Freeze

Yes, I’m in Texas. Yes, I have power, for now. We’re having rolling blackouts and you never really know when it’s going to roll back around.

And yes, it’s freezing. But enough about my misery; that’s not the freeze I’m thinking about today.

Last weekend, we saw the title fight between Gilbert Burns and Kamaru Usman. Gilbert had Usman rocked in the first round and froze. He could be holding that belt right now, but he froze at the worst time.

The patterns of behavior fascinate me. Why do these guys freeze when they’re about to win the fight? Gilbert knows Kamaru very well, so he’s not starstruck. Maybe the moment is a bit overwhelming? I don’t know.

It’s like they forget the basics of the very thing they’ve been training for their whole lives. And you don’t get title shots in the UFC for kicks. Well, sometimes you do*, but for the most part, title shots are earned and a guy has been through fire to finally get there. So when they get there and freeze – that is interesting.

Remember when Kelvin fought Adesanya? He had Izzy rocked and froze. Let him recover. I was screaming over here, “finish him!” Nope. Izzy went on to win the fight and is now preparing for Champ Champ stuff.

Yoel Romero is a prime example. He literally froze inside the cage across from the man. Hit Izzy hard once then stood there frozen for most of the “fight.” Yoel was on a tear before that title shot, then decided to waste it.

I’m not sure whether to include DC in this. His second fight with Stipe was odd: The man who lives and breathes wrestling, decided to keep the fight on the feet and got TKO’d via body shots.

MMA is puzzling at times.

Gilbert had Usman rocked and didn’t go for the finish. Why? The KO was right there. But no, he let him recover, just like Kelvin did, then spent a few minutes on the mat. He was doing that stupid thing like Werdum used to do. It was dumb then and it looks even worse now. Is your opponent supposed to look at you and say hey, sure I’ll lay inside your guard for a bit. Sure!

We’ll see Gilbert again, like Yoel, talking about he’s coming back stronger. And he’ll probably win a few more too, but I don’t trust him in another title shot. If you got the champ doing the beginning of the chicken dance you gotta finish that fight.

I’ll be shocked, beyond shocked if Mr. Polish Power all of a sudden forgets how to fight and freezes in the cage during his fight with Adesanya. Who am I kidding? He will. It happens too many times to be shocked anymore.

*I’m almost at a place where I can mentally relive the events after UFC 199.

M

Skills

A few nights ago, I got lost in a hockey match. The TV was just on and somehow I got obsessed with the game. I think it’s the ice: I live in a warm climate and I miss the snow and ice. When I watch the winter Olympics I get the same feeling. All of a sudden I want to ski. Or ice skate.

Something strikes me about this game though – You need a very diverse set of skills to excel at hockey.

  • At the very minimum you have to know how to ice skate. I have never put on a pair of ice skates. Ever. This rules me out of this sport immediately.
  • Knowing how to skate is not enough. You have to be a strong skater, not just someone who knows how to stroll back and forth. No. You must be able to skate with speed.
  • And just so you know, this ain’t speed skating. You have to know how to skate with speed, and with aggression. You have to be comfortable pursuing and being pursued without losing composure. If you’re scared easily, homie, stay home.
  • Know the rules and regs of the game, natch.
  • This sport is played with a large stick and a hard puck, so please consider the risks of the stick going upside your head and the puck landing near or on your mouth at a high rate of speed. Players in the past understood these risks and played with gusto, sacrificing their teeth to the game. Hardcore. I thought maybe present day players had more protection, but their face masks still have the nose and mouth exposed. Still hardcore.
  • And last, rudimentary stand up fighting skills are strongly recommended, applied as needed.

In conclusion, hockey is exciting and wildly underrated.

M

Another fight night tonight. Be safe.