Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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

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

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

JitzKing & Subversiv 2 Recap & Reflections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 15, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 12, 2019

Andris Brunovskis - Closed Guard Overhook: Fist Choke & Triangle

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

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

I can't recommend this position enough.


Sunday, July 7, 2019

Adam Wardzinski Covers 5 Most Common Butterfly Mistakes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 6, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 5, 2019

BJJ Scout Previews Ben Askren vs Jorge Masvidal - UFC 239

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

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

Predictions are as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

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

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

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

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


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

Friday, June 28, 2019

Busy Wrap-Up in Combat Sports

Like that guy who stops training when he gets a girlfriend, once I was able to start semi training live again/positional rounds, the blog posting fell off as you can see, but posts will semi begin to come again regularly.

Artem Lobov won a moral victory over Malignaggi. The bare knuckle card overall moves quickly, is almost entirely entertaining, and totally worth ordering if you haven't. 10/10 will watch/support again.

Moicano got staaaaarched by Korean Zombie who really is one of the best in the division with an iron chin, gas tank for days, and striking + submissions on his resume.

Midwest Finishers 2
Tackett picked up a slick calf slicer win. Saw a sharp shoulder lock from body triangle, back strangle/RNC finish and a minimal amount of leg entanglements overall compared to other "submission grappling events" with endless leg pommeling that gets nowhere. The bracket was largely evently matched in terms of skill in that there weren't a lot of immediate 45 second heel hook blowout wins when some random blue belt faces guys with a lot more experience or who train at a much higher level gym. Either the level overall is rising (slowly but surely) and/or this bracket just happened to have a deeper talent pool from which is drew applicants.

Meregali loop choked Cyborg after Cybory stayed on all 4s/knees stalling for too long. Meregali almost loop choked Keenan twice at Worlds, so it wasn't a huge surprise, nor because Cyborg hasn't competed in the Gi in any open divisions in quite awhile.

The Third Coast format was confusing because grappling commentary sucks sh$t, so with it muted I was confused by the coin toss to determine who chose a position after matches where one guy was up on points, but whatevs, let them tweak the rules in an effort to produce excitement. The vast majority if not almost all of the main and under card bouts went to decision, but le sigh. At any rate, we've got the summer starting up, and now it's a matter of looking ahead to ADCC. Finishers is doing a 135 lb mens division again (my weight class but I'm quite a ways from competing again as I rehab my knee from ACL/meniscus surgery), and a womens 125 lb division. 

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: BJ Penn Back in Win Column, Blue Belts in the streetz?

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Polaris 10 Review: Urijah Seeks to Survive/Nicky Retains Title, Boogeyman Lives by the Sword, Craig Jones Wrestles et al

Missed the prelims by and large, was training, as I'm back doing select positional rounds in the Gi, it's been 3 months and a week since ACL surgery. I'm glad I've been thru this perilous phase before to know how to navigate training what I can but making sure to avoid re-injury.

At any rate, some thoughts: Boogeyman is a guy who either submits or gets submitted. I can always respect that about him. He showed that perhaps Miha's success on the European stage is predictably not an indicator of success against the top tier of talent and experience. A learning experience with some takeaways: holding onto the Kimura while your back is being taken by a guy as lengthy in frame as Boogeyman and tripod'ing up while your back is taken/body triangle was ill-advised. Thank God he was on the card b/c he and Uno were the only 2 submissions on the main card.

Uno picked up a deserved win over a guy his age. Remedios hung onto the lockdown to stall passing attempts, but left his left arm extended for periods of time and predictably, got reverse armbarred by the experienced Uno.

Lutes tried the Diniz both knees down, hand fight and throat post to stop most of Jones's attempts to invert and utilize his Z-guard, Jones also did a fair amount of wrestling in an effort I suspect to prepare for ADCC. For all his joking and nonchalant attitude, Jones is a sharp guy, as evidenced by his willingness to wrestle and pass in the time that's elapses since his last ADCC. Jones won based on activity, and Lutes being stymied with any real passing attemtps.

Rodriguez beat the brown/black belt Ash after some snapdowns and him remaining turtled as Rodriguez worked to take his back. The RNC came not long after the back was taken with Ash not controlling the meat of the hand and opting to try and pull down on the wrist. Blah.

Faber came to squat on both knees, and disengage when Nicky would look to post on the shoulder to expose his base. Faber for his part just cuffed with the forearm, posted on the throat, and did a lot of shoving but really didn't come close to doing anything resembling a pass attempt or a submission attempt for the entire duration of the match. He tried to roughhouse which comes off looking silly AF. I think the hardest job is a commentator trying to call it anything other than what it is, but when you book a non sport grappler to face a dangerous submission grappler, the guy is gonna get waxed or he's gonna do everything to avoid any prolonged grappling exchanges. Nicky had a deep leg entanglement on the border of the mat, and in the reset, Faber extricated enough of his knee to survive, disengage, and reset.

Ashley Williams got another gift decision (he lost to Imanari, f*ck what anyone else says, go back and watch the match, Imanari dominated with submission attempts) over Ethan Crelinsten. Ash picked up a period out of the 3, but no way he won 2 of the 3. For coming off of a long layoff, he kept pace for much of the match with Ethan, but having trained with Ethan a bunch, I can tell you Ethan sets a very, very, very constant pace which is hard for most guys to match for a 15 minute match. At any rate, it's good to see a lighter competitor back on the stage doing well, despite my misgivings bout the gifting of a decision to him for the 2nd time at this promotion.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Vieira MMA, Teams want Keenan to commit (shocker), et al

Worlds body for Keenan coming in hot.
Rodolfo competing far away in MMA against a jacked looking guy.
Keenan says overlords at gyms want Keenan to wear their patch if he prepares for Worlds there (disgusting, right? hahaha shocker).
Polaris books Craig Jones vs Matheus Lutes. Nicky Ryan vs Faber still on tap for May 25th Polaris.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Tonon Recalls Keenan Poach Effort for TLI, Craig Jones gonna Craig Jones, et al

Ah, the good ole Brown Belt Kumite days, prior to the college gang rape thing coming out about Master *****, the NYE rape case, the DJ Jackson case, the well, was a younger, more naive time in JiuJitsu, Master ***** laying low these days, reaaaaaal low, in fact, even when he corners guys in the UFC or on the contender series he's clearly not trying to be caught on camera (this is a guy, if you'll recall, that promoted Dominic Cruz to blue belt inside the Octagon after a fight and clearly loved the spotlight prior to the outing of all the problematic stuff surrounding his team....)... anyway, I've digressed.

DJ won't ever win a world title because, well, you can't pass guard on both knees with your head in the crotch for 7 minutes. Spriggs can't get past Keenan's lapel/worm guard, and who else is there? Shane?
Dude won and literally no one cared because his team is the penultimate black sheep of the JiuJitsu community. I guess, at the end of the day, it does matter not only what you do but how you do it, and more so...with whom you choose to surround yourself....and training with such a problematic team has tainted any success that may come their way at times.

The ole proverb goes: the rot starts from the top.

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Tonon Featherweight debut, Agazarm Points Needle @ Cobrinha, Ralph Gracie & Alleged Accomplice Charged

Thursday, April 18, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Keenan Forging his Own Path, Keenan asked to move over for Kaynan?, Gabi vs Tayane

Alert anyone suffering from insomnia! Frank Mir has a Submission Underground superfight! Can't sleep?!?! No problem. That match will do it just like his previous matches have. You'll be asleep by the end of regulation or your money back.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest - Kasai Fallout & Results, Gabi Callout, Gordon Predicts Future...

High Marks for Kasai Pro 5: Finishes, Surprises, Penalties, & Upsets - Duarte Wins, Jones 3rd Redux, Tap-Gate Controversy....

Grand Prix thoughts:
Craig Jones picked up a 3rd place finish again after a DLR of his leading with the height of the knee control being inadequate leading to a backtake by Duarte then an RNC shortly thereafter.
Duarte's run to the top involved points wins over Blank, Marinho, RNC of Craig Jones (discussed below), then a sweep against Tex followed, a half-hearted toe hold attempt awarded a point, stalling and resetting to ride out the remaining 6 minutes, then a guard pass right at the end.

Tex Johnson must've ignored 5 clear slapping taps by Pena to go belly down on a 50/50 heel hook that may have seriously injured Pena. Pena for his part did not take Tex's leg entanglements seriously and was on his butt not really addressing the position, perhaps assuming he was safe and looking to come up and sweep with about a minute left as he did in 2 previous matches. Pena violently rolled one way, hit the wall, then rolled back the wrong way as Johnson went belly down with a hard bridge into the side of the knee facilitated by the 50/50. Pena for his part didn't C grip at the knee, wedge a foot inside, nor flee in the manner Magalhaes did against Gordon at ACB and paid the price.

Pena did not seem overly enthused in his walk out and I guess now regrets the paycheck he took to take an "L."

Jon Blank, tho' largely undersized for the event picked up a submission win as he oft does coming out of an invert into an armpit/elbow grip armbar. Otherwise,

Valdir Araujo, tho' taking his spot on extremely late notice lost to Pena by only one point in a tightly contested match, and showed a willingness to scramble that will hopefully have him invited back to other Pro events. A guy willing to make transitions rather than coast is always welcome. Duarte and Pena in their wins seemed content to score, then coast. Duarte coasted through his match with Marinho despite facing a purple belt and scoring 2 points early. Marinho stalled out Craig Jones with some hand clapping, Samba style footwork and circling for the better part of 6 minutes.

==== Overal thoughts and reflections:
A solid night of action both on the prelims, main card, & superfights:
I've been exceedingly critical of the reffing at this event, and it was clear based on the refs looking to one another in the awarding of points that the real person deciding the points has been made clear behind the scenes to tighten up the shenanigans in scoring that has occurred at previous events. Whatever, however it gets done, I'm just glad they myriad of scoring inconsistencies have been tightened up at an event with this many people watching in person and at home.
All in all, the reffing was much tighter with only a couple clear mistakes made pending where the ref was standing and perhaps missing a deep kneebar that could've been scored, and a point that could've been awarded to Araujo in his match with Pena.

Jackson had a toe/nail that was bleeding and the TWO doctors matside did not have athletic tape. This led to several stoppages for re-taping in his matches following that point. It's a building full of grapplers, and downstairs in the staging area there had to be enough athletic tape to make a mummy....but anyway.

Leon vs Najmi showed Leon cautious at first to avoid any of the high flying scramble inducing submissions Najmi is known for, then a backtake to a very quick RNC.

Referees thankfully were much quicker to award some penalties this event and the chorus of boos typically heard at Kasai from guys circling and resetting and playing the boundary was prominently less noticeable.

Tinoco scored 2 takedowns in 10 minutes against Romulo, would then not attempt to move forward (which was obv the gameplan) and Romulo frustratingly did not shoot once despite some attempts to body lock and handfight and wrist control. Tinoco started crying I guess due to this extremely high work rate of a win in a 10 minute match marred by basically no other grappling other than pommeling for underhooks and over/under body lock by Romulo which both times led to an ouchigari takedown by Tinoco. I guess it I hadn't played Judo for as long as I have 2 takedowns in 10 minutes would strike me as more impressive.

The undercard produced a good number of finishes even in the purple belt matches. Rey Leon picked up a win with 4 takedowns, showcasing a part of his game unseen in many other matches.

Vilas vs Ferreira in a superfight showed the real meaning of golden score as Vilas scored a kneebar attempt point, then Ferreira looked to escape and score points, but it's "Golden score".....not overtime period man.

Athos Mirando did the usual flailing around side to side, occasional double knee slide and backstep/flop attempts to avoid actually stepping into pass for virtually his entire match with LeClerc and picked up a takedown in golden score to get the win.

Bastos rather quickly swept, passed, got the back, set the body triangle, then worked for the RNC against Fiona Watson.

Stanley Rose showcased solid leg entanglement transitions to pick up a narrow win with a late in the game submission attempt kneebar that got him the win. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: OneFC, Wolverine at Unity et al...

Kasai Grappling Brutally Honest Preview for this Weekend

Najmi vs Leon - Najmi via submission - too many submission attacks that will overwhelm Leon. Seeing Leon get immediately heel hooked in his first Kasai Grand Prix awhile ago has always stuck in my mind. Fortunately, he's not facing a seasoned leg locker, but Najmi's ability to pull out the submission from transitions will catch Leon.

Romulo vs Tinoco - will look like a boring IBJJF Black belt NoGi match with Romulu sitting to guard likely, and Tinoco unable to pass/disengage/reset boredom via decision.

Grand Prix - this really depends on who is in what pool of competitor. There are some easy potential leg lock victims for Craig Jones, I expect Duarta to dive on some toe holds after him catching Gaudio at the Pans in the Gi. Pena with his ADCC title will hopefully come with something to prove, my picks are for the finals are largely dependent on how the pool is split.

Jackson is gonna get leg locked again. Johnson will ankle lock someone who's not good enough to even push the foot on off the hip as preliminary defense, but will look futile against Jones or Pena who have enough leg lock defense and savvy to watch Johnson try the ankle lock he has success with against much smaller guys or guys who don't know how to defend. Blank is gonna be undersized for this format but will hit at least one submission because he pulls them out in transition from places you might not expect from a guy his size, but will be tough as he's facing some guys who cut to make 205. Leon also will look undersized as he just won the King of the Mats 185 but will be facing guys who cut to make 205. Pena and Craig are picks for the finals and hoping for that, the matchmakers will place them in different pools to set up a potential fireworks final for the event.

I also expect some boring match as TBH some of the guys from the IBJJF background will eat a non-win rather than risk getting submitted. Rustam Chisev also has the ability to eat a non-win and cause some boring AF matches while he does a Palhares and parks it on both knees and posts on his downed opponents head and doesn't allow anything to get going.

John Potts must sell tickets because he's on this card despite losing everytime I see him have a match at Rise Invitational or Kasai.

Friend of mine and teammate, Bergamo will face former opponent of mine from the Rise Invitational I did, Rey De Leon of 10th Planet. Interested to see this play out as I've trained with Bergamo and competed against Rey.

Stanley Rosa will pick up a submission win.

Pierre LeClerc will pick up a submission win after a scramble/transition-based match.

Another undercard match I'm excited to see that should produce solid transitions and submission attempts is Carlos Rosado vs Chase Patrick, having been on cards with and/or seen both of them compete previously. 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Face-Punching Weekend: Forgettable Bellator, Stoppages at UFC, OneFC Realness

A lot to unpack this weekend. Despite the early start time, I managed to fall asleep mid UFC. Le sigh. That being said, it was a solid night of stoppages and fights overall.
I didn't watch the Bellator card because other than Rickels and Strauss I wasn't enticed.

Yusuff with creepin' Master Lloyd Irvin laying low in his corner (hoping #metoo doesn't come to JiuJitsu, along with some other problematic famous guys doing things like sliding up in women's DMs despite their squeaky clean family/honor/respect/loyalty IGram image.....).....I digress. Yusuff wobbled Sheymon in the 3rd round in a largely uneventaul and tactical stand-up affair with some clinching. Yusuff talks a big game about his work rate and the like, but doesn't really fight with any urgency even if/when he hurts an opponent in the 2 UFC fights I've seen. He called out Kron whom I think he figures he can stuff the takedown and pick Kron apart at range and pick up a decision.

Craig picked up a 3rd round submission after some atrocious wrestling that his opponent couldn't stop despite multiple fence grabs and eye pokes. For F*ck's sake Craig, I like watching your JiuJitsu for MMA but hire a F*CKING wrestling coach.

Waterson as I predicted had too much variety in her toolbox for Kowalkiewicz.

Emmett slept Johnson in a fight he was probably losing on scorecards to show that he really is capable of sleeping folks even late in the fight.

Hermannson pulled off what was in my opinion an upset with a quick guillotine of David Branch.

Gaethje prevented a prolonged fight with a single punch that put Barboza away, all the more impressive having seen some of the gritty fights of which Barboza has been a part in his career. There were already throwing heavy punches, knees, and kicks by the time the stoppage came as Gaethje lept into a hook and Barboza pulled away to circle out and away from the cage.

Mixed results for the American contingent over in OneFC. Alvarez was stopped in pretty devastating fashion, Mighty Mouse won and Tonon won as well in a decisive takedown/leg kick catch to head outside single leg to finish via TKO/strikes. Aoki got Folayang a step or two/shuffle from the cage and shot in to get his hands locked/body lock then hip lifted him over and down and from there advanced position to finish with a head+arm triangle choke. Mighty Mouse hit a slick high elbow grip guillotine against a scrappy opponent. 

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Tonon Explains MMA Career Motivation, OneFC says Martial Arts Culture and Poverty Stop Steroids...

Prob' one of the dumbest things I've heard said in awhile. If poverty stopped steroids, there wouldn't be rampant steroids in JiuJitsu, but y'know, WTF do I know?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Tonon Channels Logan, D. White Hypes Kron, More Keenan Razzing the Berimbolo...

ESPN 2 Gaethje vs Barboza: Picks & Predictions

Gaethje to weather the storm and get the TKO win in the 4th round. That being said, the advent of leg kicks + knees based on the Alvarez stoppage of Gaethje are concerning (Alvarez used a frequent body punch attack that slowed Gaethje down and then the knee later for the finish). Gaethje has hesitated exactly zero percent since his UFC signing in fighting the other action/dangerous fighters on the roster. In fact, I think few guys in recent memory have taken anywhere near the UFC import road that he has other than perhaps David Branch.
Anyway, I wouldn't bet my own  money on this fight as the leg kicks plus knees are exactly what I would want in my arsenal other than a sustained body punching attack to put the kabosh on a guy like Gaethje. That being said, Gaethje I feel slightly more confident making it to the 4th round of a war than Barboza. Though, Barboza survived three rounds with Khabib which is saying more than most guys can say.
The not confident pick is Gaethje by 4th round stoppage

MacDonald vs Emmett
MacDonald has fought a ton of the best at both 145 and 155. His hand speed here I think will put him ahead of Emmett for much of the fight and if MacDonald fires that 1-2 then moves the way he can, this will be a 1 or 2 round fight.
MacDonald by 1st round stoppage as Emmett takes the wrong fight from which to come back from a year long layoff.

Branch vs Hermannson
Branch by TKO after clipping Hermannson in the 2nd round.

Kowalkiewicz vs Waterson
Waterson via more diverse set of skills in a 3rd round stoppage by submission.

Paul Craig vs some guy
Paul Craig by submission because I've seen him fight more times than the other guy.

Pearson vs Green
Pearson by split decisions after which he retires after a longer UFC career than anyone would've predicted.

Holland vs Meerschaert
Meerschaert via submission in the 2nd round after an entertaining scrap.

Borg vs Kenney
Cursed Borg wins by submission in the 2nd round.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Unpopular Opinions Vol. 2

For anyone who doubts that the poster boys for IBJJF aren't juicing, look at the cartoon character bodies of IBJJF and other organization(s) grapplers then look at the Olympic level Wrestlers and Judo players. Judoka and Wrestlers are oftentimes life long elite competitors and don't look like JiuJitsu competitors.  Guess which sport of the 3 only tests one day per year/10 athletes versus which two sports have anti-doping out of competition testing year round.

Click HERE for the searchable database to all athletes tested by year/by sport and HOW MANY TIMES they were each tested. Delpopolo in the Judo program, for example, was tested 5 times.
Dude was tested half as many times as ALL OF THE IBJJF BLACK BELT COMPETITORS THAT COULD POSSIBLY BE TESTED IN A YEAR (because it's only done at one singular event).
JiuJitsu is hard work and Jesus. Bruuuuuh. C'mon. Bunch of unregulated and hardly tested scam artists pushing a false narrative is more like it.

Continuing that point: Why you think we see some famous names suddenly retire before the one event per year that they could be tested at ^^^^? Hmmm.

Doederlein passed Shane's guard and should've won the match at Pans.

Finishers Sub Only, Rise Invitational, and Quintet are holding female focused events. Have you seen any famous women grapplers who complain about equal pay bothering to help promote the events? Any of them taking 3 seconds to share it on their social media? Weird how they don't forget to plug their own event/open mat with a suggested donation/mat fee/seminar, right? Weird. Care about the problem or just lip service when you want to promote your thing that you're benefiting from directly?
- It's hilarious when women grapplers complain about pay in JiuJitsu. There are literally more athleisure women-centric brands and fashion houses and entire consumer industries devoted to what women spend money on than I could count in the next hour of my time and they act like they can't figure out how to find sponsors for their events or to help build their own events. Quit waiting around for people to do it for you. Do the leg work and recruit your own sponsors or quit complaining. It's a niche sport. The money is out there. It's the same as women complaining about WNBA pay but couldn't name 3 WNBA players, have never been to a game, and own no WNBA merchandise. They just expect everyone else other than themselves to support the sport as some sort of token symbol.

I lost count of how many penalties I saw handed out after the first 5-10 matches I watched at brown and black belt at Pans. But to its credit, the IBJJF started throwing out them penalties and once that trend begins....historically, you get the kinda of sport that looks like Judo and Wrestling with passivity penalized in ever decreasing time frames. Will be interesting to see if this holds true for JiuJitsu. Any organization with an eye on that IOC money will find out very quickly that those purse strings are linked to what non-knowledgeable spectators find watchable/entertaining versus boring, because Olympic funding is based on advertisers which is tied to rating. Period. The IOC does research on how quickly people change the channel during lulls in action and programming et cetera. The science of human attention is already understood. And there's a behind the scenes race to be the organization that brokers the admission of the sport into the Olympics.

Continuing that Point:
The bottom players setting a lasso hook with the knee flared out and attempting no sweeps are boring AF. 50/50 for 7 minutes and two athletes literally grabbing bottom of pants fabric is ridiculous and the penalties are beginning to rain down. People wonder why Judo has so many rules...because people don't want to watch two elite athletes do nothing for minutes at a time.

ESPN+ Era has begun. The day when previously ESPN pretended the UFC didn't exist has been flip flopped by the race for streamed content in the streaming service era. I'm living for the fact that events start at 7 and 8pm. The 10pm PPV era days be damned. Way past my bedtime. That being said, we'll see what happens when I'm having to now have FightPass, FloGrappling, and ESPN+ as a minimum of 3 streaming services. That's now basically what my parents paid for basic cable back when I was growing up at one point. It may be one of those occasional lulls between meaningful fights what with Dillashaw popped. Jon Jones figuring out ways to not fight DC at Heavyweight, and Khabib suspended, but things feel very meh right now after some amazing moments early in the year. There are still meaningful fights to be had (Masvidal clobbering Till, Woodley losing his stranglehold on the belt, Cejudo making claim to being a legit champion. We'll see how we feel about the ESPN+ era when it hits early August, y'know?

The sport is changing (Hint: it is always changing, the nature of competition demands that it do as such). The IBJJF is paying its black belt competitors with the advent of Abu Dhabi, Kasai, ADCC, et al luring guys away, and other cash money events luring guys out of prestigious events, and I'm all for it. Know your worth people, pave your own way, live in the margins. If you don't like the only show in town, start a new show. Where there's discontent, there is opportunity. Look at what EBI became? Proof that there was market inefficiency in the IBJJF model and room for a totally different approach to what grappling fans will watch and support. The growth of the ADCC across the last 3 events is very clearly proof of that as well. The Trials this year and in the fall of 2018 were much larger events than years previously and combined with FloGrappling/increased viewership, that growth will likely continue.

Boring superfights continue. We're still being force fed boring AF big name grapplers and former fighters barely doing what they were paid to do which is *&^%ing grapple. I don't owe a formerly gloried person a false opinion of their trash match. You're paid for your value not your past accomplishments. If you want money for your past accomplishments sign autographs and pose for polaroids, champ. The sport improves because it continually cannibalizes. Paying these guys continually putting on comically low investment performances helps no one and does a disservice to the sport at worst. 

Monday, March 25, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Gabi Rag Dolls, Craig Jones vs Gilbert Burns, Lo Woes at Pans, & Female Led Quintet

Female led Quintet coming up soon. Time to see if the famous women grapplers always complaining about a shortage of female driven/led/centered events will take 3 seconds to promote the event on their social media the way they do when it's their own event or seminar from which they'll benefit directly....? Hmm.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Tournament Tested: Cross Collar Snap down to Back Take from the Spyder Invitational (with Tournament footage)

*ignore the angle/position of my right knee, I'm 5 weeks post op from ACL reconstruction

From the Spyder Invitational match, the snapdown forces the opponent to post to avoid getting run over for the takedown finish with shoulder pressure and the collar/sleeve grip. This allows the opponent to step over the back and throw in hooks:

The key here why it works, is the movement which precedes the snapdown. All too often, guys from square, forehead to forehead and neutral grips try this as a one off, then spend 5 minutes here never really getting close to a takedown.

There's advantageous grips (the attacker has the cross collar and the opponent does not have equal or neutral grips), there's circular motion to load the opponent into the throw, and there's the snapping of the hands/wrists to disrupt and facilitate getting the opponent moving = an actual snapdown and angle which leads to the back take.

1) breakdown
2) Spyder Invitational
3) from a Judo tournament where I counter a foot sweep with a cross sollar snapdown, cut the angle and drive with the shoulder and keep my head higher than the opponent

Saturday, March 23, 2019

July 27th - Craig Jones vs Gilbert Burns @ Grappling Industries Tampa

Anyone else find it odd burns is out here doing thrnse grappling matches with no MMA fights booked? Curiouser and curiouser...sure is....interesting. 

Stylistically, it's interesting in the sense that Burns was previously heel hooked by Garry Tonon after hitting all manner of takedowns and such. Craig Jones is coming off of leg locking Tim Spriggs who frankly, I expected to do better against Craig. Spriggs for all his time spent working on his top game, and wrestling, ended up in some bad spots while trying to pass pretty quickly. I expected him to do better at the Matheus Diniz completely parallel to the mat, on both knees, hand fight and maybe flail/jump to half-guard to then pass style, but Spriggs found himself leg locked after trying to extricate his leg standing and turning. 

Anyhow, Craig Jones is considerably bigger than Garry, and I expect will submit Gilbert once there's a couple prolong actualy grappling on the mat exchanges. 

My Competition Submissions Volume 3

Almost all of these are from the past year and a half or so with a couple exceptions, but all at purple belt or Advanced NoGi. Most are -145 & -155 with a random Absolute match win in there and an -162 Gi combined weight class match finish at purple belt as well. I used to do the Absolute but after hurting my neck a few years ago, because they often run the Absolute first thing in the morning and there's not adequate time for my body to warm up for the size difference, and because several times I got the 250 lb+/biggest guy in the bracket first round despite my being the smallest competitor, I've quit doing the Absolute.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Students Takedowns in Competition Vol. 2 & the Evolution of Throws/Takedowns I Emphasize Per Grappling Sport

From the beginner takedown curriculum I teach to folks with no takedown experience: ankle picks, foot sweeps, single legs, & Sumi Gaeshi. There's also a brief 20 second or so gripping exchange where a student of mine is gripping for control, securing the cross collar grip, and stripping the grips of her opponent.

The longer I coach and teach and continue to compete, the more the challenge becomes not only what can I teach you how to do from my own game and from the game(s) of others, but how efficiently can I streamline this process for a competitor and can I do this with someone with little no no previous background? Efficiency and speed of skill acquisition has become the new litmus test for skill implementation in competition rather than simply - can they do the technique, but rather, how quickly can I structure training to make skill acquisition as efficient as possible without sacrificing technique/cutting corners?

Once I feel the core set of basics along with footwork and grips is taught, we can then begin to specialize. Student will begin to branch off in various directions with takedowns and throws based on preference, taste, et cetera.

Loose description of the evolution of which takedowns I utilize depending which sport:

I was originally a shoulder throw/seionage-centric competitor because my Judo coach was. Beyond a certain point, he asked what I wanted to be my next study. I asked what was one of the hardest throws/falls to take when done correctly - he said Tai Otoshi. So began the next 6-8 years of focusing on Tai Otoshi with some spare time devoted to other throws along the way. Later, I had several coaches as part of a college club sport and there I picked up other throws along the way: kata guruma, uchimata, haraigoshi, tomoenage.

None of them truly stuck with me as core things I look for when implementing my A game. On the feet, against another competent thrower, I am ultimately looking for Tai Otoshi in one of the many forms I've practiced.

The transition then to MMA offered the chance to pick up wrestling, and find out the hard way through trial and error what throws worked best in fighting and against wrestling-centric opponents. I picked up bodylock variations of the inside and outside trip, uchimata and haraigoshi from a whizzer and tricep grip, and a kimura reversal as part of defending the single leg.

Then moving to Brazilian JiuJitsu Gi competition I started implementing for foot sweeps and variety of throws designed to take advantage of bent over/defensive posture, bad habits often seen in Gi competitors on the feet, and designed to simply hit the best throw for however they approached me, be it right or left foot lead/whichever grips, et cetera. Gi competition taught me to emphasize a wider variety of throws depending on their posture/stance and to get the takedown early as at any point they can sit to guard by barely making contact. My core set of attacks were: foot sweeps, uchimata, sumi gaeshi, and kouchigari.

Finally, moving over to submission grappling, I again began to work on my wrestling-centric and alternative grips without the Gi. At this point continued knee problems and instability along with a periodic string of small knee injuries/tweaks limited the amount of wrestling and stand-up fighting for the takedown I was willing to do and toward the end was even limiting my ability to pass to my right side, which is why in no matches from the past year and a half in NoGi have you seen me fight for the takedown. I'm excited to have my right leg back in action when I return from recovery and implement both what I used to be able to do and some new theories I have about the Gi and NoGi takedown game for Gi and Submission grappling competition.

This is a challenge I appreciate. Folks who aren't full-time athletes. Folks who don't live off their parents bank account and train twice a day and play video games and smoke weed.

Folks who train maybe 2 or 3 sessions a week sometimes, and have to fit in training after running a business, picking up their kids from school, et cetera. To be sure, I appreciate test lab working on the finer points with folks who actually have high level takedown experience, but this is rare, and so often, it's sport centric - it's tuned to a high level in what they spend a decade plus. Less often do I find someone who's translated a takedown skill into several disciplines.

I learned through trial and error how to translate my Judo (freestyle it's called now because it included things like ankle picks and double legs) into my MMA fights, submission grappling, Brazilian JiuJitsu competition, and even as a bouncer working the door for several years downtown.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Tonon Recalls How Hard to Watch Gi JiuJitsu is, Craig Jones at RGA, Nic Cage SciFi JiuJitsu Film....

The best thing about Nic Cage is that I think he literally says yes to whatever movies happens to come across his desk. I saw his film that he did after Mandy which was basically a poor man's version of Mandy with a guy dating a woman who can see the dead if she nearly dies (so the movie opens with her being strangled in a truck stop bathroom), in doing this, she tries to bring her child back from the afterlife, but inadvertently brings back Nic Cage's dead wife if I recall correctly. Long story longer, a JiuJitsu SciFi flick is right up the alley for the Wicker Man.

God bless the man and his willingness to take on all manner of scripts.

Tonon shares my sentiments of how brutally boring Gi JiuJitsu can be and how the win by the narrowest margin of Gi competitors doesn't translate to much of a professional grappling career, though, the Famous names I've harangued on my Igram account like Mir, Canuto, Vagner, Akbari, DJ Jackson, et al all seem to still get booked for oftentimes atrociously boring superfights.

This Weekend's Softball Bellator Card & Thompson vs Pettis UFC - The ESPN+ Era?

I'm usually a big fan of Bellator and it's linear approach to belts with the grand prix/tournament bracketing, but this card feels like total fluff with only the headliner of Kharkanyan remotely being worht tunning in. Gerald Harris also fights on the card and that's basically all I can say. We're all just basically waiting for the next welterweight bracket fight to take place.

UFC Thompson vs Pettis:
I'm concerned for Pettis because he's been starched by guys at 155, and I suspect Thompson will look a solid 2 weight classes bigger than Pettis. If this isn't the guy for Thompson to do less hopping and fencing and circling away from then there will never be another chance. Thompson has said much of finally learning that he can't fight on the backfoot and win close fights (you're telling me there's a chance Dumb & Dumber reference) but the likelihood of him abandoning something as ingrained as that I find...well, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn or a tower in Paris to sell you.
Pettis must really just have resigned himself to not fighting for the belt again if this is the fight he's taking at 170 rather than someone in one of the other weight classes suited to his frame. I've wondered if it is his refusal to leave Roufus Sport to blame, or did becoming the champ lead to him spending time distracted, or the opening of a gym with his brother, or simply does he not have the style in the current ether or talent to win the belt again? It's hard to say for a guy with the level of striking and JiuJitsu that he possesses. Is it just the accumulation of training camp and fights? I don't know and I can't really lean toward any one puzzle piece. Thompson had become one of the guys I absolutely loathe to see in a 5 round fight. I know I'm going to get 4 rounds of hopping time and about 1 round of fighting time, if that. Call it many things: tactical, strategic, sport, karate, point fighting, cerebral....whatever. It's maddening to see the volume output that low in the fighting sport with the lease restriction on legal attacks.

I honestly hope Pettis outworks Thompson en route to a decision because I simply can't stand seeing Thompson fight anymore.

Blaydes will attempt to rebound from his title shot trajectory after a stoppage loss in the first round to always dangerous Ngannou. I expect Blaydes to get the win over Willis via decision via repeated takedowns.

Violent Bob Ross looks to rebound from a loss last November with his return fight. I expect him to win another decision and get back on track. His opponent is 1-1 in the UFC and I think is a gifted rebound fight for Pena who made the most of this time on his TUF season and has likable persona for casual fans and hardcore fans alike.

Frankie Saenz vs Marlon Vera in what will be a back and forth high energy fight. Marlon Vera will gut this one out in a close decision.

Overall the card is pretty underwhelming but we've had a slew of solid events since the ESPN arrival and we're all actually just killing time with events until the March 30th card with Barboza vs Gaethje in a definite CTE/brain damage scrap at the end of the month.
Elsewhere on that main card with get David Branch vs Hermansson in a fight I expect he'll win as he's beaten a bevy of tough guys already and fought former title holders & contenders in competitive fights.
We also get Josh Emmett vs Michael Johnson as Emmett looks to pick up some of the steam he lost by losing to Jeremy Stephens after beating Ricardo Lamas.
The rest of that card is pretty underwhelming as well as the UFC/ESPN flagship fights have been mostly made to get us into the ESPN fold/app world and a shortage of meaningful fights until we hit some PPV's in April.

April 13th we get Holloway vs Poirier for an Interim belt & Gastelum vs Adesanya for an Interim belt on a card that should be fireworks. After and between all that is pretty much few and far between PPV cards which is a bummer, because somehow, it feels like the cards are accordingly midling level events. But, we are into a new era so we'll see how this all unfolds.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Knee Jerk Reaction to Masvidal & Edwards....Cagefighters Behaving Badly? Waters Wet, Fire Burns: Bad Boys of Mixed Martial Arts

Let me start by saying, I might be hyper critical of how boring Gi JiuJitsu and stalling handfights and collar ties in NoGi grappling et cetera, but I'm simply not ever going to be critical of two men settling beef or perceived beef when they are cagefighters.

The term for men like this back in the day was "sports". A "sport" was a guy who lived on the fringe of society, betting on all manner of gambling, fighting - be it human or animal (dog, rooster, bear baiting, rat baiting et cetera). At any rate, we might live in a more modified and codified era of mixed martial arts with rounds, and scoring, and weight classes, but these are still dudes trying to bludgeon one another with every allowed weapon on their unarmed body and even mangle and strangle and cripple one another potentially. Let them be what they are, punish them for rowdiness afterward, but let us never wring our hands in despair as to the "horror! the horror!"

Masvidal entered the legends hall of fame pantheon for beloved MMA fighters this weekend for the 1-2 awesomeness that was violent dead falling man tree KO of the much larger Till, then the "3 piece and soda" for lighting up Leon Edwards who fought a runner's pointfight match against Gunnar Nelson.

Masvidal came to early fame scrapping in boat yards in MMA bare knuckle, and to say that he's gonna let a guy who just barely outworked a decision dull his shine after a career high KO of a former title contender and KO artist...well, we see how it played out.

There were some internet algorithm grabbing articles about a "black eye for the sport" what with Dolly Bus attacks and cell phone smashing and the like...but frankly, you get men and women who train to fight other people for money while locked in a cage...waters wet, fire burns, y'know? Of course, punish them because y'know, we can't have riots break out ala the Khabib/Conor or busses attacked with Dollies, but y'know, know that it's all part of the fight game and always has been. I would rue the day every dude showed and was respectful and just did his job and left.

Anyhow, here are some of my favorite trip down memory lane bad boy moments in MMA:

Babalu hanging onto the choke after his opponent tapped. Greatest post fight speech ever. Rogan tries to let him wiggle out of admitting he did it....but no, Babalu straight owns the moment. This got him booted from the UFC. 

Daley suckerpunches Koscheck. Weak sauce moment because he got taken down and controlled. Daley got booted for this one and had his UFC contract scrapped.

Nate Diaz flipping the camera the bird after locking down the triangle. I had forgotten he also flipped Benson Henderson the bird hahaha.

Scrap Pack (Diaz bros, Jake Shields, Gilbert Melendez) in cage brawl with Mayhem Miller: Another illustrious Diaz Bros moment. Love these guys til my dying day. This literally ended MMA as a sport on CBS back then.

Nick Diaz FOUGHT Joe Riggs in the hospital after their welterweight showdown in the cage.

Lee Murray committed the largest bank heist in UK history and is currently in prison in Morocco.

Shinya Aoki flipped his opponent, Hirota, the bird after hammerlocking his shoulder into oblivion.

Gripfighting for BJJ - Episode 4: Cross Collar/Collar Drag Grip Counter

The cross collar grip is arguably the most powerful tool in gripfighting. It is both defensive and offensive. In Judo, it is among the grips from which you are required to attack almost immediately or relinquish the grip (in order to keep the flow of attacks moving and avoid a stalling game of counter-attacks).

The cross collar proves even more effective in BJJ due to the bent over posture and flat feet of many competitors. Where they fail is in allowing their opponent to grip them with both hands as well, or worse yet, in allowing a neutral cross grip to become establish. Here, I address having been beaten to the cross grip/collar drag grip, and I've added a competition example where I strip the grip, then follow up with an ouchigari + kouchigari to score 2 points for the takedown.

For any novice to intermediate level competitor, I strictly coach them to stop everything and address this grip. Later on, with more tools in the toolbox you can elect to grip in some other ways to take advantage of the posture of your opponent and prey on the grip specifically.

For further viewing, below is my original piece on the cross collar/snapdown Seoinage. I was saying more folks should be using this grip back when I was a blue belt, and I cover the reasons why in the video, as well as some of the movement and motion to create to off balance your opponent to maximize the success rate of the throw: