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Ari LeVaux

  • joined Jan 21, 2011
  • last login Aug 31, 2014
  • posts 26
  • comments 108

Full-time food writer. Full-time FILF.

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John Dodson: Jon Jones just wants to steal my moves

At a recent local media day at Jackson/Winkeljohn gym, the Weekly Alibi of Albuquerque shot interviews with John Dodson and Donald Cerrone. In the mash-up below, Dodson discusses the KO power in...

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Isaac Vallie-Flagg on warpath, puts "whiteweight division" on notice

Zuffa fighter Isaac Vallie-Flagg sat down with Prickly Pair Studios for this brief interview. Vallie-Flagg discussed his current state of limbo between the dying Strikeforce organization and...

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Where the F is Jack Slack?

Good morning, or should I say good afternoon. I'm just another BE community member wondering what the fuck happened last night in the main event, and thus wondering where Slack is. This is worse...

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John Dodson's brother Eric's amateur debut; Steven Seagal better watch out.

At the Jackson's MMA Series IX, Eric Dodson made his amateur debut after six years of hanging around big-brother's gym. Midway through an action-packed first round he got rocked by Fernie...

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Silva’s and Seagal’s prophecies fulfilled

There’s a joke about how you can be the greatest guy in the world, but if you [make love to] one sheep, that’s what you’ll be remembered for. With prophecies, it’s the opposite. You can be wrong a...

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Diego Brandao talks "BoOM," hunting, jiujitsu, and coaches

I recently sat down with UFC featherweight Diego Brandao in the office of striking coach Mike Winkeljohn, at the Jackson/Winkeljohn MMA Academy in Albuquerque, NM. Some of what the native...

New Jon Jones interview: Rashad brags about laying on me; when I get on top, people bleed

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Link to my video interview with Jon Jones for Bleacher Report, Jones addressed many topics, including a detailed breakdown of how meditating by water helped him whup Lyoto Machida, the possibility of teammates spying for Rashad, the chapter devoted to Rashad in his book of moves, Rashad’s top game, and if he'd consider challenging Junior dos Santos for the heavyweight title should Jones emerge from the his title-defense unscathed. a few quotes: Does Rashad have spies in camp? I'm not worried about spies, even though spies have been a part of combat history since the beginning history. I'm not worried about it. I have so many moves, and I'm so versatile in my attacks. He could have a list of 12 moves that I do. He doesn't know which one I'm going to do when. He doesn't have impeccable and impregnable timing and defense, so I'm not to worried about it. When I first got here I was like 'coach, should I trust everyone? What should I do?' And Coach was like 'hey, these guys are better than that.' On top game and striking: [Rashad] thinks that him holding me down in practice means a lot. It doesn't. Holding me down kills nothing but the clock. His top game, I'm not afraid of it. He doesn't go for submissions, really. When I get on top of someone, you see blood within the first few seconds. Instantly. He gets on top of people, you know, people get back to their feet and they start fighting again. I'm not worried about his top game. ...We've never been so prepared, more sharp. Especially in the kickboxing department. We have so many combinations that we think are going to land. Before every fight, Jones has a ritual of finding some running water. There's something about the sound of water that calms me, that relaxes me. I feel at peace, just watching that stream, watching the power of water, thinking about Bruce Lee and how water crashes, thinking about how Bruce Lee says water can flow, thinking about how water is limitless. So I watch the water before the fight and I get empowered by water. So, going in between rounds, a lot of fighters start to panic. Coach, what am I gonna do? Man I'm tired. I only have one minute to recover. I gotta go back out there. Oh man. Give me the magic words. Tell me the what I gotta do to win. I find myself getting flooded with these thoughts in between rounds. So what I try to do is close my eyes, and I focus on the water. I focus on the the sound of the water. I focus on the heart rate that I had when I was looking at the water earlier in the day. And I focus on the beauty and the fresh air. In between all of these beautiful thoughts, I find myself recovered. I'm like, wow. My blood pressure just went down. My heart rate just went back down. And I'm simplifying where I'm at, and now I'm actually able to focus my thoughts on what my coaches are telling me. And they're telling me...advice. For example in my last fight, going into round two, first thing I did I breathed and focused in. They said 'Jon, Lyoto's trying to hit you every time you throw a kick, so fake a kick and throw a nine or a blue.' I heard my coaches clear as day. Instantly totally understood what I had to do. And about two minutes into that second round I found that shot, the exact shot that my coach asked me to take. And it led to the fight being ended. So, that's why I look for water."

Mike Winkeljohn: "Rashad threw Greg Jackson under the bus"

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Video interview with Mike Winkeljohn, cameos by Diego Brandao and Tim Kennedy. Some highlights: On his working relationship with Greg Jackson Greg’s very good at what he does and I like the way we work. We work as a team. I’m more behind the scenes, I kind of enjoy it that way. I get to fine-tune a lot of skills that the guys have, and because Greg goes out and about and talks to everybody, he’s got the reputation, and I get to work with some of the best fighters in the world. On what he said to Greg Jackson to get him to work Jon Jones’ corner I was always going to corner Jon, I’ve been working with him from almost day one. And Rashad had left camp. And Rashad’s actually cool with that. We’ve spoken many times and he’s got no problem. He understands everyone’s out to make a living and do their thing. We’ve got a good rapport. But he upset me in that he kept throwing Greg under the bus. Enough is enough. You have your disagreements, I understand that, but there’s more important things out there. And it’s time for Greg to work in Jon’s corner. Jon’s here everyday, helping everybody else out. I mean John’s that guy. He goes out of his way to help everybody here on the team. So I told Greg, work his corner. On Rashad being quick to close the distance That’s one of Rashad’s best weapons. That and being pretty heavy when he’s on top. I trained Rashad for years so I think he’s explosive I know he’s got the one-punch knockout, so I’m worried about that. And being heavy on top. With that being said, he’s not going to get him. We understand what Rashad needs to do. And Jon’s a great student of the game, and he’s not going to beat us. On game planning against a friend It’s actually kind of exciting. It’s not that hard at all. You know what, everyone’s got a job to do at the end of the day. It’s not life or death, I know people can get hurt. But I work with Jon Jones now. Rashad had left. I still consider him somebody who I’d welcome into my house. But Jon’s a guy who I hope I keep training for the rest of his career. On how the Rashad fight plays out I see it playing out like the Rampage fight. Jon’s going to impose his will, start picking Rashad apart. Rashad’s going to have a very hard time closing the gap. My job is to have Jon’s footwork, his levels, and is striking in such a manner that Rashad can’t get there, can’t take him down, can’t be heavy. But we’re prepared for that as well, and Jon’s going to come out on top. It’s going to be great. On the odds (Jones is currently at -500) Yeah I think that’s fair. Everybody’s seen what Jon’s done to the rest of the division...[Rashad’s] going to have to get lucky with some shots and need more skills than he has. On what's next for his long-time fighter and recent business partner Keith Jardine Keith’s coming toward the sunset of his career, there’s no doubt. You know, nothing lined up, he’s in here working all the time, still working on his skills, trying to get better. He wants to end his career the right way. Nothing has been chosen yet. On Melvin’s slide, which coincidentally is perfectly aligned with his joining the Blackzillians. You know what, he came to us, and I think we got him calmed down. Greg got him where he’s calm enough that he could get back up. And then I started working on footwork and getting him to start throwing some knees and focusing on throwing the power punches at the right time. And Melvin started running through people. I enjoyed what we did. He was not happy with something. I’m not sure it was because I know the striking sure in the heck was great. We have people around here that can wrestle and do all kinds of crazy things off their back. So I’m not sure why he was looking around. But he has split since. That said I wish him the best for Melvin and I hope he figures it out. On Donald Cerrone’s loss to Nate Diaz There was a lot of emotion, no doubt about it, he wanted to beat Nate at his own thing. It was one of those bad nights. Because Cowboy can move his head, he can slip punches. It was one of those days that he just took punches and decided to stay there. He had been kicked in the face by a horse, too, a couple of fights back. That worried me two fights ago. I didn’t know it was going to still affect him for this fight. He’s never complains about it but I know it hurt him. On who has the best footwork on the team. John Dodson is using his speed and his footwork to gain small angles and knock people out. He was always just throwing punches in bunches but now he’s got incredible footwork that way. Probably Little John’s probably got the best. Diego Brandao is starting to understand how to hunt people, but he’s still open on some things.

Can Brazilian lightning strike in the land of the rising sun?

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Originally posted to Bleacher Report At the two recent UFC events in Brazil, the cards were mostly stacked to pit Brazilians against foreigners. On each card, only one non-Brazilian was able to buck the hometown crowd and beat the local favorite. After subtracting the few bouts that pitted Brazilian vs. Brazilian, we arrive at a grand total of the Brazilians winning 13 out of 15 fights, for an 87% winning percentage. Looking back, those results aren’t surprising. After all, Brazil is arguably the birthplace of Mixed Martial Arts, depending on how you score that debate, and is without question the birthplace of the UFC, which was first conceived by the Gracie family as a means to showcase jiu jitsu. On top of that heritage, the Brazilian crowds are loud and fiercely pro-Brazilian, and the local fighters were clearly pumped to throw down at home. Did the local diet, air, and other proprietary intangibles come into play? Perhaps. Did the UFC stack the fights, style-wise, to favor the Brazilians to win and make the sellout crowds happy? I’m not one to doubt the wisdom of UFC matchmaker Joe Silva, but I don’t think even he could have expected what Rogerio Nogueira did to Brendan Schaub. Now the UFC is taking the show to another country with a legit claim as the birthplace of MMA. At the very least, thanks to PRIDE Fighting Championships, Japan offered the first big stage to the sport. Japan—and all of Asia to be fair—could also make a strong case as the birthplace of martial arts, as distinct from the sport of MMA. Following in the footsteps of the recent Brazilian events, the UFC 144 card is replete with Japanese fighters facing gaijin (translation: "foreign devil") opposition. Will hometown lightning strike again in the land of the rising sun? Will there be Saitama magic in the air? UFC 144 offers six instances of bona fide Japanese vs. gaijin clashes. Bump that to seven if you count Akiyama, a Korean. Culturally, Korea is the closest country to Japan. And given the number of fights Akiyama has already had in Japan, it’s fair to give him the "comfort of feeling at home factor." But will the fans be cheering for "Sexyama" with the same fervor the Japanese give their own? Probably so, but not for the reasons you might think. And this brings us to a key difference between Brazilian and Japanese audiences: Brazilian fans are rowdier than Ronda Rousey, while the Japanese fans are quiet as nuns in church. Would the Japanese fighters get a much-needed boost from a roaring peanut gallery? Probably. Will they get it? Probably not. Another fighter who isn’t Japanese but who might benefit from the hometown feeling is Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, who made his name fighting in PRIDE. But on the other hand, feeling at home for Rampage might have meant too many sake shots and karaoke bars, and too little time cutting weight. Will "Rampage" feel that special hometown feeling during fight night? Probably. Will it be enough to vault him past a motivated, evolving, in-shape Ryan Bader? I’m getting the feeling no. Missing weight by six pounds doesn’t help change that feeling, nor does his excuse that it was because of an injury. But if we choose to lump "Rampage" into the hometown crowd, that makes it eight Japanese vs. foreign devil fights. Beyond the differences between the fighting environments in Brazil and Japan, there is also a difference between Brazilian and Japanese fighters, and that might be the most deciding factor of all. Japanese fighters simply haven’t performed as well as Brazilians in the Octagon. Even my wife knows that (but I’ll admit, she surprised me with that knowledge). Three of the UFC’s current champions are Brazilian, while none are Japanese. In fact, none have ever been Japanese, with the exception of Lyoto Machida, who is only half-Japanese. His other half? Brazilian, of course. Oddsmakers will no doubt be watching UFC 144 with interest to see if the Brazilian effect can repeat in Japan. Between the lower level of audience participation and lower caliber of Japanese fighters, I don’t think it will. But when making my bets for the evening, All other things being equal, I’ll be leaning East. Japanese underdogs to keep an eye on: Yoshihiro Akiyama at +230 against Jake Shields (-300) Issei Tamura at +230 against Tiequan Zhang (-300)

Carlos Condit and Diego Sanchez discuss their possible collision course

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This story for the Albuquerque Alibi traces the parallel paths of these two homegrown fighters, and how they might cross some day soon. Here's Sanchez discussing Condit and Ellenberger in a video interview.

The New Yorker calls MMA "ultimate fighting," says there are "no rules," and butcher's Fedor's name, all in one sentence

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The first sentence of the current The New Yorker manages to make three errors plus a few questionable representations about MMA, all in one sentence. And while this is laughable and annoying, it's arguably good news for the future growth of the sport.

The Karate Hottie's advice for Ronda Rousey

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MIchelle Waterson discusses her new baby daughter, her upcoming fight against Diana Rael, and gets up to speed on the Rousey vs Tate beef

Jackson and Winkeljohn: the Click and Clack of MMA strategists

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When these two coaches get together, things get goofy. Which makes getting a straight answer from "The Tapout Brothers" a little challenging.

Jon Jones' dad on wrestling, his mom on the haters

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I attended Jon Jones' post weigh-in dinner. Here's a slice of what happened.

Proof: Jon Jones is juicing

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"I really think this is going to give me the edge against Rampage" Jon Jones

Mike Winkeljohn: Rashad Evans is most dangerous matchup for Jon Jones

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With Greg Jackson bowing out of Condit vs GSP, his partner, striking coach Mike Winkeljohn, prepares for the spotlight. He spoke with Bleacher Report about Jon Jones, Condit, teammates fighting each other, and the importance of body blows.

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Forrest and Big Nog: loser and winner alike should consider leaving town

Neither one has to retire, but both of them should consider it. That's what I argue in my recent article for Bleacher Report. Shameless self-promotion, I know, but I'd welcome commentary from the...

Chinese aircraft attendants learn Kung Fu

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Chinese aircraft attendants learn Kung Fu

Post UFC presser montage: Jones on training for Shogun; Anderson on the code Vitor broke; Vitor...

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Post UFC presser montage: Jones on training for Shogun; Anderson on the code Vitor broke; Vitor entering press conference and congratulating Anderson; Anderson describes how he thinks a fight with GSP would go; Steven Seagal on how happy he was when the kick landed.

"Shogun should start training right now" - Fabio Borges, Brazilian journalist. More of his...

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"Shogun should start training right now" - Fabio Borges, Brazilian journalist. More of his stuff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88q6lSOUdgI (Sorry I couldn't embed the Youtube vid. It kept saying I can't leave html empty, which I wasn't)

Last month Jones said his next fight would be Shogun. In this interview with the Albuquerque Alibi,...

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Last month Jones said his next fight would be Shogun. In this interview with the Albuquerque Alibi, I asked him about a future fight with Tiago Silva if he gets by Bader. Jones says his next fight will be with Shogun.

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What Anderson and Vitor said to each other at The Staredown

I'm at Mandalay Bay liveblogging for Alibi.com in Albuquerque. Here's my post on what transpired in the staredown: According to a Brazilian journalist I met in the press room, here is what...

Jon Jones preparing for UFC 126 vs. Ryan Bader

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Jon Jones preparing for UFC 126 vs. Ryan Bader

Donald Cerrone discusses the New Mexico ranch he bought with Leonard Garcia, offers a sincere...

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Donald Cerrone discusses the New Mexico ranch he bought with Leonard Garcia, offers a sincere apology to Paul Kelly, and explains the real reason behind his beef with Cole Miller. I'm the food critic and occasional MMA writer for the Albuquerque Alibi www.alibi.com. I'm doing a story on Jon Jones and Donald Cerrone ahead of their UFC 126 fights, and since I'm holding a baby these days and can't scribble notes, I filmed my interviews. Will post more soon, from Jon Jones, the newest Jackson/Winkeljohn star teammate Tim Kennedy, and others.
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