Tag Archives: brazilian jiu-jitsu

Women’s MMA Triumphs

History was made this past Saturday at UFC 157 as the first ever women’s title fight headlined the main card. Ronda Rousey (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) successfully defended her bantamweight title against the always-dangerous challenger in Liz Carmouche (8-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC). This was the first fight where fans saw Rousey in any sort of danger as Carmouche very nearly locked in a vicious standing neck crank that would quite literally have killed a lesser human being.

Liz Carmouche very nearly breaking Ronda Rousey’s neck.

In the end though, the fight ended the way many of us expected it to. Rousey was able to shake Carmouche off her back, got her down to the ground, and from there, the end was nigh. Carmouche, likely due to her arm being tired out from the attempted neck crank, succumbed to a rather nasty armbar at 4:49 of Round 1. All the credit in the world to Rousey for coming out on top and credit to Carmouche for proving that she’s the real deal and is a definite contender at 135 lbs.

A triumphant champion stands proud.

Keys to Victory & Prediction for UFC 148’s main event

This Saturday night, all the talking comes to a halt, all the anticipation comes to a head…it all ends. Chael Sonnen (27-11-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC) will put up or shut up as he fights Anderson “The Spider” Silva (31-4 MMA, 14-0 UFC) for the UFC middleweight championship. Everyone who follows MMA to some extent knows how the first fight went. Sonnen beat Silva up for 4.5 rounds before being caught in a “hail Mary” triangle choke, thrown up by Silva halfway through the fifth round. Since then, Sonnen has not let up with the trash talk, insulting everything about Silva, from his wife, to his home country of Brazil. Silva remained quiet on the matter until he made a recent outburst  that made everyone stand-up, GSP included.

Again, none of this will matter come Saturday night when the two warriors square off in UFC 148’s main event. Let’s have a toe-to-toe breakdown of the two fighters and I’ll end with a prediction of who will win this weekend.

Striking

This one is obvious. The advantage goes to Silva who hits with laser-point accuracy and knows how to hurt people. From his famous front face kick that knocked down Vitor Belfort at UFC 146 to the back-peddling jab that KO’ed Forrest Griffin at UFC 101, Silva is a striking guru in every sense of the word.

Sonnen certainly has a solid left jab and he did hit Silva with some solid shots in their first fight, not to mention knocking Silva down at least once and staggering him prior to that. But it’s going to take more than a good jab to get Anderson to the ground where Sonnen wants him.

Wrestling

Again, the advantage here is obvious and it goes to Sonnen. Chael is a former NCAA Division I All-American,  a former NCAA Division I champion, and was in the Pac-10 Conference in 1997. All of these awards hail from the University of Oregon. Sonnen took Silva down at will in their first fight and Silva never had an answer for Sonnen’s thunderous takedowns. Wrestling has always been Silva’s Achilles’ Heel, despite him being arguably the greatest fighter in the world.

Grappling

Silva is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and like wrestling for Silva, BJJ is Sonnen’s Achilles’ Heel. Eight of Sonnen’s career losses have come by way of submission. However in the first fight, Chael neutralized the majority of Silva’s submission attempts from the botton and even attempted an arm triangle at one point. Sonnen’s submission game is ever-improving as noticed in his fight with Brian Stann at UFC 136 in which he won with an arm triangle. I also attribute Sonnen’s triangle choke loss to Silva the first time not solely to sloppy submission defence but also to him simply being tired and became lazy. As a result, Silva saw an opening and went for it.

But at the end of the day, you have to give the advantage to Anderson because again, he is a black belt and Chael and submission defence are like oil and water.

Conditioning/Cardio

I would give the advantage to Sonnen purely because he is a wrestler. Wrestlers are known for what seem like endless gas tanks because when they train at the academic level in wrestling, it’s very grueling work and very tiring. You don’t achieve what Sonnen did at the University of Oregon if you can’t fight for 25 minutes. Sonnen has also gone the distance more so than Silva in his MMA career so he is used to fighting into the later rounds, whereas Silva is more adept at finishing a fight early on. The few times we have seen Silva go the distance, he has slowed down as seen in his fight with Demain Maia at UFC 112.

Experience

This could be argued as a toss-up given that both men have been fighting for a very long time. Anderson however, has been the UFC middleweight champion since 2006; a staggering six years! That’s unheard of in the MMA world. As a result, he has consistently fought top-level talent in each of his fights and for the most part, looked good while doing it.

Sonnen has been around the block, fighting in several different promotions throughout his career. He’s been in Pancrase, the IFC, Bodog, the WEC, and currently, the UFC. His experience gained is no joke as he worked hard to make his way up the ladder, to the spot as the No. 2 ranked middleweight in the world behind the champion.

Conclusion

At the current tally, it’s two advantages for Silva, two for Sonnen, and with the experience not being a tie-breaker, it’s three in total for both men. But who really has the advantage, in the end?

Chael P. Sonnen

No, I’m not crazy. Chael is inside Anderson’s head. Don’t believe me? Read Silva’s comments on what he’s going to do to Chael this Saturday night and watch the UFC 148 press conference from earlier today and you tell me that heated staredown wasn’t due to Silva’s emotions getting the better of him. Silva is a smart fighter. True, but if he lets his emotions get the better of him, he will leave himself open to Sonnen’s takedowns and we will see a better version of Chael than in their first fight. Chael will not stop pushing forward, he take Silva down, and punish him. Unless Silva has become a wrestling master, which I highly doubt, I don’t see this fight going Anderson’s way. Let’s not forget too that part of the reason Sonnen did so well in the first fight was because Silva couldn’t get Sonnen’s timing down and given Silva’s fighting style as a counter-puncher, the night almost went very badly for him.

FINAL PREDICTION: Chael Sonnen wins via unanimous decision

Endless injuries in MMA a result of fans’ demands?

If you’ve been following the latest UFC fight cards, along with the fighters who were supposed to be fighting on each one, you would have noticed that each and every card is suffering from fighters backing out due to injuries sustained in training camp. First it was Dominick Cruz, then it was Brian Stann, then it was Michael Bisping, then it was Jose Aldo, then it was Vitor Belfort…the list is seemingly endless at this point.

Dana White has also chimed in on the issue.

I wonder though. No doubt the injuries are a result of training too hard, but are fighters training harder because that’s what fans expect?

I’m sure most of you have seen this image floating around the web:

Just Bleed guy aka James Ladner

While the UFC has done a pretty good job of shedding the barbarian image away from contemporary mixed martial arts, there are fans who are still very impatient and to some extent, uneducated viewers who prefer to see aggressive stand-up strike fests as opposed to calculated, thought out chess games. What I am suggesting is that in some small way, because the MMA hype train is moving so quickly and the UFC is offering so much so fast, fighters are now under pressure to perform even harder than usual and as a result, are being injured more often in training. Why are they under pressure? Because fans love it when fighters go all out (see Sanchez/Guida or Henderson/Rua for confirmation) and the UFC knows that such fights will sell more tickets rather than seeing GSP wrestle his way into a decision and play it safe.

I welcome your thoughts and comments on the matter.

UFC 145’s Main Event Keys to Victory

I think if you ask most MMA fans how badly they want to see Jones vs. Evans this weekend, the answer would be a unanimous one: very, very much so. This fight has been postponed at least twice now and it’s finally going to happen Saturday night. With that said, here is my breakdown of how I believe the fight will pan out.

Striking

I give a slight edge to Rashad because he has knocked people out before. Just ask Chuck Liddell or Shawn Salmon (poor guy). His KO power is there; he just hasn’t used it lately. Jones definitely has the advatange though when it comes to overall striking game because his style is very unorthodox (as we’ve all seen with those spinning back elbows of his) and his range is the longest in the entire UFC roster at 84″. However, Jones has not demonstrated one-punch KO power as of yet as his finishes have come via submission or TKO. I also believe that Rashad will know how to work around Jones’ long reach because they used to train together. Rashad does have a suspect chin though, as we saw in his fights against Thiago Silva and Rampage Jackson so if Jones starts landing bombs, it could be a short night for ‘Suga’.

Advantage: Evans

Cardio

Both men are well-conditioned athletes. They have no problem going a solid three rounds at least and I haven’t seen either of them gas in a fight so I think they could last five rounds if it goes that far.

Advantage: Tie

Wrestling

Rashad is an NCAA Division 1 wrestling champion and Jon Jones is both an NJCAA Junior Collegiate Champion and NJCAA All-American from Iowa Central Community College. Rashad has the advantage on paper but I give this to Jones because he has had great success in mixing up his wrestling with his clinch work and used to great effect when beating down his opponents. Look at what he did to Shogun and Rampage. Rashad’s wrestling is good but when I think about it, I think of the Rampage fight when he telegraphed just about every single takedown he went for and they looked pretty standard to me. With Jones’ long reach and considerably better conditioning than an overweight Rampage, I don’t see Rashad shooting in at will, lest he be clocked with one of Jones’ knees.

Advantage: Jones

Grappling

Rashad is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt but hasn’t submitted anyone since 2004 so it’s a mystery as to how good he is off of his back. Jones on the other hand uses submissions to great effect. He choked out Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, and Ryan Bader and looked amazing doing it. Based on that, I would give the advantage to Jones because he is submitting fighters on an almost regular basis and Rashad is too busy either with finishing fights with strikes or going to a decision.

Advantage: Jones

Final Prediction

Based on the information presented above, it’s 2-1 in Jonny ‘Bones’ Jones’ favour, so I say he will win this fight by either submission in the third round or unanimous decision. He could very well win by TKO as well but I think Rashad will be too busy looking to get inside of Jones’ reach and take the fight to the mat as opposed to striking with a spider (with apologies to Anderson Silva). For that reason Jones will look use to his submission skills and prove that he is the best LHW fighter in the world today.

I welcome your thoughts.

Is MMA hurting martial arts in general?

MMA is becoming more and more popular every single day, as new jurisdictions legalise and sanction the sport all over North America and as the UFC continues to put on shows for its fans all over the world. Not a day goes by where something new is happening the world of mixed martial arts, whether it’s news of a rising star, a new #1 contender for a title, or another steroid allegation (or drug use, if your name is Nick Diaz).

In terms of MMA-geared martial arts, we most often hear about muay thai, boxing, freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, and finally Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Once in a while there are fighters who break the mould like Lyoto Machida who is a Shotokan Karate black belt or Karo Paryisian who is a judo black belt. I’m not going to argue that the four martial arts mentioned above are no good because that’s far from the case. What I want to ask is whether or not the rise of MMA in society today has led to a “doing away with” of more traditional martial arts such as Japanese jiu-jitsu, aikido, hapkido, and even the aforementioned karate and judo as examples.

Whenever I step into my own local MMA gym and I train, I don’t often train in muay thai or boxing for the simple reason that I find them boring. I do enjoy freestyle wrestling as well as no-gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu because they’re excellent for cardio work, but at the end of the day, I find these martial arts to be overrated.

Please note, I’m not saying these systems are bad. But I believe that because MMA has become so popular, people talk about those systems (muay thai and BJJ in particular) as if they are the be-all, end-all, supreme martial arts that define the concept of martial arts itself. The martial arts are so varied and complex that there is no one supreme form out there. All of them work in different ways and the best option for anyone who claims to be a martial artist is to explore as many arts as they can and develop a system that works best for them.

I feel MMA’s popularity has discouraged the practice of developing one’s own system and path. It’s important to stay open to new forms of training and always explore new ways of fighting. Don’t get stuck with what is considered popular and exciting because it could hinder your growth as a martial artist.

Is Sonnen ready for a title shot?

Anyone who knows me knows I wanted Chael Sonnen (27-11-1, 6-4 UFC) to win his fight against Michael Bisping (22-4, 11-4 UFC) this past weekend but I fully expected the fight to be less competitive than it was. Chael is known for pushing a high and frantic pace and really throwing his opponents off of their gameplan which is why he was able to fight middleweight champion Anderson Silva almost 100% successfully in August of 2010. Despite this, Michael Bisping was able to control Sonnen against the cage for the better parts of rounds one and two and was successfully able to get back to his feet whenever Sonnen took him down, save for the third round. The most shocking point however is that despite Bisping seemingly winning rounds one and two, FightMetric.com clearly showed that Sonnen outstruck Bisping overall (http://blog.fightmetric.com/2012/01/sonnen-vs-bisping-official-ufc.html).

Chael was ultimately declared the winner via unanimous decision which has now set him up for the rematch with Silva he has so zealously pursued since his loss at UFC 117. Every MMA fan on the planet knows what happened that night. Sonnen beat Silva up for four rounds before being caught in a “Hail Mary” triangle choke from Silva on the bottom. Since then, Sonnen has shown improvements in his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), most noticeably when he choked out Brian Stann at UFC 136 via arm triangle. Sonnen has upped the ante with his trash talk, despite claiming to be “done with Silva” and even bringing out a fake UFC belt to the UFC on Fox 2 pre-fight press conference.

Despite the win this past weekend, some people question the legitimacy of Sonnen’s chances in a rematch with Silva. It is widely known that Silva fought with an injured rib in their last bout and (depending on who you ask) Sonnen’s TRT helped him with his cardio in the fight as well. Not to mention, Sonnen is the #2 ranked middleweight in the world today whereas Bisping is (at this time) ranked #8. Nobody expected Bisping to give Sonnen such a competitive fight on Saturday and some wonder if Sonnen would really last even three rounds with Silva in a rematch. The three things that Sonnen has going for him over Silva are his cardio, wrestling, and desire to win. It’s no secret that Anderson Silva, for all the talk about him being the #1 pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, can’t wrestle his way out of a box and his cardio while decent, is not on Sonnen’s level. Sonnen was able to beat up Anderson easily in their first fight because he pushed a furious pace and Silva wasn’t able to gauge Sonnen’s timing and throw more accurate counter-punches like he has done with every other opponent he has ever faced. Silva has surely been working on his wrestling since then and there’s no love lost between both fighters (especially since Sonnen’s comments regarding Silva’s wife). Silva will be coming into the fight much more prepared than last time.

The only thing that Sonnen can hope for in the rematch is that Silva is still injured. Silva has been nursing a shoulder injury since his fight at UFC 134 against Yushin Okami (26-6, 10-3 UFC) and while it may not be as serious as a broken rib, it would certainly help Chael out when it comes to fight time. As well, Sonnen wants to win this fight so badly that it’s hard to imagine him faltering. I know that sounds wishy-washy but when you look at how the first fight went down plus all of Sonnen’s hype so far, it’s easy to imagine.

Do I want to see Sonnen upset Silva and take home the title? Hell yes. Do I think it will realistically happen? Probably not.

UFC on Fox 2

Let’s talk about UFC on Fox 2. The main event features a three-round fight between light-heavyweights Rashad Evans (18-1-1, 11-1-1 UFC) and Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis (9-0, 5-0 UFC). The co-main event is a middleweight scrap between contenders Michael “The Count” Bisping (22-3, 11-3 UFC) and Chael Sonnen (26-11-1, 5-4 UFC). The first bout to be aired on the main card is another middleweight battle between Demian Maia (16-3, 9-3 UFC) and Chris Weidman (7-0, 3-0 UFC).

The truth of the matter is that the card is pretty decent but for all intents and purposes, all eyes are on the main event and co-main event with good reason. Both bouts feature fighters that people are most interested in and both fights have title implications. Rashad Evans has been gunning for his chance at light-heavyweight champion, and former training partner, Jon “Bones Jones (15-1, 9-1 UFC) while Phil Davis is seen by some as the only legitimate thread to Bones’ title. Michael Bisping has been longing for a shot at the middleweight belt presently held by Anderson “The Spider” Silva (31-4, 14-0 UFC) while Chael Sonnen is the only man in the UFC to very nearly defeat Silva in their title fight back in 2010 at UFC 117.

The fight between Evans and Davis is a curious one because from where I’m coming from, I almost see two fighters that are mirror images of each other, in a way. Davis is a very good grappler with decent striking and almost seems like a younger version of Evans. It goes without saying that Evans is the more experienced fighter and is a former champion so psychologically, that gives him an advantage. Evans’ striking is superior, both in terms of technique and power (who can forget his KO of Chuck Liddell at UFC 88?) As much as I want Davis to win because I tend to root for underdogs, it’s likely he’ll get past Evans. Davis’ striking is very rudimentary and while he does possess the better wrestling credentials, he telegraphs his shots rather than setting them up with strikes. If he is able to get Evans down and can control him on the mat, I see Davis winning by third round submission at best if he can wear Evans out. But a more realistic prediction from me likely sees a 1st round TKO.

Now onto the fight I’m looking forward to more than any other; the co-main event. I don’t like Michael Bisping. In fact, I hate him. He runs his mouth for no good reason and strikes me as a self-centred prick. After seeing his behaviour as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter seasons 9 and 14, I never cared for his trash talk. I respect him as a fighter because he is talented and can hurt people. As a human being though, I can’t stand him. Some people would say the same thing about Chael Sonnen, given his track record of trash talking especially where the country of Brazil is concerned, but unless you’re really touchy and sensitive, you can’t take the guy seriously. At least 50% of what he says is complete nonsense and it makes you laugh. You would also be hard-pressed to find any fight fan that doesn’t want to see a rematch between him and Silva. I see this being an easy grind match at worst, or a second round submission by Sonnen purely because he’s much more aggressive than Bisping and can push a higher pace.

I welcome your thoughts and criticisms.