Alexa Grasso: “The Future”

    The UFC women’s Strawweight division is ruled by one dominant force, “Joanna Champion”, Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Her speed, tenacity, technique & striking diversity have put her lightyears ahead of the competition. Even when a fight is close she seems to rise to the occasion, pulling away and hitting a different gear than her opponents are capable of.

    On the horizon, however, there is a developing stable of seriously talented women.  One of the bright young standouts in this upcoming crop of fighters is young Mexican star Alexa Grasso. 

    With plenty to show for herself already, an undefeated record, dominant victories and a unique kickboxing style, Grasso has been shredding the competition on her march for a UFC title-shot. Her debut fight in The Octagon against Heather Jo Clark was a display of absolute superiority in every aspect of the fight. A skilled showcase of Grasso’s mastery of the basics, much like new 135lb Men’s Champion Cody “No Love” Garbrandt.

    In the previous fight against Clark, Grasso out struck and out worked her opponent the entire contest. Several times she had Clark hurt, backed up against the cage, nearly ready to go out and impressively Grasso displayed the knowledge and experience, the “Fight IQ” to choose her shots wisely and be patient. Rather than rushing in, potentially getting clipped with a good shot like we’ve seen countless times in the past, or by having an adrenaline dump and being unable to complete the finish.

    Grasso represents the cutting edge in a sport that is continuously evolving. Rather than being specialists in one discipline, fighters now seamlessly blend multiple varying forms of unarmed combat and the martial arts that most effectively suit their physical gifts.

   This young lady, while the comparison is vastly overused, fights with shades of Mike Tyson. Her bobbing and weaving style, incredible punching power, diverse array of attacks, beautiful footwork and perfection of the basics has propelled her to a 9-0 record with 4 knockouts. 

    The next challenge facing Grasso is the upcoming bout with the super-experienced kickboxing mountain of muscle and power, Felice Herrig, on February 4th at UFC Fight Night in Houston.

    Herrig has not only a plethora of MMA experience, but a wealth of Combat experience in general. Herrig will be, by far, Grasso’s stiffest competition to date. If Grasso can beat Herrig and make a statement in doing so, by finishing her before the final bell or even dominating on points, she will undoubtedly be ranked well into the top 10.

    Alexa Grasso is one of, if not the, brightest young talents in the UFC and she will undoubtedly become a champion someday. If she continues to use her genetic gifts and improve, she could ignite into the star, the role model to young girls especially, that the UFC so desperately needs after the loss of Ronda Rousey. 

Woodley vs. Thompson 2: “The Necessary Rematch”

     UFC 205 will undoubtedly be remembered as the 1st Madison Square Garden event, and the night when Conor McGregor made history by capturing his 2nd current title in the Lightweight division. That being said, there was another fight, arguably far more important for the sport, even though it didn’t get as much hype…

    The Welterweight Title fight between Champion Tyron”The Chosen One”Woodley and Stephen”Wonderboy”Thompson harkened back to the old days of the UFC, while at the same time pushing the evolution and progression of the sport. Each fighter has their own uniquely adapted style, Woodley the powerfully explosive wrestler, and Wonderboy with his dynamic striking style and 57-0 kickboxing record. Although each has a style identifiable with a specific foundational discipline, both have rounded out their skill set to keep pace with the ever-evolving nature of MMA.

    Tyron Woodley believed he won the first fight, even though the judges ruled it a “Majority Draw”, and Thompson believes he has much more to prove and claims he was a bit gun-shy in the first fight. The rankings, if their credibility is to continue to be improved, demand a rematch…. Regardless of what Woodley offers Bisping or Maia or Diaz, etc.,. His interest is his own pocket, not the future of the sport and the UFC..

   Yes, Demian Maia has been on a tear, submitting everyone like a Boa Constrictor, more than making his case for a title-shot, but Wonderboy was there first, he earned it, and according to the judges the first fight essentially didn’t count. Giving someone other than Wonderboy a title-shot would be penalizing him for never losing a fight, and if Maia has to wait, so be it.. It’s nothing new for the next in line to have to wait a few months for a shot, in any combat sport.

    The integrity of the sport and the ever-improving nature of the ranking system needs constants, precedents, like this to remain viable. If the #1 Contender, who just fought the champion to a draw after 5rounds, doesn’t deserve an immediate rematch, how can you possibly justify anyone else? If the rankings matter… 

    Demian, your chance is coming…

Cannabis: An Argument For It.

  Right off the bat I’d like to qualify by stating that although illegal on the federal level, Cannabis should be considered a completely viable, health conscious, alternative vice to cigarettes and alcohol, as well as legitimate medical uses.

I’m Matt, I’m 28 from North Buffalo, and I just figured I’d throw a suggestion out there since you’re in the process of quitting something and feeling withdrawal symptoms, that you should try smoking or eating a little Cannabis…

     It would absolutely 100% take some of the edge off and make the cravings far more bearable. Despite over 100 years of false propaganda, corporately funded lies via national cirriculum mandates, unsupported fear-mongering, paid for initially by the paper companies and religious institutions, and then financed through present day by the alcohol and pharmaceutical companies.

    Alcohol and cigarettes each, are EXPONENTIALLY worse for you than Cannabis, regardless of how it's ingested...
    Alcohol decimates brain cells and destroys the liver as well as other organs... Weed, Cannabis, does neither.

    Cigarettes destroy your lung tissue and kill the life giving alveoli. On the contrary, weed actually increases their capacity and their efficiency in delivering oxygen to the blood. Long-distance athletes all over the world use it for this reason. Also, it has been stated countless times that Cannabis is far healthier and far more effective in stopping asthma attacks.

    Cannabis DOES NOT kill brain cells or damage lung tissue, even when smoked....

Diaz vs. McGregor 2: Fight Analysis 

   In the past few days since #UFC202 provided one of the most vicious knockouts in #UFC history, as well as one of the most entertaining fights of all time, there has arisen some controversy regarding the decision in the Main Event.
   Now, regardless of fanship and bias, I have objectively watched the fight, in entirety, more than 5 but less than 10 times. My personal and professional opinion is that Nate Diaz won that fight… But, Diaz winning a close decision isn’t the sexy outcome. It doesn’t set the stage for a rematch, and it elevates a Diaz far higher than Dana White ever wanted, while at the same time smashing the mystique of his new Golden Goose… Since Rousey pulled a GSP. Finally, NSAC and the judging panel isn’t stupid. They’re aware that going through this whole build-up, pageantry and process for a 3rd time can ONLY net them millions in revenue.

All of that aside, let’s get into the fight….

   Conor came out strong, as expected, landing combinations, leg kicks, hurting Nate Diaz once, and dropping him twice. Although, as I’ll say about the 3rd knockdown in the 2nd round, the 2nd, and aforementioned 3rd round knockdowns, seemed a little too easy, a little too Werdum-like. Not only that, but McGregor failed to capitalize on them. He didn’t attempt any ground and pound, and at no point did he have Diaz in any danger whatsoever of being finished.

   The 2nd round began much like the first with Conor landing ultra-sharp counters, continued brutalizing Nate’s leg (although it arguably just made him mad), and appeared to be just on a different level. 

   But then, just like the first fight, Conor started to slow down just a little bit. Started to breathe just a tiny bit heavier. And Nate Diaz, like a shark, smells even the tiniest bit of blood in the water and goes into attack mode. Nate began landing his jab, landing the 1-2 and the “Stockton Slap”, he backed Conor against the cage and ripped combos a la Nick Diaz… The 2nd round is when Conor STARTED running away and avoiding engaging…

   … Last I checked, before the fights when Goldberg goes over the rules and the judging parameters, does he not say “Aggression and Octagon Control”?? Well, Nate absolutely dominated those categories for the entire fight.

   The beginning of the 3rd round looked like the beginning of the end for McGregor. Nate was dominant. Landing at-will, backing Conor to the cage in every exchange, chasing Conor around the Octagon, talking shit, and nearly having the fight stopped, with Conor’s ONLY saving grace being the bell.

    The 4th round began with McGregor breathing heavy, looking defeated, and nearly everyone in the arena, and on TV, believing this round would be the end for him… However, quite the contrary. Conor proved to not only every single one of us, but to himself, that he is completely capable of digging deep and going the distance, and even that he’s capable of coming back to win a round when it’s looking bleek.. Although, I ultimately ended up scoring the 4th a draw or Conor by a point, he truly gutted it out…

   Round 5 began with Diaz pacing back and forth waiting for Big John McCarthy to start the round, throwing up his trademark double biceps, face covered in blood, while Conor looked gassed, defeated.. Nate landed a couple jabs and IMMEDIATELY, at 4:42, Conor started running, again… As soon as Nate initiated contact, or an exchange, Conor would either run away, or was immediately backed into the cage. He was clinched up and beat on, EXACTLY like Randy Couture and Daniel Cormier are famous for doing… 

   On top of Conor running and being utterly dominated, Nate had the only takedown of the fight, and at a crucial time…

   Although, we know the judges didn’t exactly see it the same way… Even though one scored it a draw.

   Thanks to MMA-CORE for providing all the footage needed for doing my fight review, and thanks to Getty Images for the stellar shots.

UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor 2 -The Aftermath

   As we continue to recover from our UFC 202 hangover, sort through the aftermath and try to make sense of everything, one fact cannot be denied… UFC 202 was one of the best PPVs put on by the UFC in recent memory, and the Main Event was one of the best and most entertaining fights, not only in recent history, but of all time.

   The outcome, the way the fight went, and the two larger than life personalities of Diaz and McGregor perfectly sets the stage for number 3, but Dana knows this. He knows he has an ace in the hole and because of this he’ll take some time and clear up some of the chaos and tumult, mostly in the FW & LW divisions, created by the Diaz v. McGregor series.

   Next up were most likely to see Conor face either Eddy Alvarez for the LW title, or defend his title against Jose Aldo. Neither of which carries the weight and pageantry of a fight with one of the Diaz bros., but both are equally important. This based on the assumption that Conor will indeed choose to defend his belt rather than vacating the title..

   For Diaz, the future appears less action-packed, but equally as interesting, considering the implications of the bogus USADA investigation into his post fight vape pen, his resurgence in popularity, and the return of his brother Nick Diaz to the fight game after his own 18 month suspension.

   Even if Nathan is given a bogus suspension for bogus reasons, the momentum and popularity he’s currently carrying almost turn it into a vacation until Diaz vs. McGregor 3.


“A Stylistic Striking Showdown” – Thompson vs. MacDonald

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The upcoming bout between Steven “Wonderboy” Thompson and Rory MacDonald is one of the most massively anticipated matches of the year by fight fans, and it is absolutely guaranteed not to disappoint!

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Rory MacDonald,… a young veteran of the UFC with wins over fighters in the “Murderer’s Row” of the Welterweight Division, like B.J.Penn, Demian Maia, Tyron Woodley, etc.,. He employs a uniquely vicious and accurate style, reminiscent of the Hall-Of-Famer Georges St. Pierre, who possess a laser-like jab, and fights extremely well at distance.

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Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is a relative newcomer to the UFC, with an overall MMA record of 12-1, a kickboxing record of 57-0, and he’s currently a purple belt in BJJ under Carlos Machado.

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Recently, since just prior to the Hendricks fight, Thompson has been getting coached by former Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman on wrestling and takedown defense, and in that Hendricks fight it shone through Wonderfully😉.
The unique combination of shockingly accurate karate-style rushes, superbly dexterous kicks, and rock solid wrestling, has propelled Thompson to the very top of the Welterweight division with only MacDonald standing in his way of a title-shot.

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Rory MacDonald is the polite, quiet kid down the street, but he is never, under any circumstances, to be taken lightly..
This kid is the Hannibal Lecter of MMA!… There is nowhere in the octagon he isn’t dangerous, that he doesn’t want to skin you and wear it for pajamas. Hes an extremely well-rounded fighter that can change the tempo of a fight with just one punch…

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All it takes is 1 wrong move, one mistake, with Rory, and the entire dynamic of the fight can change in his favor. Rory is the modern-day embodiment of “The Karate Kid”. At only 17yrs old, the kid from Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada decided to dedicate his life to Martial Arts. His continuing tutelage from mentor, friend, and Hall-of-Famer GSP, and one of the best and most prolific striking coaches of all time, Firas Zihabi. Not to mention the knowledge, experience, and resources of Tri-Star gym, in its entirety, behind him…

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When it comes down to it, Wonderboy has the flashy effective technique, a very aesthetically pleasing style. While MacDonald possesses the deadly-crisp, accurate, and technically perfect method of destruction, reminiscent of GSP, his mentor, with a jab that seemingly reaches to the other side of the octagon.

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It’s extremely possible for Wonderboy to continue his streak, it’s just all about how he responds to truly taking damage and dealing with systematic pressure, because Rory is undoubtedly going to land shots…

For this fight I truly have no favorite…

I think there’s a chance that Thompson will possibly come out with a win, but he will absolutely take SOME damage in this fight, he will face accuracy and speed like never before, and he will have to deal with a style and caliber fighter very much unlike his last several contests…

This should be a FANTASTIC matchup. This fight has more potential to end in a knockout than possibly any other fight this year! It will be a “Striker’s Delight”!!

 

All photos courtesy of the UFC; ORION Pictures; MGM Holdings.

 

 

UFC 196 recap: “As I said, you can’t underestimate a Diaz!”

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    UFC 196 this past Saturday did NOT disappoint! We were treated to a plethora of great performances, including two of the most shocking upsets in recent history (with the exception of Rousey vs. Holm).

    The “Main Event”, which in case you live under a rock, was quite possibly one of the biggest fights ever. Pitting one of the most dynamic and outspoken fighters ever, Conor McGregor, against one of the toughest, most technical boxers, and potentially one of the best Jiu-jitsu artists in the game, Nate Diaz.

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    As the fighters approached the Octagon it was blatantly obvious to see that McGregor was in a sort-of celebratory mood, smiling, laughing, engaging the fans. While Diaz was clearly mentally ready for war with his signature mean mugg, ready to “kill or be killed” as he likes to say.

    Prior to the start of the fight, during Bruce Buffer’s introduction, Conor could be seen strolling around near the center of the Octagon, jawing at Nate, saying “you’re too small boy”, and “you’re too skinny”, laughing, trying to get one last mental jab in. Unfortunately for him, which was made crystal clear the day before at the weigh-ins, Nate appeared to be in Conor’s head…

    As round 1 got underway it was overtly clear that Nate was pacing himself, figuring out the timing of McGregor, and trying to keep him at distance. On the other hand, McGregor was going almost strictly for knockout shots which is nothing new for Nate. He’s fought, and beaten, some of the hardest hitters in the game, like Melvin Guillard, & Rory MacDonald(at 170lbs), etc,….
     Conor has never fought anyone like Nate. He’s never had to deal with the caliber boxer, nobody as natural a jiu-jitsu ace, and nobody as physically and mentally durable as a Diaz brother before. Whereas, like I said in my pre-fight article, Nate has fought the best of the best at a couple different weight divisions. He’s dealt with adversity, he’s been knocked down, he’s been on his back with a superior grappler.

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    Round 1 clearly belonged to McGregor as he successfully displayed his unique striking style, landing his left hand numerous times, and although not connecting, he did show a variety of kicks as well. In the clinch and on the ground, as short lived as the time was, CLEARLY favored Nate and his length, where he also appeared physically stronger.

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    As round 1 came to a close and the fighters returned to their corners Nate was cut up and bleeding a little, Conor had a few small welts on his face and body, but Conor, with his hands on his hips, was noticeably straining to regain his breath. Diaz’s corner men were clearly emotionally charged, throwing all kinds of advice his way, frantically rubbing ice on him and trying to close the cut above his right eye.

… And then, it happened…

    While Nate’s corner men were running around like crazy, throwing all kinds of strategy at him, he calmly looked over at the camera, and smiled…. And at that moment all TRUE Diaz fans knew that the fight was about to actually begin…

    As the 2nd round commenced there was a candidly different bounce in Nate’s step. Conor, fully recovered, continued with the head-hunting, continued throwing and looking for the big shots. Nate, having acquired Conor’s timing, started landing 2 and 3 punch combos, seemingly at will, and he even managed to land 6 or 7 “Stockton Slaps”.

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    Conor attempted to clinch, where he was immediately backed up to the cage and systematically picked apart by the knees and fists of Diaz, while he trash talked Conor. Although McGregor managed to cut Diaz with a glancing left hand, it only seemed to further motivate him…
“Thop, thop,..thop…” Nate starts to connect with that heavy 70% jab that you can just feel through the TV screen.

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Then Nate lands 2 consecutive 3punch combos, the jab, straight, and that wonderful long, seemigly delayed, right hook that catches people like Wonderboy’s head kick, lands flush on Conor, and you see his eyes drop as he slowly attempts to retreat…

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Nate Diaz, like a predator going-in for the kill, throws his hands up to taunt Conor, shouting “WHAT, motherfucker”, and proceeds to walk Conor down, landing that jab, and a rocked McGregor shoots for the takedown…. He fulfilled his own prophecy, he had “Become a panicked grappler”

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Nate IMMEDIATELY put him in a power guillotine, Conor rolled onto his side, and Nate sliced through, and like Joe Rogan said “Like fire through bushes”, took the mount, landed punches, McGregor attempted to roll out, and gave up his back. Like the world-class BJJ black belt Nate is he sunk in the hooks, and beautifully punched Conor’s head into place to synch in the choke, and it was all over…

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Diaz jumps up, like a medieval warrior with his face covered in blood, flexing both biceps, basking in the victory that he’d just beaten out of that seemingly invincible superstar, Conor McGregor.

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You can see the full fight HERE at MMA-CORE.com

Leave a comment as to what you think should be next for each fighter. Should Conor fight RDA or Frankie Edgar? Should Diaz stay at 170lbs and fight Robbie Lawler, or should he go back down to 155lbs, his natural weight class, and fight for a title?….. Thanks for reading and I look forward to your opinions.