PGF SEASON 2 POST-SEASON TOURNAMENT ANALYSIS:

It’s almost here. We have less than FIVE DAYS until the PGS Season 2 Post-season Tournament.

Since fantasy is all over (yes, still a little bitter), I created a SUPER UNOFFICIAL bracket challenge. It’s free to play. If there’s enough participation, I’ll throw in a prize for the winner.

To say I’m excited for this tournament is an understatement. I drove 11 dang hours to see it live. I decided to make it into a train-cation. It’s the first I’ve made and I’m looking forward to it. So, if you have any issues with the content of this blog or any of my words on the McDojo show, you can find Egghead Warrior on the 10th Planet Decatur mats this week. I’ll probably put out some blog posts or other media about my experience with the train-cation. With only about one hour until my first class, I wanted to get this post wrapped up and put out there. So, here’s my PGF Season 2 Finale analysis…for now. I may update this post throughout the week so feel free to come back and check. Thanks for reading.

Ok, we’ll take it from the top:

ROUND 1:

Hunter “the Professional” Colvin (black) v. Evan “8-Mile” Stapler (blue) – While Stapler finished 6th overall in points this season, he ended up as the last member of the Red team to make it. Unfortunately for him, Stapler will be facing the #1 player from the Blue team and #1 overall. As Randy Roden said, Colvin is a “breathing, walking back take.” While Colvin’s main game was the kimura grip to back take to RNC during the regular season, I’m guessing we see him switch to leg locks for quick kills. We saw Elijah “the Bad Guy” Carlton take the same approach last season. Carlton was a triangle and choking machine during the regular season, but switched to his leg game when points didn’t matter in the tournament. 8-Mile has shown his grit this season, proving he’s hard to put away, but Colvin’s an assassin. In their first matchup, 8-Mile made an ill-timed attempt at an imanari roll, ending up in bottom position. Colvin did his patented kimura trap roll to a back take. Stapler hand fought for a while, denying Colvin the extra point. Still, Evan ended up like so many others, succumbing to the RNC/face crush.  Staple has shown grit and some real intelligence in analyzing opponents, but he won’t be able to stand up to Colvin’s skill and…(*cues mig-E*) EXPERIENCE.

Matt “the competitor formerly known as the Mane” Elkins (brown) v Stephen “the Dream” Eakin (black) – This match was one of the major speedbumps keeping me from putting out this post. I think Stephen Eakin was a popular upset pick for many folks. We all know Eakin is used to longer timed matches and struggled with the six-minute regular season PGF matches – struggled to get the kills we think he should have secured. With unlimited time, one would think Eakin could “cook” his opponent as long as he wanted, smothering the will out of his opponent. But, his opponent is one Matt “formerly known as the Mane” Elkins. Elkins isn’t going to be cooked. You have to think Matt Elkins has the wrestling advantage here, meaning he should start on top. Eakin has said his wrestling is mostly getting the opponent to make a mistake. I don’t think Matt’s going to make a mistake on his feet. We don’t have any evidence out there regarding Matt’s leg injury, but I have to think it’s gotten a lot better in the intervening three months. Still, I have to think Eakin with his black belt (*cues mig-E*) EXPERIENCE could get a sweep to get on top. Then, I watched Eakin compete at the Finishers Sub Only Absolutes (match starts at 51:44) on 8 May. His opponent Alec Hooben was a long guy who had Bellator MMA experience and had trained with 10P Bethlehem a fair amount. Eakin sat guard and tried to implement his lockdown game. Hooben countered with a guillotine play, eventually getting the pass. Hooben finished the match by getting a back triangle on Eakin, securing the arm bar from the position. Eakin talked about the match on his The Dream Show Live YouTube show on 12 May. Eakin discussed the guard pull to lockdown wasn’t the best idea against a long opponent. I really like watching Eakin’s shows whether it’s the behind the scenes of PGF Season 2 or the Dream Live show – Eakin is a real warrior who has some real introspection going on. He is very conscious of his abilities, fighting spirit, but also the position in life he finds himself. I think in that live, he talked about not accepting a retirement fight (in MMA) where he was served up some cream puff opponent – which really started me thinking about Rocky 3 and the handpicked opponents for Rocky. No, Eakin is a warrior-poet now. He is a bad man – I have no doubt. But, just like Tim Kennedy, he’s figuring out his body isn’t as responsive and more importantly, his goals are not the same as he was when he was younger. Now, Eakin is out there trying to compete and learn not just for his own edification and glory, but so he can teach others. Damn, I’m almost writing an essay on Eakin here, but he deserves it. The reason I bet on him so much in fantasy…I realize now, is not because he’s the best grappler, but he’s probably the best guy out there (tip of the cap to Papa Bear Elkins). Don’t get me wrong, Matt Elkins could have his own 30 for 30 after coming to the PGF (season 1) so soon after suffering serious brain injuries/or other trauma from mma. Elkins had a period where he couldn’t forward shoulder roll (not too long before PGF 1), but he persevered in that season and fought through an injury in this season. Okay, so after 568 words on this one match alone, I should probably pick a winner. It kills me, but I have to go with Elkins here. Sure, it’s the statistically right call anyway, but my heart wants Eakin to go out there and have a prolific run. I want Eakin to make it to the damn finals, if not win. But, Elkins is legit A.F. I said Elkins’ match against Kemoy Anderson would say a lot about him and BJJ in the Southeast. Well, Elkins said something. Matt will be the only Elkins in this tournament due to unforeseen circumstances and I have a feeling he’ll have a little extra pressure to show up and represent his clan.

Elijah “the Bad Guy” Carlton (brown) v Kemoy “RatedR” Anderson (brown) – This match should be VERY interesting. Both competitors have made their marks outside of the PGF since the regular season concluded. Elijah won the Brown Belt HIGH ROLLERZ competition. Kemoy won his division’s strap in the Fight 2 Win competition. Kemoy gave Elijah one of his best matches in the last two seasons. Elijah tried to say Kemoy was running from him the whole match, but Kemoy was just being smart. He was working on Elijah’s guard. Kemoy got the closest to passing Elijah’s guard, just after Hunter who passed and finished Elijah. I’ve watched all of Kemoy’s vlogs now (yes, you’re a handsome man, but no, I don’t roll like that – I had to mention it after an errant comment by Walo Jay). Anyway, I think there’s a chance Kemoy could pull off the upset. After the F2W win, Kemoy should be very confident which should help him. Still, it’s Elijah. You have to bet on Elijah until someone shows you that you shouldn’t. I called Hunter being that man. I could see a world where Kemoy wins this match…and it would be pretty rad; but I don’t think it happens. And to be fair, Elijah has been a persistent rep for the PGF. Having Elijah win the finale tournament would be a great story for the PGF. It’s been great having you on the PGF, Kemoy, but the editorial board for EggheadWarrior.com has to pick Elijah in this match.

Sam “the Nice Guy” Barbosa (brown) v Jake “Papa Bear” Elkins (purple) Kevin “Peter Rose of the PGF/ Liquid Terminator” Primeau (purple)– Jake Elkins had another engagement so Kevin Primeau stepped up to take his place. I think all fans of the PGF are excited to see a recuperated, reinvigorated Kevin Primeau in the season finale tournament. Primeau came so close to securing that final playoff spot, it’s great seeing him be able to fill the gap left by Elkins. Many competitors were wary to face Primeau coming into this season – they all saw Primeau and Joe Kai’s one hour plus match in the Season 1 finale tournament (reminder – they were going for things the whole time; they didn’t rest). Primeau is a real grinder. He faced challenges going into the Season 2 regular season as he had recovered from COVID, but hadn’t really resumed training before the season started. Now, with the intervening months, we should see a recovered Primeau with the full energy to hit his Sao Paulo pass. Another thing going for Primeau is his predilection for straight ankle locks which have given Barbosa problems (see below). Barbosa may be the worst opponent for Primeau to face, however. Barbosa has a laid-back, almost “casual” style as Joe Kai mentioned in the commentary. Barbosa lulls opponents to sleep then flips a switch and goes for the kill. Primeau does some of that cagey grappling as well and we’ve seen him pull out the prison rules this regular season. This match should be full of action. Primeau will ensure Barbosa is fully awake and motivated for the rest of the tournament, but Primeau will be submitted. Primeau is as tough as they come, but Barbosa might be just a bit more technical and a tough s.o.b as well. In the end, Barbosa will get the submission.

SEMIFINALS:

Hunter “the Professional” Colvin (black) v Matt “Maneless” Elkins (brown) – Elkins may have one of the best skillsets on paper to face Colvin. Elkins has the wrestling to end up on top. In their match during the regular season, Matt had to sit guard due to his injury. Matt’s sitting setup Colvin’s kimura roll/trap perfectly. Matt knows he can’t let Colvin get to that position. Still, Colvin is THE PROFESSIONAL. As the Commish noted after Colvin used his rolling kimura to submit a black belt in the No Gi Pans this last weekend, Colvin is CONSISTENT. Hunter has his game and can work it on just about anyone. Colvin should have everyone’s bet for winning. Sure, I could see folks making an upset pick here. But then, I bought into Elkins taking Elijah to the deep waters last season (as advertised in the promos leading up to the event) and Elkins found himself on the receiving end of a leg lock in less than two minutes. We could see Colvin go for leg locks in the post season like Elijah last season. Colvin has shown his leg lock game in other competitions with different rule sets. Elkins has been focused on the leg locks (offensive and I would imagine defensive) since the conclusion of PGF Season 1, but will the work be enough to fend off the Professional’s leg locks? The smart money is on Colvin, but there exists a world where Elkins uses his wrestling to get the front headlock on Colvin, securing the submission. Colvin could choose to sit, avoiding Elkins’ wrestling as he did against Randy “Dumptruck” Roden – but would Colvin be able to get the sweep against a more seasoned jiu jitsu player? I still have to pick Colvin, but this match is something we were all denied during the regular season: seeing a full force Matt Elkins against the best competitors of this season. Even injured, Elkins found ways to beat Kemoy Anderson and Stephen Eakin – now we should expect a real show as he tries to get his revenge for his regular season loss against Colvin.

Elijah “the Bad Guy” Carlton (brown) v Sam “the Nice Guy” Barbosa (brown) –Their match during the regular season was…interesting. Elijah was pulling some donkey guard b.s. then Sam jumps over the donkey to get Elijah’s back. Elijah eventually gets Barbosa via a straight ankle lock. Barbosa has only been submitted a handful of times before this match, mostly by black belt competitors. Elijah got the straight ankle lock and I think it popped a few times. Sam seemed like he was going in there just to see what Elijah had. Now, we saw Sam have a similar situation where he lost via straight ankle lock in the Mid South Classic 3 to Ryan Aitken (who also trains under Applegate at 10P Atlanta). So, do we think Barbosa has fixed his gap in handling the straight ankle lock or do the Atlanta guys have the fix in? If Barbosa comes in with improved ankle lock defense and with a more focused mindset, he could be dangerous. Sam could be a nice call for an upset, but going against Elijah is a risky proposition.

FINALS:

Hunter “the Professional” Colvin (black) v. Elijah “the Bad Guy” Carlton (brown) – The REMATCH! Elijah has a WICKED guard. Not counting the forward roll over Elijah’s donkey guard executed by Barbosa, Colvin was the only competitor to pass Elijah’s guard – and that took him almost four minutes. Kemoy Anderson is a runner up, getting close to passing Elijah’s guard after trying for three minutes, then Elijah switched to a leg lock. It’s seemed like every competitor’s strategy has been to try to take Elijah “to the deep water” like Matt Elkins mentioned leading up to the PGF Season 1 finale tournament (as Matt Skaff and Keelan Lawyer discussed on the Grappling Discourse Podcast). Again, we saw what looked like similar strategies by Kemoy and Colvin in their matches. Elijah says his opponents are running from him, but those two were decisively engaging and disengaging when they didn’t have the advantage. I’ve head instructors say “my grips, or no grips” – this idea might be the strategy Kemoy and Colvin were using. As the Professional, Colvin has the patience to engage and disengage as long as it takes to get his grips. Of course, I’d be interested in seeing how many slaps (*cough* I meant aggressive collar ties) the Commish lets happen in a no-time-limit rematch between these two. Given an opening, we’ve seen both these competitors seal the deal in a handful of seconds. Right now, I’m picking Colvin. As I’ve said all season, he has the pedigree, the (*cues mig-E*) EXPERIENCE, the mindset to win. But honestly, my confidence in this pick is starting to wain. Elijah should be really high off his High Rollerz win (yes, yes, pun intended) – but Elijah seems like the sort of athlete who really feeds off his confidence. He might have been a bit shaken after the loss in block 15, but I have to think the confidence is back in a big way after his wins in Las Vegas. Well, I’m sticking with the Colvin pick for now, but I reserve the right to update this blog post as the week progresses.

As always a HUGE thanks to BMAC and his team for putting together the PGF. It’s been a really great season and I know a lot of us are looking forward to Season 3 starting with the qualifiers.

If you’re anywhere near the Decatur area, you’d be a fool not to get tickets and watch the PGF Season 2 Finale live. Tickets are available HERE. I hear members of our editorial board and the McDojo Show will be present for autographs and pictures.

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