[Disclaimer: I wrote this post on a whim and while slightly buzzed. Don't take anything in it too seriously.]
Some fights contain moments that are pure gems, and if Kid Nate loves those moments verrrrry much that's how Judo Chop's are born.
Other fights contain moments that are stillborn aberrations, but still require a second look. Here's a few of those. (no disrespect to any stillborn aberrations out there reading this.)
Our first comes to us from WEC 51. After a tough fight, Jamie Varner and Donald Cerrone go for an akward-high five. They fail. HARD.
At this point we can only guess at what is running through each fighter's head. Varner starts falling forward. Was he just hoping him and Cerrone would collapse into each other? Was he counting on the force of Cerrone's five to knock him upright? Was he going for a hug that would reverse years of not having his feelings respected or validated? Or was he just falling forward with no real game plan, waiting until either Cerrone or the floor stopped his momentum?
Cerrone gives an incredulous look to Varner before brushing him off with a stiff forearm. Either Cerrone was genuinely reacting to a man awkwardly falling towards him, or he was able to discern that Varner was going in for the hug and went into hug defense mode. His technique is on par with a hot girl avoiding that sweet but awkward dude she talked with constantly during 3rd period, who's hoping for just a hug on the last day of school (fuck you Lindsey).
Feeling slighted, Varner runs up for what could potentially be a devastating strike. Instead he delivers a quarter-power nudge (that definitely ain't no shove). Herb Dean jumps in to prevent any further escalation, but Varner is already turning away as if to try and disavow that this awkward non-exchange just took place. If you want to praise Varner for self-control after a misunderstanding, go ahead. But there's just something funny about an all out war between two top fighters, guys going at it and throwing vicious strikes that easily could have led to a KO if they connected, ending in the same manner as a 1st grader finding out the kid in front of him just took his favorite color crayon.
I'm man enough to admit when something's out of my league. I'm not an expert in all the different stand-up disciplines, but with Dream 16 it was clear I was watching something special. Takeshi Inoue put on the type of footwork display where the only proper response is to sit back, and drink in the work of someone who is simultaneously a master and a pioneer.
Takeshi "Lion" Inoue cleverly combines the high-stepping trot of a well-trained pony with the quick pawing of an inquisitive squirrel. I'm sure MMA academies are breaking down the specifics of his "forward hop" technique as we speak.
He fakes kicks, finds his range, blocks potential punches, checks potential kicks, and keeps his opponent off-guard so quickly even Takeshi really isn't really able to process everything he's doing.
Sure, Miyata landed some huge suplexes later, but those were overrated. You're probably all like "but those made some pretty cool gifs, why not include those?"
Shut it, simpleton. They're already all over the place, so just find them somewhere else.
Seriously, it'll be like a day or two until Kid Nate puts them in a Judo Chop. How predictable.
And this isn't about suplexes (I would make a joke about "what's the plural of a suplex, suplexi? but those jokes are played the fuck out. (pro tip: comedy is always better when you explain it, and you can tell good concise writing by the use of multiple parenthesis.))
This is about Inoue and his beguiling technique. On my scorecard he won the round, nay, the fight, right here.
People talk about Lyoto Machida being elusive, or the flowing unpredictable styles of Anderson Silva. I say take a look at Takeshi, and there you will see a fighter where you truly have no idea what is going on.
While watching Torres and Valencia at WEC 51, Torres threw a knee that at first glance looked like it might have been a little early, a knee to the head of a downed opponent. I stupidly promised I'd find or make a gif of it later to double check the ruling. So here's me fulfilling my promise long after everyone else stopped caring. At least I can say I'm a man of my god damned word.
(And yes, the "first glance"-Koscheck-knee pun already occurred to me. It was found wanting.)
Here's Torres throwing the knee, and what a fine looking knee it is. (pause)
Valencia's legs are off-screen so it's impossible to be entirely certain, but it looks like he had just brought his left foot up before Torres delivered the knee.
I looked around for a different angle, but could only find the footage shown during the fight. So this all was pretty much useless. Unless someone is able to find a fan film or highlight reel or something showing a different angle, we'll just have to trust the judgment of the WEC.
Still inconclusive but looks like his foot was up. Plus there was a ref right there to make the call. Valencia and his corner would probably have raised a fuss if they thought it was an illegal knee, so I'm inclined to say that it was a legal strike.
However in re-watching it, Torres was fractions of a second away from throwing a knee that would have got him dq'ed. (And I don't mean taken to dairy queen by his trainer after the fight).
(How is that any better than the Koscheck pun you say? I don't know. I just like it. Leave me alone.)
There was an earlier judo chop in which Nate the Kid covered the low inside single, and I found this example of Sakuraba clowning some fool. (oh noes, is that fighter bashing? well I stand by it. Sakuraba makes him look like a jackass. What a fucking loser.)
At Dream 16 Sakurba faced off against Jay Miller and tried a low inside single, with less successful results.
Sock-Aruba shoots in looking for the inside low single. I believe Jay is starting to go for a leg kick, planting his lead leg and bring his back leg up. When Sa'curb'a shoots in, Miller quickly reacts with a sprawl. The gif on the left is real time, while the gif below is slowed down. Even in slo-mo it's still not easy to tell precisely what happened. I could fake it and act like I knew for certain about everything going on like a certain BE contributor, but I'm not gonna do that to ya.
If J"M"M is throwing a kick, he normally wouldn't be in the best postilion to defend a shot. All his weight would be on his lead foot and that foot would already be turned out. This normally would be good news for Soccerballa. If Miller is squaring up to sprawl for the takedown, then Miller has lightning-fast reflexes and Sakuraba never had a chance.
Either way good ol Kazushi isn't as quick as he once was, and Jay has better reflexes than your average bear. Special K isn't able to use his right (lead) hand to secure Jayson's lead (left) foot. However Kasushi's left (aft) arm grabs Miller's right (posterior) leg instead of securing the single on Miller's lead foot. This prevents Sakuraba from putting the pressure into J Mill's lead leg necessary to topple him over it.
Once Sakuraba is unable to secure the low single, the jig is pretty much up. There's no chance for him to finish a double, and Miller sprawls back before Sakuraba is able to go for a different grip (if he could have gotten a hold on one thigh he could have circled that way and tried for a dump).
After watching it a few more times I'm fairly convinced that Miller was setting up for a kick, and Sakuraba was just unlucky. If Sakuraba had managed to secure Miller's lead foot he might have been able to finish the shot. If Sakuraba had been slightly quicker and shot in deeper, he probably could have finished the shot without using his right hand, or he might have even been able to switch to a backdoor finish. If Sakuraba had gone the more traditional route with a double leg, even at his strength disadvantage Sakuraba probably could have finished because of Miller's narrow base and lack of balance at the moment of impact. In the end, none of these were to be the case. Such is life.
I know this said vol. 1 but this might be the last one, it took entirely too long. I could have done it quicker if I were more sober, but then again I probably wouldn't have done it if I were sober, thus a catch-22. Or you can just wait until I get drunk enough again that I forgot how long this took.
p.s. In rereading this I realized it might sound like I was talking about Nate with the "certain BE contributor" comment. I was not. I was talking about whoever came to mind for you right now. Yeah, you know who it is.