Upcoming Grappling Events in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Beyond for 04/2012

Here’s what I got, let me know what I’m missing.

Also, it takes a really long time to actually type out the details. Just click the links and save me the effort.

03/31/2012: MatMania (Rosemount, MN) HERE

04/14/2012: St. Croix Valley Grappling Games (Hudson, WI)  HERE

04/14/2012: Combat Corners Volume 9 (Milwaukee, WI)  HERE

04/21/2012: NAGA Chicago (Chicago, Il)  HERE

05/05/2012: Submission Hunt (Champlin, MN)  HERE

08/18/2012: NAGA Illinois

11/02/2012: NAGA Midwest Championships

Why Your BJJ Game Is S***. Part 1

You just can’t figure it out, can you? For some reason your game has plateaued. You keep finding yourself going for the same sweeps, the same passes, the same weak-a** subs. The guys at the gym all see them coming. The guys at the tournaments aren’t fooled for a second.

What the f*** are you doing wrong?

Believe me, I have asked myself this question more than a few times over the years and it took until recently for me to get a little perspective on the situation.

Finally, I sat down and took a look at the top BJJ competitors over the last decade and complied a list of things that most of us are doing wrong.

Really wrong.

This is the first part in a series that will go on as long as I want it to. Which is to say: until I get bored.

Reason 1: Get your ink.

Oh, you think that I am wrong? You think that there is no correlation between having tattoos and success in BJJ?

Let me ask 2005 ADCC Gold Medalist Jeff Monson.

Not convinced? Okay, let me ask 2010 Absolute No Gi World Champ Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu…

I get bonus points for finding a pic of him working over Monson.

Still nothing?

How about 2011 ADCC Absolute Champ Andre Galvao

Or one of my favorites 2011 ADCC Bronze Medalist Jeff Glover:

Now, I’m not saying that you HAVE to get a tattoo to be good at BJJ. I’m saying that there is mountains of empirical evidence to suggest that the addition of ink to the surface of the skin has a direct correlation with your game getting better.

Your sweeps will be flawless. Your passes with by ethereal. Your submissions will be devastating.

Just sayin’. It’s pretty obvious. Not sure why it isn’t a requirement just to get your blue.

Worst MMA Leg Injury EVER!!!

Yeah, it really is. Sure you want to see this?

Remember, I warned you before that Torres pic of the guys toe that was almost ripped off. You might not have believed me the first time.

Are you still sure you want to see this?

Really sure?

It might change those sad little dreams of being a cage fighter…

Okay… fine…

Jesus, I’ve seen that five times and I still almost s*** my pants.

Can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Downtown Showdown (3/3/2012) Results

So, I’ve slept on it, had some time to think over what I was going to say, had half a bottle of Tums, Pepto, Migraine medicine and two cups of coffee…though not all of that was needed for the hangover, but I’ll get to that later.
Let’s just get right into this s***, you’d be surprised how long it actually takes to type this and the coffee is shooting through me like a glass of water in Cancun.
Amateur Fights:
James Clark (5-3) Crystal Fight Club VS. John Melina (1-1) The Academy
As the night of fights starts, Melina enters to what sounds like an Irish drinking song, which is appropriate as the fights are starting at 8:30, an hour later than anticipated and I’m pretty tanked.
Round 1: Clark lands an immediate double leg take down, but Melina gets back to his feet, defending a weak guillotine. Melina gets his own take down attempt reversed and Clark works from top half guard. Melina turtles up and barely survives the round amidst un-returned (I don’t know if that is a word and I don’t care) punches.
Round 2: Melina misses a spinning back kick to open the round and Clark lands the immediate take down off the error in judgement. Melina gets flattened out quickly, Clark turns it into pound and pounds out a ref stoppage.
Winner: James Clark at 1:47 of the 2nd Round Via TKO
Kevin Rush (1-1) T.M.E vs Corwin Nichols (2-0) Ironworks Gym
Round 1: Corwin “Ricky Bobby” Nichols opens the fight with an overhand left and immediately follows up with a double leg take down, ending up in cross sides. Rush holds a side head lock from cross sides and looks wide open for a Von Flue choke, but Nichols seems unaware of the submission opportunity and Rush gets back to his feet. 
It’s too quiet, shouldn’t someone be yelling for someone to f*** someone else up? (You know who you are.)
Nichols once again lands what is turning out to be his trademark vicious slamming double leg that shakes the entire cage, immediately transitioning to mount, locking in a head and arm triangle, hops to the side and sinks in the submission. Rush, who has come all the way home from Kansas will have plenty of time to think about what went wrong on the trip home.

Winner: Corwin Nichols at 2:10 of the 1st Round Via Arm Triangle
Congrats to Nichols who is quickly proving to be one of the most consistent and dominating amateurs on the local scene. Can’t wait for his next fight/post-fight interview. 
Though, by the time be gets to the UFC (yeah, I’m calling it if he keeps his focus), I expect this:
Zac Paletta (4-0) Fearless MMA VS. Randy Lene (5-2) Spartan MMA
 
Round 1: Lots of pawing and misses from both fighters until Paletta lands the take down and just misses the arm triangle as Lene turns to top closed guard. The round ends with little action, but the edge is to Paletta.
Round 2: More of the same nothing to start the 2nd round. Paletta finally lands the take down and ends up in top guard. The ref stands the two with ten seconds remaining and Paletta lands another take down as time expires. Yawn.
Round 3: Paletta fails at a shot, Lene scores a snapping front kick and then shoots in. He ends up sinking in an arm-in guillotine and Paletta is forced to tap out.
Winner: Randy Lene at :23 seconds of the 3rd Round Via Arm-In Guillotine
Brandon Bell (5-2) Ironworks MMA VS. Cameron Gilliam (3-1) Spartan MMA
Round 1: The action starts back and forth through a prolonged clinch until Gilliam is able to score an ankle pick take down. The round ends with Bell attempting unsuccessfully to work rubber guard against the cage.
Round 2: Bell comes out the aggressor landing shots before reversing Gilliam’s take down and avoiding the triangle attempt. Gilliam gets top position and is able to work to Bell’s back, but looks tired and is unable to sink a submission or throw much in the way of punches as time expires.
Round 3: Gilliam uses a lot of energy to land the take down and gets stuck in rubber guard. Bell misses and out-of-position rear naked choke and Gilliam lands solid strikes from the top as time expires.
Winner: Cameron Gilliam wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Mitch Field (3-1) Spartan MMA VS. John Castaneda (7-1) Mankato Martial Arts
5 Round Lightweight Title Fight (Castaneda is defending Amateur champ)
Round 1: Now, I was told by family and friends seated next to me that Mitch is a really nice guy, which really means nothing in the cage, but it is worth noting as he comes out the aggressor in the first round turning a single leg take down attempt into a powerful slam, the avoids the arm-in guillotine. He pushes the pace with strong strikes from the top and passes to mount as the round ends.
Round 2: Field lands another slamming take down and just misses taking Castaneda’s back. Field is spending a lot of energy and his mouth is wide open taking big breathes, but he controls the fight with another take down before the end of the round.
Round 3: The far fresher Castaneda has paced himself thus far and reverses one of Field’s take downs and works on striking from top half-guard. Castenada just misses a rear naked choke and again reverse another Field take down as soon as they stand. The round ends with Castenada throwing strikes from mount.
Round 4: Field looks gasses and it is Castenada that gets the take down against the cage. The round rides out with Field holding the champ against the cage in a single leg take down attempt.
Round 5: Castenada lands a stiff jab and follows with a double leg, transitioning to cross side. Field fights out, but looks spent as he narrowly avoids giving up his back. There is a solid stand-up exchange and the fight ends with Fields finally getting another take down, but it is enough?
Nope.
Winner: Jon Castenada via Unanimous Decision (all judges score the fight 48-47)
PRO FIGHTS:
Craig Early (5-6) GBX VS. Floyd Hodges (10-4) Fearless MMA
Round 1: There is a little back and forth before a low body kick from Early goes too low and Hodges crumbles to a nut shot. After a few minutes, the fight resumes and Early clinches. Hodges attempts a takedown and gets reversed, but Early is unable to finish the fight despite being in perfect position for a RNC.
Early drives forward for a flying knee and with a “THWAK”, Early buckles to the canvas. Early’s corner is yelling that it was a headbutt, but the ref says it was a fast overhand right that connected as Early came in and the fight is call.
Winner: Floyd Hodges at 4:46 of Round 1 via KO
Floyd Freeman (2-0) Wisconsin Budokai MMA VS. Brandon Buchholz (6-7) Spartan MMA
Round 1: You know what? I gotta admit, the length of the card is wearing on me a little and back and forth exchange at the start of the fight ends up on the ground without much notice from me. The two roll around a little and it looks like Buchholz is escaping from having his back taken, but suddenly taps.
Winner: Fred Freeman at 1:57 of Round 1 via arm bar (I guess, looked more like a weird shoulder lock)
Dan Wales (2-3)  Full Nelson Fight Club VS. Andre Tieva (0-0) The Academy
Round 1: Tieva enters to a huge roar from the crowd as it seems like about a quarter of the people there are there to root for him. Wales opens with a snapping front kick (like so many fighters do now thanks to Anderson Silva and Steven Seagal) before pressing in. Tieva jumps guillotine and Wales signals he is okay against the arm-in attempt, but Tieva switches to a full guillotine and the fight is over.
Winner: Andre Tieva at :52 of Round 1 via Guillotine Choke (SUBMISSION OF THE NIGHT)
Steven Watt (4-2) Crystal Fight Club VS. Ben Locken (2-0) The Academy
Round 1: Locken lands hard leg kicks as he works his muay thai and Watt appears to be throwing his punches off-balanced and lunging. Locken focuses on powerful leg kicks which Watt eats and returns with 2, 3, 4, 5 punches of his own in rapid succession right down the pipe.
Locken falls back to the cage under the barrage and is bleeding badly from his face, but continues with his leg kicks with Watt looks more than happy to take in exchange for multiple follow-up punches to Locken’s face. Locken finally collapses and Watts pounces. The ref finally stops the fight with no objection from the blood-covered Locken.
Winner: Steven Watt at 3:19 of the 1st Round via TKO (Knockout of the Night)
Derek Varin (3-0) Iron Range Wolf Pack VS. Chris McCalister (3-1) Spartan MMA
Round 1: Action exchanges and Varin catches a kick getting the take down. McCalister stays mobile almost getting to Varin’s back, but falls to bottom guard. As the action works back to standing it looks like Varin has a chance to lock in a standing anaconda but gets lazy and I have a flashback:
McCalister gets a take down off of Varin’s missed opportunity. With McCalister on his back, Varin stands quickly grabbing Varin’s ankle and falling down for an ankle lock. Varin spins and McCalister loses his grip (though it almost looks like he let go thinking there was a tap). Varin doesn’t miss this opportunity and takes mount. McCalister turns over to avoid and Varin sinks in the rear naked choke.
You can literally pick out each individual that is clapping for Varin as it seems that no one made the trip from Grand Rapids for the fight. Perhaps it was only myself and 5 other people that were glad to see that level of competition coming out of the Iron Range for a change. Can’t wait to see his next fight.
Winner: Derek Varin at 4:17 of the 1st Round by Rear Naked Choke (tie for Fight of the Night)
Co-Main Event:
Mike Plazola (14-8) Somewhere in Iowa VS. Dan Kiser (6-2) Spartan MMA
Dan “The King” Kiser, a clear fan favorite due to all the people wearing cardboard crowns, enters wearing a purple cape and a crown of his own. What am I, made of stone? Of course I’m going to root against that… no, no, journalistic integrity, or some s*** like that. Let’s see what he’s got.
Round 1: Plazola pushes Kiser against the cage but doesn’t take the bait as Kiser rebounds off the cage and shoots for a take down. Plazola sprawls and Dan pulls guard, but stays busy working for submissions that Plazola avoids. Plazola stands against the down Kiser and dives forward for a dropping punch and comes within and inches of Kiser locking in the armbar. The round ends with Plazola defending.
Round 2: Plazola comes out and unloads heavy rights and lefts, making Kiser avoid the best he can against the cage before he eats a hard knee and falls to the canvas to defend. Kiser is able to pull rubber guard and the ref pauses the action. Kiser’s face is painted with his own blood and the doctor comes in to check the nasty cut on Kiser’s forehead above his right eye.
It only takes a couple seconds for the doctor to wave off the fight to the anger of Kiser and about a dozen people at the table next to me that claim “it’s just blood! What the f***?!” Perhaps thinking a local MMA win is worth the risk of a fighter losing his vision. Who knows, but the crowd is pissed… for no reason. I’m stoked that Iowa has an actual striker.
Winner: Mike Palzola at 1:34 of the 2nd Round via Doctor Stoppage (tie for Fight of the Night)
Both of my Fight of the Night selections were short fights, but both fights deserve a great deal of respect thanks to the constant action and risk taken by each fighter. Great fights regardless of the results.
Here’s where I get pissy…
It is 11:45 pm. The fights started an hour late, but the action keeps a good pace and things are running well. So why they decided to take a 15-minute break I have no f***ing idea because the crowd and myself are restless having to wait for the last fight of the night.
Then, as midnight hits, what do they do? They sing the National Anthem. Huh? It is the LAST FIGHT OF THE NIGHT! Not to mention one of the fighters (Veal) is Canadian. No love for the Northerners?
This was already a long card, there is absolutely no reason to draw all of this out any longer.
Matt Veal (9-7) some Canadian gym VS. Courtney Buck (10-5) GBX
 
Round 1: …you know what, I’m not going to take any more time writing up these fights. It has taken way too long to get to this point for no reason and even though all of the fights leading up to this were very impressive and SEG should be proud to have set up these fights, the night is too long.
12 fights is too much for a local event. Most people that get tickets get them for a specific fighter or gym and instead of it turning into value, it turns into a long night for the people that are waiting for the last fight. By the end of the night, less than half the crowd is still there.
Oh, the fight, well, Veal worked take downs and lay-and-pray for three round. Awesome. Drove all the way from Canada with about 20 people in the crowd (who appeared to be having a great time drinking and dancing) just to take Buck down and hold him there?
This annoyance is purely for the fighter (not his opponent, the venue, the promoters or anyone else), but it was a long fight, you are the main event and that is the game you bring? Give me a f***ing break.
Oh yeah, Veal won by UD in the most boring fight of the night.
Overall impression: once the fights actually started, they were paced well and evenly matched. There were just too many. They easily could have taken one or two fights off the card to streamline it all. And having Veal as a main event fighter was a lapse. Any of the other Pro Fights would have put on a more worthy performance of a main event.
F*** my head hurts and just thinking of Veal’s performance has given me the s***s. I’m out.