Sunday, March 24, 2019

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?

Bellator:
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:

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Competition Takedowns - Myself & Folks I've Coached

First portion is a mix of takedowns I've scored in MMA, Judo, & Submission grappling then the last portion of the video is comprised of those scored by folks I've had the privilege of coaching.

Because I came up under Judo before the leg grabs were banned and then fought MMA, I've picked up a fair mix of low risk ankle picks, and foot sweeps, but still find ways to hit big throws on occasion.

There's foot sweeps, big throws, bodylock to outside trip, single leg to escape bad position/turtle, ankle picks, and a solid cross section of the curriculum of what I teach to folks with zero wrestling, Sambo, or Judo background.


Saturday, March 16, 2019

UFC UK Till vs Masvidal Recap, Nelson Flat, Oezdemir Fades, Wood Submits....Silva Picks Up Disputed Submission Win

Crowd. Goes. Silent. Masvidal started the fight by running clear across the cage and hitting a flying *($% kick on Till. After a restart, got dropped, and put on his butt. Recovered but struggled with the reach, and feinting of the clearly much larger Till. Masvidal shortened the range, and clipped Till with good punches in 2-3 combos, and this would be Till's undoing, as he fades back in a straight line at times. Masvidal used and advancing step into a switch stance and blasted Till with an overhand left and 2-3 punches bobble head style as Till crashed to the canvas.
Amazing performance that showcased when Masvidal is on, he has many tools in his tool bag.

Edwards retreated most of the fight, and let Gunnar Nelson extend himself. Nelson also looked uncharacteristically non-committal in the clinch and got reversed against the cage, mat returned, and lost the first round in a wrist ride style position, got floored with a big elbow as he separated from the clinch with Edwards, then got Edwards down with a minute left in the final round, knowing he must be down on points, didn't really unload or press for the finish. It was a relatively flat performance that showed he can be taken down, hit off the break, and doesn't do great leading the striking exchanges against someone who hands back in a long stance much like he does. I say all this as a huge Gunnar Nelson fan.

Wood picked up a nice submission after an outside trip to back control and an RNC.

Oezdemir I thought edged out Reyes, but perhaps they want someone different to face Jones? Reyes looked good in his first truly high profile former contender opponent match-up, but Oezdemir gave the third round away rather than Reyes convincingly won the fight.

Silva was on his way to losing the fight but according to the ref while escaping an armbar, Roberts cried out in some fashion or another and the ref ruled it a verbal submission win for Silva. Silva looked for submissions continually but also got reversed from some pretty basic positions like head/arm triangle et cetera. Concerning as he was then punished repeatedly with his head on the canvas when he was on his back.

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Polaris 9 Results, Nicky Ryan vs Urijah Faber, IBJJF Cash Prizes


Friday, March 15, 2019

Polaris 9 Results: Davies Submits Matuda, Lovato Decisions Shields...


Langaker vs Brosche
Langaker got to Brosche's back with about a minute left and got the strangle

Crelinsten vs Halpin
Crelinsten exchanged sweeps, then put together some sustained passing, and got to the back. Halpin didn't panic and fended off some RNC and jaw crush chokes, he also smartly resisted getting back triangled by being lazy with his hands. He eventually gave up an arm and got armbarred.

Perez decisions O'Conaill
Perez spent the entire match on top, hit some loose head/arm grip, not even really guillotine or even Brabo grips, so they gave it to him. I guess that was enough.

Vagner decisions Nicholls
Nicholls fended of Vagner's passing for pretty much the whole match, he got to one leg entanglement. Vagner did his usual cover the mouth whatever, so they gave it to Vagner. Not really sure why.

Ffion Davies arm triangles Gezary Matuda. Matuda had a deep looking guillotine but didn't get control with her legs and ended up in a scramble that got her arm triangled as she stayed flat on her back while Ffion cut a hard angle around/off to the side.

Lovato vs Shields
Lovato won a pretty clear cut decison with a takedown, some guard passing, getting to mount, a kimura attack and some pretty clear cut dominance. Shields had a leg entanglement briefly toward the end.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Polaris 9 Prologue & Prelim Matches Episodes: Gezary Matuda & Ffion Davies




Polaris 9: Picks & Predictions - Shields vs Lovato, Davies vs Matuda, O'Conaill, Perez, Rocha, & Nicholls


Shields vs Lovato
Lovato won't be able to take down Jake Shields. Lovato will eventually sit. Jake will hammer at Lovato's long frame with his body lock style passing. Lovato doesn't have the same guard style as Craig Jones and thus Shields will be relatively safe from submission threat while forcing his guard passing game potentially through to half-guard against Lovato but Lovato's been in the game grappling forever and I don't see anything meaningful submission wise happening in the match.
Shields by decision unless the judges decide to start cracking down on fairly straightforward passing from safer positions and Lovato is able to force some omoplata style attacks from Shields head low passing position. Be interesting to see if Lovato affects any Williams guard and the like. Having been mauled by Jake Shields in training, I can see it is as close to mma training while only grappling as I've experience since I stopped fighting. Was in the locker room one day and Garry Tonon remarked that there's a lot of tough, strong guys out there but there's a few that the second they put their hands on you that first time, it's a very particular feeling, and that Jake is one of those guys. I can concur from much more limited but some experience getting to roll with a number of famous names in the blue basement when they visit from time to time. Rolling with Jake everytime is a demoralizing and debilitating experience that really takes you to the limit. At any rate, Shields by decision after advancing to half-guard and some other near passing completion attempts.

Ffion Davies vs Gezary Matuda
Ffion is the new(er) generation of women competitors and is coming off of a promising beginning to her black belt era. Matuda is focusing on MMA from what I've seen and read and it will be interesting to see how she fares against Ffion who's still solely focused on sport grappling.
Ffion by decision.

Rocha vs Nicholls - Nicholls will sit to guard and save us from Vagner's patented slap your chest, shove, and rough collar tie game of baiting you into shooting so he can try to reverse using a kimura. It's amazing how obvious it is watching his ADCC matches but seeing experienced competitors forget that's his only real counter to takedowns and Vagner virtually NEVER shoots offensively, and I can't recall it working even when he once in a blue moon does shoot. At any rate, Rocha will attempt to wear Nicholls down with heavy top pressure, but I doubt he'll pass if Nicholls is at all conservative. Unless I'm wrong, the last time Rocha got leg locked was by Garry Tonon at the EBI after Vagner came off of a nearly 30 min match with Nathan Orchard. I doubt Nicholls is able to get to a meaingful leg entanglement against Rocha more than once or twice here, and Rocha will likely attack a few toe holds and rolling kimura attempts to balance out the submission attempt metric.
Rocha by decision.

Crelinsten vs Halpin
Crelinsten by back triangle armbar if not RNC. He'll do his wacky inflatable dancing man movement on top and end up on the back and Halpin won't have answers for what Crelinsten does there. I've been back triangle armbarred by Ethan more times than I care to admit. Halpin won't survive long with Ethan on his back.

O'Conaill vs Perez
Perez is a handful and while I'm not a huge fan of his tendency to stall out matches from top while passing in points matches, the guy will definitely try to hit some submissions if they present themselves (leg locks, wrist locks yay! et cetera). I've rolled with O'Conaill when he was visiting the US a year or so ago, super nice guy. Perez is a lot to handle and will also fight egregiously boring matches if need be (see some of his Kasai matches). I'm hoping that O'Conaill doesn't get locked into a positional battle with Perez weaving the legs and low on both knees in that non-mobile no one actually passes guard from there position we're seeing a lot of these days, but O'Conaill isn't known as a leg locker so hopefully Perez opens up a bit on top and when passing. Perez will be difficult to takedown and I expect O'Conaill to sit almost immediately.
I'm gonna say Perez by leg lock.

Langaker vs Brosche - I admittedly don't follow the EU scene specifically, but have watched a fair number of Langaker's matches as he's a guy actually throwing out submission attempts along the way to other things, rather than only slapping on a submission in the last 30 seconds for a hail mary advantage or if he gets to the back/is entirely dominating an opponent positionally. There used to be a cool breakdown by Lex Friedman of Brosche's passing and some ideas of his at brown belt, but it's been yanked from the internet.
Langaker by submission.

Sawada in action after a disappointing run at King of the Mats. Hope to see him put on a performance here as that was a tough run to watch this past weekend.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

BJJ Digest - Askren and Dillon Roast-A-Thon, Ralek Admits He Can Just Not Pay Former Competitors...

Listen on through the grappling-related headlines of the day, folks.

What a time to be a grappling fan. I finally don't have to really follow much outside of grappling to be entertained. Bring on the showmanship, I say. Bring it on. There's enough tea to be served and enough to dish for me to stay entertained. Last weekend I watched a UFC, 2 Abu Dhabi events in the UK, and Ultimate Mat Warriors.

*&^% yeah.

This Weekend: UFC UK Till vs Masvidal - Picks and Predictions


Masvidal talks a big game about his stand-up but he's put on some boring AF fights against stand-up fighters and frankly fights best with a guy coming at him in exact right amount for him to fight at the pace he wants and has lost his last two such fights via decision (Thompson & Maia).

Ellenberger, Cerrone, and Pearson all gave him the kind of fight he wanted so he won, but Larkin and Henderson handed him losses as did Iaquinta in a fight the entire arena was booing.
I should probably be easier on Masvidal as his resume is full of tough, reputable names that are all in the upper echelon of the UFC.
I don't see him beating Till as Till will pressure him more than he would like and I think has the heat to pour it on if he senses and hesitation or fear in Masvidal.

Till via TKO in round 2.

Leon Edwards vs Gunnar Nelson
Edwards is a tough stand-up fight for anyone, but he isn't particularly volume based, nor is he one he puts together long combos, Gunnar will closed the distance after picking Edwards apart with his arsenal of kids and long/Karate stance. I haven't seen anything in Edwards takedown defense that will stop Nelson's wrestling and control once on top. Once on top he will give him the Oliveira treatment AKA mount, to punishment, to giving up the back, and loss via RNC.

Nelson by 1st round RNC.

Oezdemir vs Reyes - Oezdemir got his title shot but got the Cormier treatment in the form of takedown, punishment, giving up the back, palm to palm/short choke. Reyes is coming off of a win over Cannonier and OSP. He's got 3 stopapges out of his 4 UFC fights in a similarly convincing trajectory that Oezdemir followed in his UFC tenure that reached its zenith with a title shot. Oezdemir is coming off a loss to Anthony Smith (who has since fought a terribly lackluster non-fight fight against Jon Jones) and Daniel Cormier. Prior to that he had convincing wins over Manuwa, Cirkunov, and OSP.
This is tough, I think Oezdemir takes it as he's only lost to 2 of the most stoppage accumulating fighters in recent UFC memory.

Oezdemir by 2nd round KO.

Diakiase vs Duffy  - Diakese is coming off of 3 losses. Duffy is 2-2 in his last 4 but has fought names like Poirier and Vick to his credit.

Duffy by unanimous decision. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Doederlein Video Replay Heartbreak at Abu Dhabi Grand Slam London & King of the Mats

Heartbreaking weekend for Doederlein as he was awarded sweep points and led by advantages on Saturday then video review withdrew his 2 points and he lost. He attacked with more submissions accruing the advantage lead with 2 very solid looking kneebar attempts from a position infinitely more possible for use than 50/50. Sunday Paulo had none of it, evened the score, then shut down any real guard passing with no real sweeping attempts either and both guys let it ride to a ref's decision after accruing 3 penalties apiece and still playing a game of chicken as to a DQ on that 4th double guard pull situation. It's a win, but damn if it's not the most anticlimactic thing to see.

Gi JiuJitsu in the finals continues to look a lot like "who can time the sweep with the last minute on the clock after stalemating one another for most of the match" than anything else. I watched all of Doederlein's matches and a confirmed change in his game is attacking submissions along the way to where he's going and improvements in his passing. He finished Tiago Bravo with an ankle lock on Saturday and beat him again Sunday with both a solid armbar attack from spinning underneath on his way to digging out the leg, and another ankle lock attack that must've given Bravo heated deja vu. He attacked the aforementioned kneebars on Paulo. He utilized passing with more authority than I've seen him do previously. Sawada looked outclassed in most of his matches and think Tomoyuki would have done better despite being on the smaller side as well. Wardzinkski got underhook passed as Duarte did a good job sitting him up vertically onto his butt to step through/forward to pass rather than battle the legs at a distance or play low and give Wardzinski his over the back belt grip butterfly game. These matches were a good bit more entertaining than the Spyder Invitational Championship Qualifier I suffered through recently with at least Doederlein hunting for submissions along the way.  

Sunday, March 10, 2019

UFC Wichita - Lewis vs Dos Santos Produces Solid Night of Stoppages

Niko Price got a TKO stoppage after getting wobbled over the always tough Tim Means.

Kunitskaya looked like a zombie after a very broken nose bled everywhere but got the Win.

Moraes lost to Kayla Harrison's boyfriend in a fight where he'd have been better suited shooting a bit more often earlier in the rounds as his opponent could be found with his heels/back against the cage.

Dariush got tagged with some heavy punches from Drew Dober, but locked down a back triangle as Dober looked to extricate the arm. Impressive bite from Dariush to get the tap. He's dropped some fights to guys that are dangerous and even a last minute replacement/UFC debut.

Blagoi Ivanov backpedaled against the stalking Rothwell and picked up a close decision as neither guy could've complained had he gotten the nod from the judges.

Dos Santos punished Lewis with a bodykick and later finished him with punches. A decent fight

Akhmedov picked up a debatable decision win over Boetsch in which Boetsche never looked outclassed but would have easily dispatched the pretty formulaic/generic Akhmedov just a couple years ago in his career.

Zaleski dos Santos is a guy I've been hyping since his debatable UFC debut loss. He's got a bunch of stoppages, is always entertaining, and shows a nice mix of skillsets in different ranges of the fight. Millender looked outclassed as soon as Zaleski was on his back and the end looked pretty predictable once the hooks were in, TBH.
Millender's considerable stand-up will get him wins over a lot of mid level guys in the division, but this hole in his game is now known and he'd better be doing some real drilling and work to patch it up as this division has a lot of guys who want to drag you down to the mat and fight grinding fights.

Greene and Hughes threw a ton of spinning kicks and other stuff, and got to scrappin' there at the very end with Greene evening the score by picking up a decision win.

Next Weekend we get Till vs Masvidal on an early afternoon/evening card in the UK with Gunnar Nelson returning to action after his last win over Cowboy Oliveira (which was his return fight from knee surgery/injury). 

F2Win Pro 104: Lovato vs Yuri Simoes & Modified Judo Rules Match wi Sainjarga


Was cool to see Sainjarga (bronze medalist at the world level in Judo) on the mats, in a format different from Judo. He was biding his time looking for a deep solid entry and found it a few minutes in. Was  cool to see some mat work and actually Sainjarga use a lapel strangle from top/turtle attacking to get the finish after a full Ippon throw then continuing to the mat. I've seen some aggressive choke hunting from Mongolian players in the last couple years (it's been interesting to watch them battle in some of the most hotly contested/competitive divisions in Judo in recent years), with some great entries to attack finishing by trapping the arm (ezekiel style) or scooping the leg and getting a brutal looking extension.

Sainjarga hit an attack from turtle after an Osotogari with the leg/and I think a seio shoulder grip if I recall correctly.

Nathiely de Jesus hit a convincing choke/submission finish on Talita Noguiera after some solid scrambles for position and control.

Formiga Barbosa was all over Nick Greene from early on, and eventually consolidated control to finish with an inverted/crunch armbar from mount. 

Ribamar defeated the as per usual boring AF DJ Jackson who got on both knees and refused to try to pass in any other posture. Head in the crotch, brief double under attempts but refusal to get off both knees and add any angle changes or mobility to ever even get close to half-guard. Ribamar fed the lapel and combined with DJ's refusal to switch up his passing style....this plus the lapel grip thwarted any chance. DJ normally forces his way to half-guard and can potentially pass, but was shut down from even getting to that and chose to ride out not even getting to half-guard rather than open up and try to pass. If you're going to be a competitor who refuses to play from bottom or ever be on bottom, you've gotta basically be more than 1 dimensional in your passing.

I'd literally rather watch anything else than a boring competitor on both knees refuse to actually take any chances in passing. Another forgetting superfight by the TLI long-time member.

Yuri vs Lovato: not surprised this was basically each guy on top for a bit, and both guys unwilling to use any positions other than their more confident passing places of safety. What that means is each guy tried to slap on a submission attempt in the waning 30 seconds, then acted like they definitely won the match in convincing fashion. Blase blase blase. 

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Keenan Shades DDS, Metamoris Return Comments Section Liiiiit, Wallid chimes in on Renzo...so muuuuuch

Man, I'm over hear eating popcorn.

Keenan chimes in (a former Team Lloyd Irvin protege who left not really during the NYE party sexual assault scandal, but months and months later when the public scrutiny was relentless) on DDS cult behavior with an anecdote. Meanwhile he trains with the hardest repping Jesus squad in JiuJitsu with some of the most suspect physiques around the year.

Wallid Ismail pops in to stoke the flames of his ages old Gracie beef.

Askren vs Burns? Let it be true. Askren teases Usman for BJJ black belt but doesn't say a word about is that a tech fall? Is that the right term in wrestling for how he got tossed for a 5 point throw?

Metamoris has laid low long enough (the guy who called it the original Fyre Fest deserves a *&^%'in gold star hahahaha) to orchestrate new suckers to give them money and athletes to be dumb enough to not get paid again I guess.

Man, what a weekend for combat sports stuff.
We had a UFC, Ultimate Mat Warriors, Abu Dhabi Gi on Saturday and King of the Mats on Sunday.


Saturday, March 9, 2019

Spriggs vs Craig Jones @ Philly Grappling Industries Tomorrow - streaming live

Tune in to their Facebook page to catch it

PFL Announces Women’s Lightweight Tournament Competitors

PFL axed their middleweight division and has replaced it with Women’s Lightweight. Same pay as men’s divisions and women with not even 5 pro fights getting to fight for $1 million bucks, not bad. Are women fans actually  going to support the promotion as a result of actually supporting women’s mma or is this gonna be like the WNBA where people complain it’s not supported but have never been to a game, own no merchandise, and couldn’t even tell you who’s in the division?

Friday, March 8, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Renzo Speaks, Keenan Retorts....


Thoughts on Evolution of Submission Grappling/Technical Proficiency

Aggregate thoughts stemming from watching Finishers -145, Sub Spectrum -135 (those 2 events I was slated to compete in but withdrew due to ACL/Meniscus surgery, kill me), coaching at the Finishers Open Tournament, and the Midwest Finishers -155:

Guys still:
a) step directly into leg entanglements/don't see the initial entry coming, and barely defend the first leg lock attempt/force a transition. Most escapes are due to poor application by their attacker, not a concerted and legitimate response to the actual leg lock attempt
b) don't even peel the foot off of the hip to thwart any attempts to dig in on rotating to an outside heel hook attempt, currently most guys are bypassing outside heel hook entries in favor of fighting through to inside heel hook land
c) rely on fighting the hands instead of addressing the leg triangle/lock/sankaku/whatever/honey hole/411/who cares you know what I'm referring to
d) curve their toes/arch the foot aware from the opponent now thinking that defense that Keenan showed (keep in mind Keenan is considerably longer than a good portion of his opponents, so the height/distance of his foot/heel to many of his opponents is not representative for many of the matches you are watching) is actually gonna protect their foot/be stronger than a properly set heel dig/the entire side of their opponents body arching and bridging into their knee (does that sound like mechanically/ergonomically making for a fair fight?)

Pre-Emptive response to haters saying Keenan must be right, he's competed at ADCC, who are you to say blah blah blah:
I've trained at Renzo's NYC for the past 2.5 years since moving to NYC, both morning and noon class in the blue basement for most of that time, and since late spring of 2018 am now under Jon Calestine/Matt Kaplan, I've lost via leglock 3x in the past 2.5 years competing adult advanced division and one of those was actually my knee coming out of place (see ACL injury mentioned above). I can speak with veracity, experience, and knowledge on this topic. I've been leg locked and leg locked more guys than I can count in that blue basement. I've rolled with a good portion of the best leg lockers currently out there. I roll with Jon Calestine on weekly basis. Prior to his moving to Unity I trained with Eddie Cummings. I don't speak about things I don't know about. I do speak about things I do know about.

Back attacks are still deficient in terms of handfights, and clears/escaping back control, and most guys still don't know how to get their shoulders clear and thus get their back to the mat, nor do they commit/continue to have tension in their hips rotating to assist in peeling opponents off their back and basically only look to fight the body triangle by swimming their thigh underneath the lock and if that fails, they accept/quit/don't have any further tools to address a tight body lock (and paired with a diligent attacker maintains back control, they eventually get strangled or give up considerable ride time. Guys have their legs almost extended, feet not on the floor, and no tension in driving with their legs to assist rotating their hips. I bet it's impossible to get out from there at that point. No wonder. The extended rolling escapes timed with opponents adjusting grips are still the midpoint of effective escapes against many opponents but the lack of ability to address the body triangle is a huge area of neglect.

What I'd been working on since the previous August leading up to my injury was guard passing and back attack finishing because this is the most wildly deficient part of NoGi grappling with leg locks and in submission grappling. Two guys flailing back and/or hoping the other guy steps in blindly enough to lead to a leg entanglement which as outlined above, still works because literally don't even peel the foot off the hip, one of the first go-to things to address to implement some sort of battle for feet/knee position. Most of the NoGi passing you see is semi unrelated flailing flying through the air attempts periodically while shucking and jiving and dancing around handfighting with no purpose or meaning. It's a bunch of feints and fakes that don't affect the seated opponent unless he's an idiot, and just drains clock time and avoids the reality from being completely obvious that many guys simply do not know how to pass NoGi in any semblance of a passably organized system. The change is coming ;) Wait and see. There was a bit of it in my match with Rey at the Rise Invitational back in January when I came up on top off of a sweep, but due to an injury I wasn't able to confidently press forward with weight bearing on my knee.

In the Johnson/Leighton match at Sub Spectrum, with a larger opponent known to fall back on a forearm in calf grip figure four on the legs the way Johnson does, Leighton briefly peeled the foot off the hip but neither persisted in hipping through the space provided as a result, nor stayed on keeping the heel and knee pinch of Johnson's legs separated. Without the threat of heel hooks, he also had more options to press forward without fear of the heel hook biting across the hip. Getting broken down to his right side hip, the writing was on the wall for Leighton as he then had to rely on fighting the hands which the foot/ankle as isolated as it was, was looking more prophetic by the moment.

The bite on the foot is only one part of the dilemma of the ankle lock/attack and to think that your arms will be able to stop a grown man's body/trunk/core from pulling and extending away even with a lapel grip if he's persistent and uses solid mechanics a risky proposition. Nor would simply booting the leg straight been enough. Tex Johnson has a bunch (understatement) of wins there, but as you saw against Demente in their match, even with heel hooks allowed as a risk for transition, Demente never seemed in much trouble from the leg attacks and never allowed Johnson to even lock up a true ankle lock grip, and Demente doesn't have a particularly lanky/long frame, but still managed to drive forward, boot his foot/control the head for support (I don't typically hold this grip as it can be used against you to be elevated further overhead, but I digress). Johnson said in the post fight that Demente's ankle popped, but if I had a dollar for every time in training and in esp. competing I'd popped an ankle or heard some kind of popping sound I'd have enough money to order Seamless in NYC. That's like saying the guys foot was popping in a toe hold. At the advanced level that could mean a bunch of things (ie: not enough to force them to tap).

At any rate, there's a current arms race as always in submission grappling to elevate the implementation of the most efficient/effective/attainable submissions and as that stands, I wholeheartedly believe it is strangles from the back and leg locks. When I did the aggregate of my matches for 2018, of my submission total 9 were either while on the back of transitioning from a back attack, and 10 were some form of leg lock. Only 1 of the 20 was from bottom/upper body in the form of an inverted triangle.

I've trained upper body attacks from bottom coming from the Gi for years on end, and yet, with about 18 months of training NoGi daily, in a year's worth of competing there's still 2 obviously disproportionate areas of finishing/submission.

Knowing where the strongest finishing comes from, it's obvious where training time and problem solving needs to be focused.

My outlying area of focus then is also guard passing as the day will come when throwing up leg submissions from bottom or (Already) when dealing with fleeing/stalling/disengaging opponents willing to go to a draw, you have to be able to do more than play side guard/lay back and allow the standing player to dictate the when/how/if of engagement of meaningful contact.



Thursday, March 7, 2019

BJJ World Star, I mean TV: Renzo Talks Ralph/Flavio Brawl


Unpopular Opinions

Based on the % of black belts popped by USADA  (utilizing advance notice/one day per year testing at IBJJF), no less than 20% of the sport is juicing at the black belt level.

Masters Worlds is full of guys who look like cartoon characters at 40+ years of age.  (see above *ahem steroids and PEDs).

You can't be a competitor in a spectator sport and blame any criticism of your matches being boring by saying "you can't appreciate the nuances of high level grappling." Nah, you don't need to be a black belt to not be fooled by two guys both doing as little as possible to not lose and get paid and barely engaging for 10 minutes.

Quintet doesn't allow heel hooks because most guys wouldn't sign up if there were heel hooks.

If anyone else had shown up first day at black belt adult and won double gold with that many submissions, IBJJF would be gagging to death from slobbing their knob, but because it was Gordon Ryan there was less coverage. If Gordon had DQ'd himself by slapping and stalling anyone it would've been the biggest story in JiuJitsu, but instead we got fanboy worship justifying Cyborg's behavior instead of holding him to a standard befitting his accomplishments and all the usual talk about the sport and respect and honor and other BS.

UAEJJF is coming for IBJJF's status at the premier event (warm-up areas! Cash prizes! Earth shattering concepts, I know.)

If JiuJitsu becomes an Olympic sport, the podium will look different thanks to out of competition testing. It might be Jesus and hard work but it's also anabolic steroids and HGH and diuretics.

ADCC isn't a JiuJitsu tournament. It's not even a submission grappling tournament. It's a wrestling tournament that allows submissions.

TLI is keeping a low profile hoping the #metoo movement blows over and skips JiuJitsu.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Shoyoroll NoGi Gear Review

Got ahold of the a NoGi Matching set from the latest Shoyoroll drop. I've worn/tried out/borrowed/and bought used Shoyoroll Gis and liked them, but wasn't interested in paying full price. As prone as I am to disliking things just because they're popular, I've just never been super sold on the Shoyoroll Gi hype. I find the Gi pants are a bit dumpy/toddler with soggy diaper hanging in the @$$ area and the jacket feels a bit more trim/mismatched with the fit of the pants. That being said, after a midday training session when it's hot AF in the blue basement at Renzo's, I'll say that will indeed plan on buying their NoGi gear again, despite the price being about 1/3 higher than what I would pay for other brands.

The space under the armpit has vents/whatever that does legitimately make does it cooler to train in, and avoids that plastic bag constrictor feeling you get in other long sleeved rashguards. I train in long sleeved rashguards in an effort to minimize skin exposure as we have a ton of visitors at Renzo's and people coming from in off the street, the subway, whatever, may not have washed their hands et cetera.

All in all, it was $20 more than my Scramble matching set I bought a year ago. The stitching and construction seems sturdy, so we'll see how it holds up. I recently bought their ranked nogi gear drop for brown belts because I enjoyed the first set I bought so much. The shorts are trim and contoured around the thighs avoiding the snagged toes in or near your taint/gooch area that I've seen happen with shorter length shorts that parachute out/flare at the thighs.

The Shoyoroll NoGi sets are probably going to be the brand I buy going forward for training gear and compete in for IBJJF at brown belt when I return to competing. It seems steep at $150, but like I've said Scramble and other brands have comparably/in that neighborhood priced gear at $50-70 for the top + the same or more for shorts.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

BJJ Scouts' BJJ Digest: Askren, Mickey Gall got them chompers, Diego Sanchez Lazarus man, Calls for Erberth Ban cont.


UFC on ESPN+ in Wichita this Weekend: Lewis vs Dos Santos: Picks and Thoughts

Can Derrick Lewis survive 5 rounds with Dos Santos? Will be pull of yet another miraculous hail mary KO in the closing seconds of a fight he's totally lost? We'll find out.

Elsewhere on the card we've got some semi meaningful if not at least entertaining stylistic match-ups plus if nothing else, the Main Card starts at 8pm, thank God, because I was dying staying up to see that FIXED if I've ever seen one Jones/Smith fight last weekend.

Should be an entertaining slobberknocker for as long as it does or does not last. Anything has to be better than that Lewis/Ngannou non fight that happened, am I right? People keep picking against Lewis and he almost always pulls off the upset but this is very hard to not pick against him. I guess I'm gonna say Dos Santos is the pick, but I don't bet on HW fights.

Zaleski dos Santos finally gets co-main billing after a slew of entertaining AF bouts that I've seen of his and will face Curtis Millender. Millender has 3 wins in the past year or so of fighting against Thiago Alves, Max Griffin, and Siya Bahadurzada. Zaleski is a tier above those guys and should pick up an exciting stoppage win here in the 3rd round as he pours it on each of the 3 rounds wearing guys down even as he slows a tad from his impressive workrate. I love watching Zaleski fight. Each fight is what I want to see in MMA. Zaleski has only fought twice in the past year beating Vendramini and Strickland, neither entirely impressive names, but also had a deeper UFC win list of Nakamura, Akhmedov, Griffin (also), and Lyman Good before he got exiled for ye olde steroid pop. Zaleski will win this one in an entertaining scrap whether it goes the distance or not.

Beneil Dariush will face Drew Dober. Dariush after a promising start has seen him lose fights he was winning and get blown out in early goings against unknowns. It's been a rocky road as a fan of his because like Gunnar Nelson he has all the tools and the right camp to take him to the title. Dober has lost only 2x in the past 3-4 years, a guillotine loss to Efrain Escudero and an RNC loss to Oliver Aubin-Mercier. This suggests if Beneil doesn't stand too long trying his burgeoning Muay Thai skills he's honing at Kings MMA, he'll get to his neck and put Dober to sleep. Dober has a couple KO win's in fights over his UFC tenure but no one who's of high repute in their division.

Boetsch returns to face Akhmedov. Boetsch last fought coming up on a year ago against Antonio Carlos Jr. in a losing by submission effort. Before that it had been nearly a year since be beat up on a faded, still managed to miss weight in a weight class up Johnny Hendricks who must have an eating disorder with the way he's unable to now make weight regardless of weight class. Akhmedov has lost to anyone of note he's faced in the UFC (Zaleski dos Santos, Serginho Moraes, and Gunnar Nelson and decisioned anyone he's beaten. Boetsch is extremely durable (yes, I know, extremely overused in MMA parlance, but truly accurate for this guy). I see Boetsch beating him up 2 out of 3 rounds.

Means vs Price - Price was picking up steam before getting a win overturned due to those damn, derelict pesky marijuana metabolites. Price is coming off a loss to Abul Alhassan which was a fight he looked slow to start and got flattened. Prior to that he had 2 stoppage wins over Randy Brown & George Sullivan. I've always liked Niko's set of skill since his UFC debut and I'm hoping the Alhassan loss was an off night. I'm a say Price by submission.

Rothwell returns from steroid suspension to face Ivanov who debuted in about as tough as UFC debut as you can against Dos Santos. Talk about jumping into the shark tank of the UFC HW division. Ivanov lost about a year of his prime after getting stabbed by gangsters and nearly bleeding to death. Meanwhile in Russia....anyway, Rothwell has always had the size and reach to give many men trouble, as evidenced by his 10 finger tummy squash strangle of Josh Barnett awhile back. Ivanov has a mix of skills and I expect him to not BS around with Rothwell and force him to the mat 2 out of 3 rounds despite the danger that puts him in. Ivanov will get back on track here with a Decision win over another very tough HW contender.

Sergio Moraes is getting back on track after a KO loss to Usman (which seems less terrible given his title ascension). Moraes picked up a flawless submission win over Ben Saunders & Tim Means. He's also got wins over Ramos, Akhmedov, and Magny amongst others. He'll pick up a submission win here over this guy.


My Reason(s) for Leaving Competitive Judo VS the Epidemic of Entitlement in JiuJitsu

Was reflecting back to when I made the decision to no longer compete in Judo and fully devote my time to JiuJitsu competition in the Gi which then got me to the Submission Grappling niche that's gaining traction.

Rewind to 6 1/2 years ago and I had been out of competition for the better part of a year due to ACL/meniscus injury and subsequent surgery. While I was gone, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) rule change banning leg grabs had come into effect. By the time I returned to Judo competition, to even briefly tough or grab the leg with your arm/elbow/hand as seen by a referee in he chaos of a high-paced match could bring about an automatic Disqualification or "hansokumake." It's tough to travel to compete, make weight, pay money (to say nothing of the opportunity cost of missing work et cetera to travel/be gone), and to have a referee rule you DQ'd immediately because you errantly touched or grazed the leg with your arm whilst in a match that can be as chaotic and high paced as Judo. I had fought 5 MMA fights up until this point. I won the state championships in both North and South Carolina in Judo. I was a new-ish purple belt in JiuJitsu. I was a devoted competitor arranging my personal life, work, most things if not everything around competing in whatever sport I was currently pursuing.

At any rate, I had returned to competing (both in Judo and JiuJitsu with increasing frequency), but the new restrictions in Judo had changed the pace and feel of a match and also had taken a good number of combinations and attacks out of the game as well. I didn't particularly mind the new style change overall, as my tokuiwaza (pet technique/specialty throw et cetera as it translates roughly), Tai Otoshi benefits/is easier to set up from a more upright style of play anyway, but the matches felt a bit less unpredictable, a bit more truncated, and just presented a narrower range of throwing techniques. I had always liked facing the myriad of grappling styles that Judo allowed up until that point.

Beyond this change in the feel of the game/matches, a Judo tournament director reached out to me and asked me to come referee at a tournament. I was being asked to commute several hours, spend the day reffing (miss work at my 2nd job), and do it out of the goodness of my heart. That same day, I was offered a job reffing a JiuJitsu tournament, where I'd be able to compete for free (couldn't compete because I was recovering but you get the point), and be paid to referee on top of that.

Let me clarify what made the choice for me, beyond the simple pros and cons/situation outlined above. The Judo tournament director, by his wording, made it clear that out of some sense of obligation and selflessness, that I "should" offer my time and energy et cetera to come pay back the sport of Judo. There was this sense of entitlement to my time, energy, and purpose that rang hollow to me. Pay back? Pay back? I was coming back from an ACL resonstruction surgery ($5,000 after insurance to say nothing of costs in PT/loss of work et cetera), to say nothing of the countless other injuries along the way. I was always paying Judo back. Missing work. Paying to compete. Paying to travel. Paying to train. Paying for surgery. Paying. Paying. Paying. Is it wrong to expect to be compensated for your time and expertise? It is wrong to expect to be treated like someone who is paid for their time and expertise? The reffing at Judo tournaments was always iffy at best with old time referees imposing their interpretation of the rules from a bygone era to career referees who do not train live at all and barely understand what they are watching. I'd lost more matches on bad calls than I cared to count and compensated with a hyper aggressive attacking style that I only expected to win if I could throw, pin, or submit within regulation.

I politely informed him that I'd be reffing at a JiuJitsu tournament that day and left it at that. He replied with some condescending remarks about my lack of commitment to the sport and selflessness (also probably entwined in a disdain for JiuJitsu as I'd put up with a fair amount of resistance/smart remarks/outright disdain/condescension for my involvement in JiuJitsu from some old school Judo instructors and even training partners ever since I began crosstraining while I was rehabbing, you guessed it, a knee injury). One might could write this interaction off as simply a differing of minds, but I had long tried to broach this topic of closed minded-ness for JiuJitsu as a sport and misguided altruism in Judo of selflessly teaching and investment previously with others in the Judo community. It was largely ignored by the entrenched Judo beliefs that still plague the sport (I can speak specifically of American Judo from personal experience at the regional level). You can only expect so much and so long from your competitors....and when another opportunity looms on the horizon that treats you much more like a professional and doesn't lay claim to your time and energy out of expectation, the choice sometimes doesn't seem very difficult for those of us without parents or programs funding our training and competition expenses. The selfless long-time martyr casting aspersions on the younger competitor, what a cliche. Over the course of my involvement in Judo it went from there being 3 skill divisions: white belt, green-brown, and black belt. By the end, there was one division at a lot of tournaments: open skill, meaning you'd have white belts and everyone along the way to black belt. Talk about the likelihood for injury...

I felt like Atlas Shrugged and watching all the signs piling up that the sport was languishing and the very stewards of the sport at the grass roots level where I was not only ignoring the problem, but exacerbating it. Before JiuJitsu, Judo could blame lots of theories and ideas as to why Judo was lagging behind other sports: culture of sport in America, video games, ideology/home environment, et cetera...yet JiuJitsu came along and went from not existing as a sport in America to parents shelling out $100 for their kids to win swords and belts. All along the way, Judo's response for quite awhile was to double down on it's attitudes and beliefs, with even some Judo organizations banning it's funded athletes from cross competition and MMA and while this ensnares the top cared for and funded athletes, it forces a hard line decision for those who are not.

At some point, I had to accept that to continue to tolerate the treatment/expectation of the athletes was to not only enable, but further deepen the problem. I can't tolerate the behavior, allow it to continue, perpetuate the cycle, and then complain for years on end.

That would be naive at best and disingenuous at worst. I reffed for several years for US Grappling who always treated me fairly, paid me to referee, let me compete for free, paid me expenses toward travelling over a certain distance and in doing so gave me the opportunity to grow my game immeasurably. 

They also run one of the best tournaments I've attended (as a competitor). It's a tournament that truly is By Grapplers, For Grapplers.   I owe that company an immeasurable debt toward my development as far as understanding and nerding out on the rules and competing month after month at purple belt until I moved to NYC.

One of the best things a grappler can do for the sport is both BEHAVE LIKE A PROFESSIONAL and then EXPECT to be treated like one. It's an old adage but true, people will rise to the bar you set for them.

On the flipside, in JiuJitsu, I see a lot of entitlement from "athletes" who treat grappling like this mommy/daddy/bank/welfare program. They expect events to pay them for their mid level grappling skills but don't promote the event, barely sell tickets, and want to just show up and have visibility provided to them. They expect at blue or purple belt for some promoter to pay for them to travel to an event, pay their way, when they've barely invested anything in the sport while living on the Bank of Mom/Dad, smoking weed, and playing video games. It's a joke. Training twice a day when you're 21, playing video games, and smoking weed isn't an athlete. That's a kid with no job who trains JiuJitsu twice a day and isn't even filling his free time going to college or working to offset his living expenses.

The sport is full of guys with their hand out, wanting free sh*t. They want to compete for free, travel for free, get paid to teach, but don't know how to build a program, retain members, and have barely invested 4-5 years in the sport both financially and literally in terms of time and days on the mat.
They want to drop in to a gym, pay no mat fee and benefit from what's been built there in terms of the physical space/lights/HVAC/toilet paper/whatever and own an Iphone and Beats headphones but don't want to slap down $20 to train for an hour. M*therfucker, you paid $3 for that Starbucks.
They put on boring ass matches, indistinguishable from any other random wrestling background/mma fighter/mid level JiuJitsu "athlete" then want to "make a living doing what I love." GTFO. You don't mean JiuJitsu Lifestyle, you mean Handout Lifestyle. "Everyday porrada?" You mean "Everyday handout."

Famous names from MMA and yesteryear in grappling get paid to put on the laughably boring superfights that are borderline works for how little each guy is trying. Ishii vs Mir? Cyborg vs Schaub? Vagner vs Canuto and it's 7 minutes of collar ties and circling to the boundary. Chantre vs Cummings with its 10 minutes of pattycake and the standing competitor refusing to touch more than a second or 2 at a time then disengaging. If you came to a Submission Only match, and refuse to touch your competitor for more than 1 second at a time, you're a scam artist.
ACB and it's deadly 50/50 sweep battles for 25 minutes that could put you to sleep if you had pounded Red Bull and snort cocaine at the start of each round? The ACB event literally folded because Gi competitors would literally rather not lose than open up the game and try to win and the guy bankrolling the event told them to kick rocks. Great job guys, now no one gets paid to do JiuJitsu by that organization. Spyder BJJ has put on 2 of the most boring events in Gi JiuJitsu I have EVER SEEN with multiple matches where both guys are awarded 2-3 penalties for stalling in -7 minutes. Are you serious? Grappling is better than this. Promoters are the ones with the purse strings. When they flex their nuts and stop bringing guys back or enforcing stalling, the matches will change.

I'd rather watch Finishers Sub Only than ANY of the matches I watched from the last Spyder BJJ event. #facts

It's entitlement to think that you should be paid like a professional to collar tie, handfight, circle, disengage, reset, and shoot one or two takedowns in 10 minutes of grappling. I'd rather go reff blue belt matches than watch that. Your resume & your achievements don't entitle you to a different standard of performance than anyone else in the sport, man.  See the quote about: "Success isn't owned, it's leased, and rent is due." Not every performance can be match of the year, century or even month. But let's not kid ourselves and defend matches where it's 5 minutes with one guy in half-guard bottom, and another guy on both knees on top with neither passing and neither sweeping or throwing up some submissions. Let's not kid ourselves and defend 2 "athletes" in 50/50 for 5 minutes and seesaw sweep battling  the last 30 seconds of the match as though it's the pinnacle of the sport and deserves the term "superfight". Lets's not kid ourselves and defend athletes striking other opponents with collar ties and stalling and disengaging and rationalize it because of who they claim to be and past accomplishments. Let's not kid ourselves when athletes tagging Jesus and prayer emojis are roided out and cheating. Let's not kid ourselves that anyone is above reproach or criticism after signing up to compete in a public forum and expecting to be paid.









Monday, March 4, 2019

Spyder BJJ Championship Qualifier 201 Event (Warning: Boring Gi Match Phobia/Criticism Ahead)

I spent 11 years in a Gi playing Judo. I've had 2 ACL/Meniscus surgeries as a result. A herniated disc and numb arm and nerve pain for months. More broken fingers and sprains and toes and wrists than I can count. Concussions. 5 MMA fights. I reffed JiuJitsu and submission grappling tournaments for the better part of 5 years. I've had a torn oblique, bruised hip bone and kidney. Broken ribs and torn cartilage. I love combat sports and I love grappling. High level guys will use the fact that they compete at a high level to dispel any unwanted criticism of their matches. JiuJitsu is a sport where that kinda doesn't hold water as a counter argument to criticism of boring ass superfights and matches. A lot of the people watching aren't just armchair critics. They actually train. Do I have to be a black belt in JiuJitsu to know that 50/50 sweep battles timed til the last 10 seconds are boring AF? Do I need to be a black belt to criticize a competitor stalling and routinely fleeing the boundary every time there's the remotest possibility of a takedown? Maybe. I kinda doubt it. It's laughable at best and disingenuous at worst to pretend that a lot of us spectators don't know what we're seeing when guys play the margins in an effort to avoid losing rather than trying to win. It's more laughable when guys demand spectator sport money but put on boring, tactical battles aimed at not losing rather than winning, hoping to scrape by on an advantage or ref decision. Be as technical as you want. Don't be surprised when you game the margins of the rules and lose on a bad call or a split decision. No complaints. No excuses. Call it what it is. If you're gonna compete and make it solely about pulling off the smallest possible margin of error, don't be surprised that no one's lining up to suck your &^%# or that some folks on social media aren't impressed. You do something in a public forum and get paid to compete in a spectator sport, criticism comes with that. You'll be okay, big tough, professional competitor. Your skin won't split open. You won't die. God forbid you realize maybe they're right, maybe your style is boring AF.

Moizinho submitted a Korean black belt you've never heard of.

Diniz beat some Korean black belt you've never heard of.

Calasans sucked Tinoco into 50/50 and when Tinoco got tired of doing nothing for 3 minutes got his back taken trying to get out of it.

Munis won off of a couple sweeps over the much smaller Jimenez.

Jones-Leary took no chances on top pretending to think about passing Moizinho who also took no chances trying to sweep and Jones-Leary won a ref decision.

Mendes lost a ref decision do to one near takedown in the match from Lutes in a standard both guys holding a lapel and sleeve spin and fade out to boundary then reset 20x match with a few random foot sweeps, knee touches, and little else.

Calasans vs Munis - both guys scored 2 points, Calasans got to an omoplata on the much larger purple belt, but Munis stood up and shook the tree and escapes, then jumped guard. Calasans spent the last 30 seconds in double unders on the much larger man. Munis locked up a no-arm triangle from bottom in an effort to eke out an advantage in the last 10 seconds as Calasans stacked him on his head.

Change this event to the "Oscars of JiuJitsu" for guys selling "attempts at things" as a way to win. What the *&^% am I watching? This one is even worse than the last one the young guy from Atos won by sweeping everyone and doing nothing the rest of each of his matches. Calasans got a ref decision but you could tell he was sweating tying his belt thinking "I prob just lost to this purple belt."

Spriggs beat Diniz after Diniz pulled a low half-guard then got flattened out/line of the shoulders and knee through passed. Diniz almost came up on a pant grip double leg but the ref stopped him midway there and ruled it a non-score.

Mendes vs Jones-Leary - Mendes got sucked into full-guard, then 50/50, then attempting to get out, got his back taken. He got to standing and fought the hands with Jones-Leary's body triangle locked and content to not give up the position by risking to finish. Somehow at this point it's all so boring I'm both unsurprised and not even mad because I've actually seen a couple transitions. It's like the end of a Serbian film when the henchmen are going to *&^% the bodies of the family after the murder-suicide but you're so desensitized it kind of makes sense in the alternate universe you've now become a part of by passively granting permission for your own degradation by participating/watching.

Munis vs Diniz - Diniz spends 4 minutes stuck in open-guard, mostly on both knees, curiously unable to pass from this supremely immobile and slow position. Munis sucks him into full guard with 3 ish minutes left. Munis cleverly baits Diniz into walking forward, feet not far apart at all and hits an ankle pick from seated. Haha, hilarity. Diniz feeds a lapel grip through the legs and tries to come up on a sit-up guard sweep, but loses it, they pause, Munis is kneeling, then he sits to guard and they incorrectly score it a sweep for Diniz so now it's tied again. Sigh. Diniz again on his knees, immobile, not even really pretending to try and double under or stack pass at this point, Munis locks up a triangle with 10 seconds left but not particularly deep, much akin to how the Calasans match ended. He's awarded an advantage and you can't feel that bad because Diniz decided to squander time on top in that atrocious fake double under position without much direction changing or attempts to stack. Play the margins, sometimes you fall off the edge, buddy.

Lutes vs Moizinho - Moizinho pulls because ain't no way on God's green earth he's trying to be standing with Lutes. Moizinho trying to pry a let out from bottom but Lutes literally splits his legs with hip grip and is looking to pass. Moizinho scores a sweep but is later turtled defending a back take/hooks from Lutes. Moizinho comes out on top but then gets swept from 50/50. Lutes gets the win.

Calasans vs Spriggs - Spoiler Alert: Not Much happens for 4+ minutes of the match. At over halfway in it's penalties apiece that are now turning into advantage points. Spriggs gets him moving with a cross-collar grip and series of snapdowns, that leads to back exposure and a backtake. Spriggs wins 4-2.
                      

Saturday, March 2, 2019

UFC 235 - Should've Gone Home Before the "Title" Fights Edition: Jones Fixes Fight, Askren Almost Dies, Woodley Wilts, & Zabit Looks Human

Woodley said it best, "it was like a bad dream." From the moment he sat back on that half-assed guillotine in the first round, to him virtually doing nothing to scramble from bottom, it was a wrap. He looked distant, like he'd rather be rapping in a studio or driving a nice car, basically anything other than fighting the pressure forward style of Usman. Woodley had literally no spirit in the fight, and as someone who's fought before, I might be a critic, but I rarely desire nor wish to vocalize questioning a fighter's heart, especially at that level. But the lack of response to almost anything Usman did by Woodley was tough to watch. He threw few punches (which comes as no surprise). He backed up, put his back on the cage willingly, almost never circled off the cage, and paid for habits he's formed in his last 3 of 4 title fights against Thompson, and Maia. Made little effort to scramble from bottom once taken down. Made small effort to escape when mounted minus locking his hands from bottom and a few single bridges. For all the wrestling work he claimed to do with Askren, he countered no clinching from Usman with his own takedowns, couldn't stop Usman's takedowns....it was like Askren coming to join him left him less prepared to grapple than in any of his previous fights I've seen.
Perhaps it was Rocky 3 come to life: champ begins to enjoy what fighting allows him to do elsewhere and loses his taste for the preparation necessary to stop every hungry challenger coveting what you have. Usman came in as he said he would and Woodley looked to fade as soon as that first round guillotine attempt failed. Woodley took little damage but seemed to honestly wilt under the top game of Usman who wasn't exactly devastating from top nor did he land much face/head punishment in terms of strikes/punches/elbows. It was a hard performance to understand nor anticipate happening frankly. I feel bummed that my brain seems obsessed with determining why Woodley did so little rathern than what all Usman did, but that's where I'm at.

Munhoz gave me my wish and KO'd Garbrandt who now should take quite awhile off from fighting. 3 violent stoppage losses in a row is no good for anyone's brain, regardless of dumb @$$ traits like "grit" "heart" et cetera that people who don't fight don't understand are terrible for a fighter's long term health and career. Garbrandt came across as the same one-dimensional fighter who predictably goes into kill mode when hurt but now lost to an even less vaunted power puncher in Munhoz. Munhoz had to really land quite a few punches to put the hurt Garbrandt down. The ever increasing evidence of a fading chin that once gone will not and does not return.

Diego Sanchez trashed Mickey Gall who has squandered a gimme situation of a UFC career start by fighting CM Punk and beating Sage Northcutt but this fight looked incapable of dealing with even the most basic MMA situation like cross body/side mount with your feet walked up the cage but unable to even escape from there. He did virtually nothing while Sanchez circled to his back, cleared the whizzer and mat returned him. Sanchez is by no means a real 170 lber, and it's time for Gall to switch camps, pick up wins on the regional circuit and decide if this is really what he wants to do for a living after that "performance." IF he wasn't smart enough to take Sanchez serious as a veteran he should go to the smaller shows and hone his craft. If he's really that incapable in those basic mma situations with obvious go to responses and escapes then he should also go to the smaller shows and hone his craft.

Zhang fought to another lackluster decision. Torres is a much much much more competent opponent than the opponent faced in her debut, but still barely pulled out a win relying on that trash Women's MMA head-arm takedown that almost twice got her back taken and cost her top position. Zhang looked hittable on the feet and barely able to advance position on the ground despite Torres doing little more than figure-four'ing the leg in lockdown and keeping an underhook. Zhang's inability to deal with this low grade resistance is not inspiring much confidence in her alleged BJJ brown belt they touted in the commentary.

Askren....well....what to say? For all his talk about Kron's debut being unimpressive, Askren got head to toe ceiling end over end slammed by Lawler and very nearly finished. The unfortunate stoppage by Dean was that...unfortunate. It's interesting how they'll let you take insane punishment from all manner of attacks to the skull but will stop a choke a few seconds in....out of fear? Protection? It doesn't seem consistent to be honest. They'll let you get slammed literally vertical spike tombstone piledriver style then repeatedly hit in the skull and face but oh no! You're maybe being choked, better stop is early to be safe....I don't get it.

Walker landed his first strike attempt of the night and lights out'd Cirkunov who now has lost to the 3 dangerous strikers he's faced (Oezdemir and Teixeira, and LHW is a dangerous division even with the "non" dangerous strikers, am I right? They all hit hard at that weight class).

Stamann picked up a super boring win after being unwilling to shoot or chain wrestle for much of the fight.

Zabit could've had a coming out party over upper tier opposition but chose to Babe Ruth the win in the closing seconds by raising his hand/finger, and looked decidedly human in this fight. I don't think he ever really wobbled Stephens, seemed winded at the start of the third round despite it not being an overly taxing fight, but he's kept a busy schedule so perhaps repeated weight cuts in short turn arounds are to blame? I wanted a better showing as a real leap frog up the food chain for him, but this fight also made him look more human so perhaps he won't have as much trouble getting another top 10 opponent booked.

Shabazyan made use of the Travis Browne downward elbows that seem borderline illegal as they're supposed to be defined but clubbed in the area near the ear/temple of his opponent for a stoppage off the first shot as he turned his opponent's takedown attempt into a single leg.

Chiasson put a nice 3 piece combo with some accurate punching to put down Mazany who was bereft after the stoppage in the cage. For having only 3 pro fights, looked good at her new home at bantamweight. She should ignore the dumb@$$ women at 145 telling her to stay at 145 because they need contenders. That's not her problem. Now that she's coming into her pro career, she's probably found her professional weight class. It's not her problem 145 basically has almost no actual real 145 lb fighters and instead has been puffed up 135'ers and the like imported into the UFC as cannon fodder for Cyborg...and surprise, Cyborg lost as soon as she faced a woman remotely her size and level of tenacity.

At any rate, what an odd event overall. From the inexplicable performance to Woodley whereby it was hard to tell if Usman is that dominating or if Woodley just didn't do anything to stop him, to the most obviously fixed outcome fight I've seen in a very long time in what was Jones vs Smith where Smith spent portion of the fight (EXTENDED PORTIONS) in complete control of an opponent refusing to do almost anything, but Jones REFUSED to land any strikes to his head of even lock up a submission.

It looked fake. It seemed fake. It looked almost nothing like any Jones fight I've ever seen.

Anyway, somehow this double title fight night felt anything but, but that's the fight game: mercurial, unpredictable, often ugly, sometimes majestic, and at times wildly unpredictable for just those reasons.

Who's next for Usman? No one wants to see Woodley get an immediate rematch and after all the rigamarole with Woodley over various perceived slights, I don't think he will, nor is it compelling by any way shape or form. Not to mention despite Woodley mentioning how dominant he was at champ (was he? he had a draw, barely beat Thompson, had an atrocious fight against Mai, and stopped Till who no one gave much shot at due to a complete lack of a ground game and barely being able to make weight in his own weight class).

Jones - who does he fight? There's really no one. Other than Santos. The good thing is...Santos will absolutely not fight whatever the &*^% that was that Smith did. Santos will literally hit every video game combo button mashing nonsensical move that comes to him on the fly and perhaps after so many static, xyz paced fights Jones has been used to fighting on his terms, that is the most dangerous style for Jones to face now - a fighter who will simply not allow him to fight at the pace and timing and range that he wishes to.

Garbrandt should take quite awhile off from fighting. He's had 3 violent stoppage losses in a row.
Walker now needs a top 10 opponent to see where he fits with the other mainstays of the division. Zhang continues to uninspire but do to the lack of depth of the divisions will get a title shot by year's end if she continues to win.

Askren - I guess you give him Darren Till? He won't fight Woodley. He beat Lawler. I hope they give him Maia, because for us hardcore fans it's a dream wrestling vs JiuJitsu match-up, and after the near death experience Lawler gave him, Askren would prefer a punch averse opponent I'm sure. I'd really like to see Askren fight Rory MacDonald to be honest, but that's a no go. Askren's bend at the waist lock hands for double leg nearly cost him the fight, as Lawler stunned him with that knee to the point that he Daniel Cormier style tossed Askren like no one ever has before. Askren vs Usman down the road is an interesting fight. Perhaps you give him Covington. It's interesting because this is a grappling centric time for the welterweight division and Askren arrives having to face either very dangerous one-dimensional strikers like Lawler or Till or pressure forward grinding grapplers like Usman and Covington. I pray to God they don't pair him with Thompson because that would literally be the most boring fight of all time in any era of MMA. Fun fact, I won my first MMA fight by bulldog choke, so I have something in common with the Troll King Askren. 

UFC 235: Jones vs Smith the most obvious fix I’ve seen in ages

I guess Smith didn’t get the memo that Jones was gonna carry him to a 5th round decision. Because Jones literally spent the 5th round doing every non fight finishing move in MMA. Remember when John Jones had Anthony Smith literally sitting on his butt in front of him and did nothing to even finish the fight, he wasn’t even punching him? What a fake @$$ Fight.

Normally they do a better job of selling fixed fights because this was pathetic. Jones threw virtually no head kicks, barely punched Smith in the face, and even on the mat when Smith did LITERALLY NOTHING TO DEFEND FROM BOTTOM Jones basically refused to punch or elbow him in the face.

What else could it be other than a *%$#ing fix? It's insulting to think that it could be so poorly done but I guess not, because people will still refuse to believe it was fixed even though so much of the fight was inexplicable.

Jones literally refused to do anything that was potentially fight ending other than one last semi convincing jumping knee in the last second, meanwhile had Smith on the ground, sitting on his butt, or against the cage, prone, virtually helpless and refused to hit him from top position.
#lookinto it
#thinkaboutit



The Frightfully Increasing Speed of Knowledge in Grappling

So, I've been consuming a ton of competition footage and other grappling related content in this phase where I'm very limited in what I can drill due to my leg locked in a brace, and I was watching all of the IJF (International Judo Federation) matches of my favorite competitor (to gameplan takedowns for Gi competition upon my return) and I had watching something like 50 matches thus far (and more to go) dating back the past 2 years, and it hit me...I'm able to sit in the comfort of my own home and watching basically the International level career of my favorite competitor accumulated over a couple years.

When I started JiuJitsu, I had to lie to my mom to trick her into renting the UFC VHS tapes for me from Blockbuster. There was no YouTube of JiuJitsu content (both good and bad, which is another topic). The other weekend I coached at the Finishers Sub Only Open Tournament, then watched the Pro -145 the next day, and this weekend I'll watch the Midwest Finishers -155 and Sub Spectrum -135, then watch the UFC tonight. For all the criticism and complaining of steroids, and trash talk, and whatever else is stuck in the craw of the day, let's not forget we have such a dearth of opportunities to consume combat sports knowledge and enjoy spectating whether we can get to the event or not. I pay $10 or something a month to have access to all the EBI's on UFC Fight Pass. I also have access to a ton of old ADCC matches as a result. That alone is a treasure trove of grappling information. ESPN+ is something like $4.99 a month depending how you buy it. There was a time when it was revolutionary that BudoVideos sold the Worlds that would stream from their website.

Have appreciation.