UFC 229’s Mental Component

 

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This is not an op on any press conference, or how one guy got the reaction or didn’t give the expected reaction to the opponent. It’s not about a casual fan base with casual writers and editors throwing up softball question or by comparison hard-hitting pieces that dissect every syllable uttered. This isn’t about the fans this is about the two individuals on fight night when that pin hits steel and there’s no escaping the cruel honesty of the cage you can’t hide in there and all your intentions come to the surface.

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Mental games have existed since the first trash-talking session that ever escalated to a fight. Nothing that is being done is new or unheard of are lines being crossed, but of course one might say because all is fair in love and war. WAR is what both men want but they want the battlefield to exist how they see it, a practice or rather an expose in projecting what you see or expect to see in mind’s eye into reality. Khabib wants to beat and punish Conor while Conor wants to “take his head clean off”. This shows me what both mean are prepared for, one has a long intense detailed energy consuming game plan, while the other sees a start fast end it fast through complex traps and a shocking stopping ability. One wants to force the other to quit while one wants to take the choice away. Mentality dictates training and preparation.

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How will the words and statements and I guess objects thrown impact the emotions going into hose seconds after the pin is dropped in that cage door? Will the insults cause anger or will both men be calm and focused engaging at optimal levels. Why do I stress anger well it may be something that people should carry over from Mayweather before trying to adopt and jab or counter 2 pull 2 methodologies done incorrectly but I digress and move onto the actual point. My point is Mayweather never attaches an emotion to the task of fighting he is calm and indifferent in the exchange, simply because his promotion is subtle digs at his opponent while propping himself up like Muhammed Ali. What drives Conor promo is a more vicious attack of what his opponents hold most dear causing intense frustration coupled with the knowledge that retaliation before the fight ends poorly for them. Meanwhile, Conor now has the media and a large fanbase of supporters spewing the same sentiments constantly while he now promos his skill. The complete opposite is Khabib was a self indulgence for the sake of promo means very little to him all he will voice are observations and facts, there is no fat in the discussion. Where Conor and Mayweather will take digs at the opponents Khabib just challenges them to do what every other opponent couldn’t do, not unlike the later years of Mayweather’s promo 40 some odd have tried and 40 some odd have failed. Now they could be no further apart from each other however the question becomes he meets the challenge how will the frustration fuel one side how will the self-aggrandizing fuel the other?

War of 2 Worlds

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As everyone knows now the Khabib vs Conor fight is creating a lot of tension and has its own thick presence, not due to the fight only as is the case in most of Conors fights the spectacle is reaching a fever pitch within every tier of fan from the deep hardcore training fans all the way to the new fans. The non-accommodating resistance within this bout is a person that I believe is an unflappable participant that has Conor excited to compete. That person would be Khabib “War Eagle” Nurmagomedov the undefeated champion he’s my go-to guy because he is head and shoulders above everyone as a grappling technician and scares everyone but T Ferg but Ts crazy. When nobody wants to fight you and you’re a stoic and funny Russian hitman the company doesn’t necessarily want you to light the golden boy on fire. Conor says he will fight anyone and he’s proved he’s learned from Mayweather to promo not based on the other man’s name and skill but purely on the theatrics of what you can do. Now the only thing that the MMA mainstream media wants to talk about is how Khabib got caught by Michael Johnson a very testy point within the community, the Al Iaquinta fight, how Conor beat Chad, Conors left hand and Conors cardio. So I’ll be discussing these talking points and explaining them for what they are and not what we want them to be.

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Khabib versus Michael Johnson was a mauling one-sided fight where people took what Rogan said he believed to have happened as the gospel, that being Khabib being hit by a right hand from a very talented Henri Hooft trained fighter. I have encountered a lot of pro-Conor fans and analyst that repeat the same thing. I would like to dissect this as a guy that has seen guys get rocked, caught, checked, and starched. Getting caught is one thing getting rocked implies getting hit clean and your legs buckling. It’s an easy thing to see in boxing because guys aren’t dropping down to shoot or stepping offline to through a kick etc. So the gif below is what makes Conor fans hopeful because a fast southpaw was able to hit Khabib. If you are caught it tends to lead to getting hit more and more to the point you are rocked. Khabib gets hit and then defends against the barrage Johnson then through with a high elbow and shoulder defense Allah Diaz’s, Bobby Green, Jorge Masvidal, etc. That is the opinion of a guy that has been in the gym post-2005 and seen a lot experienced a lot I’ve felt and seen what rocking and catching a guy is. I feel like yes Khabib got hit clean however he wasn’t buckling at the knees, he was literally just responding in line to how he and any other fighter is trained you defend the barrage.

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The Khabib versus Al is an interesting fight where we can compare how both guys compare Conors finishing ability of short notice vs Khabibs ability to take out and finish a short notice fight. However that tells me nothing funny enough why because of the strengths on both ends lean themselves to a flash finish or a grinding pace of a fight, those are the antithesis of both men’s styles. Khabib versus Al was interesting because we saw what happens when an American with a wrestling background decides to bend at the hip and force Khabib to strike basically. Is Khabibs ability to mix it up like GSP from striking to wrestling to striking back to wrestling with every jab and shot looking the exact same. I was not at all surprised Khabib fought safe and sound against Al because there was a lot on the line, play with the jab that was the better in that bout shoot when its open and keeps the pace high and constant to get some 5 round experience. Those are the specifically strikes weighed against Khabib to make him look basic.

 

Now for the Conor points starting with how he handled Chads wrestling positive and negatively. My points usually start with if mini Mendes could control the takedown and bust open Conor from top position for long periods of the rounds what can Khabib do. The rebuttal is the post-fight announcing that Conors was hurt on antibiotics. I will concede that point if previous to the Chad replacement, something that itches in my thoughts, however, is that Dennis Siever took down Conor in that Boston showcase fight. I just come back to Conor extending on the straight 2 and Dennis shooting off that, what Brendan Dorman calls a reactive take-down not a response to getting hit but to counter the strike thrown. Conors ability to front kick Chads stomach was a brilliant and now obvious tactic that would have had the same effect even if Chad had received a 8-week camp. Is his wrestling defense improved I would believe so because of how he was able to defend the take-down against Nate until the 5th round in the 2nd fight as well as the shot from Eddie. My point here is this, Conor is not some Okie Doke grappler with no skill or awareness of what to do in situations he’s not incompetent.

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The striking is unobjectionably in Conor wheels house and favor, he is able to fight backward and walking forward he can get hit but the man’s got a beard. The only issue that can be leveraged is a cardio drop off around the mid 2nd round of in the cage and around the 8th round in a boxing competition with 3-minute rounds versus 5 minute rounds. Khabib hasn’t shown a drop off that you can title as fatigue, everyone gets tired but not everyone gets fatigued. Conor has said over and over he has fixed that issue but the Eddie fight didn’t go long enough and the only 5 rounder he looked like cardio wasn’t a problem was against Max Holloway. The argument people will make is that Nate was bigger and he boxed against Mayweather, my response is it wasn’t short notice because Conor was able to train for it. The issue becomes grappling fatigue and again the energy systems being trained in camp biking, running, and rowing get you half way home you’ve got to grind in that wrestling room to get all the way home. Conor could make up that distance and since he hasn’t been doing media I would love to believe that was his focus this time around. I would love to think that but when you say you’re going to ice him in the 1st round, Chael said it best if you go for the KO you will not win the decision and by extension a 5 round war.

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Dissecting Khabib is fairly simple, this ain’t your normal white guy this is a “Russian” competition breed Master of Sport in Combat Sambo, AKA propelled bear wrestling terror at 155. It’s not if but when he wants to take Conor down, he can let him up and do it again like he always does against faster opponents and stronger opponents. So the master of sport in sambo, “say man who else had that pedigree in MMA”, oh yeah FEDOR prime FEDOR. Sambo is if not the best base for MMA its right next to wrestling and now kickboxing (thanks Wonderboy for stealing Hendricks soul). So when he gets it to the mat after shooting the most technical double outside of any current Olympic wrestler maybe because honestly, he’s as good as Yoel Romero. Khabib shoots and if Conor starts attacking off the bottom and arms gets snatched from side control or crucifix, that can end up being a broken limb. Khabib is a high-level submission artist go watch his sambo matches and make your own opinion but some of the best armbars ever were done by Sambo players Fedor to the late Randleman, Khabib, Rustlam etc. But what if Conor kicks him similar to Mendes, Sambo players basically brought over the beginnings of this crazy leglock and ankle lock game you see in BJJ. In my mind, he runs a single into a double or takes the knee pick because that’s what he does to everyone who throws a linear kick. Then when the hesitation on the kick comes in to play watch for power double pass to half smash smash smash pass to mount smash knee in elbow pass to crucifix end the fight. That’s been Khabibs game since he was strangling baby bears. Can Conor catch the DEATH BY THE LEFT, I believe so, I don’t know how Khabib will take it we don’t know how anyone will take it. Khabibs got a chin but can he make it to the grinding or will Conor catch him in the first round to stop Khabib from getting to his ace.

 

I think Khabib beats Conor because of the old history of fighting not caring about your heart and passion when you’re not as skilled as the other in a discipline. Conor and Khabib are both in that situation Khabib does not possess the offensive striking while Conor doesn’t have the grappling ability in a nutshell. The story is who can develop the skill fastest enough to defend and capitalize. This fight in my head doesn’t end as a blow out either way it ends after a hard-fought chess game were both guys show defensive strategy and if their lungs hold up a blistering pace and activity we accept to see. I can’t wait for this fight but I caution everyone this may end up being a replay of Woodley vs Wonderboy 1 a lot of blitzing and some well-timed shots over and over again. Well, that’s my take on things, who’s gonna call out GSP I wonder…..

Pettis vs Tony Ferguson

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People seem to not believe in Pettis as they did circa WEC absorbed by the Zuffa era UFC. A slew of loses using the same game plan RDA made famous pressure high volume striking and a nonstop wrestling shot. You don’t really want to hit the mats with Pettis because his arm-bar and triangle game is legit, just ask Benson and Gilbert about that. However he hasn’t been loose in the cage since that RDA fight, he’s just now getting back to his old ways the confidence booster in my eyes was the Jim Miller fight some might say the Oliveria fight but in my opinion that was a fight he should have one Jim was a real should I still be doing this kind of opponent that would let us know if Anthony still has it. His last bout against Chiesa was another step towards getting back to where he was before the RDA fight back to being the best striker in MMA. People discuss top strikers but in my mind, Edson and Pettis are the top strikers at 155 since Jorge left for 170 and I will hear no rebuttal against this. Pettis has better hands and more dexterity in both legs while Edson is as fast as DJ with a Pro-Kickboxer level understanding of timing, not the best hands but not bad either. So Pettis is no slouch at all his still got fights in him.

Back to Pettis and Ferguson, the interesting thing about this fight is not how Ferg bounces back from injury because he is an outside the square thinker about recovery and conditioning. Tony is always the wild card in the cage his only close battle was against Lando for as long as it lasted seeing how Lando took the bout on short notice but he still caught Tony more off guard than any opponent Tony faced on that 14 fight win streak. Pettis lives in that same world because he’s loose and funky but its built on sound striking taught to him by Duke Roufus, I said Duke Roufus. Pettis hits the showtime kick he has iced guys with the lead leg roundhouse he lands the sidekick flush he can box and has seamless elbows. He’s the closest to Gaston Balonos, and nobody wants to be in the cage with that butcher. The GIF is just a showcase of the brilliant dexterity and fundamental skills involved in landing a kick so crisp and flush. He can catch anyone with that. Now can Tony Ferguson eat that shot maybe, we know Tony has a beard on him and he can keep a blistering pace that gets faster and faster following a snappy d’arce that will suck the life out of you. Tony is no bum boys and girls this is an interesting fight between to guys that sit atop the elite still one off an injury the other off a rough patch in his career.

Having these two on the card leaves room for a drop out from the main event the fights that could be set up garner similar or the same acclaim, Conor vs Pettis or Conor vs Ferg and for my money Ferg vs Khabib. Pettis has the potential to make another run and a win over Ferg puts him in Tony’s current spot or the spot he was in pre-injury, a win for Tony lets everyone know he’s still here and laying in wait while chomping at the bit. Both men respect each other and in this current circus its a nice reprieve to be able to concentrate solely on the skills presented. I’m taking Pettis with heavy nerves just because I know Ferguson can snap it down and catch you anywhere.

Whoa whoa whoa the Sugars the Problem

Karin Michels, professor of the department of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, recently during a lecture stated, regardless of the advice peddled by unqualified and self-appointed online health gurus, consuming coconut oil carries a raft of health risks.

I have a few questions and statements to add as an unqualified rebuttal or counter to this statement. Dr. Karin Michels sites like most health professionals that coconut oil has a significant amount more saturated fat content than other oils such as olive oil which is higher in unsaturated fat. However the fact that a recent finding done by the New York Times exposed the sugar industries demonization of saturated fats. (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/well/eat/how-the-sugar-industry-shifted-blame-to-fat.html)

I will not bore you with the long story read it for yourself, however. It is safe to assume that the repercussive waves of the payoffs and lying done by certain scientist effects are still being taught as fact and truth. Now is this doctor someone with a hidden agenda no that’s not where I go to first, conspiracy is like below last resort. Now the online health guru I go to is on my favorite podcast a lot Dr. Rhonda Patrick. She isn’t some fake professional shes got the resume, I’m sighting her someone far smarter than myself. She stated in a video with Dr. Ron Krauss! “Dietary cholesterol has a negligible influence on heart disease risk. New video with Dr. Ron Krauss! https://t.co/8SuVGwObRX ” why is this?

I would say that because people don’t have or the findings neglected by the scientist approached by the sugar industry is hard to find or gone. The issue is or rather the behavior that increases your risk for heart disease, from a baseline zero not acknowledging any family history lack of physical or cardiovascular exercise. Starting from that baseline the issue is saturated fats combined with the American individual’s consumption of sugar the combination of that glucose to the saturated fats. Saturated fats inherently aren’t an issue further proved by qualified studies on the consumption of eggs with pre and post blood test to compare the levels of LDL. The people tested again because of conscious testing, nobody had cancer or are close to a century in age. Everyone tested either showed a zero change or a minuscule uptick in LDL. The saturated fat increase in the diets of these tested was increased but still fell below the levels of no return. Okay, I’m about to be very candid with everyone, the amount of coconut oil listed in the article on Dr. Karin Michels states that the consumption of coconut oil need to gain the benefits of the multi-chain triglycerides for metabolic boost and weight loss, you would need 10 tablespoons of coconut oil in comparison to the much less volume compared to 100 percent MCT oil. I sighted problem with this statement is island cultures eat enormous amounts of coconut daily or even weekly, what about these people who statistically are healthier by the by.

My issue is you will blow up every bathroom within 10 seconds of you before you reach the 3rd tablespoon folks. I’ve done the research on this boys and girls the body will not allow it, so cooking with it as a replacement to butter or lard ( which Dr. Karin Michels stated coconut oil was worse than lard, which again has been proven not to be bad unless combined with processed sugars). This is one person findings causing ripples on twitters and I’m a big proponent for cooking with coconut oil and consuming MCT oil from Onnit in large doses in my smoothies. Disclaimer here I do agree with Dr. Karin Michels about moderation, your body will show you your limits but I stress avoid that at all cost hot sweats and emptying your stomach for an hour isn’t fun. Extrapolating from there the major thing that needs to be addressed, don’t increase your saturated fat intake or rather don’t have an intake of saturated fat if you consume more than 20g I stay around 10g or less of processed sugar but eat ungodly amounts of fruits. I know fruit has sugar and is bad for keto etc, but I still sight show me a fat raw vegan and I’ll show you a liar. My levels are lower actually from when I started consuming coconut oil and MCT oil close to 3 years. That’s all take a listen to Dr. Rhonda Patricks Joe Rogan podcasts as well as her own…… a couple times……. with a notepad……and after a good nights sleep.

Whippin Hooks

Hitting a nasty left hook to the body doesn’t need to shake the earth you just need a touch folks. A old fact of striking be it Boxing, K-1, or Muay Thai the lead hook to the body is a tool that has put many a world champion on the canvas. Keeping it as tight as possible turning the hip over and digging the punch into the liver, head, or rib is the classic way and most tried and true. The less common or rather hardest to develop is a whipping lead hook, take a look at Floyd back when he was Pretty Boy, his left hook was and is fat free with zero slop in the movement. In mma one of tge best body lead hookers is Jorge Masvidal, kickboxing Neiky Holzken. All of them set up differently but motion remains the same generally a loose lead arm that becomes tense upon whip motion. (They arent tense before thriwing but at the very last instense and by increasing speed and observing the keverage oart of the arm as a tool the points of contact the front knuckles of the hand focus that power to the body.)

Now for a training tool go watch a Brendan Dorman video or check out Shannon Briggs, for training footage of complex skills observe heavyweights that are masters at it, simply because you can see all of their movements do to their mass. Aldos lead hook stopage was a harkening back to the days of his crazy boxing skills hopefully we get to see more of that style again soon.

Too Hot Too Cold just Right

What we have gathered from watching the experiment in the UFC’s 185 division is a lesson on someone that’s hit the Goldilocks zone and someone that’s just missed it. This is clear when you look at Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero. Robert is a guy we can say is in the Goldilocks zone his training and skill with experience has hit a level where he is a concern for everyone in the division and you have to ask who can beat him. Yoel is not the opposite case but rather a case of it maybe too late.
Yoels international competition experience and experience on the mats and in grappling in general have made him a problem everywhere, Yoels striking or rather finding a style for his age and build was the hard part. The Cuban striking scientist in Florida have figured it out and you see the development from the Machida fight to now, the culmination of that development was seen in the Rockhold fight where Yoel used that Archie Moore style using his biceps to catch, selective strikes, and explosive parrys. The issue seems to be Yoel has just figured this out while he’s on the precipice of his body no longer being able to compete in the way he would like. When you juxtapose the two the skill can be seen as equal while the differences are seen in experience and the body’s abilities to function at the highest level for 5×5 in the UFC as well as the training leading up to said bout. It’s a recurring joke on JRE but father time is undefeated, Yoel is father times toughest fight in MMA history but the long the fight goes the more definitive the lose will be for Yoel. You can only accommodate loss of function be it for whatever reason from cardio, flexibility, etc for so long in MMA before the next young lion figures out there next year that experience can’t overcome. Does this mean Yoel should hang it up because he can’t beat Robert… obviously not (he said with a chuckle) it’s more so a look at the bouts on paper with a deep introspective look at the fighters involved.

I had a conversation with Brendan Dorman (from YouTube and Obviously Fight Talk) that along with Yoel seeming to just narrowly miss the mark he on a longevity standpoint is showing what the human capacity is, by that I mean he’s got fused discs in his neck and a lifetime of international highest level wrestling competition in the madhouse of Cuba. Yoel is a pioneer in that way, sometimes we needed to be reminded that the exception is obtainable but the price maybe a shorter window for success. When your window is post peak years of your physical capacity being an exception to the rule is a good thing to have but the skill and style has been built. So I say that to say I would love to see a guy like Woodley in his later years adopt this style, and we see him implementing it now. So that’s my take on Yoel and Roberts lessons to the world, if you need me I’ll be in my office writing and listening to the Powercast.

Yoels international competition experience and experience on the mats and in grappling in general have made him a problem everywhere, Yoels striking or rather finding a style for his age and build was the hard part. The Cuban striking scientist in Florida have figured it out and you see the development from the Machida fight to now, the culmination of that development was seen in the Rockhold fight where Yoel used that Archie Moore style using his biceps to catch, selective strikes, and explosive parrys. The issue seems to be Yoel has just figured this out while he’s on the precipice of his body no longer being able to compete in the way he would like. When you juxtapose the two the skill can be seen as equal while the differences are seen in experience and the body’s abilities to function at the highest level for 5×5 in the UFC as well as the training leading up to said bout. It’s a recurring joke on JRE but father time is undefeated, Yoel is father times toughest fight in MMA history but the long the fight goes the more definitive the lose will be for Yoel. You can only accommodate loss of function be it for whatever reason from cardio, flexibility, etc for so long in MMA before the next young lion figures out there next year that experience can’t overcome. Does this mean Yoel should hang it up because he can’t beat Robert… obviously not (he said with a chuckle) it’s more so a look at the bouts on paper with a deep introspective look at the fighters involved.

I had a conversation with Brendan Dorman (from YouTube and Obviously Fight Talk) that along with Yoel seeming to just narrowly miss the mark he on a longevity standpoint is showing what the human capacity is, by that I mean he’s got fused discs in his neck and a lifetime of international highest level wrestling competition in the madhouse of Cuba. Yoel is a pioneer in that way, sometimes we needed to be reminded that the exception is obtainable but the price maybe a shorter window for success. When your window is post peak years of your physical capacity being an exception to the rule is a good thing to have but the skill and style has been built. So I say that to say I would love to see a guy like Woodley in his later years adopt this style, and we see him implementing it now. So that’s my take on Yoel and Roberts lessons to the world, if you need me I’ll be in my office writing and listening to the Powercast.

Big Dogs Don’t Attack Buses

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This was beyond childish, I cant see what Conor and his crew were thinking if this is retaliation for Khabib slapping Artem handle that with the said individual, besides that’s some Russian on Russian business. So what happened the gif above explains it, as reported on Twitter and through the MMA news train, the Mac Life production squad stormed the Barclays in Brooklyn as the fighters doing media bordered the busses back to the fighter’s hotel. Apparently, Micheal Chiesa has multiple gashes on his face so he won’t be cleared to fight obviously so that main card fight is out, Rose is pissed because she almost got hit by glass and an object so Danas on a mission to come her down to keep her on the card because without her this thing doesn’t sell like it would before. The videos show Conor was a very active participant fleeing the scene and attacking the bus. I don’t get what this would do other than keep your name in the press, but his name is already in the press its the second or third question all combat sports athletes get from BJJ to Boxing. Was this retaliation for the Artem Khabib thing, well then take the fight at 155 that was on the table. I’m just confused because this has never happened like this before now granted Pride FC was a madhouse at best this type of nonsense never happened in the wild west days so there a feather in the cap, the biggest shit show since UFC 200. If you wont to fight sign the damn bout agreement end of discussion, you don’t go to NY and disrespect the Barclays and then try to run away like this was some heist film. If this was some old skool gym war stuff I say we have Conor fight Till but that’s just me lol.

-Keep your head on straight