Saturday, June 4, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Photo Courtesy: Mesh Magazine
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
For the Main Event, it's UFC superstar and Welterweight Champ Georges 'Rush' St. Pierre set to defend his title once again, this time against Strikeforce Middleweight/EliteXC Welterweight/Shooto Middleweight/Rumble On The Rock Welterweight Champ, Jake Shields. Though kind of unknown up until recently (to most people, at least), Jake Shields is the solid Number 2 at Welterweight. He's got some of the best jiu jitsu in the world and unlike most JJ players who cross into MMA, Shields has the wrestling to force the fight to his world. Regardless of punching power, wrestling background, or even ground expertise, Shields always takes his opponent to the mat and works them, and if he doesn't get a submission, his awesome control and seamless transitions to dominant positions guarantee him the decision. GSP is the most well-rounded fighter known to man. He's got arguably the best wrestling in MMA, great jiu jitsu, awesome striking, speed, explosiveness, and a great mental approach, which really leaves no holes in game. Shields is on a 15-fight win streak. GSP has successfully, and dominantly, defended his belt 5 times. Jakes Shields is more than worthy of his shot but GSP is just on another level and it's Shields streak that's going to come to an end. GSP says he's not afraid to go to the ground with Shields but GSP isn't known for fighting to his opponent's strengths, and the huge difference in the stand up between Shields and GSP is going to be what loses Shields the fight. Just like with Koscheck, I see GSP putting a stand up clinic on Shields and without the threat of an explosive, powerful right hand, he'll probably finish this one by TKO.
For the Co-Main Event, it's deadly Jose Aldo defending his UFC Featherweight belt against fellow striker Mark Hominick. Jose Aldo is super flashy and super exciting. He's got nasty kicks, KO punching power, crazy accurate flying knees, and the takedown defense and ground game needed to use his striking effectively. Mark Hominick is a decorated striker who has won several kickboxing tournaments, and though Aldo has never really faced a striker as technical as Hominick, I still see Aldo as the better striker. Hominick is going to put up a better fight than people expect and an upset wouldn't really surprise me but I think things are going to happen almost as they should and Aldo finishes the fight in the 3rd or 4th.
It's the return of 'The Dragon' as Lyoto Machida faces Randy 'The Natural' Couture in his last fight in the Octagon. Machida is coming off a 2-fight losing streak but he's still as dangerous as people thought he was when he knocked out Rashad Evans. He's fast, accurate, elusive, and super technical with his striking. Couture is the master of the upset, an expert at "imposing his will." His striking is above average and he uses it effectively to close the distance and work his greco-roman wrestling and dirty boxing. Couture is great at executing gameplans and I'm pretty sure he wants to press Machida up against the fence and work for the take down while doing damage but Machida's sumo background makes him hard to get a hold of. Add to this Machida's speed and high-level striking, and it's going to be a horrible last fight for Randy Couture. I never go against 'The Natural' but Machida is Machida and I say he finishes with a 2nd round TKO and gets on his way back to his belt.
Also on the Main Card, Jason Brilz takes on Vladimir Matyushenko. Both are mirror images of each other, alright stand up with good wrestling and solid ground game, but Matyushenko is on his way out while Brilz is barely getting started and I see Brilz being able to edge a decision. Ben Henderson makes his UFC debut against jiu jitsu whiz Marc Bocek, and though both are well-rounded, Henderson's superior wrestling and stand up get him the win.
On the Spike TV televised Undercard fights, it's young prospect Rory Macdonald facing dangerous Nate Diaz. Both are young guys who go out and bring the fight and I'm split. It's a fight that could definitely be fight of the night, and one that I give the super slight edge to Diaz, just based on experience. Jake Ellenberger takes on Sean Pierson on short-notice and though Pierson is a solid fighter, I think Ellenberger is the future and his aggressive, well-rounded approach, a mix up of takedowns and power punches, gets him the win
The rest of the undercard fights are going to be aired on Facebook, so you don't have to miss a single fight come Saturday if you're a hardcore fan.
915 Sports Bar & Billiards, located at 4025 N. Mesa St, is the place to watch all the UFC action. For more info, you can contact 915 Sports Bar & Billiards at (915)542-3134. Don't forget this event and every event from now on airs an hour earlier than usual.
Masters No-Gi Advanced:
1st Tony Delgado – High Altitude
2nd Jerald Wisdom – Los Vatos
3rd Gabriel Criswell
4th Eric White – ABQ BJJ
Men No-Gi Advanced 140lb:
1st Ray Martinez – Jackson’s
2nd Michael Chupa – Hayashi’s
3rd Eric Buck – Rogers/Machado
Men No-Gi Advanced 155lb:
1st Brian Green – Jackson’s
2nd Alexander Chilton – SF BJJ
3rd Eric White – ABQ BJJ
4th Thomas Cordova – Relson Gracie El Paso
Men No-Gi Advanced 170lb:
1st Matt Young – Durango MA
2nd Daniel Martinez – Mean 1
3rd Steven Hanna – Durango MA
4th Michael Orchowski – Fitness Kicks
Men No-Gi Advanced 190lb:
1st Henry Martinez – Undisputed
2nd Shane Wilson – Team 4 Corners
3rd Michael Ames – Gracie Barra
4th Wesley King – Gracie Barra
Men No-Gi Advanced 215+lb:
1st Jeremiah Osheim – Durango MA
2nd Miguel Ordonez – Undisputed
3rd Tuuau Pleasant – ABQ BJJ
4th Eric McElroy – Halo 8
Teen No-Gi Advanced 140lb:
1st Ray Borg – Cullum Ground Fighting
2nd Ernesto Salvidrez – SF BJJ
3rd Jesse Tafoya – Mean 1
4th Orion Dominguez – Gracie Barra
Teen No-Gi Advanced 160lb:
1st Jose Cueto – Smack
2nd Bronson Mitchell – Team Fierce
3rd Anthony Trujillo – Gracie Barra
Teen No-Gi Advanced 190lb:
1st Michael Perez – Concrete Jungle
2nd Zach Nez – Team 4 Corners
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Wow. This past saturday, I was able to make the trip up Rio Rancho, NM to watch Grapplefest IV and the level of competition there was impressive. I was personally invested in the 140 lbs youth advanced no-gi grappling division since my younger brother was competing in it, and despite being for the underage, the guys in that division were slick, all of them with at least 3 years of experience and several medals and awards from other grappling competitions, all of them throwing out submissions and sweeps like crazy, 'power' guillotines, textbook triangles, flying armbars. Within that division, Roy Borg came in 1st place, Ernesto Salvidrez in 2nd place and Jesse Tafoya in 3rd place.
A lot of grapple-savy El Pasoans went out as well, amongst them local professional MMA fighter Mike Chupa, who placed 2nd place in his division. We'll have video of some of the grappling as well as the results for all the Advanced No-Gi divisions. Grappling competitions are becoming a favorite of mine and I can't wait for the next Hayashi tournament and Southwest Grapplefest V.
Southwest Grapplefest V is going to have an MMA expo that's going to include MMA, Boxing, Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, and Grappling, and, according to the flier, demos throughout the day from world renowned martial artists in Capoeira, Fillipino Stick Fighting, Kettle Bells, Les Mills Combat Fitness and more. With not just the Southwest Grapplefest but an MMA expo too, the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, NM is the place to be July 30th. For more info on the event, visit www.combatsportsclub.com.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Coming off a really close fight with Martin Kampmann where he got the win, we got to talk to Diego Sanchez about when he plans on returning to the cage, if he would be willing to fight fellow Welterweight teammates, and if he has any opponents in mind.
Though he has yet to announce an opponent, several people have already called him out. Johny Hendricks, who got a win at UFC Fight Night 24, started asking for a fight with Sanchez though Sanchez said Hendricks needs some high profile wins before he can start asking for a fight with Sanchez. Because of the controversial nature of the fight, Kampmann has been saying he'd like a rematch but those talks seem to be going nowhere since all they so is talk crap to each other about how each thinks he won the fight.
Regardless of who people think won the fight, Sanchez got the win and win over Kampmann is a huge one, so I expect Sanchez to get a big fight in his next outing. He considered filling in as a late replacement for Brian Foster but it was Jake Ellenberger who stepped in to fight at UFC 129. With Kampmann already scheduled to fight John Howard, Dong Hyung Kim taking on Carlos Condit, Thiago Alves fighting Rick Story, Fitch and Koscheck injured, and a rematch with Penn a little uninteresting at the time, Sanchez has little options for top fighters unless he waits until the dust settles. Nick Diaz, who Sanchez beat a while back, is a match Sanchez is interested in but a Strikeforce vs UFC match seems unlikely right now. Out of all the fights Sanchez has been campaigning for, former UFC Welterweight champion Matt Hughes seems the most likely to happen, and even then, Hughes has yet to talk about a return to the octagon since his loss to Penn. I, for one, would like to see Diego Sanchez vs Jake Ellenberger if Ellenberger wins at UFC 129. No matter what, with how stacked the Welterweight division is, Sanchez is bound to get an interesting match up.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
There was a lot of hype behind this event and it delivered. Aside from the promised MMA stars, Tim Kennedy, Paul Buentello, Mike Van Arsdale, and Rich Clementi, Rashad Evans also joined the crowd, taking pictures with everyone. Because the fight was for the troops, the fighters went all out to entertain and it made for an awesome event, packed with submissions, TKOs, 3 round battles, and the barnburner that was Schoonover/Jones.
For the Main Event, it was Rich 'No Love' Clementi versus Josh Hinkle, and though Hinkle didn't walk away with the win, he proved worthy of the big status fight he was given. Hinkle won the first round with a combination of kicks and to my surprise, takedowns, but after the end of that first round, it was a classic Clementi performance. It was no land slide. Hinkle put up a good fight, continuing to land strikes and occasionally ending up on top, but Clementi did what he does best and outgrappled Hinkle to a 29-28 win, setting it all up with some prey solid striking.
Rich Clementi defeats Josh Hinkle via Unanimous Decision
For the Co-Main Event, it was hometown boy Darrill 'The Boss' Schoonover taking on Esteves 'Quiet Riot' Jones on a 4 day notice for what ended up being fight of the night. Both are known to be heavy handed but neither came out gun-shy. It was a really close fight that went back and forth. Schoonover was the crisper striker. He dropped Jones' several times using straight punches to counter Jones' looping ones and looked great in the clinch, landing nasty knees to Jones' body when the chance arose. Jones' striking was a little more wild but when he landed, he landed big, also dropping Schoonover a couple of times. Jones didn't look for the takedown but took advantage of positioning when he stuffed Schoonover's takedowns, staying on top and in control for minutes at a time. The fight was a three round war so close, it was hard to judge. Darrill dropped Jones. Jones dropped Schoonover. Still, Jones was on top for the grappling portions of the fight and that's probably what edged him the decision. Jones said this was by far the toughest fight he's had and is sure to come out even better in his next fight, where he's set to defend his King of the Cage belt against Nick 'Afrozilla' Gaston. Even with the short notice, Schoonover almost got himself a win against a King of the Cage champ and hopefully his heart and willingness to take this fight on 4 days notice gets him a big fight in his next outing and gets the proper time to prepare for it.
Esteves Jones defeats Darrill Schoonover via Unanimous Decision
Lance Evans returned to the cage for the first time in 2 years, taking on decorated wrestler Jeremy Rosales. Both fighters came out tentative, and though neither ever seemed to be able to measure out his opponent, Rosales was the more aggressive fighter of the two and landed a little more than Evans throughout the three rounds, which got him the win. Evans landed his share if strikes but never really seemed to get into the 'groove' of things, which might have been a result of the ring rust and with his first fight in a long, long time out of the way, hopefully he gets a win in his next outing. Rosales kept the fight standing despite having the credentials to take it to the mat, and was able to walk away with the win. With the skill to win a fight standing and the ability to take it to the ground should he not be doing so good flinging strikes, Rosales is a threat everywhere inside the cage.
Jeremy Rosales defeats Lance Evans via Unanimous Decision
Flashy striker Oscar De La Parra made his long awaited professional debut against then 1-0 grappling specialist Thomas Soto. It was a classic striker versus grappler match and wrestling bested kickboxing for two of the three rounds. Though it was already expected, Soto made it clear within seconds of the fight what he was there to do, to put De La Parra on his back, take him out of his comfort zone, and work him. For two rounds Soto went for successful single leg after successful single leg, almost always getting his takedown. Still, De La Parra never gave him anything more than guard or half guard, and time after time used the fence to wall walk to his feet, but time after time, Soto took him down. Maybe it was the chants of 'Oscar, Oscar Oscar' that inspired him, who knows, but De La Parra never seemed to break, determined to get back up despite not having success at staying up, and in the third round, that determination paid off. Soto got an early takedown but seemed to be fading. De La Parra got to his feet and took over. Soto shot in for another single but De La Parra stuffed him and used the north-south position to punish Soto, which was the story of the third round. Despite still having gas to keep going and getting big momentum in that third round, De La Parra just took over a little too late and lost his debut in a 29-28 decision. The fight showed De La Parra needs to go back and work on his takedown defense. It also showed De La Parra's heart, cardio, determination and a lot of other traits needed for the fight business and like every other young fighter, he's bound to come out a better fighter in his next one. Soto moves to 2-0 and shows a lot of promise. He threw virtually no punches in the fight, but didn't need to, and it'll be interesting to see if he can make his striking as good as his wrestling game as he continues to win because you need to be able to do it all to compete in the big shows.
Thomas Soto defeats Oscar De La Parra via Unanimous Decision
Wrestling stud Willie Parks took on Justin Gonzalas and showed a whole other side of him. Parks came out in the first his usual self, a wrestling powerhouse. Gonzalas threw a kick and though Parks barely even got ahold of his ankle, he still tossed him to ground with ease. Once there, Parks showed a more aggressive approach to his ground and pound than his last fight, landing big shots from the top. Gonzalas threw an armbar attempt at some point in the first round, but Parks just shrugged it off and took the round decisively. With his wrestling dominance established in the first, Parks came out wanting to throw hands and a punch he threw was a punch he landed. Within seconds of the second round, Parks had Gonazalas wobbled and after dropping Gonzalas with a punch, he followed him to the ground with the fight ending barrage. Gonzalas didn't get to show much, but that's just cause Willie Parks is on another level than most fighters not fighting in the big promotions. His world-class wrestling alone would probably get him to the big leagues but he seems to he adding weapons to his arsenal with each fight he has and we're excited to see more from him.
Willie Parks defeats Justin Gonzalas via TKO (strikes) at :23 of the 2nd round
Submission specialist Enrique Rios took on Paul Moreno and did exactly what he said he would. Before the fight, he promised a submission and after throwing a low kick, he got to work. He dropped under Moreno's punch, shot for.the takedown, got it, took Moreno's back and got an armbar, all with done with methodical precision. Moreno shows his submission chops in his debut and starts his professional career with his right foot.
Enrique Rios defeats Paul Moreno via submission (armbar) at 1:20 of the 1st round
Relson Gracie instructor and MMA pioneer Shawn Pretat took on Isaiah Reyes and though it was Pretat that came in with the freestyle wrestling and submission grappling background, it was Reyes that walked away with a submission win. Pretat caught everyone, including his opponent, by surprise by coming out swinging. Pretat landed a couple of punches and caught Reyes' kick to get the takedown. Once in Reyes' guard, Pretat dropped for a heel hook but once he saw he didn't have it quickly scrambled back to top position. Just when we were waiting to see how else Pretat would attack, it was Reyes that through up a triangle and after seconds of adjusting, tapped the grappling ace. With the credentials Pretat has, a submission win over him is a huge feather in Reyes' cap.
Isaiah Reyes defeats Shawn Pretat via submission (triangle) at 1:13 of the 1st round
In the first fight of the night, Corey Edwards took on William Moore. Moore came out with really nice wrestling, changing levels seamlessly. Moore got a takedown right off the bat and though Edwards got up, Moore took him down again. Moore quickly took Edwards' back the second time around and sunk in a.rear naked choke.
William Moore defeats Corey Edwards VIA submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 1:33 of the 1st round
One of the main guys went in the cage at one point and promised us another big MMA show in the near future. He then went on to say, "We love you San Antonio!!!" Hopefully he just got confused with the name of the city and didn't just fill my heart with hope for nothing.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Well the event starts in a little bit but I just have to get my opinion in on it. Aside from having two titles on the line and just great match making on the card, tonight is a highly anticipated event because it is the first major Strikeforce event under Zuffa (pretty much, the UFC), and it'll be interesting to see the changes made in the production, commentating, graphics, entrances, and I'm pretty sure they're gonna get rid of the lame pyro-technics. Still, the fights is what it's all about, and Strikeforce busted out a lot of the top names for this one.
For the Main Event, it's Strikeforce Welterweight champ Nick Diaz defending his belt against KO artist Paul Daley. Diaz is the superior and more well rounded fighter. He's got that awesome, weird 'Diaz boxing,' a lot of pitter patter shots with perfectly placed power shots in between, and some high level jiu jitsu to go with that boxing for when he gets taken down. Paul Daley is a power striker. He's got good takedown defense and hands that'll drop whoever chooses to trade with him. That's exactly the style needed to beat Diaz (that or a strong wrestler with good sub defense, but that's a conversation for another day). Just like Sotiropolous and Dunham, Diaz has an awesome jiu jitsu game but lacks the wrestling to force it to the mat. Add to that the fact that I think Diaz is stubborn enough to stand and trade with Daley. He chose to stand with boxer KJ Noons just to prove a point, and unlike KJ Noons, Daley can rattle him with one shot. Diaz might attempt a takedown, but he's an avid believer of bringing the fight and he's too proud to struggle for a takedown, and Daley will definitely make him struggle for it. Diaz comes in as the favorite, but I smell an upset.
For the Co Main Event, it's Strikeforce Lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez defending his belt against Tatsuya Kawajiri. Melendez is a fast paced wrestler with good striking that, like Jake Shields, has been beating everyone outside of the UFC. Kawajiri is pretty good, but shouldn't be fighting for the title. Melendez is a big fish in a small pond and wins this decisively. Hopefully with the Zuffa buyout, we can see more interesting matches for Melendez, maybe a Clay Guida or an Evan Dunham.
Also on the card, Keith Jardine takes on striker Gegard Mousasi on really short notice. Mousasi is one of the best strikers around but showed a complete lack of wrestling in his fight with Mo Lawal. Jardine is an awkward striker that has won and lost against some of the best. He looks thinner, and says to expect some surprises. His wrestling has always been under-rated and hopefully he's gonna use it a lot more in this fight, because Mousasi is the better striker. I'm torn on this one. Mousasi has a cool style and I'd like to see him advance but Jardine is always game and i love that. Mousasi probably takes this but hopefully Jardine gets rewarded for taking the fight on short notice and he gets a fight against a top Middleweight. Shynia Aoki fights Lyle Beerbohm. Aoki is one of the best grapplers around but I smell an upset on this one too. Beerbohm is gonna stuff the takedowns and outstrike Aoki, like Melendez, just not as dominant.
The way the UFC events are presented is awesome, more of a sports competition than a strong man show. Strikeforce has always had good fights but the presentation has also always been kind of lame and hopefully Zuffa fixes this. Pretty exciting stuff.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
It seems hand injuries are the curse of this card. Originally scheduled to fight slugger Paul Buentello, Esteves Jones' opponent was changed to Word Class wrestler and high profile fighter Mike Van Arsdale due to Buentello suffering a hand injury. Now Arsdale, too, has suffered an injury. Luckily, El Paso is home to 'Ultimate Fighter 10' alumni and Texas MMA king, Darrill Schoonover, who barely found out about the fight on Monday but is excited to fight in front of his hometown regardless of the situation.
Darrill Schoonover is as well-rounded as they come. With 5 of his 10 wins coming VIA KO/TKOED and the other 5 by submission, he has shown to be equally as dangerous on the mat as he is standing. Owner of the XFC light heavyweight belt, the Freestyle Cage Fighting heavyweight belt and the Shark Fights heavyweight belt, which is sanctioned by the state of Texas as the official champion of Texas, Schoonover comes in with a slight experience advantage but because he just took the fight on Monday (4 day notice), does not come in with a full training camp. Esteves 'Quiet Riot' Jones is a King of the Cage champ with heavy hands and brings the fight, as shown by his 15 second KO in his last fight. Unlike Schoonover, Jones did go through a full training camp but might be affected by the short-notice change as well. In Arsdale, he had a wrestler with a 1-dimensional approach, and because of the high level of Arsdale's wrestling, Jones might have spent a lot of time preparing for stuffing single and double leg takedowns. He now faces a guy with a Judo blackbelt, who takes his opponents down with trips and throws more than with traditional wrestling takedowns, though he has the wrestling background to shoot in if need be. Add to this Schoonover's big right hand and solid stand up and it makes for a radical change in opponents for Jones.With only a 4 day notice on the fight, it's not an ideal situation for Darrill Schoonover. Still, Schoonover has been dying for a chance to fight in his hometown, so win, lose, or draw, you know he's going to bring the fight and make it a memorable one for his fellow El Pasoans.
Shawn Petat now fights Isaiah Reyes instead of tall order, Matt Leyva. Rich 'No Love' Clementi is still a go for his bout. The rest of the card remains virtually unchanged. Rogue Warrior Championships takes place April 8 at the El Paso County Coliseum. The first fight starts at 8pm. Tickets start at $20 and are on sale at all Ticketmaster locations. For more information, go to www.texascagefighting.net.
Heavyweight Bout - Esteves Jones vs Darrill Schoonover
Welterweight Bout - Josh Hinkle vs Rich Clementi
205 lbs - Lance Evans vs Jeremy Rosales
205 lbs - Enrique Rios vs Paul moreno
185 lbs - Justin Gonzalas vs Willie Parks
135lbs - Shawn Pretat vs Isaiah Reyes
170 lbs - William Moore vs Corey Edwards
155 lbs - Oscar De la Parra vs Thomas Soto
We'll bring you any updates if more changes are made to the card. For more information on Darrill Schoonover's accomplishments, including his run on the 'Ultimate Fighter' alongside Kimbo Slice and Roy 'Big Country' Nelson, check this article out, www.daily4mma.blogspot.com/2010/10/darrill-schoonover-putting-el-paso-on.html
Though the Main Attraction fights have huge names and Tim Kennedy and Paul Buentello are going to be in the crowd, it takes more than 2 good fights and cool special guests to make a good fight card, and whoever put together Rogue Warrior Championships seems to have already known that, packing the rest of the card with top talent, from the next big thing out of Jackson's MMA Willie Parks to 'Ultimate Fighter' contestant and brother to Rashad Evans, Lance Evans, as well as the professional debut of local amateur bad ass, Oscar De La Parra.
'915 MMA' Amateur Lightweight Champ Oscar De La Parra makes his professional debut against 1-0 Thomas Soto. Soto is also new to the professional fight scene but a quick :38 second finish by submission in his first fight let him know he can hang with the pros. De La Parra used his technical kickboxing, more importantly his wide array of kicks, to become one of the more popular local MMA fighters and looks to see if all those crescent and push kicks will do as well at the professional level. With a professional win already under his belt, Soto is a solid first test for our very own Oscar De La Parra.
Willie Parks, the next big thing at Middleweight, takes on El Paso's own Justin Gonzales. A successful collegiate wrestler who did so well he got the Olympic Team's attention, Parks now looks to bring that success streak to the cage, and, at 4-0, seems to be doing just that. Greg Jackson says he's the man to look out for at 185, and when the guy who has trained GSP, Rashad Evans, Diego Sanchez, Jon Jones, and many others makes these sorts of allegations, you know they're for reals. Justin Gonzales is a US Army Specialist fighting out of El Paso and though the Army has prepared him for a lot of things, I'm pretty sure Olympic-level wrestling wasn't one of them. It's pretty early in both of their professional fighting careers, but with the kind of hype Willie Parks brings with him, it seems the chips are stacked against Gonzales. Still, if Matt Serra taught us anything, it's that anything can happen.
'Ultimate Fighter 8 cast member' Lance Evans (yes, Rashad Evan's older brother) takes on Sacramento wrestling champ Jeremy Rosales. At 4-3 with only 1 of those fights not finishing by KO/TKO, Evans seems to be of the 'knock out or be knocked out' mentality. Evans was unable to compete on 'TUF' due to a rib injury, so aside from being related to Rashad Evans, remains relatively unknown. At 2-1, Rosales doesn't have too much experience but comes in with a solid wrestling background. Rosales might be able to take Evans down, but Evans goes all out every time, and based on his record, win or lose, Evans won't let the fight go all 3 rounds.
US Army Staff Sergeant Shawn Pretat, who fights out of El Paso, takes on Jackson's MMA fighter Matt Leyva. Leyva, at 7-2, has lost to only one of his eight opponents and though it's his wrestling that got him started, he prides himself in being well rounded. Pretat is an Army hand to hand combat certified Level 4 instructor as well as an experienced grappler with a background in freestyle wrestling. Both seem to have a solid wrestling base, but with both of Leyva's losses coming via submission and Pretat's jiu jitsu skills, expect Leyva to emulate his personal MMA hero, Dan Henderson, using his wrestling to keep it standing and throw bombs.
El Paso fighters also include US Army Sergeant First Class Enrique Rios meeting US Marine Sergeant Paul Moreno.
Even without the special guests and the UFC veterans, this fight card is still stacked and quite relevant in the regional MMA world. Luckily, the UFC veterans and special guests are part of the package, making Friday night the biggest MMA event in El Paso to date. Add to that the fact that the event benefits the Stars and Stripes Foundation, which aids wounded troops and their families, and you've got a show you can't miss. Rogue Warrior Championships takes place April 8 at the El Paso County Coliseum. The first fight starts at 8pm. Tickets start at $20 and are on sale at all Ticketmaster locations. For more information, go to www.texascagefighting.net.
Friday night, it's another huge step in El Paso becoming an 'MMA city' as the El Paso County Coliseum hosts a huge night of fights. Because the event benefits the Stars and Stripes Foundation, which aids wounded troops and their families, it has attracted a lot of the top fighters with military background in MMA. Aside from 2 UFC veterans, the King of the Cage champ, and several of the top regional names, the event will also have as guests Paul Buentello, a veteran of the sport who has fought for both the UFC and Strikeforce heavyweight belt, and Tim Kennedy, Strikeforce Middleweight contender who bounced back from a loss to Strikeforce Middleweight champ Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza with a win over feared striker Melvin Manhoff.
For the Main Event, it's decorated wrestler and UFC veteran Mike Van Arsdale up against King of the Cage champ Esteves 'Quiet Riot' Jones. Of Jones' 6 wins, 5 were by way of KO/TKO, with his latest trip to the cage lasting all of 15 seconds, so it's no mystery he wants to go in there, swing away and punch his opponent unconscious. Arsdale is the complete opposite, a highly-decorated, world-level wrestler with a knack for submitting his opponents once he takes them to the mat. With a record of 8-5, one would think there's nothing special about Arsdale but when you take into consideration the losses came to the likes of Randy Couture, Wanderlei Silva, Renato 'Babalu' Sobral, and Matt Lindland, you realize it takes an elite-level fighter to give Arsdale a loss. On paper, Arsdale should have no problem taking the fight to the ground and working his game but things rarely go how they should, and if Jones can make Arsdale struggle for the takedown, his heavy hands could get him the win like they've done many times before.
For the Co-Main Event, it's tough, battle-tested, former UFC fighter Rich 'No Love' Clementi versus Warriors Challenge Welterweight champ Josh Hinkle. With over 50 fights, Clementi has been around for a while and, with wins over guys like Sam Stout, Melvin Guillard, and Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson, has shown he can beat just about anyone on any given night. Though a well-rounded fighter, Clementi's style is more grapple-oriented, using his striking to help close the distance and set up takedowns. Clementi's all about top control and uses his ground and pound more for improving position and setting up submissions than actually pounding someone out. He dominated his last opponent for 3 rounds, so confident in the bout that he was kissing his right glove right before punching his opponent only to get submitted with a minute and a half to go, so he should come in refocused and ready instead of treating this like just another fight. Hinkle is the Warriors Challenge champ, and though the promotion isn't too well known, being the champ anywhere means fighting the best competition the region has to offer. Having almost as many TKOs as he does submissions, Hinkle has shown he can do it all but how well he can do it is the question at hand. With all his experience, Friday night is just another day at the office for Rich Clementi, time to get in the cage, press his opponent up against the cage, take him down, rough him up and possibly submit him. Hinkle needs to avoid being on his back, and if he does end up there, he needs to not let his will get broken by Clementi's top game.
Esteves Jones and Josh Hinkle know little about losing and have been making a name for themselves in the regional promotions. Mike Van Arsdale and Rich Clementi have fought in the world's top promotion and look to fight their way back to the big show. Veterans and Up-and-Comers collide and regardless of the outcome, it's bound to be exciting. Rogue Warrior Championships takes place April 8 at the El Paso County Coliseum. The first fight starts at 8pm. Tickets start at $20 and are on sale at all Ticketmaster locations. For more information, go to www.texascagefighting.net.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Victor Davila is a big name in the MMA community and though internationally, he has conducted seminars alongside Eddie Bravo, who is considered one of the best grapplers of our generation, and has won several highly respected grappling competitions, Davila's fame is predominant in the Latin American MMA community. Davila is the voice Spanish-speaking fans hear while the action goes down in the UFC's octagon, giving it color with his MMA knowledge and insight. Much like Joe Rogan, he not only lends his voice, but is also the face to TV shows showing the UFC fights in Spanish. He conducts seminars that focus half on jiu jitsu alone and half on all other aspects of MMA throughout Mexico. To add to the already developing developing MMA scene here in El Paso, he brings his fight team, which he plans to establish like he's done in several other cities. The El Paso scene is developing nicely and Davila's presence, which he says will be for a couple of years, can only help it.
MMA's exponential growth can be seen inside the cage as well, as new techniques rise and others are proven obsolete.10th Planet Jiu Jitsu, of which Davila is the head trainer here locally, brings us that evolution in the Jiu Jitsu aspect of the game.10th Planet Jiu Jitsu is a non-traditional form of Jiu Jitsu that is aimed more for No-Gi grappling. The brand has been made famous not just by Eddie Bravo, but others who have shown it's effectiveness in the UFC and other MMA promotions, amongst them George Sotiropolous. This weekend, the 'Korean Zombie' Chang Sung Jung finished a fight with a 'twister', which had never been done in the UFC before. The move consists of getting a sort of half guard from the back, sneaking under the opposite side arm, and grabbing the head and torqing the leg and head in opposite directions (I might've done a horrible description of the move), which looks pretty painful on the spine and is one of the moves Eddie Bravo has come up with. El Paso's own branch of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu is located at 11237 Pelicano Dr., Warehouse K.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
For the Main Event, Willie Parks took on Jorge Ortiz and though at 16-6, Ortiz had a huge advantage in experience, it didn't matter once Parks closed the distance and grabbed ahold of him. Parks was by far the better wrestler and though the standing exchanges were pretty even, most of the fight was contested on the ground with Parks on top dropping elbows and punches. Parks moves to 4-0 and with a guy like Diego Sanchez behind him, he could do big things in MMA.
Also on the MMA portion of the evening, Matt Leyva took on Joe Gustina. Both had already fought with Gustina coming out the winner. This match played out similarly. Gustina came out with leg kicks, running around, and bouncing on the ropes WWE style. Leyva came out focused and intent on winning and though at some point he nearly sunk in an anaconda choke, and after trading several submission attempts, Gustina walked away via a deep arm bar that according to Leyva, made his arm "pop four times."
In the first MMA fight of the night, Jackson and Mean1MMA's Conrad Padilla took on ACE Fight Team's James Gabriel. Padilla came out with what would be the night's most dominant performance. Immediately after the fight started, Padilla got a takedown, transitioned to side control, dropped some elbows, put Gabriel in a crucifix, dropped some more elbows, took Gabriel's back, flattened him out and finished him with some punches to the chin and side of the head. Padilla debuted professionally and looked food doing it. He moves to 1-0 and hopefully we see fight around here some time.
The event was awesome, the Jackson's guys were super nice, Diego Sanchez was pretty cool, and with everything the event had going on, I hope to see another Bloodsport Championships event in the near future.
For the Main Event, it's wrestling extraordinaire Phil Davis up against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Nogueira is a big name because of his boxing and jiu jitsu game but hasn't looked all that great since his UFC debut, and where he hasn't looked all that sharp, his wrestling, is where his opponent excels. Davis has dominated all of his UFC opponents but what sets him apart from the rest of the wrestling pack is his strong submission game. The odds are Davis is going to win by control with his wrestling but with guys like Jon Jones, Rashad Evans, and Lyoto Machida at the top of his division, he needs a dominant win if he wants a top 5 opponent next. Davis' name keeps coming up next to Jones' and it's his chance to show he can win against a high level opponent just as impressively as he's been doing.
For the Co-Main Event, it's hard hitters Dan Hardy and Anthony Johnson pit against each other. Coming off the KO at the hands of Condit, I see Hardy coming in with improved striking. Johnson is huge, fast and powerful but he's coming off a long lay off. This fight is very evenly matched but Hardy is coming off of 2 losses, which should have him motivated and though they both knock people out, Hardy is the more technical one and takes this by decision.
Also on the televised card, Amir Sadollah takes on DeMarques Johnson. Short notice or not, Sadollah has the better skill set and I see Sadollah putting on yet another Muy Thai clinic on a lower tier fighter. Leonard Garcia rematches Chan Sung Jung. There's always the possibility that Garcia could win a fight he should've lost just because he's uber aggressive and wild but still, I see 'The Korean Zombie' picking his shots better than last time (though I think he won that one) and hopefully the judges base it more on effective striking than on aggression and the rightful winner gets his hand raised.
On the Facebook prelims, Alex'Bruce Leroy' Caceres fights Mackens Semerzier. I like Caceres' Bruce Lee-like pre-fight attire and his style, best described as kick happy, and hopefully, that let's him the win. Jon Madsen takes on Mike Russow. Madsen has controlled all of his fights with his wrestling and in his fight most recent fight showed his wrestling has an aggressive aide with his finish of Yvel. Russow single-handedly derailed the Duffee hype train but looked unimpressive for most of that fight and though Madsen finished his last fight, Russow's own good wrestling base will negate Madsen's aggression, but he'll still get controlled. John Hathaway fights Kris McCray. Though Hathaway lost his fight to Pyle, he still has a win over top dog Diego Sanchez and even in his loss, showed a lot of heart and just natural strength. McCray hasn't looked that good since TUF, and even on the show, didn't really look that great. Hathaway wins by whatever he wants and that'll probably be standing. Sean McCorkle takes on Christian Morecraft. Both are big guys with losses to Stefan Struve, but Morecraft was beating Struve pretty good up until Struve KOed him and I see him coming in as the better fighter into this fight. Johnny Hendricks fights in an unaired bout and hopefully gets a big win so we can see that wrestling pedigree against some 170 bad asses.
The card is stacked as always. You're on Facebook all the time. Put those wasted hours to good use watching guys MMA it out.
Friday, March 25, 2011
In an interesting fight where the fighters have already met before, Matt Leyva takes on Joe Gustina in hopes of avenging his only loss. Leyva, another one of the Jackson's fighters, is 7-1 with his only loss coming at the hands of Gustina and feels that with the run he's on right now, it's time to avenge his only loss and continue his climb up the Pro MMA ranks. Gustina had to cut a lot of weight and rushed out after the weigh-ins to get some food and some liquids in him so we were unable to get his take on the fight.
The boxing portion of the event brings just as much talent. Molly McConnel fights Kita Watkins for the
WIBF and GBU Jr. Welterweight World Championship titles and Gabriel Cruz, sparring partner to UFC Lightweight top contender George Sotiropolous, takes on Wesley Marquez.
We hope tomorrow night is a success for Bloodsport Championships so they can put on some more shows like this. They brought in superb talent for the event and hopefully El Paso can be host to MMA competition of this caliber more often. Bloodsport Championship's "Time To Bleed" takes place at El Paso Marriott at 7 pm. For more information on tickets or the event itself, visit http://www.bloodsportchampionships.com/.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
For the Main Event of the evening, we got a bout for the FTF Welterweight belt between Desmond Hill and Fabian Salas. The bout started with Salas throwing out 2 leg kicks but before the feeling out process could begin Hill landed a big right hand that was the beginning of the end. Hill followed it with a barrage of strikes and once Salas fell to the mat, Hill just had to land one big, clean strike to end it. With wins over Fabian Salas and Martin Sano and the FTF record for fastest KO/TKO, Hill is the fighter to beat at Welterweight in our local amateur scene.
For the Co-Main Event, top prospects Derek 'Da Kid' Cranford and Adam 'Flex' McGurk clashed for the FTF Featherweight belt but instead of the close fight we were expecting between two of the more exciting fighters we have, it was just another classic Cranford performance. Cranford came out aggressive and it paid off. 'Da Kid' packs power, and coupled with the speed and accuracy he came out with on Sunday, he looked unstoppable, breaking the FTF record for fastest KO/TKO before Hill came out and rebroke it. McGurk is a proven badass with good stand up and possibly even better ground game and Cranford's win over McGurk is just a testament to how good 'Da Kid' really is. The win shows it's going to take a really good wrestler to beat Cranford because trading punches and kicks with him just doesn't seem to work.
Another belt up for grabs this Sunday was the FTF Lightweight Belt, as Brian Castillo took on Mitch Brown. Castillo had a lot of hype coming in to the fight and Brown, who's forte is the ground but doesn't mind trading leather, seemed a solid test to it, but the hype proved to be warranted. Castillo was the stronger guy in the clinch and though Brown defended the takedown well, he ate a punch when they broke from the clinch and ate another one coming in that dropped him. Castillo quickly followed him to the ground and ended it with a vicious ground and pound assault from mount. Castillo looked good in the clinch, standing and on the ground, and will be a handful for anyone at Lightweight.
Also on the card, Frankie Rivera avenged his hard fought loss against Vince Barreda with a quick rear naked choke in the 2nd round. Phillip Schoonover beat Justin Nixon in a split decision and showed his wrestling is much more effective against a guy his size. Fred Rodriguez came out strong against Galen Bradley, using his power for a huge, impressive slam but seemed to have slowed down by the end of the 1st round and Bradley cake out in the 2nd and used his reach and speed advantage to finish Rodriguez. Jerry Sano came out in a flurry and though Lucas Elison looked great in training, with creative takedowns and good transitions on the ground, Sano just looked stronger and faster in the cage and used that to get himself a quick, impressive win. Gary Messec took on Address Cervantes and pulled off an impressive shoulder crank that left Cervantes still in pain several minutes after the fight stopped. Emilio Alvara took on Frank Tarango in a one sided fight that saw Alvara in top position most of the fight. Tarango had no answer for Alvara's wrestling. Alvara didn't come in with big, flashy takedowns but once on top, he proved nearly impossible to push off or roll over. In the first fight of the night, it was obvious Gabriel Zubia wanted to bring the fight to Aaron Contreras but Zubia's eagerness led him to not be able to get anything done. Zubia would come in determined to stand and bang and kept getting taken down and the few times he was on top, he got over aggressive and lost position.
The night of fights left us looking forward to the next one. The Ed Tech guys looked really sharp and there's a 135 pound fighter out there by the name of Fernie Garcia out of 'Concrete Jungle' with a really interesting style, a lot of circling, counter-striking and solid takedowns, who I'd like to see against a guy like Jerry Sano or Derek Cranford. All in all, the fighters keep impressing and the events keep getting more and more interesting.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monsters collide this Saturday for the Main Event as Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua sets out to defend the UFC Light Heavyweight belt he so violently stripped from Machida by taking on wrestling powerhouse and supposed next big thing Jon Jones. Jon Jones has dominated everyone he's faced but his biggest win is Bader, a solid fighter but quite untested himself. He has faced some of the best wrestlers in the division and thoroughly handled all of them but there's not much diversity amongst his past opponents. He hasn't faced anyone who's that good off their back and the best striker he has faced is Vera, who has a cool style but is alright at best. Shogun has been fighting against the elite of his division for a while now, throwing perfectly placed punches, kicks, elbows, and knees to the top of both Pride and the UFC. He has faced wrestlers, judokas, jiu jitsu aces and strikers, legends, champs, and seemingly unstoppable foes. Unlike Matyushenko and the others, experience isn't all that Shogun brings. His ground game is slick and his Muy Thai is second to none. Jon Jones already made it to the top of the heap where he rightfully belongs but he's young and the lack of experience will be evident. He's never faced anyone anywhere near the level of Shogun and though in a couple of years he'll probably be the force people make him out to be, it's too early for him right now. Unlike everyone else, Shogun won't hesitate on the outside wary of how dangerous Jones is and is going to show Jones some things he's never felt, nasty kicks to the body, punches to the face that'll scatter his brains and wobble his legs. Shogun takes it by early aggression and his usual accurate, powerful striking. He'll inevitably get taken down but he's been there before, is good at not taking damage off his back, andshould be able to sweep out from bottom unless he catches a limb and hyper extends it before he gets back to his feet. It's Jones' biggest test to date and one he's going to need to retake because Shogun is just too much for just about anyone right now.
We got to talk to Jon Jones and ask him his opinion on his upcoming fight. He was nice, had a great attitude, and came off as very humble considering the position he's in and how young he is. Still, being cool and charming has no effect on the outcome of a fight and the Shogun that had a 5 round technical battle and then landed the big right hand on untouchable Machida in 6th round of their encounters eats undefeated fighters for breakfast, possibly making them better in the process and I don't think that's just wishful thinking.
Rather than depend on the crazy insane match up that is the Main Event to carry the whole card, this Saturday's UFC card is, as usual, crammed with a huge amount of good fights to set the mood for a championship fight in the deepest and most exciting division there is. When 9 of the scheduled fights are scheduled to air one way or another and top 135er Joseph Benavidez still ends up in the un-aired prelims, you know it's going to be a good MMA Saturday.
For the Co-Main Event, it's 'the California Kid' Urijah Faber taking on Eddie Wineland who, with his 4 fight win streak, serves as a great second test for Faber at 135. Faber dominated the Featherweights for a long time despite being small for that division but with the MMA talent pool growing exponentially, fighters need any edge they can get and the move to Bantamweight was a smart one. Wineland is no chump, but Faber used to be in the 'pound for pound best' discussion for a reason. His stand up is good, his wrestling is solid, and he's got submission chops, but his heart is his biggest asset. He fought through a 5 rounder with two broken hands and another one with no lead leg. Add that resilience to his well rounded skills and it's going to take a Cruz, Torres, or Bowles to stop him, if anyone at Bantamweight can. Faber takes it with a classic Faber performance, fast paced, flashy and dominant.
Also on the Main Card, Jim Miller takes on Kamal Shalorus in a bout that seems to be meant to keep Miller busy while a worthy opponent becomes available. Shalorus is a good wrestler but Miller has solid wrestling in addition to a good ground game and as he's proven before, his kickboxing keeps improving and I say that improved striking is what he'll use to get the win. Nate Marquadt takes on late replacement Dan Miller and even without the short notice, Marquadt is faster, stronger, and just better skilled. Miller is a tough fighter in the same style as his brother but not as successful. I think Marquadt will abandon the approach that lost him the Okami fight and go back to his bread and butter, aggressive striking. Cro Cop takes on Brendan Schaub and long gone are the days I expect Cro Cop to throw his classic deadly high kicks. Schaub's stand up technique is sloppy but he is fast, explosive, and powerful and much like he did Gonzaga, he beats Cro Cop by beating him to the punch all night.
On the Spike prelims, Edson Barboza takes Anthony Njokuani. Both are hard hitting Muy Thai specialists but Barboza seems to be the crisper of the two and that'll get him the win. His style reminds me of Jose Aldo and if he can prove he's more than a top of the line striker, he could be a threat to the guys at the top of his division. Also on Spike, Luiz Cane takes on Elliot Marshall and though Cane has had a rough couple of fights, he's still the guy that kicked Soukudju out of the UFC and Marshall is unskilled enough to get Cane back in the right direction.
Once again, we get even more preliminary matches on Facebook. Mike Pyle takes on Ricardo Almeida. Almeida is a whiz on the ground but Pyle has the better wrestling which usually let's the fighter dictate where the fight takes place, better striking than Almeida, and is also a whiz on the ground. Pyle seems more on the ball lately and takes it by mixing it all up and throwing off Almeida. Kurt Pellegrino fights Gleison Tibau and though neither is too relevant at Lightweight, both are good fighters and very evenly matched. Pellegrino's slight edge in the stand up should get him the win.
Joseph Benavidez fights Ian Loveland on the unaired prelims in a fight he should win on his way back to another title shot. The card is filled to the brim and with the acquisition of the WEC, we can expect more cards of this nature.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Saturday night's Jackson's MMA show delivered on all fronts. The music was good, UFC superstars were walking around like nothing, the presentation was awesome but the fights are the reason everybody was there and though El Paso's Hayashi's didn't get their wins (McGurk got undeniably robbed), all the participating fighters put on a show and it made for a great MMA night.
For the Main Event, El Paso's Mike 'The Storm' Chupa took on Coty 'Ox' Wheeler for what ended up to be a little bit of a disappointment, due completely to the horrible reffing job done in the match. The bout started with both fighters a little tentative. Wheeler closed the distance and pressed Chupa against the fence. From there, he worked until he finally got his takedown but once on the ground, Chupa completely neutralized Wheeler's offense. Chupa controlled both of Wheeler's arms and kept him from posturing up. From here, it was a minute or two of nothing which was neither fighter's fault. Stalemates are pretty common, and it's the refs job to keep those stalemates from eating up the clock but the ref was happy to let it ride out. Once outside of Chupa's guard and standing over him, Wheeler couldn't do anything without catching an upkick, so he didn't, and once again, the ref let it ride. Wheeler eventually ended up in Chupa's guard, and they stalemated it out until the end of the round. With virtually no damage done, the round was Wheeler's due to 'control', which consisted of being in Chupa's guard for a little under 5 minutes. Within seconds of the second round, Chupa shot in and got Wheeler down but left his neck out and Wheeler sunk in the fight ending guillotine.
Fabian Salas, another Hayashi's team member, took on a Jackson's wrestler and showed us why the 10-point must system we borrowed from boxing doesn't work as well in three round fights. The first two rounds were pretty close. Salas worked his leg kicks while his opponent focused on controlling him. It was in the third round that most of the damage was done. The damage to Salas' opponent's leg was obvious by then and with his mind on avoiding more damage to his lead leg, Salas was able to land his usual bombs, and plenty of them. With his opponent dazed throughout most of the last round, it was obvious the round went to Salas but because of the current acoring system, and because you could give the slightest of edges to his opponent during the first two rounds, Salas dropped the decision 2 to 1. That first round was crazy close and I think if he had held position when he got his opponent's back instead of trying to get his hooks in, which lost him position, he could've gotten himself that round and the victory. Either way, he once again proved he can land those those heavy hands on anyone and remains a huge threat in the local amateur scene.
In what was the biggest robbery I've witnessed since Leonard Garcia vs Nam Phan, Adam McGurk fought 15 extremely exciting minutes to a decision everyone assumed he had up until they announced the judges saw it differently. Even though his opponent was supposed to have the superior ground game, McGurk took it in every aspect of the fight. In the stand up, his opponent seemed to have the quicker hands but was never able to use that advantage with McGurk almost always out of reach of all those quick combos and using his reach to counter them with well placed, powerful punches and kicks. The wrestling also went to McGurk, who got the most takedowns in the fight, which I attribute more to his ability to mix them up and keep his opponent guessing than to his wrestling prowess. On the ground, McGurk never really had any trouble getting up when he was on his back, even reversing his opponent a couple of times, and held position really well when he was on top. His opponent did get an armbar attempt when they were on the mat but McGurk thought nothing of it, picking his opponent up and literally throwing him which got him out of the submission. The fight wasn't a domination. His opponent put up a great fight but the only round that was close was the first one, and even that one I saw McGurk winning. I'll pretend I never heard the official announcement, chalk it up as another win for McGurk, and look forward to his fight with Derek Cranford, which is going to be a war between two deadly El Pasoans.
Also on the card were fighters from Concrete Jungle and Fighter's Physique, of which the guy from Concrete Jungle impressed with his 'circle, evade, counter' style. He did keep circling towards the power hand but he got the win and it'd be interesting to see how his style fares against a more aggressive or strike savy fighter.
Though the show was great, it's frustrating to see supposed experts not have a clue as to how to do their job. Mike Chupa knew what he was getting into and what to expect when he accepted the fight with hometown boy Wheeler, a lot of booing in his direction and just about everyone in the stands cheering his opponent on. That's as far as the home advantage should've gone. Instead, it seemed the ref was more worried about being popular than doing his job. It was his job to intervene when the fight was stalled but because Wheeler was on top and the decision would've been unpopular, he let it ride. You can bet if it had been Chupa on top, the crowd would've booed within 20 seconds and the ref would've stood it up immediately, I'm guessing because he wanted to have a good tine at the after party. The judges, too, seemed to be swayed by outside forces rather than doing their job and judging based on what they so carefully should've been watching unfold in the cage. Maybe they came in with the preconceived notion that Greg Jackson's fighters were going to win because they're better than everyone. Maybe it was just because they knew so little of the sport that they just took the fighter's word when he raised his hands after the fight as if to say,"I won" or they were misinformed as to who was who (which could very well be what happened). Either way, had they known what was going on, they would've known McGurk was the winner. I might sound like a bitter guy from El Paso who's mad cause his fellow 915ers didn't get their wins, but the fact is, I know enough to know the people officiating on Saturday didn't know shit. But meeting Carlos Condit AND Jon Jones was the bee's knees, the show was top notch, and the promotion had nothing to do with the incompetence shown by the officials, so the anger is pointed at you New Mexico State, not Jackson's MMA.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Tomorrow, I miss the first UFC PPV since January '08 but hopefully Mike Chupa makes quick work of 'Ox' Wheeler so I have time to catch tomorrow night's Main Event. With Condit out and Lytle fighting a no name instead, Siver over matched against Sotiropoulus, and a typical Bisping decision win almost guaranteed, it's really only the Main Event that is crazy intriguing, with question marks all over it.
For the Main Event, it's 'the Prodigy' BJ Penn taking on unstoppable Jon Fitch. Jon Fitch is 13-1 in the UFC with his only loss coming to pound for pound great, Georges St. Pierre. Penn lost two title fights back to back at Lightweight before moving up to Welterweight and showing he can still beat anybody on any given night by knocking out Matt Hughes within seconds. Every one of Fitch's opponents has known what he's going to do, close the distance, press them up against the fence, take them down, smother them for 15 minutes, and grind out a decisive decision, and aside from GSP, still no one is able to stop him. Penn is every wrestlers worst nightmare. He's hard to take down, has insane Jiu Jitsu, is heavy handed, and great at capitalizing on mistakes. If they were the same size, odds are Penn would just shake off the takedowns and land countless bombs until someone, his opponent, the ref, or the doctor, had seen enough. There lies the intrigue of the match up. Where Penn comes in under 170 pounds as a Welterweight, Fitch comes in at 190+ on fight night and uses that size to enforce his style but aside from GSP, he's never faced anyone of Penn's stature, and calling what GSP did to Fitch a mauling is a huge understatement. Everything points to Fitch grinding out another decision but inside Penn still lies that destroyer that stopped the unstoppable Hughes, annihilated all but one challenger to his 155 belt, and put fear in the heart of GSP, and that Penn is going to go in there and show the difference between a great fighter and a legend and doing what needs to be done to walk away the winner.
For the Co-Main Event, it's crisp kickboxer Michael Bisping taking on yet anthother slugger in Jorge Rivera. Rivera has power and with that comes a puncher's chance, but Bisping is good at shutting down that chance by keeping his distance, avoiding the takedown, and peppering his opponent with weak but effective shots. Henderson and Wandy showed that style has nothing on good ol' fashioned, well placed power but Rivera doesn't have that kind of skill and this is more than probably going to end up a decision in Bisping's favor.
Also on the card, it's George Sotiropolous vs Denis Siver in a bout that could put either fighter one fight away from a title shot. Siver is a quick, powerful striker but doesn't belong at the top of the division. Sotiropolous has good, effective striking and a sick ground game and I say he takes it by quick submission and continues on his journey to a Lightweight Championship match. Lytle fights a sub par opponent instead of Condit and though fan-friendly style always puts him at risk of a loss, I say he, too, takes it by quick submission and continues his own journey for a title shot at 170.
The card weakened without Condit in it but the Main Event is classic UFC awesomeness and if you can catch it, do it. It's one of the weaker cards in a while but the UFC makes up for it with a stacked card on Versus this Thursday, so no complaints here.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Another El Paso native ready to shine, Adam McGurk takes on one of Jackson's head Jiu Jitsu trainers and with those credentials, you know the guy can pull submissions out of thin air. McGurk is no slacker on the ground but keeping it standing and hitting him til he quits is his best chance at a victory. McGurk is eager to show his stand up and though one would think he wants nothing to do with the ground game, it's MMA, not a grappling competition, and maybe he can ground and pound the black belt out of his opponent. Either way, it's his hands that get McGurk his victory on Saturday.
Also fighting on Saturday and representing the Sun city, Fabian Salas takes on a wrestler coming out of Jackson's camp. A wrestler poses different threats than a Jiu Jitsu, and where McGurk has to watch out for a submission, Salas needs to avoid getting controlled all night. The key for Salas is to keep it standing as well, and let his heavy hands do the rest, but with a wrestler, the odds of Salas ending up on his back are higher. Those bombs he throws have gotten him two victories, but he needs to be sharp off his back on this one if he expects to win, not just getting up when he gets taken down, but also threatening with submissions, because if his opponent can take him down and focus on just keeping him there without worrying about the submissions, it's going to be a long night for Salas. Regardless, Salas is a hungry fighter and expect him to do what he needs to to win.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
A pair of fighters trying to establish themselves, Heavyweights anxious to throw hands, female fighters ready to represent, a clash of styles for the Light Heavyweight belt, and two experienced, technical strikers with identical records, one walks away with his second loss, the other gets to call himself the 915 MMA Lightweight champion. All of this past Saturday's match ups were intriguing in their own way, and with four of the five fights finishing early and the only fight that went all three rounds being the most exciting fight of the night, all 5 fights delivered.
For the first fight of the night, we finally got to see Fabian Salas fight again. Though the match up wasn't ideal, with Andres Cervantes being a lighter class fighter, the results for Salas were. After quickly closing the distance, getting a takedown, getting reversed, and then standing up, Salas started a wild exchange of which he came out the winner. Cervantes, not liking the bombs that were landing, hastily shot for a takedown which Salas countered with the fight ending guillotine.
Fabian Salas def. Andres Cervantes via submission (guillotine choke) at 1:49 of the 1st round
Up next was the big boy's turn at bat, as Marco Huerta took on Jorge Alvarez. Alvarez immediately took the center of the cage. Huerta just threw a leg kick and circled. Alvarez seemed the bigger, more powerful and aggressive fighter but none of that mattered once Huerta connected. That first good shot dazed Alvarez, which Huerta followed with the fight ending barrage of strikes.
Marco Huerta def. Jorge Alvarez via TKO (strikes) at :31 of the 1st round
For the third fight of the night, it was the female's turn to impress in a bout between Maria Mendez and Jessica Bennett. Bennett came out flat footed and it was Mendez's lightness on the feet and movement that allowed her to pepper Bennett with shots. Though Mendez was clearly winning throughout the whole fight, Bennett's confidence never wavered, as she kept coming forward the whole time. Mendez proved to be better standing, and in the clinch, but it would be vicious strikes to the head of her downed opponent that would signal the end of the fight.
Maria Mendez def. Jessica Bennett via TKO (strikes) at 1:24 of the 2nd round
For the Co-Main Event, it was a fight for the Light Heavyweight belt between Richard McCall and Phillip Schoonover. The difference in size was obvious immediately. McCall was the much larger fighter and in a fight where his opponent's game plan seemed to be to wrestle him down, that size difference would be key. The stand up was very even, with McCall getting a punch in the face every time he threw a leg kick. Most of the fight, however, was contested grappling, where McCall gained dominant position from stuffing Schoonover's slightly telegraphed takedowns. The fight was ended in an impressive, and peculiar, manner, with McCall taking Schoonover's back and somehow securing a triangle choke from that position.
Richard McCall def. Phillip Schoonover via submission (inverted triangle choke) at 1:49 of the 2nd round
For the Main Event, it was Oscar De La Parra VS Jesse Jaramillo for the Lightweight belt in what would prove to be the most exciting fight of the night, a very technical bout contested mostly on the feet that went all three rounds. Neither went in trying to blast his opponent. Instead, they stayed on the outside, felt out the distance and timing of their opponents, waited for openings, and set up their strikes with feints, which made for a very interesting fight. Both were evenly matched in their kickboxing. Where De La Parra had the advantage in the kicking department, throwing crescent kicks, front kicks, all very flashy stuff, Jaramillo made up with his crisper boxing. At the end of the fight, some thought De La Parra took it, others thought it was Jaramillo. It would be Oscar who would get the nod, and though I agree with the decision, the fight was still very close. The judge that scored it 30-27 obviously knows nothing of the sport. That, or he was at a very, very bad angle.
Oscar De La Parra def. Jesse Jaramillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
For the Main Event, it’s El Paso’s Oscar De La Parra vs Jesse Jaramillo for the vacant Lightweight belt. Both seem pumped, ready for a brawl, and though De La Parra claims to be the tougher of the two, we won’t really know until they’re locked in the cage. Either way, it should be a war, with the better fighter getting the 915 strap.
For the Co-Main Event, it’s another belt up for grabs as Richard McCall takes on Phillip Schoonover in a Light Heavyweight bout. Phillip looks relaxed and all being a Schoonover means to him is having a really good cornerman. McCall looks anxious to get in there and though he’s ready for everything, it’s a good stand up battle he wants. Tomorrow night, we’ll see if Schoonover shows us it just runs in his blood and gets the win or if McCall is anxious to get in there for a reason and gets the KO he’s looking for.
Also on the card, it’s El Paso’s first female Welterweight bout as Maria Mendez takes on Jessica Kennett. Mendez says she doesn’t know what will happen but she’s ready for it all. Kennett loves Muy Thai and because she feels the pressure of impressing in the name of women fighters everywhere, she promises to put on a show. Fabian Salas finally gets to fight, taking on Andres Cervantes. Either due to bad luck or just word of mouth on his skills, Salas is always set to fight, loses his opponent, gets a replacement, but loses that opponent as well. Tomorrow night, we finally get to see him fight and see if Cervantes made the right choice taking the fight.
All in all, each match up smells of fireworks, and there’s rarely duds when it comes to amateur fights.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Saturday night was filled with fights that shook up their respective divisions. Anderson Silva threw a front kick that sent shivers down the backs of every Middleweight who witnessed it, Griffin seems to have shook off the Silva humiliation and is back to outworking his opponents to a win, and Torres made a lackluster UFC debut, but a dominant performance nonetheless, but Jones' domination of fellow prospect Ryan Bader may have been the most impressive performance of the night, so much so that he was offered a shot at the Light Heavyweight Championship belt. Sure, Silva's kick was, to quote Joe Rogan, "a move straight out of The Matrix" but if I hadn't watched the fight and you told me that's what he did, I wouldn't be surprised. If you told me Jon Jones once again steamrolled through his opponent, outwrestled a Division I wrestler, outstruck him and choked him out, I'd probably throw up a little in my mouth. Rashad Evans was originally scheduled to fight Shogun at UFC 128 but is out due to an injury and with Jones taking virtually no damage and Shogun willing to fight all comers, the match is now set for March 19.
With Jon Jones coming in as the favorite in the betting lines, it seems his hype has once again gotten ahead of itself. Jones is a monster. He has dominated everyone he has fought, throwing them off with his unorthodox striking and finishing them with his unstoppable wrestling. I just don't see how wins over Bader, Vera, and Hammill, of which Bader is the only top 10 fighter, are more impressive than wins over Machida, Liddell, Coleman, Rampage, Lil' Nog, Arona, Randleman, and Overeem, amongst a bunch of other top fighters. He, much like Jones, was a young guy fighting in one of the world's biggest promotions and just tearing through everyone in an impressive manner. The difference is Jones has been built up by steadily fighting better competition. Shogun got thrown into the deep water of the Pride pool and still dominated, brawling to a win against elite fighters.The UFC Shogun is a whole other beast, a super technical striker with taylor-made gamplans. He came in with his sharpest boxing against Liddell, and came out even better against Machida, patient, cutting off the octagon with kicks, aware of his counters, and using JJ sweeps to stay off his back. He just keeps getting better. Jones poses the same threats Evans does, and though he might be a more powerful wrestler, his stand up is not as good as Rashad's. A couple of tweaks within the next 6 weeks and Shogun will be ready to break 'Bones.'
Jones WILL take Shogun down, he's not known for his takedown defense, and his top game is superb but Jones has never fought someone as good as Shogun off his back. The stand up is where the gap is at. Shogun is the best striker in the division. Where others are thrown off by, or even scared of, his unorthodox striking, Shogun drools at the possibilities of what he could do with a missed spinning elbow. Jones' win broke him into the elite of the division, and at 205, that means a lot of high level strikers. Even if he can get past Shogun, guys like Rampage and Machida, deadly accurate strikers whose wrestling base keeps them off their backs, still pose a threat to Jones' sub-par hands. IF Jones ever does become the 'best ever,' the hype will tell us he's the next coming of the messiah, just because the hype insists on always being a step or two ahead of Jones.