[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.hometownmma.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/photo-e1341614624776.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Asher Blocker is a 29-year-old entrepreneur, martial artist, and MMA enthusiast from Myrtle Beach, SC. He began training the Striking Arts in 2004 with Muay Thai World Champion Maurice Travis. In 2006, he started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Shane Briggs (Relson Gracie Black Belt). In addition to being a Relson Gracie Purple Belt, he has also been the Head Kickboxing Instructor at Relson Gracie Myrtle Beach for the past 3+ years, coached & cornered fighters for 20+ MMA fights, does color commentary for Warfare Fighting Championships (FOX Sports), and hosts a monthly web program called “The MMA Show.” He also just recently received his Black Belt in a Virginia Martial Art known as “being awesome.”[/author_info] [/author]
Breakdown After the Bell:
“Warfare Fighting Championships 6:
Friday Night Fights”
What a fight night it was. Warfare 6 popped off on Friday, August 24th at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. The card was the biggest and best ever put together in Myrtle Beach and more than lived up to the billing. I was privileged to be sitting cageside for the fights, and am honored to have the chance to share my perspective on them. Hope you enjoy.
It is worth noting that these are strictly my own opinions, and could also be subject to change upon re-watching the fights.
Chris Myers vs. Michael Griffin – 135 lbs
The night started out with a bang as Chris Myers disposed of Team Ninja product Michael Griffin in roughly 15 seconds, setting the tone for a dramatic night. Griffin no doubt was expecting to see a takedown attempt come his way early, due to Myers’s wrestling prowess and collegiate background. I expected Chris to shoot right off the bat. So did Team Ninja, and so did Michael Griffin. But the only thing he shot was a straight right hand, one that put Griffin in Lala Land. And to Myer’s credit, when he saw his man hurt, he went for the kill, and did so with urgency. Some fighters end up waiting half their career to get that often elusive knockout victory. Chris Myers, however, a wrestler at heart, got a huge KO in only his second fight. But it wasn’t just the element of surprise that won the day for Myers. He’s been working diligently on his standup over the last couple months with Fitness Edge MMA Muay Thai Coach Walker Vivian, and it certainly showed. And with his tireless work ethic and extensive competitive background, Chris Myers could indeed be something special. Pay attention to him.
Cody Frye vs. Matt Sarvis – 155 lbs
Our 2nd fight of the evening was almost as fast, as Matt Sarvis took down Cody Frye early in the opening frame, took his back, flattened him out, and choked him unconscious right in front of our commentary table. Credit to Matt Sarvis, who looked great, even in the short time we saw him in the cage. Cody Frye, on the other hand, had a real bad night. And if I were to make an honest assessment of him, I would say that he’s a good athlete, and really awesome guy; one with a whole lot of potential as well. But he is not doing the right things to win fights in this sport. He is taking fights on short notice and not getting the proper training he needs for MMA competition. He is certainly not lacking in heart, skills, or character. But he is lacking in technical acumen, specifically in the ground game. Period. And the only reason I say this is because he could be good at this given the proper preparation, and to be quite frank about it, I like him as a person and don’t want to keep seeing him get choked out in the cage. If wants to continue to take fights, and more importantly, win those fights, he needs to change some things. But again, all talk and all credit should go in the direction of your winner, Matt Sarvis, who I hope to get a chance to see in the near future… hopefully, for more than a minute.
Erik Harris vs. Lawrence Dennis – 155 lb State Championship
Our third bout was a bloody affair, as Lawrence Dennis was able to continually scrape Erik Harris with sharp left hands in route to an impressive victory. Harris simply couldn’t deal with the range and timing of Dennis. And by the end of the second round, couldn’t see the strikes coming his way due to the blood coming from his eyes. He was game, however, and stayed in there. But by the time he realized he needed a takedown, it was too late. Dennis had found his range and Harris was puzzled, bloody, and starting to get tired. Many people think that reach is an over emphasized stat when it comes to MMA, but it certainly wasn’t in this one, as Dennis used it to his advantage, and Harris simply couldn’t get past it. Tough hard fight by both guys, though. Hats off to them.
Adam Ronsick vs. Trevor Barnes – 145 lbs
I favored Trevor in this fight simply from a stylistic perspective. I thought Trevor would have the wrestling to stay away from Adam Ronsick’s vaunted ground game, and perhaps get a lot done in the striking department. And it looked like this was the case, as Barnes started the first round with two heavy low kicks, and a big right hand, all of which landed cleanly. Ronsik knew he had to get the fight to the floor, and he found a way, as Trevor found himself in Ronsik’s guard early in the first. Trevor tried to push down on the hips, but to no avail, as the lanky Ronsik was still able to secure a high guard, and lock up a reverse triangle. And while Trevor escaped, he was is Ronsik’s world, and the subsequent scramble that ensued led to Adam Ronsick taking Barnes’s back and finishing the fight with a rear-naked choke. Very impressive fight for Ronsik, as he shows a ground game that is lethal from all positions. And being a big jiujitsu fan myself, I really appreciated the dynamism of this kid’s game.
Jason Faglier vs. Brandon Bushaw – 135 lb State Championship
In the fifth bout of the evening, Jason Faglier showed off some impressive grappling chops, submitting Brandon Bushaw with a beautiful transition to an armbar early in the first round. Bushaw did what he does early in the fight, and looked good doing it, as he secured a nice takedown against the cage. But once they got there, Faglier was able to capitalize on what has clearly shown itself as Bushaw’s weakness: submissions. Bushaw is going to continue to run in this problem, as it appears to be a fundamental issue in his game. His takedowns are excellent, but when he uses them in the cage, it puts him into an area that, as of now, is need of improvement. This shouldn’t be too hard, however, as Brandon is a smart dude with the resources around him to improve upon this area of the game. As far as Jason Faglier, I was very impressed with his poise, and obviously his jiu-jitsu game. I really look forward to seeing him again.
Nick Wesley vs. Chris Brunetti – 155 lb SouthEast Regional Championship
After several quick ones… Nick Wesley and Chris Brunetti gave us what I thought was a great five round fight for the State Championship at 155 pounds. It was one that saw late replacement Brunetti get the nod from the judges, but also one that I thought Nick Wesley should have gotten. Either way, credit to Brunetti for fighting an excellent fight. He’s a stud. It was my first time watching him, and I was really impressed. And I want to be clear about the fact that I don’t think it was a “robbery” or anything to that degree. But I did think Wesley should have gotten the nod, and to be frank, it was a fight that did a great job in highlighting one of the many problems with judging in this sport, especially at this level. The problem: Most judges are people who have never trained in Mixed Martial Arts, and more specifically grappling.
Allow me to explain… It’s fairly easy for a judge to determine who is winning when it comes to the striking department. Picking out the guy that is landing the most strikes, as well as the most damaging ones, is typically pretty obvious. The grappling game, however, is a whole different story. If you’ve never trained, you have no real tangible idea of what’s going on in particular positions, who’s in trouble, and who isn’t. This is why takedowns are scored by judges particularly high… because they are easy to see. Once they get to the ground, if you have not trained before, things become a little less clear. So judges, especially at the lower levels, simply reward the guy who is on top. Which, quite simply, is a fundamental lack of understanding about the fighting as a sport, and the concepts behind it. I don’t feel like this particular fight was the best example of that, but it did stick out to me as the main difference in what was otherwise a pretty close and competitive fight. Wesley says he’s moving to 145, and he should. Chris Brunetti snagged the title in this one, and I hope to see him come back to Myrtle Beach and defend it, as he seems to be a pretty talented dude.
Justin Sumter vs. Trey Moss – 185 lb SouthEast Regional Championship
This fight was one a lot of people were anticipating, and it didn’t disappoint. In the breakdown leading up to the fight, I wrote the following: “In my opinion, Justin Sumter needs to keep this thing standing, and that will be exactly his strategy. Striking is what he likes to do. And he should. With an aggressive southpaw style, and with some obvious power to go with it, you can bet he’s looking to do two things: stop takedowns and put hands on Trey Moss. On the opposite side, Moss should, and most likely will, be going to his primary strength in this fight: a nasty takedown game. And coupled with some mean ground-and-pound, Trey Moss’s gameplan should be to do what he does: slam this dude to the mat and beat the hell out of him until he quits. Can he do this to Justin Sumter? Well, I guess we’ll find out.” In summary, to win this fight, Justin Sumter needed to get something done early, and get it done with his hands. And he did just that. He came out aggressive as usual, bringing the fight directly at Trey Moss. He hurt him early, and when Moss tried to secure the single leg, Sumter did an excellent job of shucking him off, and coming back with some lightning-fast strikes, to put Trey away in roughly 15 seconds (that may be wrong, either way… it was fast). It was one of the most explosive finishes of the night, and one that few were expecting to go down in such a fashion. Justin Sumter has now had two fights in Myrtle Beach, and has been in the cage less than a minute. This is normally when I would say it’s time for him to take a step up in competition, but that’s actually what this fight was. Trey Moss is a good fighter, and has a chance to be very good. He just made a mistake, and Justin Sumter, had the poise, and the ability to capitalize on it. Hat’s off to him for providing a moment that was, to say the least, electric.
Cliff Thompson vs. Marvin Skipper – 205 lb SouthEast Regional Championship
After a bit of a hiatus from competition, Marvin Skipper showed no ring rust in dispatching late replacement Cliff Thomson relatively early in the first round with his patented guillotine choke. Thomson’s fundamental problem in this fight was that, stylistically, he prefers to clinch with guys and work from there. The problem: With his grappling game, coupled with his ridiculous strength, the clinch is not a place you ever want to be with Marvin Skipper. And once I saw that this was where Thomson was content to spend his energy, it was pretty clear to me that it was only going to be a matter of time before Marvin secured something. He did show a nice wrinkle in his game this time out, however. As Cliff Thomson fought off the first couple choke attempts by keeping good posture, Skipper began shooting some knees to the body of his opponent, to get him to lower his head. And it worked, as the third knee caught Thomson pretty good, giving Skipper just the window he needed. Once he felt he had it, he jumped guard, and it was a wrap. Good to see Marvin back in there, and he provided one of the more fun moments of the night, as I handed him the mic in cage afterwards, and he proceeded to thank everyone he ever knew. It was pretty cool, classic Marvin, and everyone loved it. He also announced that this was going to be his last amateur fight, as he recently signed a contract to go pro after this one, a move that is probably the correct one at this point, as he’s starting to run out of challenges in this division as an amateur.
Joe Ray vs. Adrian Henderson – Interim Heavyweight State Championship
While Heavyweight Champion Mike “22” Barr is still out recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, two men who desperately want that fight competed to decide who gets a shot at the crown at Warfare 7. And what resulted was probably the most controversial decision of the night, as Henderson took the nod over Ray, and will now get a shot to avenge his prior loss to the champ. This is a fight Henderson has wanted for some time, feeling that his first performance against Mike Barr was effected by the fact that he took the fight on short notice, and that with a full and proper camp, will be able to change the outcome the next time around. Well, he’s going to get that opportunity now, and we’ll see if he’s right. I, however, don’t believe he deserves the shot based on this fight, as myself and many others in attendance had Joe Ray winning. It was, for sure, a close and competitive bout, but one that I frankly didn’t think Adrian Henderson did enough to win. He was able to take Joe down in the first and fifth rounds, but wasn’t able to do a whole lot once he got there, particularly in the fifth. But as I stated before, judges love takedowns, and often care more about that than meaningful offense. Which is not to say that Henderson didn’t have meaningful offense, because he did. It’s just that the majority of the fight was spent on the feet, and in my humble opinion, Adrian Henderson simply didn’t put enough offense together in rounds 2, 3, & 4 to win any of them. In rounds three and four in particular, he appeared to only throw strikes to keep Joe Ray off of him. Whereas Joe, while not landing a tremendous amount, was throwing and attacking much more, walking his opponent down, and controlling the cage. But hey, that’s why they say don’t leave it in the hands of the judges. I think both guys are good fighters, and certainly am happy seeing either get the chance to face Heavyweight Champion Mike Barr or anyone else in the near future.
Shane Crenshaw vs. Amos Collins – 145 lbs
In our highly-anticipated first professional fight of the night, hometown hero Amos Collins faced off against, Shane Crenshaw, a man certainly perceived to be the “villain” by the home crowd, not only for his comments at the weigh-in, but also for the general bad blood between the two combatants. And Shane Crenshaw was able to spoil the homecoming for Collins, garnering a doctor stoppage late in the 2nd round. In my breakdown leading up to the fight, I wrote the following:
“It isn’t easy to pick a winner in Collins-Crenshaw fight, but it’s probably the easiest one to see how the winner will get it done, since one looming question is likely to decide which fighter ultimately gets his hand raised: Can Amos Collins stop the Crenshaw takedown?” I didn’t believe this simply because the takedown game is Shane Crenshaw’s bread and butter, but also because Amos Collins is more of a top position grappler, and after seeing the way Crenshaw was able to pass the guard of Charlye Vivas in his last fight in Myrtle Beach, I knew that Amos would have major problems if he was forced to play off his back in this one. And due to Crenshaw’s heavy top pressure in the side control position, I figured Amos would also have a difficult time getting back to his feet once Shane got there. And indeed, it played out that very way in the cage. Collins, for the most part, was able to protect himself from taking too much damage, at least as far as volume. But Shane’s ability to control top position allowed him to drop a couple of well-timed, well-placed elbows that sliced up Collins pretty bad; the first over the eye, and the second (by far the worst of the two) underneath the eye, leading to the eventual doctor stoppage. To Collins’s credit, he did stop a few takedown attempts over the course of two rounds, but when he did, he didn’t do what he needed to do to take control of the fight, which was make Crenshaw pay by putting hands on him. It appeared pretty obvious to me that after the first couple takedowns, Amos was leery of letting his hands go, afraid it would open him up for another takedown. And as my Jiu-Jitsu Coach Shane Briggs would say, “that’s the power of wrestling.”
All in all, in was a good fight, one marred a bit in some people’s eyes by some of the bad blood that ensued beforehand. But both gentlemen were respectful and complimentary of each other after the fight, and to be honest, that’s the game we’re in. Fighting is one of the most difficult things in the world you can do, and to get your head in the proper place to do combat of this sort, different guys have different mental approaches for success. Some fans understand, some don’t. But that, quite frankly, is a “you” problem. I don’t particularly care about the trash talk, and I see it for what it is. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say it often adds a bit of excitement and anticipation to the fight. But almost always, fighters settle their differences in the cage, earn each other’s respect, and shake hands at the end. As a fan, it’s important to make that distinction, and follow suit. Otherwise, you kinda become the guy that thinks pro wrestling is real. In my eyes, fighting is beautiful and artistic, but these aren’t politicians (w/ the exception of Chael Sonnen I suppose)… These are fighters, and fighters leave it the cage, just as these two professionals did on Friday night.
Keith Hulin vs. Justin Scoggins – 135 lbs
I didn’t include this fight on my breakdown prior to the event. And that was basically because I didn’t know a whole lot about Keith Hulin, and to be honest, I didn’t learn much about him from the fight either. Because Keith didn’t really get a chance to show anything, due to the absolute barrage of offense he got hit with from the opening bell. In roughly a minute, Justin “The Tank” Scoggins showed us why he was such a highly-touted prospect going into Warfare 6. He came into the fight immensely confident and it showed, leading off the bout with a beautiful spinning heel kick over the top, and though Hulin was able to block it, the crowd responded with a roar, and Hulin, I believe, instantly became completely defensive. Scoggins followed up by pushing his opponent against the cage and assaulting him with an array of knees and elbows that Hulin was able to withstand for a surprising amount of time without dropping. Keith Hulin showed his toughness hanging in there as long as he did, but he was simply far outmatched in this one. What I personally took from the fight was the following: Justin Scoggins is, indeed, for real. At his young age, and with the guys he trains with, the sky is the limit for this kid. And this fight was one the fans all wanted to talk about after. Scoggins is the truth, and I’m looking forward to seeing him in the near future.
Shamar Bailey vs. Josh Williams – 170 lbs
In what was arguably the most dynamic and memorable performance of the evening, Josh Williams blew away many of those in attendance by defeating UFC-veteran Shamar Bailey in dominant fashion, in route to an armbar submission midway through the 2nd round. He controlled Bailey from the opening bell in a highly “professional” manner, in what was only his first professional fight. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. I thought he looked phenomenal. And while Williams certainly seemed to be the larger, stronger man in the cage, the dominant nature of the fight made appear that it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Leading up to the fight, I asked the question, “Can Josh Williams swim with the sharks?” The answer: Josh can swim. And may very well be “the shark.” He is a physical beast, confident enough to believe he can win any fight, and humble enough to continue to get better. The sky is the limit for Josh Williams. Believe it.
Hector Urbina vs. Nissen Osterneck – 185 lbs
I expected Osterneck-Urbina to be a very good fight, a high-level fight, and an interesting matchup. I didn’t know it would be a war. And a beautiful, highly-competitive war at that, as Osterneck was able to garner the split decision victory. Not exactly sure how one judge gave it Urbina, as it seemed clear to me that Nissen won the last two rounds, but the right guy won nonetheless. It’s also worth noting that I thought the 30-27 scorecard for Osterneck was a bit off as well. Nissen even agreed with that. But this fight wasn’t about winners and losers, it was about what they gave those in attendance. It was a special way to cap off the night, and a fight I stood up for the entirety of, as it was too suspenseful to for me to stay seated for any lengthy period. Both guys brought what I expected style-wise, but they both brought the “A-Game” version of those styles. The action on the ground was simply fantastic, as there were more scrambles and action on the floor than many of the other fights combined. Nissen’s offense was highlighted by some sweet half guard sweeps and escapes from the bottom, some solid knees from the clinch, a couple nice back takes, a beautiful rolling kimura off a takedown try by Hector, and couple sick submission transitions including a triangle to armbar to kneebar attempt. Urbina was also impressive, many times nullifying the Osterneck guard in a manner I didn’t think was possible, landing some big shots both on the feet and the ground, and escaping almost every bad spot Osterneck put him in with surprising ease. I could talk forever about this fight, but I won’t. It was a great fight between two highly-skilled warriors, and I was honored to be cageside for it. Both men should be proud of what they gave the fans Friday night.
However, I would like to make one point regarding the perception of this fight by many of those in attendance that evening. Talking to many people in the days following the event, it seemed that there was a clear distinction between how this fight was viewed by the more casual fans and the fighters/coaches in the audience, and I wanted to take a second to address that separation. Almost across the board, fighters seemed to think the fight was amazing. But many of the fans commented that they thought it was a bit “sloppy.” To me, this is the classic difference between viewing a fight based on emotion and aesthetics rather than technical understanding. To put it simply… both guys got very tired in the fight. This was due to many things: the high level of participants involved, the crazy pace they were keeping, all the scrambles, etc. In other words, they conserved nothing, and let it all hang out. They did more “stuff” in that fight than any other fight on the card, and doing lots of stuff makes you tired. And while both dudes were winded, neither was “gassed.” The term “gassed” refers to when you “run out of gas.” In other words, you are so tired that you stop creating offense. These two never stopped that entire fight. They were gettin’ after it from bell to bell. And for me personally, I don’t care if my fighters “look tired.” I only care if they are fighting hard, creating offense, and doing things to win a fight. That is exactly what these two were doing, and lots of it.
Knockout of the Night: Justin Sumter & Chris Myers
Submission of the Night: Josh Williams
Fight of the Night: Hector Urbina vs. Nissen Osterneck
For more info, analysis, fight previews, interviews, and all that other jazz…. become a fan of “The MMA Show” on Facebook. And thanks to everyone for coming out. Can’t wait for the next one!