Some Quick Thoughts on Tonight’s Card
Garry Tonon vs Zak Maxwell (Tonon def. Maxwell via Heelhook)
Garry did what Garry does, no surprises. Zak did a decent job staving off the attacks but had no answer for the relentless scrambles created by Garry. Garry showed another aspect of his game I didn’t cover in my last study – the use of the Kimura/deep half to bait the reap. I touched on this briefly in my Bsides video on Outtakes for the Japanese Necktie. This was the same tactic he used to heel hook Ritchie Martinez at the Eddie Bravo Invitational. Ritchie thought he had Garry in the Kimura and swept himself into a reap. Garry has so many tricks a sport player will have to carefully study him if he wants to stay one step ahead in these pre-meditated “scrambles”. Final thought, “sport BJJ” v Garry is a theme that is starting to wear thin frankly, I think it’s time for Garry to step up and face every grappler’s nightmare.
Vinny Magalhaes vs. Matheus Diniz (draw)
This was an uneventful match and is symptomatic of the problems Metamoris I suspect will have down the line if they fail to address them (see closing thoughts below). This was a highly strategic match with the wily ADCC veteran unable to put away the very game Diniz. The first half of the match was a wrestling clinch fest and Vinny finally lost patience and pulled guard. Once here he was unable to break the posture of a defensive Diniz and only towards the end when Diniz realized he actually had it within him to pass Vinny if he actually tried did we see some action. Time ran out though and while many will laud this as a good showing for Diniz, one has to remember he came in literally with nothing to lose (gets tapped fast going for the kill – it’s Vinny, taps Vinny – instant star + $10,000 bucks). It’s hard to understand the mindset going in for this one because he chose the lesser option.
Yuri Simoes vs. Keenan Cornelius (draw)
This was a very good gi match full of some very slick submission attempts, transitions and escapes by both competitors. Definitely one of the matches to watch again from a technical perspective if you want to pick up some new tricks. Keenan hitting a step and push toreando Lo style, hitting an ezekiel out of no where during a back exposure by Yuri, Yuri hitting a triangle on Keenan, the list goes on. Keenan has always appeared to be slow but makes up for that with smoothness and control when he has to make positional shifts (ie he doesn’t explode like Tonon but tries to find the “out”/space in the scramble). This 20 min match really gave you a chance to see how good he is at bringing the opponent into his world (the guard) and Yuri had no chance to work any agility/standing passing (he still managed to find a way to get offence off though). Something I will definitely watch again for the techniques.
Secret match: Jake Shields vs. Roberto Satoshi (draw)
Ok this did not go as expected in terms of who I thought it might be and who I thought would win once it was announced. I expected Satoshi to blitz Shields and take his back for the choke but Jake showed how important wrestling is to the no gi game. Satoshi was stuck on bottom for extensive periods and I guess what they say is true – “everyone has a plan until they get stuck in a crossface”. Satoshi was eventually worn out by Shields’ constant top grinding and Shields’ was passing at will to the bell. I sort of suspected Satoshi’s kryptonite was pressure passing, as he was repeatedly passed by Lucas Lepri at the Worlds earlier, who endlessly crossfaced and kneesliced him. I didn’t expect Shields to get a chance to work that approach on him though as I forgot to factor in the wrestling/size edge. Again while this ended in a draw, the last 10 mins of top domination makes this one worthy of watching again purely for the fun of it.
Rory MacDonald vs. J.T. Torres (draw)
A highly entertaining match and while it ended in a draw, was full of constant attacks and scrambles similar to the Yuri/Keenan match. I thought Rory would take a more conservative approach but once he realized that JT was not going to be able to keep him on his back he started going for jumping submissions and diving for foot locks, right to the final bell. JT had the best moment of the match though, catching Rory in a tight kimura from a crucifix which Rory had to gut out. It’s not easy to evaluate Rory’s jiujitsu because he is seldom in trouble on the ground in MMA but today he showed some interesting perspectives- namely heelhooks (both offence and defence, no spazzing) and the use of open guard (in MMA he uses the safer closed). Probably top match of the event for me and again highlighting the importance of controlling the wrestling portion in grappling.
Renzo Gracie vs. Kazushi Sakuraba (draw)
Hard to rag on this because as you know from my preview, I was looking forward to this more to see 2 grappling legends go at it rather than for fireworks (would have been a nice bonus though). It pretty much went the way I thought it would without the tap. Renzo still couldn’t take Saku down, Saku was looking to catch a foot and the moment Renzo got the crossface on, the Gracie Hunter had no answer for the “basic” pressure passing that we all know Gracie jiujitsu for. Given another 5 mins I’m not sure Saku would have been able to hold out from being crushed by Renzo’s top pressure though.
Final Thoughts – It’s not who you invite, it’s how you motivate them
M5 has done a good job in so many ways, high production values, actually engaging in a PR campaign to ensure that they were not drowned out by the UFC this weekend (or Copa Podio which had better matches on paper) and promoting grappling in a unique way (5 marque fights) rather than throwing together a tournament. More importantly, they have been tweaking the formula in each iteration showing they are not afraid to experiment till they get a product viable for the masses. They introduced/removed judges to try encourage more submissions for example.
So here’s my beef, the goal is submissions but so far the submission ratio to bouts is pretty low (33%). One thing I was quite taken with was the Eddie Bravo Invitational 1 where there was actual monetary incentive to tap someone fast etc. When this was removed in EBI 2, a whole bunch of draws/overtimes started to appear. So, I’ve always felt setting up the appropriate incentives/penalties is the most important thing in a rule set (economics 101). What we have seen in these sub only matches has been the situation where in the last 5 mins when both sides realize a sub isn’t coming, a tendency to switch to “don’t lose” mode.
So what if Metamoris did this:
a) If it’s a draw at regulation – both keep only 50% of their purse
b) BUT now, either player has a choice to “challenge” the other to a 20 min overtime and put up his entire purse against the other’s
c) Now in extra time, the person who gets tapped loses his entire purse to the other (winner take all).
d) If it is a draw again, Challenger loses 50%, person who was challenged keeps 100%.
e) If the other party doesn’t accept, the challenged loses 50% of his purse. Challenger keeps his 100%
As you can see from this, no more excuses of “oh if I had 5 more mins I would have won”. If someone really believed that then, he would have immediately put his purse up. If you don’t accept the challenge, you are implicitly conceding that you are “beat” and you lose 50% of your purse to the guy who challenged you. If both decide they want to keep their “reputation” and walk away, sure, but you both pay 50% of your winnings. This would also ensure action as if someone feels weakness towards the end, he would be going all out to gas the other person knowing he can challenge them and take them out in over time.
Not perfect but I’m just throwing it out there. Let me know what you think!
ALSO PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF THE MATCHES (AND MAYBE WIN A BJJ SCOUT PATCH!)