Monday, September 24, 2012

My Reaction To UFC 152

UFC 152 was FREAKING SWEET!   I haven't seen a card this good since UFC 144.  Here are my thoughts on each match.

Swanson vs. Oliviera: Proof that good boxing is essential to MMA.  Oliviera didn't defend his head properly and paid for it by being rocked in the temple and sent to sleep.  Most MMA fighters have a wrestling or jiu-jitsu background, so more and more often, the guy who comes out on top is the one with the better striking (Velasquez vs. Dos Santos, for example).  This match is more proof that you need to be strong in all aspects of your game and that boxing is an underrated skill set in the UFC.

Hamill vs. Hollett: I honestly thought the fight should have been stopped when Hollett turtled up and didn't do anything for over a minute while Hamill was hammering him after taking his back.  If you are a fighter, you need to try to escape if you are in a bad position, not just cover your head and pray that your opponent stops pounding your head into mush.  Nonetheless, Hamill still got the victory with much better wrestling, so it's a moot point. 

Bisping vs. Stann: I thought this was the most exciting fight of the night.  Bisping really showed off his grappling skills and took Stann by surprise, who seemed to expect "The Count" to stick to his trademark striking game.  Stann hearted it out, but was simply outclassed by a more skilled competitor.  While I don't think Bisping will beat Anderson Silva, I do believe he has earned his title shot.

Johnson vs. Benavidez: This was probably the second best fight of the night.  Benavidez and "Mighty Mouse" were pretty even, Benavidez having better striking and Johnson having better wrestling.  It was really exciting when Benavidez caught Johnson in that guillotine choke and Johnson countered with the attempted leg lock.  Ultimately, Johnson's superior wrestling helped him pull out a razor-thin split decision victory and I really hope this fight will get the smaller weight classes the respect that they deserve.

Belfort vs. Jones:  "The Phenom" put on a valiant effort and I was proud of how well he did against a much younger and stronger opponent.  I went crazy when Belfort got that armbar and nearly submitted Jones in the first round.  Even after the fight, Jones said that he felt his arm pop and that, even though he wasn't going to tap, he expected his arm to break.  Sadly, Jones was simply too young and too strong, able to hold out until Belfort got tired and let go.  Belfort realized that he wasn't going to get anywhere standing and trading with Jones, so he frequently pulled guard and focused on his jiu-jitsu, nearly getting a triangle choke in the second round.  Unfortunately, Jones was saved by the bell before Belfort could get the choke in deep.  In Round Three, Belfort played possum, dropping to the ground after taking a sidekick to the gut by Jones.  You could tell from his smile that the crafty pro wasn't hurt nearly as much as he was acting and that he was trying to get Jones on top of him so that he could pull guard again.  The ploy worked, but Jones is a quick learner.  He figured out Belfort's game plan, getting up and forcing "The Phenom" to stand with him.  In Round Four, Jones pinned Belfort's left arm to the mat with his knee and submitted him with an Americana. 

What can I say?  "Chicken Bones" won fair and square and it cannot be denied that he is basically unstoppable.  The only guy who stands a chance against him is Anderson Silva, who will probably only move up in weight if he is dethroned as the King of the Middleweights (good luck getting THAT to happen).  Glover Texiera, while having a fierce rep, has yet to be fully tested to see if he will be a UFC mainstay or if he will fizzle out after a couple of impressive wins like Houston Alexander.  The Swedish warrior, Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson is pretty tough, but the only notable opponent he has beaten is Matt Hamill.  We'll have to see how he does against Shogun before we can really gauge his chances against Jones.  At any rate, Tito Ortiz can pretty much kiss his title defense record goodbye. 

Do I respect Jones after this?  A little.  He did show proper respect to his fallen adversary, saying "to God be the glory" before giving him a hug (Belfort, being a devout Christian himself, agreed).  He still has a long way to go before I would become a fan, but he has taken a step in the right direction. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My UFC 152 Predictions

Tonight is going to be freaking awesome.  This is going to be quick, because Jon "Chicken Bones" Jones is a huge draw and I want to arrive in time to get a good seat.  So without further ado, here are my predictions:

Swanson vs. Oliviera: My hunch tells me that Swanson will win by knockout in the second round.

Hamill vs. Hollett: At last, I get to see "The Hammer" in action (his "win" over Jones excluded-what a joke!).  Granted, "The Hulk" looks intimidating, but I see Hamill taking this by decision.

Bisping vs. Stann: I like Brian Stann.  I really do.  However, Bisping is in a whole other league with his striking.  With Chael Sonnen in the light heavyweight division now, "The Count" is easily the top contender in the middleweight division.  Stann will hang in there as long as he can, but I see Bisping knocking him out in the third round.

Benavidez vs. Johnson: This should have been the main event, since it's for the FIRST EVER flyweight champion in the UFC.  Nonetheless, Benavidez and Johnson are probably still going to put on the fight of the night.  I will be rooting for "Mighty Mouse", but I have the feeling that Benavidez is going to win by split decision.

Belfort vs. Jones: David vs. Goliath!  I will be behind Belfort the whole way!  That being said, history suggests that Jones is going to win.  Nonetheless, I am seriously hoping that Belfort will pull the upset and beat Jones by submission!

Monday, September 17, 2012

How Nineveh Academy Would Handle MMA Injuries

I'm starting to think more about how the students of Nineveh Academy will handle injuries.  They can use magic and potions, so they will heal faster than earthlings like us.  That being said, it's not "abra-cadabra, you're good as new in five seconds", either.  Healing from a dislocated joint will probably take them about a week.  Healing from a broken limb would probably take them about a month.  These are only estimates, though.  I will have to talk to some friends in the medical field before I come up with final recovery rates.  Also, the spells and potions used by the school medical staff will probably be heavily rationed.  The top fighting prospects will be waited on hand and foot.  The average student will be left to fend for themselves. 

Since real MMA matches often get cancelled due to injury, the same will happen in Nineveh Academy matches.  Both genders are pushed really hard during training, but for different reasons.  The boys are preparing for war; the girls are preparing for childrearing.  Since the fathers are off on raids all the time, it often falls upon the mothers to ensure that their offspring stay sharp in their martial arts abilities, so the girls get run through the grinder just like their male counterparts.  This results in all sorts of broken bones, dislocated joints, and torn tendons/ligaments.  This is compounded by any injuries that they receive while training in magic or weapons.  Also, since family bragging rights and money are often at stake in these fights, some of these injuries are deliberate.  For that reason, many of these students are very suspicious about their trainers and training partners.  In a championship fight, the participants will probably get a high-powered potion and will be forced to push through it if they are seriously hurt.  That being said, I think I am going to make it so that potions of that magnitude will have serious and permanent side effects.

I haven't perfected it, yet, but there's one thing I know for certain.  Just like in real-life, when matches are cancelled, there will be a lot of belly-aching from furious and rabid fans. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

All In Favor Of Watching A One-Sided Mauling, Say "Ay"!

I found out earlier today that Anderson Silva and Stephan Bonnar will be headlining UFC 153 now.  I applaud both fighters for stepping up.  At the same time, sending Bonnar to fight Silva is like sending a golden retriever to fight a lion.  You have a guy whose greatest claim to fame is losing to Forest Griffin in "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 1 Finale against the most dominant fighter in UFC history.  Am I still going to watch it?  Yeah, and I'm going to enjoy all thirty seconds of it! 

Texiera vs. Maldonado, on the other hand, is tougher for me to gauge, because I have never seen Maldonado fight.  However, I suspect that "the Baker" will make short work of his new opponent if he continues to live up to all of the hype. 

As far as Noguiera vs. Herman goes, I hate to doubt the resiliency of the legendary Minotauro.  Nonetheless, that was a serious injury that he suffered at the hands of Frank Mir.  At Minotauro's age, it's doubtful that he will be able to rebound from that to take a win against the much younger Herman.  For that reason, I think Minotauro will get mauled in this fight as well.

For more information on these matches, click on the link below:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Injuries Are Submitting UFC 153

As soon as I discovered that Jose Aldo injured his foot, I felt that the rest of my year had just gone down the toilet. The fact that Rampage got injured as well didn't help matters.  Now that I have calmed down a little bit, I have just accepted the fact that this is a part of MMA.  Sometimes, fighters get injured.  That's the risk that you take when you train eight hours a day. Nonetheless, this is getting a little ridiculous.  There comes a point where you are simply pushing yourself too hard.  I'm not saying that you should give up every time that you stub your toe.  I'm just pointing out the obvious: if you are severely damaging a ligament, muscle, bone, or tendon when you train, then you need to refine your strategy.  Wrecking your car before you go to a race won't make you a NASCAR champion.  In the same way, destroying your body before a match isn't going to make you an MMA champion.  It's merely going to make your entire fight camp a waste of time.  Training smart is just as important as training hard. 

I wish Aldo and Rampage a speedy recovery.  To read more about this tragic turn of events, click on the link below:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

GSP Vs. Silva: My Two Cents

No one can doubt that GSP is one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in MMA.  In particular, he is a brilliant strategist.  How many people do you know who can beat a guy like Josh Koscheck with only a jab?  Nonetheless, I think that the probable superfight between him and Anderson Silva is the UFC version of Mayweather vs. Cotto: the best fight that nobody really cares about.

In boxing, everyone wants to see Mayweather vs. Pacquaio.  Likewise, in the UFC, the fight that everyone wants to see is Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones.  Granted, Jones is still taking heat after wimping out of a fight against Chael Sonnen.  Nonetheless, he remains the most dangerous MMA fighter alive other than Anderson Silva, and is probably the only guy who has the raw athleticism that it takes to defeat "the Spider."  I would definitely watch a GSP vs. Silva fight.  However, I personally feel that it would end the same way as Mayweather vs. Cotto.  In that fight, Mayweather was challenged for the first half of the bout, but then he blew past Cotto to get the decision.  Silva would probably do the same thing to GSP. 

At any rate, GSP has yet to make his return, which will be in an undisputed welterweight title match against interim champion Carlos Condit at UFC 154.  Depending upon how well he does against "The Natural Born Killer", I may have to rethink my prediction in what will happen if and when GSP and Silva finally clash. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Manuscript Paleontology Sucks...

Faith No More's "Midlife Crisis" is a freaking awesome song.  However, it will no longer be Maxine Njalsdottir's UNOFFICIAL theme.  Disciple's "Dear X (You Don't Own Me)" is perfect for her.  Ideally, when my novels become movies, I would like that band to do the whole soundtrack.  That being said, it will be years before my tales become films. 

So far, I have copied and pasted all of the setting information from "Heart of Flesh" and "Daughter of the Seven Seas."  Those details are set in stone, because those two stories are published already.  I have also copied settings from "Nineveh's Apex Predator" and "The First Dunite Citizen."  Neither of those have been published yet, so I will change those setting details if necessary. 

All of this has taught me a valuable lesson: map out the setting BEFORE you write the novel.  Going through manuscripts and digging up setting details like fossils is a pain in the freaking neck!  Rest assured that "My Sister's Keeper", the last novel in the "Black Swan Origins" trilogy, will have multiple maps created before I even consider writing the story.  I refuse to do manuscript paleontology again, except for fun things like characters, subplots, and dialogue.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Version 6.0 of Black Swan Origins: Nineveh Complete!

Earlier tonight, I finished Version 6.0 of my novel.  I'm going to let it rest tomorrow, but I will still be working on the series by drawing maps of Nineveh Academy.  In a homage to the UFC, the school's outer wall is going to be shaped like an octagon.  All of the other major details are going to be saved for when the novel debuts. 

As expected, revising a novel is MUCH harder than revising short stories.  However, it is also MUCH more fun!  I get to explore much more of the universe than I could in only 13-15 pages.  I'm now seeing the setting aspect of my book as an exciting challenge rather than a royal pain in the neck.  I'm going to be creative and up the ante on the monsters, spirits, death traps, artifacts, and the school's lore.  After I get that out of my system, I'll settle down and look at the logistics.  Since this is a fantasy novel, I will have a lot more leeway in that regard.  That being said, the tough thing will be to make sure that everything is consistent and true to my world's rules. 

I have also starting reading "Grimm's Fairy Tales" and "The Arabian Nights" for ideas on how to build my world even further.  Every culture needs its own folklore, and Yangvaad is no different.  I am considering studying Russian as well, so that I can use it as the inspiration for the language spoken in Yangvaad.  I'm no linguist like J.R.R. Tolkien, but it would be a huge benefit to the story if each of the four major nations in this trilogy had its own language.  Georgian (the language of the Eastern European country), Spanish, and Arabic will probably be the influences for the other three nations, although that is not set in stone.   

I believe that "Black Swan Origins: Nineveh" will be ready at Version 10.0.  My goal for that is next September, but my current speed, it will probably be several months earlier.  One thing is certain: when it is complete, it will be my absolute best work.  I can't wait to see how my readers will react to it. 

Frankie Edgar Has Brass Balls!

I was overjoyed to discover that the Aldo vs. Edgar super fight is happening in October!  Basically, Koch got injured and Dana White asked Edgar to sub.  Fortunately for us, "The Answer" manned-up and accepted.  I'm praying that neither one of them gets injured because this fight will be freaking awesome.  That being said, Edgar is at a disadvantage, since he has less than two months to prepare for the King of the Featherweights.  Nonetheless, after the heart he has shown in his fights against Benson Henderson, I've been converted and retract my previous prediction for this dream fight.  I think that, as long as it doesn't go to the judges, Edgar will win, and "The Answer" will join B.J. Penn and Randy Couture as one of those warriors who have held titles in two different divisions. 

You can read more about how this super fight came to pass at the following link: