Sunday, 28 June 2015

Metamoris 6 Review - Part 2

During part 1 of this review, I gave my thoughts on all of the matches (both preliminary and main card) and I also gave some recommendations for matches I would like to see in future Metamoris events. If you haven't already read part 1, then you can find it HERE

In this part, I'll be talking about all the other stuff such as the stream, production, price etc. I will also talk about stuff which I liked and stuff I thought could have been done better.

Let’s get into this.


Stream

This was actually the first time I purchased Metamoris, and I have heard about a lot of people who suffer with stream issues during every Metamoris event. I've heard horror stories about people's picture freezing, audio issues, ridiculously slow buffer times, and even in some cases being signed out from the stream and not being let back in. 

Personally, I had no problems with my stream. The only thing I had was it stopped and buffered for about one second during Clark Gracie's match, but that was literally it. Both the quality of the picture and the audio was perfect in my case. 

I've never really had problems with any Jiu-Jitsu event I've ever streamed, however. In the past, I have streamed Copa Podio (May 2013), the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo (November 2013), and Polaris (January 2015) and they were equally as great. I thought the visuals for Metamoris were slightly better though. 

Price

The price I paid for the stream was $29.95 (which is approximately £19). This also included an additional 30 days’ worth of replays. Personally, I didn't watch it again after I first watched it, but I thought it was a great touch.

I had no problems with the price either. I paid £15 for Polaris back in January, so and extra £4 was not an issue for an event like this I think. 

Production

In terms of production, it was another outstanding performance from Metamoris. Honestly, the production of this event was second to none! It was very professional in the way it was shot, with the use of excellent camera angles and lighting. Also, all the replays were put over great, on par with any professional sport broadcast.

For the audio, this was equally as good. There was no cracking or hissing coming through the audio, and you could everything in which the commentators were saying. 

Whilst we’re talking about the commentators, I found the configuration a little bit strange. You had the main three commentators, Bas Rutten, Jeff Glover, and Rener Gracie (he disappeared sometimes), and every now again Keenan Cornelius, Xande  Ribeiro or one of the other athletes would come in for a bit and give their guest commentary for a while and sometimes would interchange with each other. I thought it was a cool idea on paper, but in reality, I felt it came across a little sloppy. 

Another thing on the commentators, I'm a big fan of Bas Rutten, but I don't think personally he was right for the position. I can see why they would pick him, as he is a familiar face to MMA fans and that seems to be an avenue in which Metamoris is going, but I don't think he knew enough purely about Gi Jiu-Jitsu. In that area, sometimes it felt as if he was a little bit lost, so I think somebody other than Bas would be better next time.

Also, Metamoris did actually feel like a special event. Everything from the promo clips before the start of every match, to the announcer, to the arena, to the people playing the drums, it all added up to a very special experience. When you were watching, it felt like you were watching a real professional sport event, and not just another Jiu-Jitsu stream. I think that is something everybody else fails to do apart from Metamoris.   

Improvements

Crowd 

This was one of the more noticeable things from the night. I just don't really understand why they did it. To shut the event off from media is one thing, but from the fans? The hundreds to thousands of people who are willing to pay to watch and provide so much energy to the event as a whole? I just didn't really get it. I still don't in all honesty.

In short, for the next Metamoris event, have it open to the fans. 

The Rules/Draws

When you hear people talk about Metamoris, this is something which comes up every time. Everybody seems to have the 'perfect' set of rules which will improve the event for spectators, but really, it's impossible to say. Under any set of rules a match can be boring, but I guess it's finding the right balance which is the issue. Creating a set of rules which makes it both exciting for BJJ and non-BJJ practitioners. 

The obvious way would be to make the matches no time limit, but this is obviously impossible, due to time constraints, and again, trying to keep the matches exciting. I think an overtime system would be a good thing to have. So if there is no submission, by the end of the 20 minutes, then they will fight again for an additional 5 or 10 minutes. 

Okay, so let’s talk about draws. The fact is... NO ONE likes to see a draw! Everybody wants to see a clear winner and a loser. It's as simple as that. 

I know they had judge’s decisions for Metamoris 2, but that created a whole other world of problems with people fighting to get a decision victory rather than a submission. It’s hard to find a solution to this problem, but there needs to be more incentive for the fighters to go for the submission. Whether that be financially or whatever, but there needs to be something in place because too many times you see people out there who just want to go the distance and not get the submission. 

Final Words

I don't want anybody to think from my last paragraph that I didn't enjoy Metamoris. In fact, I had a total blast. I thought it was a great show, but I just would like to see them change a few things, especially with rules, and listen to the fans more.

I look forward to the next show.  
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Monday, 22 June 2015

The Berimbolo Kid's Match of the Week - Week 37 - Ryron Gracie vs. Cassio Werneck - World Grappling Games 4 (2004)

(The previous edition can be found HERE)

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Match of the Week. This week is Ryron Gracie vs. Cassio Werneck from the World Grappling Games 4 which took place back in 2004.

Ryron Gracie is a black belt under Helio Gracie and represents the Gracie Academy. Ryron is the eldest son of UFC founder, Rorion Gracie and grandson of Grandmaster Helio Gracie. Over the past few years, Ryron has become quite familiar to both the BJJ and MMA world due to the Gracie Breakdown series on YouTube where he and his younger brother, Rener, breakdown techniques used in UFC and other prominent MMA fights. Today, Ryron is also one of head instructors of the Gracie Academy in Torrance, California.

In terms of competition results, Ryron has very few. This is mostly due to his thoughts on the points system which is used in the majority of sport Jiu-Jitsu competitions. Recently, he has competed in submission only events such as Metamoris demonstrating his rather unique strategy. However, he is in fact a one-time United Gracie (2001), Gracie International Open, and Gracie Worlds Champion (2012). 

Due to his lack of competition, it's kind of hard to comment on Ryron's style of Jiu-Jitsu, as well as his favourite techniques. From what I have seen however, his supreme ability and technique is undeniable. His knowledge is incredible and he seems to be comfortable from virtually any position, whether it be a good or bad spot. 

Source: ProElite

Cassio Werneck is a black belt under Ricardo Reis and currently fights for his own team, Cassio Werneck BJJ, but previously represented Brazilian Top Team (BTT) and the Oswaldo Alves Academy. Cassio is one of the best black belts of the early 2000's. He has fought many legends of our sport including Marcelo Garcia, TererĂȘ, and Marcel Louzado. 

Over the years, especially in the late 90's, early 00's, Cassio had great success in competition. He is a three time Pan American Champion (2003, 1998 & 1997 brown) and a one time World (2003) and CBJJO Brazilian Cup Champion (2002). He is also a three time Pan American bronze medalist (2004, 2001, 2000), a two time Brazilian National bronze medalist (1999, 1998 brown), and a two time World silver medalist (2004, 1997 brown). 

Cassio is very well rounded in his game. He doesn't really have a set game as such. However, when I observed some of his matches, he did seem to like the muscle sweep off his opponent standing, the triangle, and various sweeps from the butterfly guard. When the match started, he almost seemed quite comfortable in his takedown ability. 


Cassio Werneck

At this point in Match of the Week, I typically give a brief summary of the match without trying to give away the result. Not today, however. I thought that it would be good if you just watch the match without any prior introduction. So enjoy! I'm sure you thoroughly will. 

The video of the match can be found below! I hope you guys enjoy!

See you next week!

(If you are viewing on a mobile device, please click HERE)

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Saturday, 13 June 2015

Metamoris 6 Review - Part 1

Last month (better late than never!) I watched Metamoris 6 via their PPV livestream on their website. This is actually the first time I have ever watched one of their events live. I didn't watch any of their previous events mostly due to the time difference, but I thought I would put sleep deprivation aside in this instance. 


I will conduct this review just like I did with my Polaris review back in January. The review will be split into two parts. The first part will cover only the matches and at the end I will give my suggestions for future matches I would like to see. 

In part two I will cover things such as the stream, the production, the rules, the price etc. I will also comment on anything I thought could have been done better and any adjustments I would make. 

There were in total eight matches that night. Two matches were on the prelims and six were on the main card. I will cover all of them in this review. 

Without further ado, let's jump straight into this!

Metamoris 6 Prelims

Michael Liera Jr. vs. Morgan Neidlinger

I'm glad that Metamoris is starting to showcase some great young talents. I'm a big fan of Michael Liera Jr. and his game, so I was very happy to see him be added to the card on a very late notice.

I must say that I had never heard of Morgan Neidlinger prior to this event. He is a black belt under Kron Gracie, so I knew that he must be pretty good. 

I think this match was an excellent way to kick of the event. The quality of Jiu-Jitsu on display in this match was great. 

Michael really displayed how good of a guard player he is. He started off with the closed guard and transitioned to de la riva and spider guard. Along the way setting up multiple omoplata, triangle and sweep attempts. 

Morgan's defense was excellent, however. He gave Michael a very hard time all the way through the match, escaping from a handful of really bad spots. But Michael really dictated the pace of the match all the way through and Morgan never really had many opportunities to get going. 

The match ended in a 'draw', but Michael was the clear winner in this match. 

Francisco 'Sinistro' Iturralde vs. Greg McIntyre via submission armbar

Again, another great match to kick of the show before the start of the main card. Sinistro did a tremendous job against a very experienced competitor. 

All the way through the match, Sinistro made everything look so easy and smooth. He was constantly attacking and transitioning all the way through the match. Greg was never really much in it to be honest. Just like Neidlinger, he never got a chance to get going. 

Sinistro gets Greg right off the bat with a triangle, waits for his opportunity and transitions into an omoplata. Although, Greg does a good job of defending the omoplata, he gives Sinistro the chance to attack a reverse armbar, before switching to a standard armbar to get the victory at around four minutes into the match. 

The first submission of the night and an awesome one!

Main Card

Jimmy Friedrich vs. Evandro Nunes

This is actually a rematch, which I was surprised to find out whilst watching. The two fought previously in a submission only match with no time limit and Jimmy was victorious in that encounter with the match lasting over an hour!

Of course, Evandro was a replacement for Jeff Monson at the very last minute. Jimmy was the winner of The Road to Metamoris show and won the chance to face Jeff Monson. 

After you saw how the match was going after the first five minutes or so, you just knew it wasn't going to end by submission. Don't get me wrong, there were lots of submission attempts, and Jimmy endlessly went for the heelhook over and over again. 

Honestly, I couldn't wait for this match to be over. 

Clark Gracie vs. Roberto Satoshi

I thought this match had the potential to be the match of the night. It wasn't, but I certainly enjoyed it. 

Both of the competitors are super technical with excellent guard work, passing and submission attempts from both. 

A lot of nice de la riva guard work from Clark in this match which I enjoyed. Satoshi showing his guard passing skills with some lovely near x and torreando passes. Clark also had an omoplata attempt before the restart.

Once they restart on the feet, Satoshi attempts a flying triangle which was pretty cool. From here it was really the same as explained above with Clark in de la riva and Satoshi attempting to pass. There were a few signature omoplata attempts by Clark thrown in the mix there but nothing much different. 

Xande Ribeiro vs. Keenan Cornelius

I remember when I first saw Keenan vs. Xande in Copa Podio back in January of 2013. Man, I so wanted Keenan to win that match! To be the best brown belt in the world and to take down a legend would have been phenomenal. Sadly, Keenan didn't win that match, but the hype behind it at the time was unreal. 

However, I knew this time it wouldn't be the same. The fact that it is no points and no time limit is the obvious reason, and also Keenan is not as much of an underdog anymore. I still thought it was one of the best matches on the card though. 

I found Keenan's use of the worm guard with Xande's belt very interesting. He almost swept him and made a transition to the back as well. 

Keenan's passing in this match was great. Xande is notorious for never getting his guard passed, but on a few occasions, it looked like that might have been possible. Throughout the match, Keenan used the long step pass and at one point almost gets Xande in a leg drag. 

I thought Keenan would have got the armbar at one point, but the experience of Xande is second to none. 

For me personally, Keenan won. Technically it is considered a 'draw' but he really did the majority of attacking in the match. Even though I enjoyed the match I would still love to see it in a match under IBJJF rules. 

Dillon Danis vs. Joe Lauzon via submission by D'arce choke

Personally, this was my favourite match of the night. I've been a fan of Dillon since I saw him dominate at the Pan Ams in 2014. I thought eventually he would submit him, but never in fashion like he did. 

Joe Lauzon is an excellent grappler in his own right, and has tons of experience. However, Dillon made it look so easy.  

He instantaneously shoots for a heel hook but is unsuccessful, then catches him in a guillotine off Lauzon trying to pass. Dillon transitions to the back and locks in the body triangle. Joe is hand fighting with him and prevents Dillon from getting the choke. After 2-3 minutes, Dillon lets go and works the pass before getting the d'arce choke.  

Super slick work by Dillon Danis! Definitely one to look out for in the black belt division over the next year.  

Chael Sonnen vs. Renato "Babalu" Sobral

I thought it was a little weird putting an MMA vs. MMA together when I first heard about it. I could see why they would do a BJJ vs. MMA type match, because it's a cool concept. I don't know why they put this one together though. I would have preferred it if either of them competed against a BJJ competitor. 

To put it bluntly, this match was so boring! The entire match was just Chael in Babalu's guard. Now and again Babalu attempted a kimura, but nothing ever came of any of them. It just seemed like Chael wasn't even trying to pass the guard. It looked like he was sitting there hoping that his guard would magically open so he could start to pass.

It may simply be just a clash of styles, but whatever it was, it made for a terrible match. The worst match of night in my opinion.    

Josh Barnett vs. Ryron Gracie

Wow! I was shocked at this one. I really didn't think that Josh would dominate Ryron, never mind submit him. Holy s***!

It was a little bit slow on the feet at the very beginning. They didn't actually get to the ground until 3.5 minutes into the fight. Once they hit the ground, it's still a little slow with Barnett really using his size and weight advantage to good use by completely smothering Gracie with incredible pressure!

Barnett is in Ryron's half guard for a while and on a few occasions passes to side control put Ryron quickly brings him back to half guard. Off an attempt to transition to mount by Barnett, Gracie escapes to a single leg x-guard position. I thought Ryron would have attempted a heel hook or straight ankle lock here, but Barnett just pushes his legs down like they're nothing and we're back to half guard again.  

It's not long and Ryron gets Josh into his closed guard. He tries to bring his guard up high but he has little success with it and struggles to break Josh's posture. 

Once Josh breaks open Ryron's guard, it's really the beginning of the end. Josh passes and Ryron attempts an inverted triangle but Josh escapes and rolls through for a mega tight toe hold which Ryron taps to. 

Man, I was shocked! A good way to end the show I personally thought. I think it more than lived up to the hype. It will be interesting to see who they pair Josh up with next. They might do a match with Cyborg again, but who knows. 

Metamoris 7 Recommendations

Female Matches

Honestly, I find the lack of female Jiu-Jitsu at the majority of professional Jiu-Jitsu events appalling. On Metamoris 2, I personally found Mackenzie Dern vs. Michelle Nicollini to be the best match of the night. I also thought Angelica Galvao vs. Michelle Nicollini at Polaris to be the second best match of the night. 

Especially now, there is so much young talent in the female division. Marcelo Garcia black belt, Dominyka Obelenyte, is totally on fire at the moment. She has only been a black belt since January and a few weeks ago became World absolute champion. Also, she is only 19 years old! 

I mentioned this under my 'female match' heading of my Polaris review, but Tammi Musumeci is another great fighter. She shows so much heart during her matches, especially when she had her arm broken by Michelle Nicollini in the finals of the World’s last year and still carried on fighting. 

Throughout Metamoris, you have often seen the BJJ vs. MMA theme throughout the card. I guess that would be a cool idea to do with female competitors. 

The obvious choice here would be Ronda Rousey, but I seriously doubt that will be happening. But I guess prominent MMA fighters such as Miesha Tate or Cris Cyborg would be great opponents for the likes of Dominyka or Tammi. 

Other Matches

I think people such as AJ Agazarm, Dillon Danis, or Garry Tonon really embody what Metamoris is all about, and that's putting it all on the line and going for the kill. However, it doesn't always play out that way, as we have seen in past events. 

Sometimes you put two big names together thinking it's going to be great and it's a total snooze fest. Then again it could also be amazing; Roger Gracie vs. Buchecha from Metamoris 1 is an example of this. It just seems that sometimes peoples styles and strategies clash and make for a boring fight. 

The truth is that everybody is going to have an opinion on what matches they think would be great for the show. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying mine are any better, they're just simply my opinion. I would definitely like to see recent black belts such as Tim Spriggs and Erberth Santos be utilised in a future card. I would also like to see the Miyao brothers be used at some point, also. 

Some matches I would like to see include:
  • Keenan Cornelius vs. Roger Gracie
  • Rafael Mendes vs. Marcelo Garcia
  • Ryan Hall vs. AJ Agazarm
  • Paulo Miyao vs. Victor Estima
  • Joao Miyao vs. Dillon Danis
  • Erberth Santos vs. Leandro Lo
  • Tim Spriggs vs. Otavio Souza
Of course, fell free to give me your suggestions; I would love to hear them!

This concludes part 1 of my review of Metamoris 6. I hope you enjoyed and I will see you either tomorrow or Monday for part 2.

Catch you later,

Giordano
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Monday, 8 June 2015

The Berimbolo Kid's Match of the Week - Week 36 - Augusto 'Tanquinho' Mendes vs. JT Torres - 2012 Boston Open

(The previous edition can be found HERE)

Augusto 'Tanquinho' Mendes is a black belt under 9th degree red belt, Francisco Mansur, and represents Soul Fighters. Tanquinho is both an accomplished competitor and referee in the sport of Jiu-Jitsu. Since 2011, Tanquinho has been the center of BJJ media after some impressive victories over some of the top athletes in our sport including Ryan Hall, Rafael Mendes, Guilherme Mendes, and Rubens 'Cobrinha' Charles.

Tanquinho is a two time Abu Dhabi World Pro (2013, 2011), South American (2010 weight & absolute) and Rio Open Champion (2010, 2009). He is also a one time World (2013), World NoGi (2012), and American National Champion (2012). In superfights, Tanquinho is the 2013 Copa Podio Couples Challenge Champion and the 2014 World Jiu-Jitsu Expo Champion. 

If you could some up Tanquinho, it would be well rounded. He doesn't really have any preferences in his game. He is neither a top or bottom player, but instead is comfortable from anywhere. Tanquinho is simply dangerous from any position. The same is true for submissions. He doesn't have a preference, he just goes with what appears to him at the time.
 
Augusto 'Tanquinho' Mendes

JT Torres is a black belt under Lloyd Irvin, and currently represents Atos Jiu-Jitsu, but is well known for his time as part of Team Lloyd Irvin. JT is one of the most accomplished American grapplers to date with medals in nearly every major competition at the black belt level. He is a fan favourite at competitions due to his exciting style and being an American in an over populated Brazilian division. 

JT is a three time Asia Open Champion (2012 weight & absolute, 2010), a two time American National Champion (2014 weight & absolute), and a one-time World NoGi (2013), Pan American (2015), Pan American NoGi (2010), European (2015), and American National NoGi Champion (2014). 

As a fan favourite, JT's style of Jiu-Jitsu is great to watch. To sum it up in a nut shell, JT is a guard player. Pure and simple. Don't get me wrong, he is perfectly comfortable on top, and he has displayed his fair share of takedowns, but he is best known for his guard. In particular, his spider guard, but also works great from the closed guard, de la riva, and even the 50/50 guard. 

JT Torres

A tough match from two great competitors. Both of them exchange sweeps and submission attempts. There are even some nice close back take attempts in there. The guard work from both athletes is also great to watch. Even though at times the match can be slow, I still really enjoy this match since I saw it on an episode of IBJJF TV. 

The video of the match can be found below! I hope you guys enjoy!

See you next week!

(If you are viewing on a mobile device, please click HERE)

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