 23, 2018

UFC Hamburg: Smith Stops Shogun Rua, Teixiera Falters, & Tybura Notches a Win

FightPass Prelims:
Stasiak vs Pingyuan
Stasiak eventually drags Pingyuan down to the mat. Doesn't advance position until Pingyuan looks for an amrbar, Stasiak finishes the round looking for a guillotine.
Pingyuan wobbles Stasiak with a spinning backfist but then gets dragged down again after falling back on a guillotine that Stasiak escapes. Round 2 ends with Stasiak on top landing punches.
Wow....Pingyuan gets the nod....frankly, he got outwrestled and lost positionally for much of the fight. Interesting. Hamburg judges giving it to a few big strikes rather than the majority of control of the round. That or UFC needed another Chinese star to build the brand. Neither of which would surprise me.

Kimball vs Stosic
Kimball moving and sticking and using some surprising speed for his size to not allow Stosic to set his feet/plant and land the heat. Kimball shots a double, gets shrugged off with ease, and Stosic drops an elbow or two and Kimball straight covers up immediately and it's over with a few more punches.

Narimani vs Taha - Narimani outwrestled him with key takedowns midway through the rounds. Both guys have a future winning fights in the UFC based on what I saw.

Fabinski vs Meek - Meek got dragged down by Fabinski in each of the 3 rounds. Fabinski didn't do a whole lot to be honest, once they were on the ground. Meek is a guy I want to see win more fights, but Fabinski sucked his hips off the cage once he locked his hands and dragged him down. I don't see Fabinski doing much in the division as if this gameplan doesn't work against a superior grappler, I didn't see much else in his game to be proud of. He didn't advance position even when on the ground, nor did I see much of a submission oriented approach to doing much once he dragged his opponent down.

Hadzovic vs Hein
Hein never put together much variety in his punching or kicking or striking for that matter. Hadzovic for his part utilized a solid jab to pick Hein apart who never really got off the backfoot.

Haqparast vs Diakese
Haqparast had Diakese on the ropes at the end of rounds 1 and 2. Haqparast never gave Diakese the room he needed nor the space to work the potent offense he normally utilizes to bewilder and finish his opponents. An excellent showing for Haqparast.

Tybura vs Struve
Struve got held down by Tybura who dragged him down midway through each round for 3 rounds. Honestly, not much else to say about this fight.

Azaltar vs Miranda
Miranda seemed a bit gun shy against Azaltar, though Azaltar's ground game gives me real concerns about him in this weight class. Azaltar's escapes and reversals simply won't work against a heavier wrestler or ground technician, and certainly not as he tires over the course of 3 rounds.

Anderson vs Teixeira
Anderson looked as good as he's looked in a long time, better perhaps than in many of his UFC showings (and I saw that as someone who was a fan from the outset of his time in the UFC). He outclassed and outworked a championship level fighter in Glover and never seemed to be sidetracked from his gameplan.

Shogun vs Smith
Ouch. Shogun sure does have me biting my nails every time he fights these days. He put together 3 wins in a row....walked into a heavy shot, and the sight of him out on his feet/against the cage in front of Smith was tough to watch, man. Had me hurting to see him unable to defend himself whilst out on his feet. 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Geo Martinez Injured - Match with Agazarm Off

Kasai 3 takes a bit to its main card a few weeks out. Having Satoshi Ishii cranking a Kimura on you violently with time running out will have that injurious effect I would assume. 


Thursday, July 19, 2018

July 27th/Next Thurs: One FC brings you Renzo, Tonon, Aoki, and Yuki Kondo

Polaris 7 Recap & Analysis

Cook vs Luukkonen
Despite Cook being on Luukkonen's back for the last 3-5 minutes of the match and Luukkonen basically face down in turtle doing nothing, they gave her the match. I'm confused.

Ross Nichols vs Nathan Orchard
Orchard sits. Nichols nearly passes then rolls forward and over looking to pass. Orchard to his feet, in the low, backstep into the legs position you'll often see in his matches when addressing a seated opponent. He uses Nichols' low head position to attempt a kimura, to a backtake but loses it in transition. A similar repeated transition of Orchard backstep/circling, locking up a kimura, rolling through, this time with the kimura briefly isolated and behind the back but Nichols countering, and coming up, escaping a straight armbar then separating. Nichols appears to consider a body lock takedown, then remembers this is Nathan Orchard and wisely fearing the closed guard, addresses the guard, and stands up with Orchard body triangling him from closed guard to then shake/peel him off. Orchard over the top rolling through for another kimura attempt but Nichols defends. Nichols defending Orchard's attempts to pass and utilizing them to come up to top, some heavy guard passes/cut through, to front head lock, but unable to turn it into a backtake et cetera. 4 minutes left, and I guess on the basis of guard passes you would give it to Nichols? Not frankly sure, TBH. I spoke too soon, with 3 1/2 minutes left, Orchard on a guard pass that Nichols turtles to avoid, and Orchard in a crucifix-like position. Both guys really working for and through every position in this match, no bullshitting whatsoever. No stalling, no disengaging and flitting about on the outside to stall or buy time. Straight forward working for it/at it. Nichols passes to full mount after some form of bottom triangle that Orchard goes for with about a minute left.
Nichols by Decision (unanimous)

Nicky Ryan vs Phil Harris
Harris resetting and disengaging after realizing his down on both knees posture won't get him into any decent passing opportunities. Roughly 90 seconds in and Harris has legitimately disconnected, stood up, circled then dropped back to both knees on the ground 5-7 times. Nicky looking for arm drags and a front head lock at one point to take advantage of Harris' posture. His low posture is okay for defending the space between the knees and leg lock entries, but makes him virtually incapable of any legitimate passing threat/attempts. From this poor, head front posture, he gets caught between double unders with one arm in/one arm out and the triangle finish looms for Nicky. Harris in real danger, but gets his posture back, and still on both knees semi looking to pass. Harris disconnects, circles and drops to his knees. His (I assume) fear of leg lock entries means he's only looking to pass from down on both knees, making the likelihood of him passing from this non-mobile stance, and head forward position exceedingly unlikely, and showing Nicky only one look/one guard, meaning Nicky will continue to set up attacks and entries from relative comfort, especially having seen how early Harris fell into the triangle set-up.
Nicky on a good looking leg lock entry, but Harris immediately gets his free foot, bottom of the foot posted on Nicky's hamstring to prevent the wedges/bite necessary to apply breaking pressure.
Nicky on a kimura from bottom that almost turns into a triangle and/or armbar.
Nicky with a beautiful inversion to swing through to an armbar. Fluid.

Williams vs Imanari
What a joke. Imanari had the legitimate attacks. Williams had a head/arm choke but Imanari had his leg in between them meaning unless Imanari was reverting to being a white belt and panicking there's no way he was gonna tap. Home cookin' by Polaris to drum up their boy in the final. Silliness. No part of that match was a win for Williams. I'm not gonna degrade myself by writing out a full breakdown with such an obvious snow job by the promotion to put their favorite in the final against Nicky. That being said, seeing how much trouble Williams found himself in at the last EBI and in this match against Imanari, I don't see Williams being Nicky. Nicky has too many weapons from bottom and top and too many entries and arm drags and submission attacks however Williams thinks he is going to pass. Nicky has far superior entries and transitions on the legs than guys Williams has faced, and that combined with his threats in other areas (handfighting to the triangle or enter the legs against a standing opponent) I don't see many ways or times out of even 10 matches that Williams beats Nicky Ryan.

Oliver Taza vs Lachlan Giles
Taza on a wrist grip to arm drag to takedown into shin to shin guard by Lachlan Giles. Giles on a palm to palm grip looking to rotate through and end up with Taza's leg wedged inside, but Taza defends and it's back to the feet. Taza collar tie cycles then gets to a Russian/2 on 1 and circles Giles down to the mat. Taza's wrestling looking sharp. Taza looks for a kimura reversal or back take but ends up with Giles in his closed guard. Taza utilizes an ude garami grip/attack to sweep Giles and come up on top and looking to pass.
Taza on an armdrag, Giles reverses, Taza Granby rolls, and Giles with the body lock looking to crab ride up to the back.
Giles from bottom in single leg X, Taza peels the foot off the hip, then Giles in outside ashi garami, Taza steps around and is on his own heel hook entry/leg entanglement. They separate. Taza on the pass attempt again. The control by Taza inside the knees, with the top leg shelved onto his shoulder is preventing a lot of the Craig Jones style leg attacks/inversions I suspect we would've otherwise seen from Giles when on bottom. Taza with a reverse collar tie and leg lace grip looking to pass and pressure Giles. Giles slowing down a bit, the constant pressure, movement, and attacks and transitions by Taza wearing him down at the match winds down to the last few minutes. Taza continues to use guard passing to then set up falling back on the legs into attacks and maintaining a diverse approach.
Handfighting on the feet, Taza looking to snap down Giles' hands to the mat, Giles with a double leg, sprawl by Taza, then ends up back on the legs, a reset, and time runs out.
Taza with the decision win.

Gregor Gracie vs Gilbert Burns
From a takedown to a backtake at about the 11am mark, Gregor gets to full mount then back to half-guard but with one arm isolated. Later, Gregor hits an amazing sweep from closed guard, to play on top and look to pass. Both men work from bottom and top at various points over the duration of the match.  In a tightly contested match, Gregor dislocates his shoulder from a suplex by Burns with 1:45 left. Disappointing turn of events to say the least. 

Kasai 3 Confirms Final 3 Competitors for Welterweight Grand Prix 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

SAVE THE DATE: Baroni vs Leben BARE KNUCKLE

What. A. Time. To. Be. Alive.
These are limitless times, friends.
October 20th. Be there. I will 100% order this stream.
Fun fact: I got to roll with Chris Leben in the Gi at Arena MMA while I was visiting SoCal last year. Add’l fun fact: I rolled with Jesse Taylor (TUF winner) there as well.

Bellator Announces 9/10 Welterweight Tourney Names 

 Yo, Dillon Danis, where you at? Weird how he goes MIA when something like this comes up or Neiman Gracie offers to fight. All of a sudden his phone stops working and he has other things to do.....

Monday, July 16, 2018

ACB 14 - Recap and Analysis

Some Takeaways: The head honcho of ACB was pissed with the Gi competitors. The pulling of guard, the stalling their way through the 1 min penalized period for pulling guard....the lack of submission attempts in general....these are the realities of Gi Jiu-Jitsu. It will be a sad day if this event is folded due to the gamesmanship of the athletes when for the first time male athletes (at least, that's another topic btw, the lack of any space or $$  for female competitors) being paid as professionals. They'll honestly have no one to blame but themselves in the event this happens. The gauntlet has been laid down, and the main ACB guy just doesn't seem one to make idle threats.

As opposed to the Gi matches with guys oft chomping at the bit to pull guard at the minute mark, the NoGi matches showcased some legit chain wrestling and scrambles throughout. It actually punctuated the pace of a ton of Gi matches for what totaled out at a 7 1/2 hour broadcast (trying for even the most dedicated grappling fan/afficionado).

Igor Silva vs....skipped it. Blah. Boring.

Berkhamov vs Saidov
Rd 1 - Berkhamov scores with a knee pick-up reaching single then again with an outside trip off of a tie-up. Saidov briefly threatens a triangle following the first points scored but loses it then uses it to force a scramble and get back to his feet. More action on the feet than entire Gi matches whether standing or on the ground.
Rd 2 - Berkhamov again with a leg grab/pick-up, head center to the chest double leg, that he quickly gets his hands locked and gets Saidov down again smoothly.
Rd 3 - Berkhamov again looking for the takedown, Saidov deep in on a shot, uses it to pull guard, but then can't get anything of note other than an outside heel hook that really isn't because it's rotating at the knee but uses it to come to top position but can't get anything else done before time runs out.
Berkhamov by Decision

Meregali vs Rocha
Round 1 - not much of note, Meregali eats a penalty, Rocha patient to keep his posture, grip fight, strip grips, semi looking to pass but frankly, not much.
Round 2 - aggressive Rocha with an over the back grip, pushes hard into Meregali who takes the bait, then the larger Rocha times the push back and hits a lapel grip shoulder throw/seionage then looking to over/under style pass. Meregali underhooks the leg with an omoplata and sweeps the monster of a man, Rocha. Wow. Guess the move does work regardless of size. Rocha beasts back up out of it to reverse it shortly thereafter, however. Sad face. Meregali gets the collar grip to assist the omoplata, then threatens a triangle to threaten the sweep, but Rocha stuffs it pretty easily, then Meregali threatened to settle for a triangle attempt which Rocha postures out of, leaving the score 4-2 Rocha's lead. Meregali miraculously (him and Keenan are two of my favorite bigger guys to watch) hits the sweep, and ends up chasing a low double leg with his hands locked around the hips as Rocha is now out of bounds. Meregali denied 2 points for what should've been a sweep, and is now forced to start from the feet. Le sigh. I'm having flashbacks of the IBJJF Worlds now. Kill me....then it happens. The unthinkable. The sweep points from the previous exchange are awarded. Wow. God is real. He's watching the match. Rocha not even pretending to try and open the guard, just sticking Meregali flat, hands/fists driving his shoulders flat to the mat, not controlling the hips, down on both knees. Sigh. Rocha for real stalling now, despite being given a penalty.
Round 3 - Joao hits a snapdown shoulder throw that forces the lighter Meregali to turtle, then gets to the back and drags him down...Joao gets 2 points, and you know the world class level stall is coming on strong, my friends. Meregali constantly pommeling his legs inside and trying to create movement against the bigger man barely moving. Meregali threatens a triangle, and rolls through, then to an omoplata underneath position then back to a triangle, but Rocha just too big and on top enough to avoid it. Meregalit with DLR, then feeds a lapel, then up onto a low single, and Rocha looking at the clock to ride it out....Rocha lays down to tie his belt like he was doing most of the work for the match. Blah.
Rocha by decision and by that I mean some takedown points and a stall-fest.

Mendes vs Terra
Mendes will likely be a familiar face for the next year or 2 after his USADA suspension goes through with the UFC.
Rd 1
Mendes hits an omoplata sweep, and thank god, fails in sucking Terra into 50/50, whew* that was a close one. I'm having flashbacks to the years of the Worlds finals being 50/50 leg scissor battles. Terra feeds the lapel underneath Mendes in an effort to step over the locked guard and pass but nothing doing. Terra down by a penalty due to stalling on the feet.
Rd 2
Terra sloppily reaches for a ankle pick, and Mendes just bulldozes him over for the half-assed attempt and picks up 2 points.
Rd 3
Mendes picks up a takedown within 15 seconds into the round. Let's hope he avoids the half-guard stall of doom this time around. With a minute left, Terra looks to create space and sweep, Mendes steps around after disconnecting, then forces Terra to turtle. Mendes gets hooks and back control points with 37 seconds left. Both men seem to look for a toe hold with a few seconds left, but y'know, that's mainly just for show most of the time.
Mendes wins by decision, 2 rounds out of the 3.

Marangoni vs Moizinho
Rd 1
Both guys throw out some obviously fake foot sweep attempts to give the appearance of giving a flying *&^% in the first minute/guard pulling penalty phase. I guess this is better than doing actually nothing for that first minute?
2 minutes in, and Moizinho is opting between leg lasso and RDLR and a spider hook on the bicep, Marangoni kneeling, to be safe. Man, I'm trying to enjoy this because I love grappling, but gdamn, I'm struggling to not skip the match at this point. Do I throw more minutes of my life after those already spent watching this minuscule level of activity?
Moizinho nearly comes up on a sweep, but Marangoni counters with a low single type position at the end to prevent it. Moizinho converts the leg lasso to an omoplata, rolls through, looks to come up, Marangoni rolls through and they're stuck.
Rd 2
In a scramble, Moizinho sits through/jumps to a triangle that looks pretty damn deep. It becomes an omoplata, Marangoni stands out of it to defend, Moizinho comes up on a single that looks good but Marangoni gets separation and they reset in the middle.
Having escaped that jump to triangle I believe being the reason, Marangoni is now up by 2 points.
Moizinho with another near sweep attempts, but Marangoni stands to pick him up and keep him off the ground until the round ends.
Rd 3
Moizinho with an omoplata to 50/50. My heart kinda dies at this point. Great. Rounds ends.
Marangoni wins I guess by decision.

Ali Magomedov vs Bruno Frazatto
I've always liked Frazatto. He'd be world champion but had to face Cobrinha in the finals several times before Rafa came along. Lately, he's had some boring 50/50 matches, but I mean, y'know, it's a thing in this weight class and in the Gi. Sigh.
Rd 1
Magomedov hits a sweep with a minute left, utilizing the lapel.
Rd 2
Magomedov toe holds Bruno Frazatto for the finish (eerily similar to how he lost a Worlds Final quite awhile ago to Cobrinha when he was up by sweep points with -1 min left in the match.
Magomedov wins vie toe hold.

Farias vs Miyao
I tried to enjoy this match. I've been enjoying training in the Gi quite a bit more as of late, and was truly prepared and wanting to enjoy some high level world class black belt level Gi competition by lighter weight competitors. With some 50/50 style action truncating the second half of a number of matches, there were few exciting exchanges over the 25 minutes. I'm the first to admit that over the course of ACB events, I wasn't exactly hyped for the Gi-centric cards...but this time, I was ready to enjoy. I just didn't find much here to enjoy. Perhaps I've lost my ability to truly nerd out on the gamesmanship of Gi-centric grappling, I dunno.

Lepri vs Ramos
Fighting on the feet primarily through rounds 1 & 2. Lepri pulls halfway through Rd 2 and is threatening a good looking sweep but Ramos gets separation and is immediately looking to pass. His time in the UFC and ADCC hasn't done much to take the heat out of his Gi game. Especially after some previous ACB matches (avenging a NoGi loss by winning the belt from Najmi amongst them). Ramos is HEAVY on a leg drag position, looking to pass and comes as close to passing Lepri as anyone has since Leandro Lo did it. Straight up. Whew. Lepri has the lapel fed through the legs, comes up on a single with the lapel, knocks out the supporting leg but as they go out of bounds, Ramos is back to his feet. Nailbiter.
Rd 3
3 minutes in, Lepri is elbow deep on a single leg with a lapel grip, rotates, gets Ramos down onto his back, but as Lepri settles, Ramos lifts him up with his leg and is back on his feet. Ramos again pulls late in the round, looking for a sweep but no dice.
Rd 4
Both men are up to 4 penalties apiece over the course of 15+ minutes of grappling. The action has been periodic and they're evenly matched on the feet, but with Lepri edging out Ramos overall on near sweeps and takedowns. Lepri again gets elbow deep on a single with the other hand in the lapel, and Ramos is on one leg hopping, and Lepri trying to drag him back in bounds, but Ramos evades and ends up out of bounds. The penalties for arguably fleeing out of bounds to avoid takedowns are going to be coming down the road in ACB I suspect. Lepri is awarded 2 points for the takedown. Ramos jumps to closed guard and Lepri is knee in the middle looking to crack open the closed guard. Ramos is hanging onto a leg lasso guard that Lepri is circling toward and backing around (how he normally addresses this hook) for the remainder of the round. Ramos never in much of a position to initiate a sweep, and Lepri content to not force any big passing attempts either.
Rd 5
Lepri pulls halfway through the round with 2 1/2 minutes left. Lepri has a DLR hook and the lapel fed between the legs to his grip spiraling the opposite direction. He comes up and scores a sweep. Ramos takes the foot and tries to cross the body in an effort to use it to come up but Lepri gets space enough to get his feet underneath him. Ramos pulls with 20 seconds left. Aggressively hunting but it's gonna be hard with short time.

Lepri wins the belt with 2 rounds his via a takedown and a sweep. A closely contested affair throughout with Lepri taking it in those two exchanges.  

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Polaris 7 Prologue: Episode 1

Some teammates of mine on the big card this weekend in the UK.
Nicky is in the 145 lb bracket/eliminator, Taza is in the welterweight bracket/eliminator, Gregor Gracie (whose Gi class I used to take/competition class he runs during the weekday mornings) faces Gilbert Burns. It's a big card featuring some big names. 2 days later we get Quintet 2 in Japan (no heel hooks, but still entertaining matches along with the team vs team king of the hill format). A month later, we get the Kasai 3 featuring some surefire match-ups as well. What a time to be a submission grappling fan, seriously. Taza faces Giles/teammate to Craig Jones.....Imanari is also on the card. Hard to complain.


UFC 226: Recap, Reactions, Legacy, and WWE


It was a serious moment for DC. He balanced the ledger of not beating Jon Jones by doing what Jones never did....move up to HW...and DC beat the most dominant HW champ in UFC history. Period. And did it inside of 1 round....as decisively as could have been done.

All that then tumbled down the hill into the pathetic WWE promo standoff with Brock Lesnar. Proven cheater who circumvented the testing pool to beat Hunt then disappear again.....and now he's back. I'm all for folks making money. Who the *&^% am I to fault the planning of a mega showdown? That being said, DC had just done something that no LHW has done, he did it by beating not just any HW champ....but like I said, the most dominant champ in UFC history. It was blah to see that turn so quickly into a staged promo/showdown. It's prizefighting, I'm all for guys risking health and life and brain damage to make paydays...but the real drama of what DC had just done was more than enough for me. "I've come in second many times." Man. Real talk.

Ngannou vs Lewis: let's just leave that as what it was. 2 guys barely willing to engage, and stealing the title of Woodley vs Maia for worst fight in the last several years......because this was on both guys. Neither guy wanted to punch, Ngannou literally didn't want to do anything. Lewis' corner said it best after the first round, to the effect: "you did a little bit more." Yeah. Well, co-main event status, and that performance was.......basically a no contest.

Perry showed real development and tools in his toolbox against Felder. He simply overwhelmed Felder at parts, tied him up against the cage when necessary, and beat Felder where he wanted to be. A real improvement for "Platinum".

For all the *&^% Chiesa talked about not making weight, and being cost a title shot, he really dropped the ball coming in heavy with his bout with Pettis. To top it off, he got tapped, dropped, and all around out fought for the majority of the duration the fight lasted. Glad to see Pettis get a solid win in his cap, and Chiese paid the piper for all the strong talk he's been lobbying as of late.

Saki paid the price for all the stance switching as he ate a straight right hand that crumpled him. Them little gloves though.....not the same as the gloves in kickboxing as Alistair and others have found out when making the switch. Saki will be beat, live by the sword die by the sword.

Costa made a big ole statement at the expense of Urijah Hall. Let's hope Costa doesn't get popped for roids again.

Klose vs Vannata put on a solid showing both, with each having their moments in an entertaining scrap.

Gilbert Burns got dropped and finished derailing his hype train and momentum in his evolution as a dangerous striker. Bummer. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018