Silva vs. Diaz: A Super Fight…

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Saturday’s collision between Anderson ‘the Spider’ Silva (33-6) and Nick Diaz (26-9) in the headliner of UFC 183 might not qualify as a Superfight (neither man is a champion and both are coming off a brace of losses) but the star power and enigmatic nature of both men, combined with so many unknowable factors make this a fight to get excited about.

A year and a half ago, Silva was the no.1 pound for pound fighter in the world and the consensus Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) but a knockout loss to Chris Weidman and a broken leg in the rematch dimmed his star and led to over a year on the shelf.

Now that he has returned, we can only wonder if Anderson can be close to the near-mystical figure he once presented in the Octagon. Will the first back-to-back losses of his career, a horrific injury and lengthy spell on the sidelines have diminished his skills, his passion?

It’s also worth remembering that Silva turns 40 in April, which is a truly impressive vintage for an elite level fighter, especially coming up against one of the most renowned cardio machines in the sport.

Diaz has long been considered one of the best Welterweights in the world, but frustrating decision losses in title matches to Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre and his typically difficult relations with the UFC management have led to almost 22 months in the wilderness.  However, as Nick is eight years Anderson’s junior and does triathlons for fun, I don’t think we can read too much into that period of self imposed exile.

It is rare that a fight between two competitors on a combined 0-4 run and 35 months worth of inactivity attracts such attention, but in this instance we have a pair of the most popular, divisive and mercurial talents in MMA.  Interestingly, right up until Anderson’s second leg break, this would be considered a drastic mismatch (indeed, many still see it that way) albeit one likely to provide a fun fight whereas now, it seems a little fairer…

Diaz gives up height, reach and weight to Silva and has never possessed the same aura against regularly top class opposition or displayed the same creativity in terms of striking prowess. However, with Anderson ageing and coming off a serious injury, Diaz’ confidence, relentless pressure, endless cardio and top notch boxing could be a nightmare for the returning ‘Spider.’

So much relies on how Silva’s mind and body have recovered from the reverses of the past few years and if either let him down, we could easily see Diaz swarm him and pick up a career defining victory. Nontheless, most will be assuming that Silva will pull off some implausibly creative knockout, as we’ve seen so often in the past…

Either way, we find ourselves with a truly compelling contest between two legends of the sport – and despite the exponential increase in the number of UFC cards and bouts, that’s not something we can say all that often.

Expect middle fingers from Diaz, hands down taunting from both men and a stark contrast between intensity and Zen-like calm.

Oh, and expect the unexpected. This is not one to miss.

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Priorities

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You’ll have noticed I’ve barely posted throughout May despite there being a lot to talk about, and that’s because my wife was due to give birth, which she did last week to my beautiful son, Ruaridh.

A week in and things are starting to settle down, but the reality of not having quite (even close to nearly) as much time to do some of the things I used to is settling in. Between prioritising work, caring for baby and his mum, I really have to pick and choose what I’m going to spend my remaining free time doing…

…and trying to provide constant content for my MMA blog just doesn’t come that high up the list.

Past my sensible daddy responsibilities, it’s far more important that I use my time to get fit and healthy, to do the things which have always been my passion and serve to relieve my stress – playing music and writing fiction – and perhaps to try and make serious headway with making a living from one of these.

So, content on KUMITE is going to be a lot less regular and sporadic from now on, basically coming whenever something sufficiently moves me in the world of MMA (it’s not like I’ll stop watching) and coincides with the free time required to write it down here. I still love the sport, but with reliably regular content out the window better to just embrace the ‘just for fun’ nature of the page.

We’ve always said that life is a contact sport and at this time I am more in contact with life than I have been in many years. My time now belongs to my child and my wife, with the remainder spent attempting to get some rolling, writing and riffing done for fun and sheer tranquility.

There is more in life than a wee wordpress blog.

Chris

Cage Warriors 69: Super Saturday Details Revealed

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Cage Warriors have now filled us in with some details regarding the much teased ‘Super Saturday’ event coming up in June. Here’s the press release…

Cage Warriors Fighting Championship is set to round off its schedule for the first half of 2014 with an unprecedented event in London on Saturday, June 7.

Following a hectic recent spell which has seen Europe’s leading MMA promotion host seven shows in the space of just eleven weeks, visiting five different countries in the process, CWFC will sign off in style for a summer break with Cage Warriors 69: Super Saturday.

The event, which will take place at The Forum in Kentish Town, London, will be CWFC’s eighth so far this year and is set to feature not one – but two! – main cards, which will follow both unaired and Facebook prelims.

With each main card to be headlined by a CWFC world title bout, Super Saturday will bring fans an extravaganza of top-class MMA, with professional action beginning at 3pm and continuing right through until approximately 11pm.

Super Saturday will kick off with an unaired preliminary card, followed by Facebook prelims – which will be streamed live and free of charge around the world – at 4pm BST.

The first of Super Saturday’s televised main cards will get underway at 6pm BST, before the second – which culminates in the meeting of Stevie Ray and Curt Warburton for the vacant CWFC lightweight world title – swings into action at 9pm BST.

“After our event in London on June 7, we’ll be taking a break until CWFC 70 in Dublin on August 16 while the World Cup takes centre stage, so we want to treat the fans to something big before we do that,” said Cage Warriors Fighting Championship CEO Graham Boylan.

“Almost every other sport has a marquee event on its calendar, whether that be the Superbowl or the Champions League final, so this is something MMA needs and it’s something we’ll be looking to make an annual event.

“Today we’ve announced some huge fights for Super Saturday, which already make it a stacked card, but there’s a lot more to come. June 7 will be a huge day, not only for Cage Warriors, but for the sport of MMA worldwide.”

As previously announced, Stevie Ray (14-5) will look to regain the CWFC lightweight world title when he takes on Curt Warburton (13-4) for the vacant strap in the final bout of the night, which will headline part two of Super Saturday.

The full card and line-up for Super Saturday will be confirmed in the coming weeks, but also on the bill will be a massive middleweight bout between Jack Marshman (14-5) and Bola Omoyele (7-2).

CWFC’s stacked welterweight division will be in focus on the night, with Simeon Thoresen (17-4-1) set to make his Cage Warriors debut against Jake Bostwick (14-8-0-1). Meanwhile, Benny Alloway (13-5) will collide with Mohsen Bahari (7-1) and Jack Mason (27-13) is scheduled to face Bruno Carvalho (15-8).

See below for details of all eight bouts announced so far, and get your tickets – priced from just £25 – for Super Saturday when they go on sale online from The Forum at 9am BST this Friday, May 9.

Cage Warriors 69: Super Saturday (more bouts still to be announced)

Stevie Ray vs. Curt Warburton – vacant CWFC lightweight world title bout
Jack Marshman vs. Bola Omoyele
Jake Bostwick vs. Simeon Thoresen
Benny Alloway vs. Mohsen Bahari
Bruno Carvalho vs. Jack Mason
Liam James vs. Nad Narimani
Brett Caswell vs. Spencer Hewitt
Jason Cooledge vs. Brad Wheeler


I’m in the middle of writing another article about Cage Warriors at the moment so I won’t go on here, but suffice to say this all sounds very awesome and I love the idea of a showpiece mid-summer event for the promotion and also the sheer practicality of acknowledging that they don’t want to overload their fan base during the World Cup.

The card already announced is insanely deep and with another title match still to be confirmed, I can’t wait for this one… might even need to arrange a weekend in London…

Respect the Champ

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I really don’t like Jon Jones (I’ll state exactly why later in the article) but after his measured demolition of Glover Teixeira, the most anti-Bones observer of MMA must admit that he is the Man, definitely in the 205lb division, probably in the UFC as a whole and well on his way to wresting the GOAT title from Anderson Silva unless his stars change in dramatic fashion.

Currently on an 11 fight win streak (could easily be 21 with a different referee in his fight against Matt Hamill) and a record extending seventh defence of the Light Heavyweight belt (now chasing down Silva’s 11 successful title defences in any division) Jones has been the picture of calm as he’s almost casually disposed of all comers.

Whether it’s keeping opponents on the end of his reach and winning comfortable decisions, to stunning them with elbows and choking them out or just plain bullying them to the mat and taking a TKO, Jones has displayed well rounded skills combined with a maturity, versatility and creativity which has stymied.

When taken into deep waters against Alexander Gustafsson, he displayed heart to come back and win the latter rounds and earn the (only partially contentious) decision, while last night against Glover Teixeira, he refused to play it safe and engaged Glover on his own terms up against the cage and took little damage in the process while leaving his opponent a bloodied mess as his 20 fight win streak fell away.

Looking at those achievements, who can deny his quality or fail to get behind him?

Well…

Reasons I Don’t Like Jon Jones

Luck: I can’t get past the idea that Jones record breaking title reign has been facilitated by a generational gap in the Light Heavyweight division. He won the belt from a past-his-peak Shogun Rua who had a year’s worth of rung rust and defended against former champions who were either not elite anymore (Quinton Jackson), effectively Middleweights (Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen) or just didn’t turn up on fight night (Rashad Evans) and then didn’t look at all dominant against the first true contemporary that he faced for the belt.

Reach: While Jones excellent grappling and varied striking are huge parts of his arsenal, the real difference seems to be his reach. His freakish natural physique makes it so that it’s very difficult for a regularly proportioned Light Heavyweight (never mind the natural Middleweight’s he’s been facing as often as not) to damage him. Now, I know that holding a fighter’s natural physique against him is pithy, the way Jones paws out with his lead hand, earning a wearing for eye pokes in almost every single fight (should have been docked a point last night IMHO) doesn’t scan well with me.

Attitude: Lastly and by far most importantly (if I’m honest, the others are based on the fact that I don’t like his attitude and looking for more reasons to hate) Jones’ persona just rubs me up the wrong way.

From dropping an unconscious Lyoto Machida like a sack of potatoes after the referee had ended their fight to claiming he only went 80% in his closest fight to date against Alex Gustafsson, to just seeming like a complete prick in most interviews Jones just seems like an arrogant, cold, unlikeable kind of guy to me.

It’s not that he’s a heel – I’ve got a soft spot for folks who play the bad guy – it’s just that he seems so damn superior. It’s the kind of bad guy heat that makes me want to see him knocked out in the most brutal fashion possible.

On balance…

… it’s clear that my dislike stems from his persona, not his fighting skills and my other reasons are reaching more than a bit.

When I attempt to be objective, I cannot deny that Jones has impressed beyond measure, is a worthy and dominant champion and should be a clear favourite against almost any conceivable future opponent (apart from maybe Cain Velasquez should that super fight ever materialise.)

While that isn’t enough to override my dislike for his persona (which seems to be broadly shared as Jones has not exactly set the PPV buy rates aflame) and my innate tendency to back an underdog (it’s a Scottish thing) I have to say that Jones has my respect and he is quite simply the fighter at the top of the mountain in all of mixed martial arts right now.

You don’t have to like the champion, but you do have to respect him.

Brett Johns: The Once & Future King

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On Saturday night, Brett Johns might not have walked out with the CWFC bantamweight belt, but he earned at least one new fan.

Prior to his match against James Brum, Johns had been a fighter who’s skills I respected but that I remained unsure of, edging to the opinion that the more experienced Brum might prove too much, too soon for the young Welshman.

This feeling was only exacerbated when Johns proceeded to miss weight, which is so often a sign of a poor performance to come, combined with a sense that something was wrong in camp, be it physical or mental that caused the lapse in weight management and who knows what other shortcoming.

It would have been so easy for Johns to fold under the pressure, already knowing he’s not leaving as champion, facing one of the best in Europe and in front of an expectant hometown crowd, a mere mortal might give up inside – not necessarily consciously – and phone in a lacklustre performance.

That path was not for Brett, who proceeded to put in a sterling and above all, mature performance against Brum en route to becoming the first man to outpoint the (now former) master of the close-decision-victory.

Sticking with a tried & true formula, Johns kept the fight on his terms, grinding Brum against the cage and taking him down at will (although admittedly, rarely keeping him there for long) throughout the fight en route to a comfortable decision victory.

As Brum felt the decision slipping away he increasingly tried to push Johns to deviate from his game-plan, engaging in some plays from the Nick Diaz playbook in an attempt to incense the young Welshman.

To his massive credit, Johns barely even blinked and rounded out a championship calibre performance with a classy post-fight interview. He might not have the belt, but he’s still the Man in the Cage Warriors Bantamweight division.

Despite missing weight, which tends to irk the most understanding of promoters and matchmakers, I can’t see him being shitlisted by Cage Warriors and a return title shot at the soonest possibility has to be in the offing.

The list of potential opponents is impressive with the likes Ronnie Mann, Cory Tait and Toni Tauru heading up an exciting roster the future of the Cage Warriors Bantamweight division is very bright indeed and I expect Johns to be front & centre in that.

(photo from http://www.cagewarriors.com)

Quest: The Journey So Far….

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There comes a time in everybody’s life, I imagine at least, that they realise they are no longer as young as they used to be and that they cannot get by on the vitality of youth alone any longer. This epiphany crept up on me through the latter parts of 2013 and has carried forward into this year. It used to be that I would just eat/drink what I wanted, do minimal if any exercise and generally just muddle on by like that, knowing that I was out of shape but with a general acceptance that it was never really going to change so not to worry about it and just get on with things, but I realised that this was just an excuse I was feeding myself to get away with justifying whatever next piece of fast food I fancied devouring for dinner or to avoid having to actually put the work in to change how I feel and look, and once I had realised and accepted that fact I almost instantly found myself with the resolve to change it.

Please do not take this the wrong way, I do not want this to come off as some on my soapbox, preaching the good life piece that demonises anyone who dare pick up a McDonalds in the future, I still enjoy and unhealthy plate of grease as much as the next person and no doubt have not had my last, I simply wanted to portray how a few simple changes which provide a better balance can really make a difference and, more importantly, are not as difficult as the may at first appear.

Even though I had the general feeling of wanting to get healthier and fitter for a while, I can attribute the moment I really decided it was time to Christmas just past. The morning after a night out with some work friends at one of the various Xmas get togethers we all have at that time of year I saw a picture taken the previous evening and if I am brutally honest, was really not happy with what I was looking at. Instead of getting down about it and comfort eating (a vicious circle) I decided that there was only one person that was going to be able to change it and that was me. The fact that I have a few medical conditions which meant looking after myself more would be advisable only helped strengthen that resolve. It’s a stark reminder of your expanding waist line when you got for a checkup every 6 months and when they check your weight they say “Up a little bit more this time I see”.

As I alluded to above, I have never exactly been the athletic type or worried about my diet in the past, so I wasn’t really sure where to start or even what to do. I did however remember someone telling me once that losing weight is more about diet than it is exercise. Not to say exercise is not important as well but just that if you do not sort your diet out then all the exercise in the world is not going to give you the results you want. So, with this in mind I made the decision to quit all processed meals, fast food & fizzy drinks while majorly cutting down on my snacking. I started cooking all of my own meals again, buying more veg than meat in the weekly shop and investigating different ways to put them together. Lunches at work changed from massive portions of whatever hot food was on the go to soup and if I was extra hungry a piece of fruit. I set myself a challenge of choosing 1 or 2 ingredients I had never cooked with before every week just to keep things varied and expand my tastes a bit. This lead me to using items like Brussell Sprouts, Soya Beans, Pak Choi, Asparagus, among others. Not all were a success, for example I don’t think I will ever buy stuffed vine leafs again, but the vast majority did work out and the other example I gave above would be more than welcome in my kitchen any given week now.

Since I was looking to lose weight I also decided to try restricting my calories and got a hold of the app MyFitnessPal to help keep track. I don’t ever want to be someone that needs to check the amount of calories in every single packet they pick up, but for an interim period it seemed like a good idea. It is worth noting that on that day I also weighed myself to give a starting point for the app and at the time the scales read 12st 3lbs (171lbs). Not the biggest weight you have ever seen I am sure, but standing just around 5’5 this was probably the most I have ever weighed so simply reaffirmed my dedication to change. After putting in all the information MyFitnessPal informed me that I should be looking to eat a little over 1500 calories a day so I put my trust in this figure and began my journey.

That was in January and I won’t bore you with the weeks directly following as I pretty much stuck the the plan as much as possible and kept with it. I found myself really enjoying the cooking side of things and started experimenting a bit more here and there which kept things fresh and interesting while, aside from a couple of days, religiously sticking to my 1500 calories a day limit. The result of this was that after just 4 weeks I was down to 11st 6lbs (160lbs). I actually couldn’t believe that with just changing my diet and applying what could be seen as portion control I had lost half a stone and hadn’t increased my activity level at all. I had never been more motivated to keep going and was looking forward to seeing future results, but as so often happens in life it was at this point that I hit a wall.

I always knew this was not going to be an easy journey and in some ways almost felt like I had cheated to lose half a stone since it really was so easy to do, so I was prepared for things to get tougher, however it is one thing to tell yourself that and another to push through it when it actually happens. After another month, taking us up to about mid March, I was 11st 4lbs. Still a loss no doubt but to have stuck to the same routine for a further 4 weeks and to only have lost 2lbs created a bit of a mental barrier for me and I slipped up a bit for a week with that disheartened feeling. I am glad to say though that it did not last long and I began to think about what propelled me to get here in the first place, making a change. The old phrase if you do what you always did then you will get what you always got came to mind and this inspired me to once again mix things up.

Yes, I admit I had been putting it off but there really was only one thing for it at this point. Exercise!

This is not to say that I was a complete stranger to the concept. Living in the city centre and not having a car means I walk pretty much every where and I had a spell going to Jiu Jitsu in the recent past which stopped when an old knee injury had started playing up again and this allowed to justify another excuse to myself, however, it had been a while and I fully accepted that I was as out of shape as a person really can be.

As much as I would love to get back to Jiu Jitsu at some point I made the decision that I wanted to try and regain some level of overall fitness first before I did that and as it happens a good friend of mine had just recently started with a personal trainer whom I was aware of due to him training/coaching at the same gym (Scottish Hit Squad) where I had been doing my BJJ. Since I have very little knowledge of working out in general I thought having some guidance and direction would be ideal for me so I followed suit and got in contact with Paul at Atlas Personal Training.

My first session there was a little over 2 weeks ago and I was a little apprehensive when going along, but tried to think along the lines of how bad could it really be. As it turned out a lot worse than that! Leaving that gym after an hour I could hardly get down the stairs and it took me a lot longer than normal to walk down the street back to my flat. The next 2 days were even worse, I have not felt pain like that in a long time. A workmate even commented “Are you ok mate, you are walking like The Undertaker”. Anyone who is a wrestling fan and has seen Mr Callaway in the past couple of years will understand that statement.

It would have been easy to quit at that point, very easy in fact, I mean who wants to be feeling like that all the time! Quit I did not though and even got signed up at Pure Gym here in Glasgow to attend in between sessions with Atlas. Paul also set me up with a specific diet tailored to what I am trying to achieve at the moment which I will share below however please note that this was given to me and is not here as a specific diet for everyone to use to try and lose some weight.

Breakfast: Quinoa, Egg, Flaxseed Oil, Apples

Lunch: Turkey, Brown Basmati Rice, Fresh Spinach, Onions, Avocado

Dinner: Chicken Breast, Sweet Potato, Broccoli, Red Pepper, Fine Green Beans, Fresh Spinach

Evening: 0% Greek Yoghurt, Natural Honey, Whole Brazil Nuts, Blueberries, Banana

I can mix it up a little bit using common sense, however that should give you a general idea. When I first received the above diet I was rather apprehensive. It is very different from what I was used to eating even after the changes I made in January but there would be no point in starting the process if I wasn’t going to fully commit so have been doing my level best to stick to it. I might be a bit sick of the sight of Turkey and Chicken at the moment but so far so good.

When it comes to the gym it is mainly weight training I am sticking to just now, low weight high reps, in order to basically prepare my muscles for whats to come in the future and just get them working again. Throwing in a bit of cardio at the same time but not as much as the weight training.

As I sit here now I am a couple of days removed from my latest session with Atlas and after only a couple of weeks I am already feeling the difference. We are not talking massive leaps here but I definitely felt stronger and had better endurance than I did when I began. I have to say I am quite excited about what the next few weeks and months may bring and I intend to try and and deliver further updates in this series of articles, assuming that anyone still wants to hear more after working their way through this essay. If you have got this far then I salute you!

One thing is for sure though after getting stuck into this process properly for the first time I have no intentions of letting all of the hard work go to waste. It is a marathon not a spring and I for one am in it for the long haul. Onwards and upwards!

Ross Stevenson

If anyone is interested they can find the Scottish Hit Squad at http://www.scottishhitsquad.co.uk or http://www.facebook.com/scottishhitsquad & Atlas Personal Training at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Atlas-Personal-Training/465688333548601?fref=ts

#Menga4UFC

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Over the past week, since Pietro ‘Pitbull’ Menga extended his unbeaten record to 11-0 with a win over Sotir Kichukov at FCC9, I’ve seen the hashtag #Menga4UFC pop up a lot on my Twitter feed.

Before we go any further, check out the match…

Ranked 31st in the world and 3rd in Europe on Fightmatrix, few can argue against Menga’s worthiness for a crack at the brightest lights, but aside from continuing to decimate all comers in the North West of England, what can Menga do to expedite his progression to the world stage.

Without intending any disrespect to Full Contact Contender who are a fantastic promotion, if a UFC call isn’t immediately forthcoming I believe Menga should sign for Cage Warriors.

‘Pitbull’ would immediately be amongst the top contenders for the Flyweight title vacated by Neil Seery and successful outings against the likes of Paul Marin, Mikael Silander or Shaj Haque on the well respected and internationally broadcast show, especially when combined with his record and dedicated fan base in the north west could raise his stock enough to get a UFC call sooner rather than later.

To be honest, if I was in Sean Shelby’s shoes I’d have signed Menga up already, the UFC’s Flyweight division is shallow as it is and Menga is already at least as good as half the guys they have under contract in the weight class and would give the rest a damn good fight.

He’d be a really good fit for the upcoming Dublin card in July, but if that doesn’t materialise then a winning run in Cage Warriors should make him a lock for the early 2015 London card.