Two summers ago, I rendezvoused with The Mexican at Crazy Melva's Pepper Pot in Hatch. I was there for green chile for the freezer from Chile Express and Biad. Gustavo Arellano was there for the Chile Festival, in search of stories for his book. We broke tortillas over chile, I green he red. Here is an edited video of that historic lunch.
The live stream for the grand opening of Greg Jackson's new gym is up. As soon as I connected, Michelle Waterson pranced toward the camera and gave us a great angle on a dramatization of her picking her nose. In fact, if that literally hadn't happened the very minute I turned on the stream I probably would not be live blogging this live stream. And then, out of nowhere, there's Greg Jackson posed in side-hug position with a fan for a photo, and I was hooked. Who says slow news days are boring?
The gym is located in a mall at the northwest corner of Eubank and Candelaria. I'd probably stop by myself if the view wasn't as good as it is from my house.
Ustream is some powerful stuff. It's kind of funny when people have no idea what's going on, and stand ass-first to the camera, or give us an unflattering profile. I predict it won't be long until more of us are as savvy about it as the Karate Hottie. Just remember, you or I might not look as good digging for buggers. And remember, the mic is probably on. There was in interesting discussion to be eavesdropped between Joey Villasenor and Jon Jones regarding head games before, wisely, the mic was turned off.
In a highly technical and strategic fight, Albuquerque's Carlos Condit defeated Nick Diaz via decision. The judges' verdict has Diaz fans crying fowl, claiming Condit was "running" from the fight by not allowing Diaz to trap him against the cage and tee off on him. According to Fightmetric, the UFC's official statistics provider, Condit outstruck Diaz 151 to 105 in significant strikes, a big margin.
Not surprisingly, Condit's head coach Greg Jackson agrees with the decision and defends the strategy. "A stick-and-move game plan against a guy that’s such an amazing fighter and such a tough guy as Diaz, for me is a no-brainer," Jackson says. "If you look at the numbers, we hit him many more times than he hit us."
After the decision was announced, Diaz said he would retire in protest. Interestingly, Diaz' last opponent, B.J. Penn, also retired after Diaz beat him.
With the win, Condit holds the UFC's interim welterweight title. He says he'll wait until November—when injured welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre is expected to be healthy—to fight St-Pierre and unify the belts. Many are calling for a rematch between Condit and Diaz, but with Diaz' retirement, it's unclear how that would work.
Nine months before giving birth to her daughter, Michelle Waterson earned her living as a fighter. Nine months after Araya was born, Waterson returned to the cage, at Jackson's Series VII Saturday night. She returned in style, avenging Albuquerque's honor against Diana Rael, who last year upset local favorite Angelica Chavez.
Midway through an exciting, back and forth first round, Waterson found herself in the same position that Chavez spent most of her fight with Rael - getting smothered by Rael's top control. In the blink of an eye she dug out a sweep and slipped around to Rael's back, sinking in a rear naked choke before, as my video replay unfortunately reveals, the referee rear-ended my view of Rael tapping.
Michelle Waterson post-fight interview
Still, it was Waterson's brilliant reversal to the back that mattered. So go ahead and enjoy it.
It's worth noting that of Waterson's 10 pro wins, all but her first came via first round stoppage: four by armbar, four by rear naked choke, and one by TKO. Too bad the nickname "Natural Born Killer" is already taken by her teammate Carlos Condit. But we can live with "Karate Hottie."
In another high level submission, Team Jackson's Henry Martinez submitted Ali Hanjani by an unusual triangle choke, after Hanjani almost shook him off his back. The announcer called it an inverted triangle. If you were at the event, feel free to comment as to what you would call it. I'm sorry I don't have the video. When I should have been videoing I was too busy saying "What the BLEEP?" It was like Martinez was sitting on Hanjani's shoulders, and then decided to switch to cross legged and strangle him. It was so beautiful I all but cried.
Boxer turned MMA fighter Jodie Esquibel picked up her second win as a pro, at the Jackson's MMA Series VII on Saturday night at the Hard Rock Cafe. She defeated Amy Reihle by unanimous decision with crisp boxing. That woman has lightning in her hands.
On Saturday, a merry gathering of food trucks are parking in the Talin lot (Louisiana and Central SW) from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Make My Lunch, the Seasonal Palate, the Chopping Block, Allison's, the Zingaro, Pink Ladies, Good Food Eat Here, Mother Truckin' Gourmet, Oz Patisserie and others will set out heated seating and serve special holiday menus. Befriend ABQ Food Trucks on Facebook for more info.
Ahead of the January 21 Jackson’s MMA Series VII fight card, a press conference was held earlier this week. Though it was set up to hype some fights, the event showed all of the bad blood and barely contained aggression of a quilting party. Headliner Diana Rael made the trip down from Denver to square off against Albuquerque’s Michelle Waterson, but spent more time coo-cooing with her opponent’s baby daughter than mean mugging in her face.
Co-main event fighters, Albuquerque’s Henry Martinez (6-1) and Denver’s Ali Hanjani (3-1), were equally cordial, thanking each other for taking the fight and offering quiet praise for one another. This is how martial arts competitions should be, but all to often in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, the tradition of respect is upstaged by a cafeteria brawl mentality.
Diana Rael Interview
It isn’t that these fighters don’t plan on putting a hurting on each other when the cage door locks on January 21. But until then, and presumably afterwards, these athletes don’t bear a grudge against each other. Indeed, they need each other in order to be able to compete at this sport they love.
The Alibi caught up with both Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson and Diana “Dianomite” Rael after the presser. Rael is coming off her upset victory over Albuquerque’s hometown favorite Angelica Chavez at MMA Fight Pit - Genesis this past August. This is Waterson’s first fight since her daughter Araya was born last March.
The Jackson’s MMA Series VII fight card goes down at the Hard Rock Café on January 21 at 7 pm.
Matt Leyva's cheering section, including Diego Sanchez and family (and stash).
It was a pleasant evening of punching, kicking and strangling at the Hard Rock Café, a warm and fuzzy reminder of just how enamored our town is with the whole ultimate fighting thing. UFC star Diego Sanchez was in attendance, yelling himself hoarse in support of his Jackson-Winkeljohn teammates. Former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski was there as well, and he managed to make it through about a hundred fan photo-ops without once cracking a smile.
Ricky Esquibel escapes trouble by the time-tested method of picking up his opponent, slamming him to the mat, and choking him out. Note the tap, seconds before the buzzer, that should have ended the fight early.
The amateur undercard was a clean sweep for the home team. John Sparks submitted Adam McGurk of El Paso in the first round by rear naked choke in a lightweight bout. Then at middleweight, Adam Gonzales needed only 17 seconds to knock out Fabian Salas, also of El Paso. Gonzales caught Salas with a straight right as the Texan charged. At the top of the amateur card, Ricky Esquibel won an impressive decision over Juan Carlos Mora of Santa Fe, for the Edge Fighter Challenge Championship. Esquibel was persistent with knees from the clinch. Near the end of the third round, Esquibel escaped a bad situation on the ground with the time-tested method of standing up with your opponent on top of you, slamming him, and choking him out. The referee missed Mora’s tap, with seconds left in the third round, but the tap did not escape the Alibi’s camera.
Freddie Crosby taps to Hunter Tucker's choke
In the first fight on the pro card, Nate Patterson of Las Cruces used vicious leg kicks to visibly hurt Rich Chavez of Jackson-Winkeljohn, draining the spring from his step and taking away his takedown ability. Patterson didn't do much more than land those leg kicks, but it was enough to earn him the judges decision and bring him to a perfect 3-0 against the hometown squad.
Then, Tucson’s Freddie Lux handed Jackson’s flyweight Nick Urso his first loss in a split decision. In a strange post-fight speech, the crowd clearly hated Lux, but when the Tyson-voiced 125 lber asked if the crowd wanted him back next time the room filled with cheers. Go figure.
Joey Villasenor thanks his corner
In the only fight where neither fighter had the home field advantage, Freddie Crosby of Albuquerque Kickboxing took on Hunter Tucker of Jackson-Winkeljohn at featherweight. The bout was competitive until Tucker caught Crosby with a guillotine choke midway through the second round, forcing him to tap and silencing half of the room.
The co-main event featured recent UNM graduate, and former marine, Matt Leyva, who won a close unanimous decision against Federico Lopez of Temecula, Cali. While two of the judges gave all three rounds to Leyva, the fight was closer than that. Each round was close, and Lopez made a strong case for winning each. Perhaps Leyva’s vocal and well-appointed cheering section made the judges nervous.
In the evening’s main event, “Smokin’” Joey Villasenor made his welterweight debut, and smoked Chuck Parmellee of Sioux City, IA, by first round TKO. Parmellee, a game opponent, was the aggressor early on, while Villasenor stayed elusive and patient until he found an opening for a left hook that landed on his charging opponent, knocking him to the mat. Villasenor swarmed Parmellee with punches before he even hit the ground, and the fight was waived off seconds later by referee Craig Zellner.
In his post-fight remarks, the former middleweight Villasenor said he felt reborn at 170. “It feels like my career is brand new. Last might I was pinching myself that I actually made 170. I was outsized my last few fights. But ‘70 feels good. I feel good.”
The amateur undercard at Jackson’s MMA Series VI, at the Hard Rock Café, was a clean sweep for the home team. John Sparks submitted Adam McGurk of El Paso in the first round, by rear naked choke in a lightweight bout. Then at middleweight, Adam Gonzales needed approximately 17 seconds to knock out Fabian Salas, also of El Paso. Gonzales caught Salas with a straight right as the Texan charged. At the top of the amateur card, Ricky Esquibel won an impressive decision over Juan Carlos Mora of Santa Fe, for the Edge Fighter Challenge Championship. Esquibel was persistent with knees from the clinch. To seal the third round, after being taken down Esquibel stood up with Mora on top of him, lifting Mora in the air and slamming him.
I was recently contacted by a publicist for UFC ENCYCLOPEDIA: The Definitive Guide to The Ultimate Fighting Championship (October 2011), by DK publishing.
She told me that UFC stars Donald Cerrone and Leonard Garcia will be at Hastings Westside location (6051 Winter Haven Road, near Montaño Plaza on Coors), to promote and sign the book.
The book, by Thomas Gerabasi, came out early this week and has already garnered high praise, even from the ever finicky MMA blogosphere.
When I ran into Cerrone at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA last week, he said he knew nothing of the book signing. He’s due to fight Dennis Siver at UFC 137 a week later, and might have other things on his mind. Garcia, on the other hand, just fought (a decision loss to Nam Phan at UFC 136), so he has no excuse.
Cerrone and Garcia are scheduled to be there at Hastings from 1-3 pm, Saturday October 22.
And both Cerrone and Garcie might be at the Jackson’s MMA Series VI fight card at the Hard Rock Café that night as well. They both cheer hard for their teammates.