This week “Big Jay Bowski” aka Jay Pagliaro was back in the saddle as host with Ryan Brueggeman riding shotgun. Ryan talked about his new appreciation for the lead in a talk show and what it takes to pull that off.
Triple G versus Canelo Alvarez
Jay described the Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin/Saul “Canelo” Alvarez bout as “Two pit bulls fighting over the last piece of steak in the middle of the road”. Ryan felt that it should be “the best fight of the year, in terms of boxing. Maybe even the fight of the decade.” They agreed that it wasn’t getting the same hype as the Floyd Mayweather/Connor McGregor fight because in that bout you had fans from both sides: boxing and MMA and the GGG/Canelo fight was a mainly only of interest to boxing fans. Bruggeman stated “but when it comes to skill, their game is the best in the world”
They talked about how a lot of these fights don’t happen in their prime and though they are hyped, it often takes years to bring them to fruition and often one or both competitors have suffered a loss or two in the interim. Even Manny Pacquiao suffered a loss before finally meeting Floyd Mayweather. Ryan brought up the fact that “Canelo”, at just 27-years-old, is 49-1-1 could have another 20 pro fights left in him and that this is a trait of prideful Mexican fighters like Julio Cesar Chavez who had 115 pro fights to his name.
James Nakashima, “the Pride of Nebraska” as Jay referred to him, stopped by the studio with his mother. He mentioned how “Canelo” and Justin Gaethje, a guest on that night’s program, were his two favorite fighters and athletes he compares himself to as he makes his journey to the top of the sport. Bowski mentioned that he will be the “Modern-Day Jim Thorpe” and how he actually ran to the studio from his training camp at The MMA Lab. Nakashima will be fighting Derrick Krantz for the LFA Welterweight Championship on Friday, September 22nd and can be seen on AXS TV.
The undefeated (7-0) Nakashima was highly complementary of the LFA where he’s fought his entire pro career and that Krantz is a high-profile opponent. He also said he’s ready for a call from the UFC with a win.
The guys briefly discussed the future of the New England Patriots this season and how you wouldn’t want to be the Patriots opponent the following week. The Patriots went on to beat the Saints 36-20.
Then Charles Rosa (11-3) called in to talk about his fight against Mizuto Hirota (18-8-2) at UFC Fight Night 117 on September 23rd at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan. Rosa said he was proud to represent his country and go fight a legend of MMA in Japan. The American Top Team fighter has 3 “Fight of the Night” bonuses in 5 UFC fights and likes a good scrap but he expects to show a new version of himself. He complimented his camp but unfortunately the interview was cut short due to technical difficulties.
Bruggeman felt Rosa was a bit too timid in his last bout and he’ll need to really bring it against Hirota. Nakashima, still joining the guys, was asked about how to find a balance of not taking too much risk and UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell’s name was invoked as “the king of all risk takers”. To the contrary, the value of the style of Ben Askrin – considered by many to be too safe and borderline boring – was discussed as a way to move forward in the sport while staying virtually injury-free.
Alex Moreno (13-4) will face Keita Nakamura (32-8-2) at the same UFC Fight Night 117 on September 23rd at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan as previous guest Charles Rosa. Moreno is also the last person to beat James Nakashima’s next opponent; Derrick Krantz. Bowski asked Moreno for his advice on facing Krantz and he said to prepare for Derrick to come out fast.
As for his opponent Nakamura, Moreno said he had great respect for the long-time MMA veteran. He mentioned that Keita was a little older and had fought in Japan over 30 times and even in the UFC many years ago. He also mentioned that he really wanted to get on this particular UFC fight card because Dutch kickboxing standout (K-1 and GLORY Champion) Gokhan Saki was also making his UFC debut.
He’s getting to Japan 1 week early to prepare and will do all of his hard sparring at 9am in the morning to acclimate himself to actual fight time. He also feels all of the pressure will be on the “hometown fighter” Nakamura and he looks forward to getting home and rebuilding his gym that was decimated by hurricane Harvey. They touched on the Niko Price fight and hopes for a rematch down the road but he’d like to face the winner of the Randy Brown/Mickey Gall “Looking for a Fight” contestants. He’d also love to welcome CM Punk back to the UFC, even in a handicap match.
Shawn “Dallas” Hall
The guys continued to try to get James Nakashima’s mom on the air but she wouldn’t bite. They touched on some embarrassing stories from their past and then it was time for “Dallas” to get on the air. He talked Canelo/GGG but he disagreed with their assessment that it was the top 2 fighters in the sport. In his opinion, Andre Ward tops the list followed by Roman Gonzalez, Vasyl Lomachenko and then GGG and Canelo. Other names like Sergey Kovalev, Keith Thurman, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua were also mentioned. However, boxing’s fanbase and star power is limited because it’s only really promoted on HBO and Showtime.
Bowski went on to say that “Sugar” Ray Leonard was overrated and it led to a discussion of comparing fighters of different eras. Dallas complimented Nakashima on his thought process on trying to figure out the balance of getting the win and fighting like Gaethje, stating that a lot of fighters don’t look at themselves deep enough to see a flaw and chip away at it.
Amanda Nunes’ win and women’s MMA
They continue to try to get James Nakashima’s mom to sing but to no avail. The question came up if Amanda Nunes beat Valentina Shevchenko for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship. Dallas felt she didn’t do enough to win. He also felt that she really wasn’t a marketable champion because they set the bar so high with Ronda Rousey and everything else is going to fall short. He felt that getting behind Cris “Cyborg” would be the only way to go to sell a PPV.
Bowski mentioned that Nunes beat everyone convincingly other than Shevchenko and Dallas mentioned angles that could be worked to raise her star power but nothing was going to get her to where Rousey was. Bruggemen didn’t entirely agree. He said “Rousey was everything she was built up to be until somebody figured her out. Mike Tyson was the same way.” He stressed that Nunes’ downfall was backing out of the first fight with Shevchenko and the fact Dana White took her to task for it.
Dallas didn’t like to Ronda Rousey/Mike Tyson comparison. He felt Tyson “Jon Jones’d himself” and that, in fact, he was the original Jon Jones. To the contrary, he felt Rousey was a one-trick pony that finally got figured out. Again, Ryan disagreed, stating that Tyson was unbeatable until he met someone that wasn’t intimidated by him and Rousey had the same advantage.
Talk of Tyson’s downfall and the evaluation of his opponents continued. Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and even Buster Douglas all went under the microscope.
Luke Rockhold/David Branch
The guys discussed the UFC Fight Night 116 main event featuring former UFC Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold against former WSOF Welterweight and Middleweight Champion David Branch. Bruggeman states “Branch‘s story is great…he’s a two-division title holder in World Series of Fighting and a Renzo Gracie black belt too”. Dallas mentioned that he was undefeated in MMA for 5 years and said “this fight is much more difficult for Luke Rockhold than most people believe”. Branch’s last loss was to recent UFC Light Heavyweight contender Anthony Johnson.
They also discussed how Rockhold would recover from his last fight, a loss to Michael Bisping for the middleweight title. Dallas described Rockhold as “one of the biggest sociopaths in the world” and questioned how he would deal with loss. Of course we know now that Rockhold appears to have fully recovered from the loss, stopping Branch with strikes in the second round.
UFC veteran and coach of The Ultimate Fighter 26 Justin Gaethje called into the program. They asked him about the Rockhold/Branch match-up as well as the fights on TUF 26. Justin is happy to be coaching a group of grapplers rather than pure strikers.
Dallas brought up the upcoming fight with Eddie Alvarez and how a win could earn him a shot at the lightweight title. Gaethje credited Trevor Whitman for “turning me into a killer on the feet”. He gave respect to Alvarez, stating “he’s a smart dude… he’s been a round the game a long time” and said his coach Mark Henry is smart too. Justin said he expected the fight to turn into a grappling match by catching his (Justin’s) leg kicks. He noted that would open up the head kick though.
Bowski said this fight is “all grit and no quit” and how excited he was when it was first announced. They sidelined to talk about New England Patriots hangers but the best exchange really needs to be isolated:
Bruggeman: the next hangers I’m going to order are going to have Jay Bowski pictures on them.
Bowski: there you go! You have good taste young man!
Bruggeman: that way I can cover you up and put you in the closet.
Bowski: ok! (big roar of laughter) Well played kind sir! Well played! And no I’m not coming out of the closet any time soon!
Bowski apologizes to Nakashima’s mom. Then Justin Gaethje returns. They discuss the fights with Michael Johnson and Luiz Palomino. Nakashima asked him about Trevor Whitman what separates him from other coaches. Justin said “it’s his attention to detail…he’s going to teach you how to transfer your weight and be in position…and timing.” Ryan asked him if he felt this was the biggest step-up in competition he’s ever had and Justin agreed stating “he’s going to have that experience on me.” Ryan also asked if his style of fighting lends itself to longevity on the sport. Justin replied “Hell I don’t know…most MMA fighters have losses. Some of them have been TKO’d. I’ve never been TKO’d, I’ve never been knocked out…no one’s been able to stop me yet.” He feels he will eventually be KO’d but he can hold up”.
Ryan asked to him to never land on the ref, protecting his own interest. They also discussed how this was an ideal match-up, pitting champions from 2 other leagues against each other (Alvarez from Bellator and Gaethje from WSOF) to face off in the UFC. Justin also held up for other leagues and mentioned that not all of the world’s best fighters are currently in the UFC. The fight with Eddie Alvarez has officially been announced for UFC 218 in Detroit, Michigan.
They went back to TUF 26 and his coaching experience. Justin said it was great and that a new 125lb division champ will come out of this season. They also discussed the aforementioned Shevchenko waiting in the wings for the winner.
James Nakashima again
They tried to get James Nakamura to sing but he wouldn’t do it. He did mention that some of the members of The Lab do karaoke on the weekends (known as “The Rat Pack”). Bruggeman asked Nakashima again about the fight with Derrick Krantz and what he has to fear. James said “he is a complete fighter and I have to stay on my toes for 25 minutes”. They went on to his recent fight and the incidental illegal shots affecting the outcome. Nakashima said he needs to avoid any point deductions and be more in control of his weapons but some things are unavoidable. He also stressed he’s a tough match-up for anyone (the UFC’s Woodley and Thompson included) and that he’s a complete fighter. Plus, he believes the research and work ethic he puts in is unequaled in the sport.
Until next time.