Sunday, December 29, 2013

Did Rousey And Tate Bury The Hatchet At UFC 168?

After winning the most exciting match of the night, Rousey snubbed Tate when her rival offered to shake her hand. She is still getting heat for it today. Was it bad sportsmanship? Yes. Does it mean that she and Tate still hate each other? I'm not convinced, especially since they spoke so well of each others' performance after the fight. Considering their verbal and Twitter wars in the past, this is a huge step forward. It seems like they are willing to move on and tolerate each other at the very least. Here are my thoughts on each bout on the card.

Poirier vs. Brandao: Sometimes you are simply outmatched, even if you have a lot of heart. That's what happened to Brandao against Poirier. He dropped "The Diamond" with a couple of strong rights and managed to get a takedown. That being said, Poirier proved he was the better fighter last night by catching "DB" with a left and finishing him with ground-and-pound.

Miller vs. Camoes: That is the weirdest armbar I have ever seen. I didn't think it was possible to do one from bottom position while hugging your opponent's leg like that. Nonetheless, it worked, and I wouldn't be surprised if Rousey gave her seal of approval to Miller's impressive, albeit unorthodox, finish.

Barnett vs. Browne: I need to find some barbecue sauce so that I can eat my words about Browne's "sloppy technique." He came out looking more polished than ever. When Barnett shot in and pressed him against the cage, "Hapa" caught "The Warmaster" in the face with a knee before knocking his ear through his skull with some brutal elbows. I used to think that Cain Velasquez had no serious threat at heavyweight. Now I'm not so sure.

Tate vs. Rousey: I don't know what impressed me more: the fact that Tate survived being tossed around for three rounds before succumbing to the inevitable armbar, or the fact that Rousey turned face through commending and congratulating Tate at the end. Not only that, but she said that Tate did an amazing job. That's a complete 180 from what came out of the champ's mouth on "The Ultimate Fighter." Rousey claimed that she didn't shake Tate's hand because of comments that the latter had made against her family. I haven't read about that yet, but it would be hard to fault her if that happened. At any rate, it seems like the hatchet has been buried under the ashes of the best match of the night.

Silva vs. Weidman: Ouch! That shin break in Round 2 looked identical to the one in "Undisputed 3", when Boyka snapped Dolor's leg with his knee. Even before that, Weidman was dominating "The Spider", dropping him in Round 1 with a right hand in the clinch before using some ground-and-pound and attempting an Ezekiel choke. I wouldn't be surprised if Silva was done after that injury. At the very least, even though he is still arguably the greatest fighter in MMA history, it seems like his time has simply passed. Meanwhile, kudos to Weidman for proving that his first victory wasn't a fluke. He looks like he is game for the shark tank that the middleweight division has become.

On a side note, I am very excited about the announcement of the biggest fight in Women's MMA: Rousey vs. McMann! This future battle between two Olympic-level warriors is going to be freaking sick! It is the WMMA version of Ali vs. Frazier and I can't wait to see it at UFC 170!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

My UFC 168 Predictions

This is bittersweet for me because this will be the last UFC event that I blog about. This coming January, I will resume my Kung Fu training, which I hope to complement with Brazilian jiu-jitsu training next fall. In addition, I plan to finish my Peace Corps memoir by September 12, 2015 and that will take up the rest of my free time. I will still watch MMA once in a while, but these things must take priority now and they will be the new focus of my blog. With that said, here are my predictions for tonight's awesome card!

Poirier vs. Brandao: The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 winner is swimming with the sharks now. On paper, he doesn't stand a chance against "The Diamond." However, my gut tells me that Brandao is will heart it out and get a decision victory.

Winner: Diego Brandao

Miller vs. Camoes: This is a no-brainer. Miller takes this via submission.

Winner: Jim Miller

Barnett vs. Browne: "Hapa" definitely has heart, power, and is very fast for a guy his size. However, his technique is still somewhat sloppy, and that will get him into trouble against someone as polished and experienced as Barnett. I see "The Warmaster" knocking him out in Round 2 en route to a title eliminator bout against Fabricio Werdum. I would not be surprised, however, if Barnett was allowed to cut in line and face Velasquez next if his performance is impressive enough.

Winner: Josh Barnett

Rousey vs. Tate: This is another no-brainer. Rousey takes this via armbar submission, probably in Round 2 since Tate is a lot more focused. The only credible threat to Rousey's reign, Sara McMann, has dropped off the face of the earth after pulling out of her bout with Sarah Kaufman. Unless McMann reemerges, or more Olympic-caliber athletes enter the women's bantamweight division, that belt will stay around Rousey's waist.

On a side note, I believe that we will see a more mature and respectful Rousey than we did on "The Ultimate Fighter" and that the champ will turn face after her second victory over her rival.

Winner (and not just in the ring): Ronda Rousey

Weidman vs. Silva: Weidman's upset of Silva had more to do with the latter's foolish in-ring antics than the champ's fighting ability. Now that he has earned the respect of "The Spider", Silva will come at him with everything he's got. Silva will regain the title with a knockout in Round 4 at the latest and I suspect that he will keep it for at least another two years before losing it again.

Winner: Anderson Silva

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

MMA Blogging Temporarily Suspended

I was 2 for 5 for UFC 167 and one of those was the widely panned decision win of GSP. This has led me to make a tough decision: I'm not going to blog about MMA until I have reliable computer access and know for certain that I can make all of the PPVs. Meanwhile, I will continue to blog about the martial arts in general, in particular my training in Kung Fu, which resume in January.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My UFC 167 Predictions

Now that I finally got not just one, but two jobs, this should be the last event that I miss. Here are my predictions for tonight's card:

Elliot vs. Bagautinov: I know very little about either fighter, so I'm going with my gut. Bagautinov takes this by decision.

Winner: Bagautinov

Koscheck vs. Woodley: After Koscheck got upset by Lawler, it became obvious that he will never get a title shot again. Nonetheless, I see him knocking out Woodley with an overhand right en route to finishing out a decent UFC career.

Winner: Koscheck

MacDonald vs. Lawler: As long as MacDonald keeps clear of Lawler's heavy hands and head kicks, he shouldn't have too much trouble in this bout. I see "Ares" getting a TKO finish in Round 2 to earn a title shot.

Winner: MacDonald

Evans vs. Sonnen: Sonnen still has a passion for fighting, whereas Evans' head hasn't been in the game since his decision loss to Jon Jones. I'm giving this one to the "American Gangster" via decision.

Winner: Sonnen

GSP vs. Hendricks: Hendricks is a southpaw version of Koscheck. He has good wrestling and packs a punch, but lacks the technique and finesse of the champion. Whether GSP decides to break Hendrick's orbital bone to ruin his vision or keep him pinned to the mat for five rounds, he is going to keep his belt tonight.

Winner: GSP

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sparring Vs. Fighting

Sparring is probably my favorite aspect of martial arts training.  It's the closest to a real fight that you can experience safely.  That being said, doing it too much can lead to a false sense of security.  Here are some of the key differences between sparring and fighting:

In sparring, your opponent's goal is to get bragging rights at your school or win a shiny medal/trophy.  In a real fight, your opponent's goal is to put you in the hospital or the morgue. 

In sparring, there are rules to ensure the safety of you and your opponent.  Additionally, unless you are doing MMA, certain aspects of fighting (i.e. grappling if you are doing karate) will probably be banned.  In a real fight, there aren't any rules.  There is nothing to keep your opponent from hurling you through a plate-glass window if you miss that jump spinning back kick.

In sparring, it's one-on-one and your opponent isn't armed.  In a real fight, your opponent will probably have friends who would consider a lopsided beatdown a male bonding experience.  Additionally, he may relish the opportunity to try out his new baseball bat, switchblade, or .45 caliber (bang!). 

In sparring, it's usually light contact if there is a significant size/age difference between you and your opponent or if it's a mixed gender contest.  In a real fight, that 300-pound musclehead is throwing that haymaker at your 150-pound body at full force.  That teenager might see little kids and elderly people as soccer balls with arms and legs.  If you are a young woman, that not-so-romantic date who is pinning your wrists above your head does not know the meaning of "no", much less "light contact." 

In other words, sparring is a good overall test of your technique and tenacity, but it won't completely prepare you for a real fight.  For those life-threatening situations, you will need to do combatives drills, especially ones that deal with multiple opponents and armed assailants.  Will they get boring after a while?  Yes.  Doing the same thing over and over again always gets dull.  But repetition will grind them into your muscle memory so that, if you are attacked, you can defend yourself on instinct.  That way, you won't be totally screwed if you find out that you brought your fists to a gun fight.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chael Sonnen Is Going WHERE For His Next Coaching Stint?

As far as my UFC 166 predictions went, I am five for six.  However, since I wasn't able to afford the event, I don't have anything to say.  That is not the case for the headline I saw today on FOX Sports on MSN, which said that Chael Sonnen will be coaching opposite Wanderlei Silva in Brazil! 

Chael Sonnen is definitely the ballsiest MMA fight alive.  Watching him and Wanderlei go at it will certainly be entertaining.   That being said, this does not seem like the wisest move.  Sonnen thoroughly trashed Brazil while he was preparing for his rematch with Anderson Silva.  Not only will he need to be surrounded by armed guards 24/7, but his team probably won't be thrilled to have him as a coach.  I wouldn't be surprised if they revolted.  At any rate, I hope that the UFC takes the necessary steps to ensure his personal safety.

You can read more about this here:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

My UFC 166 Predictions

Unfortunately, I won't be able to see this awesome event.  Nonetheless, here are my predictions for tonight's card.

Bonus prediction: Kaufman vs. Eye.

I don't normally predict prelims, but Kaufman is one of my favorite WMMA fighters and a former Strikeforce bantamweight champ.  I see her knocking out Eye in Round 2. 

Winner: Kaufman

Dodson vs. Montague:  This is easy.  Dodson takes this via KO.

Winner: Dodson

Gonzaga vs. Jordan:  There is no way that this one is going the distance.  The first person to slip up is going to sleep, and I think that person is going to be Jordan.

Winner: Gonzaga

Melendez vs. Sanchez:  I strongly suspect that this will be the "Fight of the Night."  With his aggression, speed, and cardio, I believe that Melendez will take the decision.

Winner: Melendez

Cormier vs. Nelson:  Nelson has a strong chin and BJJ background, so I don't think that Cormier will finish him.  Nonetheless, I believe that the former Olympian will outwrestle him en route to a decision.

Winner: Cormier

Velasquez vs. Dos Santos:  Even though Dos Santos will probably show up in better health this time around, I believe that this match will end the same way as their second fight.  Dos Santos will gas and Velasquez will beat him pillar-to-post to another unanimous decision.

Winner: Velasquez

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How Kata Will Improve Your Self-Defense

So you currently study a practical self-defense system like Krav Maga.  Awesome!  You now have all of the tools necessary to defend yourself.  Do you need to study kata as well?  Nope.  Should you do it anyway?  Oh heck yeah!

Why?  Because practicing kata will:

1) Improve your focus and situational awareness
2) Improve your flexibility, breathing, endurance, and fluidity of movement
3) Will show you creative ways to apply your self-defense techniques

In other words, it will allow you to use your combatives more effectively!

Studying kata makes you the TEFL teacher who has a master's in Literature, or the engineer who has a doctorate in Physics.  It gives you that "extra edge" that allows you to implement your practical skills in new and innovative ways.  Not to mention that you will be better prepared for the rare scenario in which your assailant has been trained in modern combat or martial arts. 

So how many kata should you study?  At least four: two from a hard style like Shotokan and two from a soft style like Kung Fu.  A hard kata will show you powerful, linear attacks which will teach you how to generate knockout power.  A soft kata will teach you fluid, circular attacks which will show you how to use your opponent's strength against them.  Learning two of each is important for the sake of variety.  At the same time, you don't want to overdo it.  Studying too many kata will interfere with your practical self-defense training and ultimately lead to burnout.  Unless you plan to teach martial arts for a living, or it is a fun hobby for you, I recommend that you cap it at seven kata.  That way, you can do a different one each day, enough to keep it interesting.  So as soon as you have a solid foundation in practical self-defense, find a traditional martial arts school and study the kata.  Doing so will improve your technique in ways that you can only imagine. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Three More Martial Arts Styles Which I Want To Learn Before I Die

I could easily train in martial arts 24/7.  Unfortunately, I have been called to work in a different field, so it will have to be a hobby for me.  For that reason, I have cut the number of additional combat styles that I want to learn down to three.  They are:

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:  With a BJJ black belt, I won't be completely screwed if someone knocks me on my butt.  Not to mention that subbing your training partners is just plain fun.

Wrestling:  This will make it much easier for me to keep an assailant from taking me to the ground.  In addition, I want to learn how to throw someone from the clinch.  That would be safer than going for the legs and taking a knee or 12-6 elbows to the back of my head and neck.     

Capoiera:  As a black man, I want to honor my ancestors by studying a martial art with African roots.  Not only will it improve my striking through teaching me how to attack from different angles, but it will also teach me timing, balance, and how to catch my assailant off-guard. 

Even though the traditional Asian martial arts are a great source of techniques and knowledge, I want to go off the beaten path.  While my Shotokan training has been invaluable, I am satisfied with my first-degree black belt.  I also don't want to fall into the trap of thinking that "my style" is the best, as many traditional martial artists do.  To be a truly great martial artist, you need to study multiple styles.  I may not become the greatest fighter alive, but I am determined to do the best that I can.   

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My New Reason For Pursuing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

At first, I wanted to study Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so that I could do all of the cool submissions which I saw in the UFC.  Not to mention that choking an assailant unconscious seemed much more humane to me than breaking their ribs and knees with my front kick.  That being said, I came to realize that there would be three drawbacks to making subs the focus of my BJJ training.

1) I'm a muscular man in his twenties.  Very few people will be stupid enough to attack me alone.  If I get Gary the Gangsta in a kimura from the guard, what's to stop his homeboys from soccer-kicking my head into oblivion?

2) If someone does attack me one-on-one, they will probably be armed.  For that reason, going for a triangle choke against a guy with a switchblade or a pistol sounds like a funeral in the making.

3) There are many ways to get out of a submission hold which are barred from the cage.  For example, what's to stop a street fighter from going "Golden Corral" on my arm when I go for that rear naked choke?  Biting may not be an honorable way of fighting, but violent criminals aren't known for their honor.  They're known for jacking people up, and that can involve eye-gouging, ripping off your nuts (if you're a dude), attacking "above the belt" (if you're a girl) or worse! 

So while I will still learn the submission holds, they will not be my focus.  Instead, I am going to master the sweeps, a.k.a. the art of getting the heck back up!  That way, I can hightail it out of there before I get a fatal beatdown from a bunch of teenage gangbangers.  I'll also be in a better position to disarm my attacker before they cut me to ribbons or put a bullet in my butt.  Not to mention that I will be able to avoid the biting, eye-gouging, throat-grabbing scramble that a real fight on the ground usually turns into.  And that, my friends, is the real value of BJJ: it teaches you how to escape with your life!  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

UFC 165: The Toronto Screwjob!

On what planet does the challenger break the champion's face and get a unanimous decision loss?  Were the judges playing Angry Birds during the first three rounds of that fight?  Even though Gustafsson got screwed, the championship fight was awesome.  Most of the other matches were pretty good, too.  Here are my thoughts on each bout:

Healy vs. Nurmagomedov: Man, that running slam in Round 3 was epic!  Even before that, "The Eagle" was holding his own.  In spite of being on the losing end of the striking game, he demonstrated his superior grappling by taking "Bam Bam" down several times.  However, that slam put an exclamation point on his victory.  Combined with his undefeated record, it definitely made his request for a title shot sound pretty reasonable.  Since the lightweight division is extremely stacked, I think he'll have to settle for a top-five opponent first.  Nonetheless, I feel that Anthony Pettis should take notice.

Philippou vs. Carmont: Even though this fight was dull, I have to hand it to Carmont.  He was able to grind out a decision over a top-ten middleweight with relative ease.  He took Philippou down and smothered him for three rounds, using some ground-and-pound once in a while.  Was it fun to watch?  No, but at least it worked. 

Schaub vs. Mitrione:  I knew that "The Hybrid" would win, but via a beautifully executed D'Arce choke?  Now I've seen everything!  It's nice that he got his first-ever submission victory.  I still don't think that he will get the belt, but I'll keep an eye on him for exciting fights.

Barao vs. Wineland:  This is the fourth spinning heel kick knockout in the UFC in less than a two-year timespan.  Once again, it was by a Brazilian.  Barao's finish was so quick that I missed it and had to watch the replay.  I don't see Cruz beating this phenom.  Nonetheless, I hope that the champion heals by early 2014 so that we can find out if I am right.

Jones vs. Gustafsson:  Not even a crappy unanimous decision can put a damper on this awesome fight!  Gustafsson took Jones to boxing school, busting the champion open with left jabs and straight rights.  In addition to outstriking him for the majority of the fight, he was the first guy to ever take Jones down.  In fact, he managed to do it twice.  He even pulled off a spinning hammerfist in the final round.  In spite of this, "Bones" went out like a man.  He rallied in the middle of Round 4, nailing Gustafsson with a spinning elbow and catching "The Mauler" with knee strikes afterwards.  He also took Round 5 by finally taking the challenger down and finishing strong with a flying knee strike.  He truly did show his warrior spirit in this "Fight of the Year" candidate. 

On a side note, Dana White replied to my tweet about the fight, which is pretty freaking awesome!  I hope that he gives Gustafsson an immediate rematch.  Even if he doesn't, I don't think that it will be too long before Jones and Gustafsson collide again. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

My UFC 165 Predictions

Finally, Jon Jones gets to pick on somebody his own size!  I doubt that the outcome will be different, but it should be an awesome fight nonetheless.  Here are my predictions for tonight's PPV.

Healy vs. Nurmagomedov:  I don't believe that Healy is going to be able to submit a Sambo warrior like Nurmagomedov.  At the same time, I think that his experience will be too much for "The Eagle."  I expect an awesome grappling contest that ends with Healy earning a decision victory.

Winner: Pat Healy

Philippou vs. Carmont:  Philippou proved that he is the most underrated middleweight in the UFC by finishing Tim Boetsch last December.  I see him collecting a paycheck by knocking out Carmont in Round 1.  After that, I hope he gets a top-five opponent to see whether he is a contender or a gatekeeper.

Winner: Costa Philippou

Schaub vs. Mitrione: I remember seeing Schaub pound "Big Ben" Rothwell against the cage until one slipup led to him getting his lights put out.  I don't see him getting that sloppy against Mitrione.  I believe "The Hybrid" will KO his opponent in Round 1 and continue to be an exciting lower-tier heavyweight. 

Winner: Brendan Schaub

Barao vs. Wineland: With phenomenal striking and submissions, I don't see anyone beating Barao until Cruz comes back.  Nothing against Wineland, but he is in way over his head in this match.  I see Barao submitting him in Round 2 at the latest.

Winner: Renan Barao.

Jones vs. Gustafsson: As much as I would love to see "The Mauler" pull an upset, that is highly doubtful.  He has a puncher's chance at best, and when Jones gets tired of getting tagged, the champ will probably take it to the mat.  I see Jones outwrestling Gustafsson en route to a submission victory in Round 4.

Winner: Jon Jones

Saturday, September 14, 2013

My "The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey Vs. Team Tate" Predictions

I'll just keep this short and sweet:

I believe that Sarah Moras will be the first ever female TUF winner.  She looked absolutely amazing against Tara LaRosa and I think that she has the heart and Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills to win the competition.   

I predict that Chris Beal will be the 18th male winner, even with his injured hand.  The guy overcame cancer and went straight for the finish in his match against Sirwan Kakai.  Only Kakai's strong chin kept him from getting laid out by those bombs.  I don't think that the other competitors will be able to weather the storm quite as well. 

As far as which coach will win, that's a no-brainer.  Rousey takes it via first-round armbar again.  My only dilemma is that I don't know who to root for.  While I am still a Tate fan, Rousey has matured a lot since their first encounter.  As a result, she's grown on me.  I'll probably just sit back and enjoy the match without taking sides.   

"The Ultimate Fighter" Episode 2: Always Assume That You Are The Underdog

Did you all think that Julianna Pena stood a chance against Shayna Baszler?  Neither did I!  I didn't even understand why Baszler was in the house.  I thought that the UFC would have signed her directly.  At any rate, when she was paired with Pena, I thought it was game over for the new girl.  My belief was confirmed when she dominated Pena for the first round.

Then I was forced to eat my words in Round 2.

Several key things happened: 1) Pena took Baszler's back 2) Pena got both hooks in.  When this happens, you're in trouble 3)  Pena got the choke.  When this happens, you're in deep trouble 4) When Shayna tried to roll out, Pena flattened her face-first against the mat.  If this ever happens to you, you're doomed!

I went absolutely crazy after this upset.  Since I had tuned in late, I checked out the buildup in OnDemand.  As I caught up on the episode, I realized why Pena won: she took Baszler seriously. 

While Baszler was talking all sorts of trash about Pena, Pena was absolutely terrified of Baszler.  Due to this, Pena did everything she could to make sure that she was ready and showed everyone that she was a force to be reckoned with.  Baszler, on the other hand, thought that she would just walk right through Pena and wound up eating a humble pie the size of a truck tire.  This just shows that, when it comes to fighting, you must always assume that you are the underdog.  Doing so this can be the difference between getting your hand raised and getting choked the heck out!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Pettis Era Begins At UFC 164!

I never thought that the battle for the lightweight crown would end in a first-round submission finish!  Has Anthony Pettis been training with Ronda Rousey?  I'm just asking because that armbar was beautiful!  Here are my thoughts on this freaking amazing card (in which I correctly picked all five winners!  Woooo!). 

Poirier vs. Koch: Poirier won this one with the skin of his teeth.  He survived a vicious triangle choke in the first round and came back to drop Koch with a right hand.  He followed it up with a D'Arce choke, but Koch was saved by the bell.  Poirier dominated Koch from the top and in the clinch in Round 2.  However, Koch made a comeback in Round 3, working the jab, getting top position and taking Poirier's back.  He got a rear naked choke, but was simply too tired to finish.  Even though Koch lost, he should be proud of his effort, and Poirier made it clear that he is still a contender at featherweight.

Rothwell vs. Vera: The first two rounds were basically Vera running away from Rothwell.  Fortunately, "Big Ben" took his time, refusing to let his smaller opponent tire him out.  Finally, he cornered Vera in Round 3.  He threw him off by erratically posturing like a mad man before putting his lights out with a series of punches, knees, and strikes after he hit the mat.  Afterwards, he called out Travis Browne.  While that would be an extremely awesome fight, I doubt that Browne will accept after having finished a ranked opponent in Alistair Overreem.  Nonetheless, Rothwell definitely deserves a top-ten guy.

Mendes vs. Guida: Mendes controlled Guida the entire fight, stuffing numerous takedowns to take his back.  In Round 3, "Money" was the first guy to ever KO "The Carpenter."  He caught him with two right hooks first.  After that, he finished him with an uppercut while his back was against the cage and two straight punches after he hit the ground.  I honestly don't know who deserves a second shot at Aldo more: Mendes or Cub Swanson. 

Barnett vs. Mir:  Barnett dominated Mir against the cage with punches and knees before dropping him with a brutal right knee in Round 1.  If I was the referee, I would have stopped the fight, too.  It appears that "The Warmaster" is still relevant in the heavyweight division.  I wouldn't be surprised if he leapfrogged over Werdum to get a shot at the winner of Dos Santos-Velasquez III because of his name.  Mir, on the other hand, would be better off hanging up the gloves and either coaching the next generation of fighters, or going corporate like Matt Hughes and Chuck Liddell.

Henderson vs. Pettis: "Showtime" has done it again!  The most unpredictable fighter in the UFC pulled off a crazy armbar after a failed capoeira-style knee attack.  He basically used one of Bendo's arms to pop the other one a la Rousey vs. Kaufman.  To Bendo's credit, he honored Jesus even in defeat.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," he said, "I'll be back."

Pettis, meanwhile, thanked his hometown for their support and said that he was proof that they could do anything that they put their mind to.  He also called out Jose Aldo.  While that would be an interesting fight, I think he has enough contenders in his own division to keep him busy for a while.  In particular, I hope that T.J. Grant gets his well-earned title shot.    

At any rate, the Pettis Era has officially started in the lightweight division.  Due to his insane athleticism and creativity, I don't see it ending anytime soon. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

My UFC 164 Predictions

One of the most highly anticipated rematches in MMA is going to happen tonight!  I can't wait!  I have never seen Bendo in a boring fight, and Pettis is so gifted that he makes you believe that "The Matrix" is real!  Here are my predictions for tonight's card!

Koch vs. Poirier: This is a toss-up, in my opinion.  I'll go with my gut and say Poirier.

Winner: Poirier via decision. 

Rothwell vs. Vera:  This is a no-brainer.  Rothwell will punch "The Truth's" lights out.  I would be surprised if this made it out of the first round.

Winner: Rothwell via KO in Round 1.

Mendes vs. Guida: I'm going to pick "Money" over "The Carpenter" on this one.  Mendes looks amazing against anyone not named Aldo.  Guida is no joke, but I think that he will just go from being the lightweight division's top-ten gatekeeper to the top-five gatekeeper at featherweight.

Winner: Mendes via KO in Round 3.

Mir vs. Barnett:  This fight would have been absolutely amazing about five years ago.  However, even though both of these men are on the downside of their careers, I still think that they will put on a decent grappling clinic.  My gut is telling me to go with "The Warmaster" on this one.  I just hope he stays PED-free this time around. 

Winner: Barnett via decision. 

Henderson vs. Pettis: I'm definitely rooting for "Smooth" in this fight.  Nonetheless, I personally feel that "Showtime" is the best fighter in the division.  Anyone who can pull off capoeira-style moves at the UFC level is beyond amazing.  I believe that Pettis will take the title from Bendo and rule the division with an iron fist.

Winner: Pettis via KO in Round 5. 

And My Next Black Belt Will Be In...

I absolutely love Kung Fu.  That's why I am going to write down the forms which I have learned so far and practice them in my spare time.  One day, I will earn an advanced black belt in Kung Fu.  But now is not the time.

The reason why?  Kung Fu is a striking art and I already have a black belt in a striking art: karate.  Can I improve my striking?  Absolutely.  That's why I practice striking techniques every day.  However, it's miles ahead of my grappling, which is terrible.  Just look at my best amateur wrestling record: 1-5.  One win.  Five freaking losses.  Not to mention the fact that I only put half my heart into it and eventually, gave up entirely to pursue a girl in a different extracurricular activity.  Suffice it to say that my attempts to woo her ended in total disaster.  This was in high school, after all.  What really burns me is that if I had truly focused, I could have rehabbed my back injury and gotten a winning record on the wrestling team.  My back feels perfectly fine now, and I'm ready for redemption.  So ready that I'm not even going to think about romance until after I get my BJJ black belt. 

So that's why I'm going to throw myself into BJJ.  I don't want to be completely screwed if someone throws me on my back, and I want to atone for being a lazy slacker when I was a teenager a decade ago.  Can I change the past?  As much as I'd like to, no.  However, I can learn from it and excel at my next martial arts goal: earning my BJJ black belt.   

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How Fencing Made Me A Believer In European Weapons' Arts

When I was in college, I did fencing for over a year.  Since people don't carry rapiers anymore, I never thought that I would utilize it in a real fight.  That changed at Elite Krav Maga Academy many months back.  I adapted a move where I feint to one target and circle around to stab another into a slick lateral palm strike-backfist combo.   Brian has excellent striking and I was able to catch him with it twice in a row.  I knew that, if it could work on him, that I was on to something.  That was confirmed earlier tonight when I sparred with Jeremy.

Jeremy is such a dynamic striker that he can clip my chin with his foot and tag me elsewhere before I know what hits me.  Yet I managed to get him multiple times with different variations of this attack.  Using empty-handed techniques, I would feint to his face and attack his body.  Then I would feint to his body and attack his face.  I even adapted the representative snake movement, attacking his arm, but going to his body rather than his face.  Even though I still lost the match, I did better against him than I've ever done.  I didn't get into real trouble until I abandoned the tactic for dragon-style moves, at which point I got my butt handed too me.  At any rate, I've wanted to study the European martial arts since I was in college, weaponry in particular.  Originally, it was just to have accurate swordfights in my book series.  However, now I believe that fencing and other European weapons' arts can be adapted to modern combat.  It will take a lot of study, experimentation, and practice, but I know that I can do it. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

How many black belts do you need?

It is easy to be fooled into believing that you need a dozen black belts to be an amazing martial artist.  After all, if you can become a great fighter through gaining one black belt, getting a dozen should make you even better, right? 

Wrong!  Getting multiple black belts is completely unnecessary for one simple reason:  all EFFECTIVE martial arts systems which cover the same aspect of fighting will have similar techniques.

Does this mean that all striking systems are exactly the same?  No.  Does it mean that all grappling systems are identical?  No.  It just means that no matter what you train in, a front kick is a front kick and a rear naked choke is a rear naked choke.  The name, setup, position, or target may vary.  However, the move itself will be more or less the same.  This is because:

1) People of all cultures and nationalities have two arms, two legs, two eyes, a neck, and a groin.  For this reason, the body mechanics of each move will be similar.

2) The best martial artists cross-train to borrow/steal ideas from each other.  For example, Sambo, while incorporating striking and the folk wrestling styles of Eastern Europe, has judo as its base.  Judo, in turn, was heavily influenced by Catch-As-Catch-Can wrestling from Europe.  Krav Maga has moves from multiple styles, such as karate, Muay Thai, wrestling, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.  I could go on and on, but you get the basic idea: everybody basically copies everyone else.

So how many black belts (or instructor-level ranks) do you need?  At most, two: one in a striking art and one in a grappling art.  If you are doing a martial art which covers all areas of fighting, such as Krav Maga or Combat Sambo, you only need one.  Getting more than two is pointless unless:

1) You are doing this for a career and want to stand out from the competition.
2) Studying self-defense is an enjoyable hobby for you and you are doing this to have fun while meeting cool people.

Under those circumstances, it is worth your time.  Other than that, you are better off excelling at two styles at the most.

Monday, August 5, 2013

UFC 163: The One That Got Away

I am seriously disappointed that I missed this PPV.  Nonetheless, I know a lot of people who are in debt because they confuse wants with needs.  I want to see every UFC PPV that will ever come out.  However, I won't die if I miss one now and then.  That being said, I will make it a point to miss as few as possible. 

At any rate, let's see if I correctly predicted the winners of each fight. 

Lineker vs. Maria:  Lineker defeated Maria via KO.

My prediction: Wrong

Leites vs. Watson:  Leites won via unanimous decision.

My prediction: Wrong

Ferreira vs. Santos: Ferreira won via submission.

My prediction: Wrong

Machida vs. Davis:  Davis won by unanimous decision.  However, from what I've seen online, the majority of people believe that Machida got screwed by the judges, so I'll have to watch the fight myself before I make up my opinion.

My prediction: Wrong.  For simplicity's sake, whatever the judges decide is final.  That being said, I will speak up if I feel that they made a mistake. 

Aldo vs. The Korean Zombie: Aldo wins via TKO.

My prediction: Right

1 out of 5?  Yikes.  Good thing that I didn't gamble last night.  At any rate, I will take steps to ensure that I don't miss the rematch between Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis at UFC 164.

Here's a link to the play-by-play at

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My UFC 163 Predictions

I will be referring to this event as "the one that got away."  I love watching Jose Aldo fight, and I really wanted to see "The Korean Zombie" in action.  Unfortunately, I just can't afford it right now.  Nonetheless, here are my picks for who will win tonight's matches.

John Lineker vs. Jose Maria: I think I saw the match where Lineker was subbed by Gaudinot a while back.  Other than that,  I know very little about either of these guys.  While I'm tempted to go with Lineker because he has fought in the UFC before and Maria hasn't, I am going to follow my gut and pick Maria.

Winner: Maria via submission in Round 3. 

Leites vs. Watson:  Again, I'm really not that familiar with either fighter.  All I know is that Leites once challenged Anderson Silva for the title and that Watson has defeated Mauricio "Shogun" Rua's brother, "Ninja."  Since Leites hasn't had a UFC fight since 2009, I'm going with Watson.

Winner: Watson via KO in Round 2

Ferreira vs. Santos:  I know nothing about either of these fighters, so I'm going with my gut on this one.  Take this prediction for what it's worth.

Winner: Santos via KO in Round 3. 

Machida vs. Davis:  Davis has a good wrestling pedigree and some slick submissions.  However, I don't see him taking Machida to the ground.  Machida is simply too fast and elusive.  This bout is going to stay on the feet, and when it comes to striking, Machida is one of the best.  Davis, on the other hand, is not so wonderful in that department, pun intended.

Winner: Machida via KO in Round 2.

Jose Aldo vs. Chan Sung Jung:  A guy who finished Mark Hominick and Dustin Poirier is no joke.  Nonetheless, I think that Chan Sung Jung is in over his head.  Jose Aldo is the second best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet and he hasn't even reached his prime yet.  Will he lose the title one day?  Probably.  I just don't think "The Korean Zombie" is the one who has his number.

Winner: Aldo via KO in Round 2. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Unlocking The Secret Techniques In Forms

Today, in Kung Fu class, Sifu Amanda had us do an awesome exercise.  We had to chose one technique from our forms and find two different real-life applications for it.  It was challenging, but extremely fun.  For example, I took the double kidney strike from Hon 1 and converted it into a double knifehand strike to both sides of the neck first.  Then I turned it into a double-leg takedown.  I also turned a tiger attack from Hon 2 into a 2-hit face rake and a tiger claw/single-leg takedown.  The latter was a bit of a stretch, but Sifu Amanda seemed to appreciate my effort. 

Sifu Amanda had us do this exercise because she wants us to remember that katas are supposed to be practice for real-life self-defense.  The techniques aren't as readily apparent, because the Asian martial arts masters disguised them.  They didn't want their enemies to learn their system and turn it against them.  In some cases, they were forbidden to practice martial arts by an occupying power, so they disguised the techniques as dances.  In creating katas, they found a great way to both practice and memorize hundreds of moves.  However, many students have either lost sight of this fact or never learned it to begin with.  They are basically just going through the motions and doing "combat zumba."  Sifu Amanda stressed the importance of actually figuring out what we were doing so that we could defend ourselves properly.  She also emphasized seeing all of the aspects of our art as one instead of compartmentalizing them into sparring, forms, and self-defense.  She said that doing the latter is just as bad as being a Christian and keeping your church life, work life, and social life separate.  To be an effective martial artist and a Christian, you have to synergize.  She didn't use that exact word, but that was the point that she was making: every aspect of your life should work together in unity.  I look forward to synergizing the different areas of martial arts to make myself a better fighter.  In the same way, I look forward to synergizing my life so that I can be a better witness for Christ.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Getting Back Into Fighting Form!

I had my first sparring session in weeks tonight against Jeremy.  He teaches dancing for a living and is very creative and athletic, having studied capoeira in addition to Kung Fu.  I decided to mix it up a bit, using animal movements and spinning attacks to be less predictable.  I even got a chance to use tai sabaki, a concept from Krav Maga.  Basically, you use a low cover to deflect an arm attack and circle-step out of the way.  Of course, my signature move, the superman punch, was worked into the bout on several occasions.  I felt the match was a draw up until the point that I gassed.  At any rate, I improved significantly since our last couple of bouts. 

The key thing about sparring is that you want to develop your own style.  Once you get the fundamentals down (i.e. hand strikes, kicks, footwork, etc.), you need to tweak them to fit your own personality and body type.  While I have a lot to improve on, I feel that I am finally coming into my own.  I'm not an expert in any of the animal styles yet.  However, I seem to be drifting in the direction of the snake style because I use plenty of quick, linear strikes which I set up with feints.  I will still learn attacks from the other animal styles to make sure that I am well-rounded.  That being said, I will pay special attention to snake moves from now on.      

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My UFC Pound-for-Pound Top Ten List

1) Jon Jones (18-1-0)

Jon Jones has crushed the best of the light heavyweight division and humiliated his former training partner, Rashad Evans, in a one-sided decision.  The only blemish on his record is a ridiculous disqualification loss to Matt Hamill. 

Notable victories: Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Shogun, Rashad Evans

2) Jose Aldo (22-1-0)

The Brazilian featherweight buzzsaw has not been beaten in eight years.  He recently proved who the toughest man under 170 lbs. was when he topped former lightweight king Frankie Edgar.  This victory, and his desire to finish fights, make him a close second to Jon Jones. 

Notable victories: Frankie Edgar, Urijah Faber, Mike Brown, Mark Hominick

3) Georges St-Pierre (24-2-0)

GSP has lost his killer instinct over the years, not finishing a fight since 2009.  However, his high fight IQ and strategic brilliance are still enough to keep him on top of the welterweight food chain. 

Notable victories: Matt Hughes, Carlos Condit, Josh Koscheck (twice), B.J. Penn

4) Anderson Silva (33-5-0)

Sheer hubris has caused the best fighter of all time to take a tumble down the current P4P rankings.  While he will probably climb back to the top of the mountain in December, Silva is never going to live down the most embarrassing loss of his entire career. 

Notable victories: Chael Sonnen (twice), Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin (twice)

5) Demetrius Johnson (17-2-1)

The fastest fighter in the world has nearly perfect technique, a huge gas tank, and an insane work ethic.  His submission victory over Moraga earlier tonight proves that. 

Notable victories: Joseph Benavidez, John Dodson, John Moraga

6) Cain Velasquez (12-1-0)

He was the second fighter to ever finish Minotauro Noguiera, smashed the monstrous Brock Lesnar in the first round, and avenged his only loss by giving Junior Dos Santos a five-round beatdown.  Need I say more?

Notable victories: Junior Dos Santos, Brock Lesnar, Minotauro Noguiera

7) Renan Barao (32-1-0)

He hasn't lost in years and has, in all likelihood, permanently spoiled the UFC's plans to make Urijah Faber bantamweight champ.  Dominick Cruz has his work cut out for him when he comes back from injury. 

Notable victories: Urijah Faber, Scott Jorgensen, Michael McDonald

8) Frankie Edgar (15-4-1)

The ultimate underdog has a granite chin and neck of steel.  He has avenged one of his losses by finishing Gray Maynard and another one was a razor-thin decision dropped to Jose Aldo.  The first of his two "losses" to Benson Henderson was questionable at best.  The second one was highway robbery.

Notable victories: BJ Penn (twice), Gray Maynard, Sean Sherk

9) Chris Weidman (10-0)

The undefeated New Yorker handed Anderson Silva his first ever KO loss.  We'll find out if he can do it again in December when Silva treats him with the respect that he deserves. 

Notable victories: Anderson Silva, Demian Maia, Mark Munoz

10) Ronda Rousey (7-0)

The Muhammad Ali of women's MMA has torn through all of her opposition so far with only an armbar.  The fact that she can do it even though they are expecting it means that she will be moving up this list very quickly. 

Notable victories: Miesha Tate, Sarah Kaufman, Liz Carmouche

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Training Again At Last!

For the first time in weeks, I was able to make it to Kung Fu practice.  Even though I forgot Hon 2, the last form which I had learned, Pastor McClure was kind enough to reteach it to me.  Jeremy was also kind enough to give me some pointers on how to improve my technique, such as the fact that certain techniques (like the eye gouge) are supposed to be fast rather than strong.  He showed me how to make my tiger claws more powerful by thrusting them out from my body rather than just using my shoulders.

Additionally, I started doing Qi Gong again about a week ago.  I've been using the DVD titled "Qi Gong: Fire & Water With Matthew Cohen."  I'm not sure whether or not I've got the hang of it, since I haven't been scrutinized by an instructor in this internal martial art yet.  However, my flexibility, movement, and breathing have significantly improved because of it, especially in my forms.  So I will keep using Matthew Cohen's DVD while I wait to take actual Qi Gong classes. 

After form, we did an exercise called "Soft Hands."  Basically, the goal is to throw your training partner off balance.  You have to do this while staying connected to them with your hand and foot.  Pastor McClure showed me that I was way too tense, and that allowed him to better sense where my momentum was going so that he could slip me.  Indeed, I got slipped repeatedly.  However, he did mention that I improved a lot during the exercise.  Since it was my first time, I appreciated the encouragement.  I am confident that continued practice with "Soft Hands" will improve my grappling tremendously.   

All in all, I am glad that I can finally train again.  That being said, I needed the hiatus from it.  The martial arts had consumed my life.  I was bowing down and worshipping self-defense as an idol.  Now my perspective is more realistic.  The martial arts will always be an important part of my life.  However, it will no longer be my sole purpose for living.  It will be one of several tools which I will use to grow as a person and cultivate my spirit. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Books, DVDs, and The Internet: Supplements, Not The Main Course

While I have been waiting to resume my martial arts training, I have been watching a lot of videos on the internet.  Additionally, I have been reading articles as well.  These supplementary materials are great if:

1) You want an extra "boost" to take your skills to the next level
2) You can't access that particular martial art in your area (i.e. the nearest pankration school is 150 miles away). 
3) You are injured/ill
4) You don't have the money to take your martial art of choice yet (in which case, studying such materials should be a reward for an eventful day of job hunting)
5) You just want to have fun

That being said, supplementary materials should NEVER replace hands-on instruction.  This is because:

1) A DVD can't tell you whether or not you are doing the technique properly.  A reputable instructor will stay on your back until you get it right. 
2) A book can't show you how to adapt to deal with different types of opponents.  This can only be learned through sparring and rolling on the mat with training partners.
3) Most internet sources (for example, Wikipedia and Youtube) don't have a strict vetting process.  A reputable instructor will only hire teachers who are skilled in their craft.  In contrast, anybody with a computer can post whatever they want on the internet and call it martial arts training. 

Basically, supplementary materials are like protein shakes and energy bars.  They can enhance your performance, but should not replace the chicken and pasta of hands-on training at a reputable school.  You wouldn't tell your kids not to eat fruit because they had Flintstone vitamins in the morning, so you shouldn't tell yourself that you don't need to take martial arts lessons because you watched Jon Jones' highlights on Youtube.  A lot of people will tell themselves that they only need to learn from books, DVDs, etc. because they are afraid of getting injured in a real training environment.  While injuries do happen, these are pretty rare in a reputable school.  Also, there are an increasing number of "women only" martial arts classes for women who are intimidated by the prospect of fighting men, or who simply don't want to get hit on.  So while there is nothing wrong with using supplementary materials to learn a few extra tricks, make sure that you are using them for what they were intended for: to complement hands-on training.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

On Hiatus From Teaching Krav Maga

Due to a situation which arose earlier in the summer and another, more personal one that occurred afterwards, I am not currently teaching Krav Maga.  Suffice it to say that, to his credit, Steve has kept the door open for me to return in the fall and I look forward to speaking with him regarding the possibility of my return as soon as everything is resolved.  Meanwhile, while I am currently unable to train in the martial arts,  I will continue to pass on the knowledge which I have accumulated already on this blog.  In addition, I will continue my studies of self-defense through online research.  After all, as Gichin Funakoshi once said, "Spirit and mind are more important than technique." 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Is TRT legalized cheating? Or a legimate medical treatment?

I'm seeing testosterone replacement therapy (a.k.a. TRT) mentioned a lot in MMA articles.  In particular, Vitor Belfort seems to be getting a lot of heat for taking it.  I'm getting the feeling that people are questioning the legitimacy of his wins over Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold over it.  So I thought it over and came to the following conclusion: an MMA fighter should be granted an exemption for TRT provided that it restores his testosterone to his body's NORMAL LEVELS.

If a fighter abuses the treatment by "spiking" it during training and stopping just in time to pass the drug test, then they should not get an exemption.  We should not punish the other guys who use it correctly because there are cheaters who are trying to get an unfair advantage.  That would be like banning all injured athletes from getting pain killers because some addicts use them to get high.  Nor do I feel that we should ban athletes who have used steroids in the past from getting TRT exemptions IF:

1) They have fulfilled the terms of their suspension
2) They have proven that they haven't abused them since by testing clean in their subsequent fights
3) A reputable doctor says that they need it for their overall health in general (i.e. not just to compete)

To refuse an MMA fighter a TRT exemption under those three circumstances is like telling a track athlete that they can't use an inhaler because they abused their lungs through smoking in the past.  If they've learned their lesson, then they should get a second chance.  If they repeatedly abuse the system, then they shouldn't.  In fact, my personal opinion is that any fighter who fails three banned substances' tests (including weed) should be permanently barred from the sport. 

The fact of the matter is that professional fighting is highly competitive.  Your career doesn't last very long, the toughest people in the world want to rip your head off, and you probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting a title shot, much less dethroning the reigning champion.  For that reason, there are a lot of guys who will abuse anything that they can get their hands on in order to get an extra edge, including TRT.  That's why its use should be heavily regulated.  However, there are guys who are willing to play by the rules and fight fair.  Their bodies have simply developed a detrimental health condition or are suffering from the lingering effects of mistakes that they stopped making years ago.  These guys should be granted a TRT exemption and treated like legitimate fighters, for ultimately, they have chosen to play by the rules. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Silva Gets Knocked Off His Unicycle At UFC 162!

I knew that Weidman was going to make Silva pay if "The Spider" clowned around.  Nonetheless, the ending to the main event was still ridiculous and I'm continuing to laugh my butt off a day later.  On a side note, I never thought that I would see Usher at a UFC event.  That was pretty wild.  However, to get back on topic, here are my thoughts on each individual bout:

Swanson vs. Siver: This fight was a wild striking battle that included a cartwheel kick and a crazy judo arm-toss by Swanson.  Siver fought his heart out, but was ultimately dropped by a combination that was punctuated by a fierce right hand.  Swanson then finished the fight with hammerfists and punches on the ground.  In a great display of sportsmanship, he refused to continue beating Siver when he saw that he was out.  After Siver was unconscious, Swanson looked at the ref and held his arms out in disbelief when the fight still hadn't been stopped.  Swanson said he was going to leave it up to the fans regarding whether or not he got another title shot.  After this awesome performance, I definitely believe that he should get one after the Korean Zombie.  At the very least, he should get a fight with Frankie Edgar.

Munoz vs. Boetsch: This was another crazy fight, only it was high octane grappling instead of striking on steroids.  Again, the man who came up short put up a valiant effort.  Boetsch flipped Munoz over twice after being taken down, and almost got a guillotine choke and a Japanese necktie in Round 3.  However, "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" showed how he earned his nickname with several takedowns, and going "Donkey Kong" on "The Barbarian" with brutal body punches and hammerfists throughout the bout.  The highlight was when Munoz threw two diving punches at the end to put an exclamation point on his unanimous decision victory.  I also love how he gave glory to God in his victory.  He called out Weidman for a title shot during the post-fight press conference.  I don't think he's quite ready for that, but I'd love to see him take on the winner of Okami vs. Souza.

Kennedy vs. Gracie:  I look forward to the day when a Gracie becomes a champion in the octagon again.  For that to happen, they really need to work on their striking.  The days in which Royce embarrassed people who were clumsy on the ground have backfired on the Gracies in the professional fight scene because nearly every fighter now has Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.  In other words, they no longer panic when someone takes their back and gets them into a body triangle, like Roger Gracie did to Tim Kennedy.  Through experience, endurance, and a more well-rounded fight game, Kennedy managed to grind out a victory through striking Gracie in the clinch and tiring him out.  The leg kicks he threw in Round 3 certainly helped, too.  Was it the most exciting fight to watch?  No, but Kennedy's strategy was effective, and proved that, in MMA, it's better to be "good enough" in many things than outstanding in one area to the neglect of all others.

Edgar vs. Oliviera:  I was really shocked that Edgar wasn't able to finish "Do Bronx."  Even though "The Answer" won, Oliviera really made him work for it.  The highlight was definitely Oliviera getting Edgar into a guillotine choke after one of Edgar's trademark slams.  I knew Edgar wouldn't tap, but it was truly a testament to Oliviera's craftiness and resilience.  Oliviera's Muay Thai striking also looked amazing.  Nonetheless, Edgar had more speed and more heart, constantly pressing forward to pepper Oliviera with boxing combinations and maintaining top position whenever they went to the ground.  I thought that featherweight (Aldo excluded) would be easy for Edgar after dealing with the shark tank that is the lightweight division.  However, last night, I was proven wrong. 

Silva vs. Weidman: Okay, so you are up against a focused and hungry contender who has proven that your weakness (wrestling) is their strength by taking you down quickly in the first round and nearly getting you into a leg lock.  Do you:

A) Bring all of your experience and skill to bear in order to overcome your toughest challenge yet?


B) Drop your hands, do the Ali shuffle, and attempt Matrix-style evasion tactics like a showboating clown?

Guess what Silva did?  Option B.  Guess what happened?  Weidman knocked him the heck out with a left hook in Round 2.  There is a difference between getting a mental edge over your opponent and showing complete disdain and hubris.  Silva crossed that line last night (again) and this time, he paid for it.  It would be like Goliath bending over, taking off his helmet, giving David his sword, and daring him to chop his head off.  Slice!  Bye bye, champion!  Or, in this case, bye bye UFC middleweight title! 

The most infuriating thing is that Silva still moved with as much speed and athleticism as a 25-year-old prodigy.  He simply let his overconfidence get the better of him.  I honestly wondered if Silva took a dive at one point during the night.  Based on his post-fight speech, in which he said that he was tired and would never fight for the belt anymore, I almost believed it.  Then I remembered that he had pulled the same sort of antics against Forrest Griffin, Demian Maia, and Stephan Bonnar, and my inner skeptic woke up.  I can't read the mind of "The Spider", but I feel that his post-fight speech about not wanting a rematch, being tired, etc., is more about saving face after realizing that he made a fool out of himself.  At any rate, once everything sinks in, I think that Silva will eventually call in that rematch clause, and if he does, I hope that he actually makes a real effort. 

On the other hand, I'm proud of how Weidman conducted himself.  He was clearly agitated when Silva started goofing off, and even admitted it during the press conference.  However, he kept his cool, stayed focused, and let his fists do the talking.  He was humble in victory, saying "Thank God.  He gave me the power to do it."  He also showed respect to his foe, saying that he looked up to Anderson Silva.  Weidman has said that he was a Christian before this.  However, unlike many others who make that claim, he actually seems to act like one, so I hope that he has a long reign as a UFC champion. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

My UFC 162 Predictions

Silva vs. Weidman was fated to happen.  Granted, I see this in hindsight.  In the past, I thought that Weidman was a promising prospect but that he was seriously overconfident in his persistent calling out of Anderson Silva.  However, after Michael Bisping, Alan Belcher, Hector Lombard, and Tim Boetsch got bumped out of the title picture, it became clear that Weidman was the last man standing.  Is he the one who will finally squish "The Spider"?  We'll just have to wait and see.  Meanwhile, here are my predictions for tonight's card.

Swanson vs. Siver:  This is a tough one.  Swanson is on a four-fight winning streak, but Siver is working his way up the ranks of featherweight, too.  I think that this bout will be a standup war that could possibly become "Fight of the Night."  When the smoke clears, I think both men will be standing, but that Swanson will have put on the better performance.

Winner: Swanson via decision.

Munoz vs. Boetsch:  Kudos to "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" for taking on "The Barbarian" after such a long time away from the cage.  However, I feel he would have been better off taking on lesser competition first.  Boetsch is a beast who won't give up unless he is completely knocked out, and I see his heart getting him the victory in this bout.

Winner: Boetsch via KO. 

Kennedy vs. Gracie: I would love to see a member of the Gracie family take the UFC by storm again.  However, I don't think it will happen in this fight.  I think that the more experienced Kennedy will grind out a decision victory.

Winner: Kennedy via decision. 

Edgar vs. Oliviera:  The true UFC lightweight champion seems determined to work his way back to a featherweight title shot and prove that his close decision loss to Jose Aldo was a fluke.  While "Do Bronx" seems like a tune-up fight for "The Answer", I don't see Edgar underestimating his opponent.  I believe that Edgar is going to storm Oliviera right out of the gate and knock him the heck out in the first round.

Winner: Edgar via KO.

Silva vs. Weidman:  My head tells me that Silva is going to win, because of his vast experience and phenomenal skill.  However, my gut tells me to pick Weidman, because he is young and hungry and Silva has a tendency to showboat and clown around during fights.  I think that "The Spider" is going to pick Weidman apart in the first three rounds, start goofing off in the fourth, and Weidman will make him pay for it by pulling off a surprise submission (a la Ryo Chonan) in the fourth or fifth round.

Winner: Weidman via submission.

Being The Best vs. Doing YOUR Best

As Anderson Silva prepares to defend his belt again, I've decided to reflect on two different mindsets when it comes to martial arts.  The first is being the best.  The second is doing your best.  As competitive as I can get, I have come to the conclusion that the latter is more important, and not just because it is more achievable. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be the best martial artist, whether it be in the Olympics, the UFC, or some other venue.  You get fame and fortune, everyone wants to train and hang out with you, you get some awesome titles, trophies, and medals, and your name is etched in the record books.  The downside is that, sooner or later, someone will come along who is going to beat you.  Once that happens, die-hard fans will still look up to you, but everyone else will consider you a has-been and move on to idolizing your successor.  In other words, "being the best" is not sustainable, so you shouldn't base your entire self-worth on it.  Should you always strive for first place?  Yes.  Just don't fall into the trap of believing that it's the only thing that can give meaning to your life.  Needless to say, not everyone can be a champion.  For example, most MMA fighters never make it into the UFC, much less win a belt. 

On the other hand, doing your best has a lot more perks.  With this mindset, you're more likely to cultivate your character and spirit, things which are much more important than gold medals and belts.  You're also less likely to let the fame and fortune go to your head.  Not to mention that you probably won't want to cheat yourself, so you'll be more likely to avoid drugs, binge-drinking, and other bad habits.  Not to mention that, if you are always striving to improve, you may become the best as a by-product of your dedication and work ethic.  While you can't stay the best forever, your reign will last a lot longer if you want to push yourself to the max rather than just be better than the No. 2 guy.  With that attitude, you'll be less likely to suffer from "championitis", which is what happens when the guy at the top of the mountain gets complacent and stops working as hard as they used to.  Even if you don't become a champion, you will know in your heart that you did the best you could.  You'll still be able to pursue the martial arts for self-defense, personal growth, and fun, rather than being bitter over not achieving something that was never guaranteed to begin with.

So as you pick your martial art of choice, focus on doing your best, not just becoming a champion.  Best case scenario, you become a champion anyway.  Worst case scenario, you develop your spirit and character, make a lot of friends, and simply have fun. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What is the best martial art?

I believe that when people ask this question, that they are really asking "What is the perfect martial arts system that will work 100% of the time?"  Here is the answer to that question: it doesn't exist.

No martial art is perfect and none of them will work 100% of the time.  Even a Kravist can be beaten with the right technique that is executed at the right time with the right mindset.  So instead of searching for some mythical, all-powerful Shaolin magic wand, you need to ask this question: which martial art best suits my needs?  The only way to discover the answer is to try out multiple systems.

If you've never trained in the martial arts before, then I personally recommend that you study Krav Maga for at least three months first.  It's practical, it's efficient, and covers all of the basic aspects of self-defense.  Then, I would find the area that you are the weakest in and cross-train in a martial art that specializes in it.  For example, if you need to work on your striking, study karate or kung fu.  If your grappling needs improvement, learn Brazilian jiu-jitsu or judo.  If you need to learn how to fight in the clinch, study Muay Thai.  Obviously, there are many valuable martial arts besides these which you can also learn.  For example, MMA has proven that amateur and Greco-Roman wrestling are severely underrated martial arts styles.  The key thing is to find those that are best for you.   

If you are already a black belt in a traditional martial art, you should still study Krav Maga.  Why?  Because it teaches you how to best deal with modern weapons.  No, I'm not telling you to go sell your katanas on Craigslist.  Training with traditional martial arts weapons is still a great way to exercise, make friends, and have fun.  I'm just telling you that the odds of a street thug or rapist attacking you with a pair of nunchucks are slim to none.  You may be able to knock a walnut off someone's head with a shuriken while blindfolded from twenty yards away, but that won't help you if a gangster takes a .45 caliber and aims it at your forehead.   

Also, if you have a black belt in a striking martial art, cross-train in a grappling martial art and vice-versa.  All of the spinning kicks in the world won't help you if you are thrown on your back and don't know what to do.  Likewise, you may be able to flip a linebacker by only grabbing his pinkie, but that won't do you any good if you get knocked out with a front kick because you lunged at a Tae Kwon Do champion. 

If you do MMA, you'll have enough exposure to both striking and grappling techniques to be a well-rounded fighter.  In this case, take Krav Maga to learn how to deal with weapons and multiple opponents.  Doing Krav Maga will also remind you that in the real world, there are no referees, no mats, and no weight classes.  Not to mention that there is nothing keeping your opponent from fighting dirty (i.e. biting your leg to get out of your triangle choke).  Will a traditional martial art still benefit you?  Absolutely.  For example, forms will help with your flexibility, breathing, and fluidity of movement.  However, your coaches should have already picked out the most practical techniques from each system for you to learn, so it's not absolutely necessary. 

The key thing is to find the martial art that best meets your self-defense needs.  Whether it is pencak silat, capoeira, modern pankration, or any other system, it really doesn't matter.  If it allows you to return home safely to your family and friends, then it is worth your time and money.  Don't get hung up on whether or not one particular style is better than another, because, as Ip Man said in the movie after his namesake, "It's not about the style.  It's about you."  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Miocic Conquers "Big Country" At UFC 161!

When Miocic dominated Nelson to get the unanimous decision, I burst into laughter.  Even today, I still don't believe it.  This upset alone made the whole PPV worth it.  That being said, the other matches were better than people give them credit for.  Let's take a look at each of them individually:

Barry vs. Jordan: Jordan caught "HD" with a right uppercut and swarmed, taking his back and finishing the match against the cage with punches to the side of the head in Round 1.  Even though Barry wasn't out, he was just covering up and not doing anything.  Since his spirit was broken, it was only a matter of time before his body broke as well.

Davis vs. Sexton:  This match should have been stopped in Round 2.  Davis had taken Sexton's back, got her hooks in and flattened her out, pummeling her relentlessly on both sides of her head.  Sexton wasn't defending herself intelligently at all.  She just covered her head and lay there, doing nothing!  Nonetheless, Davis still won, using her superior grappling and size advantage to get the decision.  Overall, it was a pretty exciting fight and I look forward to seeing who Davis gets next.

Jimmo vs. Pokrajac:  The first one-and-a-half rounds were exciting.  Pokrajac got Jimmo with a combo against the cage, catching him with a couple of strong hooks.  Jimmo later dropped him with a left hook and rushed him against the cage.  After that, both fighters ran out of steam and it turned into a grinding affair on the ground.  So of course, all of the casuals started booing.  I just decided to ignore them and enjoy the match anyway.  After an attempted guillotine, Pokrajac basically gave up.  He just stood there holding his arms out to his side every time he was in the clinch, looking completely out of it.  In the end, Jimmo got a well-earned decision.

Nelson vs. Miocic:  Wow!  I never thought that I would ever see Miocic school "Big Country."  Miocic took Nelson apart with three and four punch combos, using his superior speed to avoid Nelson's power shots.  Miocic actually ran away a few times to escape Nelson's punches, including an uppercut that would have decapitated him if it had connected.  I thought that Nelson would fall back on his Brazilian jiu-jitsu when he realized that striking wasn't going to work.  However, it seems that, after years of getting one hit KOs, he has forsaken his grappling game.  He was taken down and did nothing on the ground.  This was definitely the best fight of the PPV, and proves that boxing is an underrated martial art.  After this, Miocic deserves another top-five opponent.  I would love to see how well he would do against Fabricio Werdum.

Henderson vs. Evans:  Watching this fight was like watching a chess match: interesting because of the strategy involved.  Hendo was focused on setting up his H-bomb, whereas "Suga" was concentrating on darting in and out with combos.  Henderson was able to catch Evans with a stiff jab in Round 1 and managed to swarm him.  Other than that, he didn't do any real damage.  Evans, on the other hand, managed a successful take down and tagged Henderson with flurries and jabs, outpointing him to get the split decision.  In other words, I was wrong: Evans is still relevant in the division.  I would love to see a match between him and Glover Teixiera next.  Hendo's days as a contender, on the other hand, are basically over.  Like Shogun, the former Pride and Strikeforce champion is destined to be a gatekeeper for the new breed of fighters. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My UFC 161 Predictions

I wasn't too excited about this card after Barao vs. Wineland and Shogun vs. Little Nog were killed by the injury bug.  However, after seeing that Alexis Davis will be fighting on the main card, I decided to give it a chance.  Here are my predictions for tonight's PPV:

Barry vs. Jordan:  Even though neither one of these guys is championship material, this should still be an interesting brawl.  I see "The Savage" winning via a KO in Round 3.

Winner: Jordan via KO.

Davis vs. Sexton:  Finally, another women's fight on the main card!  I really look forward to seeing Alexis Davis in action at last, especially after reading that she gave Sarah Kaufman a run for her money.  Since Davis has overcome stiffer competition than Sexton, I see Davis smashing "The Surgeon" in Round 1.

Winner: Davis via KO.

Jimmo vs. Pokrajac:  I'm not familiar with either fighter, so I'm going with my gut on this one.  Even though Pokrajac has more experience in the UFC, I believe that "Big Deal" will upset "The Duke" via decision.

Winner: Jimmo via decision.

Nelson vs. Miocic:  Miocic is a decent, hardworking fighter.  Unfortunately, that does not cut it against a guy like "Big Country."  I see Nelson flattening Miocic by Round 2 at the latest.

Winner: Nelson via KO.

Evans vs. Henderson:  Normally, I would pick "Suga" without hesitation.  However, his last match against Little Nog was a disaster.  At this level, all of the skill and athleticism in the world won't help you if your heart isn't in it anymore and I truly believe that Evans has lost his hunger.  Hendo, on the other hand, is desperate to regain his title shot against Jones, so I believe that he will end this quickly with an H-bomb.

Winner: Henderson via KO. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

No More Machida Style For Me

At Kung Fu tonight, I got to spar against Sifu Amanda again.  Now, I'm not a fan of point sparring, but it is excellent training for improving timing and accuracy.  I ended up losing by one point.  No excuses: she won fair and square.  That being said, it taught me several valuable lessons:

1) My defense needs improvement
2) My counter-striking needs improvement
3) I'm not as elusive as I thought I was

Until I improve dramatically in all of those areas, I shouldn't be fighting like Lyoto Machida.  Every martial artist has their own style, and what works for the second best light heavyweight in the world may not necessarily work for me.  I do much better when I go on the offensive, so I am going to change my approach accordingly.  Implementing the advice that she gave me afterwards probably wouldn't hurt either.  At any rate, I definitely need to do something different if I want a better result.  After all, if I am going to compete, I may as well win. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

UFC 160: Return of Cigano!

Well, it is settled: Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos are going to have a trilogy.  You won't catch me complaining: last night, those two proved that they are by far the best two heavyweights in the world.  Here are my thoughts on each of the fights:

Cerrone vs. Noons: Noons lasted a lot longer than I thought he would, but Cerrone still dominated him for three rounds.  Not only did he outstrike him, but he took him down four times and pummeled him on the mat.  In fact, he hit Noons with so many elbows on the ground that he cut his own elbow open!  I don't think it will be too long before we see "Cowboy" in another title eliminator.

Maynard vs. Grant: In a shocking twist of fate, "The Bully" got bullied after getting dropped by a straight right.  Grant finished Maynard off by smashing him against the cage with knees and punches to get a crazy KO victory.  I hope that Benson Henderson was watching so that he can prepare for this Canadian tornado.

Texiera vs. Te Huna:  I was surprised that this match ended so quickly.  Nonetheless, I was certain that it would be decided via submission and I was right.  After taking Te Huna down, Teixiera locked in a guillotine choke as they got back up to make him tap out.  Hopefully Teixiera will finally get a top five opponent after this.  The winner of Evans vs. Henderson would be a good test for him at this point.

Hunt vs. Dos Santos: Man, the Korean martial arts must be taking off in Brazil, because this is the third KO via spinning heel kick in the past couple of years, all by Brazilian fighters!  Hunt put up a valiant effort, but Cigano simply had too much speed and endurance for him.  That being said, I'm surprised that Dos Santos didn't swarm Hunt after dropping him with that overhand right in the first round.  Maybe he felt like making a statement.  If that was his intention, he succeeded, dropping Hunt with a Ninja Turtle-style spinning heel kick after stunning him with a left hook.  He definitely earned his title rematch.  I wouldn't be surprised if Tae Kwon Do and Tang Soo Do schools had a jump in membership after this bout.

Velasquez vs. Bigfoot:  I personally felt that this match was stopped too early.  Was that a great right hand by Velasquez?  Absolutely.  Was he mauling Bigfoot with strikes to his head after he took his back?  He sure was, even though a couple were to the back of the head.  Nonetheless, Bigfoot was in the process of standing up when the fight was called.  He probably would have at least made it out of Round 1 if the match had continued.  Alas, the referee made his decision and what's done is done.  I do hope, however, that Bigfoot has more success in the division so that he can get another title shot.

On a side note, Mike Tyson was there!  How cool is that?  He came into the octagon with Chuck Liddell to congratulate Teixiera after his match.  Not only that, but Dos Santos climbed out of the cage to shake "Iron" Mike's hand after his own victory.  Does this mean MMA has finally been accepted by the mainstream?  I certainly hope so.  Not least because I want to see more boxers enter the sport to test their mettle.  At any rate, it was a good sign of things to come and I look forward to seeing what will happen in this sport in the future.    

Saturday, May 25, 2013

UFC 160 Predictions

Tonight's card is so freaking stacked that if it was a burger, it would be as tall as the Empire State Building!  We have a surging monster in Bigfoot vs. an MMA killing machine in Velasquez, the unstoppable force of Junior Dos Santos vs. the immovable object that is Mark Hunt, and two granite-fisted light heavyweights in Texiera vs. Te Huna!  Not to mention that it's being kicked off by "Cowboy" Cerrone and Gray "The Bully" Maynard!  Here are my predictions for this totally awesome PPV!

Cerrone vs. Noons: This is a no-brainer.  While Cerrone has trouble in title eliminators, he usually dominates in any other match.  I see "Cowboy" welcoming K.J. to the UFC with a brutal KO.

Winner: Cerrone by KO.

Maynard vs. Grant: This one is going to be a little closer than Cerrone vs. Noons, but still a no-brainer.  Maynard is going to out-wrestle Grant on his way to yet another lightweight title shot.

Winner: Maynard by decision.

Teixiera vs. Te Huna: Kudos to Te Huna for taking on the most feared man in the light heavyweight division not named Jon Jones.  That being said, I believe Teixiera is on a whole different level.  Will he KO Te Huna?  Probably not.  Will he go for the submission after Te Huna doesn't go down as easily as he hoped?  I'm practically certain of it.

Winner: Teixiera by submission. 

Hunt vs. Dos Santos: This one is tougher to call.  Both men are fantastic strikers who can take down a bull elephant with one punch and they have pretty strong chins.  For that reason, I believe this will be decided on the ground.  I'm definitely rooting for Hunt, but logic dictates that the more well-rounded Dos Santos will whip out his Brazilian jiu-jitsu to take this one.

Winner: Dos Santos by submission. 

Velasquez vs. Bigfoot:  I made the mistake of underestimating Bigfoot Silva before.  It ended up with me picking my jaw up off the floor after watching him break Overeem's face.  I think he will put up a much better fight this time around than he did in his previous bout against Velasquez.  That being said, unlike Overeem, Velasquez doesn't hold Bigfoot in complete and utter contempt.  Due to that, I don't see him foolishly dropping his hands and toying with Bigfoot until he gets his teeth knocked down his throat.  I see Velasquez getting another victory, albeit in the third or fourth round instead of the first this time.

Winner: Velasquez by KO.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Empathizing With Greg Jackson On Preparing For Different Opponents

Tonight, I learned firsthand how tough it is to fight two different, high-level opponents.  While I still don't agree with Greg Jackson saying that 8 days wasn't enough time for Jones to prepare for Sonnen, I now understand why he felt that way.  When dealing with high-level opponents, strategy and preparation matter a lot more than size, strength, and speed.  I found that out when sparring Jeremy and Sifu Amanda.

Jeremy is swift and strong  He is very creative with his striking and combos, hitting from every angle imaginable.  I compare his style to that of Anthony Pettis: you never know where the next attack is going to come from. 

On the other hand, Sifu Amanda is technical and calculating.  She patiently figures out your rhythm before hitting you with accurate, well-timed kicks.  I compare her style to that of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua: wherever she aims, she hits.  It's that simple. 

Against Jeremy, I had the most success when I crowded him and cut off his space, turning the match into more of a brawl.  Against Sifu Amanda, I found that it was better for me to keep my distance and counter-strike whenever she went in for the kill.  In other words, against Jeremy, I fought like Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, whereas against Sifu Amanda I fought more like Lyoto Machida. 

I still have make some adjustments to my fighting style.  For example, even though I tired Jeremy out and made the fight more competitive, he still landed more strikes, so I need to improve my defense while in the clinch.  When it comes to Sifu Amanda, on the other hand, I need to apply more pressure to break her focus and concentration.  One thing is clear: I can't fight Jeremy the same way that I fight Sifu Amanda and vice versa. 

Jeremy would run circles around me if I tried to evade and counter-strike, whereas Sifu Amanda would kick me into oblivion if I tried to brawl with her.  I could only imagine how hard it would be to adjust for differences between two UFC-level opponents.  So when it comes to Greg Jackson, I can definitely empathize with him.  While I don't agree with his opinion on that particular event, I do agree with this: it is important to tailor your approach to each individual opponent. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Becoming My Best

As a 28-year-old man, I only have a few more years before my body starts to decline.  Due to this, I have decided to become as fit as possible.  I now run two miles a day and want to increase it to five by July.  I will also focus more on technique, leverage, and my mental fortitude during martial arts practice, so that I can still protect myself and others even after my strength and speed deteriorate.  I may not become as great as Anderson Silva or Jon Jones, but I will not rest until I become my absolute best!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Real-Life Martial Arts: Strike First Or Die

My heart goes out to Ricardo Portillo's family.  He was killed for doing his job.  Long story short, he was refereeing a soccer game when he gave a player a yellow card.  The 17-year-old goalie showed his disapproval by punching Portillo in the head.  Portillo wound up in a coma and died yesterday. 

This tragedy confirms a universal truth about martial arts: you never wait for your opponent to strike you first.  As soon as you perceive a physical threat against yourself, a loved one, or an innocent bystander, you must spring into action.  Otherwise, it will be too late. 

Obviously, this doesn't mean that you lay the smackdown on everyone who gives you a dirty look.  It just means that you prepare for the worst if someone rushes you.  Escape should always be the first option.  However, if you cannot outrun your assailant, you need to go on the offensive before they put you in the hospital.  Or worse, the morgue. 

To learn more about this tragic story, click here:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Burgers & Suds: Our New UFC Hangout

I used to watch UFC events at Duffy's or Applebee's.  It worked out because I'd get a decent meal at a decent price, and, on top of that, would get to see a PPV for free.  However, Steve told us during training a few weeks back about a place called Burgers & Suds in Fort Lauderdale.  He said it was going to be completely dedicated to UFC and that the food was amazing.  So everyone from Team Elite went there to watch UFC 159, where the lamb burger changed EVERYTHING!

Sheep are going to be an endangered species soon, because that burger was phenomenal.  It was so fresh that Mary probably just noticed that her little lamb was missing.  That, along with the strawberry basil lemonade, would have made me a regular.  However, the staff and owner were also very friendly and gave us great service.  They basically let us take over their outdoor area and even allowed us to put up our Elite Krav Maga Academy banner.  I honestly felt more like I was at a barbecue at a friend's house than at a restaurant.  Only, none of my friends are creative enough to make lamb burgers.  Also, the raspberry smoothie I had was a real fruit smoothie.  I wasn't bouncing off the walls from a concoction that was half-refined sugar.  So if you love UFC and great food, this is the place for you.  My friends and I will definitely be there every UFC event, keeping the sheep population under control. 

UFC 159: Small Joint Injury And Eye Poke Madness!

UFC 159 was a crazy night of eye pokes, a dislocated thumb, and a sliced toe.  Not to mention the bizarre stoppage of Villante vs. St. Preux in the prelims.  I know that referees aren't perfect, but that call was ridiculous.  At any rate, the fights were still pretty good overall, and here is my perspective on them:

McMann vs. Gaff:  McMann continued her undefeated streak by taking Gaff down, getting a mounted crucifix, and pounding her face into the canvas.  We're one match closer to an Olympian vs. Olympian superfight!  Rousey has Zingano next, and I would love to see McMann tested against someone like Sarah Kaufman before the two medalists face each other. 

Khabilov vs. Medeiros: Sambo is back!  I predicted the winner of this match at Burgers & Suds, but the means of winning was disappointing.  The referee stopped the fight after Medeiros dislocated his thumb trying to stop one of three takedowns.  Now, I'm all for fighter preservation, but:

1) Cerrone was able to stand toe-to-toe with Nate Diaz with a broken jaw
2) Faber battled Mike Brown with two injured hands in WEC
3) Hendricks was able to beat Condit after breaking his left hand on "The Natural Born Killer's" jaw

In light of those circumstances, a guy should be allowed to finish a bout if all that he has is a broken thumb.  Nonetheless, I look forward to seeing more of Khabilov.  I don't think he'll become the next Fedor Emelianenko, but he is definitely a good prospect.

Miller vs. Healy: Don't mess with the Irish!  This awesome back-and-forth grappling battle ended with Healy making Miller "go night-night" with a rear naked choke in the third round.  I had it even between those two going into the final round and was certain that it was going to be a draw.  At any rate, with monsters like these guys to contend with, Benson Henderson will have a hard time beating Anderson Silva's records.

Davis vs. Magalhaes: So much for the spectacular grappling war I had envisioned.  Davis opted for a smarter option: picking Magalhaes apart with jabs and one-two combinations in a standup duel.  He even mocked Magalhaes in Round 3 by spanking him with his foot when his opponent pulled guard.  From a technical perspective, it was a great fight.  So of course, all the loudmouths who wanted to see a Street Fighter-esque KO booed the entire time. 

Nelson vs. Kongo: After one wild ridgehand and a right to the face on the ground, Kongo was out.  It was so quick that I missed it and had to watch the replay.  Nelson called out the winner of UFC 160 and I do hope that he gets a title shot one day.  However, I don't think that Dana White will let him leapfrog the winner of Hunt vs. Dos Santos.  Maybe if Nelson loses his next match and gets a drug suspension, he'll be allowed to cut in line.

Bisping vs. Belcher: Not to be too critical of Bisping, but he seriously needs a new strength training regimen.  There's no reason that Belcher should have made it into Round 3 with "The Count" hitting him from every known angle in mathematics.  Nonetheless, the five-time British national kickboxing champion had that match won long before the nastiest eye poke which I have ever seen.  Belcher got it right in his surgically-repaired eye.  Suffice it to say that it was bloody and gruesome.  Bisping was apologetic and tried to be classy at the end of the match.  As far as Belcher goes...I just hope he'll be alright!

Jones vs. Sonnen:  Jones finally redeemed himself for UFC 151, and Sonnen went out on his shield in spite of being completely overmatched.  As he stated during the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Jones wanted to "Chael Sonnen Chael Sonnen" and he succeeded.  He used Sonnen's own strategy against him, taking him down and smothering him while pummeling his face with strikes.  Sonnen tried his best to fight back with punches and knees in the clinch, but he was simply overpowered.  At the end of the first round, Jones kneed him in the body and finished him with elbows and punches against the cage. 

In a bizarre twist, Jones managed to break his toe at the end of the fight.  You could literally see the bone!  He toughed it out and gave the interview anyway, but he looked like he was going to go into shock and faint.  Sonnen gave respect where it was due, saying that Jones was the man and that the champ was the better fighter that night.  While Sonnen said he would think about what he would do next, he realized that this was probably going to be his last title shot.  At any rate, after stepping up like this, and his outstanding skills at promoting/commentary, I'm pretty sure that Dana White is going to keep him around.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Sonnen went home to find a six-figure contract for a marketing position at the UFC in his inbox.  Meanwhile, Jones has regained my respect, and I can now enjoy watching him dominate people in the light heavyweight division again.