It's a major fight week, which means it's time for another GIFathon! Like past editions for UFC on FOX 6 and UFC 156, these GIFathons focus on select fighters from a PPV or FOX fight card and highlight their best work on the regional scene, usually early in their MMA career. Each GIF comes complete with commentary from myself and Dallas Winston, and the GIFs themselves were created by Zombie Prophet.
This week we have:
- Ronda Rousey doing what she does best, and she only needed 25 seconds to win this one.
- Lyoto Machida choking out former K-1 star Michael McDonald.
- Urijah Faber's first professional fight.
And much more! So let's get this started right now with Ms. Rousey and work our way down to UFC newcomer and ex-Strikeforce lightweight Caros Fodor.
Ronda Rousey vs. Taylor Stratford (Amateur bout, 2011)
Mookie: Before Rousey turned pro, she competed on two Tuff-N-Uff cards, Her amateur debut lasted only 51 seconds, this one against then-unbeaten Taylor Stratford was even quicker at 24 seconds.
Dallas: Techniques like this and the word "amateur" don't really jive. Rousey shows her high-level finesse here with the Ko Soto Gake to ground her opponent, and almost hits a nice ankle pick sweep from guard in between her armbar attempts, which is also the only time she lets go of her opponent's left arm in this entire sequence. Here's Judo aficionado Dan Pedersen on Rousey's takedown technique:
That's a Ko Soto Gake. Rousey is driving her opponent backwards, and she wraps the neck up for more upper body control and turns the clinch to the left (Rousey's left). The opponent is caught leaning backwards to her own right side, so her natural instinct is to move her own right foot back to regain her base. Rousey blocks that leg from moving with Ko Soto Gake, leaving the opponent in a "floating" position (posture broken, no base, essentially falling) and drives her down into the mat.
Lyoto Machida vs. Michael McDonald (K-1 Beast, 2004)
Mookie: Machida was 3-0 coming into this fight with wins over Stephan Bonnar and Rich Franklin, while McDonald, a K-1 kickboxing veteran, was making his pro MMA debut. Lyoto went on to bigger and better things like winning the UFC light-heavyweight title, while McDonald fought only one other MMA fight and continued his kickboxing career.
Dallas: What's missing from this sequence is the slick body-lock throw that Machida lands before setting it up with his quick straight left. Considering McDonald's striking background and inexperience with grappling, it's no coincidence that we don't see a lot of one-arm forearm chokes in MMA.
Urijah Faber vs. Jay Valencia (2003)
Mookie: It's nearly 10 years since Urijah Faber turned pro in tiny Colusa, California, and he made quick work of Jay Valencia. And yes, knees to the head of a downed opponent under the Gladiator Challenge rules were legal.
Dallas: Valencia's choice of sitting out to alleviate the barrage of knees proves unwise, as Faber shows excellent on-the-fly instincts by capitalizing on his exposed neck and cinching what would become the signature of Team Alpha Male -- the sacrifice guillotine.
Robbie Lawler vs. Frank Trigg (2007)
Mookie: Trigg had won 3 of 4 fights post-UFC release in 2005, and two of them came in Hawaii against Jason Miller and Ronald Jhun. That nice little run came to an abrupt end when he met Robbie Lawler's fists in Hawaii.
Dallas: Lawler's experience shines here as he grabs strong wrist control and pins Trigg's right arm to his own hip, then lets it go and attacks his vulnerable chin with a piercing left hand that ignites the finishing flurry. This was the 4th round of an ICON middleweight title fight and Trigg's cardio was obviously declining.
Mike Chiesa vs. Darcy James (2011)
Mookie: TUF 15 winner Mike Chiesa fought four times in 2011, and the first of those fights came against Canadian Darcy James in British Columbia. The D'arce choke is one of my top 3 favorite submissions, and it's even cooler when it comes against a guy named Darcy. All 6 of Chiesa's stoppage wins come by some form of choke.
Dallas: Darcy's mistake comes when he's too loose and wide with his left arm, seemingly looking to push on Chiesa's right thigh to either block the pass to north-south or simply to create enough space to scoot out. Chiesa bases down hard and threads his right arm through from Darcy's blind side to lock up the D'arce/Brabo choke.
Caros Fodor vs. Travis Smith (2009)
Mookie: Caros Fodor's 2nd professional fight took place in Spokane, WA against Travis Smith, and while the guillotine choke is what sealed the win, the knee to the body started it all.
Dallas: This is Fodor's M.O.: he'll grind away in the clinch with knees, usually with an overhook and single collar tie. He uses the collar tie well to limit his opponent's movement and keep him centered in his cross-hairs, then uses the neck-control grip to attack with chokes once his opponent looks for respite from the steady diet of knees.
Thanks again to Dallas and ZP for all of their feverish work on these features. The next edition of the GIFathon will either be for UFC 158 in March or UFC on FOX 7 in April. Either way, we know you love the feature because we have charts to prove it, if you want to give us improvement suggestions, fight requests, etc. please post them in the comments or on my Twitter account (@mookiealexander) and we'll see what we can do. Note that we cannot use UFC, PRIDE, Strikeforce, or Zuffa-era WEC fights in these GIFathons.