Posts Tagged ‘jiu jitsu’

How to do Kesa Gatame (Scarf Hold)

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Of all the ground holds, this is my favourite. Kesa gatame (scarf hold) looks as though you are doing virtually nothing, but, if applied correctly, is very strong and difficult to escape from. It can be applied with or without a gi as well, so lends itself to MMA, jiu jitsu and grappling matches. This article will cover the basics of this ground hold. The next article will cover a few escapes from kesa gatame.

If you and your partner are wearing gis and you are tori (applier of the technique):

1. You are on the ground at tori’s right side. Place your right arm across uke’s (the receiver of the technique) body and under his neck such that your forearm is flat against the floor. 

2. Grab the inside of his collar with your right thumb.

3. With your left hand, palm up, wrap your arm around his right arm, gripping the material of his gi in his armpit.  Your left arm must be above his elbow and tight against your body. If you are holding his arm correctly, he can bend his arm and cannot get out; incorrectly, he can bend his arm and pull it free.

4. Sit out on your right hip with your legs bent and relaxed. Your bottom leg (right) should be as high up toward his head as possible. Your left leg is about ninety degrees from the right.

5. Put your own head as close to the floor beside uke’s right ear as possible. This way he can’t place a hand or arm under your chin and peel you backward.

6. Put all your weight on the little toe of your right foot, the big toe of your left, and his chest.

That is the basic ground hold.  If uke moves, you move with him, keeping attached at the hip. Retain the leg positions, moving a little at a time. If you have to cross your legs to go onto your stomach, do so for as short a period of time as possible and then go back to being on your hip.

Variation 1 – An even stronger hold than this is to bring your right leg toward the hand which is holding his collar. Let go of his collar (Point 2 above) and grab your own knee. This is a very tight grip and works extremely well in no gi situations.

Also no gi: Instead of grabbing the material in his armpit – Point 3 above, you merely grab his muscles there. The important part here is to ensure that he cannot free his arm, so your arm holds his tightly above the elbow. Other than gripping uke’s body instead of the material, there is no difference. Click here to go to a video of Kesa Gatame with no gi.

Another variation for kesa gatame when wearing a judogi is the following: When you have moved your hand to grip the material in uke’s armpit (Point 3 above), continue moving your hand (still maintaining his arm tightly against your body) and grasp his far lapel instead of the armpit. When you sit out to complete the ground hold, the hold on the lapel compresses uke’s ribcage making breathing difficult. If you then grip your knee instead of putting your thumb in his collar, he’s toast. 

Kesa Gatame, or scarf hold, is named for the scarf-like look when tori’s arm wraps around uke’s neck. Since most of tori’s body isn’t touching uke’s it may look feeble. It is, however, extremely powerful and effective. You are immobilizing the head and shoulders of your opponent. Without his shoulders, he cannot lift himself off the floor. I’ve managed to hold down guys who outweigh me by about ninety pounds, so I know this hold works well.

Click here to go to a video of kesa gatame.

Click here to go to How to Escape from Kesa Gatame (Scarf Hold)  Escape #1


December 11, 2009

Simple Takedown from the Ground

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Our classes are unusual: we begin by grappling for about an hour. A match could be five minutes or forty-five, if the pair want to keep at it. After we are finished grappling, Dave asks if anything came up during the fights which was interesting, difficult to get out of, or just fun which we can all practice.

This approach works well for us: we had structured classes for many years and found them stifling. The senior members of the club spent virtually all their time teaching the same techniques over and over and spent far too little time working on their own skills.

We assume that you know a certain amount when you come to our class. If we know that you are a novice, someone will monitor you during your workouts, but we will not cater exclusively to beginners. You can work with any of the senior people, all of whom have their own idiosyncrasies and styles, all worth working out with.

Mike looks like the average southern European guy until you’re doing groundwork with him. He’s wiry, agile, smiles throughout most of his matches and has his eyes closed most of the time. He’s not intimidated by fighting a much larger person, mostly because lots of the others are bigger. He takes his time to get to the stage where he can win. He’s a great person to grapple with.

Chris is much heavier and stronger than Mike and, on the ground or standing, doesn’t like to lose. If you get a submission on the ground from him or a point when standing, you’ve really earned it.

Dave is bigger than Mike and smaller than Chris. He’s extremely difficult to choke (his favourite phrase is, “It’s only pain.”) and can weasel his way out of almost everything. I heard that the jiu jitsu people have begun calling him “The Cyborg”, which he is anything but. When he’s grappling with people, and he realizes they are trying a particular technique, he’ll let them go for it as long as necessary. They have to have the opportunity to try techniques. If they don’t quite work, he’ll stop the matches, show them the correct hand, arm, leg placements, etc., and then proceed. He’s a very good teacher.

Now for the Simple Takedown from the Ground: Dave and Chris were demonstrating this last Friday. You and your partner are on your knees facing each other. You want the upper position, controlling your partner’s body. Grip his lapel (if wearing judogi) or arm, if no gi, with one hand. With the other hand/arm grasping his arm, pull yourself into him at an angle of close to 90 degrees: you want to finish shoulder to shoulder with him. Using the second hand, pull down on uke, placing your shoulder on top of his. You now have the superior position.

Points to note: The lapel grip usually isn’t easy to get. Grab it anywhere with one hand and work your way up with both hands until you have a good grip.

You really have to pull yourself in to him, not him to you. This is done at the same time as your moving 90 degrees to him.

Once you have the superior position, your shoulder on top of his and both hands gripping him tightly,  you can take uke down at will.


May 3, 2010

The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 TUF11 – Ep. 10

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 TUF11 Episode 10 brought us Rich Franklin and pals Forrest Griffin, Grey Maynard and Tyson Griffin to work with Kris McCray in his semi-final bout. The coaches analyzed McCray’s techniques and tapered his training before the match.

In the first match-up, we had Court McGee versus Brad Tavares. Tavares stated that he expected Court to try to take him down. Instead, he planned to stop the take down attempt and win by standing  with a straight right knock-out. Joe Henle said that McGee had better wrestling and better jiu jitsu than Tavares.

Their fight went to three rounds with round three being the most interesting: McGee tagged Tavares, who almost went down. Tavares then threw a knee to McGee’s face. Tavares was successful with his kicks but got tagged again and again. McGee used te guruma(which he’d used previously) to do a big take down. He was then on Tavares’s back with an instant body lock. He used a  rear naked choke and choked Tavares out.

Dana White went up to Tavares afterward and was very complimentary, saying this match was worthy of a final fight in The Ultimate Fighter.

The second match-up of this episode was between Kris McCray and Josh Bryant. The semi-finals are three rounds, so this went the distance, but had it been a two round fight, there would have been no third round. Josh Bryant was quite hesitant in the first two rounds. He was taken down and at the receiving end of many strikes. He attempted single leg take downs, but was unsuccessful. He seemed also not to be able to find his reach. McCray, on the other hand, followed the direction of his coaches to the letter.

Round three, though, had Bryant rocking McCray with a counter and then an uppercut. He then countered with leg kicks and strikes. After a  failed Superman punch by Bryant, McCray tried a take down. McCray spent most of this round with rubber arms and was actually wobbly. 

The decision went to McCray.

The final will be between Court McGee and Kris McCray.

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


June 16, 2010

The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 – Ep 11 – Pt 2 of 2

Friday, December 4th, 2009

The semi-finals matches for The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 TUF10 were between Roy Nelson and James McSweeney and Brendan Schaub versus Marcus Jones.

Dana White said that Nelson had “impressed himself” with his bouts in The Ultimate Fighter. As for McSweeney, White said he was smaller than Nelson (but who isn’t?), but wants the win more and would outwork Nelson.

Rashad Evans commented that Nelson had pretty good stand up and great ground technique, whereas McSweeney had great stand up and not so great ground work.

Nelson’s preliminary bout had been with Kimbo Slice (click here to go to the article about this fight). His quarter final match was with Justin Wren (click here to go to that match).

McSweeney was at the center of the controversy in this episode. He wrote a derogatory comment on Zak Jensen’s head (Jensen was too trusting) and then blocked the bathroom door when Jensen was inside. Jensen told the camera that he was claustrophobic. When he was released from the bathroom, he went after McSweeney, who promptly put Jensen in a front guillotine.  Jensen is the fellow whom all the others had been picking on, who seems to lack social abilities. They even had a pool as to when he was going to go insane. McSweeney treated him poorly, probably thinking it was all a joke.

Click here to go to the articles about McSweeney’s preliminary and quarter final fights.

The semi-final between Nelson and McSweeney began with McSweeney applying a leg kick and Nelson’s countering with a strike. McSweeney changed stances, fired off kicks and strikes of his own. Nelson then rushed into McSweeney’s guillotine at the fence, but popped his head out.

McSweeney did some jabs and another leg kick and then started showboating, indicating to Nelson that Nelson should strike at his chin. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen something like this. The guy drops his hands, struts about, says, in effect, come on, try it. Well, as in all other cases, Nelson did — he hit McSweeney with a hard right and rocked him.

Nelson then slammed McSweeney to the ground and moved from half guard to side control. He used the same technique that defeated Slice, grabbed the far arm, put his giant, fat belly on the opponent’s upper torso and face, trapped the near arm under a leg and used his fist to apply feeble little punches to the bit of head that’s exposed (generally the top of the guy’s head which he has no ability to defend against)  — in this case twenty-two bops. TKO referee stoppage.

White said that Nelson finally impressed him. After McSweeney’s antics, I’m glad McSweeney lost.

The remaining bout was between Marcus Jones and Brendan Schaub. Both these guys had been professional football players, but approached MMA differently: Jones has only been in MMA for two years and is extremely competent on the ground. He is also bigger than most people. Schaub is a tae kwon do and jiu jitsu guy with strong boxing skills.

Evans talked about Schaub’s “explosive punches” and Schaub said he would just let his punches go on Jones. Jones planned to take Schaub to the ground and do ground and pound.

In both of Schaub’s previous matches, he was taken down and worked from the bottom (click here for Schaub’s matches — preliminary and quarter final). The quarter final match was ugly and he should have been penalized for grabbing of the fence and his opponent’s shorts.

Marcus Jones impressed everyone with his preliminary bout against Wessel and quarter final against Schoonover.

In this semi-final, Jones took Schaub down immediately after a strike. He then went from half guard to full mount. Schaub moved from the bottom, managing to return to half guard and then to get up. A knee by Jones looked as though it would end the match, but Schaub struck out with his right hand and Jones hit the ground. Six shots followed while Jones was on the mat and the match was over.

Rampage Jackson went into the octagon to see to Jones, probably the first time he did that for any of the people on his team. He told the camera that if he had been alone, he might well have wept over the loss.

The finals of The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 TUF10 are on Spike on Saturday, the 5th of December, between Roy Nelson and Brendan Schaub.


December 4, 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 4

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 TUF10Episode 4 aired last night. The episode covered a few men and the possibilities of their fighting. Matt Mitrione caused quite a stir when he told an opposing team member that the other fellow might be fighting, and with whom, basically telling the opposing team his own team’s strategy. Mitrione’s teammates called him a snitch. Evans was considering having Mitrione fight Marcus Jones but felt that Mitrione was afraid of Jones’s size.

As for Jones, while he was training with his teammates, he consistently hurt people, seemingly unaware of his strength. My feeling is that if he’s hurting people during training, he has limited experience and limited control: if you hurt your partners, they won’t want to train with you. It’s no longer fun for them and most of what they learn is not to play with you – just the way kids react in kindergarten.

Evans commented on his team, on individuals’ abilities and personalities.  He seemed very happy with his team, having won the first three fights. As for the fighters for this episode, Evans picked Brendan Schaub, who trains with his own team, and Jackson’s Demico Rogers. Jackson was thrilled with this match-up, commenting on how big Rogers was. Jackson’s direction to Rogers was to take Schaub down, pass to the side and pound him out. Rogers, himself, felt that his wrestling and jiu jitsu were sufficient to defeat Schaub.

One of Schaub’s coaches suggested jabs, and a long, hook cross. Evans said that Schaub was super-athletic, a great listener, technical, and took direction well.

When the tale of the tape appeared, I expected Rogers to be a giant in comparison to Schaub. In fact, they were the same height (6’4″), close in weight and almost the same age. The only significant difference was 3 inch reach advantage which Rogers had.

The actual fight was short. It began with Rogers shooting for a take down which failed. After rolling a bit and standing up, the next attempt at a take down worked. Rogers ended up in Schaub’s guard, with Schaub trapping his arms. Rogers did not accomplish much, due to Schaub’s movements. Rogers stood up with Schaub still on the ground. He then jumped at Schaub to throw a punch and ended up in Schaub’s guard again. Rogers passed to the side, elbowed Schaub in the head and was very high on Schaub’s body. He then tried to mount Schaub but got turned over.

Schaub ended the match with a variation of hadaka jime, rear naked choke, also called the anaconda choke. Ordinarily this would involve tori (the giver of the technique) applying hadaka jime lying on the ground behind uke (the receiver of the technique), trapping uke’s legs with his own. In this instance, although Schaub was looking to trap the legs, they were not yet trapped. Rogers, as uke, should have been working to prevent the leg trap and to move his way onto his stomach. Instead, he tapped out very quickly, attempting no defense against the choke.

Jackson left Rogers on his own in the octagon, merely staying on the sidelines, feeling sorry for himself.

Schaub was disappointed in his performance, but he was active on the bottom, showed control, and took advantage of the opportunity when it presented itself.

One aspect of this season which I had noticed, but hadn’t quite verbalized, is that it seems a lot like commercials with a bit of reality show thrown in. There are so many commercials that they are inserting short (perhaps 30 to 60 seconds) video clips in between the many commercials, perhaps to ensure the audience stays tuned in. Last night’s show had two of those mini-clips. Both times I assumed that the show was back on, but then they were over, and we had another five minutes (I’m guessing) of commercials. The UFC must be making money, but this is irritating. If it weren’t for the fights I wouldn’t watch any of this. Previous seasons showed drunken antics; this season has the testosterone-laden arguments between Jackson and Evans.

Perhaps there really is little to show. This group of men is older, mid-twenties to mid-thirties, maybe more mature then in previous seasons. Instead of fillers of commercials or videos of fighters doing exercises or sitting around the table, I suggest showing details of training sessions. The coaches bring experienced people with them, so why not take advantage of them and have them show some of their favourite techniques. Every one of our students would be keen to watch. Serious martial arts students are always looking for new techniques to use for that next match.  

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

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 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


Ocotober 8, 2009

The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 TUF10 – Episode 3

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 (TUF10) – Episode 3 screened last night. This episode, highlighting Kimbo Slice, had been promoted extensively for weeks. Coincidentally, The Fight Network announced yesterday that Dana White said Slice would be fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Challenge regardless of the outcome of The Ultimate Fighter. 

Most of the episode revolved around Slice’s training and other people’s opinions of him (he’s humble, hard-working, coachable…). Slice said he wanted to learn jiu jitsu, in fact to learn everything. His training emphasized fighting from his back and getting up from the ground by turning his opponent over. Jackson was very concerned about how Slice would function if he had someone holding him down who had a big belly. While practicing with one of his teammates (with the aforementioned belly), Slice could not get up.

Slice would be fighting Roy “Big Country” Nelson, a very experienced MMA guy, whose specialty is groundwork, who could handle fighting Kimbo and not be intimidated by him.  Nelson’s teammates suggested that he take Slice down, put him in a crucifix hold, and continue ground and pound until the punches were unanswered. Evans stated that Nelson was one of the best guys on the ground, plus “he can bang a bit”.

The coaches once again got into an argument, but this time James McSweeney tried to intervene. Jackson then mocked McSweeney’s English accent further aggravating the situation. Evans stepped between the two men as he thought McSweeney was close to hitting Jackson, which would be cause for expulsion from the show.

At the weigh-ins, Slice came in at 230 with a three inch reach advantage, while Nelson was a huge 264.

When the men came out for the fight, we had a very muscular Kimbo Slice and a rotund Roy Nelson, with the previously mentioned big belly. Round 1 had Slice looking for an opening, throwing a low leg kick, while Nelson tossed out little jabs. Slice was listening to his corner and immediately did what he was told. He attacked with multiple shots while moving forward toward the fence. The men tied up and Nelson pushed Slice against the fence while attempting some knees and a take down. A nice ko soto gake finally worked for the TD with Nelson ending up in full mount.

So the question as to whether Slice could defeat the big belly came up early on. Nelson moved high up on Slice’s torso, trapped Slice’s left arm under his leg and used his left hand to apply many shots to the top of Slice’s head. Slice attempted to maneuver out of the hold, actually helped by Nelson’s moving the two of them such that they were parallel to the fence (allowing Slice to use his feet to push off), but they maintained this position until the buzzer.

Round 2 had Slice using his jabs, applying a huge knee, but again being taken down by Nelson when he got close for the knee. Nelson was in side mount, trapped the arm again, tried ude garami, but ended with shots to the top of the head again, until the referee stopped the match.

White suggested that Slice might fight again during this season. Scenes from the next episode showed Marcus Jones with an injury, implying that Slice might fight in his stead.

Once again this was a fairly terrible fight: Slice couldn’t cope with being held down by a big guy: he needs lots more training on the ground. Nelson is a difficult guy to deal with, mostly a loner who trains himself. This fight may show in his win column, but he couldn’t cope while standing, took his opponent down, and basically squashed him. I wouldn’t be too proud. His first comment after the fight was something about being hungry for a burger.

My thoughts: Heavyweights can be impressive – giant punches and really, heavy kicks – but they are apt to be slow, with the result that many of their fights tend not to be as interesting as those of the lighter men. We have yet to see a good fight this season. When your audience is groaning with boredom and booing at their televisions, your show isn’t very good.

The editing is rudimentary, perhaps due to others’ influences. Why not remove at least some of the repeated conversational fillers, “You know what I’m sayin’?” uttered continually by Slice, Jackson, and even Jones? My answer: “Yes, I know what you’re saying. Stop asking.” Oh, and the fights are boring.  

The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 TUF10 is on Wednesday nights at 10 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 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

Click here to go to TUF10 Episode 9


October 1, 2009

UFC 99 June 13, 2009

Monday, June 15th, 2009

By the time we had access to Pay-Per-View for UFC 99 (the first UFC in Germany), most of the first round of the bout between Marcus Davis and Dan Hardy was over. Davis did look as though he had received more damage. These two guys had had an on-screen hate going over Hardy’s comments about Davis’s “The Irish Hand Grenade” nickname. Davis is American and Hardy had called him a fake Irishman. I guess this was to be good for television.

Round two began with kicks and a knee from Hardy resulting in Davis’s hitting the floor. Hardy went after him, but Davis managed to recover. While Hardy was in Davis’s guard, Davis tried a variation on juji gatame, but Hardy extricated himself.

Davis took Hardy down at the fence and when in Hardy’s guard did some ground and pound.

Round three, started with a good left from Davis. Hardy went down and Davis was in his guard applying elbows. Davis also tried heel hooks, but Hardy spun out of them successfully.

Hardy then had a take down and was in Davis’s guard using elbows to do damage to Davis’s eye and cut his nose.

They were made to stand up and both tried strikes.

Split decision in Hardy’s favour. Davis’s face was a mass of blood. Interestingly, in the post-fight interview, Hardy said his comments about Davis were, essentially, psychological warfare in order to affect Davis’s game plan.  I think it worked: Davis wouldn’t shake hands afterward.

The next fight was between Spencer Fisher and Caol Uno. Fisher wins most bouts by knockout and Uno tends to win by submission. Both men have had dozens of professional fights.

The match went the full three rounds with Uno’s trying to take Fisher to the ground every couple of minutes, and Fisher’s stuffing the take downs with good sprawls, and then fighting in the clinch.

While in the clinch both guys used knees and small, close strikes. The men were holding each other off, gripping wrists, trying various ways to get control. There didn’t seem to be much action, but the manoeuvres were all tactical. When Fisher got a hand free, he would strike; Uno would knee Fisher’s legs.

Both men tried sasae tsurikomi ashi at one point, with Fisher’s version succeeding in getting Uno to the ground and landing on the bottom.

Standing again, Uno kneed Fisher’s head.

Round three had Fisher striking a huge left to Uno’s head. Uno tried an ankle pick take down at the fence and spent a great deal of time trying to complete it. Fisher had the fence to help him and fought the take down, basically sitting on one leg with his back against the fence.

Eventually Uno was in full mount at the fence and used hammerfists and elbows. Fisher rolled from his side, to his back, and to the side again. This was the only time in the match that Uno was in control, but too late. Unanimous decision in Fisher’s favour.

By round three the audience was almost continually booing.  What we saw were two professional athletes with different fighting styles, one wanting to go to the ground, and the other, determined not to go there, but both knowing how to work to get to their favourite positions. (This fight could have been extremely boring, with the fighters never actually connecting, e.g. Anderson Silva versus Thales Leites in UFC 97. Leites wanted to go to the ground and Silva avoided it to the extent that they rarely touched each other.) They were very closely matched, both just happened to be equal in their strength levels, and knew how to counter each other’s moves.  I thought the audience might have been uneducated as to MMA. Perhaps they are more familiar with K1,  Muay Thai, or some other martial art. These two fighters did not deserve the disrespect shown them by the audience. (Should some of you think that I am bigoted against Germans, please know that I am German, having come to North America when I was three.)

Next up were Mike Swick and Ben Saunders. Swick’s background is Guerilla Jiu Jitsu and kickboxing; Saunders wins about equally with knock outs and submissions.

Round one started with Saunders taking Swick down.  They were on the ground for quite some time, with Swick holding Saunders in butterfly guard and Saunders just on top, not doing anything. There was some trash talking between them, quite audible as they were right by the announcers. Since nothing much happened here, I was wondering why the audience wasn’t booing.

Standing again, Swick kicked Saunders’s leg. In the clinch, Swick used knees and foot stomps.

Round two had Saunders attempting a head kick, which Swick blocked. In the clinch, Swick used knees again. He then took Saunders down and the men ended up in the same position as round one.

Made to stand, Swick kneed Saunders and then started attacking with a flurry of strikes, at least fifteen, one of which was to Saunders’ left temple causing Saunders to crumple. Knock out of the night.

The heavyweights were up next: Mirko Cro Cop versus Mostapha Al-Turk.  Al-Turk had a four inch reach advantage, does jiu jitsu, loves ground and pound, and wins most of the time by knock out. Cro Cop is a kickboxer, who wins by knock out with both hands and feet.

The match started with Al-Turk looking jittery, nervous, busy. He tried huge strikes and a leg kick and then attempted a take down. Cro Cop followed Al-Turk around the octagon, looking for the perfect moment to strike. When Cro Cop connected, in among his strikes, was an inadvertent poke to the eye. Al-Turk covered his face and turned his back. Neither Cro Cop nor the referee realized what had happened. Cro Cop continued the attack until the referee stepped in for TKO.

In the post-fight interview, Cro Cop said that he hadn’t realized he’d poked Al-Turk in the eye, but that Al-Turk would have lost either way. This is probably true, but after having watched the eye poke multiple times in slow motion, it’s a terrible way to win a match.

The first co-main event was between Cain Velasquez and Cheick Kongo. Velasquez came in at 5-0 and had won all his matches by knock out. Kongo, at 3″ taller and 5″ reach advantage, came in with 24-4-1. He generally wins by knock out.

Once again, the match went the distance. In each round, Kongo came out strongly for the first thirty seconds, actually winning the round with huge strikes. Unfortunately, Velasquez is very difficult to subdue: in round one, Kongo rocked Velasquez with two huge strikes, but got taken down himself. Velasquez had side control, then full mount; Kongo rolled over and stood up, just to be taken down again.

Kongo really seemed helpless on the ground. Velasquez quite smartly took Kongo down whenever he wanted and applied strikes and elbows.  At one point, they were in the clinch at the fence, with Velasquez slightly to the front of Kongo and Dave said that Kongo was going to get thrown with harai goshi. Velasquez tried it, but it wasn’t successful.

By the third round, as Kongo came out strongly again, instead of continuing with his stand up which was so powerful, he went after Velasquez and let himself be taken down again. Everyone on our boat was yelling, “Don’t go to the ground!”

The end of the match had Velasquez take Kongo down in the center of the octagon and, while in full mount, doing some ground and pound. Velasquez had opportunities for submission: Kongo had his arms flailing wildly as he turned away from the assault, so Velasquez could easily have applied a juji, resulting in a win. Kongo could have put his feet under him, lifted his hips, and thrown Velasquez off balance enough to get free. Neither of these things happened. Kongo is incapable on the ground. At this stage in his professional career, he should be working on all aspects of MMA so as not to get caught. He needs at least a year of solid groundwork. Velasquez could have finished the fight with a submission, ensuring a win, just in case Kongo had managed to get free to stand up (where he is extremely dangerous).

Unanimous decision in Velasquez’s favour.

The other co-main event was between Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva. This, too, went the distance. Franklin said he was looking forward to this fight as he likes to fight from standing and so does Silva.

The first round began with combinations from Silva and a take down using kuchiki taoshi. Later in the round, Silva tried a triangle choke from standing, but while doing a butt flop, lost the choke.

When standing, Silva had his hands down and Franklin connected through the gaps.

Round two had Silva applying a body kick, with a counter from Franklin. Franklin tried a head kick which Silva caught.  He then used a combination of kicks and punches. One jab caught Silva and took him down. Franklin controlled the round with strikes and punches.

Silva attempted many strikes, most of which Franklin ducked. At the end of the round, a left high kick from Silva rocked Franklin. 

Round three had Silva throwing an inside leg kick and both men striking. Franklin kicked to Silva’s ribs. While in the clinch, Silva tried a knee to the head, a body kick and a head kick. After a burst of strikes from Silva (to cheers from the crowd), Franklin took Silva down.

Unanimous decision in Franklin’s favour. Fight of the night.


June 15, 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.


April 19, 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.


April 2, 2009