Archive for May, 2010

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Ever since my fight with Josh Koscheck I wondered what UFC fights would be like inside a cage smaller than the 32 foot diameter octagon that is being used now. I had spent a lot of time training in a smaller cage for that fight but looking back it would have been wiser to spar in a big open area with no ropes or cage surrounding my sparring partners and I. That’s pretty much how big the octagon feels.

The large diameter of the UFC cage combined with the fact that its 8 sides makes it really difficult to mount any offense against an opponent who doesn’t want to engage. With no real effective way to corner a fighter who is looking to simply stay out of range and move, fights can quickly become boring.

During my fight with Josh Koscheck, it was a major challenge to get him close enough to kick let alone punch, and even after I’d land a hard shot he’d be back out of range making combination punching almost impossible. I remember at one point actually leaping in at him while throwing a 4 punch combo and still couldn’t reach him with any of the strikes! My boxing coach still laughs about that moment as I think it threw me right into a take down.

The lack of striking returns from Koscheck luckily didn’t affect our fight because Josh engaged often, scoring some nice takedowns which kept our battle going on the ground.

We’ve seen a few situations  (ie. Starnes/Quarry comes to mind) where a fighter totally chooses to constantly disengage and the other fighter has absolutely no chance of catching up to them. Nate was actually running forward after Starnes at one point and still couldn’t do it.

Lately, I think the large cage has allowed fighters to slow and sometimes nearly halt the action within a fight. In my opinion this is extremely bad for the sport and will without a doubt hurt it’s growth in the future. Some fighters are scoring a takedown or two or landing a few mediocre shots and then riding out the clock because they absolutely know that their opponent will not be able to force them to fight.

Some champions don’t seem to want to take risks anymore using the large cage to move freely while fighting conservatively and winning by decision. I think is an approach that robs the audience of the huge amounts of excitement that many match-ups could have brought. As a fighter I’ve always looked at decision victories as much less than a full win. Sort of a “to be continued” since no one was submitted or knocked out in the process.

I think a smaller UFC octagon will promote action during fights and liven up upcoming fight cards. Let’s keep the UFC excitement train rolling!


Categories : Discussion, UFC
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UFC 114 Pick’em Contest Winners!

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Thanks to everyone who entered the UFC 114 (Evans vs. Jackson) Pick’em contest.

The results were very close however the top spot was shared by three people all of who picked 9 of 11 winners correctly! Great job guys. I’ve decided to give you each a free video workshop instead of just the first to get their picks in.

If you’re one of the following three winners, I’ll be sending you an email very soon to find out which workshop you would like.


Next UFC I’ll be having another contest so get your picks ready!

Categories : Predictions, UFC
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UFC 114 After Thoughts

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Last nights UFC 114 card was great at moments but lacked action many times throughout the night. I had picked Ramape to win the main event but Rashad did a great job of fighting from afar, scoring a bunch of solid take downs and a few strikes which enabled him to win by decision.

Anything is possible in this sport and the bout between Todd Duffee and Mike Russow was shocking evidence of that. Russow absorbed so much punishment in the beginning of that fight that I instantly began cheering for him to pull out the win. I thought that if he scored a take down on Duffee we might be able to see a stronger part of his game.

With a pretty weak striking game and the extra pounds he was carrying around his midsection seeming to slow him down more and more as time went on, I truly believed that completing a take down was his only hope. Luckily I was wrong. The solid right hand he landed scored him a great knockout to give him the “Rocky Balboa” style come back victory. I loved it!

Diego Sanchez was out sized in his battle last night against John Hathaway. Hathaway’s strong take down defense and capable striking made things even worse for Sanchez. Diego has beaten a lot of great fighters at welterweight but with the sport evolving like it is and fighters becoming more and more well rounded, I think his frame may be too small for the 170 lbs. division.

Another great moment was when Melvin Guillard threw and landed that killer knee strike. Ouch! What was impressive about that was that he didn’t hesitate. During a situation where many fighters would have solely tried to defend the takedown, Guillard fired off his knee strike in the midst of his defensive motions. Well done.

I truly believe if the UFC made their cage a little bit smaller we’d see more action, more solid hits, an increased pace and overall better fights. A cage with a 32 foot diameter give fighters too much opportunity to stay out of punching range, run around and run out the clock.

How’d did you like the fights?

Categories : Reviews, UFC
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Somebody posted this up on a website and it reminded me of one of the best BJJ’ers of all time, Fernando “Terere” Augusto.

I got a chance to watch “Terere” compete in Brazil when I was at the world championships. That year he fought in the super heavyweight division (4 weight classes higher than his normal division) and placed second. It was crazy!

Here are some of his highlights and you can even see him up against some of those huge guys in it. Enjoy!

Categories : Cool Video Links
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UFC 114 Pick’em Contest

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This weekend another UFC event takes places. Number 114 taking place on this Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Time for another contest  with the winner getting full access to any one (their choice) of my video workshops. The person that can pick the most bout winners correctly wins. Once again there are 11 fights, choose carefully.

Comment on this post with your fight picks and please keep them in the same order as I have them listed.

Good luck!

Note: In the case of a tie for the top spot, the person who posted their picks first will win the prize.

Here’s the line-up for UFC 114:

Rashad Evans (14-1-1) vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (30-7)
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (18-3) vs. Jason Brilz (18-2-1)
Michael Bisping (18-3) vs. Dan Miller (11-3)
Todd Duffee (6-0) vs. Mike Russow (12-1)
Diego Sanchez (21-3) vs. John Hathaway (12-0)
Dong Hyun Kim (12-0-1) vs. Amir Sadollah (3-1)
Efrain Escudero (12-1) vs. Dan Lauzon (12-3)
Melvin Guillard (23-8-2) vs. Waylon Lowe (8-2)
Luis Cane (10-2) vs. Cyril Diabate (15-6-1)
Joe Brammer (7-1-1) vs. Aaron Riley (28-12-1)
Jesse Forbes (11-4) vs. Ryan Jensen (14-6)

Categories : Contests, UFC
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Shadowboxing can be difficult, frustrating and awkward  for new students to perform. It can be very tough for a beginner to fire their  punches in the right places or stay in a strong fighting stance because their lack of experience makes it very difficult for them to properly visualize an opponent in front of them.

Shadowboxing –or shadowfighting which I sometimes call it because of the kicks, take down entries, sprawls that I execute in addition to the punching– is one of the most useful training drills in a fighters –for both beginners and advanced students– workout routine. It promotes technical proficiency, is excellent for conditioning and is an efficient way for a fighter to perfect their attacks before entering the heat of battle that sparring or actual competition is.

One way that I find will help you feel more comfortable shadowboxing is by doing the exercise with a partner. In this article I’ll show you how to do this and I’ll also share a few drill variations for any advanced martial artists that are looking to add more challenge, effectiveness and excitement to their workouts.

Here we go!

1) Stand facing one another in your fighting stances with a decent amount of distance between each of you. Ideally you and your partner should be able to punch, knee and kick with no chance of connecting with any part of the others body. This is very important! A collision of fists or legs could cause serious injury to one or both of you so be sure to  maintain around an eight foot separation between you both at all times.

2) Set the timer –usually for 2,3,4 or 5 minutes depending on your skill and endurance levels- and start the round. At first remain in place and work your techniques from one spot on the floor using your partner’s position to help you visualize your targets. Avoid the urge to move forward as you strike and make sure your partner does the same. Simply run through the variety of techniques you know well or any new ones that you have been working on. Repeat the drill for a minimum of three rounds using the same duration for each and give yourself a 30 seconds to 1 minute rest between each round.

3) Once your comfortable with #2, do the exact same drill except add some footwork this time. Each of you should move from left to right or vice versa as you fire off punches, kicks and knee strikes. Continue to avoid moving forward because that will only put you in danger of colliding with your partner’s fist, foot or knee.  As your partner moves around be sure to maintain a solid fighting stance that’s angled as if you were actually fighting against them.

4) Alright, so now you’ve gotten comfortable with the drill both while standing still and with some footwork added in. Next, incorporate some defensive techniques in reaction to your partner’s attacks. If they jab, pick it. If they low kick, check it and so on. Remember that it’s never a real block because your partner should still be standing more than 8 feet away from you. It’s really just you timing your shadow fighting defensive move with their shadow fighting offensive attack. Be sure to throw a follow up combination after your defensive maneuver so that your chances of doing so in actual sparring will be much greater over time as you continue to practice this drill.

5) Lastly, lets make this drill a little more MMA styled. Anytime you or your partner touches the ground with you back knee –and holds it there– the other person must perform a sprawl motion as if someone had just shot in for a take down on them. If it’s you that dropped the knee, wait until your partners sprawl is complete before standing up again to resume your shadow fighting. Be sure that you have your partner sprawl regularly throughout the rounds, often at times when they are in the midst of an striking combination so that they can hone their reaction skills in a very realistic way.

Okay, so now you have it, the partner shadow boxing drill. It’s up to you to get in the gym and put it into action. I wouldn’t do it all the time because it’s still very important to develop your solo shadow boxing ability but it’s a great way to change things up whenever you feel like it.  Be sure to share to share the drill with others you think might benefit and enjoy it.

Have fun and good luck!

I spent most of Saturday in Toronto, Ontario at the “MMA Day” Rally. Even though the weather was less than ideal many of Ontario’s great MMA fans came out to support the drive to bring the great sport of MMA to our province.

I think it was a great day that brought MMA fans, coaches, and athletes together to share their thoughts on the sport of MMA.

I was honoured to have the opportunity to be the host for the event and got the chance to introduce  the incredible line-up of speakers: MMA Connected’s “Showdown” Joe Ferraro; Louden Owen from the Fight Network; Former UFC Champ Carlos Newton; Gerald Chopik (MMA Expo Founder); Gym owner and pro trainer Shah Franco; WEC/UFC Fighter Mark Hominick and Bellator welterweight Sean Pierson.

The media was everywhere! I think I must have done twenty different interviews throughout the day.

Thanks so much to everyone who came up to say hi, take a picture or chat. It was great to see you all.

Here’s a great article about the press conference

Categories : Randomness
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Getting ready for MMA Day tommorrow

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I’m sitting here going over my introductory speech for tomorrow’s “MMA Day” event. Tough stuff!

As host of the day’s activities I really want to keep things flowing smoothly. I’m really looking forward to meeting the fans that come out to support the drive to see MMA in the province of Ontario.

If you make it out to the rally, be sure to say hi if you get the chance. It be great to meet some of you if I haven’t already.

Time to get back to the pen and paper!

Categories : Randomness
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When your a beginning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu student there’s no way to avoid getting caught in a wide variety of arm locks on a regular basis. The good news is that you can always tap out to avoid injuring your arm but who likes to tap out, not me!

With a little practice and the right instruction you can develop your submission escaping skills and become the type of student that is tough to tap. That skill goes a long way in training and competition.

Last weekend I taught a workshop at Joslin’s MMA in Hamilton that focused on exactly that; submission escapes. The 20 video workshop is now available in the premium shop and contains some really effective escapes from three common attacks; the triangle choke, the arm lock and the omaplata shoulder lock.

You’ll learn my favourite and most effective ways of getting out of the triangle choke. I guarantee that mastering that sequence will have you looking forward to getting caught in the triangle just so you can quickly break out of it.

Here’s a preview video from the series showing one way that I like to escape from the classic mount arm lock attack. Hope it helps you on the mats!

Sparring Tips For Beginners

When I was reading one of the many mixed martial arts forums today I came across a question regarding striking sparring. The person asking was completely new to sparring and like many beginners found his first rounds versus a moving, striking opponent extremely challenging.

Off the top of my head I quickly came up with a few things that I thought might help him in his quest to get hit less while doing more hitting himself inside the ring.

I’ll share them, and a few more, to help you make your sparring experience more enjoyable and…less painful. Here we go!:

1. Throw your punches with speed, relaxation and technique, never try for power.

2. You don’t have to always see the opening for a specific punch. Just throw you combo sharply and quick and often the opening comes in the middle of your combo.

3. After your done punching, move away to either side. Your even better to stand your ground than backing straight up.

4. When you think you’re jabbing a lot, jab twice as much.

5. If you get into trouble, place both gloves on your temples, covering your face and jaw with the forearms and move, move, move.

6. When blocking strikes try not to tense your arms. Simply raise your arms up to protect yourself. This is easier said then done.

7. Keep you chin down at all times.

8. Mix up your attacks, try to be as unpredictable as you can with your combinations.

9. Pace yourself.  Use your defensive and offensive techniques instead of just attacking the entire time.

10. Focus on keeping yourself in a good balanced  stance before attacking, while attacking, and after your attack. This is very important!

11. Never give up. Taking a bit of a beating in the beginning is all part of the learning process. Stick with it and you will slowly become more like a hammer instead of the nail.

Bonus Tip:

Forum poster Zedlepln on reminded me of this important one that beginners often forget to do.


Never hold your breath during your sparring round. Breathe regularly through your nose –with your mouth closed- while making short but not overly strong exhalations through the mouth when you throw each punch. The more well conditioned you are, the better you will be able to control your breath.

These should be a good start.

Let me know how it goes…

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