Archive for April, 2009

UFC TUF9 US vs UK – Episode 5

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Last night’s episode of UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) US versus UK brought out some of the worst in a few fighters. As the Americans sat around (they are limited in entertainment – no books, no magazines, no newspapers, no radio, no television or phone), we were regaled by someone’s (Dollar’s?) bragging about his sexual exploits, causing at least one American to leave the room. The British team, in contrast, played sports (with Americans looking on from the balconies) and developed a camaraderie and team spirit.

After the first fight last week, which the Americans lost, one American fighter suggested that they be respectful toward the Brits. Cameron Dollar and Damarques Johnson disagreed with this concept, causing the first of many arguments among the Americans.

The first fight of this episode was to be between Santino Defranco and Andre Winner. Henderson said that Defranco was experienced and well-rounded and could take Winner apart if they stayed standing. Winner thought that he could lose only if there were a good submission. It’s refreshing to hear a fighter admit that he could lose.

Santino is the fellow who tried out for The Ultimate Fighter in 2005 only to find that he had two aneurysms and required immediate brain surgery. In his preliminary elimination bout, shown in Episode 2, he was dominated in round 1 only to return in round 2 to do a flying knee and then choke out his opponent. He had a 4 inch reach advantage on Winner and a record of 13-4.

Winner won his preliminary bout handily, and his stats were similar (9-2-1).

Round 1 had Winner starting with some strong outside leg kicks while Defranco tried a take down which Winner stuffed. Defranco did a couple of jabs, then a feint and another take down attempt.

Winner used a variety of punches (overhead right, double jab and right) and leg kicks, while Defranco succeeded at his next takedown; Winner ended up on top, however, inside Defranco’s rubber guard. Defranco kept trying an oma plata from the guard, but eventually Winner got out and went to side mount, his punches overwhelming Defranco. TKO referee stoppage.

The next fight was between Damarques Johnson (13-6) and Dean Amasinger (4-1). Bisping admitted that Johnson was the US team’s best fighter but Amasinger was skilled and fit and could win if he fought hard. He made a point of telling Amasinger that Johnson’s favourite technique is the triangle and to be aware of that.

Henderson thought that Johnson’s skills lay in his striking, ground and pound, and good armbars and triangles.

At the bell, Amasinger started with kicks, but got taken down immediately by Johnson, who tried an unsuccessful armbar. Amasinger was in Johnson’s guard, at one point picking Johnson up to slam him to the mat. All the while, though, Johnson worked toward getting the triangle choke, which eventually won him the match, giving the US team their first win.

Oddities about this episode: Johnson, who curses with the grace of Dana White, praying out loud to God while in the octagon (anytime, on any scripted show, where actors pray out loud is weird and unbelievable; in this case, we have a fighter on a reality show who knows there’s a cameraman ten feet away filming everything); TUF’s version of “Where’s Waldo?” in “Where’s Bisping?”. Michael Bisping missed Amasinger’s fight – very bad form, unless you’re lying in a hospital bed with tubes in your nether regions, or there was an emergency of major proportions. Even still, you would still call or someone would call, n’est-ce pas?.

UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) US vs UK is on Spike on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST.

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 1

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 2

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 3

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 4

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 6

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 7

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 8

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 9

ayjay

April 30, 2009

UFC TUF9 US vs UK – Episode 4

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Episode 4 of The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) US vs UK aired last night, resulting in the elimination of one of the fighters. The US had won the coin toss, so Dan Henderson, the US coach, picked Mark Miller (US) to fight Nick Osipczak (UK) in the welterweight division.

The overriding theme of the night was one of the problems when making assumptions:

In a previous episode, Henderson had mentioned that the UK fighters had limited experience on the ground. In reality, one of Bisping’s assistant coaches (actually one of his own coaches) is a grappling guy.

Dana White was impressed by Mark Miller and thought that in the preliminary eliminations Nick Osipczak didn’t look very strong, so guessed that Miller was going to win.

Michael Bisping and his coaches analysed Mark Miller’s preliminary elimination fight in great detail. Bisping saw a one-dimensional stand-up fighter with no ground skills if he were on his back. Their approach when training Osipczak was based on those assumptions.

In the actual fight, we had two strong fighters with a myriad of skills on the ground and standing. Round 1 had Osipczak doing an harai goshi on Miller almost immediately, taking him to the ground near the fence. When in Miller’s guard, Osipczak accomplished nothing, resulting in Miller’s turning over and being in Osipczak’s guard. When the bottom, Osipczak actually did some elbows and in future ground fighting, Osipczak was far more effective from the bottom than the top.

When standing again, Miller punched Osipczak, causing his opponent to hit the floor. Again from standing, they traded punches, most of them connecting.  Osipczak took Miller down again and applied elbows and then punches to the ribs. The next take down was by Miller with Osipczak on the bottom holding Miller in a guillotine. It sure looked like Miller tapped out twice, but he managed to get his head out.

There was another take down by Osipczak just at the buzzer. A very busy round with both fighters working their full game.

Round 2 had Miller coming in with big punches, but being taken down again with Osipczak in side mount applying elbows, doing yoko shiho gatame (!), and knees to Miller’s ribs. Osipczak had his head caught in a guillotine choke many times, a couple of which looked strong. Miller rolled to the wrong side while holding Osipczak in the choke and Osipczak didn’t manage to stop the roll even though his arm was posted to that side. Weird. On the bottom, Osipczak tried ground and pound, elbows, and a figure of four, causing Miller to cover up from the top!

The referee had them stand up at this point. Osipzcak looked down and did a head kick that knocked Miller out.

UK 1; US 0.

This was a big win for the UK team, partially because the US guys had done a couple of pranks (how old are these people?!), irritating the UK guys. Bisping wisely told them to be big about it and not retaliate. I hope the rest of the fights are as entertaining as this one was.

UFC‘s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) is on Wednesdays on Spike at 10:00 p.m. EST.

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 1

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 2

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 3

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 5

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 6

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 7

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 8

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 9

ayjay

April 23, 2009

UFC 97 – Redemption

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

UFC 97  Redemption was in Montreal last night. I really enjoy having friends and our little family around to watch these events and this one was in Canada, so I was hoping for good things. I never guess as to who is going to win or by how much and in what round, etc., so I had no particular winners in mind, just wanted good matches and interesting techniques.

The first match was between Luiz Cane, a muay thai and jiu jitsu black belt guy, and Steve Cantwell, who is a kickboxer and jiu jitsu brown belt. Their skillsets are comparable and I always look for beautiful submissions, so with the jiu jitsu, that was a possibility. Cane is a lefty and connected with body shots and an uppercut. When in the clinch, he used combos and knees. Cantwell’s high kicks were either blocked or ineffective against Cane. He seemed to be unable to find his range for a while. As the first round continued, Cane fizzled out a bit and Cantwell got more shots in.

Round 2 had Cane giving Cantwell a shot right through the middle of his hands. Cantwell connected far more in this round, applying a strong right punch, head kicks and knee to the chin. Cane was hurt.

Round 3 had Cane stalking Cantwell, but they traded punches and kicks. Cane used lots of jabs and uppercuts and knees to the body. Cantwell was effective at head kicks and punches.

Cane won by unanimous decision. The jiu jitsu guys didn’t make it to the ground.

Cheick Kongo fought Antoni Hardonk in a heavyweight bout. Kongo is a freestyle fighter, whereas Hardonk is a kickboxer.

Round 1 started with Hardonk applying outside leg kicks; Kongo answered with inside leg kicks and punches. At the fence, he caught Hardonk’s leg and punched Hardonk in response. Kongo used jabs and uppercuts and, in another clinch, knees to Hardonk’s inner thighs. He managed a take down and while in Hardonk’s guard, applied elbows and hammerfists.

Round 2 Kongo again caught a kick and they ended up on the ground with Kongo’s punches bouncing Hardonk’s head off the mats, and then having Hardonk just hold on. Kongo used hammerfists to Hardonk’s ribs and face until the referee came in to stop the match. TKO - referee stoppage.

The next bout was between Krsysztof Soszynski and Brian Stann. These guys know each other very well, having trained together. Soszynski wins by mostly submissions and Stann tends to win from standing, knocking out his opponents. A sign of their friendship came as soon as Soszynski entered the octagon: he went over to Stann and bowed. Very nice.

Stann started the fight with strong inside leg kicks and, in the clinch, effective knees. As expected, Soszynski took Stann down as soon as he could and immediately had full mount. From there he went into side mount and worked on a Kimura until we had tap out. Stann seemed unable to cope on the ground. Perhaps he should work mostly on his ground techniques, since his stand up is so effective. Mark Hamill could only do ground work when he was in The Ultimate Fighter and now wins from standing. Soszynski – Technique of the Night.

Chuck Liddell came out against Mauricio Shogun Rua, both of whom win mostly with knockouts. Rua began with leg kicks, a (blocked) head kick, body kick and big right hand. His leg kicks were after Liddell’s lead leg. He then had a take down and tried a leg lock. Liddell stood up and went after Rua with punches and kicks of his own.

Liddell took Rua down for points and immediately stood up. Rua then used a big left hook, knocking Liddell out. He jumped on Liddell and dropped hammerfists until the referee stepped in. Knockout of the Night.

The lightweights came out next with Sam Stout and Matt Wiman. Lightweights are always fun to watch, so much energy and so quick. Wiman was very aggressive, immediately succeeding in a take down against Stout, who is a muay thai fighter and does not want to be on the ground. Stout managed to get up, but was treated to punches and kicks before applying some deadly leg kicks of his own. Wiman again had a take down. (Wiman moved his hair out of the way a lot; he should not be worried about his hair or being able to see. Get a haircut in advance. Sheesh.)

Round 2 had Wiman trying a flying knee, which Stout caught, resulting in a take down by Stout, followed by ground and pound. Stout was in control with leg kicks such that Wiman’s leg gave out, after which he walked quite flat-footed with the lead leg. Stout gave Wiman’s ribs an horrendous punch which, in slow motion, rippled up the ribcage. Awful. Wiman folded in half afterward.

Round 3 had Wiman aggressive again. When on the ground, he had Stout’s back and I thought that was it: he’d get his arm under Stout’s chin and it would be over. Stout isn’t a ground guy. Much to my surprise, Stout managed to flip himself over so that he was in Wiman’s guard, with Wiman on the bottom. Stout then did some ground and pound with hammerfists and elbows. Later Wiman attempted a take down again, but ended up in Stout’s guard, with Stout in control. Stout – unanimous decision. Fight of the Night.

Now I really try to be objective when I’m writing. For one thing, who am I to criticize people who do this for a living, training all the time? My interests lie in the techniques and skills involved in submitting/winning against someone else of the same calibre. In the main event of the night, headliners Anderson Silva and Thales Leites were fighting for Silva’s middleweight belt, so we were to have five rounds of hopefully excellent fighting from Silva (how many times can they say “pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world” in one evening?) and fantastic techniques from Leites (they had clips of previous fights where he did a beautiful harai goshi and some solid submissions).

Unfortunately this was one of the most boring fights I’ve seen (only a few others match this). To make it worse, it went the distance – five rounds of boring. One of the guys who was here counted strikes (punches, feeble or otherwise, and kicks) and came up with about 250 for the entire match. The first round had nothing happen for three and a half minutes. 

The only thing I could think was that Silva didn’t want to get caught on the ground with Leites because Leites is so good there. So Silva did the occasional punch or kick and then would back off. Lyoto Machida uses this technique as well, but he actually scores with it. Leites managed only one effective take down and then couldn’t do anything against Silva when he was there.

We had five rounds of the same thing: Leites attempting take downs, doing the BJJ Brazilian Butt Flop, actually throwing himself into them (we didn’t count those; I contemplated reviewing the fight to count them, as there were so many, but decided I didn’t want to be bored for yet another twenty-five minutes). Since Silva didn’t want to fight on the ground, he would just look at Leites, who was lying there, or kick his legs a bit, until the referee brought Leites to standing.

Did I say FIVE rounds of this? BBF and weird little strikes and the odd kick by Silva. Then to make matters even stranger, Silva started showboating, sticking his chest out, arms down. He punched Leites in the leg and then did a little soccer kick, left leg behind right, and actually managed to connect with Leites’s leg.  So we get it: Silva was/is better and he knows it. He DID NOT, however, DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. So the decision went to Silva, but it was an ugly fight, showboating, BBFs (dozens of BBFs), so few strikes and kicks. It was bad. The audience booed, gave choruses of “GSP, GSP, GSP” and what sounded like “Bulls**t”. If it had been quieter, I’m sure you’d have heard people snoring.

I understand that Silva did not want to lose his belt, but he’s a fighter, so why wasn’t he fighting? Leites followed Silva around the octagon for twenty-five minutes in hopes of connecting with him. Silva just backed away and then started showboating. If Silva is no longer interested in fighting, then he should quit. People will not want to pay for PPV or tickets to live events to see this again. And, Thales, please STOP doing the Brazilian Butt Flop! It’s embarrassing.

UFC 97 – Redemption was certainly interesting. Luckily the other fights actually had fighting, because the headliners were boring.

ayjay

April 19, 2009

UFC TUF9 The Ultimate Fighter US vs UK – Season 9 – Episode 3

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 – US versus UK episode 3 aired last night. As much as I don’t want to dislike someone from the beginning, really it’s important to be mature and give the other person a chance to prove his worth, I couldn’t stand Rob Browning from the first instant. He was seriously drunk the first night in the house. The guys were just starting to settle in and get to know one another (even though they each had problems with one another’s accents) and there was Junie’s kid brother snockered. He lobbed raw eggs at the guys who were on the basketball court, had an altercation with a Brit in the house, urinated in the shower, and had an altercation with an American (an equal opportunity drunk) before smashing that guy in the chest with an egg. All this on the first night. I guess we shouldn’t have expected a smarter Browning kid.

Interestingly, both teams were disgusted by his behaviour and agreed about what they DID NOT want to have happen in the house - food incidents, bodily fluid incidents, etc. Browning’s antics solidified the house all in one night; I doubt if that’s what he intended.

This episode showed the two groups training with their coaches, Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson. (A note about Bisping – it looks like he’s going to be playing mind games with the Americans to psych them out.) Henderson thinks that the UK guys have limited experience on the ground, although we saw some solid techniques in the first episode. Bisping plans on training exactly the way he does at home and his guys were not holding back when sparring.

The two remaining places for the US team had still to be determined, so Kiel Reid was to fight Frank Lester for the welterweight position. Reid is a wrestler with a laid-back appearance, speaking in a monotone. Lester is a former armed forces guy and stand up fighter.

Reid started by punching Lester, causing Lester to drop. While on the ground, with Lester on the bottom just holding on, Reid didn’t manage anything. When standing again, Lester landed a solid punch. While Lester was attempting an arm bar from standing, Reid (his arm still tied up) did a take down, driving his own head into the mat and knocking himself out. Lester still had the arm bar and was reefing on it, probably not aware that Reid was out. Luckily the referee came in to stop the match.

Reid refused to acknowledge that he’d lost and went away saying multiple times that Lester couldn’t beat him. (His arm was in a sling at the final interview, so Lester did some damage.) This reminds me of Frank Mir and Kaplan, both of whom said the Kaplan was the better fighter in his match against Junie Browning, when Kaplan LOST. Accept that on that day you lost, the other guy won.

The second fight was between Rob Browning and Jason Dent. Dent has had many fights, but the numbers he said and those on the screen didn’t match up, so I’m saying somewhere between 18 and 22 wins and eight or nine losses. Browning had a record of 4 and 0 going in to this match.

Browning was the aggressor from the bell, with punches and kicks, most with no combinations. Dent seemed to do very little, just some sporadic kicks and then tried to stay out of the way. Browning attempted a take down and then started the combos. Dent then applied some strong inside and outside leg kicks. Browning failed at another take down attempt and ended up on the bottom with Dent kneeing his side, doing some ground and pound and elbows. Browning covered up and eventually did nothing to stop the onslaught. TKO – referee stoppage.

We now have the entire contingent of sixteen fighters and will start the elimination process next week. UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 US versus UK airs on Spike Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST.

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 1

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 2

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 3

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 4

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 5

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 6

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 7

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 8

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 9

ayjay

April 16, 2009

Studying Judo for Shodan Grading – Pt 1

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

I debated writing about this mostly because I thought I wouldn’t go through with it, it wasn’t really important to me, etc., but I am studying/working toward my shodan grading in judo (first degree black belt) later on this year. I’ve had my brown belt for ten years and have always felt that I couldn’t do this for many reasons, not the least of which are that I’m not young and have only bigger men to throw.

For those of you who do not know what the grading entails, I’ll summarize: competency in all forty throws, eight of which will be asked for; competency in all groundholds, chokes and joint locks, three each will be asked for; performance of the first three sets of the kata, which involves nine throws from a stylized walk, both right and left side. In order for a person to be graded, he or she must have a partner to throw and do the techniques on. The grading is in front of a board of as many as five judges, with all the other competitors watching as they await their turn.

I have never really wanted or needed this, but Dave is determined that I should grade, especially after he did his nidan grading with Mike. Both of them came out of there stating that both Mike and I should go for our own gradings. So on Friday nights, about half way through the class, Mike and I pick an area on the mats and we walk through the kata, doing some of the throws, and in recent weeks, we have been working our way through the gokyo, the main forty throws of judo. Mike will be my uke (partner) for my grading and for Mike’s grading, Dave will be his uke.

Since we had been in The Mouse Room for two years and I had a badly sprained ankle for another two (in which I couldn’t do any throws at all), I have had at least four years out of the last six in which I haven’t been able to do anything substantial. Some of the throws are ugly: it’s very difficult to start a throw and then stop to correct your position or foot placement and far easier to just do the throw no matter what it looks like. The trouble is that I don’t want to injure myself by attempting a throw in which Mike is not sitting on my hip or back correctly (my sprained ankle resulted from an ippon seoi nage on Dave when I wasn’t warmed up and had had two months off). It takes forever to heal. There are throws which I am good at, mostly sacrifice throws, meaning that I throw myself to the ground to do the throw. There are others which are difficult for me, mostly leg techniques with my back to uke, requiring standing/pivoting on one foot and sweeping the other leg. I seem to have difficulty getting my foot deeply enough between his feet in order to sweep easily. When I do manage, the throws work quite well. I’m just not consistent yet.

We have been doing the kata walk-throughs for perhaps six sessions and the throws by themselves for three. Since I’m, as I said, not young, and shorter and lighter than Mike, Dave suggested that for kata guruma (shoulder wheel or more commonly known as fireman’s carry) I merely step into position to show that I know how to do the entry to the throw and then step out, and do the same for the other side. During last week’s practice, I wanted to try to lift Mike, but thought he would freak: it’s hard enough being thrown with that throw if the person is bigger than you – you’re being thrown head-first from the height of your partner’s shoulders, the taller tori is, the farther uke is being thrown. Yesterday, I told Mike that I’d like to try to lift him, and did – I actually held him on my shoulders for a couple of seconds. I didn’t do the throw as I wasn’t in a perfect position, but I lifted him onto my shoulders and held him there securely. Yay! So even if I don’t actually do the judo shodan grading, I now know that I can do the most difficult requirement in judo (at least from my perspective).

Click here to go to Studying Judo for Shodan Grading  – Pt 2

ayjay

April 11, 2009

TUF 9 UK vs USA – Episode 2 – USA Candidates

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

The Ultimate Fighter TUF Season 9, episode 2, aired last night. This was the episode in which the sixteen Americans were to fight for the eight available spots on the show.

There were problems from the start: one guy passed out while standing on the mats, having dropped eleven pounds in one day, I think, in order to make weight. Another guy was way over his weight and spent the next twenty-four hours trying to make weight and did not succeed, so he was out. Another guy had a contagious lesion and so he was gone. Instead of eight fights, we were to have six.

Dana White was ranting about the guys who either made weight at the last minute (causing the fainting spell) or were nowhere near their weight. He certainly has a point: they all knew when the fight was to be and what their weight was to be. They had had weeks (months?) to prepare.

One positive difference between the American fights and the British last week is that the fighters actually listened to instructions from their corners. Other than that, some of the fights seemed one-sided: Lowe versus DeFranco round 1 – Lowe in complete control, DeFranco doing nothing on the ground other than covering up; round 2 had DeFranco come out with a huge flying knee and ending the match seconds later with a rear-naked choke. Hayden versus Dollar was the same, with Hayden taking Dollar down and doing ground and pound in the first round, but round 2 had Dollar choking out Hayden with a rear-naked choke.

The fight between Damarques Johnson and Ray Elbe had some beautiful muay thai (flying back fists, elbows) by Elbe until he got taken down. On the bottom, Elbe had no concept of what to do, having his legs up in the air. He managed to roll over once and then was again on his back with ground and pound by Johnson. TKO Referee stoppage.

The first two fights were the best: Miller versus Knabjian, sparring partners and teammates, had round 1 going to Miller using mostly strikes with a few kicks. During the break, Knabjian’s corner told him to use his right hand, too. He came out at the bell punching hard, doing a takedown and trying a submission. When they were standing again, Miller again punched to the jaw many times and eventually Knabjian wasn’t defending. TKO referee stoppage.

The next fight was between Richie Whitson and Paul Bird. Whitson has lots of skills, employed nice leg kicks, took Bird down multiple times, used elbows on the ground, and won by rear-naked choke. He doesn’t look it, but he’s tough. Very nice fight.

Because they were two guys short, two new fighters were brought in at the end of the episode, one of those being Junie Browning‘s brother, Rob. The results of those fights will be shown next week.

So we have almost all the fighters for the series. Next week’s episode should have the Brits in Las Vegas with perhaps the first elimination fight in The Ultimate Fighter Season 9. Based on the fights last week, the Yanks will not be able to walk over the Brits. There are some talented fighters in the group.  The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 is on Spike on Wednesdays at 10 Eastern.

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 1

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 3

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 4

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 5

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 6

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 7

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 8

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 9

ayjay

April 9, 2009

TUF Season 9 UK vs USA – Episode 1 – UK Candidates

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Episode 1 of The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 came up after the Ultimate Fight Night Live. Luckily, I enjoy watching fights, because this makes for a long night of fights.

Dana White travelled to England for this episode. Sixteen of Britain’s finest MMA guys were fighting for the eight positions which would get them to Las Vegas and The Ultimate Fighter show. The day after White met the guys, they all fought for the eight positions, giving us eight fights in just over an hour. This certainly shows us an immediate and wide range of skillsets and techniques.

A few things occurred to me while watching fight after fight: if your coach is yelling at you to do something or not to something else and you pay no attention, chances are you’ll lose. This happened in at least two matches in which Bisping shouted instructions to his guys and they paid no heed. In the first case, Bisping’s guy was knocked out. (This reminds me of an old Pancrase show in which Frank Shamrock was attempting a manoeuvre and Ken Shamrock shouted instructions to not do that but this, and Frank immediately followed the instructions and won.) Also, if you come in shouting that you’re the “Reidinator”, you really should win, or attempt to. Egomaniacal behaviour is unsightly and irritating at the best of times, but to be on the bottom holding someone in your guard and shouting at him to hit you (as you don’t try to get out from under), well, you’re asking to be hit. He complied with your wishes. In this case, the winner was a guy whom Dana White said was inexperienced and nervous.  He won, though.

Two heel hooks ended two different matches. The guys tapped out very quickly. I spoke with Dave about heel hooks: when he’s practicing them, he locks them on and holds the heel securely, but doesn’t apply any pressure. He’s just showing his opponent that it’s there. He then lets go. He never practices heel hooks with a guy new to our class or to martial arts and never lets them get him in a heel hook. New guys tend to have no control and end up hurting us. In order to fight heel hooks, other than being hyper-aware of your body placement, a guy might be able to use his other leg to free the trapped foot or a sweaty guy might be able to roll out of one; if you can’t roll out, tap out. Knees are blasted very easily.

Another thing which occurred to me: Dana White’s language has reached new lows and based on the previews for next week, he uses the same offensive phrase in the next episode.

I sincerely hope that this season of The Ultimate Fighter is less gag-inducing than last season, but I have my doubts. Any bets on how much the guys will be drinking, fighting, destroying the house, etc.? The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 is on Wednesdays on Spike.

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 2

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 3

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 4

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 5

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 6

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 7

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 8

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 9

ayjay

April 2, 2009

UFN Ultimate Fight Night Live 18 – April 1, 2009

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Last night’s UFC Ultimate Fight Night Live UFN18 proved to be lots of fun with all but one of the main card fights going the distance.

First up were Cole Miller and Junie Browning with no love lost between these guys. Miller is a brown belt in BJJ and Browning a freestyle fighter who is training full-time.

From the start bell and onward, Miller was in control, showing complete domination of Browning. He took Browning down, attempted an arm bar, which didn’t work landing him with his back to Browning. He managed to get up and punched Browning in the face and took him down again. On the ground again, Miller applied a guillotine choke to Browning and we had tap out. Note: Miller kissed his brown belt a couple of times. Weird. I have a brown belt and would never think of kissing it. A belt is just a belt; it’s what you learned along the way that’s important, including being gracious when you’ve clobbered someone.

The second match was between Tyson Griffin, who loves to punch and ground and pound, and Rafael Dos Anjos, a black belt in jiu jitsu, who is great at submissions. They came into the fight with almost even records, but Dos Anjos is three inches taller and has a three inch reach advantage.

The first round had Griffin applying deadly inside leg kicks (his legs are like tree trunks), solid punches and a head kick to Dos Anjos. Dos Anjos couldn’t get in close enough or find his rhythm for a long while. When on the ground, though, Dos Anjos had Griffin in the most painful-looking leg lock, holding Griffin’s leg bent backward at the knee and sideways, while his own legs were in a figure of four. That held for some time and I expected an end to the match. Griffin managed to survive and stand up, but his leg was odd-looking afterward and he had no oomph to his punches for the rest of the round.

Round two had Griffin still looking somewhat off. Dos Anjos seemed to get stronger, using good punches and kicks which connected. Griffin attempted a takedown and Dos Anjos tried an arm bar. At the fence, Griffin applied some nice elbows and knees.

Round three had Griffin bouncing on the leg that had been reefed on, so both guys were punching and connecting. Griffin looked frustrated a few times, with arms down, perhaps tired of chasing Dos Anjos around the ring? His inside leg kicks were brutal and he had a huge overhand right, as well as some punches to the jaw that worked. Dos Anjos did a flying knee. At the fence again, Griffin used knees and punches to the ribs and face of Dos Anjos until the bell. Unanimous decision in favour of Griffin.

The third fight was between light heavyweights Ryan Bader and Carmelo Marrero. Bader is The Ultimate Fighter winner, an all-American wrestler. Marrero is a wrestler, known for his take downs, ground and pound and conditioning.

This fight once again went the distance, with some interesting differences from the previous: Bader took Marrero down a LOT, very quickly and efficiently. Marrero must not be used to being on the bottom because, although he was defensive, he couldn’t get out readily during the first two rounds.  Bader tried a juji gatame, but Marrero did get out of it. They switched positions with Marrero applying elbows.

When standing, Bader would apply a couple of kicks, Marrero would throw some punches and again Bader very quickly took Marrero to the ground. Marrero’s wrestling and conditioning stopped Bader’s attempts on the ground, but he had difficulty getting out from under the heavier-looking Bader.

Round three had Marrero stuffing the takedowns better, but still not well enough. Bader attempted a choke, but was not successful.  When standing they traded punches and kicks, but Bader took Marrero down again. Unanimous decision in Bader’s favour.

The final fight was between headliners Carlos Condit, with a 23-4-0 record, and Martin Kampmann, 14-2-0. Condit is two inches taller and has a four inch reach advantage over Kampmann. I had no information on Condit’s marital arts background and lots on Kampmann so I just did a quick search. I now know why they are so similar: both are kickboxers (Kampmann is the Danish Muay Thai champion) and both are jiu jitsu guys. Their match was great! They were so evenly matched and their skillsets so closely aligned that what one tossed into the octagon, the other dealt with succinctly.

They traded take downs, guard positions and, when standing, punches and kicks. They each tried submissions, arm bars and chokes, and the other successfully fought each attempt. The only serious injury was a cut under Kampmann’s left eye which came courtesy of an elbow and got bigger thanks to a knee (Oh, and an inadvertent eye poke to Kampmann as well).

The third round was controlled by Kampmann, but really they did more of the same as in the first two rounds. It was a match between equals at the top of their game. Kampmann won by split decision. Fight of the night.

The UFC Ultimate Fight Night Live is becoming an event all on its own: talented MMA people showing their wares to the masses for free. Pretty nice.

ayjay

April 2, 2009