The Bloody Elbow GIFathon is back with brand new GIFs centered around five debuting fighters who will compete on the preliminary card of UFC 169 in Newark, New Jersey. I did leave out Andy Enz, not because he wasn't worthy of being in the piece, but because fight videos of him are few and far between, and the one highlights clip of him is not worth combing through to GIF up.
Patrick Wyman is here to provide historical context and technical breakdowns for each fight, and none of this is possible without the fantastic work of Zombie Prophet (more on that later). Let me just preface this by saying that just about all of these fights are squash matches, as you can expect in regional MMA, but the Danny Martinez bout is the most egregious one by far.
So without further ado let's get to "teh gifs":
Tony Martin vs. Jay Ellis (2012)
Patrick Wyman: Tony Martin has been a professional for barely two years, with only eight fights on his record, but in that brief period the quick-developing Minnesota product has showcased a surprisingly well-rounded game. He possesses a deep repertoire of submissions, good takedowns, and better-than-mediocre striking, though he faces a stiff test against fellow debutante Rashid Magomedov.
The GIF shows Martin submitting Jay Ellis, a 65-fight "veteran" (a tomato can might be offended by the comparison) of the midwest MMA circuit, with a nice arm-in guillotine. While the competition here is terrible - Ellis has been submitted an astounding 36 times in less than nine years - the technique itself isn't bad. Ellis leaves his head way too deep as he looks for the single leg up against the cage; Martin thinks about digging for an underhook to stuff the takedown, but instead reaches under to cement the guillotine. He then pulls guard, and shows off pretty solid technique in using pressure from his chest to help cut off the flow of blood to the brain.
Danny Martinez vs. Eric Boyd (2012)
Patrick: Next up is Danny "The Gremlin" Martinez, a veteran (16-4) training partner of Dominick Cruz, Phil Davis, and Ross Pearson at Alliance MMA. Martinez isn't entirely unknown: his lone WEC appearance resulted in a one-sided beating at the hands of perennial also-ran Joseph Benavidez, and he also dropped a decision to Jussier da Silva in the Tachi Palace organization.
Martinez is basically a hard-nosed wrestler with some decent striking and a solid top game, and that's precisely what we see on display here against the hideously overmatched Nick Boyd, who was making his pro debut with an 0-1 amateur record (that amateur loss lasted precisely 30 seconds) against a seventeen-fight veteran. That kind of mismatch might be expected from a promotion called the Xplode Fight Series, which also features a referee wearing a hoodie. Seriously. In any case, Martinez pushes his opponent to the cage, secures double underhooks, and then hits what looks to be a pretty slick lateral drop, landing in side control. A brutal barrage of punches and elbows follows, pushing Boyd into that long dark night.
Gasan Umalatov vs. Anatoly Safronov (2012)
Patrick: Gasan Umalatov isn't the hottest prospect to come out of the former Soviet Union in the recent past, nor is he even the hottest Russian prospect on the card - that honor goes to Rashid Magomedov - but he's a decent fighter in his own right. Although he's a bit plodding and doesn't possess even good power in his punches, he does have quick hands, good timing, and an excellent innate sense and control of the range on his feet, which he complements with a surprisingly effective submission game in transition.
We can see that submission game on display here against the oft-submitted Anatoly Safronov (16 of 20 losses by tapout). Umalatov walks him into the corner, where he'll look to unload with punches; when Safronov looks to respond with a quick single-leg. As with Ellis, he leaves his head stuck under Umalatov's armpit, who then locks up the arm-in guillotine in response. Unlike Martin above, however, Umalatov's technique leaves something to be desired: note the way he leans back with the choke, which would be appropriate for a standard (as opposed to arm-in) guillotine. Nevertheless, Safronov taps.
Kevin Lee vs. Eric Moon (2013)
Patrick: Umalatov might not be a particularly hyped prospect, but Kevin Lee certainly is. Although he's a bit light on experience - he's undefeated in seven professional fights in less than two years as a professional - Lee has outstanding athleticism, a great wrestling base, and a notable win over the well-regarded French prospect Mansour Barnaoui. He's only 21 years old, and Iaquinta is a tough matchup for the obviously talented but possibly overmatched Lee in his first UFC outing.
The GIF shows Lee's excellent balance as he defends a powerful single-leg attempt from his opponent, Eric Moon. Lee spins him to the cage, delivers a gut-busting knee, and transitions beautifully into a modified guillotine (or chancery) choke identical to the one Jon Jones used to put Lyoto Machida to sleep a couple of years back. Just as Jones did, Lee chokes his opponent unconscious (or nearly so), informs the referee, and walks away. Like a boss.
Rashid Magomedov vs. Rafal Moks (2012)
Patrick: Finally, we reach Rashid Magomedov, the latest representative of the Dagestani invasion to reach the UFC. A drastically undersized welterweight during his title run in the now Fedor-less M-1 promotion, Magomedov is making his first cut to 155, where he'll face the aforementioned Tony Martin. Magomedov is quite well rounded, with a diverse arsenal of punches, kicks, knees, and elbows, really fast hands, and solid power in his strikes. He also possesses solid wrestling, if not the otherworldly skills we've come to expect from the likes of Nurmagomedov, Bagautinov, and Khabilov, and outstanding submission defense to go along with a pretty solid grappling game.
We can see that submission defense, well-rounded game, and serious power on display here against dangerous Polish submission artist Rafal Moks. Moks attempts a leg lock, though he doesn't have the foot tucked quite deep enough under his armpit for it to be really dangerous. Magomedov realizes this - you can see him glance over at his leg - and chooses to defend by repeatedly punching Moks in the face. This causes Moks to release the submission attempt, and Magomedov postures up, passes to the mount, and drops absolute bombs until Moks shells up and quits.
Thanks to Patrick for his input, and a special thanks one more time to Zombie Prophet. In case you don't know, today is ZP's last day with us at Bloody Elbow, as he's moved over to Fansided. It's been a pleasure to work with him on these GIFathons and results posts over the past several months and his ability to bust out GIFs in an instant is top notch. He's excellent at his craft and I wish him the best as he moves on from BE. You can still follow him on Twitter (@ZProphet_MMA), as well as me (@mookiealexander) and Patrick (@Patrick_Wyman).
I hope you enjoyed this feature and you get a better read on what to expect from tomorrow night's debutants.