Archive for November, 2009

The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 TUF10 – Episode 10

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 TUF10 – Episode 10 had the quarter final bout between Brendan Schaub, a former NFLer who trains with Jackson’s MMA, and Jon Madsen, a former wrestling champion who trains with Matt Hughes‘ group.

Schaub is a boxer with four inches in height and 7 1/2 inches in reach over Madsen. He considered that Madsen was one-dimensional as a fighter, being only a wrestler.

During the training sessions, Evans left Schaub to train with his teammates (who worked with Schaub on how to avoid take downs) but later coached Madsen himself. 

Dana White said he thought that if the fight remained standing, Schaub had the advantage; on the ground, it would be Madsen.

During the episode, we followed the coaches in their beach volleyball game. Neither coach had played volleyball beyond childhood, but got progressively better with Jackson winning the first game, Evans, the second, and then Evans, the third and last, in a very close game. Jackson can’t seem to win against Evans.

Matt Mitrione‘s quarter final match against McSweeney is not yet definite. He told everyone that he had swelling of the brain and headaches. The coaches did not believe him about the swelling.

Mitrione told people he only wanted the show to be over so that he could go home to his normal life. He really looked stunned most of the time and spoke slowly, as with difficulty. Evans was prepared to tell White that Mitrione was not fighting, although I don’t think that happened.

As for whether Kimbo Slice could fight in Mitrione’s stead, that is up in the air as well: Slice sustained a knee injury during training. After an MRI and examination, the doctor told Slice that he had no cartilage in some parts of the knee. In order to assist him, he could have a cortisone injection to reduce the swelling. Slice did not want a needle and spent the rest of the show with his knee wrapped. His teammates had him sitting in an ice bath to reduce the swelling. I guess it didn’t occur to him that only his knee required the ice.

Schaub versus Madsen, Round 1: Madsen immediately attempted a take down and, on his second attempt, succeeded. He ended up in Schaub’s half guard at the fence. Thus began Schaub’s grabbing of the fence at total of ten times during the match. He was warned but had no points taken off. Madsen didn’t accomplish anything on the ground and Schaub moved around a bit. The referee had them stand up.

Madsen attempted a take down again, but this time, Schaub grabbed the fence to stuff the take down. He should have been penalized here. They remained at the fence one pushing the other against it and then Schaub grabbed Madsen’s shorts.

Madsen had another take down and side control and, for some reason, went into half guard. He didn’t accomplish anything in either position.

Round 2 began without punching by the boxer or wrestling by the wrestler. Schaub threw a few punches and knees when in the clinch. Madsen was backing up and Schaub followed and as Madsen dropped his hands, Schaub did two straight punches and Madsen was down and out.

Schaub should be working on his ground game: he stuffed a couple of take down attempts, but grabbed the fence in one. He had no idea how to get out from under when on the ground. Madsen managed take downs but didn’t do anything when he had the superior position. Not an interesting fight.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 TUF10 is one Wednesdays at 10 EST on Spike.

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 1

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 2

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 3

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 4- Note: This is the episode with Schaub’s preliminary fight.

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 5

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 6

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 7

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 8

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 9


November 19, 2009

UFC 105 – Couture vs Vera

Monday, November 16th, 2009

UFC 105 Couture vs Vera was free on Spike on Saturday. I think that when the UFC is in Europe, few people order it in North America; you can get the results on the internet within seconds of the fight, so why pay big bucks to see it? 

The only fight that I want to comment on is the co-main event between Couture and Vera. Before that, though, I find it surprising that Bisping‘s bout against Denis Kang was not the other co-main event. Instead it was the match between Mike Swick and Dan Hardy. Granted, that was a very good fight, but I thought that Bisping was an MMA demi-god in the U.K. and thought of highly by the UFC despite his most recent loss.

Perhaps my having watched so many boring heavyweight matches recently in The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 TUF10 has clouded my view of fights, but Couture versus Vera bordered on sleep-making. It wasn’t Brandon Vera’s fault. It was all Couture’s. In order to stop Vera’s assaults, Couture squashed him against the cage time and time again. He managed to take Vera down in round 1, but Vera climbed up the fence almost immediately, just to be squashed again. The referee separated them several times during the bout as nothing was happening.

Mike Goldberg suggested that Couture’s rushing Vera and holding him at the fence was his wrestling background coming out. The wrestling I’ve seen has been on the ground, without a fence to aid you.

Vera tried knees and strikes when in the clinch as did Couture. Couture attempted take downs again in rounds 2 and 3. After one of the referee separations, Vera kicked Couture in the ribs twice which looked extremely painful. To avoid further damage, Couture did the clinch at the fence again.

Vera got his own take down in round 3 and had full mount, but Couture used the fence to climb up. The fight ended with nice exchanges. Unanimous decision in favour of Couture.

When Couture was interviewed post-fight, he said something about the fight not being too exciting. That really was an understatement. His technique made the fight deadly boring. It reminded me of a Bodog Fight from several years ago in which one guy held the other at the corner posts for the entire match. Couture expended all his energy on holding Vera against the fence. Where were all his ground techniques? Where were his stand up techniques? As much as I like watching MMA, this was not my idea of fun. Couture won because he controlled the fight by holding Vera in place.


November 16, 2009

Side Mount Escapes – Escapes from Yoko Shiho Gatame and Kuzure Yoko Shiho Gatame

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Last Friday, Dave had the class practice escapes from Yoko Shiho and Kuzure Yoko Shiho Gatame (kuzure means variation), the side four quarter ground lock or hold.

One major beef of mine is with fighters who get pinned on their backs – deliberately or in error – and can’t get out. They will get pounded, elbowed, and basically, clobbered. In the years since the first UFC with the introduction of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, we have had so many fighters lay on their backs and try to win from there. It was far worse the first few years when everyone followed the Gracies’ techniques to the letter, especially pulling guard. Since MMA fights tend not to have gis, pulling guard with the objective of sleeve chokes isn’t too practical. Pulling guard, being on the bottom, is not something to aim for: In BJJ rules, there are limited ways to gain points from that position, so you really want to get out of there. If you are there, through happenstance or deliberately, you want to get out from under your opponent. If nothing else, he can use gravity against you – he can lift his head and torso and just drop arms, hands, shoulders, and elbows on your head. If he is a strong ground and pound guy, and you are on the bottom, you may well be toast.

I know some of you love the guard, love crossing your ankles and holding the guy. You think you’re in control. In fact, the guy on top has the superior position and that’s where you want to be. If you’re on the bottom, in a BJJ match, get some points by sweeping your opponent and get out of there. Switch positions.

Dave Here - Note that you get points for getting OUT of guard, not for getting into guard.  Just that alone should tell you that it is not the desired position.  If one of the major objectives of your guard work is to achieve a sweep and get on top, then, logically, it is much better to just start on top in the first place!

Scenario: Your opponent has passed your guard and is in side mount: Practice the escapes from yoko shiho gatame and kuzure yoko shiho gatame. Chances are that the side control will be a kuzure (or variation), but the escape is similar for each variation. In judo, of course, we see the traditional and kuzure yoko shiho gatame as well.Click here to go to two escapes from yoko shiho gatame. Click here to go to escape from kuzure yoko shiho gatame.

Depending on how you learn, you may pick these up quickly and be proficient immediately. Others, such as I, may take a while to learn the new techniques, to incorporate them into muscle memory.

Crucial points for these escapes: For Yoko Shiho Gatame escapes, trap your opponent’s arm between your legs; move your body, not his, to lengthen and break his grip; facilitate the roll by pushing his head under your back (prevents him from posting with his forehead and also protects his head and neck). For Kuzure Yoko Shiho Gatame escapes, move onto your side and go under your opponent (this enables more of his mass to be on your center of gravity, making it easier to turn him); again, facilitate the roll and protect his head and neck by pushing his head under your back; if he has an arm behind your neck, trap his arm by pushing onto it with your own neck.

Practice these escapes with a partner, back and forth. You will get into slightly different positions each time, going from the escape to your own ground hold.


November 13, 2009

The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 TUF10 – Episode 9

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

The quarterfinals of The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 TUF10 began yesterday. In the quarterfinals, we have seven men from Rashad Evans‘ team and one from Quinton Jackson‘s. First up were Roy Nelson against Justin Wren, both Evans’ guys.

Evans was concerned about how to coach these people, who were on the same team, yet fighting each other. He determined that the best solution was not to coach, but to continue to have practice sessions in the different disciplines. Last week, he had tried to get Jackson’s men to come practice with his, but his approach to them was poor, somewhat egocentric, and he put down their coach, so their reaction was to walk away.

Both Nelson and Wren have jiu jitsu backgrounds, with Nelson having earned a black belt in BJJ. He was the IFL heavyweight champion and his record coming into The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 was 13-4.

Wren’s background is Greco-Roman wrestling. He was two-time national champion in high school. Before an injury sidelined him, he trained for the Olympics in Greco-Roman. While injured, he became interested in MMA and now studies with Travis Lutter. He is ten years’ younger than Nelson, and about twenty pounds’ lighter (Nelson tipped the scales at the weigh-in at 264). His record coming into The Ultimate Fighter is 10-1.

Everyone who spoke about the two men mentioned that their skills on the ground were comparable, so they would probably remain standing and slug it out. Dana White was impressed by Wren’s preliminary bout against Wes Sims but was yet to be impressed by Roy Nelson.

During the episode, the drama of Matt Mitrione‘s life continued: his “brain” still hurt (he told someone that his opponent had “rattled” his brain) and he eventually spent the night in the hospital. Afterward, he told Dana White that he still wanted to fight, but White wanted to have the doctor’s approval.

Round 1 of the first quarterfinal bout: Wren was the aggressor from the beginning, going after Nelson with big punches. Nelson rushed Wren to the fence and while in the clinch applied some knees. The referee split them up after no further action.

Both men then battled it out in the center of the ring. Wren began to fatigue at about the 2 1/2 minute mark and had his hands too low. From then on, McSweeney yelled intermittently for Wren to raise his hands. Wren threw lots of wild shots, most of which missed their mark; he expended a great deal of energy with those shots, throwing his whole body into them.

Round 2 began with jabs from Nelson and an outside leg kick from Wren. Wren then used strikes and a kick combo. Nelson continued with the jabs and, when in the clinch, Wren applied a solid elbow.

The round continued with Nelson picking Wren apart, throwing punches right down the middle. Wren’s hands were extremely low and he was exhausted. 

The fight went to decision with the majority going to Nelson. We thought the first round might have been a draw and the second went to Nelson, so it was close.

Nelson has a huge ego and told White that the fight was something for Dana to be excited about. White was again not impressed.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 TUF10 is on Wednesdays at Spike at 10:00 p.m. EST.

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 1

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 2

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 3- Note: Roy Nelson’s preliminary fight was in this episode.

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 4

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 5

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 6

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 7

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 8


November 12, 2009

Strikeforce/M1-Global Fedor vs Rogers

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

The Strikeforce/M1-Global event of November 7, 2009 was live on network television. The main event was a match between heavyweights Fedor Emilianenko and Brett Rogers. The UFC had tried to get Fedor to fight for them, but Fedor wanted to have a joint event with M1-Global. The UFC refused. That is unfortunate. Last night’s fights were in a huge venue which looked sold out. Of the four fights, three were exciting, one not so much.

The first match-up was between heavyweights Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Silva. Werdum is a BJJ guy with a record of 12-4-1. Six of his wins were by submission and he has had four knockouts. His speciality is the single leg take down. Silva, at 263 lbs., is about twenty pounds heavier than Werdum, with a four inch reach advantage. With a background in Muay Thai and BJJ, Silva’s record of 13 and 1 contains nine knockouts and three submissions.

Their three round bout went the distance with Silva not wanting to go to the ground. When he had the option, he stood up and waited for Werdum to get up too. Round 1 had Silva striking Werdum solidly, knocking him down and letting him get up. Werdum applied some inside leg kicks to Silva’s lead leg. At the buzzer, Werdum was down again after receiving an elbow in the clinch.

Round 2 started with Werdum being knocked down immediately. Eventually Silva went to the ground, but Werdum turned him over and was in half guard. Silva got up and was taken down by Werdum who went from half guard to side control. When Silva snuck out, Werdum tried a knee bar.

Round 3 had both men throwing leg kicks and, when in the clinch, Werdum used his knees. Werdum then took Silva down and was on Silva’s back when Silva turtled. He twice kneed Silva’s chin and Silva struck Werdum in retaliation. When on the ground Werdum did some ground and pound from half-guard.

Unanimous decision in Werdum’s favour. 

Light heavyweight Gegard Mousasi was up next against Sokoudjou (who was called Terry twice). Mousasi’s record is 26-2-1 with fifteen knockouts and nine submissions. His background is boxing with his favourite technique being the jab. Sokoudjou has a record of seven and four with six knockouts. He has a black belt in judo and the leg kick is his favourite technique.

Round 1 began with Sokoudjou connecting with leg kicks. He then tried a take down and eventually threw Mousasi, after many strikes, with a hip throw that looked a lot like harai goshi but without the leg. After some ground work, Sokoudjou again threw Mousasi, this time with o soto gari. The men went through a variety of arm bar and choke attempts including a Kimura (ude garami) and a front naked choke (hadaka jime).

Round 2 started in the clinch with Mousasi applying an elbow and many knees. He then threw multiple strikes and knees again. Then Mousasi did the world’s slowest take down with Sokoudjou ending up in half guard. Mousasi then rolled him over and began his ground and pound which Sokoudjou couldn’t answer. Referee stoppage.

The next bout was between middleweights Jake Shields and Jason Miller. Miller came out with cheerleaders, almost getting clocked by one as he danced by. Now that would have been funny. Both these men have loads of experience, with over twenty wins each. Shields, a black belt in jiu jitsu, is much shorter (6″?) than Miller and his reach is five inches less than Miller’s. He specializes in wrestling using the single leg take down. He had won ten of his twenty-three wins by submission and went into the fight with twelve straight wins. Miller practices what he calls “slap boxing” and loves the jab. Their fight was a championship match set for five rounds.

During this fight, the audience booed a great deal. The bout went the distance so there was lots of opportunity for boredom. Shields seemed in control for the entire fight except he wasn’t capable of completing anything. Miller rolled out of any situation which looked dangerous (Shields’s using his arsenal of submission techniques). At other times, after being taken down (many times!), Miller would be sitting up, his back to the cage, and Shields would wrap up Miller’s legs with his own and stretch them out. Then Shields would throw strikes to Miller’s side. During one of the breaks, Miller’s team yelled at him to do something at the fence.

Miller suplexed Shields at the end of round 1 and slammed Shields in a take down in round 3. At the end of this round, Miller had Shields in a very tight rear naked choke, but Shields lasted until the buzzer.

Rounds four and five had Shields taking Miller down several times and ending up in the scenario I mentioned. Round 5 had Shields on Miller’s back with a figure of four around Miller’s middle, so we thought that he could finally get his submission. As with all the other attempts to submit Miller, Miller rolled out of the hold.

Shields won by unanimous decision, but the audience found much of the bout boring. Perhaps they didn’t understand the level of technique required to attempt the submissions or to stuff them.  They seemed happier when the fighters were standing.

The main card, Fedor Emilianenko versus Brett Rogers, began just before 11 p.m. EST. We actually wondered if the show were going to end at 11 and, just as we talked about it, the television went black! The picture came on again some seconds later, luckily.

Fedor is light for a heavyweight at just under six feet tall and 232 pounds. Rogers is 6’4″ and 264 lbs. with a seven inch reach advantage. Fedor’s background is in sambo and judo, whereas Rogers’s is in boxing and muay thai. Fedor’s last loss was in 2000 and Rogers went into the fight undefeated with 10-0 consisting of nine knockouts and one submission.

Almost immediately, Rogers used a left jab to break Fedor’s nose. Even injured, Fedor took Rogers down twice in the round. While on the ground, in half guard or guard, Fedor did some ground and pound. Rogers held his own, though, on the ground and standing.

Round 2 had Fedor throwing a wide hook which connected. He and Rogers were in the clinch with Fedor throwing many strikes, all of which Rogers stopped. When they were at the center of the cage, Fedor threw a right which knocked Rogers to the floor. Fedor then jumped on Rogers to continue strikes. If Rogers had not moved his leg to block Fedor, he would have been pounded to unconsciousness. Fedor attempted a few other strikes, with Rogers just covering up. TKO Referee stoppage.

Rogers was very upset with himself for losing, but he showed that he deserved to be up there fighting the best in the world. Whereas Rogers looked fine afterward, Fedor had lumps on his forehead, a broken nose and a huge gash across the nose. Fedor said he was looking for an opening and found it in the way Rogers was standing. I expect, in future, Rogers will not stand like that. Rogers was quite keen to have a rematch. 


November 8, 2009

p.s.The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 TUF10 guys should take lessons from the heavyweights we saw last night: the fights don’t have to be boring and the fighters had a variety of skills and excellent cardio. The rounds had only thirty seconds between them, yet the fighters did not looked completely exhausted, even those with injuries.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 TUF10 – Episode 8

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

We are now finished the preliminary fights. Episode 8 of The Ultimate Fighter  Season 10 – TUF10 had the last fight, a match between Michael Wessel and Marcus Jones.

First off, highlights of last week’s bout were shown. I noticed a couple of weeks ago, and then it was reinforced yesterday, that the highlights make the bouts look fantastic. Last week’s fight clips between Mitrione and Junk showed the two of them standing toe-to-toe and slugging. Then we saw a clip of Junk taking Mitrione down. We didn’t see the boring bits: both men leaning against each other in the center of the octagon doing nothing as the buzzer sounded for the end of round one, and later, both guys exhausted and swinging wildly, if at all. Perhaps in future seasons, the boring fights should just be highlights. At least the fights here actually show fighting: the reality show in which girls fight (Fight Girls) muay thai, and the winners go to Thailand to fight a top contender there, had video clips of the audience (!) in the middle of the bouts, so we didn’t see the whole matches. Even at that, though, they were far more exciting than the majority of bouts in this season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Back to the show: In the aftermath of the previous fight, we saw Junk’s injuries – both eyes were swollen and one eye was very bruised. Mitrione said something about his brain hurting and went directly to bed. (This is crucial to the show: in a clip for next week’s episode, Mitrione is shown going to the hospital and Slice is once again thrilled at the prospect of fighting again.)

Michael Wessel is the shortest of this season’s contestants at 6 feet tall. He has a 6,1 and 0 record in professional MMA, including a loss in the UFC last December against Antoni Hardonk. Mike played college football and was in the Arena Football League for several years. He has been a strength and conditioning coach at a university in Arizona. We see him during training practice doing strikes. The plan is for him to use his overhand right and big punches.

Marcus Jones, whom Evans calls “Big Baby”, is among the biggest of the men at 6’6″. He has a 7.5 inch reach advantage over Wessel. Jones played professional football with the NFL for eight years, but now trains with Gracie Tampa. His record is 4-1. His attitude toward MMA is refreshing: he loves learning new techniques and loves watching matches. During the training session, he laughed with glee when taught new moves. Jackson wondered whether Jones had a fight instinct, though. Jones, meanwhile, thought he had a good shot at winning.

Round 1 had Wessel go in to close the gap (he did say he wasn’t afraid of anyone). Wessel attempted some strikes, but Jones put an arm around Wessel’s shoulders and took him down with a throw which looked like a spinning uki goshi. Jones landed in Wessel’s guard and after maneuvering, tried a rear naked choke (hadaka jime) when he had Wessel’s back and finished him off quickly with a juji gatame. Jones impressed us with some decent ground work.

The quarterfinal matches were set up, with Dana White giving Jackson his wish – Marcus Jones against Darrill Schoonover. All other matches were determined through questioning the fighters and having White decide the order.

The Quarterfinals consist of:

Roy Nelson vs Justin Wren

Brendan Schaub vs Jon Madsen

James McSweeney vs Matt Mitrione

Darrill Schoonover vs Marcus Jones


November 5, 2009

p.s. As an afterthought: I read an online interview with Mike Wessel in which he complained that Kimbo Slice was permitted to have three members of his posse, his wife and one child come to his fight against Roy Nelson. Wessel suggested that it was in Slice’s contract. This, however, was completely unfair to everyone else in the house, who may have no contact with anyone, including Wessel, whose wife was to undergo surgery for cancer while he was locked away in the house. Special treatment for Slice from the beginning, I guess.

p.p.s. In another article, Kimbo Slice told someone that he had had one day of jiu jitsu training about three months before going to the house. If he is serious about MMA, he should be training ground techniques every day. There are many techniques which will be difficult for him, if not impossible, since he is so solidly built. Marcus Jones is big, but not really muscle bound, so jiu jitsu techniques would be far easier for him to accomplish.

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 1

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 2

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 3

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 4

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 5

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 6

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 7

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 9