Jack Slack's weekly overview of the week's events featuring knockout of the week, this week's fighting anniversaries, and a "Go Learn Something" video.
A Trio of Cards
The weekend saw the UFC, Bellator and World Series of Fighting all hosting cards, and there was plenty of excitement to be had. At UFC 180, Mark Hunt did an admirable job of saving the main event, after Cain Velasquez suffered yet another injury (likely as a result of the curse which was placed upon the UFC heavyweight title). Hunt dropped Fabricio Werdum twice in their interim title bout, but Werdum's beautifully set up fake shot into knee strike was enough to drop and finish the Super Samoan. Further down the card, Ricardo Lamas broke Dennis Bermudez's win streak, Jessica Eye punched Leslie Smith's ear off, and Kelvin Gastelum continued his march to the top.
Bellator, meanwhile, hosted a decent card with a terrible headliner. While the men Bellator should be building their brand around—Michael Chandler and Will Brooks—were throwing down in the co-main event, and Melvin Manhoef and Joe Schilling were knocking seven bells out of each other further down the card, the event focused on a wheeze-fest between Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar.
No disrespect to Ortiz or Bonnar, both have had terrific, sport changing careers, but they are not more interesting to watch than Brooks and Chandler, they aren't more talented, and their fight certainly held less implications for the future. The fight itself was just short of average, as Ortiz boxed into takedown attempts, but Bonnar seemed to place more emphasis on mugging to the crowd as the decision was announced than he did on actually avoiding blows.
I understand why Bellator played up this fight, but anyone who knows enough about MMA to know who these two are, also knows that Ortiz hasn't tagged together two wins at light heavyweight in a row in over eight years. If you exclude men named Ken Shamrock, even longer.
Anniversary of the Week
Tomorrow it's nine years since Semmy Schilt won his first K-1 Grand Prix. Schilt, the most accomplished heavyweight kickboxer of all time, won four K-1 Grand Prix events, and became Glory Grand Slam Champion the year after his last grand prix win. What is often overlooked is that before Schilt had success in the upper echelons of kickboxing, he was an MMA fighter—taking bouts in Pancrase and PRIDE FC. Some fans joke that when Mirko Cro Cop moved to full time MMA competition, and Schilt moved to full time kickboxing competition, K-1 fans got the better end of that deal.
Schilt's punishing lead leg snap kick to the midsection was on full display throughout this tournament, and it won him many more. Here he drops Remy Bonjasky.
Doesn't look like much, but Schilt throws dozens of them a round.
In the final of the tournament, Schilt met another great karateka, Glaube Feitosa. Schilt hit Feitosa with a knee strike that put Feitosa through the ropes in a style eerily reminiscent of Wanderlei Silva's second bout with Quinton Jackson.
It's hard to take a tongue-in-cheek approach to summing up the events of the week when there are some as sad as this. Allegations of gym bullying abound from ex-Duke Roufus charges, and there are a dozen opinions from fighters and trainers involved going on out there. Roufus has been a key figure in American combat sports for a long time, and a great deal of this is going to up for individual interpretation, but your opinion of Roufus or Rose Namajunas, Eric Schafer and Pat Barry isn't important.
What we can all agree on is that the handling of Dennis Munson—an amateur fighter who tragically lost his life in his debut kickboxing bout—was atrocious.
If you follow combat sports, you need to watch this video from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to understand just how many people are involved in protecting a fighter's health in the ring, and how often each of them feels like it's the others' job to say when enough is enough or something is wrong.
I wrote an article a while back on refereeing position, which is an often overlooked part of a referee's job. A referee must be in position to step between the fighters if he needs to, to see if they are able to fight on at all times, and to avoid actually hampering the action. There's a lot to it. But what happened to Munson wasn't the result of poor visibility and bad ring positioning from the referee. It was the result of flat out negligence on the part of the referee, the doctor and the corner.
Finish of the Week
Joseph Duffy vs Julien Boussuge at Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 74
Joseph Duffy is a fascinating character. He's finished both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland's best prospects—Norman Parke and Conor McGregor, and took a three-year hiatus from MMA in order to try his hand at professional boxing. Against Julien Boussug, it only took Duffy twenty eight seconds to time his man ducking in and improve his record to 12-1.
Press Conference Woes
The Time is Now... or, you know, whenever...
The UFC's hotly anticipated press conference, containing many of its biggest stars and touting a huge announcement, turned out to be a bust yesterday morning. For weeks there has been rampant and irresponsible speculation from the media over what the major announcement would be. The usual ideas were trotted out: Fedor versus Brock, an acquisition of Bellator, the rebirth of PRIDE FC. But many prepared for the usual kind of let down, recalling the last “big announcement”, a series of UFC action figures.
For the awesomeweight title.
After the introduction of the dozen or so elite fighters in attendance, and a glossily produced highlight reel, Dana White opened the floor to questions. The first confused journalist asked “What's the big announcement?”, to which White could only reply that they hadn't got it done in time. What followed was a seeming eternity of the awful questions you see at any pre or post fight presser.
Are you excited for your fight? What do you think of your opponent? Dana, when are you coming to country x?
Nick Diaz tried his hardest to save the train wreck with his entertaining answers and his obsession with Georges St. Pierre which read like a jilted ex-girlfriend, but even the combined efforts of Stockton's finest and The Notorious One were not enough to make this worth watching.
The two exciting things to come out of the event were the complete list of UFC events planned for this year, and the hope that the big announcement will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Go Learn Something
Life is about learning and whenever I'm not working I spend my time trying to learn to apply new stuff in training. Learning new ideas is the joy of martial arts for me. If I thought I was familiar with all the concepts, strategies and positions of the martial arts, I'd quit right now.
Someone I've admired for a while is Baret Yoshida, and I have often tried to emulate his use of the crucifix—to little effect. This week a YouTuber named GambleDub put up a four part case study on Yoshida and his use of this position. Appreciating the flow of positions and steps in getting to a specific technique really makes you appreciate the application more.
I'm sure you can appreciate the applicability of this technique for a BJJ specialist against a more accomplished wrestler in MMA.
Come back next Tuesday for more videos, gifs and moaning about the week. Or stop by on Thursday for the Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson preview.
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