combat sports

First Step In A Long Journey

I had every intention of posting this back in September, shortly after my first jiu-jitsu tournament in years. However, due to a small roadblock brought on by the tournament, and my tendency to procrastinate when it comes to writing, it took about two and half months longer to complete this post than I originally intended. I know, I know, shame on me. Anyways, the rest of this post will be a match by match summary of the learning experience that was the in-house jiu-jitsu tournament held at Gracie Tampa South this past September. ENJOY!

Match Making

Brackets were created based on experience/belt level, which placed me in the adult white belt (beginners) division. There were no weight classes and after looking around at my competition I knew the likelihood of me grappling someone bigger than me was highly likely. My assumption soon came true when I was matched up against my first opponent, who was approximately 30 lbs heavier.

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Match #1

My first opponent was someone I had grappled with in class. I knew he wasn’t terribly aggressive but since he was bigger than me, I knew using what strength I had was probably not the best idea. I attempted a few unsuccessful arm drags and trips until my opponent finally took me down, and landed inside my guard. I worked off my back for the majority of the match until I was finally able to escape and take his back. I finished the match holding onto a half-hearted submission attempt that was more “prevent defense” than “attacking offense.” I ended up winning the match on points.

Match #2

My next opponent outweighed me but he had just finished a full length match, which meant I most likely had the cardio advantage. He didn’t waste anytime taking me down, but he fell into my guard. He had a low posture which allowed me to get my legs up and slap on a leg triangle. I adjusted my posture to really tighten up the choke and forced him to tap. I think my technique was a little sloppy but coupled with my opponent’s fatigue, I was able to get the win by submission.

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Match #3 (Semi-finals)

I had a chance to guarantee myself a 1st or 2nd place finish, but I had to get past the biggest competitor in my bracket. I grappled with him before and I knew he was EXTREMELY aggressive. However, much like my previous opponent he had spent a lot of his available energy in his prior matches. Even though he outweighed me by about 50 pounds, I foolishly tried to setup a takedown for the first minute of our match. He finally scored a takedown and I was once again working off my back. I made repeated attempts to sweep him, but his weight and posture prevented all my attempts. I attempted a guillotine and arm bar late in the match but to no avail. I lost the match on points.

Match #4 (3rd Place match)

I went into the 3rd place match excited by the opportunity to get on the podium. As excited as I was, the fatigue of three matches was starting to catch up with me. My opponent and I were pretty evenly matched weight wise, but as soon as the match started I knew he had more in the gas tank. He quickly took me down, passed my guard and attempted an arm bar from the mount. I was able to escape the arm bar and almost locked up a guillotine in a wild scramble, but we had to restart after going out of bounds. Once we restarted, it was essentially a replay of how the match began: takedown, passes my guard, mounts and throws on the arm bar. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the energy to escape this attempt, and I was forced to tap. I lost due to a submission, and ended up 4th in my bracket with a 2-2 record.

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Match #1 in the gi (Ultimately the end of my day)

Four competitors stuck around after the no-gi tournament to compete in the gi. Even though I’m still a novice at jiu-jitsu, I can say with confidence that competing in the gi is WAY different than competing without the gi. It takes a different skill set that unfortunately I’m not quite skilled at yet. Regardless, I threw on the gi and went up against a frequent training partner of mine who I knew was better than me. The match was going pretty much as I expected with my opponent controlling the action until I finally pulled an escape and took his back. My good fortune didn’t last long because as I tried to prevent my opponent from escaping, I suffered a non-contact injury and was forced to verbally tap out. I lost via verbal submission due to injury.

Wrap-up

“I did a jiu-jitsu tournament and all I have to show for it is this stinking cast.” I say that in jest because even though I sustained a broken metacarpal in my last match, I am extremely happy that I participated in the tournament. I learned a tremendous amount AND realized I still have a tremendous amount to learn. I finally returned to the gym last week after 10 weeks of recovery, eager to continue working toward my goal of earning my blue belt.

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Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting ***UPDATED***

Originally published Saturday, July 11th

I’m always a little bit frustrated whenever the cable bill arrives at my house. I only watch about 5 out of the 200 channels I have available and my fiancé does most of her “TV” viewing thru Netflix and YouTube. Paying for cable may be annoying, but it’s nights like tonight (July 11th) that make it worth it. If you are a combat sports enthusiast like myself, you’ll be able to get your fill tonight with two great events.

First, Premier Boxing Champions will be televised on ESPN for the first time tonight and the main event features one of the best, if not thee best, boxer to come out of the Tampa Bay Area, Keith “One Time” Thurman. Keith holds the WBA welterweight belt and is currently undefeated with a 25-0 record with 21 KO’s. He is fighting Luis Collazo who has a 36-6 record and has never been knocked out in his entire career. It’s going to be a tough fight for Thurman, but I believe his power and speed will help him stay undefeated. Prediction: Thurman wins via 10th Rd TKO

Image created by images gathered from @ufc & @premierboxing on twitter

Image created by images gathered from @ufc & @premierboxing on twitter

If that wasn’t enough, the UFC has one of their most anticipated pay-per-views tonight with UFC 189. If you have the dough to fork up for this PPV I would highly recommend you do. If not, there are plenty free options you can take advantage of to enjoy UFC 189. The prelims will be shown on Fox Sports 1 at 7pm ET and they include several great fights including Matt “The Immortal” Brown vs. Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means. These two fighters will put on a show that will please even the most casual fight fan. As for the PPV, you can listen to Brendan Schaub & Bryan Callen, hosts of The Fighter & The Kid podcast, give a pseudo play-by-play call of the fights on Joe Rogan’s Ustream channel. I will warn you, these two guys can get very silly and go on tangents that have nothing to do with the fights. There are a ton of great fights on this card so I’ll only give my predictions for the co-main & main events: Rory MacDonald def. Robbie Lawler by decision & Chad Mendes def. Conor McGregor by 4th Rd TKO.

We will see if my predictions are right tonight and I’ll post a recap of the events later this week. Enjoy tonight fight fans!

Update

If I were a betting man, I would have lost money Saturday night with my predictions. I was correct in predicting Keith “One Time” Thurman’s victory and that he would win by TKO. Thurman was cruising early in the bout but was on the receiving end of a vicious body shot in the 5th that slowed him down significantly for the rest of the round and most of the next. He was able to bounce back and land repeated left hooks to the head that opened up a cut above Collazo’s eye and ultimately led to the TKO victory.  Predicting the outcome of the Thurman fight would be my one and only accurate predication of the night.

I choose MacDonald and Mendes to be the victors in the co-main & main events of UFC 189. MacDonald was winning on the judges scorecards going into the 5th and final round, but sustained a broken nose (among other injuries) after eating a stiff left hand from the champion Lawler. Mendes experienced the same fate when he was unable to hold McGregor down and was TKO’d by punches in the 2nd round.

Regardless of my poor predictions, both events were action packed and truly great displays of combat sports.

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Image created by images gathered from @ufc & @premierboxing on twitter