musings on mixed martial arts, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and all things mano-a-mano
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Posts from — November 2010

GSP’s ESPN commercial: Simple, clever, kind of funny

November 23, 2010   No Comments

Time-keeping error cost Maiquel Falcao the submission win over Gerald Harris

For two rounds Maiquel Falcao looked like the second coming of PRIDE-era Wanderlei Silva as he tore through Gerald Harris in his UFC debut at UFC 123. That he hung back, refused to engage and played it safe in the third round certainly didn’t endear him to anyone. Sure, he got the decision victory but he should have finished the fight.

Well, it turns out he probably did finish the fight. A time-keeping error knocked seven seconds off the clock at the end of the first round when Facao had Harris in a deep rear-naked choke and on the verge of tapping out.

How does a mistake like this happen? How does anyone not notice until days later? This is a far more egregious mistake than giving Quinton “Rampage” Jackson the split-decision win over Lyoto Machida in the main event. It doesn’t excuse Falcao for coasting in the third, and he still got the win, but it might’ve cost him the $80,000 Submission of the Night bonus and would’ve left a more lasting first impression for the fighter.

November 23, 2010   2 Comments

BJ Penn isn’t back, at least not the way you think he is

BJ Penn is back. That’s pretty much how everybody summed things up following his 21-second knockout of former welterweight champ Matt Hughes at UFC 123 on Saturday. It was shocking, sudden and spectacular and definitely one for the highlight reels.

Penn was coming off back-to-back losses to lightweight champ Frankie Edgar – a fighter who is either better than Penn or simply has Penn’s number or (more likely) both.  And the quick and devastating finish of Hughes at 170 pounds is being seen as some kind of sign that Penn is mentally and physically back on track.

I’m sorry but if you think that way you’re deluding yourself. Twenty-one seconds in a cage with 37-year-old Hughes doesn’t really prove much of anything. Except that until now, Hughes has been able to hide his obvious striking limitations behind bullish wrestling abilities and brute strength. Penn is – and always has been – the better striker and he beat Hughes to the punch. That’s all it means. That, and maybe Hughes’ last three wins (over Ricardo Almeida, Renzo Gracie and Matt Serra) weren’t as impressive as we let ourselves believe.

If you’re looking for a more detailed and insightful breakdown of what Penn did right a Hughes did wrong during those 21 seconds, check out former UFC fighter Jeff Joslin’s analysis. It’s sharp stuff from a guy who knows what it’s like inside the octagon:

In this fight Matt’s only weakness was a lack of striking ability both defensively and offensively. He could have stayed far away out of range but then what? Shoot for a take down eight feet out against a guy who’s pretty damn difficult to take down from even the closest of distances.

As far as distance management goes, in order to get in tight for the clinch that he needed, Matt had to pass through the dangers of BJ’s kicking and punching ranges. He would never, ever be able to do that without punching his way in.

In my opinion, Hughes’ dominance in the welterweight division over the years –he’s a machine and one of the greatest champs ever!– through the use of his wrestling skills allowed him to win without addressing the holes in his striking game. Now, people like George and BJ are keeping him standing and those weaknesses are being exploited.

And if you’re interested in going even deeper, Joslin has a video breakdown of the punch combination Penn used to lay Hughes out. It’s good stuff if you’re interested in the striking game.

Again, though, we’re putting an awful lot of analysis into 21 seconds. I don’t want to say that Hughes simply “got caught,” but there’s really not a whole lot more to it than that.

In the meantime, let’s rein in the ponies on the BJ Penn express a little bit. He looked good for 21 seconds. Let’s see how he looks against a fighter capable of making 21 seconds feel like 48 hours, Jon Fitch, when they meet at UFC 127.

November 23, 2010   No Comments

Is Roy Nelson just blowing smoke or is his UFC career in jeopardy?

So will Roy Nelson fight in the UFC in 2011? He says yes; UFC president Dana White says he’s not so sure. The problem: apparently, Nelson has a contract with former boxing champ Roy Jones Jr.’s Square Ring Promotions that predates his stint in the UFC.

Nelson did headline a boxing/MMA hybrid card back in March of 2009 in which he lost to Jeff Monson, which was just prior to Nelson joining season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter. Now, Nelson has been pulled from UFC 125 – he was slated to face Shane Carwin, who dropped out with an injury, and while several replacements stepped forward, including Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, the UFC would have none of it.

Lawyers are obviously involved, court dates have been mulled (January 2012 is the latest rumour) and the whole thing feels messy. Except to Roy Nelson. I caught up with Big Country at Grant Brothers in Toronto on Sunday, and here’s what he had to say about the controversy – or non-controversy, as he seems to think it is.

Ed. Note: Special thanks to MMA photographer Glenn Dextras of KO Shots for handling the camerawork.

November 23, 2010   No Comments

Lyoto Machida trains with Steven Seagal for Rampage rumble

The idea that former UFC light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida is taking fight tips from Steven Seagal makes me giggle. I mean, I’m sure those backfists and wrist locks will come in handy when he faces Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at Saturday’s UFC 123. Of course, this isn’t the first time Seagal has handed out advice to UFC fighters. When you’re watching the video, pay attention to the expression on Machida’s face.

November 17, 2010   No Comments

Is Matt Hughes the greatest UFC champion of all time?

Who is the greatest champion in UFC history? Not the greatest fighter, necessarily, but the greatest fighter who’s won the belt.

Guys like Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell and Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre obviously come to mind. But off the top of my head I’d have to go with the man who started it all, who introduced a new style of fighting to the world, who faced boxers and wrestlers and karate masters who were two and three times his size. Undoubtedly, Royce Gracie is the greatest champion in UFC history. He might not have the best record, but he did more for the sport than any other. He – and his family – practically invented mixed martial arts.

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November 17, 2010   No Comments

Insert ridiculous MC Hammer headline here

Joel Gerson over at Revolution MMA passed this along and I’m not sure whether to thank him or not. This is multiple levels of horrible resulting from some kind of war of words between parachute-panted rapper-turned-MMA manager MC Hammer and legit rapper-turned-record mogul Jay-Z.

Seems Hammer feels slighted in some way, although it’s unclear how exactly, but he’s recruited Nate Marquardt, Brendan Schaub, a Jay-Z impostor with floppy man-boobs and a guy in a devil mask to his cause.

Sadly, Hammer can’t rap (no shock there) and at one point he flails his hands with such abandon it’s like a personal plea to Matt Hamill. As Gerson put it in a text to me: “Hammer and Jesus will save Jay-Z, MMA will save Hammer, but nothing can save this video.” True enough.

I also have to wonder about the decision-making abilities of guys like Marquardt and Schaub. No, this won’t negatively impact their fight career, nor will it positively impact their fight career. In fact, I’m not sure how this does anything positive for either one of them other than give them something to brag about to their buddies or to girls at nightclubs – and we’ve seen the video and it’s absolutely nothing to brag about to anybody. I know it can be tough to get sponsors and that fighters are always looking for ways to make a few extra bucks while their name actually means anything, but they would be better served showing up for supermarket openings and kids birthday parties than hanging with Hammer.

November 2, 2010   No Comments

Nate Quarry is a Zombie Cage Fighter

This idea has so much potential. I really think Nate Quarry is on to something with his Zombie Cage Fighter movie/cartoon/comic book/toys idea.

Yes, zombies are all the rage – almost to the point of Twilight-level over-saturation. Dawn of the Dead and Shaun of the Dead and [REC] and 28 Days/Weeks Later seemed to say all there was to say about the undead. But that hasn’t stopped zombie strippers and zombie Nazis and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies from lurching into the daylight.

Short of a bullet in the brain, it’s hard to keep a good zombie down – have you been watching The Walking Dead on AMC?! – and ZCF offers a new twist that combines two of my favourite things: the undead and MMA.

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November 2, 2010   No Comments

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