COLLUSION: We now have proof who led the COLLUSION effort!
The Usual Suspects is one of my favorite movies. It begins with Verbal (played by Kevin Spacey) talking to a customs agent about a firefight on a ship. Spacey as Verbal spun a yarn about how he was put in touch with four other criminals as part of a lineup (the usual suspects) for a truck hijacking case. Verbal catches the audiences’ and the custom agent’s attention with his compelling story. Verbal always portrays himself as a somewhat helpless cripple who is compelled by other members to be part of the conspiracies. (SPOILER ALERT) At the end of the movie, after Verbal has told his tale to the amazement of the customs agent, the agent releases Verbal. Verbal starts limping out of the office and down the street. Slowly, the customs agent starts recognizing parts of the story and names were plucked from the random items in his office. Slowly, we start to see Verbal begin walking more normally. Finally, the customs agent and the audience realize Verbal (Spacey) was actually Keyser Söze (the big bad, the crime boss) all along. It’s one of the most epic endings in movies I’ve ever seen.
Why would I spoil the Usual Suspects for youngsters (seriously, you’ll still love it)? Why would I spend so much copy on an old-ish (I’m not old dangit) movie? Because I’ve uncovered the Keyser Söze of the PGF – the Kingpin (for you youngsters who have at least seen Daredevil). I called him “the Nice Guy.” I said “if you have a soul, you have to cheer for him.” I’ve unearthed the KINGPIN behind the collusion – it is Sam Barbosa!
Don’t get me wrong. It hurts me to reveal the mastermind behind the collusion in the PGF. I really enjoyed interviewing Sam as a special co-host for the McDojo Show. Sam won us all over with his demeanor and seeming candor. Then he started talking about founding an orphanage and I was about to make a motion to canonize the man (that’s making him a Saint). But then I get my second week fantasy play blown up by some COLLUSION by Stephen Eakin. Then there’s some chatter that the COLLUSION was a master plan by the blue team. Then there’s UNCONTROVERTIBLE EVIDENCE my man, Saint Barbosa was the man with the plan for the blue team collusion. In the video linked immediately above, we see at 51:21- “Ya’ll see what we’re doing, right?” Then at 51:53- “Ya’ll see what we doing, right?” Then again at 52:04- “We on the same team, you know what I mean?” These behind the scenes excerpts were all taken after Sam Barbosa ALLOWED Hunter Colvin to choke him.
We were all taken for a ride. Sam Barbosa is Keyser Söze. In my write-ups as folks refer to them, Barbosa shall forever more be nicknamed “THE KINGPIN.”
OKAY, while it’s fun to mess with Barbosa and Eakin last week. They’re still great people. Most of us could probably learn a lot from both of them. As I’ve mentioned in the past, the PGF is a masterful competition at using incentives – weighting more points for chokes to incentivize passing, etc.; making a draw essentially a loss for both opponents, etc. With the advent of the “teams” and team points, the PGF created another set of incentives. As soon as same-team matches do not count towards team points, we should not see the same COLLUSION again. Barbosa and Eakin were trying to game the game. They were trying to put their teams before themselves. While this approach can screw us fantasy fans, it’s a completely normal reaction to the situation they found themselves facing…and they were not fantasy players previously so how would they know the second-order effects?
I understand we’re done with the COLLUSION/gentlemen’s agreement matches. From now on, it’s gloves off – go time. So we won’t have to worry about factoring in COLLUSION in our analysis.
Since I raised some issues last week, I’ll provide an update. I’m under contract to sell my place in NC. I’m under contract to pick up a place in VA. I have an open house coming up this weekend for my place in CA. There’s still a lot of moving parts (hence my tardiness with this update) but things are coming together. Next, I have to setup my Airbnb so I can train in Decatur and attend the Season 2 tournament.
Okay, enough of that junk, let’s see what happened last week and whether I was on point or not:
NOW FOR SOME REVIEW OF LAST WEEK’S PREDICTIONS AS WELL AS HOW THEY PANNED OUT (I’m alone in the lead in fantasy, btw):
PGF Week 3 Matchups (predictions with UPDATES/comments on actual results):
Hunter Colvin (black) v Zack Edwards (brown) – Kill for Colvin, but it’ll take time. Until someone stops Colvin from getting that rolling kimura to back take, I have to go with Colvin for the kill. Everyone says Colvin is very smart. He saw how Eakin passed Zack’s guard. Colvin is a level above Zack (view from the cheap seats at least). Colvin will find a way to get the kill. I doubt he goes to the leg lock because you open yourself up for leg locks when you do so and leg locks are Zack’s bread and butter.
UPDATE: Hunter highlights his wrestling advantage over Edwards (I think I’ve said it before but Okies can wrestler, ok? – BTW, Kansans are pretty good, too.). Edwards sits. Hunter gets a nice knee slice pass. Zack tries some leg lock entries but Hunter limp legs out of them. Hunter tries his kimura attack to the back, but Edwards defends. Hunter settles for the arm bar.
Kemoy “the Bully” Anderson v Sam “the Kingpin” Barbosa – Barbosa kill. I really like Kemoy’s style. I like his pressure, his passing, his fundamentals, but he hasn’t got the subs this season. I still suspect it’s from competing with longer time limits and being able to fall back on judges’ decisions. Barbosa will find a way to Kemoy’s back and finish the fight.
UPDATE: Sam sits. Sam really allows others to work their game, relying on his defense to setup submission down the road. Sam eventually sweeps and starts attacking Kemoy, but doesn’t have the time to finish. Sam admits he needs to be more aggressive in his post-match interview. Kemoy realizes he needs to up his game now that he’s facing tougher competition.
James Regina v Elijah Carlton – Carlton kill. I really want Matt Skaff to have James Regina on his Grappling Discourse podcast. Regina’s story of no athleticism and bening huge to going to jiu jitsu and mma and losing lots of weight should be very interesting. Sure, 8-mile has some of the same elements in his interview, but Regina seems to be a very cool cat in interviews and has the mma angle. Seriously, whose first athletic endeavor is MMA? All that aside, Regina gets on the mat with a cold-blooded bad guy killer in Carlton. Elijah finds a way to get the kill.
UPDATE: Elijah KILL – 6 points. Elijah gets the choke on Regina. Elijah eventually gets on top, gets to mount and forces Regina to give up his back, leading to the RNC. Regina is a good sport saying if he’s going to be choked, it’s best to be choked by his team captain.
Evan “8-Mile” Stapler v Matt “Maneless” Elkins – Elkins kill. By this round, Elkins had at least the night to ice his knee. Not sure whether Elkins will sit guard again or wrestler. Either way, Elkins will figure out Stapler and probably get him with a guillotine.
UPDATE: Stapler, BREAK (leg lock) – 4 points. I have some real mixed feelings on this match. Evan is a 20-year-old young man. He’s an enthusiastic blue belt willing to put himself through the gauntlet of the PGF. Still, in doing his back step leg lock entry, Evan went after Matt Elkins’ bad leg/knee. Elkins had sat with his bad leg/knee down. First, Elkins does not sit guard. He’s a co-owner of Ironclad Wrestling and a college wrestler. With Elkins sitting guard, we all know his knee is messed up. Every competitor should know which knee is messed up. Regardless, Evan threatens the injured knee, then clears the other leg and back steps for that heel hook entry on the other leg. If this match was in a big money competition and Evan had mouths to feed, I really wouldn’t fault him for this move. While the PGF has some more money behind it for this season, it’s still a grass roots, homespun event with a lot of close-knit folks involved. Evan even admitted he’d never before submitted Elkins. They train together once a week. I don’t want to Monday morning quarterback guys, but I have to think I’d rather lose than take the loss than use a training partner’s injury against him to get a win. Rest assured, “Maneless” has said he will avenge himself ever week for at least the next year with an auto-renew on that vendetta in place until he’s satisfied.
Kevin “Pete Rose of the PGF” Primeau v Randy “DumpTruck” Roden – DRAW. Primeau will be somewhat fresh but is still diminished by the RONA. Roden is a game blue belt, but Primeau is very hard to finish. Say it with me – “going against Primeau will hurt my fantasy chances.” It’s an unwritten rule of the PGF. Primeau could do his sneaky/weird jiu jitsu and get that arm bar off bottom turtle he likes (seems like he goes to a kesa gatame/skarf hold and takes that arm). But Roden is a legit beast and getting better all the time. Rack this match up on the list of “I wish I could see it with a 100% Liquid Terminator.” Seriously, Kevin is so game. He couldn’t grapple for 6 weeks before the PGF and still showed. He hasn’t seemed like his old self, but he’s been a warrior in all his matches. Seriously, Primeau may be grit personified. All that said, he’s going to have to prove that grit once more against Roden and it could be a tall order.
UPDATE: Roden has the top advantage from the beginning, taking Primeau down almost immediately. Primeau does his sneaky jiujitsu thing, just chilling from turtle, bottom side control, etc. Roden goes for an anaconda choke but leaves space allowing Primeau to roll it into a straight arm lock. Wow. Primeau is a sneaky, sneaky man. I fear we are underestimating the sneakiness. But seriously, it’s good to see Primeau adjusting to his post-covid situation. He’s showing a martial artist doesn’t just have to rely on their conditioning to defeat one’s opponent.
Grayson “Southern Samurai” Webster v Mega Mike Johnson – Mega kill. Grayson shocked us all with that kimura against Gibbs (hurting my fantasy btw). I think everyone who looks at Grayson sees he’s athletic. Then if you know he’s a life-long martial artist, you should know he can handle himself. Still, in this rule set, we have Grayson as a baby blue belt versus Mega Mike Johnson who I’ll mention again is built like Kirby Puckett (google it if you’re too young). Johnson is a true purple belt, having competed at that belt level for a while. Mega has let me down before but I think he gets the kill…but he’s going to have to work for it.
UPDATE: Mega KILL – 6 points. Mega Mike does some great passing going one way then the other – shows his IBJJF-style. Then, he uses his pressure and strength to secure the head and arm triangle.
Judo Justin Williams v. Stephen Eakin – DUNK. Eakin knows he has to get the dunk here, preferably getting the bonus point for under a minute.
UPDATE: Eakin KILL – 6 points. Eakin went a little goon on this match, pushing forward almost recklessly. Judo might have done a quick inside trip to drop Eakin for a moment before Eakin took Judo down (I slowed it to .25 speed and I still couldn’t figure the technique used to take Eakin to his knee). Eakin gets to mount and gets the head and arm triangle.
Jake “HEAD” Elkins v Joshua Gibbs – HEAD gets the kill. Elkins’ wrestling and top pressure are too much for Gibbs. They’re both purple belts, but Elkins has been grappling his whole life.
UPDATE: ELKINS KILL/DUNK 7 points. Gibbs sits guard almost immediately – which seems fair against arguably the best wrestler in the PGF. Gibbs tries to put in the knee shield. Elkins passes and gets the anaconda for the 7 point DUNK.
Zack Edwards v Evan “8-mile” Stapler – Edwards break. At some point, Edwards is going to look up and say he has to take a shot at the kill against lower belts. He seems to be getting that idea a little as we see his post-fight interviews, but I’m not sure it’s sunk in yet. Stapler isn’t an easy out, but Edwards is going to have to try to get that kill. I don’t think it’ll happen. I think Edwards tries for the kill but has to settle for the break. I think Stapler is fighting hard the whole time but gets caught with a slick leg lock entry by Edwards.
UPDATE: Stapler KILL (shoulder pressure/von flue) 6 points. Stapler saw from the Colvin/Edwards match that Edwards wasn’t feeling the wrestling. Stapler shot a double-leg takedown. Then Stapler kept stacking. Edwards had a triangle locked in, but there was too much space between the thigh and the carotid artery. Edwards was going for the kill and may have given up an easier arm bar break. Stapler gets the shoulder pressure kill, but I’m curious how much has to do with Edwards lower back injury he seems to have suffered the first night. For one of the more known competitors of the PGF, I have to think we’ll see Edwards regress to the mean and start scoring soon.
Kevin “PRISON RULES” Primeau v Kemoy “the Bully” Anderson – Kemoy kill by triangle, 6 points. I know – one of the biggest rules of the PGF is not to pick against Primeau. Still, we’ve seen Primeau is diminished by the Rona. Plus, we should have a very motivated Kemoy who knows he needs some points.
UPDATE: Primea BREAK/wristlock for 4 points. Primeau sits again. Kemoy tries to pass, but Primeau seems to do a sort of hip bump sweep. Kemoy seems to take the back but Primeau is just focusing on those arms. Primeau frees his right arm and gets the goose-neck wristlock on Kemoy for the bonus point. Funny story, I was taught wristlocks in a couple of different arts, but didn’t play them in BJJ until a brown belt named Latron decided to put one on me. Then it was game on. I still think one of my favorite bjj moments was getting a wristlock on Latron before we had to shut down our club for COVID.
Elijah “the Bad Guy” Carlton v Joshua Gibbs – Elijah kill 6 points. Elijah likely gets the triangle.
UPDATE: Elijah KILL 7 points. Gibbs goes for a single leg and Elijah starts locking up the guillotine. Gibbs tries to body out of the choke but Elijah guides him next into a darce, securing the choke.
Stephen “Shoeless Joe” Eakin v Grayson “Southern Samurai” Webster – Eakin kill 6 points. Eakin needs the dunk. He needs the early dunk, but I think Grayson will fight long enough to only allow Eakin to get 6.
UPDATE: Eakin KILL 6 points. They start wrestling, but Grayson sits guard. He should have listened to Sam Barbosa and Barbosa’s coach – don’t let Eakin on top of you. Eakin passes and tries the head and arm setup from a gift wrap. It looks like Eakin will get the head and arm but Grayson is a BEAST and explodes out. Eakin transitions to the back. Eakin tries the RNC, but settles for the short choke/bully choke.
Matt “Maneless” Elkins v James Regina – Elkins kill 6 points. Elkins should know if he wrestles a bit that Regina will sit guard. Elkins can go for that guillotine of his off the front headlock. If Regina wins, it’ll be by leg lock.
UPDATE: Elkins BREAK 3 points. Elkins sits again – it’s his new normal with the knee injury. Regina tests the Stapler backstep, but Elkins isn’t having any of it. They roll around a bit and Elkins ends up with the heel hook. He just heel hooked a leg locker, son!
Randy “Dumptruck” Roden v “Judo” Justin Williams – Roden kill 6 points. Roden’s a wrestler so I think he takes Williams down and gets the head and arm triangle or RNC. Roden’s a blue belt, so his submissions are likely not completely dialed in yet. Judo seems to be going for survival/the tie. Roden likely gets to the mount early, but Judo has been very keen on not getting tapped in that position. It would be sick if Roden hit the mounted triangle against Judo, but we’ll have to see how he finishes him. I’ll venture this opinion – Roden either gets the kill or a draw. I don’t see Roden going for a leg lock or arm bar.
UPDATE: Roden KILL 6 points. Please see the McDojo Show at 1:39:49. I’m not up there with Matt “the Prophet” Skaff, but I called this one pretty well. I said Roden would take down Williams and likely get the kill by head and arm triangle – and he did just that. BOOM!
“Mega” Mike Johnson v Jake “HEAD” Elkins – In Season 1 of the PGF, we had the much-anticipated match of Mike “Manscape” Richey v Matt “Manderson” Anderson – the two reputed strongest members of the PGF. With a tip of the cap to Sam Barbosa, we seem to have another Hulk vs the Thing matchup here. As Stephen Eakin said on his YouTube show, Mega Mike has been sandbagging us, trying to only look like an insurance salesman (I think it is actually family financial advisor) on social media. Then Mega Mike shows up, well, MEGA. Of course, Mega’s guns won’t scare HEAD Elkins. Since they both train in Birmingham (BHAM), I’m fairly confident they’ve rolled before. The problem for Mega is Elkins’ confidence and overall mat time. Elkins is getting that kill. Mega is the type of competitor to force the draw, but I have faith in Jake Elkins (okay, I’ll put some respect on his name). Jake is legit A.F.
UPDATE: Mega has rolled with Elkins before. He shows the recognition of Elkins’ wrestling by pulling/sitting to guard. Mega does a little butter-half guard. Jake rolls around and gets the head lock, transitioning to the anaconda. Jake then transitions to the arm-in guillotine, moving to mount. Elkins secures the KILL.
Sam “the Good Guy” Barbosa v Hunter “the Kingpin” Colvin – One of the most anticipated matchups of the season. You’d think Barbosa by RNC or Colvin by leg lock (see McDojo Show podcast interview of Barbosa for that reasoning). Barbosa was a wrestler and coaches wrestling. Colvin was a wrestler in Oklahoma and Okie wrestling is LEGIT. Colvin has a loftier competition pedigree but Barbosa has been a constant competitor (even if at a more regional level). Both have fought in cages (aka mma). Matt Skaff said he’d only seen Sam Barbosa submitted by three or four WORLD-CLASS BLACK BELTS. Well, is Colvin the next world-class black belt to be added to the list? I’ve said before, if you don’t cheer for Barbosa, you don’t have a soul. I’m not going to pick this matchup for fantasy…impossible. I will cheer for Barbosa – he’s too good of a man not to cheer for him.
UPDATE: Hunter KILL 6 points. SHENANIGANS! at 1:35:39 we found out the footage of the match was “corrupted.” With this much footage, it’s understandable to have some corrupted files. For those conspiracy folks, maybe it was to not let us see the COLLUSION with Barbosa letting Colvin get the Kill. If you believe that idea, you probably have refused the vaccine and don’t believe we’ve visited the moon.