Monday, February 23, 2015

Metamoris Mega Match Forecast

Metamoris is a professional grappling organization which holds submission only matches on a square mat. Athletes are allowed to wear gi pants, full tights, wrestling shoes, knee pads and rashguards during the 20 minute round. Each event so far has had consisted of 6 bouts, consisting of BJJ superstars, current/former MMA stars and fantasy match-ups.

After seeing the mega-star match-ups of Eddie Bravo v. Royler Gracie, Andre Galvao v. Chael Sonnen and Dean Lister v. Josh Barnett, Metamoris 5 featured MMA pioneers Renzo Gracie and Kazushi Sakuraba. The pair were involved in an epic battle at Pride 10 which saw awesome scrambles for position with Sakuraba eventually latching on a fight ending kimura. The grappling match didn't quite prove to be as entertaining as it was nostalgic.


With many pioneers of MMA retired or retiring, Metamoris is an event to give them an outlet for competition while promoting grappling. Who are some of the other legendary former fighters and what match-ups are possible? I've conjured up a few interesting names below, ranked from most likely to least likely to compete:

Matt Hughes- the former UFC welterweight champ and UFC HOF'er is rumored to be grappling Renzo Gracie in ADCC in 2015. A former Eastern Illinois wrestler, Hughes placed 5th in the NCAA tournament in 1997. In the ADCC he has defeated Jeremy Horn and Ricardo Almeida, while losing in absolute matches to Tito Ortiz and Jeff Monson. He was known for power slams in MMA, slamming is illegal from the top position in Metamoris. Interesting bouts for Hughes would be against BJ Penn, Frank Trigg, Carlos Newton, Royce Gracie or GSP. Hughes compiled an MMA record of 45-9 with 18 submission victories.


Randy Couture- the former HW and LHW UFC champ and UFC HOF'er has been on the outs with Dana White since his decision to coach on Bellator's Fight Master reality show. Couture is a 2X runner-up NCAA champ, multiple time Greco Olympic alternate and won a Greco Pan Am Games Gold in 1991. Couture was awarded a black belt in Neil Melanson's No Gi submission wrestling system following his arm triangle of James Toney. Couture had an epic battle with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in 2009 and a rematch would make sense. It would be cool to see a rematch against Enson Inoue. The blockbuster would be a bout against former Pride superstar Fedor Emelienenko.


BJ Penn- the former LW and WW champ retired from MMA following his TKO loss to Frankie Edgar, but may still have a drive to compete. BJ was awarded his BJJ Black belt in 2000 by Andre Pederneiras. He won gold at the IBJFF World Championships in 2000, has won a World Jiu Jitsu Championship. There are several former MMA opponents that would lend themselves to huge match-ups, such as Matt Hughes, Rodrigo Gracie, Renzo Gracie and perhaps even GSP. The big X-factor would be whether or not BJ wants to train.


Masakatsu Funaki- The co-founder of Pancrase, Funaki began fighting in 1993, last fighting to a draw against Volk Han in 2012. A two time King of Pancrase winner, Funaki started off in professional wrestling and last took part in a 2013 Wrestle-1 show. While some of the early Pancrase fights were a little suspect, Funaki holds submission wins over Bas Rutten, Frank Shamrock, Guy Mezger and Yuki Kondo. Potential match-ups could include bouts with Sakuraba, Frank Shamrock, Minowaman and Bas Rutten.


Ricardo Arona- At 13-0 in ADCC competition including 3 tournament championships, Arona last competed in MMA in 2009 defeating Marvin Eastman via decision. Arona would win a Rings middleweight title and become a Pride superstar with his performance at the 2005 MW Grand Prix. He holds wins over Wanderlei Silva, Jeremy Horn, Dan Henderson, Sakuraba and Alistair Overeem. Match-ups could include an MMA rematch with Dean Lister or ADCC rematches against Ricardo Almeida or Babalu Sobral.


Carlos Newton- A legend of Canadian MMA, Newton is an IBJJF 3rd Degree Renzo Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt under coach Terry Riggs. While retiring from MMA following a decision loss to Brian Ebersole, Newton has remained active in running Warrior MMA. Newton versus Kazushi Sakuraba in Pride 3 remains one of the most thrilling grappling based MMA contests. Newton won the UFC championship with a bulldog choke submission over Pat Miletich at UFC 31, only to be controversially slam KO'd to lose the belt at UFC 34. Some maintain that Hughes was asleep for the slam. He had other career wins over Erik Paulsen, Daijiro Matsui, Jose Landi-Jons, Renzo Gracie and Pete Spratt. Interesting match-ups would include a rematches with Sakuraba, Paulsen(who probably has a weight advantage), Renzo Gracie or Matt Hughes.


Genki Sudo- With flair and charisma to spare, Sudo was one of the most entertaining and unorthodox fighters to ever enter an MMA arena. Sudo has career submission victories over Nate Marquardt, Mike Thomas Brown, Kazuyuki Miyata and Hiroyuki Takaya, and KO'd Royler Gracie. In 2010 he received his BJJ black belt from Naoyoshi Watanabe at Triforce Academy, and was lightening fast in transition. Re-matches with Mike Thomas Brown, Kid Yamamoto or Royler Gracie make sense.


Fedor Emelianenko- Perhaps the greatest fighter of all-time, Fedor retired from MMA in 2012 following a KO win over Pedro Rizzo. Fedor has taken part in many Combat Sambo tournaments over the years, winning multiple gold medals in the Russian and World championships. He also has a bronze medal in Russian Judo Championships. Fedor accumulated 16 submission victories among his 34 total victories, submitting Tim Sylvia, Matt Lindland, Mark Hunt, Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman during his MMA career. Obvious roadblocks to his potential entrance include his fee, potential co-promoting with his old management team M-1 and whether or not he has interest. Match-ups could include Randy Couture, Josh Barnett, Antonio Nogueira and Mark Coleman.


Royce Gracie- The face of the early UFC and one of the reasons the UFC exists today, Royce and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu revolutionized fighting as we know it today. Royce captured the UFC 1, 2 and 4 tournament titles notching submission wins over Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn and Kimo Leopoldo. He was TKO'd by Sakuraba at Pride GP 2000 and won a rematch via decision in 2007. For the 2007 fight, Royce was failed a drug test for Nandrolone. A 6th degree black belt, it appears that he will be content with running his California schools and teaching private lessons. A rematch with Matt Hughes or Sakuraba makes sense.



Rickson Gracie- An 8th degree red and black belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu and sporting a 12-0 MMA record, Rickson claimed to be undefeated in over 400 bouts. He acheived much notierity for the documentery Choke, which followed him as he prepared for Vale Tudo Japan tournament. A son of the legendery Helio Gracie, his son Kron Gracie tapped out Shinya Aoki and Otavio Sousa at the first and second Metamoris events. Any competitor over fifty would be a good one for Rickson, such as Dan Severn, though the odds of him returning are slim to none.


*GSP was not included due to his knee ailments. Was on the fence with Mark Coleman, Ken Shamrock, Kevin Randleman, Shane Carwin and Mark Kerr, but they might be too injured to return to a competition like this. I'd also say Dan Severn, but he is 56 years old. Frank Mir and Antonio Nogueira each may retire following their rumored UFC match-up, this type of event would be perfect for them. Lesnar probably would want way more money than Metamoris could offer and this might not be the right type of event for him.

Best Champions The UFC Needs

Without a doubt, the UFC holds the vast majority of talent in MMA. However, some legit rising fighters exist outside the UFC who should get a shot in the UFC. I've left off Jake Shields and Rouisimar Palhares, as I think more time needs to pass for either to get a shot back at the UFC. I just don't forsee Cyborg making 135 pounds in the UFC, so I left her off.

Here is a look at the top 10.

1. Ben Askren (14-0) the NCAA champ and Olympic wrestler has been devasting his last 4 bouts earning 3 TKO's and a 1st round arm triangle submission. The current One FC welterweight champ next defends his title against Bellator veteran Luis Santos (61-9). Askren had contract discussions with the UFC, but no offer was officially made and One FC offered Askren good money. With a few fights still on his contract, Askren won't hit the market in the near future. With the best wrestling at 170 and increasingly good submission skills, Askren can compete with anyone in the top 10 right now.


2. Marcin "Tybur" Tybura (11-0)- The Polish HW and BJJ black belt has 5 submissions and 4 TKO's on his resume. The M-1 HW Champ seems to be at his best when he throws a few punches, backs his opponent against the fence and works a takedown. From there, Tybura has a solid submission game from top position and uses ground and pound to set up submissions. Tybura's contract status with M-1 could be murky with a champions clause. Tybura hasn't fought since his 1st round submission of hot prospect Denis Smoldarev (11-1). With an aging HW division, the 29 year old Tybura would fit in well as he is in his prime.

3. Justin Gaeje (13-0)- The 26 year old former wrestler has been dominant as WSOF's 155 pound champion. He last defended the title with a close split decision win over Melvin Guillard in his most lackluster performance to date. Prior to that fight, he had 7 straight T/KO's including a 1st round TKO over JZ Cavalcante and 2nd round TKO's over Dan Lauzon and Nick Newell. Gaethje is on his 6th WSOF fight.

4. Shinya Aoki (37-6)- The insane submission specialist is One FC's current 155 pound champion. He last fought on NYE in Inoki Bom Ba Ye, submitting Yuki Yamamoto with a rare twister. He has won 7 straight since a TKO loss to Eddie Alvarez in Bellator. Aoki may be resistant to a move for the US based UFC, as he has gone just 1-2 stateside. Aoki has career wins over Rich Clementi, Kamal Shalorus, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Lyle Beerbohm and Joachim Hansen. At 31 years old and having been TKO'd 4 times in MMA and once in kickboxing, time is not on Aoki's side.

5. Patricio Friere (23-2)- Bellator's 145 pound champ has been on a tear since a narrow split decision loss to Pat Curran at Bellator 85. Winner of season 4 and 9's featherweight tournaments, Friere won a decision over Pat Curran for the title and defended by submitting Daniel Strauss. He also has KO wins over UFC vets Diego Nunes and Wilson Reis.

6. Will Brooks (15-1)- The tenacious wrestler won Bellator's season 9 LW tourney and followed it up with a split decision win over Michael Chandler, then TKO'd Chandler in the rematch. With 8 career Bellator fights, Brooks loyalty might be with the organization. Brooks next fights Dave Jansen at Bellator 136.

7. Jessica Aguilar (19-4)- The current WSOF 115 pound champion has won 10 straight since a questionable split decision loss to Zolia Gurgel in Bellator. Generally ranked #1-2 in the world at 115, Aguilar holds a split decision win over UFC 115 champ Carla Esparza which took place on 6/25/11 in Bellator. Aguilar holds decision wins over Megumi Fujii, Emi Fujino and Lisa Ellis in her career, with a sub over judo expert Alida Gray. Aguilar's solid grappling would give anyone in the 115 pound division trouble.

8. Vitaly Minakov (14-0)- Bellator’s reigning HW champion has not fought much lately. With a background in Sambo, he knocked out countryman Alexander Volkov to win the Bellator belt in November 2013 and then defended with a decision win over UFC vet Cheick Kongo in April. With crisp boxing to go along with black belt judo, Minakov would be a welcome addition. Questions have arisen due to the long layoff whether Minakov is injured or if he is dealing with contractual issues.

9. Marlon Moraes (14-4)- the WSOF 135 pound champ has won 9 straight fights, defeating former WEC champ Miguel Torres, TUF vet Cody Bollinger and Josh Hill(then 10-0). With Dominick Cruz's career likely over, Moraes would look good on the roster. The 26 year old is 1-2 fights into his new WSOF deal which is a multi-fight, multi-year deal.

10. Emanuel Newton (25-7)- Bellator's 205 pound champ has been hot since a narrow split decision loss to Atila Vegh in 2012. The Hardcore Kid would win the Bellator Season 8 light heavyweight tournament, avenge his split decision loss against Atila Vegh to capture the title, then defended against Joey Beltran and Linton Vassell. Newton deploys some unorthodox striking techniques, and has taken out King Mo and Beltran with spinning backfists. Newton's will defend his title next against 6'6" Liam McGeery at Bellator 134.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Video of the Day - Rousey v. Budd

Here is the current 135 pound women's champ Ronda Rousey fighting Julia Budd at Strikeforce - Challengers 20, which took place on 11/18/11 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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(Ronda Rousey pictured)

Rousey (10-0, 4-0 UFC) will defend her bantamweight title against Cat Zingano (9-0, 1-0 UFC) at UFC 184.

Video of the Day - Damm v. Zingano

Here is Cat Zingano fighting Carina Damm at Crowbar MMA - Winter Brawl which occured on 12/10/10 in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Zingano (9-0) next fights Ronda Rousey (10-0) at UFC 184.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Video of the Day - Aoki v. Yamamoto

Here is Shinya Aoki fighting Yuki Yamamoto at IGF Inoki Bom Ba Ye 2014 which took place on 12/31/14 in Tokyo, Japan.

Aoki, the One FC lightweight champ, has won 7 straight since his TKO loss to Eddie Alvarez in Bellator.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Weird MMA

MMA has definitely had some interesting, weird and bizarre story lines and figures since the UFC, Shooto and Pancrase started the modern MMA movement. Here are a few:

Steven Seagal: This 60 year-old action movie star and 7th-dan black belt in Aikido, has found his way into MMA history by aligning himself with UFC champion and legend Anderson Silva and former champ Lyoto Machida. Surprisingly, Seagal stated that he would fight Randy Couture in a street fight with no rules and no witnesses. He has also implied a possible confrontation with Jean Claude Van Damme.

After training for one session (or so) with the now plump Seagal, Anderson Silva unleashed a front kick straight down the pipe to the face of Vitor Belfort at UFC 126. Lyoto Machida then added a jump to his Karate Kid style front kick to KO Randy Couture at UFC 129. Despite the front kick being taught on virtually all levels of Karate and Tae Kwon Do, Seagal took credit for both insanely awesome KO's.

Anderson did say Seagal learned the move from Seagal at the post fight of UFC 126. Bizarre interviews and videos later, and the exact merits of Seagal's contributions are certainly in question.


Joe Son: The diminutive Asian first appeared at UFC 3 as the manager of Kimo. He then took to the octagon himself at UFC 4, infamously carrying into the arena a massive cross bigger than himself. Moments later he was taking multiple punches to the cup from Keith Hackney which were legal at the time. Three more losses including two bizarre ones in Pride and Joe Son's MMA career was done at 0-4. He next appeared in a couple movies, including that of Random Task in Austin Powers.

Then it got really crazy for the inventor of Josondo. In October of 2008, Joe Son pled guilty to vandalism and as part of his plea deal gave a DNA sample. The sample linked him to a 1990 gang rape for which he was convicted of felony torture and sentenced to life. While in prison, Son allegedly killed his cellmate, a convicted sex offender.


Charles "Krazy Horse" or "Kid Khaos" Bennett: This self "trained" fighter has certainly made a name for himself in the martial arts world, helped by his power right hand and odd antics. From facial contortions to the camera before the fight, not shaking hands, back flips off the top of the cage, celebrations mid fight, and double push kicks off the corner post, you never quite know what Bennett will do in the ring.

Outside the ring, Bennett also made a name for himself. He has been arrested on drug charges in 2000 and assault charges in 2007. He also was famously in a brawl with Christian Marcello following his win in Pride over Ken Kaneko, which led to Bennett being choked unconscious.

Bennett is still fighting to this day, owning 1st round KO's over KJ Noons, Yoshiro Maeda and Shad Smith. Odds that he ever makes it to the big show again are slim, but odds are he will keep entertaining crowds in the regional circuit for a couple more years.
Krazy Horse Pictures, Images and Photos

Jason "Mayhem" Miller: With his gang of "Mayhem Monkeys" the quirky Jason Miller conquered the art of self promotion in MMA. First using Myspace, then Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler and any other social media he can find he has built a following and odd antics. He has also engaged in plenty of interesting walk-out's before fights, including dancing with Japanese school girls.

All that led Mayhem into getting his own TV show, Bully Beatdown; a TUF coaching gig; a role in the Kevin James movie "Here Comes the Boom" and several other appearances. His personality also led him into one of the most infamous MMA brawls in history at Strikeforce: Nashville when Miller entered the cage during Jake Shields post fight interview. The Diaz brothers and Gilbert Melendez ended up getting the better of him.

With striped hair and a fighting style that usually focuses on grappling, Mayhem has picked up several big wins in his career, defeating Robbie Lawler, Tim Kennedy, Niko Vitale and an aging Sakuraba.

Legal trouble has also popped up for Mayhem, with simple assault and false imprisonment charges in August of 2011. After losing two straight in the UFC, Mayhem was found naked in a church after spraying a fire extinguisher and arrested. A very bizarre interview followed on "The MMA Hour" with Ariel Helwani, where Mayhem referred to himself as "Lucky Patrick." Mayhem has yet again found his way into trouble, being charged with corporal injury of a spouse following his domestic violence charges.


Tiger Mask and Minowaman: Japan's Tiger Mask wrestling persona is legendary in the land of the rising sun. The manga anime styled cartoon was a hit for Japanese kids, featuring a wrestler who is originally is a villain in America who comes back to Japan to become a hero.

The cartoon character was brought to the real professional wrestling arena by Satoru Sayama. After three other Tiger Mask's, Dream's "Super Hulk" champion, Ikuhisu "Minowaman" Minowa has taken the reigns as the 5th Tiger Mask. Minowaman, an MMA veteran since 1996, is a character in his own right, exclusively wearing pro-wrestling speedos in the ring while donning a mullet haircut. Wins usually result in fist pumps that the crowd repeats back.

In the real MMA world, Minowaman has defeated several giants in MMA including Jimmy Ambriz, Bob Sapp, Hong Man Choi, Butterbean, Gilbert Yvel and Errol Zimmerman. Against the big boys, Minowaman (54-34) usually goes for a leg lock, though his biggest win came from a big KO against Sokoudjou to capture the Super Hulk crown.


The television show "Iron Ring:" With the Ultimate Fighter doing so well in the ratings for Spike TV, BET decided in 2008 that they should throw their hat into the MMA reality show business. Instead of finding 16 legit prospects, putting them in a house and having them fight for a tournament championship, they went for a little more of the entertainment factor.

They decided to have teams, coached by an MMA "personality" with a "celebrity" as an owner. What resulted were teams like the Floyd Mayweather's "Money Mayweather Boys," "Team Luda," "Team Nelly," "Team Dipset," T.I.'s "Team Grand Hustle" and Lil Jon's "Headbusters." Some coaches were legit, like The coaches include UFC vet Shonie Carter (Lil John), Pride/Elite XC vet Krazy Horse Bennett (TI), UFC vet Roberto Traven (Mayweather) and UFC vet Jermaine Andre (Nelly). But, there were some that were plain odd like Abdul Mutakabbir (Luda)(Inventor of S.W.A.M.) and Novell G. Bell (Dipset)(Claims to have trained in Asia).

The editing of the show was all over the place with soundbites, jump cuts and ridiculousness. Pretty sure that most of the celebrity coaches were inebriated for most of the filming, who mostly wanted to just see someone knocked out. Jamie Yager eventually won the 185 division, Josh Gaskins the 170 divsion and Ron "Abongo" Humphrey took the heavyweight crown. $100,000 was initially declared the prize money, but nobody really knows how it was divided.

The UFC "Superfight" Champ: In the sports early days, mixed martial arts was "no holds barred" fighting with limited rules, no rounds, no gloves and little thought of weight divisions. One night tournaments were the norm.

Being more "Super" than any other sport, the best in the UFC fought for the "Super" Fight Championship belt rather than a heavyweight championship. Ken Shamrock fought Royce Gracie to a draw at UFC 5 for the inaugural belt. Shamrock then won the superfight belt over Dan Severn at UFC 6. Severn won the belt at UFC 9, then lost to Mark Coleman at UFC 12 as the belt was officially changed to "heavyweight."

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Video of the Day - Minowaman v. Tanner

Here is former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner fighting Ikuhisa "Minowaman" Minowa in Pancrase - 1998 NeoBlood Tournament Opening Round which took place on 7/7/98 in Tokyo, Japan.

Evan Tanner (32-8) passed away after a trip to the dessert west of Palo Verde, California. Tanner would go on to win the Neo Blood tournament and enter the UFC where he became a champion. Fighting from heavyweight to 185 he has career wins over Justin McCulley, Heath Herring, Paul Buentello, Phil Baroni, Robbie Lawler and David Terrell.