Archive for February, 2009

UFC 95

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

First off, I’m glad this was free. Doesn’t it seem as though we’re paying for fights every other week? PPV is expensive.

Now, as for this UFC, it was unusual in the number of knock-outs. After some nights in which everything is referee stoppage, or so it seems, we have this night in which most fights were short and to the point.

As for the individual fights: Koscheck versus Paulo Thiago. Joe Rogan just got finished criticizing Thiago’s propensity for dropping his hands when he clocked Koscheck with a right upper cut and a left to Koscheck’s temple. Koscheck was out on his feet after the first punch. He was angry at the referee’s stopping the action, but he sure looked loopy and out of it. So Thiago, the jiu jitsu six-time champion, won by punches while standing. Knock out of the night.

Demian Maia, a lefty, did a beautiful left-sided sasae tsurikomi ashi on Chael Sonnen to take him to the ground and then submitted Sonnen with a strong sankaku jime. I missed a comment he made at the end, something to the effect that you can still win without hurting the other guy. I prefer the fights without the blood spilling everywhere as well. Technique of the night.

The heavyweights, Junior Dos Santos and Stefan Struve (6’11″ with a 7″ reach advantage) had a very fast match with Dos Santos knocking out the twenty-one year old at the 54 second mark of round one. Although Struve has a huge win record (20-2), he looked a bit nervous and he’s very young. He really had no opportunity to do anything against Dos Santos, who was very aggressive and in-his-face from the bell. One thing of note, Struve was so tall that his shoulders came to the upper bar of the cage. 

The match between Nate Marquardt and Wilson Gouveia went to the third round, with rounds one and two going to Marquardt, who was the aggressor. In round one, Marquardt had nice kicks and punches to the body of Gouveia and managed to get out of a tight guillotine. Round two had Marquardt in Gouveia’s guard. Marquardt had some solid shoulder punches and elbows. He let Gouveia get up, but Gouveia had hands down and was wobbling. I thought it was finished until Gouveia threw a couple of punches right before the bell. Round Three had Gouveia looking pooped, hands down, plodding along, until Marquardt struck him with a flying knee which connected below the left eye, leaving a huge gash. Then Marquardt attacked with all manner of kicks and punches, most of which did not connect, but Gouveia was out of it. TKO. Fight of the night.

Since the fights were so short, Spike broadcast a fight from the undercard (at least I believe that’s the case, since we learned nothing about them), that of Terry Etim and Brian Cobb, lightweights. While standing, Etim was solid with punches and kicks. Then he did something inexplicable: he pulled guard and then lay there, holding Cobb’s left arm, while Cobb punched his ribs. The referee brought them to standing. This happened twice in the match. Why pull guard if you are successful at stand-up and then not do anything, forcing the ref to have you stand again? Weird. The match ended in round two with Etim kicking Cobb to the head, causing Cobb to drop. Etim then followed up with a punch to the head, which bounced off the floor.

The next lightweights were Evan Dunham versus Per Eklund, with Dunham in control from the start. He counter-punched Eklund, dropping him, and then followed up with multiple punches to the head. Referee stoppage TKO. Dunham did a wee bit of showboating, quite unnecessary.

The heavyweights, Neil Grove and Mike Ciesnolevicz, had both guys trying heel hooks very early on, with the much larger Grove looking as though he would win. Ciesnolevicz turned the tables on Grove and succeeded with his own heel hook, actually causing what looked like a knee dislocation. Yeow. TKO round one. 

The welterweights came up next with Dan Hardy, he of the Mohawk, a tae kwon do guy, against Rory Markham, who was a Golden Gloves boxer. Both guys are known for their knock-outs. The fight lasted less than one round with Hardy counter-punching Markham, to drop him, and then applying two punches to the floored Markham. Knock-out.

The main card had Diego Danchez against Joe Stevenson. Joe Rogan worried about Sanchez’s stamina and strength since he had dropped from 190 to 155 to go lightweight, losing fat and muscle. As of last night, he was at 172. He certainly looked smaller than Stevenson, who is quite muscular, and actually looked like a different person: his face has altered due to the weight loss.

So here we have Sanchez, a BJJ purple belt and state wrestling champ, against Stevenson, a BJJ black belt and judo black belt.  Stevenson punched throughout the fight, not even attempting a kick, never mind a takedown. Sanchez returned punches and threw some kicks. Round two had Sanchez throwing a flying knee and ending on Stevenson’s back. Stevenson stood back up, basically holding Sanchez upside down. Back to stand-up. The rest of the round was punches by both.

Round three was the same as the previous rounds, stand-up and trading punches, with Sanchez being the aggressor and showing more variety.

Sanchez won by unanimous decision. This wasn’t a very interesting fight, due to Stevenson’s only punching. I know the UFC has it as Fight of the Night, but it was mostly boring. It’s not a boxing match; if I’d wanted to watch boxing… Sanchez definitely won, though.


February 22, 2009

I Can’t Do That Judo Technique Because…

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

When I was first learning judo, not only was I older and shorter than every other adult in the class, I had never done anything remotely like this before. I studied lots of judo books and paid close attention in class, asked lots of questions, practiced everything we were shown and still could not do many things. I became frustrated when I couldn’t accomplish a technique easily, or as easily as others in the class.

As I became more involved in the classes and realized my abilities, I learned to compensate for size differences such as height, weight, and body mass.  Traditional judo throws are taught a certain way; however, if you are five foot two, how can you be expected to hoist that six foot guy onto your shoulders to do kata guruma? If you have arthritis in your fingers, how can you do those chokes which involve grasping the lapels and collars? If you have short legs, how can you do a figure-of-four around your opponent’s torso for do jime (body choke)? If your opponent is barrel-chested, how do you accomplish tate shiho gatame (full mount position) without being tossed to the side?

We all must show proficiency in techniques in order to attain our belts in judo; however, in randori, whether tachi waza or ne waza (standing or ground techniques), when fighting with another person, there are no rules as to which technique you may use. That is when you employ those techniques which suit your body type, body mass, height and weight.

I tend to dwell on those judo techniques which I do well and alter the way I do those techniques which don’t come naturally or, for whatever reason, are difficult to do. For example, my throwing Dave with kata guruma (shoulder throw or fireman’s carry): we do a version in which I have one knee on the ground the whole time. I don’t stand up; I wouldn’t be able to anyway. Rob is so strong that kata guruma is child’s play to him, so it suits him completely.

If you are very tall, throwing a short person with forward throws, such as seoi nage or o goshi, may be extremely difficult; getting low enough to be under uke’s center of gravity may be uncomfortable or impossible. Backward throws may suit far better, such as, o soto gari (major outer reaping), o soto guruma (major outer wheel) and many others. Foot techniques are ideal for those among us with big flippers.

The arthritis means that I can’t choke people with the gi, but hadaka jime (naked choke) and others are fair game.

That short-legged fellow who can’t do the figure-of-four in order to do do jime dwells on his abilities: he’s very strong and agile and despite his short legs has developed little manoeuvres and holds (ankle locks, for instance) when grappling that more than compensate for the techniques which he cannot do and make him extremely dangerous.

Dealing with that barrel-chested guy when applying tate shiho gatame (vertical four quarters lock or hold, also called North-South position) involves posting an arm or leg, even though that may be considered unorthodox. When grappling a guy whose body mass is bigger than yours, you have to modify your moves.

Applying ashi gatame (leg arm lock) may be difficult for the long-legged to apply to someone who has short, stocky arms, but ude garami (entangled arm lock) works just fine. 

Since everyone is different, we must work with the individual to determine which judo techniques best suit him or her. That may involve changing the technique drastically from the traditional judo, but the purpose is to apply the technique, win with it, and to enjoy the class along the way. Perhaps that is one reason we like our classes so much: we can study and alter a technique until we can get it to work in a certain situation against a particular person or position. There are limited rules to follow and almost unlimited variations which can be applied.


February 17, 2009

Ultimate Fight Night 17 – February 7, 2009

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

For the second UFC event in a week (and this one was free!), we had some really good fights.

Anthony Johnson dominated Luigi Fioravanti with some nice kicks and then a shot to the head which rocked Fioravanti. Johnson kept at him and followed up with another shot. When Fioravanti went down, Johnson followed up with multiple punches, resulting in referee stoppage in the first round. In the post-fight interview, Johnson was modest about his abilities and the win. A very nice change from most other winners.

Josh Neer won his match in the second round against Mac Danzig, despite a cut over his eye. The fight was interesting from standing and the ground with both guys applying strong punches and kicks.  Neer won by arm bar while in the bottom position of the guard. Neer comes from the Nate Diaz school of showboating.

Cain Velasquez won his match against Denis Stojnic. Velasquez is taller, but weighs a bit less than his heavyweight opponent.  Stojnic managed a few good outside leg kicks, but didn’t get in to punch, probably due to Velasquez’s three inch reach advantage. Stojnic was carrying far too much weight. He also needs to step laterally: he stood directly in front of Velasquez, making himself a good target.

In the second round, Velasquez had side control and applied elbows. The referee stopped the match as Stojnic was outclassed. A very one-sided fight. Velasquez was not happy with his performance. Humility in the octagon right after Neer’s showboating.

In the match between Matts Grice and Veach, we had Grice trying all kinds of techniques, including kata gatame and a guillotine choke. Grice lost top mount and when both men were on their feet, Veach punched him. Grice landed on his back and Veach went after him, applying multiple punches. The referee stopped the fight, but Grice said he was fine.

In the Joe Lauzon/Jeremy Stephens fight, we had Joe Lauzon fighting like GSP last week, and B. J. Penn on a good night: he controlled Stephens from the top, changing position from full mount to side to whatever he wanted; from the bottom, he did whatever he wanted as well. The fight contained two juji gatames (one was the deciding factor in the win by Lauzon), a fireman’s carry takedown, a small foot sweep, guard, butterfly guard, half guard, full mount, side mount, strikes, whatever anyone could want. The final juji had Stephens attempting to roll out of it and Lauzon hanging on. Technique of the night. Fight of the night.


February 10, 2009

UFC 94 – St-Pierre versus Penn 2

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

I hope everyone got to see UFC 94 – St-Pierre versus Penn 2 last night: we saw probably the best UFC night that I can remember. Wow, there are some talented guys out there. This time around, no one seemed injured or lethargic and no one backtracked in order to avoid connection. The fights were evenly matched, too.

Nate Diaz versus Clay Guida- Here we had a brown belt BJJ guy (Diaz) with an eight inch reach advantage against a champion wrestler who loves takedowns.

Guida was amazing in round 1: He controlled the stand-up, managed a te guruma (hand wheel) to take Diaz down and applied a neck crush (Full Nelson) which looked deadly.

Round 2 had Diaz finding his reach and connecting, but Guida still dominated, holding Diaz around the torso. Guida attempted another te guruma. Diaz took Guida down with harai goshi a couple of times, but Guida did not let go of his hold.

Round 3 had Diaz doing a little showboating (annoying) and he connected with far more punches, did another harai goshi for a takedown, but Guida stayed attached. Guida, himself, managed a couple of takedowns.

For a little guy, Guida is tough, persistent and talented. Guida, by split decision.

In the Karo Parisyan versus Dong Hyun Kim fight, we had two top judokas competing. We expected to see lots of throws and perhaps some submission attempts. Parisyan did attempt an armbar which he seemed to have on for a long time, but Kim managed to get out, even with the armbar on. Parisyan also threw Kim with an harai goshi in the second round and got side control. There were lots of kicks and punches, mostly by Kim. One punch came to Parisyan’s face while Kim was on his back – very strong and impressive.

Kim had lots of techniques which were surprising from a judoka, but then we heard that he is a top MMA guy in Korea. He was lots of fun to watch.

In round three, Parisyan had Kim in his guard and kicked Kim in the face, causing him to lose a point.

Parisyan won the match by split decision, but Kim was great, and the winner, in my humble opinion.

Stephan Bonnar versus Jon Jones: Jones is a twenty-one year old, with only his third night of professional fights, against Bonnar, who is 31 and very experienced. Most of Jones’s fights had ended by knock-out, so I was unsure of his cardio should this go the full three rounds. In round one, Jones kicked, used knees, took Bonnar down with sasae tsurikomi ashi, did a frightening suplex, a spinning back elbow, knocking Bonnar down, and a knee to the chin. Whew.

Round 2 had Jones doing a spinning back kick, ending in his being in Bonnar’s half-guard, but still in control. There were some great throws.

Round 3 had Bonnar applying some nice punches. Jones ended up in Bonnar’s guard again, but applied some knees to Bonnar’s body. As expected round 3 was slower on both guys’ parts, with neither winning the round.

Jones by unanimous decision. This guy has potential and was thrilling to watch early on in the fight.

The co-fight of the night starred Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva, both undefeated at 13-0.  Machida’s fighting style is different from most: he is a karate guy, stands quite tall, slightly angling his upper torso backward. He tends to walk backward and when the time is right, comes in for the quick punch or kick. His opponents end up following him around the ring. Unlike a fight we saw last year in which the back peddler was avoiding contact completely, Machida really does go after the other guy, but in his own fashion. Silva is a striker and ground and pound guy, with nine of his thirteen fights ending in the first round. This should prove to be fun.

Silva, as expected, followed Machida around the octagon. Machida would step in and kick, back up, step in and punch, back up, and more of the same. He was in control and Silva accomplished virtually nothing. At the end of the round, Machida took Silva down with a nice sweep. While Silva was on his back, Machida jumped forward into the guard and threw a punch at Silva’s head. Silva’s head had nowhere to go. He was out. KO of the night at 4:59 of the round.

The other co-fight of the night was Georges St-Pierre versus B. J. Penn. GSP is famous for his takedowns, managing 75% of his attempts and Penn is known for landing 61% of his lead jabs, as well as being incredibly flexible. GSP is a karate guy, with BJJ and wrestling thrown into the mix; Penn is a world champion jiu jitsu guy.  I have been looking forward to this fight.

Dave and Mike thought GSP would win by KO in round 1 and Malcolm suggested round four. I have no luck with this sort of thing, so didn’t guess.

Round one had the guys in the clinch up against the fence with knees applied by both. GSP tried take downs, but Penn avoided them nicely. GSP dominated the round.

Round two started with both men punching and connecting. GSP took Penn down and while in his guard, applied elbows, two big punches while in the half-guard and then got side control. He then struck knees to the body and punches to the head. Penn suffered a cut under the left eye.

Round three had GSP’s striking, Penn’s nose bleeding, GSP’s taking Penn down, moving from half guard to full guard, basically going wherever he wanted and doing whatever he wanted. He threw elbows and punches. Penn tried to get up and then tried to take GSP down, but really, GSP controlled everything.

Round four was more of the same: GSP did not let up, punched and elbowed Penn so many times. I want to count them just to see how many were applied. It was astounding. Since Penn moved his head and then moved his legs, the referee didn’t stop the fight, but someone should have. Penn’s corner should have thrown in the towel. During the break, the doctor came to look at Penn and asked if he knew where he was. Penn’s brother said the fight was over.

Joe Rogan blamed part of the decimation of B. J. Penn on his fighting outside his comfortable and natural weight, that he is a natural 155-er and shouldn’t be fighting at welterweight; however, Penn has fought everywhere from lightweight to heavyweight before and tends to go to whatever weight class he wants to win in. He wanted the belt and he wanted to vanquish his previous loss against St-Pierre. No one forced him to do anything.

Georges St-Pierre looked fantastic in this fight, in excellent shape physically, and in complete and utter control.  UFC 94 – S-Pierre versus Penn 2 was certainly worth the money. Fight of the Night.


February 1, 2009