Monday, December 24, 2007

A Collection of News Haiku II

1. Eddie Alvarez/ jumps the sinking Bodog ship./ Boss Calvin Ayre weeps. 2. Poor, poor IFL -/ their Grand Prix is a big mess./ Sell your stock soon bro! 3. Fedor will fight a/ tomato can. Surprise! Pride/ never really died. 4. Big John McCarthy/ finally calls it quits. There/ goes a legend, folks.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Who Fights at the UCL? That's a Damn Good Question

Accessibility. That's what it's all about when it comes to fighters competing in NYC's Underground Combat League instead of trekking across the Hudson and taking a sanctioned bout in New Jersey (where the MMA scene is huge). So who competes at these shows? Aside from the random street fighter, wrestling champ, or ringer who's racked up dozens of jiu-jitsu privates and practiced them on his roommate, there are a number of schools who've made their presence known. Here are some recent offenders: New Generation Karate- Don't let the name fool you. These "karate" guys have proven to be badass submission grapplers, as evidenced by 172-pounder Josh Camdon and 204-pounder Lance McDwyer totally handling their opponents before tapping them out. Vamos Jiu-Jitsu- 174-pound James Funaro was smooth as hell this past Sunday, which is a good indication that these guys are doing something right at this Long Island school. PIT/Katsugo-Ryu/Musuko- These locals all come to scrap, and are responsible for some real crowd-pleasing battles - especially at the last event, where the 158-pound Angel Flores went to war. Rhino Fight Team- Do I really need to say anything about one of the top MMA teams in the Northeast? Team United/Kaizen Karate-Do- Headed by 185-pounder Mike Mullero, these dudes have stepped up and faced some tough fighters, proving that they're there to scrap no matter what. Of course there are others, like the boys from American Freestyle or the KTFO gym, but you get the point. New Yorkers in the hizzouse!

Monday, December 17, 2007

NYC's Underground Combat League Still Going Strong

The UCL's latest incarnation, "Black Sunday", featured nine bouts in a packed venue. It's safe to say this underground show was the best one yet.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Who's Worthy of Busting Some Heads at the January 25th EliteXC Show in Atlantic City?

EliteXC is coming to the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on January 25th. So, who among the ranks of competitors in the Garden State MMA scene is worthy of busting some heads in one of the biggest promotions outside of the UFC? Who could dethrone 160-pound champ KJ Noons, put a hurting on Murilo Rua, or send Paul Daley back to England with his teeth in a glass of milk? (See MMA Journalist's November 13th post "Who Should Jake Shields Fight?" on who would kick Shield's ass.) Without question, grappling studs Jim Miller and Deividas Taurosevicius would have little trouble tearing off Noons' arm and beating him over the head with it. The same can be said for recent ROC tournament champion Brian McLaughlin - and I'm going to go out on a limb and add Jim Bova and Tim Troxell to that list (although Troxell might be a little light). As for "Ninja" Rua, well, ROC tournament winner Ricardo Romero, slugger Josh Rhodes and wrestler-turned-brawler Tim Boetsch could all pound the crap out of the Brazilian wherever the fight goes. And Daley? That one's a no-brainer: Lyman Good would out-strike and out-grapple the Brit. Mr. Daley would literally have no teeth left after three rounds. Yes, the EliteXC matchmakers should have no trouble finding suitable opponents for their roster of fighters.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Observations from My Couch: TUF 6 Finale

-Despite a far from memorable season, these "Ultimate Fighter" finales can really deliver when it comes to action and excitement. Is there a way we can just skip the boring TUF episodes and go straight to the finales? -Mac Danzig defeated Tommy Speer to become this season's Ultimate Fighter. God, I miss the days when those TUF bouts were even remotely competitive. -Clay Guida is the most talented and skilled Neanderthal to ever set foot in the Octagon. When he learns to use complex tools (such as the speed bag and the double-ended bag), he will be a major threat to the more-evolved UFC fighters. -Roger Huerta is the real deal. I don't really have anything witty or sarcastic to add to that statement. -Sean Sherk is officially stripped of his belt and officiating icon Big John McCarthy announces his retirement. And what was the grand announcement Dana White made at the end of the show? Apparently, White saved a ton of money on his car insurance by switching to Geico.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tom Gallicchio to Stomp a Hole in Rory Markham's Chest, Jersey-Style

New Jersey wrestler-turned-mixed martial artist Tom Gallicchio will be facing Rory Markham at the December 29th IFL Grand Prix Finals at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. Gallicchio, who will be replacing Dan Miller for this preliminary bout, is an accomplished fighter from the Garden State circuit, and sports a shiny Battle Cage Xtreme championship belt thanks to his grappling and ground-and-skills. Expect the Rhino Fight Team scrapper to put the Miletich-trained fighter on his back early and beat on him mercilessly.

Josh Gross Gets it Right

It's hard sometimes to capture what the true story is, especially when the facts are big and ugly and slap you in the face. Sam Vasquez's death had big, ugly facts slapping you in the face - he died as a result of a sanctioned MMA bout, making him the first MMA death on US soil. But veteran journalist Josh Gross over at got it right. In his article "Ronin's Angel", Gross goes to great lengths to paint a picture of how Vasquez lived, not how he died. And it's a tribute worthy of the first fallen warrior in this still relatively-new sport. Check it out.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

No Shame in Second Place at ROC 17

On Friday, Brian McLauglin, Charlie Brenneman, Mike Massenzio and Ricardo Romero kicked ass and took home championship belts in each of their respective weight classes at the ROC 17: "Beasts of the Northeast" tournament. But something needs to be said about the men they beat to earn those top honors, something like, "Damn, Dave Sachs sure was tough." Or, "Jesus, Mark Berraciol took a lickin' yet kept coming back for more." For while there's usually no recognition for taking second place in an MMA bout, there's certainly no shame in it - especially when that competitor who came away defeated put up one hell of a fight. Sure, Lance Everson and John Doyle fell short, but they crushed everyone en route to that final bout. And Everson and Doyle, as well as Sachs and Berraciol, will most certainly be crushing people again when they return to the ring.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sam Vasquez: 1972-2007

Sam Vasquez - the Texas-based fighter who lapsed into a coma after his October 20th Renegades Extreme Fighting bout - died on Friday, becoming the first MMA competitor to die as a result of a regulated MMA event. MMA Journalist expresses its deepest condolences to the Vasquez family.