Tuesday, December 3, 2013

TUF 18 finale

Lots of interesting stuff here.. so lets get into it.

Walter Harris was straight up robbed against Jared Rosholt.
I like Rosholt, and as a prospect; he's as good as they get: NCAA champ with heavy hands. Harris is a terrible match up for him right now: He's a fast southpaw with heavy-heavy hands (5 wins all by KO/TKO). For a wrestling heavy raw prospect doesn't get much worse. It was pretty obvious Harris won the first, and Rosholt won the third. The only thing I can think is sometimes if a fighter is getting dominated in a previous round and does markedly less badly in the following round s/he will get the nod from the judges. It ain't right, but it happens.
I look forward to seeing both of these guys going forward.

Tom Niinimaki has been on my radar for a bit, but he's better than I realized. His grappling was outstanding. He showed toughness when he gutted through a tough guillotine in the second. His stand up was solid. He throughly dominated Rani Yahya in all facets (one choke attempt aside) throwing cold water on the brazilian's recent surge. Rani was making a push, but now it's back to the middle of the pack.

Poor Akira Corassani. That dude can't catch a break. After s
ome injury issues and a long layoff the team Renzo fighter was back on track until Maxi Blanco's knee broke his nose into tiny pieces. Hopefully he'll get his act together.

Roxy.. where to start. She looked great on the feet (Yay!).. but she lost (awww). It is painfully obvious to me after this fight that training part time to perform as a professional athlete was hampering Roxanne's development. The sport has come too far. You just can't do that and be successful. If her coaches are smart (and I think they are) they will mold Modafferi into a female version of the Diaz brothers. High volume boxing based striking, using her jiu-jitsu as a means to finish fighters once they've been peppered with punches, and as a deterrent to keep opponents leery of taking her down. In order to do this they need to keep working on her ring craft and movement, which they already appear to be doing. However this high volume approach means that Roxy's fair to middling conditioning is no longer going to suffice. Conditioning has to become a weapon. She has to be fit enough to drag her opponent into deep deep water and still be able to drown them. If she was smart (I know she is) she would got to Phillipi Sports Institute. Mark Phillipi is a former WSM competitor and UNLV strength and conditioning coach. The guy makes monsters and 'the happy warrior' could use a heavy dose of monster. At 31, and now training full time for the first time there is plenty of time for her to work her way back to the upper echelon especially with the massive improvements she made in a single training camp. Hopefully Dana White and the UFC will give her a chance to do that.

Raquel Pennington has the yips. She flinches, and just doesn't let her hands go. That is going to be a big problem. When she doesn't, she's lethal. When she does, she's in trouble.

Peggy Morgan is a great potential fighter, but she needs to get to a better camp. Having read her blog, she seems a very loyal person, so I don't think she will. Which is too bad. Her skill level just isn't on the same level as the women fighting and training with other professionals.

Jessamyn Duke has bounced back from her illegal knee KO/no contest with Miriam Nakamoto (possibly the best bantam female not in the UFC). Training with the champ, the Queen of Spades and the rest of team Hayastan have 'the Gun' (who needs a new nickname) looking like a stone cold killer.

Chris Holdsworth was head and shoulders above the rest of the cast on the men's side. That guy has some real potential, he's 26 years old, a legit BJJ black belt with good hands and decent wrestling. First real prospect to come out of TUF in a while.

Davey Grant made one mistake. His defensive wrestling looked good, the guy has 7 wins by submission himself, but Holdsworth made him look terrible on the ground. Hopefully the UFC will keep the guy around. He's likeable and has a very casual fan friendly style.

Jessica Rakoczy has a future in the UFC.. at strawweight. She is too small to fight these women who weight 140-160 pounds on fight day. They just walk right through her jab and maul her. She's 1 and 4. Learn to cut.

Julianna Pena.. where to start.. She's a fairly big bantam. Athletic. She fights ugly, but that can work in a women's division where true KO power is rare, but she needs to get a filter and a publicist. She came off as easily the least likable least professional cast member since Junie Browning.. on a season where TWO guys didn't make weight. That's saying something.
I don't think she can compete with the top women in the UFC, but then I thought she'd get steamrolled by Shayna Baszler.. been wrong before.. probably will again too.

And finally, the weight cut thing.
There was an article out a couple days ago sensationalizing the weight cuts in the TUF house. It is
completely off the mark. Yes, it sucks to have to make weight 3 times in 6 weeks. You can't cut as much as you normally would and you have to be extra diligent with your diet and hydration. However, these are professional athletes. They should be able to do this standing on their heads. I have heard high level wrestlers talking about pulling garbage bags out of airport trash cans and running in the airport because their plane was delayed and they suddenly wouldn't have time to cut when they landed. That is how you handle your business. When your teammates, housemates, and coaches are all telling you you are eating like an asshole, you're probably eating like an asshole. If you went to bed over, don't sleep in, don't drink a high carb "sports beverage" (buy eet hwitch your money) on the way to the gym. These are stupid, bad ideas that will lead you to running out of time to make weight (Gutierrez).  If you've fought your whole career at 145 you should be super extra careful with your food (Bollinger).
It's not complicated, it's not easy, but it's also not a mystery. Everyone knows entering the house this is how it goes. There are no surprises. It's what high level athletes do. The Iowa Hawkeye wrestling team from 12/1 to 1/12 (six weeks) will make weight at least 9 times. Oh and notice christmas and New Years fall in the middle of that. These are college kids, most cutting similar amounts of weight as these so called professionals, making weight three times as often in 6 weeks. All the while going to school and balancing life with athletics. Gutierrez and Bollenger had to get up, train and make weight, maybe give a couple interviews.
No excuses.
They crapped the bed, and they have no one to blame but themselves.


Holy CARP.. did I really go through that whole card without talking about the main event. Short version is Gray Maynard has been KTFO in successive fights. This last time by a volume puncher who had 3 knockouts in 25 fights. I really like the guy, but it's time to hang them up.
Sorry for that failing folks.. left my notes at home.

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