For those who have never been there, Newark – New Jersey can be sketchy. I mean that in the exact way you are thinking I mean it.I’m not sure why as it’s Jersey’s largest city, it’s actually really pretty from a visitors perspective and is very well put together in terms of districts and shopping and transportation but on an average day my girlfriend who works in a hospital there tells me they treat gun shots all day, everyday, from characters who simply walk themselves into the emergency room, go up to the counter and tell the nurse working, “I got shot… again.” But that’s Newark my friends, it’s kind of the ghetto. But despite it being the ghetto (at least top 25 in terms of Crime in America) I have never felt safer than walking to my train with all my camera gear and a backpack than I did in a mob of people that had just had a few beers, watched some good fights and were just hoping to take out some of that aggression. Newark tonight was suddenly the safest place in America. And it helped me understand why people in bad neighborhoods join gangs to feel safe.
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But along my train walk and train ride home there was this strange thing that kept popping in my head. The biggest loser tonight wasn’t a guy who lost a fight; it was in fact someone that won. I don’t hide the fact that I think Jacare Souza is amazing. And yet even in winning his fight, nobody cares who or what he does next. He beat another really good (Not great) fighter and he did it with ease and it only took him 30 seconds longer than it did last time they fought. But the only way for Souza to impress in this fight would have been for him to do some sort of power bomb backflip jump kick. Since he didn’t and he essentially won without much effort everyone just went, swell pal, just swell. And I get that, he fought a guy who is a nice guy with a good smile but has no business being in the cage with him at this stage in his career outside of having the balls to be in the cage with him. So unfortunately, no matter what happened in the fight, he didn’t impress many people, which is a shame.
To me, he is that good. But, you know who is better, and who beat Jacare. Luke elbows you in the temple to death Rockhold. I say this all the time, I’m a run of the mill grappler, average at best, in GI I am a simple Blue Belt. Yes, I’ve had teammates that I can beat go win Gold in worlds but that’s during practice so, were not in kill mode. And in No-Gi I can keep okay fighters at bay until they eventually tire me out and catch me or the timer runs out, because I am a horrible fighter that’s why I run marathons, can’t beat them, run from them. However I’ve also rolled with good grapplers and I don’t mean just black belts. I mean, black belts who tap other black belts in big tournaments on a regular basis. When those guys grapple with you it’s a helpless feeling my friends. You feel like a child who is just hoping that you don’t crap your pants when someone chokes you unconscious, that they can do whatever they want with you at any point. I was certain that Lyoto Machida was a black belt, but I wasn’t certain how much better of a black belt Luke Rockhold was/is. His position, his control and pressure on the ground are all insane. Maybe it’s because none of his team is known as super BJJ guys but I made the flaw of thinking he was a run of the mill black belt. No, no he’s not. And that elbow he landed at the end of round one. That was the fight. Lyoto’s head had nowhere to go and that thud noise, had I been his friend and watching from home, I’d probably turn the TV off and start drinking heavy. I’m not making fun of Lyoto at all, so this isn’t me trying to be disrespect just observant, but he looked like he was using drunken Kung-Fu from Virtual Fighter 4 after that elbow. How he even went into round 2 shows you how tough he is, but what happened after was only a matter of time. This puts Machida in a strange spot, I personally feel he can beat anyone 5 and up. But I’m not sure how well he does against guys 5 and down. So does he just keep fighting the way Cowboy Cerrone does? Where if the belt is always over there you are just happy to be over here? Still in the cage, still cashing checks and kicking tail feathers but no longer regarded as capable of winning the title? And then eventually one of those 5 and up guys has a good day and suddenly your stock gets lowered from main card to prelim to no televised? That’s of course my opinion and if you read my predictions, I am far from always being right. (so, Jacare is no longer the biggest loser tonight, I am! VICTORY FOR ME!)
Other fights that blew me away. Paige VanZant. I knew she was good, that good, no. No I did not predict that. What she desperately needs to learn is this, let’s call someone’s guard “the party” and when it comes to “the party” you either have both arms in the party or both arms out of the party but you should never have just one arm at/in the party. One person got away with that and his name was Fedor, but he went to way to many parties and eventually he got caught… at the party. Yes it added tension to the fight but that is tension that could have cost her the fight, those near armbars that weren’t super tight but all not super needed. Outside of that, Paige was showing some outrageous hip movement and using her legs to position herself. You always see people stand above people and try to land strikes or jump in and what happens, they get pulled into half or full guard, x-guard, De La Riva, 50/50 whatever. What she did was no man does in the gym. She just threw her leg straight across crotch and left it there. There is no guard pull that way, it neutralizes the hips and only when the other leg that is basing you isn’t far enough out can they do anything, there is also no way a set of testicles doesn’t get smushed against a shin and a big toe doesn’t touch your grundle. But Paige did it, she did it all night long my friends and it worked, grundle tap and all. Guys to my knowledge, myself included go off to the side and pin the leg and eventually slide into side control of kiskatame. Not Paige, right down the middle, suck it. The amount of time she maintained top position before Herrig could figure out a way to hip out and do something was insane. That’s very good grappling and going forward anyone who reads this that they themselves grapple should do that move to somebody you hate.
Holloway is better than I thought. I thought Cub Swanson would outbox the life out of him and catch him the way he did George Roop. He didn’t. Not once. Holloway used movement like a sprinter and zipped in and out and struck and moved and never let Cub get into a position where he could plant his feet and throw. Even after round 1 you hear Cub’s corner saying you are not moving correctly, your going right, you can’t do that, go left. All Cub said back was, I know. Which shows how confusing that was for Cub. He knew he was doing something wrong, he knew what he had to do to change it but he couldn’t. Cub boxes with champions and kick-boxes with champions and he’s seen it all and still he could not capitalize on his own mistakes even though he knew he was making them. I’m not sure if Holloway needs to be #5, but they need to see if he can fight next month against another #4 through #6 guy to see exactly where he is and what he can do.
Beneil Dariush is amazing. Amazing like, early BJ Penn amazing. Jim Miller came to fight and not many people can hang on the ground with him. When you watch the fight, Miller wasn’t going for a triangle, he was going for a straight armbar, (razor armbar) and he had it pretty tight. Still Dariush escaped and then completely shut him down and not many people can survive the submission onslaught of Jim Miller and Dariush not only survived he, he put Jim Miller into survival mode. Took him into the deep waters and asked him to have fun drowning.
Lastly. Jimy Hettes. That sucks buddy. That sucks. Hopefully he gets his ears taken care of but that sucks. He didn’t strike me as, as slick this time around or maybe it was Brandao shutting his game down. Usually he buzz saws and once put into submission motion, much like Jim Miller it’s just a game of catch. When he tripped Brandao I’d said, this is it. Nope. And then squish. Ewwww.
In closing, I had said, this UFC lacked Omph. Even after a night of good fights I still think it lacked it. Maybe it’s because Dana White never got on the mic and said. The winner of this fight gets Weidman. Or maybe he did and I didn’t catch it. It was kind of known the winner of these fights would go for the title, but it didn’t seem to be that much of a push. Or maybe it’s the now missing Burt Watson. I’ve never talked with Burt Watson but I’ve seen him at enough events and he makes sure people’s butts are not in seats. How he hasn’t had 9 heart attacks is beyond me. Burt Watson in person is like your favorite band coming back on stage to play your favorite song during an encore and all the beer is now free. He put everything he had to make sure people were excited. And he spoke the universal language of charisma, he spoke the language of happiness and excitement that white people, black people, green people and orange people, that women and men and children and probably the last five remaining African White Rhino’s speak. He spoke it and it reverberated through rooms. I’ll say it like this; everyone thinks that it’s Bruce Buffer or Joe Rogan that gets these guys amped up. No, those guys are the porn stars. Burt Watson was the fluffer, the opening act, the one that gets everyone riled up and ready to act naughty. Maybe it’s the Burt Watson-less world we live in that left everyone so docile and calm. Who knows… Either way, Rockhold is a killer. And there is one last observation. I’m not a big person, I’m around 5”7, so depending on shoes, 5’8 – 5’9”. And I stood next to Hendricks and Lawler and they are both much thicker than me, but they are roughly my size. You throw us both in a lose fitting dress shirt or sweater and you’d think, they are roughly the same size. And Hendricks said he was walking at 202 (I am 160) and even then, having met McGregor in Boston a month or whatever ago. McGregor is bigger than those guys. Sure his waist is small, but his arms, shoulders and legs, he looks bigger than a 202 pound Johnny Hendricks. I don’t think he would beat a Johnny Hendricks or Robbie Lawler, but I wanted to give perspective on how big he is. Same with Jon Jones. That guy is a mountain.
Good night everyone, I hope ya’ll made it home unriddled with bullets like I did.
Polen – Argentina
8.75 ODDS 1.45
30 November | 20:00 | VM 2022