Welcome to Midnight Mania!
Prior to the return of UFC events, there was a lot of speculation — some from me! — as to how fighters would perform with less-than-ideal camps on short-notice bookings. Two events in, and it seems like the general level of performance has remained high. There has not be any particularly unusual cases of fatigue, as the shows have run fairly normal.
However, it does appear that weight-cutting during a pandemic is more problematic than usual. Per a report from Adjarasport, Mike Davis has been removed from his bout with Giga Chikadze following difficulties with his weight cut.
Taking his place is Titan FC bantamweight champion Irwin Rivera, who lives just a few hours from Jacksonville.
When the call comes...WE COMEEE!!!! TIME TO SHOW THE WORLD WHAT WE CAN DO. thank u to @AliAbdelaziz00 for quarterbacking this whole thing. Thank u @seanshelby @ufc Mi familia siempre and my ninjas going to war with me. Big respect to GiGa as well #LFG pic.twitter.com/nYMgdk85eY— Irwin Rivera (@Beast144_1) May 15, 2020
Just two days ago, Karl Roberson was unable to make weight and subsequently removed from the card. A week ago at UFC 249 weigh-ins, Jeremy Stephens bombed his weight cut, missing by five pounds! That’s far more scale fails than normal, but it’s not hard to understand why.
Most of these fights have been booked in the last few weeks, meaning fighters do not have their usual time to slim down. Plus, many are likely starting heavier than normal. It’s also possible that while training at home, they do not have access to certain equipment like saunas that help the process.
Some fighters — like yesterday’s Brian Kelleher and Ovince Saint Preux — have opted to fight up a weight class due to current circumstances. Hopefully, Dana White relaxes his distaste for catchweight bouts, because it doesn’t help anyone if fights are routinely scratched due to tougher-than-normal weight cuts.
Looking back at the top Lightweights of the 2010s:
No disrespect to the ultra tough Marlon Vera, but his reaction to the COVID-19 swab of doom is the best yet.
Kelvin Gastelum shoots his shot:
I want to win that Dinner with Ms. Halle Berry. @ufc ♂️— #OnAmission4Gold (@KelvinGastelum) May 14, 2020
Conditioning exercise or BDSM?
Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships has a creative response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Side note: the drive-in theater in my area has been killing it during shutdown!
BKFC Pres David Feldman tells me they're looking to return late June/early July (with Covid testing). The plan is to pick up on success of drive-in movie theaters, so fans will be attend in their cars.— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) May 14, 2020
BKFC is apparently launching an app and this event will air on that for free.
Stephens laughs off a rough weekend:
Slips, rips, and KO clips
It’s probably not a commonly known fact that the twister as a move predates Eddie Bravo by quite some time! Credit to him for popularizing single leg back control though.
Shuichiro Katsumura submits Hiroyuki Yamashiro with a wrestling guillotine pic.twitter.com/9TqGmzTHMZ— MEGATON (trashykksliderfan) (@BasedDongeezus) May 13, 2020
Things did not work out last night for Anthony Smith, but that does not mean we cannot admire this elbow brutality and awesome camera angle.
A sneaky quick switch kick:
Shunichi Shimizu scores a walk off high kick KO over Yoshitaka Abe pic.twitter.com/jdSBObfODO— MEGATON (trashykksliderfan) (@BasedDongeezus) May 14, 2020
A different kind of clip art.
Midnight Music: I listened to an album for the melancholic among us (couldn’t be me): M.T. Hadley was almost completely unknown as an artist and had only a handful of tracks online when Frank Ocean featured his heartbreakingly brilliant track “Janet” on 2017’s Blonded Radio. Fast-forward a couple years, and his album released back in November. As promised, it’s equal parts glum and pretty.
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.