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Total-MMA Fight of the Month February 2014: Fairtex vs. Rumchong

Posted by Tommy Hackett on March 6th, 2014

Today, a regular feature begins here at Total-MMA, where we’re asking you, the reader: what do you remember best from our past month in the fight game? What was your highlight?

The UFC offered fans a solidly technical standup-heavy bout between Gegard Mousasi and Lyoto Machida in Brazil, but it may have suffered from a repetitive nature, and a somewhat flat undercard.
Maybe, that sudden body-shot knockout of Sara McMann by Ronda Rousey in Las Vegas a week later shocked and awed you?

Maybe. But somehow, despite it always seeming like “history unfolding” whenever Rousey steps in the cage, it seemed a stale month for ZUFFA overall. Bellator offered a big knockout victory for Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at month’s end, but it also failed to generate a lot of excitement. (The promotion seemed to make more headlines by nearly signing Gilbert Melendez.)

Maybe, it just wasn’t the biggest month for our MMA scene? To be fair, it wasn’t a big month for boxing either, (but that’s changing quickly with the Alfredo Angulo vs. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez PPV event this Saturday) and the international MMA scene was quiet, too.

In our humble opinion: the month of February 2014 really belonged to the wild world of Muay Thai.

You want to talk history? Muay Thai fans enjoyed the historic final show at the original Lumpinee Stadium, the sport’s Mecca for generations. Bangkok-based photographer Cedric Arnold posted an amazing gallery, “The Last Fight,” from that night, which everyone should see.

In addition, there was a star-studded opening night of the new Lumpinee Stadium last Friday, and the kickboxing world saw the return of Thai legend Buakaw at K-1 Azjerbaijan. In fact, with GLORY kickboxing on the way this weekend, we’re still in a standup state of mind.

Still, we selected something off the beaten path for “Fight of the Month.” It was memorable chiefly because we had never seen anything like it.

On 22 February in Hua Hin, Thailand, Yodsanklai Fairtex entered the ring against Keo Rumchong in a no-gloves, or “Kaad Chuek” bout. Yep, no-gloves Muay Thai, with a Thai legend in Fairtex — the winner of Contender: Asia and about every other accolade available to him — against a little known Cambodian opponent. Is it a bit of a “freak show?” Yes. Do we have mixed feelings about it? Of course. But watching the old legend using combinations of knees and elbows in a no-gloves setting is nothing short of incredible, and the heart shown by the outmatched Rumchong is stunning as well.

With a little morbid fascination, we present “Fight of the Month.” Check it out and let us know what you think.

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(Movie Review) Mrs Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful

Posted by Tommy Hackett on February 26th, 2014

Last weekend at UFC 170, the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo, Ronda Rousey, successfully defended her UFC bantamweight championship for the third time. Rousey is a polarizing figure; but her greatest detractor would respect her ability: simply put, she’s a piece of martial arts history. Her star is rising elsewhere too, with movies and television roles on the way.

Another (and very different) female pioneer of the judo world was the subject of a recent film, released in December on DVD. It’s a rare, and often beautiful, look at judo history. It would be represent something of a departure for MMA fans, but I think it’s worth a look for them.

Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful chronicles the life of Keiko Fukuda, the first woman to receive a 10th degree black belt in judo (from the US Judo Federation, in 2012), and the final surviving student of judo founder Jigoro Kano.

Keiko Fukuda was followed by the filmmakers for several years, as she approached her 100th birthday. The film gracefully explores Fukuda’s unique story: her early life in Japan, to her pioneering days an instructor in the US, and her first trip to her native Japan in 23 years, as a special guest of the Kodokan.

One might guess Fukuda to be born into “The Gentle Way,” as the name judo is often translated. Her grandfather Honnosuke Fukuda was a jujutsu instructor for the samurai of the Tokugawa shogunate, and later in life, his students included Jigoro Kano himself. As the film progresses, we learn how Keiko Fukuda originally was brought to judo by her family in hopes of finding her a husband. Instead, Fukuda find herself “married” to the art she loved – and devoted to it to the end.

After learning her trade under Kano himself, Fukuda rose to teach classes at the Kodokan during WW2. Competition was unavailable to Fukuda, but she performs kata — a judo tradition often overlooked today — in an exhibition at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. Later, Fukuda relocates to San Francisco, where, among others, she trained the Bay Area’s first female police officers.

Several members of judo royalty, including world and Olympic champion Toshihigo Koga and Kaori Yamaguchi, make appearances in Mrs Judo to express their admiration for Fukuda. They also offer perspective on issues of gender in the art.

In some ways, Fukuda’s beloved judo seems so far ahead of its time, as we see men and women training virtually identically at the beginning of the 20th Century. In other ways, as when we find her unable to rise in ranking to match her male counterparts (courtesy of the Kodokan’s old refusal to allow women past 5th degree black belt) it seems to drag behind the times.

The tone of the film is more education than entertainment. Its soft tone, following an elderly woman as she sets about the last days of her life, is long on history and short on action: more at home on PBS than Spike-TV, and in fact I understand the film’s creator in fact offers a discount to schools. But it’s lyrical style is compelling from start to finish — graceful like one of Fukuda’s own kata — and Mrs Judo sails through its one hour running time.

Of course, it’s best to focus on what Mrs Judo is, not what it isn’t; and it’s best to keep focus on Fukuda herself.

Approaching 98 years of age, Fukuda was still on the mats despite triple bypass surgery. This remarkable figure of history instructs her assembled students towards the end of the film:

“Through training you become a good person. If your judo is only about mastering techniques – when your life is finished, that would be a shame. It’s more important to be a good human being. Don’t forget, that is good judo.”

Bonus material includes more discussion from the film’s cast, as well as brief footage of Fukuda’s memorial last year. She died at the age of 99 in San Francisco.

Mrs Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful is available at the Mrs Judo movie website. A tip of the hat to Tom Callos for alerting me about the film’s release on his Facebook page.

Posted in Movies, Reviews, Tommy Hackett, judo | No Comments »

UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz II Predictions

Posted by Jacob Lawton on August 6th, 2011

Pictured: The poster for tonight’s Light Heavyweight showdown.

Tito Ortiz is, indeed, back. Going into his fight with Ryan Bader last month everyone expected the Huntington Beach Bad Boy to be resoundingly beaten and cut from the UFC, but Mr. Ortiz had other ideas. After his stunning upset of Bader, Tito was called in on short notice to face Rashad Evans in what was, before Phil Davis withdrew, a #1 contender fight, with the winner getting the victor of Jones/Rampage. But with Tito’s imposition on the main event, does it somewhat decrease the legitimacy of Evans’ contendership? And, if Tito were to win, should he get a shot at dethroning Jon Jones? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Jacob Lawton, Rashad Evans, Tito Ortiz, Tommy Hackett, Total MMA, UFC | No Comments »

Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson Predictions

Posted by Jacob Lawton on July 30th, 2011

Pictured: The poster for tonight’s event.

As Ajit promised here, here’s some more of the Total-MMA staff with their picks ahead of tonight’s fights in Hoffman Estate, IL, which goes out live on Showtime. And it’s a strong show too - lead off by a clash of PRIDE legends; as former Heavyweight champ and the man frequently mentioned as the MMA GOAT, Fedor Emelianenko, tries to get back to winning ways against the only man to hold titles in two weight classes at the same time in a major MMA promotion, Dan Henderson. But the fun doesn’t stop there folks, as a pair of Welterweight title eliminators featuring wild sluggers Paul Daley and Scott Smith pitted against hot prospects Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine round out the undercard — which also sees top Middleweights Robbie Lawler and Tim Kennedy clash. And to top it all off we have a women’s Welterweight (135lbs) title fight between Golden Glory’s Marloes Coenen and the lovely Miesha Tate. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Dan Henderson, Fedor Emelianenko, Jacob Lawton, Strikeforce, Tommy Hackett | 1 Comment »

Ajit’s Strikeforce Spotlight: Henderson vs Fedor

Posted by Ajit on July 27th, 2011

henderson and fedor in their hotel lobby
Pictured: Henderson and Fedor meet in their hotel lobby.

After a month’s absence it feels good to start writing again! And since I’ve been away, there has been an incredible amount of fighters withdrawing from their scheduled bouts. One of the most shocking is Alistair Overeem. When the word first got out, rumors went about saying Overeem did something to be pulled out of the tournament and he is on thin ice with Zuffa. It appears, however, that he pulled out due to a toe injury, and will now be replaced by Daniel Cormier. It will be very interesting to see how DC steps up to fighting “Bigfoot” Silva and have a shot at winning the Strikeforce GP. Shotime demanded that the event be held September 10, and Overeem did not feel he would be ready in time.

But September 10 still feels ages away, and there is an interesting card this weekend. There are a few fights that interest me more than the others, so I’ll go through them and give my breakdown.

Paul Daley vs Tyron Woodley-

Two top contenders in SF will go at it this weekend, both of them looking for a shot at the title. Woodley has amazing wrestling and is looking unstoppable in Strikeforce, pulling together a perfect 8-0 record. In his last fight with Tarec Saffiedine, Woodley was able to use his wrestling to keep the fight where he wanted it-anywhere but in striking range. Daley’s wrestling is…not so great, to put it lightly. I do not think it would surprise anyone if Woodley looked to take down Daley from the beginning of the fight. Daley has big power in his hands, and fast, crisp combinations at his disposal, but it will be interesting to see how he takes advantage of that before Woodley can begin his takedown attempts.

Meisha Tate vs Marloes Coenen-
A fight that should have taken place a while ago will now be the co-main event this Saturday night when these two women battle for the Women’s Welterweight strap. Tate has expressed her interest in taking this fight to the ground, especially considering the way Coenen’s last fight went. Liz Caramouche was able to mount Coenen repeatedly and work some great ground and pound. With a triangle in the 4th round, Coenen was able to win the fight and keep her title, but only after exposing a flaw in her game. Meisha “takedown” Tate will no doubt be using her wrestling and ground and pound to take out Coenen, but this is a dangerous gameplan against a submission specialist as good as Marloes.

Dan Henderson vs Fedor Emelianenko-

Two legends from Pride will square off this weekend in a fight that has been heavily anticipated since the rumors began earlier this year. After his 2nd loss in a row to “Bigfoot” Silva, Fedor began contemplating a move to LHW, and his fans backed his decision. Well, “The Last Emperor” will be facing a Light Heavyweight, but it will be in the heavyweight division (although Hendo has plans to weigh in at the smalles possible weight.) Both men have incredible chins, huge power, and insane right hands. I see this fight being a 3 round war, and not even the H-bomb or Fedor’s lethal right hand earning either man a KO/TKO win because of the tough chins at play and lack of cutting weight.

Check back Friday for a full list of predictions from the staff here at!

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Weekend Preview

Posted by Jacob Lawton on June 24th, 2011

Total-MMA will not be providing any indepth analysis of this weekend’s mixed martial arts, but I feel it is my civic duty to inform you all that we are in for quite the three days. This post will quickly breakdown the main events (where applicable) from each of the four (yes, four) live events to be broadcast in the USA or on the internet over the next few days and and summarise why you should catch, or at least DVR, them. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Jacob Lawton, Total MMA | No Comments »

Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum II

Posted by Jacob Lawton on June 18th, 2011

Pictured: The poster for tonight’s event, featuring non-competitor Gina Carano.

Another weekend, another thrilling card produced by our friends at Zuffa. Once again this strong offering is headlined by, in my opinion, the most enthralling Heavyweight contest all year in the rematch between K-1 World Grand Prix Champ Alistair Overeem and two time ADCC Heavyweight winner Fabricio Werdum. And it’s got some nice support, too - everyone’s favourite pantomime villain Josh Barnett has his first fight stateside in two and a half years against the always entertaining Brett Rogers, and MMA’s best lightweight boxer KJ Noons will also see action against Jorge Masvidal. All in all, there’s plenty of entertainment to be had, and, with the whole prelim card (featuring former Top 10 Lightweight Gesias ‘JZ’ Cavalcante) airing live on HDNet, this is a whole evening’s entertainment available for free that could easily be marketed by the UFC as a pay-per-view. Join us after the jump as the Total-MMA staff offer their tuppence on the card. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Steroid Double Standard (or Why is everyone hatin on Josh Barnetto)

Posted by George Do on June 17th, 2011

After a rather long layoff caused by internet problems, graduation, and a two week trip to South America, I’m back spouting MMA related nonsense once again.

This week, I’ll be examining what I feel is a common double standard amongst MMA fans and media. It seems to me that Josh Barnett gets an undue amount of hate from all corners of the MMA world. The majority of this negative emotion supposedly stems from the fact that Barnett has been caught using steroids. But the truth is, there is a laundry list of MMA fighters who have been caught - and not one of those guys is the target of such scorn as Mr. Barnett.

Read the rest of this entry »

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UFC 131 Preview

Posted by Jacob Lawton on June 11th, 2011

Pictured: Junior dos Santos and Shane Carwin staredown at last night’s weigh ins in Vancouver, Canada.

Zuffa’s summer deluge continues tonight as two top 5 heavyweights clash for the honour of facing Cain Velasquez in the autumn. And that’s just the main event, as this is one of the strongest cards of the summer, despite the best efforts of an injury bugbear that saw changes to no less than 8 of the 11 fights presented tonight. And every single one of the fights will be available live, on Facebook from 5:50 ET, Spike and Rogers Sportsnet from 8 ET with the PPV taking over at 9. This is probably the second best card we’ve seen thus far this year, with fireworks up and down the order and stars like Michihiro Omigawa and Yves Edwards relegated to the prelims, plus Kenny Florian making his debut at Featherweight on the main card. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ajit’s Strikeforce Spotlight: Upcoming Cards and Changes

Posted by Ajit on June 8th, 2011

gina carano
Pictured: Gina Carano will not be making her MMA return next weekend at Strikeforce: Overeem vs Werdum.

Strikeforce’s 2 month layoff is almost up, and they are putting on some great events over the next few months. There have been some changes and possible changes, so read on to find out more about these updates.

Read the rest of this entry »

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