Okay, Easter weekend has been a lot of great family time. I was able to sneak away enough to get a quick recap of the PGF Week 5 action down. Seriously, these matches were amazing this week. I think the draws were as exciting as the dunks. So many matches went down to the wire before submissions. The format is standing the test of time – it forces the action. So, why did I start off with a pic of the standings? Well, obviously I had to be a little happy I’m on top – showing the proof of the pudding (of my fantasy prognostication) is in the tasting. Also, if you look closely (since I had to zoom out), you can see who’s waaaaaay down there tied for 17th place. I’m not bitter about last season McWhorter…at least that’s what I tell my therapist.
We may have a big flaw with Fantasizr. I was seeing how folks fared in their calls for last week. First, congrats to Khalis Nasir for that call of Matt Elkins over Kevin Primeau, putting him as the best fantasy team for the week. I should’ve thought Elkins front headlock game could get that one done, but I have a rule against voting against Primeau (publication forthcoming). But when I started looking at teams’ performances, I see there’s a number of folks who have pulled a “FreeSpiritPhil” and kept their over budget teams by not updating them.
These teams are not fighting for the championship, but it raises issues to iron out before next season. As for now, all is right with the world and Egghead Warrior’s Blue Belts Are People Too team is still on top.
I think we’re really starting to get to know these competitors. I didn’t get all my calls right, but it was pretty close. I’ve added my updates below to show how the matches came out compared with the estimations I provided for your fantasy use.
Just a quick note before we get to the analysis: think about throwing down a few bucks in the superchat during the premieres. BMAC and crew gave us some amazing free entertainment. Then you have tie ins from the McDojo Show, my blogs, Eakin’s YouTube videos – it’s a really great experience. Think about sending them a beer’s worth of money in the superchat to say thanks. I do this blog for fun. As I said, it’s my methadone until I can get my grappling club back up and running. But show BMAC and his crew some love if you can. Now, onto my awesome prognostication and how it actually panned out:
PGF Week 5 Matchups (predictions with UPDATES/comments on actual results):
Grayson “Southern Samurai” Webster (blue) v Hunter “the Professional” Colvin (black) – KILL, BLUE 6. Colvin is basically nearing Elijah Carlton level now. Colvin gets the kill on most and only resorts to the break on those with a solid defense where Colvin wants to conserve energy. Now with Elijah Carlton in lead, Colvin may be harder pressed for the kill (more pertinent in the second match). For this match, we have a pedigreed black belt competitor against a gritty blue belt. #bluebeltsarepeopletoo, but Grayson gets choked.
UPDATE: KILL, HUNTER. Grayson sat guard. Colvin knee slice passed the guard, then went to work. Hunter got a darce within the first minute for 7 points.
James Regina (purple) v Kevin “Prison Rules” Primeau – BREAK, BLUE 3. This match intrigues me. It doesn’t have big PGF implications, as both are not near the leader board, but it may say something about some regional levels of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu. Regina is a purple belt and MMA fighter out of Kansas City. Primeau is a former MMA fighter and purple belt out of Decatur, AL. Primeau hasn’t been in his “Liquid Terminator” form since having the Rona, but he’s been scrapping his way to some submissions and good showings against the top competitors. Regina has let to secure a submission, going for leg locks in most matches. I have to think Primeau finds a way to get another “prison rules” break. He has an upside of a kill. If Regina gets the win, it’ll likely be a leg lock break.
UPDATE: BREAK, PRIMEAU. Primeau was saying he was going to chill and cook Regina until Regina gave him something. Instead, Regina sat guard then swept Primeau. Kevin went for a straight ankle lock HARD. They had a bit of a leg lock shootout for a while. Then, Primeau’s cardio/energy was sapped so he defended for a while. Finally, Primeau pulled off the straight ankle lock – WOW. Never bet against the Liquid Terminator.
Joshua Gibbs (purple) v Randy “Dump Truck” Roden (blue) – DRAW. PGF FANTASY RULE #3 – DON’T TRUST BLUE BELTS TO GET THE SUBMISSION. There’s about no way Gibbs can handle Roden on the feet. Gibbs may try a sneaky guard pull or go for Roden’s legs (ala last time with Mega Mike Johnson), but I think Roden’s defense is too much to suffer the pseudo sneaky submissions of Gibbs (unlike the SUPER SNEAKY SUBMISSIONS OF PRIMEAU – very, very sneaky). Roden will likely dominate the match, but have no luck submitting Gibbs.
UPDATE: DRAW. Very exciting match – as the Commish said in the chat, only in this format does a six-minute draw provide this much excitement. Gibbs took about 12 seconds to play guard. Roden got on top and threatened Gibbs with submissions for most of the match. Roden was very close to a mounted guillotine but his grips failed. They got back to the feet at one point and it looks like Gibbs watched the Barbosa v Roden match – Gibbs went for the guillotine and locked up the guard. Gibbs got really close to finishing that guillotine on Roden but Roden escaped. If Roden works on a Japanese necktie and a north-south choke, he’s going to level up like crazy. I think it was Matt Elkins in Eakin’s Dream Show who said “he don’t teach that guy anything” or words to that effect. I think everyone who sees Roden grapple knows Roden is going to be great with just a little more experience and technique.
Matt “Maneless” Elkins (brown) v Sam “Kingpin” Barbosa (brown) – KILL, BLUE 6. This match would have been much more interesting before Elkins’ knee injury. We won’t see the good wrestling exchange we might have seen. Barbosa has too good of a defense to be caught by Elkins. Elkins sits with his left leg down to protect the leg. This posture allows Barbosa to go for the rolling kimura on Elkins’ left arm, setting up the back take. Barbosa secures the RNC. We should all be looking forward to Elkins in a future season…although, he’s still in fourth place on the Red team, meaning he would make the finale tournament. If you give Matt Elkins a little time to heal, it could be really exciting what he could bring to that finale tournament.
UPDATE: Matt sat guard as he’s been doing in most matches since his injury. Sam passed his guard and started working his twister side control. Elkins avoided Barbosa’s traps. Eventually, Sam took Elkins’ back and got the RNC.
Jake “Head” Elkins (purple) v Kemoy “RatedR” Anderson (brown) – KILL, RED 6. Jake’s the best wrestler in the PGF. He proved that last week. Jake takes Kemoy down. Kemoy isn’t as good off his back as he is on top (probably from his MMA days). Kemoy may try a pop triangle, but Jake will defend. I’m guessing punch choke or head and arm triangle for Jake, showing his BMAC lineage. Jake showed the mounted triangle once, but this match isn’t the time to go with anything but your best stuff.
UPDATE: BREAK, ELKINS. In an unexpected move, Kemoy shot a single leg takedown on Elkins about 28 seconds into the match. Jake worked the guillotine but didn’t get Kemoy. Jake got to top half guard and alternated working on Kemoy’s head and going for his arm for the kimura. Kemoy goes belly down to avoid a darce choke. Jake gets to mount. Kemoy gets it back to ¾ mount/half guard then sweeps Elkins. I can’t tell the sweep, maybe a knee tap? Jake gets the butterfly sweep. Jake then passes Kemoy’s guard to side control. Kemoy fights back to half guard. Jake digs for that top arm for the kimura. As soon as Jake separates Kemoy’s arm from his hip, Kemoy taps. Great match.
Zach “Squidbilly” Edwards (brown) v Elijah “the Bag Guy” Carlton (brown) – KILL, RED 6. Edwards is gutting out a lower back injury. He likely sustained it the first night either getting smashed by the D1 wrestler Roden or the black belt Eakin ensuring he didn’t get leg locked. Regardless, Edwards isn’t playing his “A” game. Edwards’ game is to sit guard. Elijah on top is a bad idea for everyone. Elijah gets the kill.
UPDATE: Joe Kai said it best when he compared the leg locker match to the situation where two wrestlers face each other. For the wrestlers, we get a wrestle off. Elijah couldn’t help but want to show his leg lock superiority. Elijah got the leg lock just at the 1 minute buzzer so he got the extra point for the quick break.
“MEGA” Mike Johnson (purple) v Stephen “the Spoiler” Eakin (black) – KILL BLUE 6. Eakin is a solid, big black belt. MEGA’s a skilled purple belt who’s a large, strong guy. Mega learns Eakin is a bad man. BJJ math and the transitive property are not always right. But if Jake Elkins > Mega Mike and Stephen Eakin = Jake Elkins (DRAW); then Stephen Eakin > Mega Mike. It’s what some in my field would call a scientific wild ass guess (SWAG), but I have a hunch Eakin gets it done.
UPDATE: DRAW. It was bears dancing for five minutes. Finally Eakin pulled guard with one minute left. Eakin put in the lockdown but didn’t have the time to get that game going. MEGA almost got a head and arm towards the end, but Eakin basically gave up that position since there was no time left. Eakin wanted to conserve energy for his match against Elijah. Neither Eakin, nor MEGA looked forward to being in bottom position with the other on top. We can all understand both competitor’s thinking, but neither got any points so it’s really a loss for both.
Evan “8-mile” Stapler (blue) v “Judo” Justin Williams (white) – KILL, RED 6. I have to give it to my man 8-mile who is representing for all of us blue belts out there. Evan is the first competitor to get a “shoulder pressure” choke – I think they’re calling it a modified Von Flue/OSP choke. Regardless, Stapler’s savage (as my tweens would say). Judo really gives of a Stephen “Grey Goose” Mitchell vibe. I’m not sure if Judo is on the DMT like Mitchell and Joe Rogan, but he seems out there during his interviews. With his grey streaked beard and pseudo-philosophical remarks, I am mesmerized by Judo’s interviews. Judo could stall out this match as well, but Evan has shown a killer instinct. Also, having called his move in the pre-match interview with Primeau, Evan has shown he has a good, strategic head on his shoulder. By day 3, Evan has probably got an idea of Judo’s game or received some coaching from the Red team on how to take him down. I’ll take a flyer and say 8-mile gets it done.
UPDATE: KILL, 8-MILE. Judo goes for a sweep, but Evan gets the blast/power double. Judo pulls full guard. Evan is really going for the hands to the face/smother game. Evan baits with the arm, then bully passes when Judo starts to go for it. Judo is doing his tight defense thing and Evan is throwing some brutal punch choke attempts in there. It looks like Evan is trying to use his chin to grind on Judo’s face. Does Evan train at 10P Decatur or with Vagnar Rocha? Evan gets to mount and starts finger walking Judo’s arm up. Evan gets to that chopping block and secures the head and arm triangle.
Team Winner: BLUE by 3. It’s a very close one. So, I’d recommend not putting anyone on their rosters based on this team points situation.
UPDATE: Blue got the team points.
Kemoy “RatedR” Anderson (brown) v Joshua Gibbs (purple) – KILL, BLUE 6. Kemoy bounces back from the loss to Elkins and gets a kill on Gibbs. Gibbs is still a relatively new purple belt and Kemoy is a seasoned brown belt competitor. I’m guessing Kemoy gets the takedown (heel pick?) and works that head and arm.
UPDATE: KILL, KEMOY. Kemoy gets a pretty ankle pick takedown about 25 seconds into the match. Kemoy falls right into a pseudo twister/backstep pass. Kemoy applying A LOT of pressure. Kemoy gets his back for a second then Gibbs spins around into his guard. Kemoy pops the triangle up. Gibbs escapes after a bit. Kemoy pops the triangle again. Kemoy flips Gibbs onto his side and gets the tap.
Grayson “Southern Samurai” Webster (blue) v Evan “8-mile” Stapler (blue) – KILL, RED 6. Two of the bigger guys in the league collide in this Blue Belt matchup. 8-Mile has really stepped up to fill the Seth Tatum/Dallas Sharp/Noah Randolph role this season (i.e. 10P Decatur Blue Belts who are outperforming their belt ranks). We saw some mat smarts when Evan called his shot/strategy on Primeau. But, so far Evan’s subs have been via shoulder pressure and leg lock. The Southern Samurai isn’t tapping to shoulder pressure. Both these young men have lots of grit. I’m a fan of both, but I have a feeling Evan gets the pass and subs Grayson via head and arm triangle. I’m sure it won’t be as fast and strong as Jake Elkins finish of Grayson, but I have a hunch Evan will have taken notes and received some coaching from Papa Bear Elkins on ways to approach Grayson.
UPDATE: KILL, STAPLER. About 35 seconds in, Stapler gets the double leg takedown and passes guard immediately. Grayson is working a strong frame on Evan’s hip and trying to shrimp to a better position. 8-Mile gets to mount about 65 seconds into the match. He’s finger walking the arm up. Grayson turns that frame into almost benching Evan off him, but Evan floats back to the mount. Just at two minutes into the match, Stapler secures the head and arm triangle. Move over Seth Tatum, we have a new 10P Decatur Blue Belt star of the PGF. Of course, since Seth received his promotion to Purple Belt after the first season of the PGF, I’m sure he’s okay with the change of the guard.
Elijah “the Bag Guy” Carlton (brown) v Stephen “the Dream” Eakin (black) – KILL, RED 6? In his behind-the-scenes YouTube videos, Eakin discussed his analysis of this upcoming match (~13:20 mark). Eakin pointed out if MEGA MIKE wears him out in his earlier match, it could be hard for Eakin to take Elijah. Eakin will have to treat Elijah like Zack Edwards (keeping pressure and center of gravity low to keep from being elevated for leg locks). Honestly, I think I’m going to have to publish this post without making my call. I might come back and update.
UPDATE: BREAK, BAD GUY. This match reminds me a lot of the Matt “the Mane” Elkins v Elijah “Bad Guy” Carlton match from the PGF Season 1 Finale (see ~3:20:10). With the lead up to the finale, we had this buildup of Elkins saying he was going to take folks to the deep water. We all thought the key to beating Carlton was to get past the first 90 seconds. But in the finale, Elkins went for some weird roll and Elijah got his leg in less than 10 seconds. Here, Eakin says Elijah’s legs are at least 6” longer than anticipated and Elijah is just automatic when he gets a shot at your legs. Just as Colvin gave the head fake of trying to wrestle with Jake Elkins, Elijah said there was 100% chance he would choke Eakin. It makes sense Eakin would be more focused on the patented Bad Guy triangle, but overlooking Carlton’s leg locks made him pay. This result just further reinforces one of the main PGF Fantasy Rules (publication forthcoming): You go with Elijah until someone shows us they can beat him. For the official recap, Carlton sat guard. He did a double kuzushi sweep and was able to hook Eakin’s right foot with his left leg. Carlton quickly secured the ashi garame and got the leg lock tap, then a hearty good game butt slap from Eakin. Eakin showed a lot of professionalism/grace after the match.
Randy “Dump Truck” Roden (blue) v “MEGA” Mike Johnson (purple) – DRAW. This night, MEGA has had Elijah Carlton on top of him and put him in a triangle; he’s faced Stephen Eakin (10P blackbelt and strong competitor) and now he faces Roden. MEGA has shown he’s much better on top than on bottom. Unfortunately for MEGA, Roden, as the top wrestler in this match, generally gets to choose who is on top. I initially thought MEGA would get the kill as the bigger competitor with the higher belt, but I think Roden’s wrestling and athleticism helps him defend enough to make it a draw.
UPDATE: DRAW. Roden confirmed Eakin’s strategy for not being under MEGA – “if there’s three guys I don’t want to be under it’s [MEGA] all three times.” I don’t know if anyone else has seen this phenomenon but MEGA is like a big teddy bear in his interviews and likely real life. But when MEGA hits that mat, I saw a silverback gorilla stalking Eakin earlier in the night and now there’s definitely a grumpy/mean face (or determined) going on in this match. They start grip fighting. Roden gets the ankle pick, but MEGA gets a body lock and starts working for a twister (seriously, I’ll buy someone a burrito if they get a twister in the PGF – or some dumplings from Canton House). Roden escapes and they’re back to their feet. Mike sits. Roden tries for the heel pick to get Mike all the way to his back but MEGA gets back to his feet. Mike pseudo sits again and Roden goes for a cartwheel pass. Mike sits again and gets into bottom half guard. He’s got a lockdown and is looking for a sweep, but Roden is on MEGA’s head. Roden is slipping through the lockdown. MEGA looks to go to dogfight, but Roden uses that whizzer to force MEGA down. They both get back up to the feet again. Roden gets a duck under with rotation like we saw with Matt Elkins against Kemoy. Roden passes MEGA’s guard immediately. MEGA gets him back to half guard. Roden steps over as he thinks of going for a knee bar but quickly bails. Roden gets to mount and ends the match on top, but no points for either competitor. They really pushed the action the whole time. Really great match.
Hunter “the Professional” Colvin (black) v Jake “Head” Elkins (purple) – KILL, BLUE 6. Colvin has guaranteed Jake won’t get any points on him (see 11:49). Jake has been a breakout star/fan favorite of the season, but he has losses to the other two of the big three (Elijah earlier this season and Sam Barbosa at the four-man initial 225 tournament in 2020). Elkins is a threat, but I have to go with Colvin until someone can beat him. Now, we saw last week where Colvin went for the break after hitting some resistance with Primeau…but that decision may have just been conserving energy for this match. So, there’s a risk Colvin gets the break. But the odds are Colvin gets the sub.
UPDATE: BREAK, COLVIN. The Professional called this match “his toughest match of the tournament so far.” Colvin gave us a head fake – he had said previously he wanted to stand with Elkins and have an Oklahoma vs Alabama wrestling showdown. The Professional decided to sit off the bat after seeing Elkins outwrestle Roden. Honestly it was high-level great stuff from both competitors. Colvin eventually got Elkins’ back but had to switch off to an arm bar due to Elkins’ defense. It’s definitely worth re-watching this match. Seriously, I started rewatching it again (fourth or fifth time and I’m still seeing little movements that are awesome and worthy of emulating from both sides).
Kevin “Prison Rules” Primeau v Matt “Maneless” Elkins (brown) – DRAW. Two interesting thoughts about these fan favorites from PGF Season 1: (1) both are not up to their PGF Season 1 form – Primeau is still recovering from the Rona and doesn’t have his endurance; Elkins has his left knee injury; and (2) they never faced one another in Season 1. Using bjj math (that transitive property seen above), we could look back and see Joe Kai who had a 1 hour, 12-minute match against Primeau in the Season 1 Finale tournament was able to get a draw against The Competitor Formerly Known As The Mane in Season 1, Week 2. So, they’re reasonable in the same range, skill-wise. These two are also really tough customers. Both would gut it out if they were put into a submission. I don’t think there’s a finish inside of six minutes.
UPDATE: KILL, MANELESS. A match we really should’ve seen last season. It was the third match of the night for both. After a couple of minutes, Primeau’s cardio/power was gone and he was working to survive (as he said in his post-match interview). Eklins sat immediately in the match and Primeau tried to pass. Elkins got the sweep, then stacks Primeau. Elkins got a nose honk, then finished the double under pass. From this point on, Primeau was in survival mode. Primeau showed a lot of heart and great defense. However, with 30 seconds left, Elkins had Primeau’s back and secured the RNC.
“Judo” Justin Williams (white) v James Regina (purple) – BREAK, RED 3. Judo isn’t ignorant of the leg game; he tried to sit for Colvin’s leg in their match. But a white belt against a leg locker is a good way to get a break. Judo’s main defense has been when opponents are in the mount; he plays really tight and finds a way to survive. Against a leg locker like Regina, I don’t think Judo can defend for six minutes.
UPDATE: BREAK, REGINA. Regina came out sits right away and starts working on getting Judo’s legs. Judo does a great job defending his legs. Regina ends up in top half guard. He tries to pass a little and looks at the kimura, but ends up using that goose-neck wrist lock with the straight arm bar to get the break. I love that submission.
Sam “Kingpin” Barbosa (brown) v Zach “Squidbilly” Edwards (brown) – KILL BLUE 6. I’m a little worried for this match. We already know Edwards is injured (lower back). In the original PGF Season 2 promo (at 1:02) we see Edwards on the ground covering his eyes with his hands. In his McDojo Show interview, BMAC tried playing it off like Edwards might have been on the ground, in elation. But, I just looked at it again:
Elijah and Regina are clearly concerned and Jake Elkins is checking on Edwards. Barbosa is distraught – in a way a Nice Guy would be if he thought he just hurt someone. There’s been talk of folks would not have been upset if some competitors didn’t finish the season. Edwards in a post on the Brandonmc.ninja Facebook group said he wouldn’t have made it through the PGF without Lonnie Jones. I’m putting all these things together and I think Edwards really exacerbated his back injury or possibly something else in this match. It’s not a bright way to end the night, but it’s likely what happened. Now, it’s cold hearted, but for fantasy analysis, I’m thinking it may still be a kill with Sam taking Edwards’ back and cranking on his neck which in turn cranks on Edwards’ back. It’s likely still a kill, but could end up as a break.
UPDATE: KILL, BARBOSA. Sam got a ”BOSAconstrictor” aka power guillotine. Edwards said it felt like a spine crank which exacerbated his lower back injury. He’s definitely a BEAST for pushing through this competition.
Team Winner: Within the margin of error.
UPDATE: Matt Elkins kill against Primeau pushed the Red Team over the finish line for the team points.