Eye of the Tiger #5

I kicked a few cops the other day. One of them, Chris Luttrell, was my instructor for a 7 am strength and conditioning class at Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) gym, where I’ve been learning the ropes of hand-to-hand combat as part of an upcoming feature story on MMA in Albuquerque. I grabbed officer Luttrell with both hands behind his head, and as I pulled his head down, I thrusted my knee into his face.

“Nice one, Ari,” he said. “Try it again.”

In addition to a bit of slow-speed sparring, we did all kinds of exercises that morning, including skipping rope, calisthenics, and some very unusual versions of sit-ups and pushups that involved ropes and dumbbells and heavy balls. All the while, we listened to loud 1980s rap music, songs like “White Lines” and “Fly Girl.”

Afterwards, Luttrell and I spoke about this weekend’s fight between UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans, who trains at Jackson’s, and Lyoto Machida, who’s favored by oddsmakers to win the fight. Machida is known for his elusiveness It’s been calculated that he only gets hit once every two-and-a-half rounds – an astounding figure given the full-contact nature of professional MMA. Without going into specifics, Luttrell demonstrated on me how he thinks Rashad can hit Machida. Even at half-speed, it hurt.
I’ll be in Vegas this weekend to cover the fight, and I’ll blog again early next week about what happens.