Archive for May, 2009

UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 – Episode 9

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Episode 9 of TUF9 completed the preliminary rounds. We finally had Dave Faulkner‘s match, but not with Jason Pierce (Dana White told Pierce that he wasn’t fighting in the previous episode). His opponent was Frank Lester who had been beaten in an earlier matchup. Lester’s talk with White about how much he wanted to fight was the deciding factor in his being chosen. White said that Lester was what a real fighter is – he doesn’t care about stitches, black eyes, a nose that hurts or missing teeth.

Lester had been beaten badly before – bruises on his face and his nose was most likely cracked. His teeth had been forcibly removed as well. When he tried to place his mouthguard in before practice, he found that his teeth were still in it.

Henderson‘s game plan for Lester was to go after Faulkner ”nice and easy” and then to do a takedown.

Bisping felt that Faulkner could “blow Lester out of the octagon”. Faulkner’s main problem was still the gag reflex when his mouthguard was in, so he went to a hypnotherapist to get over it. He was to feel safe and protected when the mouthguard was in place. Who knows if it worked; they had only one session.

Part of the episode revolved around confrontations between Henderson and Bisping and then Bisping and Damarques Johnson.

Henderson wanted to switch training times with the UK group so that he no longer had to get up early, something the US team had done for four weeks. Bisping had a fit and tried to use the next fight to decide. Henderson refused. The next morning Bisping and Co. were all training very early, having been told they had to change times.

The next altercation involved Bisping’s spraying water from his bottle in Johnson’s face as he walked by. Bisping thought, in error, that Johnson had said a “racist” remark about him during the coaches’ tennis challenge. In fact, it had been Cameron Dollar‘s comment and it wasn’t much of a remark to begin with (“whiter than a band-aid” to describe Bisping’s legs). Johnson was livid and had to walk it off. Bisping apologized but Johnson wasn’t having any of it.

Round 1 between Faulkner and Lester started with Lester’s keeping his distance. I’m sure he didn’t want to get hit in the face with all his injuries. He tried a head kick and Faulkner tried a take down and some flying fists. While in the clinch in the center of the octagon, both guys applied knees. Bisping was yelling for Faulkner to have his “hands tight” and left hand higher while Henderson shouted “jabs” to Lester a few dozen times. The fighters were often in the clinch at the fence, stalemated, doing very little. Henderson was constantly yelling “circle” to have Lester get away from the fence.

Faulkner managed one take down, but Lester used the fence to help him get up. He tried big looping strikes which did not connect.

Round 1 to Faulkner.

At the beginning of round 2, Faulkner spit out his mouthguard and walked backward with hands down. He was gassed. Lester did a head kick and went into the clinch. Faulkner applied some body shots and elbows while in the clinch.

Lester used strong combos while in the center, very heavy strikes, and then dragged Faulkner to the fence by the back of the neck. Faulkner was flat-footed and looked exhausted.

Although Lester had far more energy in this round that Faulkner, once again we had Henderson telling him to “circle” to get away from the fence while in the clinch. Both guys used knees here.

Round 2 went to Lester, but not so much that Lester won as that Faulkner lost. He actually walked away at one point, arms at his side and then bent forward from the waist to take a breath at about the four minute mark.

White announced that there would be the Sudden Victory round, but Faulkner refused to continue. Faulkner said that he enjoyed the match, no longer had anything to prove and no longer felt stressed. It actually sounded as though he was quitting MMA, as he talked about professional wrestling or horror movies.

Bisping, on the other hand, had his stress levels through the roof afterward, stomping out, kicking a door.

The semi-finals are next with four guys from each team competing.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 is on Spike on Wednesdays at 10:00 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 The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 5

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 6

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 7

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 8

ayjay

May 27, 2009

UFC 98 Evans vs Machida

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

UFC 98 Evans vs Machida had knockouts and tap outs galore.

Sean Sherk fought Frank Edgar for Fight of the Night. Edgar had excellent stamina, moved constantly, attacked with combinations, threw high kicks, feinted punches, and avoided most of Sherk’s punches. Round 1 went to Edgar. Sherk was flat-footed and just followed Edgar around the octagon. Edgar had a five inch reach advantage on Sherk and it was very obvious: Sherk had a hard time connecting. Edgar moved in to attack and then sidled out of the way.

Round 2 had Sherk connecting more, but mostly one-off punches. Edgar had more combos and, again, moved constantly. It was very much a boxing match with few kicks and few takedowns.

Round 3 began by a take down from Sherk in response to punches from Edgar. Edgar got to his feet and had Sherk frustrated again as he missed lots of his strikes. Sherk attempted a take down and ended up with Edgar pulling guard and applying a guillotine right at the bell.

Unanimous decision in Edgar’s favour. Fight of the Night. 

The match between Chael Sonnen and Dan Miller covered loads of ground techniques as Miller spent every opportunity trying submissions. I assume this was because Sonnen loses by submission; however, since Miller was on the bottom when on the ground and the submissions weren’t working, Miller was pummelled for three rounds. Sonnen got out of a very tight guillotine at the beginning of the first round, took Miller down heavily in round 2, applied big punches and elbows, took Miller down again in round 3, and just controlled the match. Miller tried guillotine chokes and other submissions, but Sonnen was victorious. Unanimous decision in Sonnen’s favour.

Drew McFedries came out against Xavier Foupa-Pokam with a knockout at 37 seconds of round 1. Both these men are known for their knockout power and McFedries proved it here. Xavier was out on his feet from the third punch and then another ten or eleven connected before the referee stopped the match. Xavier followed McFedries around the octagon, literally hanging on to his leg, but he was out of it. TKO referee stoppage.

Kryzsztof Soszynski fought against Andre Gusmao in a preliminary bout. Gusmao used some inside leg kicks, one of which caused Soszynski to drop to one knee. Soszynski, in turn, used combos and, for a guy who loves arm bars, threw a straight punch and flattened Gusmao. Knockout.

The co-main event between the Matts – Hughes versus Serra  – came up next. There was non-stop mention of their hate for each other, et cetera, ad nauseum. Hughes wanted to shut Serra up and Serra wanted to do the same. I guess this makes for good television. They didn’t touch gloves and came out aggressively, such that Serra inadvertently headbutted Hughes (or Hughes munched his chin into Serra’s head) and had Hughes on the run for several minutes. Even at the break, Hughes asked his corner if he’d been knocked down. Despite the headbutt, Hughes controlled the round with a strong takedown and choke attempt from grapevine.

Round 2 had Serra connecting with strong punches, but a takedown by Hughes, with his ending in Serra’s guard, had Hughes pounding Serra and controlling him for most of the round. Serra was on the bottom waiting for the right moment or technique and was dominated.

Round 3 had submission attempts by Serra after another take down by Hughes. Serra trapped Hughes’s arm for an oma plata which didn’t quite work and then tried it on the other arm. He then tried a triangle. Standing again, Serra did a take down. Ground and pound followed as well as an attempt at a kimura. Ridiculously, after all the trash talking, they hugged after the match. Unanimous decision in Hughes’s favour.

The other co-main event was next with Rashad Evans against Lyoto Machida. In our boathold we had four people, three of whom picked Machida to win. I’m for the underdog, so I went for Evans. I find Machida’s fighting style, although extremely technical and effective, to be mostly boring. He moves in for the quick attack and then out again, standing with his upper body leaning away from his opponent. It makes him a far more elusive target, but doesn’t make for a fun fight. (To be fair, I do prefer ground techniques, none of which we saw here; I’m also not technically inclined, so the art of finding the right instant to go in is beyond me.) Evans and Machida spent a good deal of the match tapping gloves; in fact, the first two minutes of the first round was just that. This was so boring that, despite writing notes during the match, I had a difficult time keeping the eyes open. Machida was first to connect with a head kick causing Evans to wobble. Later in the round, Machida’s strike took Evans to the ground and Machida jumped on him.

Round 2 had the men at the fence with Machida using combos and Evans countering. Machida then punched Evans multiple times, such that Evans crumpled with his head flopping to the side. Machida is now the UFC light heavyweight champion. The guys on the boat called this the Knockout of the Night, although Soszynski’s was pretty good. The tapping of the gloves and non-connecting for long stretches makes this NOT the fight of the night.

Another preliminary match was between Brock Larson and Mike Pyle. This match contained the Technique of the Night with Larson doing a lovely kata gatame (arm triangle choke) on Pyle, not something one often sees in the UFC.

Canadian Tim Hague, a heavyweight at 265, but spry on his feet, won his match with Pat Barry. He got Barry in a guillotine and rolled over, staying attached, and ending with Barry on the bottom, legs trapped, neck in guillotine. Tap out. Spry indeed.

UFC 98 Evans vs Machida had a good range of techniques and knockouts, a variety of styles and other than the tapping of the gloves in the Evans/Machida fight (reminiscent of Wladimir  Klischko, I think), a good night.

ayjay

May 24, 2009

P.S. Right now, Machida is considered the most effective fighter in the UFC, not having lost any round and not having been taken down by anyone. My gut feeling is that, as with learning how to counter the Gracies, people will learn how to fight Machida’s style. We’ll see people taking karate or some other kicking martial art and having their coaches work out ways to counter Machida’s karate. ayjay, May 25, 2009

UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 – Episode 8

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

For the second week in a row on UFC‘s The Ultimate Fighter TUF9, we had drama with the proposed Pierce and Faulkner match.

Pierce now had a staph infection on his leg, the infection having progressed from cellulitis. He spent the entire episode all wrapped up in a hoodie. When Dana White called him into a meeting, Pierce’s comments sounded as though he had a fever; he stated that his leg was sore and that one of the doctors suggested that he could get a bone infection if the leg were injured. White gave him a few days to decide whether he wanted to fight. Pierce’s responses to all White’s questions were in monotone.

This episode no longer mentioned Faulkner’s leg injury (in which he whacked his leg with a sledgehammer, causing a massive lump and infection). His problem during training was taking out his mouthguard: he has a strong gag reflex and can’t seem to function with the mouthguard in. Bisping said that the referee might deduct points for removing the mouthguard, so Faulkner would have to learn to deal with it.

In addition to his being ill, Pierce, a major complainer, had Henderson saying he had “negative energy”. Santino talked about Pierce as being the most negative guy in the house. In all the scenes, Pierce is all covered up, morose and grumpy-looking.

The fight of the night was between Jason Dent and Jeff Lawson. Lawson, according to Bisping, is fantastic on the ground, has great take downs and will submit his opponents quickly. Lawson has 21 wins by arm bar and joked that he would throw four or five punches, do a throw, and apply an arm bar. He also admitted that no one was going to get knocked out by him. His attitudes were lighthearted and refreshing. His main issue was that he had had bronchitis for the first nine days in the house, during which time he was unable to train at all. He wanted Dent to “lie down and let me get the arm bar”.

Dent, per Henderson, is “surprisingly technical” on his feet and the ground. Unfortunately, he “irritates” Henderson, is “tough to coach” because he doesn’t want to get better, to look at his weaknesses. When your coach says that you are tough to coach, you have problems.

Before the fight, Dana White called Pierce in again and told him that he wasn’t going to fight. What he wanted was a reaction from Pierce, an indication that he really wanted to fight, to please let him fight. Pierce looked upset afterward, but White’s feeling was that once Pierce got into the house, he realized he was not a fighter. Henderson said that if Pierce had fought, he would have lost.

The match between Dent and Lawson started out strongly: after a couple of leg kicks from Dent, Lawson threw Dent with harai makikomi, taking him to the ground. Lawson then tried what looked like a heel hook, but was unsuccessful. While in Dent’s guard, Lawson got on his feet and threw a number of punches. He then picked Dent up (Dent’s legs were wrapped around Lawson’s waist) and dropped him to his back (daki age).  Dent was on the bottom for almost the entire round.

Round 2 had Dent throw some leg kicks while Lawson looked exhausted, turtling a couple of times.  Lawson would bend forward from the waist, hands on legs, and then do something astounding like a flying knee.  He has lots of skills, but this was not to be his day. The match ended with Dent applying a rear naked choke on the ground, not even in a grapevine. Lawson tapped out very quickly despite the fact that the choke and the hold were weak.

The comments at the end of the episode blamed Lawson’s loss on the chest infection, which  impacted his cardio and gave the poor result. Dana White commented that the win was very weak. I would like to see Lawson when he is healthy: he has some strong throws and ground skills. His stand up needs work and he has problems with his posture when his legs are kicked (actually moves such that he is off-balance and the leg kicks hit harder), but he seems like a good guy who has potential.

Earlier in this episode Lawson, Faulkner and Amasinger entertained themselves and the other members of the UK team with professional wrestling skits complete with masks and donkey ears. Right at the bell for Round 1 someone on the UK team yelled, “Release the Hate!”, causing Lawson to look over and laugh. There’s a guy who is relaxed and happy to be doing what he’s there for.

The UFC‘s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 is on Spike on Wednesdays at 10 p.m.

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 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 9

ayjay

UFC The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 US vs UK- Episode 7

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 revolved around the coaches’ challenge, a tennis tournament, watching the training of Dave Faulkner (UK) and Jason Pierce (US) and the fight between Richie Whitson and Ross Pearson. So much of the hour dwelt on the training of Faulkner and Pierce that I assumed they were fighting in this episode.

Faulkner and Pierce have become buddies during their time on the show which could be a problem. Bisping said he felt that Faulkner could win against anyone in the house as did Faulkner himself.  During training, Bisping told Faulkner that even though the guys were friends, when they get into the octagon, Pierce was going to try to kill him. Bisping’s training sessions were hard exercises –  among them, silkworm, in which you worm your way along the mats on your side, pulling your arms and legs up toward your head and down toward your feet in order to move, and a dragging exercise, in which you pull your partner along the mats. Interestingly, these are exercises which we did with regularity at our old judo club years ago. They involve your moving yourself and others and are hard work.

Strangely, both these guys are injured in this episode: Pierce broke blood vessels in his foot during his preliminary elimination match, resulting in his not being able to kick with that leg. Henderson worried about Pierce’s “sore ankle against an ankle lock guy”. In the other camp, Bisping had the guys pounding a tractor tire with a sledgehammer, resulting in Faulkner’s whacking his own leg with the hammer, creating a giant, infected lump on his calf.

When learning that the US team was going to have a sparring session, Pierce started complaining. The sparring coach gave a pep talk to everyone, but Pierce walked out. The sparring coach said Pierce was a negative guy and pain in the neck. (He is one of the main complainers in the one-on-one sessions in front of the camera.)

The coaches’ challenge was a tennis tournament with the serving area being the entire opposite side since neither guy knew how to play tennis. Both coaches were terrible; however, Henderson won 6 to 2, earning 10K in cash for himself and $1500 for each team member. It was an ugly game on both parts.

After spending most of the hour on Faulkner and Pierce, we found that they were not fighting in this episode. Richie Whitson was going to fight against Ross Pearson. Whitson is a muay thai scrapper from Alaska who trains at Henderson’s club and knows all of the coaches well. Pearson is what Bisping called a “pitbull” who needs to “relax on the horsepower” a bit.

During the training session with Bisping, we saw Bisping throw Pearson with a beautiful hip throw and show him new moves to add to his abilities. Usually the coaches watch and critique, so it was exciting to see Bisping display his skills.

Round 1 between the lightweights started at eight minutes to eleven, so the match was going to be short. Whitson had Pearson in the clinch at the fence and attempted an elbow. Pearson managed to elude him and kneed Whitson in the face. Both guys tried really high kicks, neither of which landed. At one point Whitson was on his knees and Pearson stood up and punched Whitson, resulting in a point being taken away.

The rest of the round had Pearson taking Whitson down perhaps four times. Although they traded punches, the take downs were the deciding factor: Pearson got on Whitson’s back and achieved a straight arm bar (juji gatame) after a turnover. Tapout.

The Ultimate Fighter series certainly shows sides of people you wouldn’t ordinarily see. These guys can beat the pulp out of you and yet weep uncontrollably about missing family and wanting to go home (Dollar). Whitson had impetigo on his face several days before the match and Pierce (I think it was Pierce) went berserk spraying antiseptic everywhere, as though that would help. (Impetigo is a bacterial infection which is contagious and treated with antibiotics.)

The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 is on Spike on Wednesdays at 10 p.m.

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 4

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 5

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 6

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 8

  Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 9

ayjay

May 14, 2009

UFC TUF9 US vs UK – Episode 6

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Episode 6 of The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) eliminated a lightweight fighter and a welterweight.  Cameron Dollar was chosen to fight against Martin Stapleton for the lightweight fight.

Dollar’s background is in wrestling and his stand up is severely lacking, causing Henderson to be frustrated with Dollar’s stand up work. Dollar admitted that it wasn’t his forte and that he was really only keen on learning the grappling techniques. He also talked about his being very nervous before any fight and looked uncomfortable everywhere, including in the house. He looked afraid of Stapleton, even as Stapleton walked through the room. Henderson’s game plan for Dollar was to punch his way in and take Stapleton down.

Stapleton is a BJJ guy who is/was (?) in the Royal Marines. Bisping talked about him as being the best wrestler in the UK team, a good boxer, with excellent cardio, etc. Both Bisping’s and Stapleton’s attitudes assumed Stapleton to be the stronger fighter.

Round 1 had Stapleton attempting take downs until Dollar did his own with a nice harai goshi, by the fence. He eventually ended up on Stapleton’s back and with the fence on one side, got Stapleton in a grapevine and did a strong rear naked choke (hadaka jime).

Even though Dollar is an annoying, egomaniacal kid, he proved that his ground skills are good: he can take someone down, apply a solid choke and make him tap out.

During the break between fights, Bisping apologized to Amasinger for missing his fight. It seems he had severe jetlag and finally overslept. I know that sounds feeble, but I can appreciate the problem, having had it myself.

Fight number two was between Frank Lester and James Wilks. Lester came across throughout the episode as a nutbar: he cursed and swore his way through every conversation and ranted about Wilks, his disdain for him, and wanting to beat him, non-stop. Wilks has lived in California for some years while training and this seems to be the thorn in Lester’s side. Unfortunately, Lester’s attitude made him come across as immature and irrational. It’s just a fight - for television – not the end of the world.

Bisping thought Wilks could beat Lester in all areas of the game; Henderson spoke of Lester’s speed of punches.

Round 1 had both guys doing sporadic jabs (Lester side-stepped his way in circles and Wilks followed) and Wilks applied a front kick. Bisping kept yelling at Wilks to get his left hand up and jab and he did neither. Wilks eventually got side mount and had a loose yoko shiho gatame, with Bisping shouting something to get him to close the gaps.

Here’s where this fight got weird. In Dollar’s match against Stapleton, when Dollar made contact on the ground, he stuck to Stapleton like glue and got his win:  in this match, Wilks would try one technique after another, leaving gaping holes between himself and Lester, so that Lester would manage the escape and run off. Wilks would then chase after the guy and try again. At the fence, Wilks kneed Lester in the face, managed another take down and did a little ground and pound until the bell.

During the break, Lester said that his teeth got knocked out. In fact, his artificial front teeth, whether crowns or partial plate, were knocked out and stuck in his mouthguard. His corner had to remove the teeth in order for him to put his mouthguard in. The referee told the corner to put the teeth on ice.

When the round started, Lester kept his distance from Wilks, either because he was hurt or tired, or both. Wilks took Lester down at the fence a couple of times and, after side and full mount, achieved a juji gatame.

One or more of Lester’s teeth were knocked out: we saw him spitting blood into a bucket and someone else said that a tooth had been spit up. He’s a tough guy, then, if that’s the case. Instead of going into round 2, he should really have gone to the hospital to have the teeth reinserted.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 is on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Spike.

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 4

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 5

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

May 7, 2009