Tuesday Morning Sweep

Posted by – January 17, 2012

Transitions, Transitions, Transitions

Transition between the different phases of combat is something Tuesday Morning Sweep (heretofore TMS) believes is the most important aspect of MMA. TMS has covered this aspect before and will continue to do so with regularity.

José Aldo, in the main event of the night showed what perhaps is the quickest transition between takedown defense and offense we have ever seen. Aldo barely had time to break the grip from Mendes’ bodylock, spin and he was back with a knee strike and the follow up punches.

Similarly, Vitor Belfort defended the takedown with a front headlock then transitioned to what could have been a Brabo or any other arm-in choke and then really quickly transitioned to the back of Anthony Johnson. Despite a really tired Johnson, it was a really impressive ground work transition from a fighter that mostly relies on his boxing in fights.

Roussimar Palhares very quickly transitioned from strikes to a takedown attempt he had no intention of completing and really quickly transitioning to the leg lock.
Much, much more after the jump

Star-divide

 

Despite the idea that José Aldo has superlative stand up that is incomparable in the featherweight division, it appears that this skill set is perhaps the one he is least comfortable with. Against Kenny Florian and Mark Hominick, both durable and proficient stand up fighters, Aldo was cautious and scored with a lot less power than in the past. In the Mendes fight, he showed much less concern for Mendes’ stand-up and opened up, in a big way. While the finish was predicated as much from the stellar takedown defense Aldo showed as sloppy defense coming out of the takedown attempt, Aldo just simply pounced on the opportunity to finish and did not let Mendes recover. Take that, Fraser Coffeen.

The Belfort-Johnson fight was a combination extremely nice technique, a lot of sloppy scrambles, missed opportunities and a nice finish by Belfort. Anthony Johnson showed some competitiveness at the beginning of the fight and could very well have controlled Vitor on the ground for the span of the fight had he not botched his weight cut that badly. Vitor has shown in the past that he can get discouraged when controlled on the ground, but here was active and aggressive and profited from the king of quick stand-ups, Dan Miragliotta.

Who wants to fight Rousimar Palharaes at this juncture? What if Anderson Silva can’t quite keep the tree stump away and he gets to the ground with him? How long does this last? It is unlikely that this fights happen, but TMS sure would liken to see it. Chael Sonnen? TMS thinks he taps. Mark Muñoz? Same. Vitor? Yup. All of them could knock Palharaes out or control him on the ground for three to five rounds, who would really be confident of getting out of the cage with four functional limbs?

 

Sloppy, Sloppy, Sloppy

Sloppy submission defense from Ednaldo Oliveira and Anthony Johnson. Sloppy preparation from Terry Etim and Chad Mendes, both barely checking kicks against fighters with extremely hard legs kicks. Sloppy defense from a number of fighters throughout the night, from the aforementioned defense coming out of the takedown attempt by Mendes, sloppy kick defense from Etim, sloppy stand-up from Antonio Carvahlo and Ricardo Funch.

 

Sweet Moments of the Week

It felt like an old lightweight Omigawa fight against Yuri Alcantara. Alcantara looked a full weight class above Omigawa in the fight and manhandled the japanese fighter for two rounds. In the final frame, Alcantara showed a lack of conditioning that could have given a chance to a more dangerous fighter. Omigawa showed once again that he might be one of the most difficult fighter to finish in the featherweight division. Furthermore, Omigawa is never in a boring fight, and can seemingly always make it a fight.

Sweet: Gabriel Gonzaga showed exactly what TMS thought of him in the first place: he will run through lower level opposition, like Ednaldo Oliveira, fail against the top of the division. Dominant win by Napao that quickly dispatched of an opponent of limited appeal.

Did you hear the FoxSports sounding music during the post fight card commentary by Goldberg and Rogan? Could the Nu-Metal be on its way to the archive? How wonderful would that be?

 

Sour Moments of the Week

Obvious sour: Anthony Johnson seemingly unable to make weight at any weight. Fighters not making weight are a rarity in modern MMA, especially at the highest levels. For Johnson to miss weight constantly is sour beyond belief. TMS thought that maybe with the move to the Imperial athletics gym, filled with capable trainers, that this issue might dispear with Johnson, but apparently not. Perhaps what Johnson really needs at this point is dietary babysitter to the stars, Mike Dolce, to kick his ass into a proper diet for a high level athlete.

Also, on the video blog, it appeared that Johnson was pointing to his kidneys when explaining the issue to Dana White. Speculation could lead that Johnson was really close to kidney failure when the UFC doctor decided to pull the plug on that weight cut. Once again it was simply poor weight cut planning from Johnson.

Sour: The lack of submission defense fundamentals by Ednaldo Oliveira was appalling for a UFC fighter. Napao barely had any control over Oliveira’s body on the finishing sequence, no hooks, and Oliveira barely hand fighting with Napao. Oliveira has a long way to go before he is UFC caliber, he might have the build to be successful but certainly doesn’t have the skills.

The negative effects of the loss of a close friend and mentor can never be underestimated. Whether Sam Stout was really that affected is questionable, but his aggressiveness on feet in the first round let Tavares close the distance way too easily. At 1.45 of the first, Stout managed to scramble out from under Tavares and he decides to take Tavares to the ground? What was he expecting to gain by doing that? The pace changed in favor of one that would favor Stout but he could not connect and was not landing with the consistency and volume that we have seen from him in the past.

In most contests, Sam Stout’s path to victory is through outpointing the adversary on the feet and scramble to his feet if taken down. The strategy works as long as he can land with volume and control the stand-up. Tavares, managed to keep this fight competitive on the feet by landing with power, when he did, and controlled the distance and kept Stout on his toes.

 

Sweet & Sour Moments of the Week

Sweet&Sour: After a dominant first round, Antonio Carvhalo just could not take down Felipe Arantes in the last two rounds, despite the success he had in the first, he completely abandoned his takedown and clinch game afterwards. He was also way too comfortable on his feet against the superior fighter there.

Perhaps the most sweet-sour-sweet sequence of the night: Yuri Alcantara rock Omigawa with a right hand, transitions to the back, loses the position via a very nice transition by Omigawa and then has a very deep armbar on Omigawa at the end of the round. Back and forth action from the featherweights.

Sweet: How sweet was that kick? The kick-loving, Tae Kwon Do black belt Rogan just might have underpants residues of this fight.

Much like the featherweight champion, Edson Barbosa gets all of his offense off from the leg kicks. When Barbosa was against a similarly skilled and rugged striker as Anthony Njokuani and Ross Pearson, he had all sorts of problems getting his offense going. Against Etim, he took that leg under the Brit and dominated him from the middle of the first frame on.

On the sour side of things, Barbosa’s takedown defense seemed very much predicated on his athleticism and strength, and not that much more. It worked against Etim and Pearson, but it probably wouldn’t against Gray Maynard or Clay Guida.

Sweet: Mario Yamasaki doing what TMS would do more often, as punches to the back of the head at the end of a fight are extremely common. Referees, when the punches are cursory ones to finish the fight after a knockdown, mostly let then go as legal, even though they are not. Yamasaki made a judgment call that is controversial today but perhaps should be one that is regarded as right one.

Extremely sour: Rogan putting Mario Yamasaki on the spot in the cage without warning. It it not the place of the referee to comment whatever decision in the cage following a fight. Should he review his performance the next day? Absolutely. But there is no good reason to have the referees speaking in the cage.

 

East-West Blast Test (or cross-sport ball busting)

In this article, the wonderful bubble-busting Mike Tanier take a swipe a number of NFL myths that seem to prevail despite all the informational or statistical evidence of the contrary. Let’s take a moment to find MMA analogies to each of the myths discussed:

Beware of teams that won in the first round — they have “momentum.”

“Ever since fight X, fighter Y has been on a tear, thus he comes into this fight with momentum.” This one is easy. A common Roganism is that a fighter coming into the fight on a 3 fight win streak has a better chance of winning a fight against a similarly skilled fighter coming from a win-loss situation. Unfortunately, TMS does not have the statistical evidence to say the contrary but it is highly unlikely that it is true. Reality is that most often, in MMA, the most skilled fighter wins, with some surprises here and there coming the way of a perfectly thrown punch or kick. Even in the latter situation, that punch or kick was a more skillful display of violence.

Coach should have gone for it on fourth down, or not: poor Mike Smith.

This one is a little harder to figure out, here is the TMS s attempt: “Against a powerful wrestler, the striker should throw as many submission attempts from his back as possible.” As some recent decisions against Miguel Torres and Anthony Pettis have shown, there is no anecdotal evidence that throwing submission attempts actually scores points with the judges.

The quarterback doesn’t have what it takes to win in the playoffs

“Fighter X chokes in big fights” Perhaps the most famous of these fighters is Kenny Florian that was accused of such by UFC president Dana White. At the same time everybody agrees that Florian is perhaps the fighter that has made the most out of his, relatively, limited abilities. A skilled fighter that has refined his technique as much as he could because he lacked some of the natural athletic abilities looked for in any sport. Florian is not a particularly strong, powerful or explosive fighter, which just hampers him against similarly skilled fighters with those traits. Florian has lost against extremely strong, technical, wrestlers Shawn Sherk and Gray Maynard, a more skilled boxer and BJJ artist in BJ Penn and a flat out exceptional athlete in José Aldo. TMS always, and always will, expound skill over almost everything else, however, when the skills are equivalent natural athletic abilities often win.

A rookie quarterback should learn from the bench, or start right away

Perhaps the most appropriate analogy is the following: “Fighter X is not ready for primetime yet, certainly not ready to face the best in the world.” Truth is, just like QBs, it depends. Some guys require very little seasoning before they perform at a very high level and other require years of fighting a large amount of fights to get to that level. For every Jon Jones there is ten Alistair Overeem, but anything is possible because every fighter is different.

 

Obscure Statistics of FightMetric

At King of the Cage 20: Crossroads, current UFC fighter Diego Sanchez and last week main event loser Keith Jardine won their fights under two minutes and ten seconds, combined. The victims of these quick finishes were Bryan ‘Pain Inducer’ Pardoe for Jardine and Shannon ‘the gateway to better things’ Ritch for Sanchez.

Shannon Ritch is an interesting case of a mediocre, at best, fighter of unimaginable toughness that manages to have more fights than is probably healthy, and yet has fought some of the best in the business on their way to the top. He been fighting since 1998 and yet still fought eleven times in 2010 and three times in 2011. He has mostly lost in the past few years, going 5 and 14 since 2009, and has been especially prone to submission throughout his career (Sanchez beat him by rear naked choke.) Still, this is a man that made his money through KOTC and Rage in the Cage promotions fighting future UFC fighters like Yves Edwards, Antonio McKee, Jake Shields, Jason MacDonald, Brian Ebersole, Evan Tanner and T.J Waldburger. He is one of those pioneers that were never quite there in terms of talent and never got a chance in the big shows.

Perhaps what he will be remembered for is a fight with Ebersole that was turned into a No-Contest by the CSAC because they thought it was a work. Although Ritch had been accused of works before (considering that he has fought so much, and has fought for so long, not an unlikely proposition) Ebersole also admitted to works in the past, although he never specified which fights. The fighters apparently talked quite a bit during the fight and then Ritch submitted at a very strange moment in the fight. The explanation that Ritch gave was that Ebersole’s athletic cup dug into his head which cause his back to give out and he tapped. At the hearing, Armando Garcia, chairman of the CSAC at the time, noted that Ebersole’s famed wheel kick was not a real technique and that the whole fight had to have been a work.

This famed fight had Ebersole exile to Australia shortly after and finally gave him the opportunity to fight in the UFC on short notice and make a career on the big show.

 

Obscure Fight of Fight Finder

The same Ebersole welcomed a certain Stephan Bonner to Mixed Martial Arts on November 10, 2001, at IHC 3 -Exodus. Bonnar quickly dispatched of his fellow mid-western foe by guillotine at 51 seconds of the first round. Shannon Ritch also fought on that card, losing to Henry Matamoros. Perhaps more interesting, Miguel Torres, fellow Carlson Gracie fighter with Bonnar at the time, fought twice in one night dispatching of Steve Reyna by doctor stoppage and getting the decision against Nick Mitchell. Both of these latter fights probably fought at a higher weight that we are used to see Miguel, as Reyna is more of a 170-155 pounds fighter.

 

Bizzarre MMA TV Occurence

Vitor Belfort and GSP call Vitor ‘Victor’ on UFC 142 Countdown. TMS thinks this happened before on some other Countdown but it is still disconcerting. This is not War Machine level, but the man has a name and it does not include a ‘c’.

 

MMA Dual Personality Complex

Chavs are one of TMS’s most enduring unlikeable characters in the world, right next to uber-hipsters. Terry Etim, despite being a fighting favorite, looks and acts like a chav a lot of times in the cage. But hearing him in interviews and him interacting with certain people, make TMS question the notion of Etim as a chav. He really sounds and sometimes acts like a super nice, thoughtful, guy. Perhaps he requires to channel his inner chav in the cage to perform. Yet he comes in to Phil Collins.

 

The Disapearing Goldbergisms

Standing next to Aldo at the end of the fight, the original master of leg kicks in the golden age of the UFC: Pedro Rizzo. The story repeated ad nauseam by Goldberg was that a goog leg kick in the meat of the thigh lands with a thud and feels like a baseball bat, as Randy Couture mentioned once in the commentary position. The reality was that Couture was sidelined for many months recovering from the Rizzo fight as his knee almost gave out under Rizzo’s kicks.

Given the state of the union of leg kickers, this Goldbergism has been missng in action for quite some time, much to the chagrin to the Goldberg drinking game players.

Tuesday Morning Sweep #2

Posted by – January 10, 2012

This one is a little more succinct than the other one. You could call it 1.5 if you wanted. I was not planning on writing one but ended up with things to say.

The weekend saw a Strikeforce card that was neither major or significant but had potential for interesting fisticuffs. Unfortunately we got neither. The card was a disgrace in terms of scoring, refereeing and the fights just did not deliver in terms of competitiveness and entertainment.
Perhaps the most entertaining fight of the night was Tarec Saffedine beating Tyler Stinson by decision. Although TMS thought that Saffedine won the fight, Adelaide Bird, judge for the NSAC, thought one better, scoring the fight 30-27 for Saffedine. Given that Saffedine was stunned at the half point mark of the first round and was then continually on the defensive as Stinson looked like he was close to finishing him. If Saffedine’s defense was just a little more deficient, he very well could have been done. How Bird thought Saffedine won that round is a mystery.

That score came right after the worst scoring of the night where Nah-Shon Burrell should have lost a decision to James Terry, although he had a great performance in third round. The result seemed to have shocked Burrell himself, but Glen Throwbridge and Marcos Rosales thought Burrell won.
Much, Much more after the jump

Star-divide

Bad Black Polo Shirt of the Week
Kim Winslow. Everybody knows why, so TMS will not pile on this particular back.

Sour Moments of the Week
Gian Villante, moment after rocking Trevor Smith ends up defending a weak leg lock attempt from Smith and dropping hammer fists to the latter’s head (including some questionable ones to the back of the head.) While Smith might have been eating a significant amount of shots to the head, he was still trying for a submission. Kim Winslow (TMS lies sometimes) decided she had seen something nobody else did and stopped the fight.

Lorenz Larkin had showed relatively potent takedown defense in the past, most notably against the aforementioned Villante. But it became really clear, really early that his takedown defense almost entirely relies on his significant athleticism. Unfortunately for him, Muhammad Lawal was a bigger, stronger and more technical fighter tonight and plainly dominated him for the duration of the fight.

Glenn Throwbridge, him again, scored the Woodley-Mein fight 29-28 for Jordan Mein. TMS was pulling for Mein, rooting patriotically, but there is no way Mein won two rounds of that fight. Perhaps Mein incurred a little bit more damage than Woodley in the second round, maybe.

Woodley, for his part, with the safe gameplan he employs against strikers, employed a very effective strategy. What TMS feel is unfortunate is that Woodley would not attempt to pass the guard and try to incur a little more damage. Granted, that would risk some scrambles from Mein and perhaps a submission attempt or two, the rewards would have been worth it. TMS feels like Woodley might not have the most stout submission defense and that he is really worried of getting caught (which probably happens quite a bit at ATT.) The problem here is that Mein is hardly a submission wizard an that the risks were relatively minimal.

Sweet moments of the week

Technique winning over athleticism. While Muhammad Lawal is a good athlete, it was his technique that won his fight against a very athletic Lorenz Larkin. Wrestling technique was also on display for James Terry manhandling a larger man in Nah-Shon Burrell that, despite his superior athleticism, should have lost his fight as he spent most of two rounds on his back

Sweet and Sour Moment of the Week

Sweet: In the thied round of his tilt against Tyrone Woodley, Jordan Mein -finally- manages to stay on his feet after a Woodley takedown attempt. Sour: A second after stuffing the takedown Mein attempts a dispirited hip-toss that might have worked against a lesser opponent but certainly not against somebody with the hips of Woodley. Mein, two rounds down, and with a significant advantage standing, had no reason to try to get this fight back on the ground, the place he ended up being, with Woodley on top.

Sweet: Luke Rockhold getting tagged a few times by Jardine and staying focused on his striking attack. In this fight Rockhold looked much more comfortable throwing in the pocket, which with his long range game being already very efficient, this development makes him all that much more dangerous. Sour: Keith Jardine still unable to defend a left hook, his demise in most fights.

Sweet: Luke Rockhold winning a good fight against a grizzly veteran that has fought some of the best in the world and passed the test with flying colours. Sour: All this talk about Rockhold and the UFC. Rockhold is not going anywhere and he shouldn’t. As impressive as he has been, he is still a relative novice in the game and really has only two victories against credible opponents. He is not a world beater yet and certainly not in the same situation as Gilbert Melendez, who has cleaned most of the lightweight division, in and outside of Strikeforce. Rockhold still has credible opponents that could be brought in for title defenses. Mahmed Khalidov could be an interesting matchup. Mousasi could drop back down, Jorge Santiago could be signed for a fight or two. Patrick Coté just won three in a row and would be a nice name on the resumé. Rockhold needs rounds before he can compete with the best in the world.

Statistics (study) of the week

In this three part study, Sabermetrics Research tackles on the subject of the Hockey ‘make up penalty’, which is basically the referees trying to even up penalties between the two teams as the game progresses. The study shows that there is a small but prevalent tendency towards a compassion effect in hockey and that referees just call penalties to even things out. The common wisdom, in most team sports is that referees try to “manage” the game as best they can, whether that is fair or right. The referees make sure there is no escalation in violence or illegal tactics by making sure everybody calms down and call penalties to everybody to varying degrees. Like the links above show, some referees call more penalties per game than others. The great coif, and now TSN columnist, Kerry Fraser was a great example of the referee trying a little too much to manage the game (mostly for his own celebrity status.)

This leads me to question the place and the MMA referee in reference to these team sports referees. Just like in boxing, the MMA referees and ultimately more important to the proceedings than just stopping the fight when someone taps or can”t defend themselves. The point taken away from a fighter because of illegal tactics, the tactics that they let happen and those goddarned stand-ups are all things MMA referees impact the way a fight evolves. Does anybody keep statistics on the MMA referees so that people could start analyzing their performance? Maybe Nick Lembo has his own database but it sure is not available to anybody else. It would be interesting to see statistics on the standups, from which position was it done and correlate it to the end of the fight, the type of offense that followed. Fightmetrics, help TMS out.

Another interesting question is: What should the performance metrics for MMA referees? The NFL has a protocol in place to evaluate their referees, reviewing every play of the season to rate their umpires. What should be the protocol for MMA? What makes a good MMA referee?

(note: TMS wrote this section before the whole Winslow debacle.)

Statistic of the Week #2

Interesting tidbit from the Jordan Breen friday chat: From Rory from Nova Scotia: Four biggest MMA shows attendance-wise in 2011 were UFC 129 and 140 (Toronto), Fedor vs. Monson (Moscow) and UFC 127 (Sydney). While there is evidence that attendance numbers don’t necessarily mean much to the UFC (they often don’t sell out, especially in Las Vegas, and sometimes almost voluntarily hike ticket prices despite weaker cards presented), it is telling that all the cards showed here are outside of the United States. Although it is not a surprise per se, it is interesting because it is indicative of how hard the economic downturn had hit the US, and that the push for international cards from the UFC, notwithstanding the Japan card that is pure vanity, is probably where the money reside in the future. Of course there is always the little problem of the Pay Per View (PPV) model being the most significant revenue stream at the moment, but it will be interesting to see if television deals end up being more lucrative than PPV.

Obscure Fight of the Fight Finder

Robbie Lawler, who fought this weekend, started his Zuffa career at UFC 37 with a bout against the incredibly durable Aaron Riley, who was, back then, on his twenty third fight. Riley lost his UFC debut by decision to Lawler, quite a feat considering the size of the two men in question. But Riley’s previous loss, the second in the series, was against Yves Edwards at Hook n’ Shoot Showdown, once again by decision. While he has been knocked out a few times in recent years, Riley was a tough customer back in the day (still is), and only lost to Falaniko Vitale via (T)KO in his first 24 fights. The Hook n’ Shoot card also features the MMA debut of a certain Francisco Santos Miranda, or Frank Mir, who beat the Jerome Smith also by decision.

Unfortunate MMA Ink

Since he decided to take a leave of absence from his current place of employment, TMS has to have an homage to one of the great contributor of bad MMA ink: Brock Lesnar. But TMS being the bastion of integrity in hard talk on the web that it is, no penis-shaped atrocity will be discussed in these pages. Oh no, that would be way to easy. The focus of our scorn will squarely placed on the massive drawing that Mr Lesnar sports on his back, the very imagery that became synonymous with his Death Clutch camp:

 

Brock-lesnar-tattoo-3_medium

via 1.bp.blogspot.com

 

This, ladies and gentlemen is the focus of this section incarnate. So unfortunate is this design that it becomes the very part of a very unfortunate personality. This thing is just the kind of things teenage metalheads used to doodle in the margins of their high school notebooks. Just like the early career Pushead design that never made it to any Metallica or S.O.D t-shirt because it was just a horrible idea. It appears that Brock does enjoy a little Slayer from time to time, but Slayer never had anything this ridiculous on any of their art. TMS seems to be unable to find any kind of statement behind the tattoo, except maybe ‘it looks evil, not really that scary’.
Obscure Sports Moment of the Week

TMS was at the McGill University Redmen’s hockey game this past Saturday as they were taking on the Ryerson University Rams. The most impactful player of the game? Francis Verrault-Paul. The pride of Mashteuiatsh, Lac St-Jean, Quebec, Canada had a goal and two assists on top of of fourteen minutes of penalty. The only thing missing, from the diminutive forward’s game, was a fight, to make it even more memorable.

Tuesday Morning Sweep #1

Posted by – January 4, 2012

I loosely steal the concept from ESPN’s Gregg Easterbrook TMQ. I like it. Please send contributions to the different sections to TuesdayMorningSweep@gmail.com . The column will, hopefully, happen following Zuffa/Forza Fight weekends but will not only be limited to that fight card.

Welcome to the big lights, gents

This past weekend saw the welcome to the big time of MMA for a few fighters: Alistair Overeem finally made his entrance to the UFC and did it in grand fashion, stopping Brock Lesnar. Johny Hendricks put himself in line for a title shot, a place that was very unlikely a year ago after that loss to Rick Story. With his brother fighting for the interim title in a short time, it would be plausible that the UFC puts Nate Diaz, winner, in superb fashion, over a surging Donald Cerrone, directly in line for a title shot. There is an interesting story to be made for the brothers to be UFC Champions.

Also interesting is the fact that all three fighters are flawed in some respect and that the way to beat them has been paved before: Overeem via tiring, Diaz via top control and Hendricks via constant pressure, as demonstrated by Story and Mike Pierce (Tuesday Morning Sweep [heretofore TMS] thought Pierce won their fight.)

 

Somethings just don’t feel right

Ed Soares doing the Brazilian translations for the UFC is always unusual. Good relationship with the organization is important for a manager, but considering the way some of his clients are doing everything possible to frustrate the organization, it is always a bit strange to hear his voice in the interpreter context.

 

Transitions Transitions, Transitions

TMS’s main takeaway from the weekend is the increasing importance of sound transitions between phases of combat. While this subject has often been talked about in respect to the transition between striking and grappling, and vice versa, little is said about other transitions.

Jim Hettes this weekend displayed superb transitions between submission grappling and ground and pound. Hettes kept Nam Phan guessing while on the ground for the whole fight, transitioning between submission, positioning and brutal ground and pound. Every time Hettes let go of a submission hold, it was quickly followed by an extremely fast repositioning and quick shots to the head and body of Phan.

Shinya Aoki displayed similar transition acumen early during his fight with Kitaoka. Kitaoka had answers for Aoki in the grappling department, with excellent defense, but could not do anything against the quickly changing attack. As Aoki tired during the fight he reverted back to his bread and butter and tried to submit Kitaoka. TMS thinks that if Aoki would have continued his dual attack with more consistency, he would have stopped Kitaoka.

Bibiano Fernandes, as described in the Sweet n’ Sour Moments below, showed much improved transitions on the floor as well.

 

Sweet Entrance Music Combo

Gustafsson-Matyuchenko: By far the best back to back tracks. Gustafsson coming in to the Vince DiCola score for Rocky IV, some of the greatest digital synthesizers this side of Kenny Loggins. Following that was the greatest counterpoint: Lemmy Kilmister. TMS was unable to exactly identify the song that Matyuchenko decided on because of the blabbering of Rogan and Goldberg but anything involving Lemmy was perfect musical foil to the grandeur of Rocky IV.

 

Sour Fight Moments of the Week

Donald Cerrone unable to modify his game plan mid fight when Diaz was lighting him up with volume. Cerrone’s normal modus operandi is to counter effectively with combinations, with accurate and powerful shots. Diaz’s plan was the one he always has: volume, accurate punching (the latter being much improved in the past year or two) and effective BJJ from the bottom if taken down. It is TMS’s opinion that neither Cerrone or Greg Jackson were able to switch game plans mid-fight. Jackson was asking for more volume and pressure from Cerrone which plays right into Diaz’s hand as he will overwhelm even more with incredible stamina and accurate punching.

Also sour: the myth of the 50%-force shots of the Diazs. Joe Rogan perpetuated this myth that Nate and Nick just throw pitter-patter punches. Both of them have increased power in their shots significantly over the years, and it comes down to better punching technique. The Diazs have cleaned up their technique and sit down on their punches a lot more than they used to and they use their length and accuracy to hit their opponent at the end of their punches, which is proper technique, not to be confused with half-power shots. Tommy Hearns threw similar punches and nobody ever said that he was throwing pitter-patter.

Brock Lesnar’s lack of takedown attempts, except one half hearted one. TMS’s feeling is that Brock was stymied by the constant feints and fakes of Overeem. It appeared that, with good reason, Lesnar was really concerned with Overeem’s kickboxing, and the result was him trying to react to Overeem’s feints a lot more than you would want to. Sweet: Overeem gaged the tentative Lesnar over the first few moments of the fight, as any high level striker would to an opponent and pounced once he had confused Lesnar enough.

Just like Satoshi Ishii, who also lost this weekend, Lesnar is a relative novice at striking and it showed, he was owned by Overeem, over one of the most basic tactics in striking sports.

Hideo Tokoro not defending or protecting himself on the slam and getting knocked out. It is the opinion of TMS that Tokoro might have taken one too many shots to the jaw. The eleven year veteran has been knocked out eleven times in his MMA career and considering the training regimens in Japan, it is entirely possible that he has been KOed many other times in sparring, or at least rocked.

What was the gameplan of Kazuyuki Miyata exactly? Stand around and let himself taken down? The common Goldbergism is that wrestlers “neutrify” each other and end up in a striking match. Goldbergisms should not, under any condition, become a game plan. Wrestlers, like black belts, come in different shapes an sizes, and Kawajiri’s MMA wrestling is excellent, and Miyata stood very upright and threw without any concern of the takedown, and basically invited the best way for Kawajiri to win: with control and ground and pound. In a straight wrestling match, Miyata certainly wins, but in this fight Kawajiri dominated.

 

Sweet Fight Moments of the Week

At 1:30 of the third round, Ross Pearson, fighting off a single leg from Junior Assuncao, makes him pay with punches coming from under the latter’s armpit. The broadcast showed clearly Assuncao wincing in pain from the punches. It is the opinion of TMS that few fighters make their opponent pay enough for their takedown attempts. The KO of Rich Attonito by Jake Hecht is recent proof of the effectiveness of elbows to an opponent going for takedowns, and Middleweight champion Anderson Silva can be brutal with incoming takedown artists. Pearson found the opening the same way and made sure Assuncao knew it. Few seconds later, Assuncao was letting go of his hold and was getting battered with punches by Pearson.

Sweet seeing Satoshi Ishii a lot more comfortable on his feet than we have seen him in the past. The Judo gold medalist is making strides in the sport but unfortunately cannot afford to take it easy and have a progression that would be appropriate to his level of experience. Fedor facing such a novice felt a little bit like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

In the first moments of the Kitaoka-Aoki fight TMS noticed something that was before unseen in Aoki’s standup: he ducked, slipped a punch and threw an overhand hook at Kitaoka. Aoki’s standup basically consisted of a jab, a straight left and a half hearted leg kick. With this parry and punch, Aoki showed a level of sophistication that was before unseen. Of course the danger was limited against Kitaoka on the feet, but it appears that the Evolve MMA training is beneficial.

 

Sweet n’ Sour Moments of the Week

In one of the most competitive fight of the night, and yet perhaps the most sweet and sour, Anthony Njokuanilost to Danny Castillo by split decision. At 3:40 of the first round Danny Castillo with a body lock on Anthony Njokuani threw beautiful knees to to the legs of the latter. The sour part of this is the lack of reaction from the Njokuani from the body lock and him being unable to break the grip. Breaking a body lock grip, or at least attempting to, is a basic technique that Njokuani failed to execute and it cost him.

Sweet, with 1 minute left in the first Njokuani gets a nice modified guillotine on Castillo, but, sour, forgot to keep any kind of control over Castillo’s body.

Sweet moment, Njokuani rocks Castillo with a right hand in the second and then hammers Castillo with knees but lacks the cage awareness to not get caught on the fence, and he sours the moment by letting Castillo get him down with a single leg moments after.

Excellent tactic by Bibiano Fernandes while working for the kimura in the first and elbowing the thigh of Marques. Fernandes showing a much improved MMA game with nice transitions between improving position, submission attempts and ground and pound. Fernandes previously had the tendency to work solely for position for extended periods, something very common from high level BJJ artists.

On the sour side, Marques was clearly in over his head against Fernandes. While he is a good athlete, he relied way too much on his strength and athleticism to get himself out of and into positions, something unlikely to succeed against such a good grappler as Fernandes.

 

Obscure Fight of the Sherdog Fight Finder

On what is seemingly his first recorded fight night, at Neutral Ground 5, Javier “the Showtime without the kick” Vasquez, loses a decision, at 11 minutes of the first round against Victor Hunsaker. Javier was at his third fight of the night, having already dispatched Sean Kim and Ken Kellenberger, by armbar and decision respectively. Hunsaker would go on to beat lower competition and lose to the likes of Matt HughesSavant Young and Genki Sudo. The eleven minutes round format for the tournament is a bit of a mystery but considering the different formats employed in the early days of MMA, not an implausible mystery. This was 1998 after all.

 

Obscure Statistics of Fightmetrics

In one of the most brutal display of ground strikes in memory, Kevin Randleman threw 7 of 8 knees to the head of Kenichi Yamamoto to stop the fight. Like a lot of MMA fans, it is the opinion of the TMS that knees to the head of a grounded opponent are completely valid tactics in a combat sports like MMA. While the ultimate enjoyment is a brutal display of submissions like the ones performed by Frank Mir and Jon Jones during UFC 140, the knees to the head by Randleman were particularly harsh to see. It is the opinion of TMS that brutally concussive strikes are more squirm-worthy than submission-related injuries, which are most often the responsibility of the injured unwilling to tap.

While reminiscing about the Monster,, and Bones for that matter. Could it be that Jon Jones be the best pure athlete to enter MMA, in the heavier weights (say 170-265), since Randleman? And could it be that their respective successes, and lack thereof, are mirrored? The complete lack of cage instincts of Randleman perfectly mirror the incredibly potent instincts of Jones? The amazing offense that Jones buts forth and the lack of anything looking like offense by Randleman, passed his ability to take down a man. Both are incredibly agile, powerful and have those fast-twitch muscles that is most associated to pure athletes (whether or not that is completely useful in MMA is another debate that TMS might tackle at another time.)

Another question that comes to mind while the Monster is in mind: Randleman wrestled at 167 and 177lbs during his collegiate career. While he has been known for his extremely muscular physique in MMA, what would have happened if he had fought at 185, or even 170. Given his success in amateur wrestling (two times NCAA Division-I champion is nothing to sneeze at, the only MMA fighters with a similar pedigrees are Johny Hendricks, Ben AskrenJake Rosholt and Kole Konrad that TMS can think of) if he had fought fighters of a similar size, is it not impossible to imagine much better results? Is it so impossible to imagine Randleman controlling Pat Miletichand Frank Shamrock on the ground for three rounds? How about Matt Hughes? Furthermore, his muscles would have been a little less in the way to throw them punches.

 

Unfortunate MMA Ink

There are some very unfortunate tattoos in MMA. From Alan Belcher’s Johnny Cash to the litany of last names that are found on backs and bellies of fighters (is it really necessary to have a reminder of your own name?) This section is meant to showcase those.

There is also an unfortunate amount of individuals getting their identity defined by corporate images that are doctored to sell products. Capitalist societies being what they are in 2012, a whole lot of identification and personal well being from owning products that sometimes things get skewed. Thus I propose this:

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via a2.ec-images.myspacecdn.com

TMS is quite aware that there are tons of the kind on any google image search, and some even more outrageous. However, it must be noted that this gentleman willingly tattooed a brand of clothing on his back. Unless he was paid a very large amount of money by Authentic Brands Group (or Tapout directly back in the day) there is no reason to freely display a brand and that being integral part of your identity.

 

Statistic of the Week

All told, including replays, DVR plays and all, there is an estimate of 42 millions people have seen Junio Dos Santos win the heavyweight title against Cain Velasquez in Brazil. It is the opinion of TMS that the Brazil and South American business for the UFC will quickly (relatively) surpass the revenues generated by the Pay-Per-View model that is in place in North America. Given the success that is currently seen, the next contract that the UFC will sign with Globosat could very well be massive.

 

The Unlikely Sports Event of the Week

Canada’s government leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Canada uses British government structure with a nominated executive branch of government [the senate] and an elected lower branch) will release a book on the history of hockey. The book is meant to tackle on the professionalisation of the game during the last century. The Conservative leader has spent his down time, mostly generated by questionable prorogation of Parliament (twice!), orking on the text that is meant to be released in 2012.

Head to tail dining

Posted by – February 26, 2011

So a local restaurant invited Chris Consentino to do a nose to tail dinner and my friend Ghislain managed to get a reservation (it was kind of not very advertised and there is currently a gastronomic festival in town but the them of it is women in food/cooking this year so he doesn’t really fit. I guess they booked it in the hope that he would fit in the festival and it just crap out. There was still a lot of food world world shmoozing and ‘important people’ around.) Here is how it went down:

The wine pairing was a little over the top expensive so we decided to forgo it ( the dinner was 65$ without and 150$ with wine pairings….)

-1st course: Turf n’ Surf: Horse meat and horse heart tartare with a B.C. Oyster in it, grilled brioche, horse fat fried matchstick fries, ailoli.

Was good, but a little underseasoned. Could have had some heat to it and didn’t. Good but not amazing.

-2nd course: Eel, Blood, Egg: Pig blood mousse, smoked eel, two hour egg topped with scallions and hot pepper powder and something else I can’t remember (apple puree..? I remember the look of it not the taste).

Pretty amazing, the blood mousse was like blood pouding in a light airy form, went amazing with the egg, the rest just complimented really well. Could have used a pinch more salt.

-3rd course: Lamb Puck Fra Diavolo: Literally a lamb pluck, heart, lung, kidney, liver pan fried with Celeriac coal and mint puree.

Never had lung before, not sure if I ever had lamb heart, kidney and liver. It was all amazingly good. Lung was tender and super flavorful. Not a lot of gaminess in any of it. Really spicy but kinda perfect at the same time, did not mask any of the flavours.

-4th Course: Big Brain , little brain: Pan fried veal brains with pan fried veal gonad, with a salad of radishes and arugula.

I am not a big fan of brains in the first place, my mom makes them for my dad and brother and I am just not that into it, I can eat it but it is not something I crave. Almost had gonads with my friend Azal in Serbia but he convinced me otherwise so it was a first. Incredibly good. The brain was soft and crispy on the outside, delicate and flavorful. The testicle was pretty inoffensive, like an a very unflavored scallop (same texture, more gamy taste but barely noticeable). The offal was underseasoned again but the salad was hella salty, together with the brain they were heaven.

-Dessert: Chicken Candy bowl, Chocolate N’Duja Cones: Candied cock’s comb, candied chicken gonad, nduja ice cream, chocolate ganache, coco nibs.

The cock’s comb was meant to taste like gummy bears, it sorta did but at the end came the chicken back with full force. The gonad once again was nothing to write home about, it was on a toothpick with somekind of candy covering it. The idea of fermented spicy sausage ice cream is not of that interesting but it was pretty damn good, but I love charcuterie and sausage too, combined with the ganache it was pretty stellar.

Corrie managed until the fourth course, but the brain she could not do. Was a pretty great experience. Loved it.

espresso

Posted by – November 19, 2009

I have become a coffee nerd.

Hamburger Steak

Posted by – February 28, 2009

Hamburger steak

Hamburger steak with Parsnip purée

The sauce is lardons, portobello, onions, red wine and toasted flour.

The Burger

Posted by – February 18, 2009

Teh burger

 

  • Freshly ground blade
  • Organic tomatoes
  • Aged cheddar
  • Bacon
  • Mayo
  • Kaiser bun

Cold night comfort

Posted by – January 27, 2009

Risotto

Last night was a -very- cold night. And this risotto was just what the doctor ordered. Nice chicken stock, re-hydrated cipolini mushrooms in the stock, button mushroom and leftover chicken… Nice, simple, comforting food.

WYNTON MARSALIS

Posted by – January 19, 2009

 

 

 

 

Wynton Marsalis: “At the root of our current national dilemmas is an accepted lack of integrity. We are assaulted on all sides by corruption of such magnitude that it’s hard to fathom. Almost everything and everyone seems to be for sale. Value is assessed solely in terms of dollars. Quality is sacrificed to commerce and truthful communication is supplanted by marketing. The type of gamesmanship that separates races, genders and ages by ‘preferences’ is a most cynical brand. The integrity and dedication shown by American artists throughout our history provides a most needed and unequivocal counterstatement. On the eve of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, let’s recognize the pernicious effects of separating people by generic categories.”

via: Alex Ross

Originally uploaded by Ernest Gregory

The almost daily bread

Posted by – January 12, 2009

the almost daily bread

 

Before Christmas, a sale at a large department store, that we shall keep unnamed, had a piece of equipment that I did not think I would like as much as it proved to be: A stand-up mixer.  Yes, that dark shadow behind the bread there is my almost brand new Kitchenaid mixer. Ever since I have it I have been experimenting with bread and so far I have had some really nice breads and some pretty average breads, but with everyone of them I get a feel for the bread even more. Despite all the hyperboles bakers make about bread being a living thing and that to make to good bread is an art and such, there is definitely a familiarity aspect to it. For example, I know when my gluten is lacking in a batch the minute it starts to rise.  I know by the touch of it that it will be a quick or slow rise. With every batch I feel more comfortable and with every batch the bread is better. For example, this bread above was probably the best ratio of wheat and white flour I have done so far, and that ratio will certainly change as the seasons change (I keep my apartment pretty cold in winter so my bread doesn’t rise as fast or as much as it would at a higher temperature so I add a little more white flour to have a little more sugars for the yeast to eat up.) Regardless of all that, making my bread every other day is incredibly satisfying and I will continue to do it for a foreseeable time.