Saturday, March 27, 2010

BJ Penn Autobiography Excerpt

Good news BJ Penn fans. The prodigy recently posted an excerpt from his autobiography Why I Fight which you can download here.

Read more about Why I Fight on Amazon.

Read my full review of BJ Penn's Why I Fight.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

BJ Penn's New Book

Great news for us BJ Penn fans - the Prodigy is releasing an autobiography entitled "Why I Fight: The Belt is Just An Accessory."

Read More on Amazon.com

I've been disappointed with some MMA books, but BJ is one of the most interesting and charismatic figures in the history of the sport. I'm putting in my pre-order NOW.


Read my full review of BJ Penn's Why I Fight.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Blog - Apple Aperture

Just an FYI to anyone who is reading this - I started a new blog on Apple Aperture.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Athletes and Fighters: A BJ Penn Fan's Hangover

As of midnight last night, BJ Penn was my favorite fighter in the world. I always loved his aggressive yet technical fighting style, his brash attitude, and willingness to take risks in his career by taking on bigger guys.

I'm still a BJ Penn fan this morning following his destruction at the hands of Georges St. Pierre, but I can't remember being more disappointed in a fighter.

I feel like I was slapped in the face for believing that BJ was prepared for this fight, ready to give Georges St. Pierre a run for his money in the UFC's welterweight division.

But BJ was actually in better shape for their original match at UFC 58 than he was last night. He insulted his incredibly loyal, passionate, and forgiving fan base by coming into the fight in such terrible shape -- especially when you take into account how much smack he talked before this bout.

The boy from Hilo called GSP a lot of things, the worst of them being 'quitter.' Now MMA fans are calling BJ a quitter for not coming out for the fifth round. But that's wrong. BJ isn't a quitter because his corner very smartly threw in the towel.

BJ quit before the fight started because he wasn't prepared.

Ahead of the event, BJ continually stressed that technique can overcome size and strength differences. He just ignored a few details. Like the fact that superb technique only goes so far when you're exhausted. Inhuman flexibility means nothing when you can't get in enough oxygen. A granite chin will crack if somebody hits it enough times.

BJ also enjoyed calling himself a fighter while deeming GSP nothing but an athlete. I just wish BJ would realize that you need to be both in mixed martial arts, even with his natural gifts.

A true fighter has the will to get in the cage and put his life on the line. A true fighter will move forward against an opponent trying to take his head off. A true fighter will fight anyone put in front of him.

A true athlete will constantly challenge himself. A true athlete will improve his skills on a regular basis. A true athlete will surround himself with the right people.

BJ is a true fighter, but he doesn't have the will, spirit, and perhaps even the confidence to be a a great athlete. And that's just not enough in a world filled with guys like Georges St. Pierre.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

GSP to Beat BJ Penn by Leg Lock???

Man, it's been a while since I posted and rather than list my excuses, I'm going to jump right in and discuss a potential strategy Georges St. Pierre may pursue in his fight against BJ Penn tonight at UFC 94.

GSP has repeatedly said that his goal is to finish BJ Penn, a feat only achieved by Matt Hughes at UFC 63 after Penn suffered a rib injury. BJ undoubtedly has one of the best ground games in the world, particularly when it comes to defending himself on the bottom the improving his position by passing the guard. In fact he's so slick on the ground that I can't remember anyone getting even halfway close to a decent submission attempt on him.

Enter the highly motivated and athletic GSP.

Georges spent part of last year in Brazil honing his BJJ skills with leg lock specialist Gustavo Machado. And since then, GSP has received his black belt from Bruno Fernandes of Gracie Barra. Given his desire to finish BJ, there is a very good chance GSP will be going for a submission, and most likely it will be an attack on the Hilo boy's legs. GSP wants to build a legacy, and there aren't many better ways to do it than submitting the best BJJ practitioner in MMA.

If you've picked up the excellent Renzo Gracie: Legacy DVD, you know that one of the extras is a training session in which Matt Serra and Ricardo Almeida prep Renzo for his 2005 fight against BJ Penn. During that practice, we learned that Ralph Gracie (Renzo's brother and BJ's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor up to purple belt) told Renzo that BJ tapped to leg locks quite a bit in practice.

And we do know that Renzo trained GSP to fight BJ at UFC 58. I'm sure that little tidbit about BJ Penn being susceptible to leg locks came up in their training sessions, though GSP never attempted a sub against BJ.

Now, landing a leg lock on BJ will not be easy. BJ's legs are extremely flexible and getting those legs into an uncomfortable position won't be easy. And when it comes to practicing BJJ, many people will tap early to leg attacks because it is very easy to cause serious injuries with them, making what happened in practice back in the 90's somewhat irrelevant.

To recap, the train goes like this:

Ralph Gracie trains BJ Penn -->> sees BJ tap to leg locks -->> tells Renzo Gracie -->> Renzo tells GSP -->> GSP trains with leg lock specialist in 2008 -->> GSP attempts a leg lock on BJ tonight.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

TUF 8 Finale: Phillipe Nover was Jinxed!

I thought the TUF Finale was a pretty good show. Anthony "Rumble" Johnson got some sweet revenge with his headkick knockout of that eye-poking Kevin Burns guy. Junie Browning actually looked like a legitimate MMA fighter in his domination of Dave Kaplan, though Kaplan obviously isn't ready for the UFC. And Ryan Bader knocked out BJJ wizard Vinicius Magalhaes to become the TUF 8 light heavyweight winner, pleasing those who viewed the latter as a pretty boy that doesn't like to get hit.

But most importantly, lightweight standout Phillipe Nover lost Efrain Escudero. Not by decision. Not by submission. Not by corrupt judges. Not by lay and pray. It was BY JINX!

During the season, Dana White was pumping Nover up like crazy, comparing him to Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre, two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. And you know the UFC was praying for Nover to win so they could use him as a poster boy in the Philippines, a key new market for the UFC.

The UFC also scheduled the lightweight finale for AFTER the light heavyweight bout, something that never happens. The little guys always fight first! We should also ask, did Phillipe get cocky? Com one, those sunglasses in the picture above make him look just a little arrogant

The UFC was obviously setting Nover up to be a big star but hopefully they've learned that in the wacky world of MMA, you can't plan too far ahead.

Other observations:

-I can't believe the UFC awarded Browning and Kaplan fight of the night. Their match was far from boring, but it was pretty obvious from the start that Kaplan was overmatched. The Johnson/Burns match was far better.

Umm, umm, umm, can't come up with anything else right now. That's it!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

3 Reasons Why Faber vs. Pulver 2 is an AWFUL Idea!

The wonderful folks over at MMAWeekly.com are reporting that the WEC is planning a rematch between Urijah Faber and Jens Pulver at WEC 38 on January 25th. Both guys are coming off tough losses at WEC 36 are are likely very eager to get back in the cage and prove themselves again.

However, the WEC would be making a huge mistake by holding this match.

First, Urijah Faber is the WEC's golden boy and the promotion did take a small blow when he was knocked out by Mike Brown. Jens Pulver is clearly past his prime, but he is still a very powerful striker and could catch Pulver with a punch and put him out. People are still chalking up Faber's loss to Brown as something of a fluke, but two losses in a row would seriously damage his image as one of the world's top 145-pounders.

Secondly, a win over Jens Pulver just isn't considered a very big deal. Jens has lost four of his last five fights, and seven of his last ten. While these losses have mostly been to big names like BJ Penn, Takanori Gomi, and Faber, a win over a guy on a streak this bad just wouldn't do much in terms for Faber's rep.

And finally, Jens Pulver should not be getting back in the cage so soon after such a brutal loss. He's at that point in his career where he should start seriously thinking about how much damage his brain has taken, and whether or not he should continue fighting. Plus, if the WEC cares about keeping Pulver, they should give him an easier opponent.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jon Fitch Cut By UFC!

MMAMania.com is reporting that top-ranked welterweight Jon Fitch, along with heavyweight Christian Wellisch, has been released by the UFC for refusing to sign away exclusive video-game rights to his name and likeness. MMAMania also noted that other fighters out of the American Kickboxing Academy camp, namely Josh Koscheck, could also be let go if they don't sign an agreement.

This is pretty disturbing news. Signing away any kind of rights for life is a VERY big deal to any professional athlete, so it's not really surprising that some fighters are willing to walk away. I could understand if the UFC wanted rights for a reasonable time period, but lifetime is pretty extreme.

This is especially true since some MMA stars like Georges St. Pierre are on the cusp of mainstream stardom. It's not crazy to imagine a guy like GSP breaking out as an action star after some acting lessons, and the rights to his name and likeness in video games could be enormously valuable five or seven years from now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Grappling Wars: 3 Possible Opponents for Dustin "McLovin" Hazelett

Dustin Hazelett is quickly making a name for himself in the UFC's welterweight division with his highlight-reel submission finishes like his amazing armbar on Josh Burkman at the TUF 7 Finale, which is #2 in this armbar highlight video:


And just this past Saturday at UFC 91, Dustin again won submission of the night honors with a devastating reverse armbar on latest victim Tamdan McCrory.

So who could be next for Hazelett in the UFC's competitive welterweight division? I have three guys in mind:

Karo Parisyan

Karo has been suffering from panic attacks which have plagued his ability to get in the cage and fight competitively. However, the UFC must have faith in Karo's ability to return to his old form because they just signed him to a new eight fight deal.

A Parisyan/Hazelett fight could be an amazing BJJ vs. Judo war. Neither guy's striking is anything special, but I'd have my eyes glued to the screen waiting for Dustin to slap on a nasty submission or for Karo to toss him through the air.

Dong Hyun Kim

Interestingly enough, Kim is another judo guy, though taller and stronger than Karo. When Kim is on his game, he is absolutely brutal. At UFC 84, I actually felt sorry for his opponent Jason Tan who could not mount any sort of offense on Kim. Kim didn't do as well against Matt Brown at UFC 88 as he slowed a bit in the second round, but I still consider him a key up-and-comer in the welterweight division.

Hazelett vs. Kim could be a great second fight at an Ultimate Fight Night, and would make for a dazzling display of grappling. In fact, it would probably be even more exciting than a Hazelett/Parisyan fight.

Jake Shields

Jake Shields would be a great addition to the UFC's stable of 170-pounders, assuming he can get out of his EliteXC contract, and is willing to face top competition in the UFC.

Like Hazelett, Shields is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist that likes to finish fights. Shields also has a pretty average striking game, so there's no doubt a fight with Hazelett would go to the ground fairly quickly. The result would likely be a lightning-fast display of submission attempts and counters.

Hazelett would also be a perfect test to see where Shields really stands in the 170-pound division. Shields isn't ready for guys like Georges St. Pierre and Thiago Alves, but Hazelett is a perfect opponent. Both guys are on the cusp of the top-10 rankings, and a victory would put either guy close to the top of the division.