Sunday, May 24, 2015

UFC 187: Age Is Just A Number (For D.C.)

"Jon Jones, get your sh*t together!  I'm waiting for you!"

That's what Daniel Cormier shouted before storming out of the cage as the new UFC light heavyweight champion.  His win may not have been the most exciting one last night, but it was the most inspiring, since he managed to climb the top of the mountain at 36, which is when most fighters are either retiring or getting clobbered by the next generation of mixed martial artists.  Here are my thoughts on this awesome card:

Benavidez vs. Moraga: Moraga put up a valiant effort against Benavidez, including a belly-to-belly suplex in Round 1 and a surge at the beginning of Round 3 to try to seize the victory by KO.  Unfortunately, Benavidez's wrestling, chin, boxing, and top control were simply too much for him in the end.

Winner:  Joseph Benavidez (unanimous decision)

Browne vs. Arlovski: This freaking awesome match is MMA's equivalent of the first round of Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas "Hitman" Hearns!  In spite of taking Browne to striking school early with punches, knees, overhand rights, straight rights, and a reverse forearm strike after a missed right hook, Arlovski looked like he was finished when Browne dropped him with a thunderous right hook.  Nonetheless, Arlovski rallied and swarmed Browne against the cage, leaving "Hapa" out on his feet with a right uppercut and a straight right that caused the ref to stop the match.

Winner:  Andrei Arlovski (TKO)

Cerrone vs. Makdessi: This fight was actually pretty even up until Makdessi cried uncle with a "timeout" gesture after his jaw was separated by one of "Cowboy's" left high kicks.  I know why Cerrone shrugged dismissively afterwards: he himself went three rounds with Nate Diaz in the past in spite of suffering a broken jaw of his own.  That being said, I've never had a broken jaw myself, so I can't judge "The Bull" for wanting to call it quits.

Winner: Donald Cerrone (TKO)

Weidman vs. Belfort: "Stop doubting me!  Stop doubting me!  Join the team!  I love you!"

That's what Weidman said after retaining his belt and praising Jesus for getting him through his hardships in life.  Although not quite as exciting as "Browne vs. Arlovski", this match was also brief and awesome.  In spite of being bloodied by "The Phenom's" trademark blitz, Weidman weathered the storm, got a double leg takedown, moved to mount and punished the Brazilian legend with ground-and-pound.  Belfort at first tried to punch back, but finally got overwhelmed and stopped defending himself.  I was actually yelling at the screen for the ref to stop the match before it was finally stopped.

I also like how Belfort praised Jesus, too, in spite of his defeat.  I have faith that, since Weidman said "yes" when Rogan asked if he could put the beef between Belfort and himself behind him, and Belfort praised Weidman after the match, that these rivals can move forward as brothers in Christ.

Winner (and still UFC middleweight champion): Chris Weidman (TKO)

Johnson vs. Cormier: In spite of eating an overhand right that would have decapitated an elephant, D.C. managed to survive the rest of Round 1, and turned the tide with a massive slam in Round 2.  He then maintained top control and attempted a kimura before cutting "Rumble" open with slicing elbows at the end of Round 2.  In spite of showing fantastic takedown defense throughout the fight (including punching D.C. in the face while standing on one leg during the latter's single-leg attempt in Round 3), Johnson finally got worn out and finished with a rear naked choke in the third round.  While I still don't think he'd be able to win a rematch with Jon Jones (assuming he still has the belt upon the latter's return), D.C. certainly proved me wrong for doubting him tonight with his gritty, hard-fought victory.

Winner (and new UFC light heavyweight champion): Daniel Cormier (submission)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

No "Bones" About It: My Thoughts On The Jon Jones Fiasco And UFC 187 Predictions

Before I make my UFC 187 predictions, this is my reaction to Jon Jones getting stripped of the title and suspended indefinitely: FINALLY!

I don't know Jon Jones personally, but his public image is almost as bad as Samson's from the Bible.  The media reports of the greatest MMA fighter of our generation (and possibly ever) paint the portrait of a young man with a character that fails to live up to his talent.  The alleged hit-and-run disaster in Albuquerque is simply the latest in a string of high-profile debacles, some of which are detailed by Adam Guillen Jr. at MMAMania:

http://www.mmamania.com/2015/4/29/8517967/dana-white-stripping-jon-jones-title-last-chance-suspension-ufc

In my personal opinion, Jones should have been stripped of the belt after he refused to defend his title in a "gimme fight" at UFC 151 against a late-replacement, much smaller and older Chael Sonnen (no offense to the "Gangster of West Linn").  His decision (which I still don't understand) put the final nail in the coffin for that PPV and led to its cancellation by Dana White.  At least Jones' title should have been taken away after he failed a drug test for cocaine metabolites after beating Daniel Cormier.  Unfortunately, when you are a world-famous athlete, you get a free pass to do whatever you want unless you ROYALLY screw up.  That being said, it doesn't get much more screwed up than allegedly:

A) Running a red light
B) Hitting a car driven by a 25-year-old PREGNANT woman (whose arm and wrist were broken in the crash.  Thank goodness she and her baby weren't killed!)
C) Fleeing the scene on foot, only to return to grab a bag full of cash
D) Oh, and to top it off, having weed in your rental car.

The whole scenario sounds like the plot of a Kevin Hart movie.

At any rate, I am glad that Dana White has finally taken disciplinary action against Jones by stripping him of the title and suspending him indefinitely.  If White hadn't done that, I wouldn't watch UFC events anymore. Will I watch Jones fight again if he gets his act together? Sure.  But I will continue to root for his opponents if he does come back.

Anyway, here are my predictions for tonight's PPV!

Benavidez vs. Moraga: My gut tells me to go with Benavidez via decision.

Winner: Joseph Benavidez

Browne vs. Arlovski: Other than a fluke loss against Bigfoot Silva (due to a torn hamstring) and a surprising upset to Werdum, Browne has been virtually unstoppable.  I see him knocking out Arlovski in Round 1 to finally earn a title shot.

Winner: Travis Browne

Cerrone vs. Makdessi: This is a no-brainer.  Cerrone is an elite lightweight on a 7-fight win streak and Makdessi is a replacement for an injured Khabib Nurmagomedov.  I believe that "Cowboy" will make quick work of  "The Bull" with a first-round submission.

Winner: Donald Cerrone

Weidman vs. Belfort: If these guys were the same age, I would consider it an even fight.  However, Belfort is 38-years-old, hasn't fought since 2013, and isn't on TRT anymore.  In contrast, Weidman is in his prime and excels at all three aspects of MMA: striking, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu, as we have seen from his destruction of Anderson Silva and his five-round war with Lyoto Machida.  Weidman will probably weather Belfort's opening blitz and submit him in Round 4 after "The Phenom" gasses, retaining his title in this "changing of the guard" match.

Winner: Chris Weidman

Johnson vs. Cormier: Again, age is the deciding factor here.  If D.C. was about six years younger, he would probably have gone "suplex city" on Johnson for all five rounds with his Olympic-level wrestling.  However, at 36, I see him losing his second bid for the light heavyweight by title to Father Time and "Rumble's" brutal knockout power.  I don't see this going past Round 2, sadly.

Winner: Anthony Johnson



   
  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

UFC on Fox 15: The Rise of Sir Rockhold, The Dragon Slayer

"Look, I did my part.  Weidman, you go do your part.  We're going to take this across the way.  Madison Square Garden.  Let's make history!"

That's what Luke Rockhold yelled during his post-fight interview, after a lopsided beatdown of Machida that would make Jon Jones envious. 

UFC Fight Night: Machida vs Rockhold

Rockhold may as well have worn a suit of armor to the octagon, because he brutally slew "The Dragon" known as Lyoto Machida to become only the third man to ever finish him.  Photo from Ryan McKinnell at Yahoo!Sports (Cagewriter): 
http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mma-cagewriter/luke-rockhold-vaults-into-title-picture-with-win-over-lyoto-machida-030008535-mma.html 

Here are my thoughts on each fight of UFC on Fox 15:

VanZant vs. Herrig: I honestly thought this was over when, after getting tossed with a headlock throw, Herrig took VanZant's back and almost got a rear naked choke in Round 1.  Fortunately, "12 Gauge" proved me wrong.  Not only did she escape, but she spent the rest of the fight either out-grappling Herrig to maintain top control or using ground-and-pound to neutralize her offensive guard before earning a clear-cut unanimous decision.  I don't feel that "12 Gauge" has earned a title shot just yet, but she has definitely proven herself worthy of a top-five opponent in her next outing.

Winner: Paige VanZant (unanimous decision)

Swanson vs. Holloway: Yeah, I think I should just move on from the whole "Lawrence vs. Holloway nutshot" controversy since Holloway not only demolished Swanson fair-and-square, but he also showed a lot of class after the fight.  Holloway picked Swanson apart with an excellent "stick-and-move" strategy, while also mixing it up with a spinning back kick, multiple body kicks, and a couple of flying knees.  He then put an exclamation point on his victory by grabbing Swanson and hurling him to the ground to make him tap with a guillotine from the mount.  Afterwards, he showed respect by checking on Swanson while he was recovering and, during his post-fight interview, thanked the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (who is also my Lord, by the way), for his victory.  I'm not ashamed to say that I will root for this young lion in the future, which I am very certain will involve a title shot in the shark tank which is the featherweight division.

Winner: Max Holloway (submission)

Souza vs. Camozzi: Another Round 1 submission (via armbar this time) and easy payday for Jacare.  Other than a "thank you" to Camozzi for stepping up on short notice, nothing else needs to be said.

Winner: Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (submission)

Rockhold vs. Machida:  If this victory didn't earn Rockhold a title shot, I don't know what will.  During the first round, Rockhold rocked Machida with a right hand and took him down, keeping back control for most of the round and going for a rear naked choke.  When the round was over, Machida looked like he was out on his feet as he wobbled over to his corner.  In Round 2, Rockhold softened Machida up some more with left jabs and body kicks.  Then he simply pushed him to the ground, pounded him with some elbows, and then flattened him out face-first on the canvas with double leg hooks before making him tap with a rear naked choke.  This pretty much crushed my hopes for the return of the Machida Era.  Whoever wins "Weidman vs. Belfort" better have been paying attention because Rockhold has once again proven that the loss he suffered in his UFC debut was a major fluke.

Winner: Luke Rockhold (submission)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

UFC on Fox 15: My substitute for UFC 186

Why am I not watching UFC 186, in spite of being a fan of "Mighty Mouse" and "The Count"?

Because I don't pay for squash matches.  That's why.

Demetrious Johnson's opponent, Kyochi Horiguchi, barely beat Louis Gaudinot in his last match, which was so terrible that I wrote "Who cares?" in my UFC notes regarding who won Round 3 and stopped paying attention.  I honestly believe he got this title shot because he is the only flyweight "Mighty Mouse" hasn't schooled yet.  On top of that, Michael Bisping is fighting C.B. Dolloway, whose best accomplishment so far has been that he was hand-picked by the UFC to be part of Lyoto Machida's KO highlight reel.  The only way I would consider going out to watch this PPV is if Davis vs. Kaufman was moved to the main event and that certainly isn't happening.  So I'll just watch that particular fight on the prelims at home and save my money.

At any rate, here are my predictions for the fight card I'm watching instead: UFC on Fox 15.  It not only has much better matches: it's also FREE!

Herrig vs. VanZant:  I'll be rooting for "12 gauge" here, but the fact is that she simply doesn't have enough experience to beat someone like "Lil' Bulldog" just yet.  I believe Herrig will sub her in Round 3.

Winner: Herrig

Swanson vs. Holloway: Swanson has had a lot more experience and success against the upper crust of the featherweight division than Holloway has, so I think he will batter Holloway from pillar-to-post for three rounds en route to a lopsided decision victory.

Winner: Swanson

Souza vs. Camozzi: First, I found out Yoel Romero got injured and had to bow out, which was a major disappointment.  Then I found out that the best replacement they could find was Chris Camozzi, whom Jacare has already subbed within one round, and I was even more disappointed.  Since Camozzi is on a four-fight skid, I don't see this ending any differently: another Round 1 sub and easy payday for Souza.

Winner: Souza

Rockhold vs. Machida:  Since my first black belt was in karate, I would love to see Machida win another UFC championship.  That being said, he and Rockhold (who has crushed Costas Philippou, Tim Boetsch, and Michael Bisping) are both evenly matched and Rockhold is 6 years younger.  I believe that Father Time will catch up to Machida in this fight and that he will drop a unanimous decision to the former Strikeforce middleweight champion, who will go on to challenge the winner of Weidman vs. Belfort.

Winner: Rockhold.   

My Answers To MMAMania's Five Burning Questions For UFC On Fox 15

Just for fun, I decided to write a blog response to "UFC on Fox 15 preview: Five burning questions for 'Machida vs Rockhold' in New Jersey", an article by Alex Schlinsky at MMAMania.com.

http://www.mmamania.com/2015/4/13/8403365/ufc-on-fox-15-preview-five-burning-questions-for-machida-vs-rockhold-new-jersey-mma

Here are my answers to the questions that he asks:

"5. With Joanne Calderwood's loss this past weekend, is Paige VanZant vs. Felice Herrig a No. 1 contender's bout?"

Probably.  Even though I think that Maryna Moroz deserves it more with her upset of Joanne Calderwood at UFC Fight Night: Gonzaga vs. Cro Cop 2, the more popular, more charismatic (and let's just face it, prettier) female fighters tend to leapfrog the competition, regardless of skill or talent.  So I believe that Moroz will get snubbed and the winner of VanZant vs. Herrig will get the next title shot against Joanna Jedrzejcyk.

"4. Aljamain Sterling: A future title contender?"

The UFC better hope so.  Their bantamweight division desperately needs one.  Dillashaw and Barao seem miles ahead of the rest of the division.  I'm a huge Faber fan, but even I believe that he has had more than enough chances to prove he is the best and just doesn't have it in him.  And Cruz (who never actually lost his title to begin with) is too injury-prone to stay competitive.  I am all for bringing in any fighter who can prevent "Dillashaw vs. Barao V" from happening.

"3. Can Cub Swanson rebound from his difficult loss to Frankie Edgar, or will Max Holloway prove to be a top-five contender?"

Absolutely.  Swanson is a monster who was simply outmatched against Edgar.  I just hope that he is prepared for any "accidental" nutshots he might take against Holloway (watch Holloway's fight against Justin Lawrence and you will see what I am referring to).

"2. Does anyone care about Ronaldo Souza vs. Chris Camozzi?"

Let me think.  NO!

That's why I am hoping that, assuming that Souza and Michael Bisping defeat their opponents this month (which is highly probable), that "Jacare" answers the challenge that "The Count" issued to him over Instagram (see below).

http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2015/4/15/8417623/ufc-michael-bisping-jacare-souza-186-dollaway-mma-news

"1. How well does Lyoto Machida match up with Luke Rockhold?"

Considering the age of these too middleweight standouts, not well enough, I'm afraid.  The surging Rockhold is 30 and in his prime, whereas Machida is 36, which is when most fighters lose their touch (and their chin).  I believe that this is the fight where Father Time finally catches up to Machida and he passes the torch to the next generation of champions.  Will he put up a valiant effort against the surging Rockhold? Absolutely.  Will he win?  I doubt it.   

Next post: My UFC on Fox 15 predictions (and why this event is my substitute for UFC 186)

    






Sunday, March 22, 2015

MMA Blogging: My Hobby

As much as I would love to blog about MMA full-time, there are these things called "bills" which I have to pay.  For that reason, I will just treat it as a hobby for now.  If things take off in the future and I can make money off my hobby, great.  Meanwhile, I will just do it for fun whenever I get some free time.

That means that I will not be able to review every single UFC event.  It used to be that there would only be one UFC PPV a month.  Now, on top of those PPVs, there are free events EVERY WEEK.  I simply don't have the time to keep track of every match anymore, so I have to be picky about which events I write about.

Additionally, as much as I love MMA, I primarily train in the traditional martial arts, so I want to blog about those, too.  Even though Kung Fu isn't trendy anymore, it is still valuable for self-defense and is AMAZING when it comes to physical health.  The Kung Fu kata, in particular, have done wonders for me when it comes to stress relief, improving my overall energy level, healing my joints, and preventing injury.  It's basically yoga for warriors.

For these reasons, I will be cutting back on my MMA posts.  Even though I will cover as many PPVs as I can, the UFC is just one of many aspects of the martial arts.  Therefore, it will only be one of many aspects of my martial arts blog.         


Sunday, March 15, 2015

"Showtime" Gets Cancelled At UFC 185!

"Through Jesus, you can do all things!"

That's what Rafael Dos Anjos yelled after giving Anthony Pettis a five-round beatdown en route to becoming the first Brazilian UFC lightweight champion.  His "David vs. Goliath" victory capped off an amazing PPV which also saw Joanna Jedrzejczyk crush Carla Esparza in two rounds, which was another upset I didn't see coming.  Here are my thoughts on each match of the card.

Caraiso vs. Cejudo: As expected, Cejudo schooled Caraiso in a grappling clinic to get the decision.  Caraiso did almost get a heel hook near the end of Round 3, but it was too little, too late.  Even though I don't think Cejudo's quite ready yet, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a title shot after this, especially if "Mighty Mouse" wins next month.

Nelson vs. Overeem: Overeem made me eat my words by picking apart "Big Country" en route to a decision.  In particular, flying knees to the chest and body kicks which turned the entire right side of Nelson's body red were the keys to victory for "The Reem."  He also showed better defense, dodging (and a couple of times, running from) Nelson's fists and covering up when Nelson wailed on him to protect his chin.  Wagging his finger at Nelson to taunt him after stuffing a takedown may not have been the classiest move, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

Hendricks vs. Brown: Has Hendricks' "punch-punch-takedown" style become formulaic?  Yes.  But hey, it works.  He basically smothered "The Immortal" for three rounds, using his wrestling to stymie all of Brown's submission attempts, including a couple of inverted triangle attacks.  Not to mention that the slams that "Bigg Rigg" used, especially the one when he carried Brown to the center of the octagon and planted him into the mat, made me nostalgic for the days when WWE was actually good.

Esparza vs. Jedrzejczyk: Joanna is the Polish She-Hulk!  First, she sprawled, stuffed or reversed nearly all of "The Cookie Monster's" takedown attempts.  Then Jedrzejczyk broke the former champion's face with brutal straight rights until she finished Esparza against the cage with a flurry in Round 2 for the TKO.  In all honesty, though, Jedrzejczyk had crushed Esparza mentally long before that.  With her wrestling completely neutralized, Esparza had no clue what to do.  She fell into the insanity trap of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, seemingly unable to believe that the wrestling ability which took her to the top was completely useless against her opponent.  Overeem made me eat my words; Jedrzejczyk, the new women's strawweight champ, shoved them down my throat!

Pettis vs. Dos Anjos:  Dos Anjos was way too nice to make me eat my words.  Instead, he politely served me humble pie, slice-by-slice, through manhandling the best striker in the UFC.  Dos Anjos used straight lefts to smash Pettis' right eye so that he couldn't see.  Then he used multiple takedowns to ground the high-flying champ and brutalized him with ground-and-pound.  On top of that, he rode Pettis' back and nearly got a rear naked choke not once, but twice.  Additionally, he almost got a kimura.  Pettis did attempt a kimura-sweep in Round 5, but Dos Anjos wasn't having it.  In the end, Dos Anjos claimed the lightweight throne as his own before acknowledging the real source of his victory: Jesus Christ.

Ironically, Dos Anjos admitted in a post-fight interview that he had almost pulled out of the fight due to a torn MCL in his right knee.  However, Dos Anjos prayed to God and God told him that he would be fine.  I can only imagine what Dos Anjos will do when he is at 100%!