Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rest in Peace Jeff Blatnick

The sport of MMA lost one of its pioneers today, and I lost a friend.  Jeff Blatnick passed away due to complications from heart surgery - a sudden turn of events that has left those who knew him shocked and saddened.  Here's the piece I wrote on him for CagePotato.  Rest in peace, Jeff.  You will be missed.

November Bouts That Will Bring the Awesome

Howdy folks.  Yes, it's been a while.  But if absence makes the heart grow fonder, you must fucking love me now.  Anyway, October hasn't had much to offer by way of local fights, but November... November is going to be a doozy.  ("Doozy"?  Who talks like that?)  So what bouts should you care about?  Glad you asked.  The following list contains the ones I predict will bring the awesome.
  • Chris Liguori vs. Luiz Azeredo, CFFC 19, November 3 in Atlantic City - "The Story" gets a crack at a Cage Fury Fighting Championship belt, and the UFC vet with a million fights will be clashing with a PRIDE vet with a million fights to earn that strap.  Liguori pretty much brings it all, and in Azeredo he'll be facing a guy who literally puts the "Brazilian" in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
  • Artur Rofi vs. Lester Caslow, CFFC 19, November 3 in Atlantic City - You know you're getting old when Caslow has evolved from young buck to grizzled veteran and newer, younger bucks are in line to beat him for a championship title.  But I am old, and a title is on the line here and the newer, younger buck in question is Rofi, who's been employing incredibly sharp and incredibly frenetic jiu-jitsu to put opponents away quick.  This bout has got "awesome" written all over it in big, bold letters.
  • DJ vs. Mike from Harlem, MUSU, November 10 in New York City - Manup Standup's brand of kung fu-flavored underground fighting has really grown on me, and this installment will be headlined by a clash between reigning champ DJ and challenger Mike from Harlem.  DJ is tall, lanky and reps Baguezhang (which makes him kind of a "stick and mover"), while Mike is a bull and a Jeet Kune Do stylist whose last few wins have all come by submission.  DJ took the decision the first time they met when Mike gassed (to be fair, Mike had fought two or three times in the two hours leading up to the bout), so this match-up's got storyline.
  • Jay Matias vs. Cody Moberly, Muay Thai at the Mecca, November 10 in New York City - Despite the fact that Matias beat my boy Doug Ahammer (a.k.a. "Lionheart" of the UCL), he's still a likable and ultra-talented Muay Thai fighter.  At Take-On's second show at Madison Square Garden, he'll be facing some kid from Kansas, so expect some Wizard of Oz and Toto jokes from me on Twitter that night.
  • Ryan LaFlare vs. James Brasco, ROC 43, November 16 in Atlantic City - I don't know nor do I care who Brasco is, but LaFlare is an elite badass mofo and former ROC champ who's been sidelined with an injury for the past couple years and is finally making his return, and fuck yeah!  LaFlare's got killer jiu-jitsu, knockout boxing, and an unblemished record that goes all the way back to a UCL fight in Queens.  Did I already say "fuck yeah"?  'Cause I'd like to stress that.
  • Greg Soto vs. Elijah Harshbarger, ROC 43, November 16 in Atlantic City - Soto is a UFC vet and former CFFC champ, and he's been a dominant force in the Northeast scene since back when Ed Hsu was promoting shows (which is practically ancient history).  Harshbarger is a tough cat who very nearly put away Pete Sell, so this one should be pretty rough and tumble - up to the point where Soto tears out Harshbarger's spine and yells "Fatality!"
  • Deividas Taurosevicius vs. Frank Caraballo, ROC 43, November 16 in Atlantic City - If I remind you that DT has fought in everything from the IFL to the WEC and is a ROC champ, I'd just be rehashing the same old same old, so let me just reiterated that the dude is awesome.  Caraballo is supposedly some killer from Ohio, but DT... DT is a stud.
  • Peter Storm vs. Jonathan Rodriguez, UCL, Sorry I can't tell you where or when - The man behind the UCL will be pitting his judo top game against the top-notch jiu-jitsu stylings of Rodriguez, and if their back and forth on Facebook is of any indication, there's some serious beef going into this bout (like, a full Texas Longhorn, all mooing and shit).  Hey, as long as the heat is confined to the ring and no one in the audience is hit by stray gunfire, it should be great.  But isn't that true of any MMA show?