Monday, October 22, 2012

Thoughts On Metamoris

I usually get bored watching BJJ tournaments. Unless I know the competitor personally, or its two big names paired up against each other and even then it can get boring. But sitting through hours and hours of a BJJ tournament is not my idea of excitement, but you do it to cheer your team members on.

But Metamoris was an exception. I liked every match and the event even with all its glitches and dead moments, was still enjoyable and I imagine it will only get better. I am kind of disappointed that its only once a year though. Would be great to see it every 3-6 months.

I think the change in rules made a huge difference. Whats the point of a lot of the sweeps people use or entanglements when it will not lead to a finish? So all the high percentage IBJJF guards amd sweeps were gone. Jeff Glover even abandoned deep half guard, get a sweep and 2 points for what? There are no points. It really showed that just because one style is effective under one set of rules, doesn't mean its effective under all rules. As we have seen in MMA.

Jeff Glover vs. Caio Terra

This was a really fun match where both kept it playful. Since neither has a style where they go in there and dominate, but instead waits for opponent reactions, they both had to put themselves in situations to wait for the other person to attack. Jeff had a nice back take attempt from omaplata. Both Jeff and Bill Cooper from Paragon are known for having submissions off of escapes.

That's why in training, there's a lot more action and its more exciting. People need to keep it playful to learn and get the other person to open up. With that said, it also seemed like Jeff didn't respect Caio's finishing ability enough and set himself up too deep and Caio insisted on the finish instead of continuing the playful style.

These were the only guys to keep it playful and forget about points. Others probably out of habit would still sweep to get on top, and back out of the opponents guard and pull guard again. But there's no points for sweep, so why sweep to get on top if you don't want to be on top in the first place? No points remember? I wonder what the Ryron Gracie vs. Andre Galvao match would have been like if both adopted the same playful mindset of Jeff and Caio? Ryron played, but Andre was all business.

Rafael Lovato Jr. vs. Kayron Gracie 

This was an interesting match to watch because of the rules. Under IBJJF rules, knowing the guys who Kayron has beaten, I would think Kayron would be a favorite if this match were to ever go down. But what was interesting wasn't who Kayron had beaten but how he had beaten them.

What would happen in a match where there were no points, referee's decision, advantages, or just plain old favoritism? Under normal IBJJF rules, you could be considered the best with just 2 things. A guard that couldn't be passed for 10 minutes, and really strong sweeps. Under Metamoris rules, only thing that mattered was submission or time, which ever happened first.

Lovato not having to worry about points, or being scared to get swept, had a singular focus, to finish. Which he did in impressive fashion. Now if he did care about points, he could theoretically get finished by Kayron as well. Maybe he would try to avoid the pass by exposing his back, or try to avoid a sweep and expose his neck. Point play can lead to submissions as well because of changing priorities. But since Lovato only had to worry about not getting submitted, and submitting, his style bested Kayron's style under these rules. But Kayron is young and hasn't developed that old man strength either.

Kron Gracie vs. Otavio Souza

This was my personal favorite match. Kron even stated Otavio has done what Kron couldn't, win the Worlds, yet Kron beats Otavio every time they have fight. Kron was made for this style of fighting and he was heavily favored in most people's minds.

Kron gives up too many points in his attempt to finish, and not that he's in any real danger, but as he goes for things he sometimes ends up on bottom. In this style of fighing, whether he was top, bottom, or in transition, he just kept attacking. He had an attack from every position.

I especially loved his guard work. To retain guard, he constantly broke grips, adjusting his opponents weight, pulled on their collar, or crossed his leg over. He sometimes played reverse De La Riva but it wasn't even that he was playing it, Otavio just put him in that leg configuration. His guard wasn't necessarily made to sweep and in that sense its not the most effective. But it is always meant to attack, so is his top game.

The amount of grip fighting the two put on as well. It also seemed that Kron was better conditioned for this long drawn out matches. Now can Otavio win the Worlds again? Sure. Can Kron beat him again under these rules? Sure. Can Kron win the Worlds? I hope so.

Xande Ribeiro vs. Dean Lister

A lot of people didn't give Dean enough credit for this fight. He's a former ADCC champion who has submitted Xande's brother Saolo in the past. Xande though is one of the best competitors of his era and he proved it here.

Dean much like Glover opened himself up to try to catch submissions. Xande really tried to dictate the action instead of just being playful as Caio and Glover were. He mostly played on top and refused to play on bottom due to fear of leg locks, Dean specialty.

Due to the design of the mat area, it makes takedowns very difficult because if you accidentally run off the mats, you fall down. So either one person or the other must pull guard most of the time. Dean feeling like he couldn't take Xande down, and Xande not wanting to play guard, Dean kept pulling butterfly guard, trying to attack the legs. But Xande was masterful on top and nearly submitted Dean with an armbar. As soon as he lost the arm he quickly recovered top position, not wanting Dean to spend any time on top. Xande definitely respected Dean's finishing ability.

Just like the rule change of submissions only, I wonder what would happen if much like in ADCC where the mat was on the ground and you can really accelerate to get a takedown. That little difference, and of Dean getting to spend a bit more time on top, would also have made it more exciting, to see Xande also put in danger. But Xande played to his strengths and with a strategy. In the end though near submissions and points do not matter, it was a draw. And if points don't matter, we really shouldn't care if Xande passed his guard or not. That's under the lens of the traditional grappling rules.

Andre Galvao vs. Ryron Gracie

Ryron tried to keep it playful. To Andre who is such a competitor, it was serious business. If Andre played like Ryron, it would have been much more exciting and fun to watch. Now with that said, I think  Ryron's game was also very calculated in that, if there was any criticism of a poor performance, he could always argue, look at my match, I was just playing.

No points were scored because there are no points. There weren't even any near submissions. At the last half of the match Ryron started to turn in up, no longer allowing his guard to be passed, fighting for grips and sweeps and to try to get him into his closed guard. Ryron I believed was hoping to tire Andre out, mess with him psychology, to try to win. If both came out like bulls and charged and tried to impose their will, Andre would surely get the submission. Ryron played in the only way that would allow him a chance to win.

I remember the Mundials from a few years ago where Andre was dancing on his opponent and playing around. I would have loved to have seen that Andre for this match. Andre didn't change his style too much for this match, and in the post interview even stated that this style of fighting wasn't what he was used to or trained for and wanted to fight Ryron again under IBJJF rules. Andre in my opinion was the only competitor who didn't seem to have any fun during this event.

This was the most controversial match of the event. Ryron Gracie is Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Kron Gracie is Gracie Jiu Jitsu. The two had very polar opposite styles. Kron is a sense of urgency while going for finishes and protecting himself while Ryron chilled and just tried to defend most of the time. Which is the true Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Maybe they are both, but Kron is Rickson's Gracie Jiu Jitsu and was the reason why Rickson was the family champion.

Roger Gracie vs. Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida

I love these Brazilian nicknames. Buchecha was amazing. Roger has been in deep waters before, but not in a long time. Buchecha gave him all he could handle. It ended in a draw but Buchecha seemed to be the better man as far as BJJ. Roger seemed to gas out, and was rather sluggish. In his post fight interview, he admitted to having a staph infection, and Roger not known for making excuses and being typically humble and stoic, you have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Roger passed Buchecha's guard at one time but couldn't do much with it. Usually that's when the match would end for Roger's opponents. It was one of the most exciting matches and would love to see a healthy Roger fight him again. Can he win? I don't know, but he may have also forced Buchecha to escape from some serious danger as well.

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