Deception in perception…

by on November 25th, 2009

I suppose what happened on Friday night was a foregone conclusion, but the gut feeling deep within me thought  the grimy veteran would be able to outwork the young , hard hitting phenom was wrong. How wrong, you ask?

aldo vs brown knee

Mike Thomas Brown was so thoroughly dominated in the second round that I couldn’t with a decent conscience grant him any advantages in that time period. Brown engaged in a kickboxing match with Aldo for the first half of the first, until a combination from Aldo forced him to abandon his previous approach. He bullied Aldo into the cage for the rest of the first, and used his wrestling to try and overcome Aldo, but as the kid was too fast and too strong, he ended up eating some hard shots and shooting directly into a double or single because of a precise Aldo combination.

An impressive display, by all means, but Aldo’s performance was not without flaws. His strike defense in the first was on and off, and in my opinion, an opponent of equal or greater height and reach should be able to capitalize on this lack of defense.  His precision worked as a major advantage when it came to his striking, but as the fight wore on, he seemed to abandon this accuracy and throw his hands with abandon. While this eventually worked to his advantage as Brown tired, I can foresee this tactic hindering his career in the long-run.

Maybe it was just his expectation of a spectacular knock-out victory, but I could see holes in Aldo’s game (whether perceived by others or not), and when Brown finally caved and gave up his back, it was elementary for Aldo to mount and gorilla punch away. Not that I want to take away from Aldo’s Championship-winning fight, but as they say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”

Aldo is the new Feather-weight Champ for the WEC and from now on, my main focus in training and teaching is to be able to counteract some of the work that Aldo has showcased. Eventually(possibly soon), the day will come when Aldo meets a force of equal or greater power and precision, and we shall see whether he has the endurance and fortitude to withstand such a threat. Until then, we will all be watching these videos, analyzing flaws in footwork and striking range, considering possible transitions into takedowns from clinch range, and pondering the ACTUAL threat of his ground game, as we have not seen any submission work from Aldo.  Sometimes a great day in the gym is out-done by a day analyzing your opponent, figuring out his (perceived) weaknesses and how, if possible, to exploit them. I know that I, along with many others, will be watching and waiting in the wings, ready to challenge his supremacy.


Much can change in a short amount of time…

by on November 20th, 2009

me and ryan couture again sparring 2

eric and erc 2

As a well-versed grappler and submission specialist (I’ve been a practitioner of Judo , Traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, and Danzan-Ryu Jiu-Jitsu since the age of 3), I’ve always found one of my dreams to come train at a top-notch training facility. As I live in Las Vegas, my dream is obviously more attainable than most, but even I was amazed at my good fortune that I’ve experienced in the last month, maybe the last month and a half. I was introduced, completely by chance, to another Eric Center, who also lives in Las Vegas, and who also fights. Seeing as how he is a Muay Thai Fighter, and I am a ground specialist, I invited him to come to a local community center to teach him some basic judo. As luck would have it, the community center ended up being booked for a carnival the next day, so me and my new friend were stuck in a bind. That bind was soon broken when Eric suggested to me that I come down and check out Xtreme Couture. As I expressed earlier in this article, this has always been a dream of mine, so naturally I was more than happy to oblige. From that first day, Ive taught, been taught, been punched in the face and returned the favor, been hobbled by leg and body kicks, and to be perfectly frank, its been one of the best experiences of my life.

Me and Eric became fast friends, and as i’ve been helping him prepare for his 2nd Amateur fight on the 27th, I’ve learned much about myself as well, both in terms of my abilities to teach, be taught, and learn to let it all flow naturally. Ive blogged on and off for the past couple of months, only letting my proverbial hands go when I had an urge to wax poetic about something interesting to me going on in the MMA world, but as of right now, I hope to make this more than just a “Part-time Gig”

As Always,


Mike Thomas Brown VS Jose Aldo

by on November 20th, 2009


This, My interweb friends, is the undisputed world champion at 145 pounds. Naysayers in japan may point out Norifumi Yamamoto as their prime example, but the bar has been set high in the states with Mike Brown defeating long-time belt-holder Uriah Faber in not one but two contests. His next challenge, and that is putting it mildly, is in the form of Jose Aldo, a hard-hitting phenom with hurricane speed and laser-point accuracy. While Aldo has been relatively untested during his career, his 8 second flying knee demolition of a very game Cub Swanson has made his stock risen tremendously as of late. Almost immediately after those 8 seconds, a relatively shallow division at 145 was being rummaged through, and with Aldo coming off such a spectacular KO, and Mike Brown holding the belt, Joe Silva decided that he would create a clash of epic proportions.

This fight has vast implications that not many people realize. Uriah Faber, in my mind, is a non-issue, due to his hands and penchant for unorthodox striking that always seems to get him in trouble, Everyone else in that 145 fish pond has been weighed and measured in some form. There are a few notable exceptions. Mackens Semerzier, who, with his upset triangle choke victory over fellow blue-chip prospect Wagnney Fabiano, put himself in line for a title run after a few more spectacular victories. Fabiano, in his own right has had a tremendous run of competitive glory, and was expected to run right through Semerzier, and got caught within 2 minutes within the first round.

L.C Davis, Raphael Assunscau, Leonard Garcia, and Josh Grispi are a few more blue-chippers trying to make names for themselves, and in this highly polarizing division, seeing anyone of them rise to the top is not beyond the realm of possibility. Seeing as how my competition, at least at first, will be comin in the 145 lbs division, i see all these contenders as prodigies in their own right, ready to take on all comers, on a days notice if neccesary.


The State of the Middleweight Division

by on November 20th, 2009

Silva getting hit

Anderson Silva seems to have a way of working his agenda through the confines of his organization, but what remains to be seen is his ability to deflect criticism brought down upon himself by his actions. An elbow injury, that seems to be reoccurring and non-existent, all at the same time, is having a dramatic effect on the UFC’s ability to contstruct a legitimate bracket for contenders ready and willing to wrest his belt away from him.

Dan Henderson is the latest casualty, as one would say, in Silva’s posturing. His lack of desire to fight, even in a fairly nonsensical match against Vitor Belfort, has forced Henderson to seek opportunities elsewhere. Whether he remains in the UFC is to be seen, but a contract with Strikeforce seems to be imminent at this point. On the other side of this bracket, Nate Marquardt has put together a string of impressive victories and earned, in many peoples opinions, a title shot eliminator bout at the very least. A Henderson VS Marquardt bout in my mind seems to be the most effective way of settling a conundrum Silva has created for himself, but he seems to be dis-interested in fighting either, due to his victories over each in the past.

Henderson, for all his accomplishments and significant victories, is on the tail end of his career and looking for some substantial paydays to last him into the future, which is why I don’t begrudge him for holding out in contract negotiations. However, his ability to perform in the cage against a game Anderson Silva seems to be in line with his first attempt, being overwhelmed after holding his own for a short period of time.

Nate Marquardt, however, has become a far more complete fighter since the UFC threw him into the lions den against the most ferocious fighter he had seen at that point. His time spent with Greg Jackson’s camp has molded him into a legitimate contender to take away the current champions belt, and I dont see Anderson Silva having an answer to Marquardt’s striking from mid-range and takedown ability. Nate has jiu jitsu practitioners of Anderson Silva’s level at Jacksons camp, and I dont see Silva’s ground game being a factor in that fight.

Basically, this entire rant is based off of Anderson Silva’s un-willingness to fight contenders in his division, instead choosing to raise himself upon a pedestal, in terms of asking to fight heavyweight fights, like his mentioning of a Frank Mir bout. He, at least in my opinion, has come to the conclusion that his ability to finish opponents in his own weight class has far exceeded his wildest dreams, and larger challenges loom, waiting in the wings. It is in this fans opinion that if not for a Henderson VS Marquardt title eliminator, Anderson Silva must fight Nate Marquardt before trying his hand at moving up in weight to light heavy and testing the waters there. A win over a notoriously fragile James Irvin, and everyones favorite glass-jawed gladiator, Forrest Griffin, does not give him the right to make demands upon the organization that is providing him with the means to support himself.


Gomi’s Triumphant Return?

by on November 20th, 2009

t. Gomi

Takanori Gomi has managed to secure the victory against a very game Takashi Nakakura, and most of the internet is a-buzz with the notion that the Gomi that everyone had fallen in love with has made a miraculous return to the “Fireball Kid” of old and is in a position to take the rest of the world by storm. In his own words, he would ” like to relax for a little bit, and if I continue fighting, I’d like to test the waters overseas.” Anyone with half a brain would conclude that with his relatively recent appearance at a UFC pay-per-view, and his mention of Dana White in the article, its very clear that he has the intention of possibly giving his career a quick-start in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It is entirely possible that Dana might have a different opinion, and Gomis talents would likely be appreciated elsewhere, more than likely in Strikeforce.

However, a second round TKO of a previously thought outmatched Nakakura isnt enough to set off the bells and whistles in my mind. I should mention, that the “Kid”‘s performances in the past have led me to believe devoutly in his ability to withstand copious amounts of punishment and still manage to come out victorious. He should, However, at the very least, attempt a comeback fight in Dream or Sengoku, against someone who has real championship level caliber. Ive heard banter pertaining to the high level of competition Gomi was about to face in the Japanese-born and bred Nakakura, but as a big fish swimming in a small pond, that kind of talk has to be taken with a grain of salt. Im not saying Nakakura is without talent, but a step up in competition is definately warranted for Gomi after his frankly lackluster losses to un-heralded competition. I was elated to see the look in his eyes after he had founght a hard won victory, but deep inside me, I cant help but think if this triumph is enough to propel him back into the limelight, and the hearts and minds of combat enthusiasts the world over.


Cung Lee’s Revolving Door…

by on November 20th, 2009


Ill be one of the first ( debateable, I know) to admit that my outlook on Cung Lee’s MMA excursion propelling him into the world of professional film-work would not end up being one of the best of his decisions. Being a World Champion in San-shou? Introducing a large portion of the MMA blogosphere into the “wonders” of his beloved sport? Both top notch tasks, pursued with a fervor enviable by anybody. However, when he decided to formally enter the MMA fight scene, Ill have to admit, I did not see this next of his endeavors ending well for the man. However, Lo and behold, he’s managed to put people back in their respective places and make a name for himself not only within the Forums and chatrooms inherent to most if not all MMA websites, but also endeared himself to a mainstream audience, a feat not easily accomplished by even the most recognizeable of our sports athletes. However, his recent forays into acting and brand marketing may have been profitable for him, but have sent his stock in a downward spiral, in terms of his relevance within the Strikeforce middleweight division.

Here we have a champion, who after only a few fights (albeit dominating victories) has decided it would be in his best interest to take a sabbatical from the fight game and pursue his opportunities as an actor, making appearances in movies such as the aptly named “Fighting”. He seems to be of the opinion that while this is more than likely the best option in terms of financial stability as the moment, it leaves a plethora of middleweight fighters chomping at the bit for a chance to take the belt away, but to no avail. My train of thought leaves me to believe that Strikeforce should leave him be with his pursuit of an acting career and set up a #1 and #2 contender fight to crown an interim champion, at least until Mr. Lee is satisfied that his acting bug has desisited chomping away .

At 34, Cung may find himself in a position that many of our older fighters are having to come to grips with, that their talent will not always carry them through the toughest of adversities, and that youth and fast-twitch fibers are essential to stay on top in this ever-evolving sport. He has seemed to maintain his grip on this balance of inflicting violence for now, but all it takes is one injury, one slip on the canvas, to force him into a position where he has to completely dedicate himself to one way of life or the other. The life of a fighter is filled with hard decisions, especially one who is trying to maintain a death-grip on his well-deserved belt. However, the way he is going about maneuvering around media attention and his vagueness pertaining to his return to the cage leave a bit of unease swirling aound the top of my head. I cannot in good conscience say that he is one of my favorite fighters. but it would be doing me, and most importantly the rest of the fighters in Strikeforce deserving of a title shot, for him to leave everyone in an on-going limbo as to when he might fight again.

With his recent dominations of Frank Shamrock and Tony Fryklund aside, I see no reason for him to rest on his laurels and reap the benefits of 5 professional victories without testing himself against someone who will truly put Cung into a place he has some forseeable problems. Until that happens, it will be difficult to see him as anything other than a flash in the pan champion, who was never forced to trek into a zone where he was not the clearly superior practitioner.

I know that my opinions will have some obvious detractors, but feel free to comment, and we can debate to our combined hearts content.


Scott Smith and his Abstract Snoozer

by on November 20th, 2009

scott smiths nose

Is it just me or has Scott Smiths nose turned into a piece of interpretive artwork? Call me vain if you will, but if there is one thing i’m dreading with my initial trek into the ring, its that deviated septum and the fact that there is going to be a perfect 90 degree angle framed directly in the middle of my face.

Watch TUF season 4 and you’ll catch my meaning. Also, the fact that such an injury practically ensures that you’ll sound like you have a sinus infection for the rest of your life doesn’t thrill the shit out of me


Anderson Silva…..”Sigh”

by on November 20th, 2009


To be perfectly honest, I dont know what to expect from the UFC’s resident #1 “lutador brasileiro” as of right now. Hes been absolutely dominant for the majority of his UFC career, and it seems hes been on the back-burner mentally for his last couple title defenses. Whether its the fact that he doesn’t respect the competition the company is putting him up against, or the stigma he would face after losing to such a fighter, he’s seemed unwilling to engage in a fashion that would produce an exciting fight.

He’s followed a well informed gameplan to be sure, but for gods sake, was he really hesitant to get into a jiu jitsu battle with Leites? Silva is a black belt in BJJ, who happens to be training with some of the best in his country at the moment. To be a thouroughly convincing champion, he has to prove to the world, and maybe more importantly, his countrymen, that he isnt scared to exchange positions in a sport that has evolved into a new national pastime for his home country. Its Brasilian Jiu Jitsu for fucks sake! I would think that a large portion of the people in the jiu jitsu community back home were thinking “Leites is handling this poorly ( im also assuming the people thinking this are being EXTREMELY forgiving of Leites performance…. bleugh), but why isnt Silva following him down at least?”

Ive heard opinions from every outlet covering fight sports that have run the gamut from calling Silva a coward for failing to engage on the ground, to webites praising him as a sort of neo-Muhammad Ali, citing his ability to improvise and inovate in the cage. While his actions in terms of striking have been construed as adventurous as well as showboating, it seems to me that he holds no further value fighting at 185 pounds. Barring another showdown with Nate Marquardt, i really see him producing no great amount of fan-based publicity with him fighting at the level he seems to have leveled out at.

I say throw him into deep water at 205. Let him taste some of the power that the top fighters at that weight hold, then let him decide whether he thinks another fast paced grudge match with Marquardt is befitting. I know he has a match set with Griffin at UFC 101, but I dont see that being much of a challenge. I say let him start thinking about that elusive second belt, and pitting him against contenders who cant wait to shove Silva off his throne he has constructed for himself in his own mind. Who knows, he may come out victorious in any situation that the UFC throws at him, but maybe, just maybe… it will put him right back where he needs to be, hungry to prove to the world just who he REALLY is.


Here’s to an upcoming Hughes knee injury. May it be his last…

by on November 20th, 2009


“Raises glass”

Toasting from my goblet of watered down sprite, I have to say i’m going to be happy when Hughes finally hangs ‘em up. I fully comprehend his importance to the UFC and how hes going to go down in history as one of the greatest welterweights of all time, but for gods sake, is it too much to ask to see him get handled by Mini-me in their upcoming bout? While something is to be said about talent trumping most everything else, I still have to say his chipmunk cheeks getting the nuts knocked out of em is going to put a smile on my face.

I watched as he feigned ignorance to the fact that he was moments shy of losing a few hundred thousand more brain cells via cerebral stand-by after he knocked Newton silly, and while that one of the most spectacular finishes Ive ever seen, it puts a slight damper on my enthusiasm seeing him throw Carlos into oncoming traffic by attempting to convince everyone he wasn’t out cold (I know he’s admitted to it now, but for me, better late than never does not apply here).
His consistent attempts to hold court with countless UFC referees on charges of fouls is another talking point, with his attitude towards other fighters while cameras aren’t pointed directly at his face finally rounds out my short list of gripes with the guy. So once again, Hell of a fighter, Hell of a douchebag.

Also, to defend my Mini-me comment, all joking aside, Serra does line up favorably when compare/contrasted. am-i-right?
(Got nothin but love for ya Serra)


My Initial Foray….

by on November 20th, 2009

Seeing as how these are going to be my first attempts at throwing myself out into the gauntlet, so to speak, ill start out with giving you guys a fly-by of what im all about. Im a 21 year old kid, but one with a pretty extensive backround in judo and jiu jitsu. Ive been attempting, without much success so far, to get myself into a position to train fighters to incorporate judo and jiu-jitsu, not two separate entities, but one continuous art, into their repetoire. Colby Lilly, my first project, has his second amateur fight coming up on the 9th of this month, and I will be reporting on all the adventures we manage to get ourselves into.

The reason for my lack of success is in large part due to my schooling, and to be candid, my inability to motivate myself to get out there and train. So, in an effort to deviate from this abomination of a path, ive decided to start writing about everything I deem news worthy in this MMA scene that I love so much. From watching UFC 1 with my dad on one of the “little black boxes” to getting hooked back on with an entire generation of “TUF noobs” during the Ultimate Fighter finale, im going to attempt to compress all my rants, raves, and outbursts into a single outlet.

Let It Commence.