Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Victor Davila: UFC commentator brings non-traditional jiu jitsu and renowned fight team to El Paso

People say it all the time but it's true, MMA is growing in leaps and bounds. Internationally, the sport is more popular than ever, with all of Georges St. Pierre and others' endorsements as proof that these guys are now taken as serious athletes rather than savages. Locally, we're seeing more sports bars filled to the brim on certain Saturday nights, more live MMA shows and a pretty good pool of talent. To add to that talent pool comes UFC en espanol commentator and MMA connoisseur, Victor Davila.
Victor Davila is a big name in the MMA community and though internationally, he has conducted seminars alongside Eddie Bravo, who is considered one of the best grapplers of our generation, and has won several highly respected grappling competitions, Davila's fame is predominant in the Latin American MMA community. Davila is the voice Spanish-speaking fans hear while the action goes down in the UFC's octagon, giving it color with his MMA knowledge and insight. Much like Joe Rogan, he not only lends his voice, but is also the face to TV shows showing the UFC fights in Spanish. He conducts seminars that focus half on jiu jitsu alone and half on all other aspects of MMA throughout Mexico. To add to the already developing developing MMA scene here in El Paso, he brings his fight team, which he plans to establish like he's done in several other cities. The El Paso scene is developing nicely and Davila's presence, which he says will be for a couple of years, can only help it.
MMA's exponential growth can be seen inside the cage as well, as new techniques rise and others are proven obsolete.10th Planet Jiu Jitsu, of which Davila is the head trainer here locally, brings us that evolution in the Jiu Jitsu aspect of the game.10th Planet Jiu Jitsu is a non-traditional form of Jiu Jitsu that is aimed more for No-Gi grappling. The brand has been made famous not just by Eddie Bravo, but others who have shown it's effectiveness in the UFC and other MMA promotions, amongst them George Sotiropolous. This weekend, the 'Korean Zombie' Chang Sung Jung finished a fight with a 'twister', which had never been done in the UFC before. The move consists of getting a sort of half guard from the back, sneaking under the opposite side arm, and grabbing the head and torqing the leg and head in opposite directions (I might've done a horrible description of the move), which looks pretty painful on the spine and is one of the moves Eddie Bravo has come up with. El Paso's own branch of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu is located at 11237 Pelicano Dr., Warehouse K.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fernie Garcia


BLOODSPORT CHAMPIONSHIPS: Conrad Padilla win over James Gabriel

BLOODSPORT CHAMPIONSHIPS: Willie Parks win over Jorge Ortiz

Bloodsport Championships results

Guys out Jackson's MMA with 7-1 and 3-0 records,  George Sotiropolous' training partner, world titles on the line, Diego Sanchez in a fighter's corner. Bloodsport Championships delivered on not just an entertaining night of fights but also bringing bringing high, high level competition to El Paso.
For the Main Event, Willie Parks took on Jorge Ortiz and though at 16-6, Ortiz had a huge advantage in experience, it didn't matter once Parks closed the distance and grabbed ahold of him. Parks was by far the better wrestler and though the standing exchanges were pretty even, most of the fight was contested on the ground with Parks on top dropping elbows and punches. Parks moves to 4-0 and with a guy like Diego Sanchez behind him, he could do big things in MMA.
Also on the MMA portion of the evening, Matt Leyva took on Joe Gustina. Both had already fought with Gustina coming out the winner. This match played out similarly. Gustina came out with leg kicks, running around, and bouncing on the ropes WWE style. Leyva came out focused and intent on winning and though at some point he nearly sunk in an anaconda choke, and after trading several submission attempts, Gustina walked away via a deep arm bar that according to Leyva, made his arm "pop four times."
In the first MMA fight of the night, Jackson and Mean1MMA's Conrad Padilla took on ACE Fight Team's James Gabriel. Padilla came out with what would be the night's most dominant performance. Immediately after the fight started, Padilla got a takedown, transitioned to side control, dropped some elbows, put Gabriel in a crucifix, dropped some more elbows, took Gabriel's back, flattened him out and finished him with some punches to the chin and side of the head. Padilla debuted professionally and looked food doing it. He moves to 1-0 and hopefully we see fight around here some time.
The event was awesome, the Jackson's guys were super nice, Diego Sanchez was pretty cool, and with everything the event had going on, I hope to see another Bloodsport Championships event in the near future.

UFC Fight Night 24: Davis/Nogueira

The UFC roster is tearing at the seams. Even on a Fight Night, there are so many intriguing match-ups that 5 of the preliminary matches will be aired on Facebook and once again, even with 9 fights scheduled to air one way or another, there's still unaired matches I wish I could watch.
For the Main Event, it's wrestling extraordinaire Phil Davis up against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Nogueira is a big name because of his boxing and jiu jitsu game but hasn't looked all that great since his UFC debut, and where he hasn't looked all that sharp, his wrestling, is where his opponent excels. Davis has dominated all of his UFC opponents but what sets him apart from the rest of the wrestling pack is his strong submission game. The odds are Davis is going to win by control with his wrestling but with guys like Jon Jones, Rashad Evans, and Lyoto Machida at the top of his division, he needs a dominant win if he wants a top 5 opponent next. Davis' name keeps coming up next to Jones' and it's his chance to show he can win against a high level opponent just as impressively as he's been doing.
For the Co-Main Event, it's hard hitters Dan Hardy and Anthony Johnson pit against each other. Coming off the KO at the hands of Condit, I see Hardy coming in with improved striking.  Johnson is huge, fast and powerful but he's coming off a long lay off. This fight is very evenly matched but Hardy is coming off of 2 losses, which should have him motivated and though they both knock people out, Hardy is the more technical one and takes this by decision.
Also on the televised card, Amir Sadollah takes on DeMarques Johnson. Short notice or not, Sadollah has the better skill set and I see Sadollah putting on yet another Muy Thai clinic on a lower tier fighter. Leonard Garcia rematches Chan Sung Jung. There's always the possibility that Garcia could win a fight he should've lost just because he's uber aggressive and wild but still, I see 'The Korean Zombie' picking his shots better than last time (though I think he won that one) and hopefully the judges base it more on effective striking than on aggression and the rightful winner gets his hand raised.
On the Facebook prelims, Alex'Bruce Leroy' Caceres fights Mackens Semerzier. I like Caceres' Bruce Lee-like pre-fight attire and his style, best described as kick happy, and hopefully, that let's him the win. Jon Madsen takes on Mike Russow. Madsen has controlled all of his fights with his wrestling and in his fight most recent fight showed his wrestling has an aggressive aide with his finish of Yvel. Russow single-handedly derailed the Duffee hype train but looked unimpressive for most of that fight and though Madsen finished his last fight, Russow's own good wrestling base will negate Madsen's aggression, but he'll still get controlled. John Hathaway fights Kris McCray. Though Hathaway lost his fight to Pyle, he still has a win over top dog Diego Sanchez and even in his loss, showed a lot of heart and just natural strength. McCray hasn't looked that good since TUF, and even on the show, didn't really look that great. Hathaway wins by whatever he wants and that'll probably be standing. Sean McCorkle takes on Christian Morecraft. Both are big guys with losses to Stefan Struve, but Morecraft was beating Struve pretty good up until Struve KOed him and I see him coming in as the better fighter into this fight. Johnny Hendricks fights in an unaired bout and hopefully gets a big win so we can see that wrestling pedigree against some 170 bad asses.
The card is stacked as always. You're on Facebook all the time. Put those wasted hours to good use watching guys MMA it out.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pre-Fight interviews w/ Willie Parks & Matt Leyva

Bloodsport Championships

Bloodsport Championship's "Time To Bleed" takes place at the Marriott and though the event flew a little under the radar here with us, the talent at the weigh ins, from guys out of Jackson's MMA to the UFC's George Sotiropolous' boxing coach, gave us a taste for what tomorrow night holds and it's looking like it's going to be a night filled with not only talented Pro MMA fighters but boxing talent as well (the Main Event for the boxing portion is for a legitimate world belt and a big deal in women's boxing).
For the Main Event of the MMA portion of the evening, it's Jorge Ortiz takes on Willie Parks. Parks comes out of Jackson's MMA and with a record of 3-0, he means business. He was very respectful of his opponents and made no promises other than that he would get the win. Jorge Ortiz was not at the weigh-ins to get his opinion on the fight.
Also on the Bloodsport Championships MMA card, Ace MMA fight team's James Gabriel takes on Conrad Padilla, who fights out of Jackson's MMA as well as Keith Jardine's Mean1MMA, both very respectable gyms. Gabriel himself was kind of humble, just saying he's ready to fight no matter where the fight takes place, but his management insists that with the training partners he has, he's more than prepared for anything Padilla has. Padilla makes his professional debut but had a good run as an amateur and, with Jackson's behind him, is ready to have just as good of a run as a Pro.
In an interesting fight where the fighters have already met before, Matt Leyva takes on Joe Gustina in hopes of avenging his only loss. Leyva, another one of the Jackson's fighters, is 7-1 with his only loss coming at the hands of Gustina and feels that with the run he's on right now, it's time to avenge his only loss and continue his climb up the Pro MMA ranks. Gustina had to cut a lot of weight and rushed out after the weigh-ins to get some food and some liquids in him so we were unable to get his take on the fight.
The boxing portion of the event brings just as much talent. Molly McConnel fights Kita Watkins for the
WIBF and GBU Jr. Welterweight World Championship titles and Gabriel Cruz, sparring partner to UFC Lightweight top contender George Sotiropolous, takes on Wesley Marquez.
We hope tomorrow night is a success for Bloodsport Championships so they can put on some more shows like this. They brought in superb talent for the event and hopefully El Paso can be host to MMA competition of this caliber more often. Bloodsport Championship's "Time To Bleed" takes place at El Paso Marriott at 7 pm. For more information on tickets or the event itself, visit http://www.bloodsportchampionships.com/.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Finish The Fight promotion presents:Test Of Courage Results

This past weekend, Finish The Fight's Test Of Courage finally came around and all the guys delivered, impressive finish after impressive finish. We got to witness that weird shoulder crank submission that Darrill Schoonover teaches make a guy tap, the FTF record for the fastest KO/TKO broken, and then before the night ended, we watched that same record get broken again.
For the Main Event of the evening, we got a bout for the FTF Welterweight belt between Desmond Hill and Fabian Salas. The bout started with Salas throwing out 2 leg kicks but before the feeling out process could begin Hill landed a big right hand that was the beginning of the end. Hill followed it with a barrage of strikes and once Salas fell to the mat, Hill just had to land one big, clean strike to end it. With wins over Fabian Salas and Martin Sano and the FTF record for fastest KO/TKO, Hill is the fighter to beat at Welterweight in our local amateur scene.
For the Co-Main Event, top prospects Derek 'Da Kid' Cranford and Adam 'Flex' McGurk clashed for the FTF Featherweight belt but instead of the close fight we were expecting between two of the more exciting fighters we have, it was just another classic Cranford performance. Cranford came out aggressive and it paid off. 'Da Kid' packs power, and coupled with the speed and accuracy he came out with on Sunday, he looked unstoppable, breaking the FTF record for fastest KO/TKO before Hill came out and rebroke it. McGurk is a proven badass with good stand up and possibly even better ground game and Cranford's win over McGurk is just a testament to how good 'Da Kid' really is. The win shows it's going to take a really good wrestler to beat Cranford because trading punches and kicks with him just doesn't seem to work.
Another belt up for grabs this Sunday was the FTF Lightweight Belt, as Brian Castillo took on Mitch Brown. Castillo had a lot of hype coming in to the fight and Brown, who's forte is the ground but doesn't mind trading leather, seemed a solid test to it, but the hype proved to be warranted. Castillo was the stronger guy in the clinch and though Brown defended the takedown well, he ate a punch when they broke from the clinch and ate another one coming in that dropped him. Castillo quickly followed him to the ground and ended it with a vicious ground and pound assault from mount. Castillo looked good in the clinch, standing and on the ground, and will be a handful for anyone at Lightweight.
Also on the card, Frankie Rivera avenged his hard fought loss against Vince Barreda with a quick rear naked choke in the 2nd round. Phillip Schoonover beat Justin Nixon  in a split decision and showed his wrestling is much more effective against a guy his size. Fred Rodriguez came out strong against Galen Bradley, using his power for a huge, impressive slam but seemed to have slowed down by the end of the 1st round and Bradley cake out in the 2nd and used his reach and speed advantage to finish Rodriguez. Jerry Sano came out in a flurry and though Lucas Elison looked great in training, with creative takedowns and good transitions on the ground, Sano just looked stronger and faster in the cage and used that to get himself a quick, impressive win. Gary Messec took on Address Cervantes and pulled off an impressive shoulder crank that left Cervantes still in pain several minutes after the fight stopped. Emilio Alvara took on Frank Tarango in a one sided fight that saw Alvara in top position most of the fight. Tarango had no answer for Alvara's wrestling. Alvara didn't come in with big, flashy takedowns but once on top, he proved nearly impossible to push off or roll over. In the first fight of the night, it was obvious Gabriel Zubia wanted to bring the fight to Aaron Contreras but Zubia's eagerness led him to not be able to get anything done. Zubia would come in determined to stand and bang and kept getting taken down and the few times he was on top, he got over aggressive and lost position.
The night of fights left us looking forward to the next one. The Ed Tech guys looked really sharp and there's a 135 pound fighter out there by the name of Fernie Garcia out of 'Concrete Jungle' with a really interesting style, a lot of circling, counter-striking and solid takedowns, who I'd like to see against a guy like Jerry Sano or Derek Cranford. All in all, the fighters keep impressing and the events keep getting more and more interesting.

Brian Castillo vs. Mitch Brown

Desmond Hill vs. Fabian Salas

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

UFC 128: Shogun/Jones Main Event

With a "UFC presents: Jon Jones" special scheduled to air before this Saturday night's UFC PPV and non-stop talk about him on anything MMA related, it's finally time to see whether it really is Jon Jones' time and all the hype was justified or if he's just another shark for the tank at 205.
Monsters collide this Saturday for the Main Event as Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua sets out to defend the UFC Light Heavyweight belt he so violently stripped from Machida by taking on wrestling powerhouse and supposed next big thing Jon Jones. Jon Jones has dominated everyone he's faced but his biggest win is Bader, a solid fighter but quite untested himself. He has faced some of the best wrestlers in the division and thoroughly handled all of them but there's not much diversity amongst his past opponents. He hasn't faced anyone who's that good off their back and the best striker he has faced is Vera, who has a cool style but is alright at best. Shogun has been fighting against the elite of his division for a while now, throwing perfectly placed punches, kicks, elbows, and knees to the top of both Pride and the UFC. He has faced wrestlers, judokas, jiu jitsu aces and strikers, legends, champs, and seemingly unstoppable foes. Unlike Matyushenko and the others, experience isn't all that Shogun brings. His ground game is slick and his Muy Thai is second to none. Jon Jones already made it to the top of the heap where he rightfully belongs but he's young and the lack of experience will be evident. He's never faced anyone anywhere near the level of Shogun and though in a couple of years he'll probably be the force people make him out to be, it's too early for him right now. Unlike everyone else, Shogun won't hesitate on the outside wary of how dangerous Jones is and is going to show Jones some things he's never felt, nasty kicks to the body, punches to the face that'll scatter his brains and wobble his legs. Shogun takes it by early aggression and his usual accurate, powerful striking. He'll inevitably get taken down but he's been there before, is good at not taking damage off his back, andshould be able to sweep out from bottom unless he catches a limb and hyper extends it before he gets back to his feet. It's Jones' biggest test to date and one he's going to need to retake because Shogun is just too much for just about anyone right now.
We got to talk to Jon Jones and ask him his opinion on his upcoming fight. He was nice, had a great attitude, and came off as very humble considering the position he's in and how young he is. Still, being cool and charming has no effect on the outcome of a fight and the Shogun that had a 5 round technical battle and then landed the big right hand on untouchable Machida in 6th round of their encounters eats undefeated fighters for breakfast, possibly making them better in the process and I don't think that's just wishful thinking.

UFC 128: Shogun/Jones

Rather than depend on the crazy insane match up that is the Main Event to carry the whole card, this Saturday's UFC card is, as usual, crammed with a huge amount of good fights to set the mood for a championship fight in the deepest and most exciting division there is. When 9 of the scheduled fights are scheduled to air one way or another and top 135er Joseph Benavidez still ends up in the un-aired prelims, you know it's going to be a good MMA Saturday.

For the Co-Main Event, it's 'the California Kid' Urijah Faber taking on Eddie Wineland who, with his 4 fight win streak, serves as a great second test for Faber at 135. Faber dominated the Featherweights for a long time despite being small for that division but with the MMA talent pool growing exponentially, fighters need any edge they can get and the move to Bantamweight was a smart one. Wineland is no chump, but Faber used to be in the 'pound for pound best' discussion for a reason. His stand up is good, his wrestling is solid, and he's got submission chops, but his heart is his biggest asset. He fought through a 5 rounder with two broken hands and another one with no lead leg. Add that resilience to his well rounded skills and it's going to take a Cruz, Torres, or Bowles to stop him, if anyone at Bantamweight can. Faber takes it with a classic Faber performance, fast paced, flashy and dominant.

Also on the Main Card, Jim Miller takes on Kamal Shalorus in a bout that seems to be meant to keep Miller busy while a worthy opponent becomes available. Shalorus is a good wrestler but Miller has solid wrestling in addition to a good ground game and as he's proven before, his kickboxing keeps improving and I say that improved striking is what he'll use to get the win. Nate Marquadt takes on late replacement Dan Miller and even without the short notice, Marquadt is faster, stronger, and just better skilled. Miller is a tough fighter in the same style as his brother but not as successful. I think Marquadt will abandon the approach that lost him the Okami fight and go back to his bread and butter, aggressive striking. Cro Cop takes on Brendan Schaub and long gone are the days I expect Cro Cop to throw his classic deadly high kicks. Schaub's stand up technique is sloppy but he is fast, explosive, and powerful and much like he did Gonzaga, he beats Cro Cop by beating him to the punch all night.

On the Spike prelims, Edson Barboza takes Anthony Njokuani. Both are hard hitting Muy Thai specialists but Barboza seems to be the crisper of the two and that'll get him the win. His style reminds me of Jose Aldo and if he can prove he's more than a top of the line striker, he could be a threat to the guys at the top of his division. Also on Spike, Luiz Cane takes on Elliot Marshall and though Cane has had a rough couple of fights, he's still the guy that kicked Soukudju out of the UFC and Marshall is unskilled enough to get Cane back in the right direction.

Once again, we get even more preliminary matches on Facebook. Mike Pyle takes on Ricardo Almeida. Almeida is a whiz on the ground but Pyle has the better wrestling which usually let's the fighter dictate where the fight takes place, better striking than Almeida, and is also a whiz on the ground. Pyle seems more on the ball lately and takes it by mixing it all up and throwing off Almeida. Kurt Pellegrino fights Gleison Tibau and though neither is too relevant at Lightweight, both are good fighters and very evenly matched. Pellegrino's slight edge in the stand up should get him the win.

Joseph Benavidez fights Ian Loveland on the unaired prelims in a fight he should win on his way back to another title shot. The card is filled to the brim and with the acquisition of the WEC, we can expect more cards of this nature.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jackson's MMA Mescalero Warrior Challenge results

Saturday night's Jackson's MMA show delivered on all fronts. The music was good, UFC superstars were walking around like nothing, the presentation was awesome but the fights are the reason everybody was there and though El Paso's Hayashi's didn't get their wins (McGurk got undeniably robbed), all the participating fighters put on a show and it made for a great MMA night.

For the Main Event, El Paso's Mike 'The Storm' Chupa took on Coty 'Ox' Wheeler for what ended up to be a little bit of a disappointment, due completely to the horrible reffing job done in the match. The bout started with both fighters a little tentative. Wheeler closed the distance and pressed Chupa against the fence. From there, he worked until he finally got his takedown but once on the ground, Chupa completely neutralized Wheeler's offense. Chupa controlled both of Wheeler's arms and kept him from posturing up. From here, it was a minute or two of nothing which was neither fighter's fault. Stalemates are pretty common, and it's the refs job to keep those stalemates from eating up the clock but the ref was happy to let it ride out. Once outside of Chupa's guard and standing over him, Wheeler couldn't do anything without catching an upkick, so he didn't, and once again, the ref let it ride. Wheeler eventually ended up in Chupa's guard, and they stalemated it out until the end of the round. With virtually no damage done, the round was Wheeler's due to 'control', which consisted of being in Chupa's guard for a little under 5 minutes. Within seconds of the second round, Chupa shot in and got Wheeler down but left his neck out and Wheeler sunk in the fight ending guillotine.

Fabian Salas, another Hayashi's team member, took on a Jackson's wrestler and showed us why the 10-point must system we borrowed from boxing doesn't work as well in three round fights. The first two rounds were pretty close. Salas worked his leg kicks while his opponent focused on controlling him. It was in the third round that most of the damage was done. The damage to Salas' opponent's leg was obvious by then and with his mind on avoiding more damage to his lead leg, Salas was able to land his usual bombs, and plenty of them. With his opponent dazed throughout most of the last round, it was obvious the round went to Salas but because of the current acoring system, and because you could give the slightest of edges to his opponent during the first two rounds, Salas dropped the decision 2 to 1. That first round was crazy close and I think if he had held position when he got his opponent's back instead of trying to get his hooks in, which lost him position, he could've gotten himself that round and the victory. Either way, he once again proved he can land those those heavy hands on anyone and remains a huge threat in the local amateur scene.

In what was the biggest robbery I've witnessed since Leonard Garcia vs Nam Phan, Adam McGurk fought 15 extremely exciting minutes to a decision everyone assumed he had up until they announced the judges saw it differently. Even though his opponent was supposed to have the superior ground game, McGurk took it in every aspect of the fight. In the stand up, his opponent seemed to have the quicker hands but was never able to use that advantage with McGurk almost always out of reach of all those quick combos and using his reach to counter them with well placed, powerful punches and kicks. The wrestling also went to McGurk, who got the most takedowns in the fight, which I attribute more to his ability to mix them up and keep his opponent guessing than to his wrestling prowess. On the ground, McGurk never really had any trouble getting up when he was on his back, even reversing his opponent a couple of times, and held position really well when he was on top. His opponent did get an armbar attempt when they were on the mat but McGurk thought nothing of it, picking his opponent up and literally throwing him which got him out of the submission. The fight wasn't a domination. His opponent put up a great fight but the only round that was close was the first one, and even that one I saw McGurk winning. I'll pretend I never heard the official announcement, chalk it up as another win for McGurk, and look forward to his fight with Derek Cranford, which is going to be a war between two deadly El Pasoans.

Also on the card were fighters from Concrete Jungle and Fighter's Physique, of which the guy from Concrete Jungle impressed with his 'circle, evade, counter' style. He did keep circling towards the power hand but he got the win and it'd be interesting to see how his style fares against a more aggressive or strike savy fighter.

Though the show was great, it's frustrating to see supposed experts not have a clue as to how to do their job. Mike Chupa knew what he was getting into and what to expect when he accepted the fight with hometown boy Wheeler, a lot of booing in his direction and just about everyone in the stands cheering his opponent on. That's as far as the home advantage should've gone. Instead, it seemed the ref was more worried about being popular than doing his job. It was his job to intervene when the fight was stalled but because Wheeler was on top and the decision would've been unpopular, he let it ride. You can bet if it had been Chupa on top, the crowd would've booed within 20 seconds and the ref would've stood it up immediately, I'm guessing because he wanted to have a good tine at the after party. The judges, too, seemed to be swayed by outside forces rather than doing their job and judging based on what they so carefully should've been watching unfold in the cage. Maybe they came in with the preconceived notion that Greg Jackson's fighters were going to win because they're better than everyone. Maybe it was just because they knew so little of the sport that they just took the fighter's word when he raised his hands after the fight as if to say,"I won" or they were misinformed as to who was who (which could very well be what happened). Either way, had they known what was going on, they would've known McGurk was the winner. I might sound like a bitter guy from El Paso who's mad cause his fellow 915ers didn't get their wins, but the fact is, I know enough to know the people officiating on Saturday didn't know shit. But meeting Carlos Condit AND Jon Jones was the bee's knees, the show was top notch, and the promotion had nothing to do with the incompetence shown by the officials, so the anger is pointed at you New Mexico State, not Jackson's MMA.

Hayashi's Judo/ Jujitsu/ Submission Grappling Championships