There’s A Lesson In There Somewhere

Good morning folks.

Somewhere, Ronda Rousey sat last night muttering “Unbelievable… I lost the title just so… Miesha Tate will now hold it?

If you did not enjoy UFC 196, I seriously don’t know what else they can offer. It’s not about who you were behind on the fights, if you had a favorite. It’s about the beauty of this sport. The hype leads up to an event and on that event – excuse the cliché but it’s true – anything can happen. The hype can get a boost, it can die down in a silent whimper, or, as in the case of last night – it can live up to its build-up in a pretty unexpected way.

I do, however, see a few lessons coming off of last night’s drama.

The first lesson is for Conor McGregor. Some people may be gloating. Thinking that something terrible happened to him. But Conor should keep going full speed ahead. This guy is all about testing the limits of his skills and abilities. Last night he met a fighter who is clearly a far better grappler than he is. A fighter who is a better boxer than he is. And Conor went into his wheel house willingly, electing to box with him instead of kick-box and ultimately initiating the ground game, where he ended up being submitted. And did we mention that this fight was at 170, where Nate has fought plenty and Conor did not? That’s ok. Conor’s still young and has time to think about his mistakes in this fight. Both guys deserve a lot of respect for jumping at the chance to fight each other. Conor’s lesson is – at least for the time being – In order to fight at 170 at a title threatening capacity, there’s a lot of work to be done. Nate is a great fighter, but he’s not even Rory, Tyron, Demian, Carlos or Robbie… I’m sure Conor will fight next back at 145 or 155. I for one, will continue to enjoy watching him push his limits. And Nate? Well, the checks are coming to the 209. You can take that to the bank.

The second lesson is for Dana White. If the last few months should have demonstrated anything, it is that, no matter how strong or dominant your golden goose may seem, there’s always a bigger, stronger, better one in the making. Things change, shit happens, upsets happen. If that wasn’t clear enough when Chris Weidman beat Anderson Silva, it sure as hell crystallized when Holly Holm demolished Ronda at the peak of her prime and when Conor sent Aldo home in 13 seconds. It was fairly clear when Jon Jones fought the law and the law won… I am still absolutely stunned at the gap between Holly Holm’s payday to Miesha Tate’s…. how can one fighter get paid so much and the other so little in comparison – for the same fight? Did someone completely write Miesha off? Was that fight scheduled as a “filler” until the “real” challenger decided she’s ready to step into the octagon? How come Nate Diaz gets paid on par with a main event participant, and Miesha who fought for a title (and won, may I add) doesn’t? The lesson for Dana, therefore is – stop playing favorites. Leave that to the Vegas clowns and pay your fighters fairly.

The last lesson is for us fans. The hype is ok, It sells PPV and tickets and gets us all excited for an event. But let’s take it for what it is – a tried and tested marketing tool. It is, in the end of the day – a sport. We all saw that Conor does not, in fact hate Nate and Nate – wait for it – respects Conor after all. To use the words of Diaz – Not surprised mo#@$#ers. It’s a sport. It’s ok to have favorites (I do), the key is to enjoy the fights and appreciate the effort, enjoy the ride. Every fight I watch is a whole new case study. We all just got two very interesting cases last night.

I will definitely like to hear what you learned from UFC196, so leave a comment right here if you’d like.

As for my predictions

  1. Nunes Vs. Shevchenko – Well, I was impressed with the Russian last time I saw her. She sure can hit you. Hard. But I also was impressed with Nunes, who I’ve seen on more occasions and believed her to be more diverse in her skills. It was closer than I thought, but Amanda clinched it. 1 for 1.
  2. Lawlor Vs. Anderson – Sometimes the judges mess up my predictions, and sometimes they make it work. Yesterday it was the latter. I do believe that Filthy Tom won that fight on the first two rounds. It seemed like every shot he threw at Corey stung or wobbled him. The late effort from Anderson wasn’t enough in my book to overturn this fight. The judges thought otherwise. 2 for 2.
  3. Villante Vs. Latifi – I had it wrong. This fight wasn’t very exciting. It was a test of strength more than anything and in that department, Ilir won. 2 for 3.
  4. Holm Vs. Tate – I love Miesha Tate. Always have. Since I watched her on Strikeforce, she represented for me the potential in women MMA. Before Dana admitted that women can fight, before Ronda Rousey came over. Miesha is the OG. The most well-rounded WMMA fighter. Watching Holly Vs. Rousey, and seeing how easily Holm stood back up after Ronda flipped her to the ground, I thought she could negate Miesha’s TDs and win this standing. Though I honestly have nothing against Holm, I am truly happy to be wrong on this prediction. No one deserve the success and recognition of a belt more than Miesha and last night she got it!. 2 for 4.
  5. McGregor Vs. Diaz – I’ve said it all up there, but to re-iterate, Conor made a couple of mistakes, not the least of which was relying on his hands too much, when we all know how effective he can be with kicks. A barrage of low kicks would’ve definitely further his cause better. Of course, easier said than done. Just ask the Cowboy. Diaz out-boxed him and ultimately defeated him on the feet, forcing Conor to take him down – unthinkable when you’re facing someone with as good a BJJ as Nate’s. 2 for 5

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?

See you soon with more predictions and thoughts about our beloved sport of MMA.

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MMA Evolution Is Not Independent (Decisions, Decisions…)

Welcome back everyone,

I sure am glad I opened 2016 with a positive post because this post is a rant of sorts. Well, I will try not to be whiny, though this morning – it may prove very difficult indeed, and instead try to put together some thoughts that may explain what it is that’s behind the growing frustration I feel with regards to this great sport of MMA.

MMA is a relatively young sport and it is always evolving, inside the cage as well as on the outside. Rules and regulations have standardized, weight classes were put in place and don’t get me started on training methods and philosophies.

I think it’s safe to say that what evolved more than anything are – the fighters themselves. From specialized martial artists, they have become – the better ones at least – well-rounded fighters with well-defined emphasis on their natural advantages (and disadvantages).

For the most part, I’m happy with the direction the sport went to. I do not share the misguided nostalgic view of some fans who wish we’d go back to some “olden times” when fighters were paid peanuts to get into a potentially unsafe environment to fight someone twice their size.

No, I like the standardization, I like the professional outlook and I like that big money comes into the picture – to an extent.

Now, so far so good right? So why am I so frustrated?

Well, like anything really, MMA cannot keep evolving into a household mainstream sport as long as – what is supposed to be – supporting personnel and organizations don’t evolve along with it.

I will try to break it down point by point, so it makes some kind of sense:

  • Weight Classes and fighter safety – I’ve written about this topic in the past, and in light of recent events I think it demands immediate attention. The last thing an organization like the UFC needs is a fighter dying, or severely injured due to an irresponsible weight cut. People may not like this, but additional weight classes (I’m looking at the gaps between 170/185 and 185/205 especially) may greatly help on two fronts.
    • Weight cut risks – Fighters won’t need to cut so much weight prior to fights (a MW may be walking around at 205 lbs+ and a WW may be almost 205 himself), thus significantly reducing the risk of adverse reaction.
    • Help the in-betweeners – There are fighters who may be small for their weight class, and the existence of a closer weight may provide them the opportunity to achieve more, without putting their health at such a great risk. Want some examples? Think Kelvin Gastelum, Johnny Hendricks or Nate Marquardt. something between MW and WW would be a perfect fit for them.
  • Big Money/That Reebok Deal – On the one hand, that makes perfect sense. We want a sport that doesn’t look like a backyard production. A sport that the people viewing, won’t look down on. Great. But as it currently stands, it is unfairly tipped in the promoter/product’s favor. That, ladies and gents, is not how you treat fighters who quite literally risk their well-being for said promoter. Big money is good. But more money should be directed at the people taking the risk. Otherwise, the organization runs the risk of bleeding talent in the long run. Just my 2 cents on the big bucks.
  • Rules adaptations – While I’m pleased with how well-rounded fighters are these days, it seems like there’s a place for some rules changes. The first one – in my most humble opinion – is scoring for TD defense. A takedown will count in the scorecards, but when a fighter prevents such attempt, it is ignored. I see no reason why. It’s a simple example of how rules may need to be adjusted in light of the progress that is made by fighters.
  • PEDs – Sure, progress was made and I can’t be happier. Well, for the sake of the sport, and mostly the fighters themselves – I hope that this envelope would be pushed to the max. We do not want fighters ending their careers and lives due to drug use. See WWE for possible traumatic results.
  • Judging – If there is one thing that can be solved fairly easily – again, in my humble opinion – it’s that painful issue of judging. How many times, for GSP’s sake, have we been outraged by judges calls? Seriously, this has to stop. Now, I know how Dana says “Don’t leave it to the judges” and to some extent I’m on board with this, but when you watch a fight like Lawler Vs. Condit you have to ask yourself – “What more do you want?”. We’re way past the street fight mentality of the early days – and for a damn good reason. We’re supposed to be watching a professional sport here. And when two fighters go at it for 5 rounds and do not get a finish, a decision needs to be made. No excuses. And the people making it need to be on the ball. Now, granted – I’m a regular Condit fangirl – and you may (if so inclined) blame me for having a case of butthurt, but regardless, it is my absolutely unbiased opinion that the judges messed up yet another key fight, with huge implications. This is just one example of so many botched decisions and my opinion on the whole is not based only on one of my favorite’s loss. Joe Rogan ranted today about the topic, and while I don’t sign on each and every word he said, I agree that there are things that could be done today, right now, to improve on this front. The idea of having 5 judges (instead of 3) score big fights – at the very least title fights – makes so much sense it actually baffles me how it wasn’t implemented years ago. This is not only needed so fans like me won’t get their panties in a bunch. It is a need of the UFC as an organization that wants to be taken seriously. If decisions are jokes, it makes a joke of the sport and the organization.

Well, this is the end of today’s rant. As for my UFC195 predictions… I went 3 for 5 (though I totally disagree with the decisions on the 2 I missed… but that’s besides the point).

I would love your feedback on the points above so don’t be a stranger. Leave a comment. As long as it’s not violent or racist, I’m not one to censor. If you think I’m wrong – be my guest and explain why. I’m known to change my mind from time to time (when the argument makes sense).

Check out THIS POST by P-GreatWhite_J for more opinions regarding judging and other MMA topics!


Thank you for stopping by folks,

December To Remember (UFC’s Greatest Month)

Ladies and gentlemen, we are liiiiiiiiive!

How many times did we hear that in the month of December, the year of 2015? On the second weekend of December alone, Bruce Buffer went all out on the microphone 3 times.

Indeed, it is a December to remember.

And for that reason, I decided to start with The Big UFC Prediction Extravaganza.

That was followed by 3 summary posts for these events:

Last night saw the last UFC event of 2015 and what can I say? It ended with a bang. I am a little disappointed at the score of last night’s main event, but it will pass. The reason we are here is to look at my predictions and say a few words to summarize this run of events which delivered.

We Roll:

Randa Markos Vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Another good display from the ladies. I don’t have much to say as I don’t know these ladies well enough. I can only say that both have a chance to shine in this division. Markos showed a lot of grit and physical strength. Along with training at Tri-Star, that pretty much guarantees a good future. Kowalkiewicz showed very technical striking and conditioning. She wasn’t scared to scuffle with Markos wherever the fight went. 1 for 1.

Michael Johnson Vs. Nate Diaz

I’ll be honest with you. Whenever a Diaz brother fights I have only one hope. The hope that the opponent would shut him up already… Alas, Nate showed up with a boxing presentation that was equaled only by his taunting and head games. A typical Diaz fight. But it worked. It worked wonders. Not only did Diaz put on a clinic on a very strong opponent, he was also able to get under Johnson’s skin very quickly, throwing him off-balance and securing the win very early. You can’t deny Diaz his skills, that much is obvious. I just wish – with all my heart – that he’d grow the hell up already so I can cheer for him… Calling Conor and walking out the wrong side of the cage was on par too. 1 for 2.

Junior Dos Santos Vs. Alistair Overeem

I truly believed Junior was going to circle, jab, close in once with a good punch and finish this early. Instead it was Overeem who did the circling, softening Junior a bit with leg kicks and eventually proving Conor McGregor right. Precision beats power. That was a beautifully placed touch which marked the end of the fight. Are we really going to see Reem fight for a title in 2016? 1 for 3

Donald Cerrone Vs. Rafael Dos Anjos

Oh, my heart still aches from this one… See, when it comes to Cerrone, I’m a regular fangirl…I will never pick against one of my all time favorites. I can’t. I won’t. Even when he’s facing someone who already beat him soundly. Even when that guy is a real champion who fights like a war machine. Rafael Dos Anjos just might be the first really dominant LW champion, in a division that has seen the belt change hands more often than it used to, up until Frankie Edgar dethroned BJ Penn. We will be watching as an underrated, under-appreciated champ plows through very tough competition in awe… and Cowboy? Well, Cowboy Cerrone will always be a people’s champion. One of the most fun fighters to watch and cheer for. A personification of MMA. Skills, Heart, Drive, Entertainment. The whole damn package. 1 for 4

Well, this was a terrible predictions night, clouded by my fan-hood, but when I look past that, I have to say that Joe Silva is indeed, a matchmaker extraordinaire. 4 events, very few misses. Title changes, title defenses, new forces emerging, a lot of entertainment. What can we ask more of this? and if you managed to forget, this all came only a month following the kick that was heard around the world!

Time for some wrapping up. We’ve had 4 cards with many fights, even the prelims were loaded with main card mainstay names. I will make a few picks and they will all come from main cards. Ready? Here goes:

FIGHT OF THE MONTH:

This one goes to the UFC Middleweight title fight between Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold. A fight that featured nonstop action in all aspects of MMA and ended with a new champion.

Honorable mention: Edson Barboza Vs. Tony Ferguson

KO OF THE MONTH:

You might all be picking the obvious – Conor’s 13 seconds one punch KO of Aldo, and you know what?… you’re probably right. The magnitude of this event overshadows my personal favorite – Frankie Edgar’s KO of Chad Mendes.

Honorable mention: Except for Frankie, Overeem landed a perfect punch which deserves a shout out.

SUBMISSION OF THE MONTH:

Charles Oliveira fought one fight before a main card started… so the submission of the month has to go to Tony Ferguson, with a nice D’arce choke on Edson Barboza. Not only was that executed so well, it also prevented a possible loss due to a point deducted earlier in the fight.

Honorable mention: Supersage Northcutt taking advantage of a reckless drive of his opponent to sink in a brutal guillotine.

Agree? Disagree? Agree to disagree? Leave your comments below. Don’t be scared homie.

That’s all folks.

Before I leave you, I also wanted to share a few more external links to some interesting articles in the wake of this UFC tour de force:

Until next time, have yourself a merry little Christmas and a happy new year!

UFC Weekend Special – Part 2

Hello there, had enough yet? Didn’t think so.

First thing’s first, let’s put you in perspective. UFC scheduled 3 events in 3 consecutive nights and at this time, after 2 of them, I’m summarizing my predictions as well as give a few of my thoughts about the fights.

It all starts on this magnificent prediction post (or is it?), then comes Part 1, annnnd noooow…. Part 2.

We Roll:

Oh, hold on please… It seems like I totally messed up the prediction post. I honestly don’t know how it came to be that fights from the prelims showed up as main card and visa versa… but you know what? I will take that in stride, just like Mr. Tony Ferguson (more on that later) and count my apparent blessings…

NOW We Roll:

Joby Sanchez Vs Geane Herrera

What a fun fight that was. Bombs launched, exchanged, momentum shifted once or twice. In the end, the revolutionary put a stop to Joby via a second round TKO. Woo Hoo. 1 for 1 in my prediction for the night.

Gabriel Gonzaga Vs. Konstantin Erokhin

After a fun night came one of the slowest, most sluggish and mainly – tentative HW fights in history, no less. For 2.5 rounds, they mostly circled, threw some shadow boxing punches and Gonzaga went for a late TD on both first rounds. In the third, Gonzaga decided to try the TD earlier and easily scored it – which only begged the question – Why? Why for the love of GSP haven’t you done that way earlier in the fight?… Oh well. If there ever was a boring decision victory, Gonzaga nailed it. On the bright side – 2 for 2!

Tatsuya Kawajiri Vs. Jason Knight

The commentators kept telling us how good Knight is, but I think we discovered a little hole in his game. Yes, TD defense is not his strong suit. Then again, it’s Kawajiri. Not the most exciting fight ever, but it worked. Also on the prediction side. 3 for 3.

Ryan LaFlare Vs. Mike Pierce

It was nice to see Pierce back with the UFC. I think he deserves another chance. Not everyone wins a belt, but Pierce is not a pushover either. Unfortunately for him, he met LaFlare who’s size and reach were just a little too much for him to solve. Mike did tag him a couple of times and all I can say is good luck for both these guys.  4 for 4.

Joe Lauzon Vs. Evan Dunham

When you have Joe Lauzon in a fight you know 2 things with the utmost certainty. One – There will be blood. Most likely Joe’s. Two – It will absolutely never be a disappointing fight. Check and Check. However, what we saw last night was a new and improved Evan Dunham. What a beautiful display of striking. Combination after combination, clinch work, distance, you name it – he nailed it. It seemed like he completely messed up Joe’s game plan and for the most part, with no answer. Great fight. I’m dropping the first prediction here… 4 for 5.

Tony Ferguson Vs. Edson Barboza

My personal main event of the evening. Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve learned my lesson. See, I picked against El Cucuy twice in the past and failed on both counts. No more. I won’t say much about the fight. Find it. Watch it. Instead, let me riddle you this – what happens if you give a guy skills on every facet of the game, striking, grappling, TD defense and then add a granite chin, a no quit mental attitude and a big gas tank to boot? Yeah, you have no choice but to call him El Cucuy. Ferguson is without a doubt – the best TUF winner ever. I see a title fight within 18 months. 5 for 6.

Frankie Edgar Vs. Chad Mendes

Frankie Edgar will forever be the most underrated, most disrespected, unappreciated phenomenon. It seems like it doesn’t matter who this guy beat or what he accomplishes, forever I will hear the same things about him. This is the guy who beat Hall of famer BJ Penn twice – while being half his size – and destroyed Gray Maynard. This is the fighter who gave Aldo his toughest title defense (at least until tonight), and if you consider the considerable size advantage Conor has, a case can be made that tonight’s main event won’t even contradict the above statement. Frankie Edgar, folks, is one of the best mixed martial artists ever. If he’d have been denied a shot at the FW title now, I think we could have closed up shop and call this boxing… Luckily, even Dana had only one answer. The right answer! more than that. Regardless of the result in the UFC194 main event, If Conor goes up to LW before facing Frankie, I will forever doubt his ability to beat him. This fight has to happen. 6 for 7 on my predictions tonight!

As the night progressed (with the exception of the weird TUF final) the fights improved and we finished strong with a shocking KO.

And on the prediction side? A resounding win! 6 for 7. I did have a good run of 100% nights, but none of them were based on a 7 fight night.

Hope you get some rest because… tonight’s the night! Aldo, McGregor, Weidman, Rockhold… and it goes on…

So, Don’t blink!


UFC Weekend Special – Part 1

Hello interwebs,

I just figured that, trying to sum this whole weekend up in one post would not only be too much for one post, it would also be too much to process.

So what you get instead, are small installments for each leg of this fight marathon.

Keep in mind, that these little tidbits all relate to this one prediction post.

We roll:

Elias Theodorou Vs. Thiago Santos

Yup, I was riding the hype train on this one. and I still have a lot of faith in Elias. He’s young and still have time to work on whatever needs improvement. To be frank, I thought the first round was perfect. Keeping the distance with an unusual volume of kicks, some of which hurt Santos, who looked tentative (to say the least). Second round rolls in and… surprise… Elias chooses to clinch against the cage and work for a TD (which he only gets temporarily and at the tail end of the round, after taking some good shots from Santos). The third is where I was a little disappointed… instead of trying something else, Elias went back to the same game plan which proved inefficient in the second and quite predictably – lost the round and the fight. Two of the judges scored the fight 29-27 Santos which implied he had a 10-8 round… As much criticism as I have for Elias last night, I did not see a complete domination on any of the rounds… Oh well… 0 for 1 on my predictions.

Sage Northcutt Vs. Cody Pfister

Yup, the hype train again. But this time with every reason to jump aboard. The first round was interesting, in that “Super Sage” was caught with a perfect TD and though Pfister was able to pass to half guard and even land one or two strikes, he didn’t do much from the top position. After the ref stood the fighters up (in what set the internet on fire, for some odd reason), Sage scored a TD of his own, easily passed guard, landed better Ground and Pound than Pfister could with his dominant position and even applied a submission attempt a few seconds before the horn. And off to the second we go. In which Sage simply took advantage of Pfister’s eagerness to derail his hype train. He grabbed a recklessly exposed neck and cranked on it to submit the hopeful opponent. Now interwebs, let’s ask – what did we learn? Yes, Super Sage can be taken down. He can also defend himself pretty damn well on his back. We learned that he can take a few strikes with stride and reverse the situation. Is he perfect? Far from it. Is he going to be the next big thing? I don’t know. What I do know is that he’s trained by Firas Zahabi. I know he’s young and has a really positive attitude. I guess we know that he has the potential to be a great fighter. Hype train on track. Next stop?… 1 for 2 for the evening.

Jim Miller Vs. Michael Chiesa

One of my sentimental picks. What can I say? I’m a sucker for old school scrappers, and Jim Miller is one of these guys. High skill on the mat, power in both hands and a heart of a lion. The fact that Chiesa was able to finish him, and with a submission to boot, speaks volumes to his credit (Chiesa’s). I only have good words to say about Chiesa and can’t wait to see him face top-level LWs next time around. 1 for 3… en route to a disastrous prediction night…

Paige Vanzant Vs. Rose Namajunas

The night was centered around this fight because, let’s face it. Paige is a very pretty girl who likes to fight. If Dana can only get her to wear a championship belt, he’d be able to overcome the devastation caused earlier this year by Holly Holm. Most of us (admit it folks) fell for this and for some odd reason, Paige came into this fight as the favorite, even though it was Rose who already fought for the belt. There’s no mincing words here gentlemen. Rose completely and thoroughly dominated every second of this fight on her way to a submission victory. I can sing her praise for an hour for a phenomenal performance, but the result speaks for itself. Instead, let’s ask ourselves again – hype train derailed? I say no. I say, the hype train took a detour and will be delayed indefinitely. Because, ladies and gentlemen, I believe that Paige showed us one thing, and this cannot be overstated. Paige has the heart, the physical and mental strength to be a great fighter. She also has time on her side. Very young. With the right coaching and positive attitude, perhaps we can jump aboard this train as it rolls back on the track. Rose, a pretty lady in her own rights will likely face Joanna next and I’m not sure yesterday’s fight is the right one to look at for an early indication. It’s a whole different can of worms. Especially on the striking department. 1 for 4

Oh my god… thank you Super Sage  for preventing a complete disaster (prediction-wise).

All in all it was a very interesting main card and an educating one.

Another card tonight! Don’t blink!


UFC 175 – Predictions

ufc175preds

The Morning After:

  1. So, Doane wins by SD, rather than UD. No biggie, I still mark this as 1 down 3 to go.
  2. Hall via UD – Bulls eye!
  3. The fight between Stefan Struve and Matt Mitrione was called off since Struve fainted in the back room. Hope all is well with the skyscraper!
  4. Ronda Rousey… I predicted a finish, the “usual” arm bar submission. but DAYUM! Ronda just seems to be scarier every time. This time she followed that beautiful toss with a barrage of punches and ended the fight 1 second short of all time record in a title fight. And yes gentlemen, that stat includes men. So next time you use the term “fights like a girl”, you may want to remember women’s MMA… Even though it was a TKO and not a sub, I’m taking the full point for a right result and a finish.
  5. Chris Weidman – Slaying legends seems to be his plan of action. His first 2 title defenses were against the very best, and he stepped up to the challenge. I predicted a TKO, but that was a long shot to begin with. One does not simply knocks Machida out. I’m taking half a point on this one and wondering who can beat this guy?…

3.5 out of 4 by results (1 fight was cancelled)

Check the highlights (Credit: MMAweekly.com)

Big Country / UFC 166

Hello everyone and welcome back to this humble blog.

Last night on UFC166 I went 2 for 3 with my predictions. I went with Cain Valasquez to retain his Heavyweight title, with Cain’s training partner, Daniel Cormier to beat Roy Nelson, and with Diego Sanchez to beat Gilbert Melendez.

I went with Cain, considering his well roundedness, his skill and unparalleled tenacity. It proved to make the difference and Cain won convincingly.
I went with Diego Sanchez because I like him and that was more of a wishful thinking kind of deal. Melendez won fair and square. Not a shocking result by any stretch of the word.
Then there was Daniel Cormier Vs. Roy (Big country) Nelson…

Before we go any further I’d just like to say that I respect any fighter who’s willing to step into the octagon and fight. Win or lose, these guys are doing what most of us don’t have the guts to do.

I like Roy Nelson. I don’t really know anyone who does not. What’s not to like? The guy won’t say “No” to any fight. He’ll go in the cage with anyone and look to take his head off with a thunderous overhead right. Roy says he wants to be a UFC champ, and I wish him all the best with that.

But I see a big problem (No pun intended) standing in his way.

Roy came to last night’s fight in the best shape in his career, weighing in at 249 lb… and although much smaller than ever before, still sporting a pretty significant gut.

Now, Big country is many things. He’s full of fight and heart, he has a granite chin and the aforementioned KO deliverer. Add all of that to a black belt in BJJ and you should definitely have a legitimate title contender. This is not the issue though. The issue is that Roy seems to have two obstacles on his way to realize his dream.

Look at photos from last night and check out the two main eventers – Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos and Cain Valasquez. Go ahead, check it. I’ll wait.

Alright. That is what a legit title contender should look like. At the absolute peak of his physical readiness. Junior lost that fight (Someone has to lose…) but he fought for 5 rounds against a man with a machine like endurance.

Roy looked like a zombie after a round and a half.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Physical build alone does not guarantee anything. Look at the likes of Chiek Congo, or Thiago Alves to see how well-built musclemen could underachieve (and this is not a knock on these two guys either). In addition, fighting Daniel Cormier, a decorated Olympic wrestler, WILL do that to a man.

But this is not the first time we see Roy taking huge breaths after 1 round.

It looks to me (and I’m no expert) that our legs shouldn’t be carrying so much weight around. Not if we need to move (fast preferably)  for 15 to 25 minutes inside a cage and fight. There has to be a balance between strength and weight. Muscle and fat.

Cain is not a skinny all muscle guy. His physical condition is proof that there is such a balance. It can be achieved.

The second obstacle in Roy’s way seem to be his insistence to rely on one technique – his KO punch.

It is evident by looking at the champions, that one skill set is no longer enough to rule. You have to round-up your game. Cain could not be a threat on his feet without his wrestling and wouldn’t scare anyone with his wrestling without his hand work or his leg work for that matter. Look at GSP, Aldo, Jones, Henderson. The top-tier of MMA are well-rounded fighters who could be dangerous all over and are utilizing all of their arsenal to get the win.

Roy has a fantastic BJJ. He just chooses to stay away from it, for reasons beyond my comprehension. The same could be said about Frank Mir.

I’ll say it again. I LOVE Roy Nelson. I hope he goes the extra mile and rounds up his game in addition to working on conditioning. With these additional layers… what a scary thought for his opponents…

I won’t finish this post without bowing down in awe to two great men. Cain Valasquez and Junior Dos Santos. Truly the baddest men on the planet. This heavyweight trilogy was nothing short of phenomenal. These two professionals have shown all that is noble and  great in MMA. Respect to the sport, to each other and to the fans. Junior lost the fight, but NOT an inch of respect. It’s fights like this one that make a fan like me stand up and cheer for both men and completely forget the result. It was a battle of two gentlemen who embody the essence of martial arts.

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