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понедельник, 31 августа 2009 г.

UFC 102 Couture vs Nogueira Review

UFC 102 was one of the best shows I've seen in a while even though apparently it did not make the numbers Dana White wanted to see. Impressive knockouts and most notably of course the spectacular KO of Demian Maia by Nate Marquardt in the Middleweight division. The fastest KO ever in UFC history, apparently only 7 seconds in to the first round. Of course a real setback for Demian, who has the best brazilian jiu jitsu in the UFC but has clearly shown his lack of striking skills which he will have to improve fast if he wants to progress further in MMA.

The fight that was supposed to make the night special, Couture vs Nogueira, did make a hell of a night. So much speculation and so many predictions for this fight were made that it is hard to include them all here. One most obvious fact was according to almost everone Couture was supposed to win this fight comfortably. The UFC SMS poll showed that something like 75% of the fans voted that Couture would win.

Big Nog is one of my favourite fighters and of course with his previous performance and the rumor that he got KOd in training, I was really disappointed. The Minotauro that we saw however in UFC 102 was not the same guy that got knocked out by Frank Mir. This was a tough guy who has successfully recovered from the staff infection and the knee injury. Clearly Nog trained a lot for this fight and although we perhaps did not see the Minotauro of the Pride days when he fought the Last Emperor, he looked strong, dominating both in the striking and on the ground.

Antonio Rodrigo Minotauro met Randy Couture in the headline non-championship fight in UFC 102. Randy looked his usual self, strong and I think the same guy that fought Brock Lesnar. This was the same Randy. He looked sharp but Nogueira simply outclassed him. In the first round, Nogueira proved his boxing is superior but also took some solid one-twos from Randy to the chin. This didn't affect Nog however and at some point they even engaged in some brutal striking, toe to toe. Minotauro proved to be the stronger man and sent Randy to the canvas but was unable to finish him as Randy was able to control Nogueira and recover. Randy's age was perhaps a factor here of course.

Later in to the second and third round we saw some very close submissions from Nogueira, securing first a D'arce choke which Couture incredibly managed to escape and later an arm-triangle. Nogueira also displayed some impressive sweeps from his very dangerous guard. He made them look incredibly easy. It was amazing. As a result Nogueira mounted Couture and dominated him on the ground for most of the second and third round.

Overall critics will say that Randy's age was a factor in this fight but really we all knew how old he was when he went in and everybody bet on Couture. Nogueira was the superior fighter last weekend, no doubt about it. Can Big Nog take on Lesnar? Well I think he still needs to improve his conditioning and in particular speed. He looked a bit gassed in the middle of the second round and I think speed and cardio is something that would help against a monster like Brock Lesnar. If Big Nog can sweep Lesnar from the guard and submit him, this could be a very different game. The problem was with Mir in my opinion is that he got taken down by Lesnar and could not maintain control and literally survive on the bottom. Lesnar took him down and kept striking and made sure he could not escape.

Can Nogueira be Champ? Some room to improve still but he could have a good chance here. Good luck to him.

пятница, 28 августа 2009 г.

ADCC Consolidated Competitor List

For all those eager to see the competitors so far confirmed for ADCC 2009, please see below the mens table. These are the guys that we saw were 100% confirmed. I did not include Fedor Emelianenko and Gegard Mousasi as there has not been any information about this so far.

As soon as there is some announcement in terms of which categories they compete, I will add them but so far I have not seen much confirmation for these guys and with so much going on in their MMA careers I would not be surprised if they don't compete.

Roger Gracie (Brasil) vs Robert Drysdale (Brasil)

- Rani Yahya (Brasil)
- Kouhei Yasumi (Japão)
- Rafael Mendes (Brasil)
- Nicolas Renier (França)
- Timo-Juhani Hirvikangas (Finlândia)
- Ryan Hall (EUA)
- David Marinakis (Austrália)
- Jayson Patino (EUA)
- Leozinho Viera (Brasil)
- Baret Yoshida. USA
- Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles (Brasil)
- Jeff Glover (USA)
- Hiroshi Nakamuro (Japan)
- Justin Rader
- Jeff Curran (USA)

- Marcelo Garcia (Brasil)
- K-taro Nakamura (Japão)
- Murilo Santana (Brasil)
- Marcelo Azevedo (Itália)
- Toni Linden (Finlândia)
- Don Ortega (EUA)
- Rodney Ellis (Austrália)
- Enrico Cocco (EUA)
- Georges St Pierre (Canada)
- Pablo Popovich (USA)
- Kron Gracie (Brasil)
- Yoshiyuki "Zenko" Yoshida (Japan)
- Bill Cooper (USA)
- Milton Vieira
- Ben Askren (USA)

- Demian Maia (Brasil)
- Kazuhiro Nakamura (Japão)
- André Galvão (Brasil)
- Kassim Annan (França)
- Trond Saksenvik (França)
- Jason Selva (EUA)
- Igor Praporshchikov (Austrália)
- Chris Weidman (EUA)
- Nate Marquardt (USA)
- Rafael Lovato (Brasil)
- Daniel Tabera (Spain)
- Rousimar Palhares "Toquinho"
- Gunnar Nelson (Iceland)

- Xande Ribeiro (Brasil)
- Ukiya Nato (Japão)
- Glover Teixeira (Brasil)
- Radek Turek (Polônia)
- Andreas Olsen (Noruega)
- Rafael Davies (EUA)
- Anthony Perosh (Austrália)
- Gerardi Rinaldi (EUA)
- Dean Lister (USA)
- Ricardo Arona (Brasil)
- Mike Van Arsdale (USA)
- Vinny Magalhaes "Pezao"
- Vesa Vuor
- Marcio "Pe de Pano" Cruz
- Renato "Babalu" Sobral

- Fabrício Werdum (Brasil)
- Kouji Kanechika (Japão)
- Antoine Jaoude (Brasil)
- Tomasz Janiszewski (Polônia)
- Janne-Pekka (Finlândia)
- Asa Fuller (EUA)
- Dennis Roberts (Austrália)
- Tom DeBlass (EUA)
- Saulo Ribeiro (Brasil)
- Rogent Lorent (Spain)
- Gabriel Gonzaga (Brazil)
- Jon Olav Einemo (Norway)
- Tom Erickson
- Jeff Monson, USA

With so many great names on this list, this is the biggest event perhaps to ever to take place. Keep reading to find out more.

четверг, 27 августа 2009 г.

BJJ Legends Looking to Make it in Mixed Martial Arts

Demian Maia

Demian Maia is perhaps the best brazilian jiu jitsu practitioner in the UFC sitting next to "The Prodigy" B.J Penn. The man is unreal and has so far shown himself with a clean record, looking to fight Anderson Silva for the middleweight title. Unlike B.J. Penn though, Demian relies far more on his jiu jitsu than Penn who has extremely solid boxing.

The question right from the birth of UFC has always been whether you can survive and be successful with just outstanding jiu jitsu. Demian Maia will be out there to try to prove this by attempting to defeat the likes of Anderson Silva, who has a black belt in jiu jitsu himself. Can he do it? Well, Wanderlei Silva certainly thinks so. He tells us that it is hard to defend for long against such an amazing brazilian jiu jitsu player. I believe him.

UFC 102 will certainly be a test for Demian but really it is the title shot (if he gets it) that will determine whether he can make it.

Antonio Rodrigo Minotauro

Although Minotauro is not a world class jiu jitsu player, he is damn good when it comes to submissions in MMA. His Pride days are long gone and now he needs to make it in a very different heavyweight division facing smart wrestlers like Randy Couture and huge wrestlers like Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar.

Minotauro has defeated excellent strikers (Mirko Crocop) and outstanding well rounded fighters with excellent grappling skills (Kazushi Sakuraba, Dan Henderson and Josh Barnett). He did this not due to his striking but due to his superior grappling and ability to withstand strikes, recover quickly and pressure opponents into making mistakes.

Rising Submission Stars

There are several rising submission specialists that are gradually developing their careers. The most successful so far outside the UFC has been Ronaldo Souza known as Jacare. The explosive jiu jitsu fighter has been the runner up in the Dream Middleweight Grand-Prix, losing only to Gegard Mousasi (the new Strikeforce Lightweight Champion). More recently he has signed up with Strikeforce and will surely be one of their top fighters looking to take the belt.

Roger Gracie and Xande Ribeiro have been looking to make their careers in MMA too. Each of them has had two fights so far, both displaying great skill but very different styles. Xande is more focused on developing his striking and displays more of it in his fights each time. Roger Gracie relies primarily on his sick jiu jitsu and particularly unmatched submission abilities. Any guy going to the ground with these jiu jitsu legends will not survive for long.

Lastly it is worth mentioning that two years ago Marcelo Garcia entered the MMA ring to test his skills narrowly losing by doctor stoppage due to a cut above his eye. Probably the most decorated no-gi grappler, Marcelo took the back mount position but was not able to execute the submission. I think he will be back, submitting many once his striking skills improve.

Each of these guys is incredible at what he does and is a great jiu jitsu submission artist. They are not well-rounded fighters but can they make successful careers in MMA? I think it all depends on their styles and strategies they use. They must focus to minimize their weaknesses and focus on their strengths in the same way as Randy Couture does when he fights his smart fights as a wrestler. It is all about control and not getting hit. Whether you use classical jiu jitsu like Roger Gracie or you utilize the Eddie Bravo innovations as Shinya Aoki does, you need to have control and not get into the situation where you don't end up as a punching bag for a good wrestler/striker.

понедельник, 24 августа 2009 г.

The Couture Vs Nogueira UFC 102 Prediction

Randy Couture nicknamed "The Natural" is a great fighter. He has fought the best in the UFC and has been the only man to take the belt in both the heavy weight and the light heavyweight divisions.

With a background in Olympic-level Greco-roman wrestling, Randy Couture is a very popular fighter, relying on skill and enormous experience to control and defeat his opponents mainly via ground and pound.

Randy has recently faced and lost via a TKO that saw him knocked to the ground and pounded on by the menacing Brock Lesnar, the current UFC Heavyweight champion of the world. Looking very good during the first round, Randy clearly was not able to take some of the brutal elbows and punches from Lesnar and collapsed in the second.

Following this defeat he is now due to fight the Pride FC warrior, Antonio Rodrigo Minotauro. Minotauro, also known as Big Nog, is a black belt in both Brazilian jiu jitsu and judo with decent striking. He has faced nearly every top heavyweight in his time including Mirko Cro Cop and Fedor Emelianenko. Minotauro is an amazing submission artist famous for his comebacks and for his iron chin which apparently runs in the family.

More recently, Big Nog had to face another submission master Frank Mir and surprised his fans with his visibly poor conditioning and even more notably for the first time in his career getting knocked out.

Despite the comments by Minotauro himself that he is in the best shape since four years ago, rumors are continuing to grow that he has been knocked out during training and this is certainly not the Minotauro that his fans including myself remember.

Prediction: Antonio Nogueira by Unanimous Decision

Both of these fighters may risk to put their careers in danger were they to lose this fight and yet at the same time for both this will be a very tough match. Randy Couture as old as he is still looking very good considering the opponents that he has faced while Antonio Nogueira has youth on his side but his current condition raises some serious questions. Is Nogueira ready for this fight? I believe he will do his best to prepare for this battle as it will no doubt affect his legacy as a fighter. The Couture vs. Nogueira fight has been long overdue and now it has come and I think both fighters were waiting for this battle for a long time.

From an analysis point of view, striking-wise, they are probably about even. Both are clearly grapplers with some decent striking but neither is spectacular on his feet. This fight will quickly go to the ground. I think that Minotauro will almost certainly look for a takedown which Randy Couture will try to control and reverse in his favor.

On the ground I would still favor Nogueira although Randy may have some success on top. Nogueira I believe would be very difficult to control and I believe that if Randy makes a mistake, Nogueira will almost certainly capitalize on it. Good luck to them!

среда, 19 августа 2009 г.

Gi or No-Gi: a few thoughts on the subject

Should one train with or without the gi many ask. I would like to give some of my thoughts on the subject in this article.

Gracie Magazine had a good page with all the experts giving their opinions on the subject a couple of months back. The traditional view is that one should train with the gi and then once he has absorbed the fundamentals of jiu jitsu he can transition to no-gi while continuing to train in the gi.

This traditional view is no often debated as jiu jitsu continues to evolve and new techniques are developed like the Rubber Guard for example. Guys like Eddie Bravo will tell you that it worth starting your jiu jitsu training without the gi. There are certainly fewer moves and if you are training in mixed martial arts, you don't have the gi to work with.

Training with the gi is no doubt more technical. There are far more techniques available here and in a way you get used to relying on the opponents gi which can be a bad habit. For both it is a little strange to transition from one style to the other.

Some also argue that no-gi is more effective in real life for self-defense purposes. You or your opponent may not have a gi and for this reason it is worthwhile training without it. The same argument also works the other way as well and I would argue that from standing the argument is especially strong. During the colder seasons of the year everyone has a coat or something to grab. Here judo players would no doubt be at a great advantage performing throws that could be very effective especially if you land on concrete. With the gi you have so much more control and you have many more options. You can use the spider-guard, you can use chokes, you can use the additional control to carryout effective sweeps.

The central issue is that everyone has his own opinion on this and that is mainly based on the background of the person. Wrestlers prefer no-gi while judo and often jiu jitsu guys like the gi.

The other issue is how exciting to watch each of the sports are. Many opinions here also. No-gi grappling is much more dynamic, much faster but less technical. Gi jiu jitsu like the BJJ World Championships are a great display of highly technical ground game and judo from stand up. I think that both are great as long as the opponents really look for the submission and do not focus on defense and stalling.

ADCC 2009 will be a very exciting event and I will be there to enjoy it:)

понедельник, 10 августа 2009 г.

ADCC Barcelona 2009 - the Event of the Year Plus Update

The Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling Championships is the most prestigious submission wrestling event in the world, period. The winners of this tournament are regarded to be the world's elite grapplers and the list of competitors alone reads like a who's who in the sport.

Fighters from many disciplines including jiu jitsu, judo, sambo and wrestling compete once in every two years in this elite invitation-only tournament created and sponsored by Sheik Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nayan, the son of the former United Arab Emirates president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayan, together with his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor Nelson Monteiro.

The event was first held back in 1998 and has since then seen many great champions and representatives of different martial arts participate. Although the majority of practitioners today represent brazilian jiu jitsu, there have already been notable exceptions including Sanae Kikuta and of course Mark Kerr, the free-style wrestler that defeated everyone in 2000, both in his category (over 99kg) and in the absolute division.

Many champions have shown their skills in this competition but perhaps the brightest has been Marcelo Garcia, the Alliance black belt considered by many to be the best no-gi pound-for-pound fighter.

This year the event is expected to be unlike any that we have seen yet. The competitor list that has already been announced is so strong and so decorated that we are sure to witness one of the greatest grappling events in the history.

Not only has the fight included every elite jiu jitsu competitor including the likes of Roger Gracie (current Absolute Champion), Robert Drysdale (2007 ADCC Champion), Xande Ribeiro, Marcelo Garcia, Rubens Charles "Cobrinha", Leo Viera and many others, but two of the pound-for-pound mixed martial arts legends have been confirmed.

So why is ADCC 2009 special?

Today, there are three names that are undisputedly considered the pound-for-pound best in the world. These are the legends of the sport, Georges St-Pierre the UFC Welterweight Champion, Anderson Silva the UFC Middleweight Champion and Fedor Emelianenko the WAMMA Heavyweight Champion. All of these guys are legends in the sport and have proven time and time again why they are the best.

Now the grappling fans have a chance to witness something that has never been seen before. Two of them, Fedor Emeliananko and Georges St-Pierre (GSP) are scheduled participate. Both are extremely well-rounded fighters with a good background in grappling.

GSP is a brazilian jiu jitsu blackbelt while Fedor Emelianenko is a national Judo Champion and a multiple World Combat Sambo Champion. Now they will test their skills against the monsters of the grappling arts. The mere prospect of seeing GSP fighting Marcelo Garcia is an incredible sight.

There were some rumors that Fedor may not be competing but if we do see this MMA king battle in the open weight division, this will be for sure a memorable occasion. I know I will be there to see it.


ADCC 2009 will be held in Barcelona on 26-27 September. Tickets are already available on Ticketmaster.com.


The ADCC Committee has released even more names today. They are - 65.9 kg Hiroshi Nakamura (judo champion), +99kg Garbriel Gonzaga (UFC Fighter and Mundials Champion in 2006) and +99kg Jon Olav Einemo (the only human to defeat Roger Gracie in ADCC).

Check this link for updated list of competitors

UFC 101 Declaration - Takeaway Points

Watched the fights on Yahoo Sports PPV on Sunday. Really enjoyed it so here are a few takeaway points I had from the night.

- Anderson Silva is incredible. Yes well everyone knew this was the case before, but this fight really made me a believer. I did not have much of a chance to see the pound-for-pound king in action before this fight, but his display of striking skills was more than impressive against a dangerous Forrest Griffin.

I think that Forrest was injured. His jaw got dislocated and you can't blame him for losing with an injury like that. I mean that is incredibly painful. Anderson just tapped him the last time he went down. The injury was already there.

Nevertheless I think for Anderson, a win against Lyota Machida would cement his legacy as one of the greatest MMA fighters in the sport if not the best ever. He would be the Randy Couture with the double belts in middle and light heavy weight. There are few people that could do this in the sport.

- BJ Penn the king at 155. BJ Penn to me is a guy that never makes big mistakes. His jiu jitsu is unreal and his boxing is very good. Could someone beat him? I think yes but this guy must have unreal striking skill because there is I think no chance of beating BJ any other way.

At 155 he is really tough. Visually he appeared much stronger than the skinny Kenny Florian. The only way it seems to beat BJ is to out-muscle him with great takedowns and awesome wrestling which is what GSP did. It does not look like anyone in the 155 category can do this today.

These were the two fights that made the night. Pellegrino deserves a mention with his quality groundwork I think as well. Lets now look forward to the next tournaments coming up:

1) Carano vs Cyborg on August 15 with the main card featuring:

Gina Carano vs Cris "Cyborg" - 145lb Female Championship Bout

Nick Diaz vs Jay Hieron - Welterweight Championship Bout

Renato "Babulu" Sobral vs Gergard Mousasi - Light Heavyweight Championship Bout

Gilbert Melendez vs Mitsuhiro Ishida - Lightweight Interim Championship Bout

Roger Gracie will also be fighting in this event and for all the brazilian jiu jitsu fans out there I think this will be a fight to see. Roger Gracie is the current brazilian jiu jitsu Heavyweight and Open Weight Champion and in my opinion the best jiu jitsu player on the planet today.

Strikeforce is doing well signing up good fighters. With the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Roger Gracie, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Gegard Mousasi signed in the last month, they are quickly consolidating the pool of talented fighters under their banner.

All they now need to do is to get the media distribution, so that we, the fans, can watch these great fights live. Without the audience, Strikeforce just can't afford to pay these guys and that can lead to a demise a-la Affliction.

2. UFC 102: Couture vs Nogueira on August 29 with the main card featuring

Randy Couture vs. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira

Keith Jardine vs. Thiago Silva

Chris Leben vs. Jake Rosholt

Nate Marquardt vs. Demian Maia

Brandon Vera vs. Krzysztof Soszynski

Apart from Couture vs Nogueira I think Demian Maia will be an exciting fight which will determine whether the bjj genius will meet Anderson Silva. A good card in my opinion. I look forward to also seeing several strong fighters return to the top of the mma rankings like Gonzaga and Brandon Vera. The Polish guy Krzysztof Soszynski is also considered to be very strong. (although he did lose to Ben Rothwell)

пятница, 7 августа 2009 г.

Gracie Magazine - I Love It!

I have already written a small post on the Gracie Magazine in the past but having enjoyed the publication so much in the last few months, I wanted to share some of my thoughts.

Gracie Magazine is the publication for brazilian jiu jitsu athletes and practitioners across the world. I subscribed to the magazine back in April and have enjoyed it immensely ever since. The publication is monthly and just take a look at the benefits:

The magazine provides quality coverage of top events each month. In June we had the BJJ World Championships and the coverage was excellent. Of course you always wish you went and actually so the fights in person but what they do is excellent. Great illustrations and nice articles throughout.Take a look at some of the pictures from the magazine I took.

There are several aspects that are normally covered apart from events themselves. You get interviews with the stars, tips and breakdowns of certain techniques. I can see that Alvaro Roman and his Ginastica Natural system is also very much covered here. Training-wise I also see very often invitations to participate in seminars and even camps. The July edition invited participants to get involved in a Judo camp that was being run by several very successful Judokas. Although most of the events do take place in the US, they do cover other locations and Europe is also mentioned, as the home of phenomenal athletes such as Roger Gracie and Braulio Estima.

I'm not really saying everyone has to be up to date with every bjj event out there, but many of us are just thirsty to find out more, what is going on and since there are still so few resources available I would certainly recommend this magazine as one of the best resources available. (by the way the website is also great!) The only thing is of course I was a little surprised that they have so far not covered the ADCC 2009 coming up in September but perhaps the next issue will.

If you are looking to get some nice gear, the is plenty of advertising of course from the top producers of jiu jitsu gear in the sport of course. It is not always easy to find good gear on the Internet or elsewhere and some of us (me included) like to get a new kimono from time to time, to treat ourselves for the hard training we had to go through.

Lets keep the training going. Motivation is key and its always good to stay knowledgeable, train smart and get the best advice. Jiu jitsu unlike any other martial art has gone so far in terms of growing the sport and I think with such quality resources out there we have much to look forward to.

I think maybe after a year of subscription it would be worthwhile writing a letter to the publisher to give our feedback on the magazine and ideas on how to make it even better. If you have any ideas, please post them on this blog and I will for sure include them.

четверг, 6 августа 2009 г.

BJJ and Judo Injuries

Many people say that BJJ and Judo result in fewer injuries than traditional sports such as Tennis and Basketball. While I do not disagree with this statement, clearly regular training in these martial arts results in a lot of injuries which can be broadly categorized between minor injuries and major ones.

Minor injuries I think are very common in most sports. They are blisters from golf, bruises from basketball and sore muscles from too much tennis. In grappling martial arts I would say the most common are mat burns and bruises.

Mat burns occur mainly on the feet of the fighter and result from constant friction with the mats. Bruises are extremely common and you often won't really notice these since you would get so many as a result of free sparring.

Other sport-specific minor injuries are neck sprains, minor back pain as a result of intensive training, finger and hand pain causes by excessive grabbing with the Gi.

Minor injuries list:

1. Bruises
2. Neck sprain - mainly avoidable with a good warm up
3. Blisters and mat burns
4. Finger pain - due to excessive holding of the kimono
5. Black eye - you can get this too!

There are others of course, but these are just a few I had. Most guys don't notice these, but they are common and at any time you will see people that have these. Intensive training also results in swollen finger joints and what I would call "rubbed of" fingers where the part just above the nail looks not normal after constant friction with the gi.


When I mention major injuries, I will only cover the common ones and by saying "major injury", I mean that it keeps you away from training. I don't mean things like broken arms and legs, something that is also possible but pretty avoidable if you practice grappling sensibly.

Photo by Trevor Haldenby

My list is the following:

1. Cauliflower Ear - while this barely qualifies as something a fighter takes time off for, if you do suddenly have swollen ears and have not bought an ear guard, you may want to take some time off and visit the ear doctor. Cauliflower ear is completely avoidable if you wear your ear guard or head guard, but an injury that many are not entirely aware of until they get it.

2. Knees - your knees are such a weak part of your body that they almost certainly suffer. They are prone to bruising when you train and I recommend wearing knee pads. They won't do anything to stop a heel hook going wrong, but they will save your knees for the next session and keep them away from bruises and mat burns.

3. Shoulders - some may not be aware but this is an injury that can take you from the mats for months if not longer. Shoulder injuries are common in many sports and they are perhaps even more common in grappling. A vicious omoplata (shoulder lock) can be the start of an injury that can develop gradually over time and then culminating in severe pain and the fighter not being to lift his arm entirely.

Treatment is a long and sometimes painful process with the treatments ranging from physiotherapy (unlikely to work most cases as the injury may be too developed) to injections and surgery.

Pain here is normally caused by muscle or joint inflammation leading to friction with the shoulder bones and resulting recurring pain.

4. Teeth - like the cauliflower ear, this one is entirely preventable. Just wear a mouth guard if you want to keep your teeth. Chipped teeth is the most common thing that can happen but anything more serious can set you back a lot of money with your dentist.

5. Nose - if you do Judo, this is very possible. Breakfall

6. Concussion. Techniques like the drop-seonage performed poorly can lead to injury. If you are practicing with a beginner, be mindful of this.

These are just some of the injuries you can get. I have had all of these injuries over the course of my training and more, so do your warm-up and take care.

M1 Global and Its Business in MMA

M1 Global has been at the heart of the historical events that have been unfolding in mixed martial arts among the heavyweight divisions in the world especially over the last few years. This promotion has been able to stir up so much controversy and anger leading up to today that it is worth seeing why this is the case.

So what is M1-Global?

-----First the background

In March 2007, Dream Stage Entertainment sold Pride Fighting Championships to Zuffa LLC which owned UFC. At this point the mixed martial arts world began changing. Most of the successful fighters from Pride started moving over to the UFC in USA to compete in the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the world. Pride staff over in Japan were laid off and soon the organization ceased to exist entirely.

Although most fighters were lured by handsome paychecks offered by the UFC, some including the heavy weight champion at the time, Fedor Emelianenko, failed to make this transition.

-----Back to Russia

Back in Russia, Vadim Finkelstein and Sergei Matvienko were running M-1 Mixfight, a loss-making Saint Petersburg-based promotion trying to develop mixed martial arts since 1997.

Sergei Matvienko in fact is the son of Valentina Matvienko, a powerful Saint Petersburg governor and politician in Russia and it is no doubt that M1-Mixfight business strategy was to gain support from the government and monetize as much as possible. (remember the dinner they had with Vladimir Putin after the Bodog event)

Although some very limited air-time was given to M1-Mixfight, the market and the audience was not ready. MMA remained unknown in Russia which translated into a losses for M1. Something had to be done.

Both Vadim and Sergei were entrepreneurs, not professional managers. They were not focused on creating a viable business out of M1-Mixfight by gradually developing the pool of quality fighters and creating a distribution channel through pay television and pay-per-view. They focused on deals, doing deals with fighters that were ready to sign with them and doing deals with state representatives to get coverage. This didn't really work at all and its no wornder. They did not invest the time and money, and they didn't get anything back.

Vadim Finkelstein however got lucky. In 2003, Fedor Emelianenko won the Pide Heavyweight Championship. At the time he was part of the Russian Top Team but his success forced a conflict between RTT leaders and Fedor. Fedor accused his manager at the time Vladimir Pogodin of deceiving him on financial matters. The result was that both Fedor and his brother Aleksander Emelianenko left to join Red Devil Sport club in Saint Petersburg, a club founded back in 1996 by Vadim Finkelstein.

Vadim Finkelstein became Fedor's manager. Fedor Emelianenko was not happy Mr. Pogodin, his previous manager, represented him and this was the guy that he chose to represent his interests.

-----The Creation of M1-Global

M1-Global was born in 2007 as a result of an unlikely deal. Sibling Entertainment, a small entertainment business involved in theatre and production of Broadway shows got interested in mixed martial arts and finalized a deal to purchase M-1 Mixfight. Sibling, although claimed to be a relative success by its President, Mitchell Maxwell, struggled lately as it continued to make bad investments and lose money in a whole series of ventures such as downloadable films, battery companies and many others.

M1-Global hired Monte Cox, one of the biggest fight agents in the sport to become the CEO. At the same time, the infamous Vadim Finkelstein became the President of the new company. Joost Raimond and Apy Echteld, a promoter, event management expert and an MMA trainer were also hired. While the team had undoubtedly substantial knowledge of the industry, experts puzzled for a while over how the company without a real business model was expected to succeed. Very soon a preview of the strategy became revealed.

-----M1's money-maker

Within a matter of months (that same year, 2007), M1-Global signed Fedor to a six-fight, two year deal worth nearly $2 million dollars per fight and a $1.5 million signing bonus with the prospect to hold a piece of the pie if he sticks with M1-Global for five years. After a lot of talk, fans were given the impression that M1 is planning to create the new Pride that could compete with UFC as it did in the olden days. The question remained however, why would fighters of the highest calibre sign with M1 Global? Unlike UFC with its millions PPVs and pay television coverage, M1 Global did not have any real distribution channel. Essentially it could not sell its product and collect money to pay its fighters.

Today's Perspective

Looking at M1-Global today, it promotes a series of tournaments under M1-Selection and M1-Challenge. The goal of the organization is to popularize in MMA (including in Russia) and to make a profit while doing so. The M1-Selection tournaments are aimed at selecting the top talent in Russia while M1-Challenge is an international series of tournaments where new fighters develop their careers in country team-based events.

Are the goals set out by M1 being achieved? M1-Selection has recently held their fifth event but it looks like there is no success in finding new stars. Most of the fighters in M1 events from Russia are now mature athletes with so-so records. No new "Fedor Emelianenko" has been found while Fedor himself remains as unknown as ever in Russia.

M1 Global does nothing to develop not only media coverage of the events, but they also do nothing to improve the quality and supply of new fighters. Instead of supporting clubs to develop new talent, they do not do nothing of the sort. The latest video's of Fedor training in his hometown in Stary Oskol were simply shocking. He trains in a kinder garden playground with no facilities at all, no good sparring partners of his own level of skill and size. Could Vadim Finkelstein (his manager) and M1 do something about this? Absolutely, but instead they choose only to milk him for everything he can give them as I will describe further.

So what has M1 been upto in the last two years and the last few weeks then that is stirring so much disappointment and outrage among the fans across the world?

After M1-Global was formed and managed to sign the #1 ranked heavyweight fighter, its demands began to grow to enormous proportions without any real business justification.

Perhaps the first example of this was when M1 managed to agree a deal with Bodog promotion for a co-promoted event BodogFIGHT Clash of the Nations. Fedor had to fight against Mat Lindland, a middleweight fighter that was no high in any kind of rankings. Many fans across the world might have asked the question: "why did this fight happen? why did Fedor fight him?" Dana White famously said that Fedor did not fight top competition in 2007 and 2008, and few can argue him wrong. He was right and everyone knows this. This fight happened because M1 wanted its first co-promoted event. After the tournament, Vadim also explained that they will never work with Bodog again. M1 logos were not visible and Bodog did everything it could to hide the fact that it had to partner with M1. Why? Well, because it did not many any kind of business sense. M1 has nothing to offer when doing co-promotion deals apart from its only asset, Fedor.

Affliction, the mma promotion that has shockingly collapsed last month actually organized events in partnership with M1 Global. They were supposed to be 50-50 partners with the name "Affliction M1-Global". It is a surprise therefore that Vadim Finkelstein, the president of M1-Global actually blamed the failure entirely on Affliction. M1-Global co-organized the event and should get its 50% share of the blame as well. Of course, that is not how Vadim sees things.

After Affliction's demise, M1-Global quickly sought to negotiate with a number of other organizations. UFC, Strikeforce, Electronic Arts to make a video game and at least another 3-4 other promotions.

There is not doubt in my mind that Fedor was offered perhaps the best deal offered to any fighter by the UFC. This was swiftly declined by Finkelstein, the guy that was supposed to care about Fedor's interests. Only a week later, M1 Global signed a co-promotion deal with Strikeforce. Great, now we can all watch Fedor fight in a minor league with only 2 or 3 fighters of the same level as Fedor.

What is even more interesting is that Fedor has signed for only 3 fights. There is no one else to fight there if he beats Alistair Overeem, the current Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion, an almost certain free-agent two years down the road, it could certainly be that the career of the greatest fighter in the history is effectively over.

One might ask then, well isnt Fedor the owner of a stake in M1-Global? This is the company where most of Fedor's salary goes. Fedor's salary that helps balance out the losses that Vadim has in M1. Once Fedor retires, Strikeforce will almost certainly not want to share revenue with M1. Two years down the road, we will have Fedor cheated and left with his stake in M1, thats the only thing he will have left. The fans will be gone, disappointed that he could not fight Brock Lesnar, the UFC champ that he should have defeated. The money will be gone, invested in a bunch of loss-making ventures that Vadim and his entrepreneurial mind came up with.

The only thing that Fedor will have left will be his stake in M1-Global.

What is that worth? Well, lets see. M1-Global will lose its partnership with Strikeforce and go back to being the entrepreneurial outfit running the M1-Challenge/M1 Selection tournaments that it was recently. There are many stories about companies like this. Vadim & associates will be back to square one with a loss making outfit that is M1, not worth a dollar and soon to be pronounced dead. Fedor is not getting any younger and can M1 get lucky and make another deal thereafter? Sure, but in all certainty the story will not have a happy ending.

Fedor has not tried to limit M1-Global's ambitions and has let down his fans. He kept telling us how he wants to fight for his country (Russia) and for his fans, but really in practice he fights for Vadim Finkelstein and the private company with unknown beneficiaries that is M1-Global. He could have achieved far more fighting for the UFC, taking the title and retiring. By doing so he would have done so much more for his country and his fans than by fighting in a minor league for the benefit of M1 Global.

среда, 5 августа 2009 г.

Benefits of Jiu Jitsu

Gracie Magazine #147 I read two months ago had a great article about shaking the misgivings of jiu jitsu that mothers often have. They sent out 10 most convincing arguments for readers in distress that I wanted to discuss here:

1. Lose weight and gain a shapely body

2. Release stress through riveting physical activity

3. Learn to protect yourself and loved ones

4. Surprise yourself with what you're capable of achieving

5. Avoid confusion and unnecessary situations

6. Make lifelong friends

7. Gain greater vigor and energy throughout the day

8. Quit cigarettes and other bad habits

9. Become full of self-confidence and self-love

10. Learn ways to change what you don't like about your life!

I believe there are two other benefits not on the list.

#1 Jiu Jitsu teaches you to move and to use your body improving your coordination

#2 Gives you another goal to achieve in life, should you choose to master the art or achieve success in competition

Jiu Jitsu's benefits are endless but for everyone different ones apply to different individuals. The above are just some of the reasons why we benefit from Jiu Jitsu and how it makes us better individuals. Me, I think it taught me to also respect others and strive towards achievement together with my classmates.

BJJ changes people for the better and I think that is one certain benefit that always applies.

понедельник, 3 августа 2009 г.

Combat Sambo - revitalized by mixed martial arts

Combat Sambo has been surrounded by a lot of mystique in the West. Most learn't about Sambo looking at the backgrounds of Russian mixed martial arts fighters, while others may have heard of this elsewhere in the grappling circles like the fact that the seemingly unbeatable Rickson Gracie lost to Ron Tripp, the famed US Sambo World Champion.


Sambo is a martial art that was developed in the Soviet Union in the first half of the twentieth century by Vasiliy Oschepkov, an able Kodokan Judoka and Viktor Spiridonov, a jiu jitsu practitioner who ran the famed sports academy Dynamo. The two never collaborated between themselves and it is known that their styles were very different with Spiridonov focusing on more aikido-like self-defense aspects while Oschepkov was more oriented at the sport aspects which were then further developed by Anatoly Kharlampiev, the father of sport Sambo.

Combat Sambo itself is said to have originated in the 30s in USSR used for the purposes of training security forces. Early work in this area was done by Ivan Lebedev, a Russian wrestler who published in 1915 a book "Self-defense and arrest" covering what was called the universal fighter fundamentals. Spridonov among others continued on to develop this work.

At the time Combat Sambo was banned for civilian use. It was only until 1991 when Combat Sambo became open to anyone and became a sport and in 1994 the first national championship was held.

Combat Sambo was radically different to the sport Sambo that was already well-known. It combined not only throws and submissions with the Gi (kimono) but actually most techniques from any martial arts style including striking of any kind. This form of Sambo today resembles mixed martial arts known today but practiced with the Sambo jacket known as "Kurtka" or "Sambovka" and shorts either blue or red in colour. Red or blue colour belts are used to match the jacket and shorts and also typically the Sambo player also wears Sambo training shoes which resemble trainers.

It is my understanding that unlike Sambo, the sport, Combat Sambo does not have official grades as Sambo has. Still many combat Sambo pracititioners have Sambo titles as well.

Titles replace belts of traditional martial arts entirely in Sambo and are given for achievement in competition. Typically most experienced practitioners who have studied Sambo for many years have the title Candidate of Master of Sports or Master of Sports. These signify that the fighter has achieved a certain level in competition and is a nationally ranked competitor.

Most elite athletes in Sambo have been awared the title International Master of Sports which means the athlete has successfully competed and won on an international level. The highest award is Distinguished Master of Sports, awared to very successfull athletes on the international stage like the World Championships.

These systems stem from the Soviet Union times and now are accepted in Russia and other CIS countries for many different sports. Typically the title Master of Sports signifies a high level of proficiency in the given sport.


Combat Sambo is a relatively rare art, practiced very little outside Russia and CIS. This stems from the small number of able practitioners in the sport today. Sambo the sport was once even nominated to become an Olympic sport but is no longer likely to be so. Combat Sambo on the other hand is far more rare and practiced in a few individual cases by people from the ex-Soviet republics. There are few however.

Sambo World Championships and Combat Sambo Championships are held each year and do receive some limited media coverage in Russia for example (Sport Channel) but this is far from a popular sport. It is perhaps a sport that is being revitalized as a result of the growing popularity of mixed martial arts globally and the effectiveness of the martial art.

Today we have already a number of MMA fighters with a Sambo background that have demonstrated the art in competition successfully on the international stage including Fedor Emelianenko (ex-Pride HW Champion and WAMMA Champion), Oleg Taktarov (ex-UFC HW Champion), Andrei Arlovski (ex-UFC HW Champion), Aleksander Emelianenko and Sergei Kharitonov.

Of course no one doubts that the fighters above are extraordinary athletes with substantial natural talent and ability. Combat Sambo however is not just for the talented. It has proven itself in sport and in self-defense situations and I think in time it may become one of the most popular "real-life" martial arts out there.

Combat Sambo one could argue is on par with MMA with one distinct difference being the Sambovka (gi) being worn. In a street situation this may be even an advantage. Wrestlers often comment how uncomfortable they feel when wrestling in a gi. Sambo prepares you for that. It will of course be a matter of support that Combat Sambo receives. Jiu jitsu benefitted a lot from what the Gracie family did for the sport. Sambo has its proponents but so far they clearly have been less successful. Time will tell.

Here is a demontration of Combat Sambo in action displayed by Fedor Emelianenko and his coach Vladimir Voronov.

Also check out below a video I wanted to show everyone of Volk Han training with Fedor Emelianenko and several other prominent MMA fighters. This is a just a training session but you can see these guys would do well against any bjj fighter.

For those that don't know, Volk Han competed in Rings and actually fought Antonio Nogueira Minotauro in a spectacular grappling match which set the brazilian submissions legend against Volk Han, an extremely technical Sambo and wrestling specialist.

Strikeforce signs Fedor

Strikeforce has officially signed Fedor Emelianenko, the heavyweight MMA fighter considered to be number one in the world today days after negotiations between M1 Global (promotion representing Fedor) and UFC fell apart. The reason has been Vadim Finkelstein's (Fedor's manager) insistence on co-promotion rights which just didn't make any sense for UFC.

Now it seem Strikeforce, a smaller competing promotion is heading for head-on competition with the UFC. Here Strikeforce has the chance to create some competition in the market by nurturing a) its heavyweight division and b) developing its distribution channel.

So far they have a contract with Showtime which gives Fedor some nation-wide pay television coverage and hopefully an agreement with CBS will also soon be reached. This is a good start.

M1's limited talent, coupled with Strikeforce's roster of fighters including Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem and Brett Rogers could great a decent card for the fall when Fedor is expected to compete. The war should start soon as the UFC will almost certainly look to comment on this action in the next few days.
If Strikeforce management are smart, they will take advantage to expand their business by developing media distribution and chipping away at the UFC.

As for Fedor, lets just hope he keeps up his training because lately there has been just too much focus around him on business and politics. So far we fans have seen our share of disappointment with Affliction being cancelled, M1/Fedor/Vadim screwing around. Lets see a good fight now!

Leo Vieira: great jiu jitsu from one of the sport's greats

Leo Vieira is a great champion. Gracie Mag put him among the best in the 90s but after 2000 he really became well-known. Having started Jiu Jitsu under

Romero "Jacaré" ­Cavalcanti, Leo has seen unprecedented success both in gi and no-gi bjj and submission tournaments.

The guy has been around and is still in his prime. Back in 2000 he imitated a monkey while fighting with Mark Kerr in the ADCC. Now he is a multiple bjj and ADCC champion known for his slick skills.

Take a look at these videos below I found of him on Youtube, I hope you will enjoy. Leo will be competing in ADCC 2009, so hope to see him in top form, live against the best in the world.

I've never actually heard much about this guy until recently when I noticed he is fighting in ADCC this year, but the video above I really enjoyed. He is really great and in this fight shows dynamic jiu jitsu which is really exciting to watch. (although clearly his opponent is no match for him)

What really amazes me though is how quick he is. He takes the judo guy down and completely dominates. I think his jiu jitsu is an impressive demonstration of how powerful bjj techniques are.

Some of Leo's video's are really nice to watch. Take a look at the one below where he spars with a bunch of jiu jitsu fighters from Japan of various levels. Its just effortless jiu jitsu that every fighter aims to achieve.

It looks like he could fight for hours like this and win every time.

воскресенье, 2 августа 2009 г.

ADCC 2009 Tickets Now Available On TicketMaster

Tickets can now be bought via Ticketmaster.com. Get them soon! Just follow this link

You can buy them:

* Online
* By Phone
* In a Ticketmaster Centre
* At the door

The best way is to buy them online and collect them an hour before the show starts on Saturday. You can buy a pass for both days for 80 Euros or 50 Eur for either day, if you can't go to both.

On how to get there and practical information around Barcelona click here. ADCC Barcelona website gives you a ton of info about the event actually and I particularly like their fighter profiles section.

The only thing I note is there seem to be some profiles missing like Leo Vieira for example. Not sure but there is actually not much information available on the Internet about him so maybe this is the reason why they havent added his profile.

суббота, 1 августа 2009 г.

Fedor/UFC story - innocent or guilty

Vadim Finkelstein I believe is the most to blame. Why? Because he is a manager and it is his duty to act in the interests of Fedor as a fighter. Fedor chose Vadim to make money. That is what Fedor wanted to do.

Instead of helping Fedor achieve this goal + give pride to his country, Vadim and M1 set this co-promotion demand which has nothing to do with Fedor as a fighter. He is trying to build M1 Global and managed to convince Fedor that this was the way to go.

Only problem is that Vadim does not really understand that

a) by not signing with the UFC, Fedor's record will be permanently damaged together with his career. Lets be realistic here, Fedor needs to fight Brock Lesnar. He also needs and wants to be known to the US audience and UFC can give this to him and no other promotion.

b) UFC would never go for the co-promotion deal. Dana White is first of all a business man no matter what kind of crap comes out of his mouth when he talks about different fighters whether they are in the UFC or not. No business person would ever agree to the co-promotion demand, its just a rule of business. Fedor is just another fighter, and that is what he is being treated as.

Here the problem is that Vadim, or someone else managed to convince Fedor that he will do a lot for his country by leveraging his career to build M1 Global. I think Fedor is also a bit to blame for this for not listening to other opinions, but really he is a sports person and he has a manager who should take care of this. (i am really disappointed in Fedor though, he will lose many fans this way)

What Fedor does not see is that M1 Global guys like Vadim are actually not very good business men. In fact they are lousy business people. They were basically entrepreneurs who took Fedor, and a bunch of decent guys and built a small promotion without any solid business foundations. By solid business foundations I mean they don't have the distribution channel and media partnerships to have a sound business model. They don't understand sound business concepts (that UFC execs do) that it will never make sense to promote competition. They see opportunities, deals they can make with the chance to make the M1 business a bit bigger, short-cuts. Fedor is just one of these deals for them. Instead of building M1, getting fights aired over the Internet, over cable, satellite, they try to do these small deals. This will never work because fighters don't make business. Fighters make events, and they make short-term profit for promotions but in the long run it is the business model that counts. In the longer term the fighters themselves change entirely.

I am not doubting that Fedor would help promote UFC further, but it will not change the business in the long-term. If M1 Global, and to be honest I doubt they have any chance even if they merged with all the other promotions and got professional management, became a serious competitor, this would affect UFC. M1 cannot make any short-cuts and they need to build a real platform, a real business and Fedor can hardly help them to do this.

If you don't believe me, just open the UFC website and then open the M1 Global website. Just take a look at the difference here. M1 Global talks on and on about how it wants to build mixed martial arts in Russia but what have they really achieved so far? Nobody knows about MMA in Russia. Vadim despite even getting Putin's attention by having Fedor could not even get the Fedor vs Barnett fight aired on state television. They were going to air a recording of it at 1 or 2 am when next to nobody watches TV.

Maybe Dana White is sometimes disrespectful, but M1 Global seems to be far worse. They are ruining the number 1 fighters career and life.

Fedor wants to do something for Russia. By winning the UFC belt he would do more for his country and for his fans than any help he can offer M1. Its a shame that there seems to be no one that can convince him of doing so, and earning some money for his family along the way which was the reason he got in to mma in the first place.