This weekend sees the UFC make its debut on FX, but there are more MMA hijinks to be had on Saturday. Yes, ProElite: Da Spyder vs Minowaman in Hawaii is going to be great. Any card on HDNet is fun, simply because Micheal Schiavello is the best commentator in MMA. This card pits a Japanese veteran whose fought everywhere, against everyone and at any weight in 92 fights in Minowaman, against an Ultimate Fighter winner in Kendall Grove who is fighting on home turf. It also features the next stage of a heavyweight tournament and an intriguing female Bantamweight bout.
- Grove was released from the UFC in the middle of last year having gone 1-3 but returned to winning ways in defeating Joe Riggs.
- Minowaman had a great 2011 by winning 5 in a row, but none of those fighters could be considered close to Grove's level.
Kendall Groves' style is by now a little hard to pin down. On the Ultimate Fighter he was able to use long limbs to trouble opponents and score submissions, but when he made his way into the UFC proper, he seemed to lose some of that submission focus. He also has a very capable clinch with great knees and good elbows on the ground. However his later UFC career saw him clearly overwhelmed by opposition who seemed to have more tools than him and he appeared at times flummoxed as to how to deal with them.
Minowaman is a legend of Japanese MMA, fighting often in Openweight categories against much bigger guys. OK, his record makes it clear how sensible that is, but it is still pretty awesome. He has fought against Mrko Cro Cop, Wanderlei Silva, Rampage Jackson and Sakaraba... and lost to them all. He fought and beat the behemoth that is Bob Sapp. His attack is very much submission-centric, basically if can get hold of part of your body he will attempt to break it, pull it off and/or get the tap. He is a great fighter to watch for his ring entrance and all out attack style.
Head to Head
I am not sure I have ever seen Minowaman fight someone his own weight before, so I am not exactly sure how this one will go down. Grove is a capable fighter off of his back and is willing to throw his long limbs up in search of something. Minowaman is not the kind of guy you want on top of you an probably not ideal to be on top of either, since you never know quite what he is going to do. I expect Grove to use his superior Muay Thai to try and keep the Japanese fighter at bay and look to land a knockout blow. I really hope that Minowaman manages to get the fight to the ground at some point though so we can see him reel through a few submission attempts.
Grove by unanimous decision.
Fun clash of styles and Minowaman always goes for it.
And here's a video of Minowaman vs Bob Sapp as a treat:
Now, I don't know too much about any of the fighters involved here but I have included a few videos of the fights that got them to the semi finals.
This is the fight where Martinez beat Mark Ellis for his place. He used lovely boxing to hold the centre of the cage and resisted any attempt to take him down, I reckon he will look better against a fighter who actually engages him. His dancing partner Cody Griffin beat Justin Reilly after taking a great big beating and spending most of his time curled up into a ball. He came into the third round and knocked Reilly out out of nowhere.
Jake Huen beat Ed Carpenter here, he spent a good few minutes on the bottom but found the sweep, stood up, knocked Carpenter down and battered him. His opponent, Richard Odoms beat Rod Housley by decision and he looked bloomin' knackered by the end.
These will most likely be a couple of fun but sloppy fights.
Sara McMann (4-0) vs Hitomo Akano (18-8)
- Sara Mcann is coming off of a tough test, winning in her ProElite debut against Hawaiian Raquel Pa'aluhi in a cracking fight.
- Akano has bounced back from a loss to Strikeforce champ Miesha Tate with two wins including her latest against Roxanne Modaferri.
Mcmann is a fun fighter. She comes from a hell of a wrestling background, with silver and bronze medals at world championships. It's no surprise then that she controls the bodies of her opponents with ease. She uses her wrestling with maximum aggression and intensity and is absolutely unafraid to wade in with punches to make it to the clinch. In the Pa'aluhi fight she got herself embroiled in some dangerous exchanges but always had the wrestling to go back to and eventually subbed the Hawaiian.
Akano is a veteran of 26 fights, including bouts with the likes of Miesha Tate and Cyborg Santos. She has a judo base, with the majority of her wins coming by submission fiddly, patient ju jutsu to find finishes; see the video below and scoot to 2:30 for her getting Tate in trouble with a foot lock. She lacks power and guile on the feet and will pose little threat to McMann standing.
Head to Head
In the battle of the wrestling backgrounds, Judo vs American amateur wrestling, I think I give McMann the edge. They are both absolutely accomplished in their arts, it just seems that in her fights so far McMann seems to have translated her wrestling really well to MMA. McMann might be wise not to take advantage of that edge should it exist though, because she may well leave herself vulnerable. This might well be a great opportunity for her to test out the standing part of her game against an opponent unlikely to be able to rock her.
McMann via exciting fight with fun scrambles and unamnimous decision
Big take downs, scrambles and sneaky ju jutsu, yes! Here are some videos to whet your appetite.
Mcmann vs Pa'aluhi
Akana vs Tate
There you go then. When you have finished digesting UFC on FX 1, enjoy some fun fights with ProElite.