The Dean Lister vs. Babalu match was weird. Seemed like neither guy was aggressively going for the win. Could that have been a bit of a 'work?' I doubt it, but it was weird.
Props to Kevin Casey and Keenan Cornelius for taking the match in stride.
I couldn't believe at the time that Cornelius gave up dominant position to attack a leg, but it worked out for him. That guy is on a completely different level.
Clark Gracie did an outstanding job of avoiding the berimbolo, but never gained the advantage off of it. That is the breathtaking beauty of the Mendes brother's games; they never relent. Constant pressure from all positions.
Eddie Bravo clearly did his homework. He was prepared, he had a game-plan, he was fit and ready. I was very impressed by his performance. There are a lot of things one can criticize about his teaching methods, and his vision for the dissemination of the art of jiu jitsu, but one would be hard pressed to criticize him as a competitor.
Part of me, the jiu jitsu pureist part, thinks that Royler should have tapped. Blasphemy? probably, but hear me out. Royler's leg was caught. He had no way to excise his leg from that calf slicer (I refuse to use the 10th Planet jargon I think it obscures rather than illuminates). If the letter of the rules had been heeded Royler's leg would still be caught in that thing. As a teacher of jiu jitsu he has to understand when caught in a submission even if damage isn't eminent you should tap. Enduring a submission is not the same as escaping it. As a competitor I understand why he didn't.
I don't like the calf slicer for that reason, it doesn't (always) do enough damage. If you refuse to tap to a choke, you go to sleep. If you refuse to tap to an armlock you have to keep competing (and protecting your neck) with one fewer arms, similarly with leg locks. These techniques there is a factor of attrition (Tis only a flesh wound!!) I always assume my opponent will be tough. Will have a high pain threshold. I am loathe to commit my body so completely in a submission that my opponent could just endure.
I am conflicted about the whole thing.. so I guess it's a draw.
I have to say that I was truly baffled by the reaction to this match by the members of the Gracie family (in all of their representative forms). I understand they have a vested interest in the "Gracie brand" and that Royler was representing that brand on the mats, but the match happened. Anyone with a basic understanding of grappling can see that Eddie Bravo controlled the match. Why malign Bravo? People paid to watch those matches, they were successful. It was good for grappling/jiu jitsu. People paid to watch a Jean-Jacques Machado student compete with one of the sons of Helio Gracie. Is there a need for a multi-media blitz of obfuscation and attack? (in an information age where such spin only makes the spinner look foolish) I don't think so. And yet you have Ralek speaking/tweeting about how disrespectful Bravo was, and you have the comically biased photo feature put out by Graciemag. I don't understand it. Probably never will.
The event itself was great.
I hope you enjoyed it as well.