In case you weren’t aware, there is quite the doozy of a UFC card going down this Saturday. Former champions and number one contenders returning from lengthy lay offs. One of the most heralded fighters that has ever existed outside of the Zuffa Universe has finally broken free of his Bellator chains and will be making his big show debut. Also, the most electrifying persona in the sport is facing his toughest test to date and I haven’t even mentioned the Main Event yet! Why, you ask? Because no one cares about it! Read why after the jump!
Here are some recent training videos from a workout at the the Meriden Martial Arts Club. We’re just getting started, but we have five regular members who train in Shohei-Ryu karate and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Take a look and let us know what you think. If you’re ever in the Meriden, CT area, let us know! All ages and skill levels are welcome! Click here to visit out club site for more information.
So, as you know, the Moai Martial Arts crew was live and in living color at UFC Fight Night 50 this past Friday. This rare dual post will cue our faithful readers in on some of our favorite moments and observations from the show.
So, Boss, what was your most memorable moment from Friday night?
Bill - Spending it with you, buddy! The fights weren’t bad either. I gotta say J-Lau’s ability to get everyone in Bridgewater, MA to come to his fights is pretty awesome. The sea of red shirts surging the cage after his win was pretty great–a real [insert sports movie here] kind of moment. Inspiring, given all he and his family have been through lately.
Your ability to hold back the tears after Reem got KTFO’d again was pretty inspiring, too.
ALar - Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but witnessing Jacare’s dominance in person was something to behold. While all the drunken imbeciles were demonstrating their displeasure with the Brazilian’s threatening and utterly commanding top control, I was enthralled. Few fighters are electric when on the mat, but Jacare certainly fills that role.
Oh, yeah, and that whole thing where I was a mere foot from the Gator after the fight was pretty cool. The lucky dude in front of me was gifted Jacare’s shirt because he was shrieking in Portueguese. I guess I’ll have to pick up Rosetta Stone before the next fight…
So what did you think of Foxwoods as a venue for a UFC event?
Bill - This is my third UFC show. The first two were at Boston Garden (or the Fleet Center, or TD Bank North Garden, or whatever non-New Englanders call it now). The excitement of watching great fights in a packed arena can’t be beat. The crowd chanting “MMA!, MMA!” when Couture choked out James Toney at UFC 118 was great. Conor McGregor’s uproarious reception in Boston for UFC Fight Night 26 was ridiculous. Turn up the volume and check it out!
That said, The Grand Theater at Foxwoods was a better experience. Far better. Imagine seeing your favorite super-star artists like Jay-Z or One Direction or Cher playing a club show after they became famous (I know, I have weird taste in music). That’s what watching the UFC last Friday night felt like.
We were so close to the cage it was silly, and we had the cheap seats. We were at cage level, and we could hear all the thudding leg kicks and smashing takedowns. Security was also really cool about fans standing cage-side, which was so awesome (see above).
Aside from the DJ who mixed “Tequila” with dubstep–a toxic cocktail that induced mental images of PeeWee Herman twerking–it was an amazing night!
ALar – The Sensei is right, the intimate venue provided a magnificent setting for my first UFC event. For a company that can pack 55,000 people into an arena in Toronto, this show in front of 5,000 people didn’t miss a beat. It was simple to monitor my favorite journalists mid-fight actions (I’m looking at you Mindenhall!) and even catch a glimpse of Chuck Liddell and Chris Weidman trading tips cageside.
The crowd itself was mostly intelligent, which was mildly surprising. Well, besides Mikey, Vinny, and Joey who sat behind us for the prelims. I knew they were well rounded fight fans when they dropped remarks like, “These seats suck” (Which they didn’t…), “He’s doin’ all da basic moves, you can’t win like that,” (In the midst of Chas Skelly working an armbar… His mom was also sitting in front of us which was pretty cool. You haven’t lived until you have watched a mother watch her son fight in a cage for money.) Those guys were losers, and I’m assuming they found a gold chain and V-neck combo sale sometime before the Main Card started and were never heard from again.
So let’s throw out a bold prediction or two for one of the Main Event fighters.
ALar – For me, I can safely say that SHOULD be Alistair Overeem’s last MMA fight. The man has accumulated so many hits to the head that it only takes a soft breeze to ring his bell. Walking out of the building, we likened Ubereem to a kit car. He has the build of a Ferrari, but the engine of a Camry. There is nothing left for him in the sport; if he needs to fight, he should go back to kickboxing where the gloves are bigger and the careers are longer. Even if ‘Reem still thinks he can be a viable MMA fighter, my slightly less bold prediction is that we witnessed the Dutchman’s last UFC fight…
Bill - I second that. He seemed okay when we saw him in the lobby after the fights (no pic–two dead iPhones, really?), but when it’s time it’s time. The sad thing is, he looked like a new fighter out there. Long, low stance, lots of movement, some creative striking. Dare I say it? The Reem looked a lot like Bones. I hope he has the sense to hang it up, but if he dropped a weight class and took on a few fighters left in Jones’s wake, I’d tune in.
Here’s an easy prediction I know ALar will second. Let’s get Jacare in the ring with Weidman after he demolishes the diminishing Belfort, huh? Why does Vitor get a title fight anyway?
In a last second celebratory decision, the Moai Martial Arts boys will be at Foxwoods tonight for the UFC Fight Night: Jacare v. Mousasi card! This will be ALar’s first live UFC event and he can’t freaking wait! Pay attention to our Twitter account @MoaiMartialArts for live updates and commentary.
If you notice two dudes screaming irrationally loud for Joe Lauzon, that’s us! Say what’s up and buy ALar a beer!
I genuinely feel bad for TJ Dillashaw. He utterly dismantled reigning Champion Renan Barao at UFC 173 back in May. Barao, the same fighter Dana White had been lauding as one of the best in the world prior to the fight, looked like a scared puppy in the cage as Dillashaw charged forward as a ravenous bulldog. Throwing this rematch together just three months after that fateful night is a monumental slap in the face to the new Champ.
Erin Harpe is fresh off her first amateur MMA fight, defeating Yarlyn Gonzalez by unanimous decision at the August 16th Florida Championship Fighting event. She’s already made a name for herself, competing in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championship this year and coming back home with the gold from the 72kg Blue Belt division. I interviewed the 20 year old Royce Gracie Purple Belt to ask her thoughts on her first fight, what training is like and what lies ahead.
Ryan Bradbury: Okay, your first amateur MMA fight was last week, how does it feel to have your entry in the MMA world start with a win?
Erin Harpe: It was awesome being able to step into the cage. I was anticipating it for months, since I was originally going to debut in February, but then got injured so i had to pull out of that. then, I had Abu Dhabi and worlds to compete in, so i had to take time off MMA for those as well. I feel like this last fight was perfect timing though, because my cardio was on point, and although i was super nervous, I kept my composure, and I was actually comfortable striking, so all those months of training paid off.
Do you plan on concentrating on MMA now that or do you see yourself continuing to compete in grappling events?
I will be concentrating on MMA more, but as long as the tournaments don’t conflict with my fights, I won’t stop competing. I love Jiu Jitsu, and competing is my “fun time”. I may not be doing as many of the IBJJF tournaments as I’ve done in the past, but I’ll be doing the bigger events. For instance, I’m scheduled to fight in October, and i will also be competing in No-Gi Pans this September.
Well good luck with both of those! Outside of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, what does your training consist of week to week?
Thank You! So our coach, Matt Arroyo, has our fight team on a Monday – Saturday schedule. The schedule consists of; Muay Thai, wrestling, Boxing, and BJJ training, as well as sparring,and strength and condition. I train about 4 hours a day.
Wow that’s a full schedule, now you’ve recently moved down to Gracie Tampa to train correct?
Yes, I moved down here last August, and it’s been the best decision I ever made.
I finally meet Rob Kahn this summer, and I can say he definitely lives up to the hype. How has training with him and the coaches down there improved you game?
Hobby K (Rob’s nickname) is awesome! He built such a strong organization here filled with amazing black belts and practitioners. That man is a jiu jitsu genius lol he really breaks every technique down for you and simplifies it.
I have to agree, and while I only got to try one class with him while I was down in Tampa but he breaks situations down very well.
now, i do train with Matt Arroyo full time, who is also a mat genius. He was on the ultimate fighter on the Serra vs. Hughes season, so he knows exactly was the UFC is looking for. His only mission as a coach is to do anything he can to train and help us reach our ultimate goal, to become UFC champions. He has complete faith in us, so we must treat training seriously. Matt is one of the best coaches I’ve worked with.
Yes I remember when he was on that season, he did very well.
Your Father, Royce Gracie Black Belt James Harpe is the head coach at Gracie Agawam, he has to be very proud of you, seeing you follow in his footsteps. Is coaching something you see yourself doing, or do you want to concentrate on fighting now?
Yes, I definitely would love to become an instructor and open my own academy, but that’s 10 years down the road. Right now, I’m focused on getting better in MMA so i can transition into the UFC (in a couple of years), and to continue to excel in BJJ. And yes my father is very proud. He never misses a fight or tournament.
It has to be great to see women’s MMA, especially in the UFC make gains in popularity. Is there anyone in the sport you look up to in particular?
Yes for sure, its a blessing for us female fighters. I look up Ronda Rousey as far as her talent, determination, and heart for this sport. I think her attitude sometimes puts a negative image onto women’s MMA. However, a woman i do idolize is Miriam Nakamoto. She is an amazing fighter who fights in the Invicta FC . She’s not in the UFC yet, but she will be. She very talented, and we share similar headstrong mindsets. I also love Holly Holms. Shes just a natural beasts lol.
I agree, Ronda’s comment on beating any women in BJJ didn’t win her any fans. So does That mean some judo in your future?
Not really… I’m not a huge judo fan. I learning take downs through wrestling. Don’t get me wrong, judo is a beautiful art, but it’s not my cup of tea lol.
Okay just one more question I wanted to ask you about the fight. Your opponent was changed at the last minute correct? Did that play with your nerves at all?
Only slightly. I really wanted to fight, and the girl who didn’t show to weigh ins was the 3rd opponent who backed out, so I was ready to fight anyone at that point. I worked too hard and waited too long to not have a fight. that’s why i have so much respect for Yarlyn, who took the fight on 24 hours notice. Not many women would do that
Wow, that’s not an easy thing to do.
There are two UFC events this weekend: One in the Asian gambling haven of Macau headlined by Michael Bisping and Cung Le, the other in the MMA hotbed of Tulsa, headlined by Benson Henderson and Rafael Dos Anjos. Quick! If I lined up Rafael Dos Anjos, Raphael Assuncao, and Renan Barao in a row, could you tell me who was who? Sadly, I doubt it.
Now, listen here loyal followers: Even with an event as weak as this Saturday’s card in the boonies of Maine, I wasn’t going to leave you without your ALar fix. In my mind, this card serves one purpose: to let Dana White hang out at his Maine vacation compound during fight week. That’s about it, I mean, OSP/Bader is a solid light heavyweight tilt, but it should by no means be a Main Event in the UFC in the year 2014. You can see the full card after the jump.
What a Great Week!
Ed and Jean DeCosta hosted a training camp on August 4 through 9, 2014, in celebration of the dojo’s 40th anniversary. Congrats again to Ed and Jean, and thank you for your many years of dedication and service to others! I think all in attendance can agree that they did a great job planning everything, and the training was top notch.
Master Nakahodo, Master Higa, and Mr. Nakasone viewed and critiqued katas for five days straight and presided over a dan test on the sixth. I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank them as well!
The opportunity to meet karateka from throughout this country was an added bonus. We put together an e-mail list for networking purposes. I know I met a lot of great people I’d like to keep in touch with. Please e-mail me if you’d like a copy of the list.
A recap of the week including pictures, training notes, and a special video follow after the jump!