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BJJ Superstar Gabi Garcia Disappoints in Victorious MMA Debut at RIZIN

AJ Camacho

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This past Wednesday, BJJ Superstar Gabi Garcia made a victorious debut over Lei’d Tapa, at Rizin Fighting Federation 2. The MMA upstart overcame getting rocked early in the round to come back and win with a decisive TKO ground and pound. For many, this win satisfied the old adage of “a win’s a win” but for others, her performance fell short of the high expectation and standard of aggression that the ADCC Champion has been known for.

Actually, to say she fell short is a bit of an understatement. Gabi came out with no serious attempt to use her Jiu-Jitsu while demonstrating a complete lack of striking fundamentals. As a newcomer to the MMA and striking game, her novice level striking was to be expected. What was shocking though was her willingness to completely abandon her world class Jiu-Jitsu in favor of a fighting style that was more akin to a high school locker room brawl. Actually, nowadays most locker room brawls do feature some solid double leg takedowns so maybe that comparison is ineffective.

I’m sure many will feel that I’m being too harsh. As an MMA novice, many aspects of her game are still an early, “work in progress”. Regardless of this expectation, I saw no signs of an integrated MMA game. When you develop a fighter in the early years of their MMA career you start at their strengths and build out from there. For a grappler with the accolades of Garcia, her striking should have been the means by which to enter a clinch and to set up her takedowns. This early in her career everything from combinations to footwork should be built around the concept of closing distance and getting Gabi to the brick and mortar foundation of her strength, her Jiu-Jitsu.

Like Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.” That clearly could have been the case here. When the round opened the southpaw Lei’d Tapa repeatedly tried to setup up some wide overhand shots. Without adjustment and while lumbering forward, Gabi caught one of these overhands with her face, shuddering back and dropping into the ropes. She would madly scramble back to her feet while eating a few more fists but overall, Tapa would give her the space and time to recover her senses.

From this point on, Gabi’s demeanor changed. Before our very eyes, the ominous athletic powerhouse withered into a timid giant. Eating a few heavy hands herself, Tapa also became more cautious. Tapa knew she could crack this giant and was hoping that Gabi would throw more loopy overhands to open her up for another debilitating counter strike. Clearing her head, Gabi would charge forward with some half inspired straight punches, pressuring Tapa into the ropes, but failing to capitalize on the clinch. Two more times Gabi would rush Tapa back with no seeming interest in wanting to clinch or grapple Tapa to the ground. As a personal fan of her grappling, the frustration was unbearable.

Garcia would engage again, connecting with a right hand and left hand, before flying past Tapa with an overextended right cross. On this occasion, though, Garcia realized that her back was exposed and recovered with a heavy backfist as she tried to turn and re-square herself back towards Tapa. The backfist connected dropping Tapa to the ground and finally we got to see Garcia pounce and assert some grappling control. Instead of a submission attempt, though, Garcia played it smart and conservative opting instead to hammer out Tapa’s face until the ref called the match.

A solid novice debut, a disappointing premier, or a strong-willed fighter who overcame getting rocked in order to do what was needed to beat her opponent? It’s easy for me to sit back and judge her from the safety of a web feed and only Gabi really knows if she fell short of her potential. Tell us what you think, I’m curious to know how others saw this fight.

For the rest of the RIZIN results follow the thinks below.

RIZIN Fighting Federation: Day 1 Results

RIZIN Fighting Federation – Day 2 Results

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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Announcement

Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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Announcement

*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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