In my Mayweather-Mosley post-fight piece "All he saw were shadows", I likened Floyd Mayweather, Jr.'s splendid display of speed, timing and technique to a demonstration of the special Shaolin shadowboxing technique.
In this Vazquez-Marquez IV pre-fight piece, I explore the modern Mexican version of Shaolin shadowboxing in the context of Shaolin kung fu's rivalry with the Wu Tang sword style.
The martial arts referred to in this piece are the Shaolin and Wu Tang methods cinematically depicted in the cult favorite Shaolin and Wu Tang (aka Shaolin Master Killer).
As I reviewed footage from the Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez Trilogy, all I could say was...
* Credit for photos used in this piece courtesy go to the UFC.
I wasn't surprised to see Lyoto Machida get cracked over his left temple and drop instantly, bear-hugging Mauricio "Shogun" Rua's waist and holding on for his dear life. Machida would get no mercy from the Shogun, who pounded The Dragon until his lights turned out 3:28 into the very first round of their rematch.
Machida had been clipped hard just a minute and 18 seconds ago. After separating from the clinch, Shogun charged at Machida in full force, throwing punch after punch. Two of them, a left and a right, connected. The left simply caught Machida by surprise, but the right that came three punches later wobbled him.
When I watched Machida-Shogun (UFC 104), I was scared for Lyoto Machida, my favorite MMA fighter. I had never seen him get hit so much. He was getting tagged with body kicks, leg kicks and punches and elbows to the head. I all but expected to see him lose in a unanimous decision when the final bell sounded.
However, after reviewing footage from the fight (see for yourself), I don't think Mauricio "Shogun" Rua was "robbed," as many - including Shogun himself - may feel.
You could say that it was his age, that at age 38 with numerous wars behind him, he could no longer hang physically with a younger, faster, more skilled man.
You could even say that he gave himself away prematurely by firing his best shots in the second round against Mayweather, that it was over once Pretty Boy Floyd survived and figured out how to stay suave.
"Make no mistake about it. He's coming out to 'Run This Town' on purpose."
That's what UFC commentator Joe Rogan said during the WEC 48 telecast last Saturday night as WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo entered the cage to the Jay-Z/Rihanna/Kanye West banger "Run This Town".
The Brazilian dynamo proceeded to give challenger and former champ Urijah Faber a thorough five-round beating - in Faber's hometown of Sacramento.
Jose Aldo had already wowed the MMA fans of Sacramento with his knockouts of Alexandre Nogueira and Cub Swanson. When he successfully defended his WEC featherweight title by taking apart Urijah Faber, he ran the town - at least for a night.
And after the dust had settled, I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to listen to some Rihanna.
("Umbrella" music video, hot Rihanna pics after the jump)
From the moment the bell rang, the atmosphere tensed. Jose Aldo and Urijah Faber sized each other up, looking for the opportunity to pounce. Each fighter respected the other's power and skill.
Still, there was no doubt who had the advantage. The 24-year old Jose Aldo, taller, longer and even looking more muscular than Faber, looked sure of himself.
Before the fight started, Aldo had kept to himself. He'd glue his vision to the ground, not making eye contact with Urijah Faber during referee instructions.
But very shortly, Aldo would reveal the look in his face that betrayed his intention to destroy Faber. Like Elvira Hancock (from Scarface, played by Michelle Pfeiffer) had "a look in her eye like she hadn't been f***ed in a year", Aldo showed the hunger of a predator who hadn't devoured a large prey in six months.
"Tres Leches (Triboro Trilogy)" is a medley of lyrical martial expertise. Over an ominous-sounding RZA track, Prodigy, Inspectah Deck and Big Pun take turns blasting, slicing and crushing the mic, resulting in a joint that is the equivalent of a kung fu masterpiece.
Last weekend's Shields-Henderson (Strikeforce : Nashville) and Pavlik-Martinez, and the upcoming Aldo-Faber (WEC 48 - April 24, 10 PM ET on PPV), has given me inspiration to serve a metaphorical plate of lyrical and sanctioned violence.
In his nightmare, Cheung, who prides himself as the bravest man in town, gets ambushed by two killer vampire zombies. The zombies tear chunks of flesh off his lower right leg and left butt cheek, and chomp another double portion off his right thigh.
Before we start, I'd like to warn you that this piece contains spoilers from the kung fu classic The Prodigal Son. If you haven't seen the movie already, please proceed with caution.
When I look at some fights or sports events, the talent gap between the two competing parties is so vast that the only way I see the underdog winning is if the favorite is injured, out of shape or unmotivated.
For instance, what happened in the ring between Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones, Jr. last weekend and in 1993 remind me of the dramatized story of Wing Chun legends Leung Jan and Leung Yee Tai in the kung fu classic The Prodigal Son.
I love its spooky opening, with venomous kung fu masters in wrestling masks. It may not be as action-heavy as kung fu movie fans may want it to be; still, I love how another previously unnoticed element from its clever, suspenseful story catches my eye upon each successive viewing. What The Five Venoms lacks in quanity of action, it makes up for in quality and explosive timing.
Dan Hardy gave Georges St. Pierre less of a fight than I expected, but for the toughness and courage he displayed in not succumbing to submission attempts and lasting five rounds, he has my utmost respect.
In fact, I have so much respect for The Outlaw's fighting spirit that I wish he would've had a chance to learn the aspects of Shaolin kung fu that are more directly applicable in combat.
Before we start, I'd like to warn you that this UFC 111 preview piece contains spoilers from the kung fu classic Five Deadly Venoms. If you haven't seen the movie already, please proceed with caution.
In my earlier post "The Poison Clan Reborn in UFC 111", I compared Dan Hardy to the Scorpion from The Five Deadly Venoms, for his fast, accurate and powerful long-range striking. Hardy is also a Scorpion in the sense that he can sneak up on people with his underdog's hunger.
Among the Poison Clan members, the Scorpion is the easily the sneakiest. He pretends to be the upstanding Constable Ma - even though he has an eye on the hidden riches of wealthy ex-Clansman Yuen, who is murdered by the Centipede and Snake in a failed robbery attempt.
The Scorpion stops at nothing to get to this secret treasure : The bandit in a police suit uses his position of power and underhanded methods to identify and eliminate rivals and obstacles. Although he keeps his identity a secret until the end, Constable Ma bides his time as a judge is bribed - and the Toad falsely accused of murder, then tortured and executed.
Faced against so many arrows fired in quick and neverending succession, Clottey could do nothing but peek through the slit in between his guard, lest his eyes get pierced by the hissing projectiles.
With the spirit and support of most of the 51,000 fans in attendance at Cowboys Stadium behind him, Manny Pacquiao's arrows seemed like they were set on fire before they were launched. It's a testament to Clottey's toughness, stamina and guard that he finished the fight standing on his two feet.
However, boxing judges don't reward stationary defenses and plodding offenses, so God willing, we'll get another chance to see Pacman try to further cement his legacy.
Hopefully, that chance will come against Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
The Toad's impregnable armor can withstand attacks from spears and swords - or attempts to puncture its skin through the use of an Iron Maiden. It can even be argued that the Toad Style builds its exponent a fortress impregnable by bullets.
However, the Toad cannot resist explosive pressure point strikes.
In other words, when struck in its weak spots with pinpoint accuracy, the Toad's defensive functions rapidly collapse.
There's no recourse at this point, as each progressive blow destroys the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems of the Toad.
To watch Manny Pacquiao move around the ring and deliver fast, powerful punches from all angles is reminiscent of the fighting style of the Centipede from The Five (Deadly) Venoms, one of the most influential kung fu films ever made.