Got a case of the Mondays? Don’t worry, it’s only three days and a wake up before we get to experience more Professional Grappling Federation action.
For the second half of the season, I’m going to put out a quick rundown of the top five anticipated matches for the upcoming week. Something to whet the appetite or the upcoming week.
As I was preparing the fantasy breakdown, I noticed a number of our steady performers were not good fantasy plays for the week. Not because they suddenly lost their skill, they stopped being good fantasy plays because they’re facing great competition. Let’s break down the top five most anticipated matches:
BONUS MATCH: Elijah Carlton (black) v Blake Randall (blue) – Student versus master. Player versus coach. Elijah talked up his blue belt coming with him from Southside Jiujitsu Club in Chattanooga, TN. Blake Randall has earned the monicker “Boy Wonder” for his explosiveness, grit, and overall skill. If they carpool to the matches, I wonder how much tension occurs during those two hours. As neat conceptually as this matchup sounds, it’s not a “Whose Daddy now” moment for Randall. Elijah has soundly smashed every opponent. He may be a little nicer to his protégé, but the result will be the same.
5. Elijah Carlton (black) v Matt Anderson (beast) – Two of the larger competitors who could easily come back for season 2 (the big boys), Elijah and Anderson could be interesting. After Elkins slick, quick submission on him, I have to believe Anderson will be very cautious. It’s likely Elijah will go after Anderson’s legs. It will be interesting to see if Anderson can force a grinding match where he can use his strength to make up for the difference in experience.
4. Joe “Flying Triangle” Kai (brown) v Matt “Scarecrow of Doom” Harrison (brown) – These opponents are two fan favorites. The Scarecrow of Doom (SOD) can pull people in his closed guard where he has a phenomenal triangle. The SOD has also shown some unexpected wrestling, given his guard-pulling game. Kai’s speed and elusiveness will be difficult for the SOD. Last week Kai showed know rust from his multiple-week hiatus, getting some great Marce chokes and calling his shot with a flying triangle finish. I think Kai takes the win, but it should be a great match.
3. Matt Anderson (beast) v Mike “Manscape” Richey (white) – This match should be the Hulk vs the Thing match-up I was expecting when Anderson faced Elkins. In that matchup, I didn’t appreciate the craftiness of the brown belt. Here, we have a white belt behemoth battle. Anderson is a national-level power lifter, posting truly high-quality athletic stats at the combine. That said, the commentators last week said Mike “Manscape” Richey is stronger than Anderson. Chiseled from granite and meticulously manscaped, Richey has proven to be a very tough competitor to submit. He even made Elijah Carlton settle for a break instead of a kill (the only other opponent to only suffer a break was Nilo Bergener who is only one point behind Elijah for the Eastern Conference lead). While Anderson is a judo brown belt, Manscape has shown great wrestling. I think we could be in for a match highlighting the respective opponents’ athleticism and grit.
2. Jonathan “Elbow Genie” Roberts (brown) v Matt “The Mane” Elkins (brown) – Elbow Genie has submitted every opponent he’s faced, but with only one choke amongst those wins he is only in fifth place in the Western conference. Generally, Elbow Genie quickly submits his opponents with an arm bar or leg lock. The Mane has secured all his victories with kills/chokes. While the Mane is listed as Ironclad Wrestling on the fantasy site, they are both Birmingham Straight Blast Gym teammates. That familiarity could lead to a great match like when we saw the Mane go against their fellow teammate Roger Coehlo. These are two of the best competitors in the PGF; their match will not disappoint.
1. Nilo “the Mop” Bergener v Jonathan “Elbow Genie” Roberts – This match means more than one can see from the standings. As mentioned above, the Elbow Genie has submitted every opponent he has faced. Nilo’s one loss was against Elijah Carlton in his first match as part of the PGF. Since that match, Nilo has been on a tear through the league. It’s Elbow Genie’s first match of the night so he will be fresh. Going against the cardio freak Nilo, Roberts will need all his gas (seriously, I’d say it’s 50/50 Nilo hits at least 200 jumping jacks on the side of the mat before this match starts). These competitors are both highly skilled. One interesting thing is how the action will start – will we get a double-guard sit? The Elbow Genie likes to sit down to setup his clinches. Nilo likes to sit guard but often turns it into a seated-wrestling situation, coming up for a double-leg or ankle pick. If Nilo can keep up his frenzied, constant attack and get a scramble going, I think he takes the match. If the Elbow Genie can slow down the cardio king, the Elbow Genie can show us all what will happen in the tournament when all that matters is the submission.
I hope you like the roll-up of my most anticipated matches for Week 7. I’m really looking forward to these matches. I will push out my Week 7 fantasy analysis on Wednesday.