Tuesday, December 24, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Gordon/Craig Jones Tag Team Challenge, Burns vs Maia, et al

After Jones tapped Fredson Paixaio and Gordon tapped Gonzaga (I know, I know) the bounty was offered for 2 guys to step up and face them. It's kinda like MJ and Pippen  tossing out a challenge to play 2 on 2 in their heyday, but I'm all for cash money wager pink slip style in the sport. Too many guys for too long complained about no money in the sport but now somehow find themselves busy when EBI and other events offer real money, so we'll see who answers the call now that the gauntlet has been laid.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Takedowns for BJJ: Sumi Gaeshi

I get asked a lot which Judo I actually use in Jiu-Jitsu, and which throws I prefer. I did a lot of trial and error early on at white, blue, and purple belt cross training and figuring out what JiuJitsu posture and rulles (and lack of gripping restrictions) change in regard to using Judo style takedowns (as opposed to wrestling et cetera) in JiuJitsu rule sets.

As with a lot of things, conjecture is great, but it took a lot of trial and error and frustration to make the necessary changes. I stress this again and again, but as with submission grappling vs wrestling, Judo vs JiuJitsu: the lack of stalling calls and gripping rules completely changes things in a number of respects.

Anyhow, a throw I teach early on to the folks I coach and stress throughout coaching is Sumi Gaeshi: it transitions well to a series of sweeps, it preys on the bent over posture many grapplers will utilize in matches, and it can be done from a variety of grips = the traits I look for in workshopping a Judo throw/takedown for JiuJitsu competition/rulesets.

Starts off with myself and some of the folks I coach hitting it in competition, basis breakdown, and some variations/options demonstrated in live training.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Keenan Talks Brass Tacks (and Sponsorship Program/Tryouts)

I've always had a lot of respect for Keenan as a disrupter of the status quo. I appreciate anyone who says unpopular things and doesn't back down from voicing either the unconventional or the unpopular. He references some ideas about "how things are done" versus stopping to ask yourself "why are they done" and goes in depth about the goals for his gym, the program, and some of the things he's looking for in potential team members.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Takedowns for BJJ: Ouchigari Extended Cut - Rotational power, knee down version, et al

Start with a clip of a student of mine hitting Ouchigari recently in competition, then analysis emphasizing the rotational element often shortchanged in Ouchigari used in live practice and competition. Closes with some live training and me feeding them some opportunities to hit the move in motion rather than static drilling.

Razzle Dazzle Thursday: Cartwheel counter to Opponent's underhook

When in doubt, be extra.
Finishing choices from the front headlock depend if they tripod using hands, allow themselves to be broken down to their knees and the angle of their legs relative to your front headlock.

I end with an outside trip/hook due to the angle and weight over the feet.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Takedowns for BJJ: Lucas Lepri Lapel + Single leg & Variations

I've included the best clip of the various responses and Lepri's responses to the responses from the lapel + single leg position in standing (his cartwheel counter and direction changes), then a breakdown of utilizing the cross collar or same side grip and their advantages/disadvantages, then a clip of a student of mine hitting it recently, and a NoGi variation from a collar tie

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

22% of Nogi World Champs at Black Belt returning this year (first year with USADA testing)

Hmmm. You can chalk injury up to a couple names or burnout after ADCC? Perhaps...if you're really reaching. But the truth is pretty obvious if you're paying attention. Institute even twice a year testing (NoGi worlds and Gi Worlds) and you'll see a lot more human looking performances. Also interesting to see Kaynan still curiously not doing IBJJF events after literally doing them most of his life throughout the belts and then all of a sudden hasn't done an IBJJF event since winning worlds and rumors of a positive test surfaced.

Don't forget, Galvao roasted Pena for not coming forward more quickly, so it'll be interesting if/when Kaynan comes out with the news and how Galvao and the Jesus boys spin it. 

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Takedowns for BJJ: Arm drag to Inside Trip/Kouchimakikomi

Starts off with me hitting it last night at the Grappling Idiots event in Brooklyn, NY, then a clip of me hitting it back at purple belt. Then there's a breakdown of one of my set-ups and entries then high level examples (JT Torres, Marcelo Garcia, and Renato Canuto) and ends with a couple from training recently.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Kasai Grappling Episode 3: Jon Calestine

Footage they put together with one of my two direct coaches, Jon Calestine.
Shot at Renzo Gracie Brooklyn where I'm at several days of the week. Accurate look of Mon/Wed training that we go through each week for competition class.

Folks might tell you otherwise, but Jon is the best leg locker currently competing in the world. Guys who've beaten him have won on points by running and disengaging in short duration matches. Anyone who's in the pocket with Jon for long at all gets caught. Training with Jon is a lot like when I trained with Eddie Cummings in that there's so many other things he's good at other than what you've seen in competition (what those are, I won't say) and people often confuse performances against guys willing to run or score 2 and stall and disengage with where Jon's skills are at. There's a finite amount of wins you can eke out by playing the margins (ask Cyborg for example) and eventually all those wins you got by running and disengaging and resetting cost you matches under other rulesets or when the game continues to evolve and your best skill is stalling til you get 2 points or riding out an advantage.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Finishers Open Recap/Expertise vs Skill

Competed Saturday at the Finishers Open in PA. Zach and JM put on a great tournament, proof of that is that midway through the day they made an announcement that guys who had only gotten a match or two, and wanted another one, could approach the table workers and effort would be made to throw together some matches to get more mat time.

I started out in JiuJitsu and in Judo with single elimination or competing up a division and/or weight class to get more matches, so to see tournaments not just taking your money but rather making the effort to get guys more mat time is always refreshing.

A year ago in August I lost in triple overtime of the finals of the Finishers Open Advanced -145 division. The goal since then was to win it. Rather than ask for a superfight on the Pro card, I wanted to do the Open and win the bracket. I missed out on the one they did early this year because I had ACL reconstruction. So, this past weekend was finally time after a year plus of waiting for another opportunity.
I won my first match via RNC in Overtime. Won my 2nd match via RNC in regulation. Lost by armbar with 3 seconds left in regulation after a lengthy leg hunting/entanglement game plan over nearly 8 minutes of regulation.

If you want to try new things, and test the drilling and theories and concepts, you have to give them their due time in the training room then put them under duress with folks watching. I hear a lot about legends of the training room and so and so being a beast, but expertise and mastery are defined as the ability to perform on command, and only being a beast where you're comfortable at times which you have set on a regular basis does not meet that criteria. Sorry. Show up and do it under the lights, otherwise, the truth is that the jury remains out on the certainty of your ability to execute under duress. Brass tacks, but it's the truth.

I implemented virtually all of the new things I've been working on since coming back from surgery earlier this year. It felt good to fight 3 hard matches with a lot of transitions and faith in my game and my process and implementation of new skills into my game against unfamiliar opponents. I had a fairly rudimentary game the first 2 years of focusing on NoGi with the beginnings of skills other than attacking the legs. It's taken the past year plus of a lot of drilling, watching footage, and trial and error & returning to competition to begin seeing success and seeing the 'Matrix" whilst competing. The real test of preparation is whether or not you can manifest/impose your game & simultaneously trust your ability to adjust on the fly under duress. Being good is fine, and a noble goal. Expertise, however, is actually a very different thing.

UFC Brazil Snoozer: Jacare Shows up, Barao Doesn't Lose, Shogun vs Craig ends in Draw

Oliveira spruced up the main card with that crushing KO in under a minute or so.

Jacare didn't do much to convince anyone he'll be a threat at LHW as he couldn't really initiate any close takedowns from pressing Jan against the cage for parts of the 5 rounds he had to make any grappling happen. Jan also dropped the ball in not putting away an opponent who after the first and second round didn't seem to be in much danger of finishing him.

Muniz and Arroyo put on a striker vs grappler match-up with some interesting moments and Perez vs Turman ran around throwing all kinds of strikes for 3 rounds.

It wasn't a terrible card by any stretch, but the Shogun/Craig fight and the main event left a blase feeling over the event whether that's fair as an assessment overall or not.

On the undercard, Krause finished off a fading Moraes with seconds left.
Trinaldo I thought lost but got the nod over Green.

Tracy Cortez made me a fan, I'll be watching her fights going forward.

Garagorri got overwhelmed and finished in short order by Ramos.

Randy Brown survived some early scares against Warlley Alves to finish him with a triangle.

The undercard was honestly the HL of the event. This upcoming we don't have much in the way of programming as we're all basically waiting for the 3 title fight December 14th Card with Holloway, Nunes, and Usman's titles all on the line. 

Monday, November 4, 2019

Monday Morning UFC 244 Hangover: Bad Beats and Turnarounds

Well, some guys I thought were fading re-asserted themselves to some otherwise upwardly mobile looking fighters.

Thompson, despite fist bumping Luque after side kicking him onto his butt twice, also punished him with straight right hands and ran away on the score cards with rounds 2 and 3 in an increasingly one-sided affair.

Lee exposed Gillespie's still developing stand-up with a violent headkick KO.

Arlovski got slept by a big up n' coming HW.

Tavares got put away by Shahbazyan.

Masvidal had the answers for Nate's style (leg kicks, controlling the clinch, power shots to the head and body, and circling off and out of most of Nate's power shots) and was taking the fight downhill for Nate by the stoppage and hadn't accumulated the amount of damage that normally begins to sway Nate's way midpoint through a fight.

Gastelum looked oddly flat, or Till just stylistically matched up well with him and minus a terrible weight cut. Both men looked not super enthused about a real barnburner of a fight (Gastelum coming off of that 5 round battle with Adesanya and a long layoff and Till coming off of 2 violent stoppage KO losses).

Derrick Lewis beat Blagoi in a super rare loss for Blagoi in a contested fight with Blagoi probably doing more volume but Derrick throwing the more visually judge impressing shots. 

Saturday, November 2, 2019

UFC 244 Picks & Predictions: Masvidal vs Diaz

Masvidal vs Diaz
Masvidal for all this characterization is actually a very, very, very shrewd tactician. He has consistently proven that behind his toughness is actually a very clever gameplanner. For all the talk about this being about two very tough guys, the gameplan to beat Diaz has been laid out several times already. Chop the leg, circle off. Diaz's lack of wrestling acumen and one dimensional stand-up (while dangerous and effective) is the kind of thing that someone as sharp as Masvidal has clearly been able to dissect and train back into effectiveness his kicks. He has used them sparingly in some recent fights due to who he was fighting, but I expect to see his chopping high on the calf/knee kicks return. Masvidal doesn't wind up big on his kicks, and as he doesn't have to worry about Diaz kicking him much or shooting, I expect that lead leg of Diaz will be tenderized considerably by the close of round 2.
Masvidal via leg kick TKO in the 4th round

Gastelum vs Till
Gastelum by chopping right hook following a straight left with Till ending up heavily concussed from another head snapping back onto the canvas falling dead tree KO.

Luque vs Thompson - Thompson will try to run and pointfight as per usual, but I see Luque tagging him at least twice in the fight by round 2, and possibly putting him away in the 3rd in a fight that will be as ugly as Thompson and his summer olympics running around style will make it. Luque by stoppage in round 3.

Ivanov vs Lewis
Ivanov has fought ugly patient fights, but his patience here will be his undoing. Ivanov came into the UFC and immediately faced Cigano in a 5 round affair, but I see the work rate allowing "balls was hot" Lewis to work and chop at him and hurt him. This is the hardest one to call because Lewis as we know has finished guys in fights he was WAY behind on the scorecards.
Lewis by stoppage in the 3rd round.

Gillespie vs Lee
Gillespie by decision in a bodylock/clinch heavy affair with him pressing Lee against the cage, and riding him Khabib/one hook in + body lock style

Anderson vs Walker
Walker by violent KO in the 3rd round. Anderson will likely get him down in the first and possibly second round, and if Walker panics, finishes him, but otherwise Anderson tires from holding/keeping down the physically unpolished but explosive Walker and gets finished midway through round 3 on the feet by Walker.

Arlovski vs Rozenstruik
Arlovski....I hate picking your fights. I see a majority decision for Arlovski in another tough fight for the former champ. 

Friday, November 1, 2019

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Takedowns for BJJ: Ouchigari Variations Explained with Competition & Training Footage

Got some questions about Ouchigari as it pertains to other throws and how it's used in competition.
Below are two examples of mine from purple belt.

First tournament example: I keep my opponent reaching with his left hand for a grip (having just stripped it). Also note his defensive posture and weight heavy on the left leg. I don't need to get him to step as his left leg nearest to me is a heavy/stationary target. I time the reaction as I attack that leg to then block his right foot at the ankle and drive him past it

Second tournament example: My opponent opts for a cross grip on my lapel but concedes a high shoulder/scruff grip. This grip (and him voluntarily circling the way I would've pulled him anyway, allow me to use a whizzer to consolidate control as I attack the Ouchigari on his left foot stepping toward me. I didn't need a kouchigari or follow-up technique as he was already adequately off balance.

The bonus of competing in BJJ is the poor posture and defensive stance that most players adopt allows for strong, controlling grips over the top, and stationary/slow moving feet which are honestly just sitting ducks for attacks designed to block/trip/knock down et cetera. The scoring criteria in BJJ for takedowns is nowhere near as strenuous at is in Judo. In BJJ, I just have to end up on top in a controlling position for 3 seconds (in most tournaments). Take advantage. With all the resets, and guys fleeing out of bounds, and lazy refs restarting on the feet, there are often multiple opportunities to score 2 points throughout the match. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Countering the Guard Pull/Defensive Posture: 3 Ankle Pick Variations

Particularly in the lower weight classes, the majority of competitors pull guard. Its as you approach lightweight (Lucas Lepri's roost) that you begin to see guys fight for top position (from largely static tie-up positions and neutral grips - but that is a topic for another day), at any rate, knowing opponents wish to pull, and don't really want to take you down but simply avoid conceding points as they make contact long enough to pull, what does this predictably present us at the start of a match and/or any out of bounds upon which we are reset to standing?

I actually hit/scored the 3rd version shown in the clip below my first match back this year after sitting out most of 2019 due to knee surgery, so, with drilling, and sensible analysis of what our opponents will present to us, new skills can be implement even after a long lay off away from competition.

Considerations about their desire to pull guard and posture tell us ---
The low squat places their weight over their feet, costing them mobility.
The head position over their feet, or even worse, leaned far past their hips/belt also makes this lead leg even heavier (and an easier target).

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Where does Buchecha Go From Here?

Sunday, October 13, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest - Kron Hype Train Derail(ment)?

Solid night of fights overall. Anders picked up a win in a fight that almost got away from him in rounds 2 and 3. Cub Swanson showed with dozens more fights experience he could piece up an opponent willing only to punch and try some jumping guard attempts from the clinch.
Joanna pieced up a smaller opponent in the clinch and at range. I was befuddled to watch Waterson overhook Joanna's arm (a taller opponent) and thus essentially pin herself against the cage with Joanna's diligent head positioning. The head/arm toss is not a thing. You only see it work with any success in women's MMA and even then, it's working even less and less.

Ribas looked legit against Dern who also struggled in Kron non-takedown land but Ribas had a much, much more clear advantage on the feet than Cub. Cub's volume and variety of targets above the waist got him the nod but Ribas dazed and tagged Dern throughout with jabs, crosses and immediate responses of a takedown/hip toss et cetera when she hung out in the clinch just long enough for Dern to begin to work her ground game.

It's a bit of a slowdown with that next card being in Singapore and airing ridiculously early US Time (8am), and after that we wait for the insane MSG card with the likes of Masvidal, Diaz, Gillespie, Lee, et al.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Footsweep Basics: Kouchigari vs Kouchigake + cross ankle pick

Watch tournaments and you'll see all manner of leg kicks, calf kicks, shin kicks et cetera. If only, y'know, they were effective. A combination of things afflict the application of foot sweeps: lack of information, poor teaching protocol, lack of movement created by the attacker beforehand, lack of footwork, posture, balance, et cetera.

Relentlessly attacking foot sweeps against a stationary, defensive opponent will yield few takedowns to be sure. For me to sweep an opponent, I must catch them moving, preferably as their foot just about hits the mat. In Jiu-Jitsu, due to defensive posture, a blocking style usage of the foot will yield far more prodigious results.

Resist the urge to simply pick up their leg with your leg. If they are heavy on the lead leg, or their head/weight is over their lead leg, it simply will not work. It's basic physics. Block the leg and drive them past it and the leg will become light as they move away, allowing you to pick up the foot/knee et cetera.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Techniques, HL's, and Video Content Re-Organization for the Blog

In an effort to better/more efficiently organize the blog, I've broken down the videos I have linked on YouTube over in the pages section to the right a bit more specifically:

Gripfighting for BJJ - Click HERE - standing gripfighting series dealing with a variety of common gripping situations/exchanges seen in matches: defensive grips, cross collar grip, gripping your way out of a deficit et cetera

Judo for BJJ - Click HERE - series of breakdowns of counters to common situations standing in JiuJitsu where the gripping rules and allowable takedowns is much more extensive than in Judo nowadays, as well as some highlight reels of myself and the students who attend my takedown class using them in competition

My Submission Grappling/NoGi Matches - Click HERE - clips from my NoGi matches and submission grappling matches 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Counter to Standing Kimura/Sumi Gaeshi/Single Leg Counter

So, you thought you were Lucas Lepri and picked up a single leg, but you left your elbow exposed, well, all hope is not lost.

This was taught to me ages ago by a Judo coach of mine, and was recently seen used by Lucas Lepri vs Canuto at Worlds.

Kasai Atlantic City Bantamweight Grand Prix Reflections: Unity Closeout, Imanari, Geo, Calestine, Alarcon, Referees, et al

Missed most of the undercard, was coming from about 7 hours awake due to a family obligation, but made it for the duration of the main card and 3-4 undercard matches.

As has been my number one complaint with Kasai.......the inconsistent scoring of points reared it's ugly head yet again. Guys were able to score a near takedown point, but if for example you get a front headlock from seated, come up, hit a near takedown, there's no point awarded. I appreciate the awarding of points for near takedowns and submission attempts because some of the other Kasai brackets were not aesthetically pleasing to watch at all, and blah blah blah there is no points system that will ensure all matches are exciting blah blah blah. But, some of the calls reaked of the usual bias that has plagued and will continue to plague the sport for some time.

Guys were given points for toe holds with the leg fully extended, or a heel hook point attempt awarded to Murilo in a match who had locked his hands but no serious bite on the hip, but then when Ashley Williams faced Joao, there was the usual suspicious conference off of the mat by folks OTHER than the referees to determine the call....anytime the referees are starting at one another silently while debating making a call, the point of having 3 referees has gone out the window. Joao and Williams were down to the wire and Joao had a toe hold, and Williams had a heel hook. If you're gonna give the toe hold a point, why not the heel hook? Murilo had gotten a heel hook point attempt in an earlier match that was far less locked in that Williams and yet, no score for Williams. In the end, they declared the match a draw, essentially putting Joao thru to the finals as a result of calling it a draw/due to the point scoring for the bracket. It was great to see a semi diverse mix of styles represented with Sub Only (Geo and Calestine), IBJJF style points management (Ocasio, Miyao, Alarcon), Sub Only but points awareness (Ashley Williams), and the legend that is Imanari.

Murilo beat a brown belt on points in a 10 min affair.

Tom DeBlass won a match by kneebar that I honestly don't want to write anything about because I lack the ability to say anything other than it was a comical level mismatch if I've ever seen one. Go find the clips yourself and decide what you saw.

Diniz and Hinger handfought and circled to feel one another out early, then Diniz put on the heat with palm to palm/Peruvian necktie style grip, eventually getting the tap.
I didn't watch the Gaudio/Duarte match bc 1) I had been on a bus for 15 hrs at that point in two days and wanted to head home 2) the final match of the Grand Prix after it was going to be a fake match between Unity teammates anyway and 3) the only thing I'm interested in regarding Kaynan is the silence regarding his IBJJF test steroid email that's yet to be released. 

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Keenan Talks Hero Worship, Kinectic Mismatch Fest, et al

I haven't bothered to watch Kinectic because anytime one guy can wax an entire 5 man squad, it was a non-competitive AF affair. Basically, as close to work as you can set up that isn't predetermined. I'm glad guys got paid, hopefully the event made money, whatevs.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Kimura counter to Single Leg, Bicep Slicer + Kimura

Counter to a lazy single leg attempt/elbows flared, prior to them switching to a head outside single et cetera. Assuming the opponent stays flat to avoid conceding the back, an option to step over the head and attack a kimura + bicep slicer

Sunday, August 4, 2019

UFC MAGA Colby Edition? - Lawler Coasts, Miller Submits Guida & a look ahead to next week's MMA

I'm sitting there listening to Colby's post fight speech and he manages to make a Matt Hughes/Trump/train track reference all in one sentence. The appeal to a particular demographic feels so forced and over the top at this point I don't know where the sideshow ends and the satire even matters anymore. Despite detractors trying to portray MMA fans as ignorant and bloodthirsty, the truth is as far as most sports go, the UFC's champions both past and present represents a rather diverse set of nationalities and ethnic backgrounds as opposed to many other organized sports. I don't see anywhere near the level of diversity in hockey, Nascar, Football, Baseball, nor the broadcast time given to women athletes by other sports. The NBA doesn't bookend basketball games with WNBA games. The World Cup doesn't punctuate rounds of play with women's soccer games during the men's games. And yet, MMA is still stuck in this narrative of white trash, bud light crushing barbarians that is just not actually true. Cue the Trump family sitting cageside at this event and Colby in his MAGA hat. I'm all for trolling so hard folks can't tell if you're trolling, for isn't that really the point? I also am not a fan of folks being shamed and bullied into voicing opinions that violate the unspoken social contract of their fanbase who expect their idols to eschew certain topics or beliefs and "represent them." That being said, I'm just saying it's unfortunate Colby plays to the lowest common denominator with his antics and insults on the basis of country of origin, sex, vulgarity, and the rest.

If nothing else, Colby showed he's a poor man's version of Usman. Busy enough on the feet to duck that head and press you against the cage (ala Johnny Hendricks fights after the surgery that took away his bazooka punch), and busy enough to win rounds, but that complete befuddlement as to how to submit an opponent or even land meaningful damage following the takedown won't fly against Usman. Usman puts you down, keeps you there, and does work (ask Woodley).

I see the fight being clinch heavy, and active, but I see Usman taking the majority of the rounds with top position and landing more position whilst there. Colby is nothing if not a decision factory, and against Usman, I don't see Colby's skillset getting him the nod as it's just a less voluminous version of Usman's.

Lawler's always been good at getting to his feet, and showed that again in this fight but seemed content to give away the first two rounds, and hearing the corner advice you expected him to pick up the pace but it really only came in a couple spurts and then only in a meaningful way in the 5th round. Anyway, moving on, Miller got tagged, tagged Guida, and jumped on that arm-in guillotine, had his leg over the shoulder and the end was inevitable. A crazy combined number of fights between these two future hall of famers and we'll see both guys in the Octagon again.

Beyond that, the Tristar standout made a name for himself slipping in a hook and sleeping Silva, on an otherwise not very meaningful card for a Saturday afternoon at 3pm. It's always a good day when I can watch my favorite sport in the afternoon like other sports fans do every weekend for an ENTIRE season of a sport.

Thursday night we have Satoshi Ishii and Vinny Magalhaes each facing opponents on the PFL card.
Saturday we've got Schevchenko rematching Carmouche, Mike Perry facing Luque, Oezdemir fighting Latifi, & Rodolfo Vieira's UFC debut. Gilbert Burns makes his welterweight debut on the undercard which is odd because he's a good bit into his UFC career with several stoppages to his credit, so it's odd he's buried early on in the card, but go figure. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

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

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

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

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

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

Sunday, July 28, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 27, 2019

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

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

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

Monday, July 22, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 21, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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

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

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

JitzKing & Subversiv 2 Recap & Reflections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Via MMAJunkie.com:
"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 Random....at 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 position....here 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)....et 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.