Monday, January 28, 2019

Combat Sports Weekend: Kasai Super Series Dallas & UFC+ Moraes vs Assuncao 2 in Brazil

Well, the UFC on ESPN era has begun. Remember when ESPN pretended the UFC didn't exist and wouldn't even cover results but would show Poker and Hot Dog Eating contests? Ah...fond memories.

Well, now Gordon Ryan is on Ariel Helwani's show, Agazarm and Danis are vetted as pro fighters, and submission grappling has it's own 3 ring circus of hype and call outs dominating the "media".

At any rate, this weekend is a solid offering of UFC with the likes of Demian Maia, Moraes, Lyman Good, Assuncao, Aldo, & Moicano.

Aldo can perpetuate his fade into retirement with a loss here to Moicano who is picking up steam after disappearing due to a Roid test for a good while. Demian Maia looks to stay relevant with a win, but frankly, unless Woodley loses the belt, no one's interested in seeing him face the champ again. Moraes will look to build off of his quick head kick stoppage of Rivera, and overall, it's a solid card for a weekend non PPV offering. It remains to be seen how ESPN numbers look with the UFC. I'm curious what the valuation was in buying it from FOX and what the larger perspective/objective was in doing so, perhaps as an effort to challenge the NBC move to carry MMA programming with PFL? Curious.

Out in Dallas, Kasai hits the road with a solid offering with a titular match-up of Gordon Ryan versus another IBJJF name in Rocha. Gordon proves his IBJJF merit/chops by winning double gold at Pans & World NoGi, so we'll see how Rocha as the bigger man does. I actually met Rich, the head of Kasai this past weekend at Rise Invitational after my match with Rey from 10th Planet HQ.
Canuto faces Andre in what will be a boring AF match-up with Canuto dancing around and shucking and jiving and Andre pulling guard. Expect some nonsensical cartwheel passes from Canuto and probably not much else. Dante Leon faces Lutes in a battle of two guys built like fire hydrants and looking all kinds of cartoon-like character muscles on their muscles on their muscles popping through their rashguards. #teamhardworkandnothing else, am I right?

Tex Johnson will look to rebound off of a points drubbing by Keenan Cornelius at that very long and hard to watch confusing format event Third Coast Grappling event.

DeBlass and Bastos will either hand fight and collar tie til someone pulls half-guard then maybe a guard pass but probably not will occur. 

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Agazarm < Danis via MMA Math, Khabib, et al

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Take a Moment to Appreciate the GOAT that is Fedor

When you see his HL truly have to admit, he's one of the best to ever do it. Losses and talk of that is insane chatter in looking at his body of work. The guys he beat. The stoppages. The punishment dished out...the submissions....he is one of if not the greatest to ever put on MMA gloves.

Any time we get to see him put on the gloves in the twilight of his career is entertaining and combat sports gold.

Grappling Industries Announced Brown Belts now also compete for free 

Black belts and pro fighters already were competing for free, so that’s quite a block to bring in some experienced guys. 

Your move IBJJF. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Bellator Countdown: Fedor vs Bader Episode 1 & 2

Well, here we are. Bader will face GOAT Fedor for the HW Grand Prix strap this weekend.

Pretty awesome. The tournament format continues to be my linear, makes the most sense format as opposed to the UFC ramshackle who knows if what when how where or if at all who will face who sense of doing title shots.

BJJ World TV - Khabib's Mgr Grappling Challenge, Caio Terra Ducking Jon Calestine, Gordon Enters HW Grand Prix, et al

It's pretty amazing how much combat sports news is pouring in most days now. I remember when it was cool that UFC was finally one event per month and it was a big deal. That shift from a handful a year that you had to order on PPV (couldn't stream illegally) or rent from Blockbuster on VHS, ish was a chore to stay on top of the game. Now, the news just pours in with dedicated coverage to grappling, MMA, Gi JiuJitsu, Submission grappling, et cetera. Fight2Win and others putting on grappling specific events across the country.
Love it.

I'll say this, I know for a fact that Agazarm and some other names have directly and verbatim said no to Calestine. There's a lot of famous guys hiding behind promoters who've offered them matches, they've said no, and they sit around twiddling their thumbs afraid to face anyone who might expose them.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

UFC on ESPN This Weekend

How the sands of time change things...remember when ESPN would show hot dog eating contests and poker but pretended that the UFC and MMA didn't exist?

Sorta like the kid who performs in drag whose parents don't approve, then becomes wildly successful on RuPaul's Drag Race deciding that now that you're making a ton of loot, they're not so concerned with what the neighbors think...the UFC is now streaming with ESPN.

PFL is doing million dollar championship tourneys.

Sport grappling is semi becoming a paid sport in some tiny capacity.

How far we've come everyone.

This weekend, we get Dillashaw fighting Cejudo who never really got time to breathe and appreciate that he dethroned the undeniable greatest flyweight in the division's history.

Greg Hardy is fighting so I'll just leave that at that.

Gillespie continues what looks to be an ascent to a title shot by the end of this year if he does work anything like he did last year.

Teixeira tries to stay in the top 5 ish of his division by getting a semi meaningful win.

Dustin Ortiz and Benavidez decide if Ortiz is moving into that hard to crack top 5 or if Benavidez will now look for a shot against Cejudo (as Benavidez has a win over the champ...). Who knows?

Cerrone is fighitng because he's Cerrone and it's on ESPN. Dennis Bermudez also looks to stay in the range of visibility of a career arc that has faltered en route to a title shot.

A ridiculous card, and PPV worthy with the title fight, and Teixeira and Cerrone, and a sign of a solid UFC year to come.
We'll see how all this streaming network business dilutes the packaging of the sport and what this means long term. 

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: More Danis Torture, Gordon vs Caio vs Galvao, Stars Be Fighting

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Oleg Taktarov Tribute

Dude doesn't get enough contemporary credit for his work in the early heyday of the UFC:

Fight2Win Announces Modified Judo Ruleset

Curious to know what/if any gripping restrictions have been implemented, though it says no gripping penalties. They’ll add some eventually because defensive gripping can completely shut down a match no different than stalling down on the mat....but all in all, should bring some fireworks and a much needed pace boost to some of the slow ass aging black belt Gi matches that bog down some of the F2Win cards 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

AJ Agazarm MMA Debut Booked 

Episode 2 (Part 1 of 2): Stripping the Lapel Grip/Power Hand

The majority of throws you'll face generally require your Opponent to utilize both a sleeve and lapel grip. Throws (seionage and other combinations can be done with a lapel grip) and there are a handful of Te Waza or hand techniques which can be done with only a sleeve grip but they are even more rare. As such, the power hand is the real threat because that is the harder grip to strip, and the main point of control for your opponent. This video deals with some of the higher % ways to address/remove that grip. Not shown or emphasized here, but as the opponent sells out on maintaining this grip at all costs, other options like dragging to the back, front head lock, the lat grip shown last week all become possible.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Episode 1: Basic Gripfighting Against Defensive Gripping

As the video quickly outlines, if I have zero grips on my opponent and he has 2, I made several mistakes, but nonetheless, so we begin:

There will be some form of the 3 defensive postures shown (from the sleeve + lapel grip): stiff arms, head low and hips as far back as possible, more upright and elbow flared high to prevent lapel gripping, and elbow low and in tight to prevent the recovery of the inside elbow position.

The video below covers some basic concepts for regaining grips and how the 3 positions tend to blend together in as battles for head height, lapel control, elbow positioning, stiff arms, hips back, and cutting an angle to then initiate an attack.

Add me on Instagram @zegrapplez to see analysis and breakdowns of gripping in competition and of gripfighting exchanges at length (and memes).

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Something Coming tomorrow (surprise, surprise), Gripfighting as it applies to JiuJitsu

I don't see gripfighting taught often, and when it is, not taught by guys who've competed much if at all in JiuJitsu. Or, I see wrestling style takedowns taught with little to no thought considering the advantages the Gi and the jacket allow in fending off wrestling style takedowns.

The goal isn't to make someone an Olympic level thrower for JiuJitsu. The goal should be more than to simply apply some wrestling style takedowns against a competitor wearing a Gi.

The goal should be to address the common postures, grips, and lack of gripping restrictions which govern JiuJitsu as well as take into account that in JiuJitsu, at any point in time, after however much energy and time has been consumed....the opponent can just sit down or proactively sit to guard.

When you watch Olympic Judo or Wrestling, you're watching a hyper aggressive, spectator friendly sport in terms of pace and penalties to force action and aggression. When you tune into JiuJitsu, what you're seeing is a sport where a competitor doesn't even have to fight for a takedown, can adopt any manner of defensive postures or stalling grips for control, and run down clock time and even at times flee the boundary and reset and disengage. All of the above being clarified, now we can go forth and adopt what will work, what we can expect, and what we can attempt to ingrain in our games to anticipate the likely defensive postures and grips utilized by other competitors.

I came up playing Judo under what has been retroactively termed Freestyle Judo because of all the techniques no longer allowed that were allowed when I was competing and the further limiting of gripfighting and time constraints on attacking with certain grips.

Everything from using 2 hands to strip 1 grip, locking the hands around the waist, even touching the legs with your elbow down to your hand, gripping the belt or a cross grip for more than an IMMEDIATE attack, are all disallowed in Judo currently.

A lot of this was allowed and so were the many alternate forms of gripping that exist outside of simply sleeve and lapel traditional grips. IN addition, in JiuJitsu, you have flying submissions, standing armlocks allowed, wrist locks, allowed, and in NoGi the addition of flying leg scissor takedowns in most legit Advanced divisions. So....tomorrow, you'll see something of note that addresses this market inefficiency in this phase of the Gi game.

I already post a fair amount of gripping analysis, and gripfighting pieces on my Instagram, so follow me there as well: @zegrapplez

BJJ World TV: Danis, Flavio Almeida, et al

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest: Flavio Almeida Aftermath pic, Greco gonna Greco, Muffler has always been illegal, et al

ADCC 2019 Prediction

If Andre beats Pena, and Gordon wins Absolute thereby gaining the right to face the reigning superfight winner, Andre will retire before facing Gordon 2 years from now.

You heard it here first. 

Huge Pro Gi Event Feb. 23 - Brazil: BJJStars 

RIP ACB and their huge events,  let’s see if the Gi guys can avoid killing another pro event with 50/50 and lame stalling until the last minute to try and score a sweep. 

Some legit rematches from Worlds/the past couple years and some legends of the sport as well. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest 105 - Ryan Hall does Gracie Breakdown of Penn's Defense, Vinny's JiuJitsu Negated, Kayla Judo Tosses for the Win

Where are they now? Jeff Monson

This about living multiple lives in one....

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest 104 - Gabi-zilla, Rizin, Ryan Hall vs Nicky Ryan?

Keenan Says Don't be Afraid of Heel Hooks (or Berimbolos)

I'm always interested to listen to/hear other analyze some of the key leg locking positions from more than just a "here's a counter" or "here's a defense" standpoint. Keenan at least correctly identifies the current trend of people understanding value in controlling the top/secondary leg, in an effort to delay/prevent escape and then isolate and cripple the actual/target leg.

I'll get into some areas I think are problematic to rely on but perhaps specific to him and his length/frame et cetera they buy him the time necessary to escape, I also think the extension of the legs/sankaku the attacker is using here facilitates escape as well if you don't panic early on.

I'm not crazy about the base of palm push to the shin. I'd honestly prefer to C-grip/thumb post inside the crook of the knee to facilitate the motion he's describing to facilitate the escape.
I also find that intermediate leg lockers utilize the legs extending/trapping the far thigh/hamstring with their shoelaces inside sankaku position, but I've stopped using it in the past 6-12 months when competing. I also used to be obsessed with controlling the secondary leg, but have instead now also opted to control the target leg with different wedges in place (watch some of my recent matches and you'll see what I mean ;)

Despite some people assuming the heel hook(s) in my matches are textbook, the control with the legs and wedges in place actually aren't very textbook in the scope of what the majority of leg lockers these days are utilizing (namely: control second leg, fully triangle legs, and handfight to isolate the target leg. In watching my most recent matches, the times I was able to get to this position, guys are savvy enough these days to pommel the secondary leg inside the triangle/crook of the knee and escape, and while extending the secondary leg like the attacker does here is a solution/preventative measure to that, long term, extending them away actually facilitates the escape.

As for the toes curling thing, honest opinion, if Craig Jones was on his leg, the time he thinks that curling his toes will by may/may not get his knee clear of the control which will lead to the break. Keenan's foot looks pretty safe in the video because the drilling partner is clearly not Keenan's size, and were it someone Keenan's frame or bigger, I think the toes curling as a defense compared to the foot and toe position we drill and practice, is largely cosmetic.
Honest opinion(s). 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

F2Win Jan 19th - San Jose 

F2Win Jan 11th - Sacramento 

Fingers crossed Akbari does better than that F2Win match he had with Vagner

2018 Submission Tally in Review/Crunching Numbers

I had 40 matches across various formats in 2018.
I did EBI format brackets, EBI format superfights, I did Grappling Industries 5 min all submission legal with points, and ADCC format. I grouped the submissions by proximity to one another with the first grouping being on the back or from a back attack transition, the outlier inverted triangle I hit coming out of inverting to avoid a guard pass, and then 10 leg locks across 4 types.
Aggregate Submission Tally: 20
RNC - 3
back triangle armbar - 2
back triangle keylock
body triangle
kimura from back
3/4 armbar

inverted triangle

inside heel hooks - 3
outside heel hooks - 5
toe hold
My submission rate regardless of format was 50%. Not bad, and given a number of brackets and events were outside my weight class, where my submission rate drops (and drops even more with short 5 min round times against heavier guys), I think despite looking for higher skill level events in 2019, I hope to achieve a higher submission rate.

That being said, looking closer at where I finished matches also contains some info for consideration and reflection/rumination. Those who know me will probably remark things about my bottom game, flexibility, and putting things together off my back from bottom position, but half of all my submissions for 2018 came from either the back, or a transition off of the back (like the 3/4 armbar listed below). I had exactly one upper body submission off of my back for the entire year. The leg locks, many of which initiated from off of my back represent the other half of all my submissions. It's interesting to me that often a lot of where we get in training sometimes almost never shows up in competition. I actually very rarely hunt for back triangles anymore, opting instead to fight for the strangle from the back. I am interested to see if this manifests in my competitions forthcoming in 2019. For example: I almost never outside heel hook anyone in training, as most of the guys with whom I train simply know how to defend to quickly and too easily, and yet, I hit 5 out of my 20 total submissions this year, again, suggesting a still remaining disparity in leg lock technology/depth of knowledge between training within the Renzo association and training outside of it).

What this suggests?
I do half of my work finishing when I get to the back.
I do half of my work finishing when I get to leg entanglements. I'd be interested to go back and log how many leg entanglements I attempted vs finished as a trend across the year. I spent much less time focusing on leg attacks in the second half of the year, opting instead to prep for ADCC by focusing on handfighting, wrestling, and guard passing to secure the back.

It's interesting when you crunch date to see what it says rather than assume you know things based on generalized recall over the course of a year. I hit leg locks consistently throughout the year, despite likely not spending enough time drilling them in the lead up to events to keep them sharp (this cost me the match at ADCC trials).

BJJ Scout's BJJ Digest - Penn Reminisces starting at Ralph's, Keenan, Penn Learns Berimbolo, Shoulder of Justice...

The crossroads of things related to Ralph continues around and around, we'll see how it all shakes out. Happy Holidays to those who didn't find time to train, happy holidays to those who did. I managed to work a ton of holiday hours and still only miss a few sessions due to holidays hours a the gym(s) and traveling a bit. Big things slated for 2019.