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Updated: 2 years 44 weeks ago

Review - Whisky Wolf Hard Soap

Wed, 2016-07-13 17:22

It seems in the world of jiu jitsu, MMA and grappling, we do love our artisan soaps. Whisky Wolf is a UK based company. They sent me their Okami Kit Tin Can package, which contains their red label soap bar, soap tag, skin balm and stickers.

The tin itself looks like this:

Once opened, out pops the contents...

The 'Hooch' skin balm is designed for post training skin burns and abrasions. It smells nice - a mix of tea tree oil and peppermint and once applied, it soothes the skin in a way that an oil rich ointment would.

The soap tag is like a clear guitar plectrum and you stick it into the soap bar and then hang it up in the shower...

I've been using this soap for the past 5-6 weeks after each training session in the shower. I can testify that the hard soap lasts a very very long time. Even after this many uses, the bar is barely 60% used up. The fragrance isn't overpowering like it is in some other brands. There are the faintest traces of exfoliating seeds (actually coffee grounds) inside which I personally am not a fan of, but they're not as obtrusive as in other brands that use poppy or other larger seeds.

One observation I had was that the soap doesn't lather up very much. It creates enough slipperyness for you to cleanse yourself in the shower with, but it's just not that lathery, which is something I kind of expect in a soap.

Overall however, beautiful packaging and sturdy long lasting appeal make the Whisky Wolf Okami Tin a nice present to reward yourself with all the hard training.


Artwork - Mat Life Comic Strip

Wed, 2016-07-13 03:05
Above: First appearance of our hero, Matt

Mat Life is a comic strip I created for publication in Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine. The character, Matt, is a complete novice and each episode followed his progression as an early beginner who makes all the mistakes that everyone else makes. The strip was also an excuse for me to attempt sequential art, something I had previously never tried before.
The first appearance wasn't an official episode 1, it was merely a two panel sequence to illustrate a written article. The next issue of the magazine expanded the format to a four panel story. Editor Callum then wanted the strip to fill the whole page, hence a six panel format appeared. I discovered that a six panel set was much more of a challenge. Telling the story without too much 'filler' material or repetition is a real art. I admire comic artists who can deftly add story, action, humour, drama and dialogue, all within the space of one page. 
It was a great exercise for me. Sadly, I have decided to end the strip, the final episode appears in Issue 33 of Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine. 

Above: This first nerves when lining up for sparring!

Episode 2: perpetuating one of the many BJJ memes out there

Episode 3: dreaming of success and glory!

Episode 4: sucked into the gi addiction gameEpsiode 5: trying out a bit of nogi for the first time
Episode 6: Finally, the day has arrived! 

Review: Footlock Mastery by Oli Geddes

Wed, 2016-07-06 06:36

Oli Geddes is a prolific competitor amassing over 600 tournament matches. Many of his submissions have come via straight ankle lock. Here in this one hour instructional, Oli presents a game plan based around the straight ankle lock. It is an easy to follow system where the straight ankle is not only a submission finish, but a starting point with which to transition to numerous other techniques and positions. This video set is based strictly on IBJJF legal techniques from white belt and above. For beginners, it's a very good, detailed look at an often neglected submission technique. More advanced players will enjoy the positions Oli shows - including the 50/50, outside hook ankle lock and the overhook x-guard.

Available from:
Price £24.99

Oli Geddes is a British BJJ black belt under Roger Gracie. He is also one of the most prolific competitors on the scene with over 600 matches to his name. Among his many achievements, he is 2 X Euros champion, Purple, Pan Nogi silver purple, pans bronze purple, 2 X abu Dhabi European trials winner, bronze black belt pans masters. Abu Dhabi European trials winner at purple brown black and brown black. Many of Oli's submission wins have come about by straight ankle lock, a finish he says he first started using as a blue belt because he did not have much of a top game. Fast forward to Oli as an experienced black belt competitor and you have here a straight ankle lock game plan that has been refined over hundreds of matches and years of experience.

The quick video below shows Oli in competition action using his overhead sweep into straight ankle lock to devastating effect. You can watch near enough all of Oli's matches over on his YouTube channel.

Chapter Listing and brief summary
The entire set consists of 38 chapters.
  • Introduction - Oli explains the origin of his straight ankle lock game and how he worked out ways to enter the straight ankle in order to not only finish, but to sweep or transition to other positions.
  • The ankle lock as a position (0.55) - rundown of how to hold the basic straight ankle lock position.
  • The importance of the shell (2:09) - Oli explains how to prevent the opponent from invading your space and destroying your straight ankle position.
  • Ankle lock finishing theory (3:11) - grip placement, leg position, angle of attack
  • Ankle lock, turning to the knees finish (6:23) - how to move into a belly down version of the lock
  • Turning to the knees to top position (9:48) - very useful tip to transition to a better position
  • Ankle lock to crossover leg drag (11:00) - transition from leg lock to leg drag in readiness to pass the guard, very useful if you lose the leg lock position
  • interlude with commentary on why straight ankle locks are so good to use (13:04)
  • Outside hook ankle lock - theory and finish (13:43) - nice variation based on you placing your legs in a different position which creates better outward force.
  • Outside hook ankle lock, turning to the knees (16:12) - nice belly down straight ankle finish, I found this more intuitive to do than the one at 6:23.
  • 50/50 theory and use (17:12) - Oli likes the 50/50 because he can set up straight ankles nicely from here.
  • Breaking the defensive 50/50 with the knee push (18:56) - straight forward way to open up opponent's legs if he locks them together.
  • 50/50, basic ankle lock finish (20:19) - ankle locking the near leg
  • 50/50 calf crush (22:29) - cheeky little submission if your straight ankle slips too high up the leg.
  • 50/50 Reverse grip finish (24:32) - a really tight way to finish the lock
  • 50/50 Outside leg finish (25:38) - a surprise attack on the outside foot
  • Standing ankle lock, control theory (27:35) - when the opponent stand up over you, that's the perfect entry point for the straight ankle. Here, Oli engages in a single leg x-guard.
  • Standing ankle lock, cross sweep (28:33) - a more effective way to topple the opponent from single leg Xguard
  • Standing ankle lock, double ankle sweep (30:10) - similar to previous but grabbing both ankles
  • Standing outside hook, tripod sweep (31:21) - very powerful sweep, though a bit more complex to set up.
  • Standing outside hook, overhead sweep (33:14) - 
  • Overhook x-guard, transition theory (34:35) - transition from single leg X to regular x-guard but you have your arm overhooking the standing leg, not the usual underhook.
  • Overhook x-guard, angle change to ankle lock topple (36:13) - 
  • Overhook x-guard, tripod sweep (37:22) - simple but effective sweep
  • Overhook x-guard waiter sweep (39:29) - cool sweep if your x-guard position can't extend very far
  • Overhook x-guard, getting the near sleeve (41:00) - nice tips regarrd balance and weight distribution in this position
  • Overhook x-guard, near sleeve single leg stand up (43:15) - follow on from the previous chapter
  • Overhook x-guard, near sleeve overhead sweep (45:50) - nice showy offy technique reliant on opponent pushing back into you
  • Overhook x-guard, far sleeve drag down sweep (47:09) - not as fancy a sweep as previous, but very solid and secure once you grab that far sleeve
  • Entering footlock from the knees (49:16) - this is the entry method Oli uses in the tournament footage above
  • Entering the footlock from shin to shin (51:14) - 
  • Entering footlock from half guard / 93 guard (53:23) - a simple route to straight ankle from this very open type of half guard.
  • Entering the footlock from spider guard (54:30) - Oli transitions from spider to overhook x-guard
  • Entering the footlock - Leandro Lo sweep from spider guard (56:27) - Learn more about Leandro Lo from BJJ Scout
  • Entering the footlock, basic entry from the top position (58:21) - When you encounter a stubborn guard player, being able to footlock from the top position is a handy weapon.
  • Ankle lock defence, moving to top position (61:14) - if you know attack, you must also know defence
  • Ankle lock defence, the scoot (62:47) - 
  • Standing ankle lock defence, back step to side control (65:25) - using the back step to end up in knee on belly, also useful to pass X-guard position.
  • Ends

Standard straight ankle lock
Production notes
The entire video zips along at a brisk pace. Oli talks while he is showing the move, sometimes he'll repeat the move one more time, usually though the video moves immediately along to the next chapter. There are no boring slow motion repeats nor are there any additional camera tricks like boxed insets or multi-directional views etc, it is shot pretty much straight all the way through.

For the majority of the time, the viewing angle is perfectly fine. Sometimes while Oli is talking, the body part in question is actually hidden from view and you have to wait a bit before the cameraman catches up as he pans around or cuts in to zoom - not a big deal.

Sound is perfect, lighting is fantastic and the overall production is very professional.

Rolling practice
I've only had this video for a few days prior to its official release but in that time I was able to try out a couple of techniques that I hadn't used before. Personally I love using the straight ankle lock a lot when sparring, but a common problem is when I lose the position. Oli's chapters on dealing with this were of immediate benefit to me. I also like his explanation of the 50/50 position and how he uses it to work in the straight ankle lock. The calf crush Oli shows looks devilshly wicked but I found it does require a fair bit of precision to execute correctly. I immediately benefited from his cool tip on how to sweep from the single leg X position.

One set of techniques I especially liked were the sequences based around the outside hook ankle (photo below). This is a new(ish) position for me but already I can see it being added to my game. It's just so useful to swap between outside hook and regular leg positions when holding the straight ankle, this giving me a lot more options.

Outside hook ankle lock variationI also enjoyed his selection of techniques based around the overhook x-guard. I had not known that this could be as effective a position as the regular (underhooking) x-guard. I often end up in the overhook position and instantly think, oh this is a crappy X-guard let me try to change it, but Oli shows that in fact, it's a great place to set up the straight ankle and other cool stuff.

This set brings together a game plan centred around the straight ankle lock position as a platform to submit, sweep or transition to other positions. In many respects, it is better to view this set not as a way to get a submission, but as a platform to do a whole variety of things. It could even be renamed, the straight footlock guard.

It is worth knowing that the techniques here are ones that have been honed and successfully used by Oli over hundreds of matches against high level opposition. As a primer for the straight ankle lock itself, it's vital viewing for beginners. Higher level practitioners will also find a lot to use here: especially noteworthy is the overhook x-guard - a position that is rarely covered in depth on other instructionals.

What this set is not, however, is a detailed theoretical analysis of positional work. The 50/50, single leg X and X-guard are positions with a rich array of moves and I recommend viewing instructionals by Ryan Hall and Gianni Grippo as a complement to Oli's set here. There also is an absence of other leg attack techniques, such as the toe hold, knee bar, estima lock, heel hook etc etc. If you require a set with a wider spectrum of submissions, Legal Leglocks by Roli Delgado is a superb introduction. That being said, using the straight ankle lock hold as a singular focal point with which to launch attack, defence, sweeps and transitions makes Oli’s set highly appealing, especially for guard players.

Running at around 67 minutes it is a tightly edited package that is loaded with techniques and absolutely zero filler. I consider it excellent value for money.


Tournament Coverage: TUFF Invitational 4, Purfleet, UK

Sun, 2016-07-03 06:17

Following the success of the TUFF 3 Invitational submission only tournament earlier in the year, I was happy to cover photography for the next installment of this event. The fights did not disappoint, with the best of UK talent on display, fighters from teams all over the UK displayed plenty of skill, heart and spirit.

More photos ...

TUFF 4 Invitational 2-July-2016


Review - North South Jiu-Jitsu Underwear

Sun, 2016-06-05 10:08

North South Jiu Jitsu Underwear sent me a couple of pairs of their mens pants to try out. They offer a number of helpful additional improvements over regular underwear.

North South Underwear website
Facebook page
Cost: $35

These pants* are excellent. I wore them over a period of several weeks of training and they fit perfectly. I must admit, I was skeptical at first that they would offer any benefit over and above a regular pair of pants, but there are a number of things about them that are very well thought out.

View from behindThe pants feature a strong elastic waistband, elasticated leg openings, inner crotch lining and are cut to contour around your privates in a way that cups the crown jewels snugly yet still allows room to 'breathe' so to speak.

Turned inside outWearing them, the first thing I noticed was the grip from the elasticated leg openings. These prevent the pants from riding up your upper thigh. The bamboo inner lining was super soft and hence very comfortable. The construction looks rock solid with flat locked stitching throughout. These pants are definitely made for a rigorous workout! They even thought of a cute little hook with which you can hang the pants (photo below).

After wearing them for a while during training, the spandex/polyester material does a good job wicking away the build up of me sweat keeping my groin region cool.

North South Underwear have made a wonderful product to wear that is functional and a genuine pleasure to wear during a tough, hot, sweaty workout. For some, the relatively high price might be a barrier - I'm pretty sure regular high street spandex compression underwear can be found for less than $15-$20, however these North South underpants seem to have been designed with more consideration for the day to day grappler.

*In the UK, we refer to men's underwear as pants or underpants.

Meerkatsu Brand - New Tshirts: Fighting Tigers and Bonsai

Sat, 2016-06-04 14:59

I have a few new T-shirt designs over on the Meerkatsu store. Check them out!


Review: Lucas Lepri, Knee on Belly

Sat, 2016-05-28 12:18

Lucas Lepri explains his knee on belly techniques. It is a position, he states, that he arrives at often after passing his opponent's guard. From knee on belly, Lepri showcases the large array of attacking options available, especially once you have succeeded in making the opponent extremely uncomfortable with your position.

Available: Digitsu website and app store.

I have seen knee on belly techniques in many instructional sets but there are usually only 3 or 4 at most. Here World Champion Lepri gives us an entire two-disc DVD set of knee on belly goodies to gorge on. Clearly, he values this position as a great system for controlling and then finishing off his opponent.

The last gi-instructional Lepri produced was his guard passing set so this knee on belly set follows on nicely. Viewers will also note a marked improvement in the production and filming, there is far less of the video gimmickry that plagued the guard passing set. The knee on belly set is cleanly shot, with zooms and alternative viewpoints added only when needed.

You can see Lepri move swiftly to knee on belly (10:28) following the guard pass over JT Torres in this video below:

Disc One
KOB Concepts
Mounted Triangle w/ Armbar
Forcing The Triangle
Step Over Choke
North South Collar Choke
Baseball Bat Choke
Step Over Choke 2
Cross Choke w/ Lapel
North South Choke w/ Lapel
Lapel Choke vs North-South Escape
Backtake Vs Turtling

The set begins with a great chapter where Lepri breaks down in detail the placement of every part of his body when playing knee on belly. Of particular interest is the way he uses the grip around the ribcage which, when coupled with the knee placed angled towards the opponent's shoulder and his own hip weight placed above the opponent's hip, makes for an aggressive stance that can react to movements and attack quickly with submissions. This opening chapter alone is worth the money in my opinion – Lepri’s guidance on grip placement and body posture led me to immediately improve my own knee on belly stability and effectiveness while sparring against a variety of different sized training partners.

The next chapters deal with submission attacks once you have established a stable (and frankly uncomfortable) knee on belly position. Many of these attacks (such as the baseball bat choke, step over choke etc) will be familiar go-to attacks to knee on belly enthusiasts but it is the very large amount of attention to detail that Lepri provides that ensure the success rate of these attacks.

One interesting aside - I notice Lepri does not show the farside armbar from knee on belly. It is the one that almost all students first learn when being taught knee on belly. My assumption is that Lepri is offering in this DVD a set of techniques that have been honed against high level black belt opponents...and high level black belt opponents simply do not put their opposite hand and try to push the knee away.

Disc Two
KOB Strategies: Step Over Triangle/Armbar 
KOB Strategies: Back Take 
KOB Strategies: Step Over Armlock 
KOB Strategies: Wrist Lock 
KOB Strategies: Wrist Lock / Ezekiel Choke 
KOB Strategies: Wrist Lock / Flavio Canto Choke Lapel Control 
KOB: Triangle Lapel Control 
KOB: Cross Choke Lapel Control 
KOB: Double Lapel Choke Lapel Control 
KOB: Reverse Arm Bar Lapel Control 
KOB: Kimura/Arm Bar Lapel Control 
KOB: Cross Choke 2 Lapel Control 
KOB: Arm Triangle Lapel Control 
KOB: Arm Triangle 2 Lapel Control 
KOB: One Handed Choke Lapel Control 
KOB: Ezekiel Choke Lapel Control 
KOB: Arm Bar

Disc two is divided roughly into half, the first half titled knee on belly strategies and the second half focusing on using the lapel and collar as part of the controlling tools. The KOB strategies focus on using the knee on belly as a bait that elicits a reaction from your opponent, which then allows you to segue into a secondary attack. The three techniques involving wrist locks are particularly nasty!

Of the lapel control techniques, Lepri uses the opponent's own gi jacket to smother and disable the defending arm, then proceeds to submission.

Overall, disc two includes techniques that are a little more involved and perhaps less suitable to raw beginners, but they are worth viewing since the scenarios presented are much more realistic against a resisting opponent.
Lepri has excellent command of English and explains every detail thoroughly, often repeating concepts and key points he already explained in previous techniques. Viewers who are used to the high speed delivery of a Gianni Grippo or Ryan Hall tape however might take a little getting used to Lepri’s slower delivery. Regardless, it is the content that is what matters most and here, with a World Champion at the helm, rarely has the knee on belly been explored to such intricate depth. I thoroughly recommend it to top game players looking for a high percentage controlling position after they pass the guard.


Review: BJJ Rings

Thu, 2016-05-19 13:03

BJJ Rings sent me a sample pack of their silicone training rings. These items are intended to be used for people who can’t wear their wedding (or other decorative metal) ring on their fingers while training in a sports activity yet still wish to wear a ring.

Available to purchase:
Facebook page:

In my particular case, I’ve been married over ten years and although I have a lovely wedding ring, I never wear it since taking on and off many times a week proved to be a pain to do and I was scared I would lose the ring somewhere along the way. I also have increasingly gnarly knuckles which makes pulling off my wedding ring harder each time. Needless to say, I would never wear the ring during training – you only have to Google image ‘degloving’ to see what could happen!

Before shipping my ring, in had to select my ring size. The BJJ Rings website offers a handy online guide. You will need to have your own wedding ring available and compare it to the circles shown on screen. The company does not offer half sizes so the recommendation is to buy the size up. I’ve been wearing the black and red BJJ Rings model for a fortnight now and have to say it’s been holding up really well. The soft pliable nature of the silicone material means it feels comfortable to wear. The size I chose seemed to be a perfect fit.

During BJJ training the ring did not impede my grip pulling/pushing, nor did it snag or feel uncomfortable when my fingers are squeezed under pressure of an opponent. In fact, I barely noticed I was wearing a ring at all. After an hour or so of sparring however, I did notice that the sweat/moisture buildup on the skin of my fingers caused the ring to be more prone to slipping. It didn’t actually ever slip off my finger, but was looser and it felt could be removed. Most importantly, I did not feel I was in any danger of it hurting me or my opponent, which a metal ring could possibly do.

When I first posted a photo of the ring on my social media, it was very interesting to note the reactions, which fell into two camps: those that responded with wow I want one, to those who asked what was the point? I guess married folk who have wedding rings instantly get the concept and anyone else, they don’t see the point. [I’m making broad assumptions here.]

For those who train yet still want to wear a ring, the silicone ring offers a practical compromise. The snazzy BJJ belt colours are also a kind of fashion accessory when worn outside the gym. A little symbol of your marriage to the mats, so to speak!


Borehamwood BJJ - First class

Sat, 2016-05-07 14:59

Today I had a great time teaching the very first session at my new club, Borehamwood Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I taught a kids class for the first half hour and then an adults beginner's class for the next hour.

For me, it was an excellent opportunity to showcase Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to fresh eyes and open minds. For the kids session my focus was directed mainly at movement drills so much of the class was based around animal walking drills. I then introduced the kids to the most important animal in all of jiu jitsu...the shrimp! (to much confusion and laughter). We then of course covered the idea of shrimping. Following that, I got the kids to pair up and play with a couple of the games from the Gracie games Bullyproof program. We finished off with a vigorous and fun bout of Bulldog!

For the adult class, I covered technical stand-up, shrimping, bridging and escapes from the mount. I also made sure to emphasise the connection that BJJ has as a sport/martial art and as a means of self defence. This topic alone is worthy of a lengthy write-up some day, but suffice to say, with the seminar I conducted today, I hope I was able to communicate the basic concept of BJJ as an intelligent fighting art. I concluded the session with a brief demonstration roll with my team mate and fellow black belt, Chris Hearn - video below:

Thanks to all the newcomers who took that first step onto the mat and huge thanks to my BJJ friends who came along to support! I look forward to seeing how the new club will grow and develop.


Seminar - David Onuma, The Mount

Mon, 2016-05-02 12:44

David Onuma is a second degree black belt under Ricardo de la Riva and head of his own team known as CFS (Combined Fighting Systems). His mantra is: 'Intelligent Combat' which promotes a more cerebral approach to learning martial art techniques. I have attended many of David's past seminars and I find his approach very good at looking at familiar things in a new light. Today's session on the mount position was no different.

Learning to escape the mount or learning to maintain the mount becomes one of the fundamental lessons a student learns from early on. But it's easy to make the assumption that once mount is achieved, the finish will follow. David opened up the session by explaining how the mount is often taught in isolation without any reference to how the person got there in the first place. He then demonstrated why this was an important consideration when it concerns the mount.

The first portion of the seminar was dedicated to top mount. David showed us how to progress from a basic low mount position to a very high mount. Once here, it was possible to execute all manner of high percentage submissions. The key to remember here was to concentrate on the space between the opponent's elbow and the side of his torso. A concept also covered in Ryan Hall's The Open Elbow DVD (see my review).

Following the first half of the seminar looking at the top position, David then switched attention to the bottom person - specifically how to escape the mount. He suggested we throw away our habitual assumptions about certain textbook style shrimping and bridging movements. Instead, David explained why he felt that the regular way everyone drilled their shrimping and bridging exercises were not applicable when used in a live situation. He referred to a seminar he attended with Rickson Gracie. During the seminar, Rickson taught his method of bridging out of a mount. At first impressions, just viewing the movement, it doesn't look any different to the regular way of bridging, but after explaining the subtle nuances we realised we needed to change the way we executed the bridge. David also introduced to us his favoured defensive arm position when under mount, something he referred to as one-up-one-down elbow. This alone was a huge nugget of wisdom.

The final portion of the seminar looked at the chess game of two combatants each using their fine tuned knowledge of the top and the bottom position to outsmart each other...intelligent combat style! It was here that all the bits and pieces from the previous two hours fell into place. We looked at one example where black belt Martyn executed his high percentage flower sweep from closed guard. Normally Martyn would land the sweep and instantly, almost without really needing to think about it, end  up in high top mount and ready to target an armbar. His technique utilised the early parts of the seminar where we examined the space between the opponent's elbow and his torso. Now under normal circumstances, Martyn's sweep would be pretty high percentage against most folks, but here, David showed how the bottom person could anticipate the end position (ie bottom of mount) and be ready to place his elbow and knee to escape the top mount.

David Onuma seminars are heavy on theory, concept and principles as well as of course actual techniques. When combined together, he provides lots of food for thought and a refreshingly new way to look at familiar techniques and positions. In my opinion. seminars like these are often better than just trying to learn techniques by rote. I'm certainly looking forward to more of David's #intelligentcombat and #gamechangingshit !


Borehamwood BJJ

Fri, 2016-04-29 13:12

I'm opening up my own class to teach BJJ in my home town of Borehamwood, Herts, UK. I will teach each Saturday at the Venue Leisure Centre in the upstairs dance studio. Kids will be from 12:45 until 1:30 then adults from 1:30 until 3pm.

Full details of my class can be seen on the Borehamwood BJJ website.

If my Saturday classes do well and there is demand, I hope to add a mid-week evening class to the schedule.

To kick things off, I have a complete beginner's seminar for the first session, details on the poster below:-


Report: Polaris Pro 3

Sun, 2016-04-03 02:00

The third instalment of the submission-only professional grappling tournament known as Polaris Pro took place last night at the Poole Lighthouse in the UK. On display were 5 main card matches and 8 preliminary matches. Heading the bill was the mouth watering prospect of a fight between two leg locking experts in Garry Tonon and Rousimar Palhares. Yours truly here managed to bag a press pass and took some photos.

For various reasons, I wasn't able to attend the live shows for Polaris 1 and 2. I did see them on ppv live and knowing how exciting the past two were, I was determined not to miss Polaris Pro 3. And it did not disappoint.

The prelims were exciting for me because I have known most of the fighters for many years and it was great to see them in action. These fights were aired for free.

The results for the prelims were:
Alain Pozo x Micah Atkinson (NO GI) - Alain wins by heel hook
Vinicius de Castro x Greg Creel (GI) - draw
Keith McKenzie x Jeff Lawson (GI) -  McKenzie wins by RNC
Adam Adshead x Phil Harris (NO GI) - draw
Travis Newaza x Ben Dyson (NO GI) - Dyson wins by kimura

The prelims were not without drama and thrilling action. Probably the best fight of the night in my opinion was the bout between McKenzie and Lawson. It was a real back and forth exchange of sweeps, passes, turnovers and transitions. Keith secured the choke against Jeff moments before the buzzer rang to end time, you couldn't have got any closer.

Another talking point in the prelims was the match between Travis Newaza and Ben Dyson. The taller Travis dominating the match for large periods and seemingly about to finish a nasty looking toe hold had his momentum halted when Dyson banged his head against the advertising hoarding. The referee gave Dyson an injury time out and then re-set the fighters in the middle in roughly the same position. Dyson escaped the leg entanglement and proceeded to gain top position and execute a match winning kimura.

Main card
The main card featured some mouth watering prospects, the Polaris Pro team having done a amazing job matching up the very best in the world against one another.

In a somewhat cruel twist of luck, the submission only format this evening resulted in 100% no submissions for the main card. Eight fights and eight draws. But dismissing the lack of submissions would do an immense disservice to the thrilling action on display.

There was something to talk about in each and every match but perhaps the two highlights of the evening were in the matches between AJ Agazarm and Jake Shields and the finale between Rousimar Palhares and Garry Tonon. The former match included a number of heated exchanges, face slaps, alleged illegal attacks (eye pokes etc) and a foul mouthed war of words. It was certainly highly entertaining but perhaps a little too over the top.

In the headlining fight, there was no war of words or unpleasantness, in fact, given the reputation Palhares has had with his previous MMA fights, it was all highly respectful. What us spectators got to enjoy was an absolutely amazing grappling match featuring no-stop action. The much larger Palhares opening with his trademark attacks against Garry's ankles but Garry fending them off while also having to deal with being thrown into the air with suplex throws and other moments of air time! Tonon himself was clearly a big danger to his opponent, locking on a number of seemingly tight heel hooks and triangle chokes. Watching these two combatants was like watching a kind of muscled up fighting form of ballet.

Final thoughts
The submission only format has been around now for a number of years. It was devised to ensure that fighters seeking match winning submissions would mean less opportunity for boring, slower, less exciting matches that the point based system is thought to induce. Unfortunately, the format itself is no guarantee of achieving submissions. But, as Polaris Pro and other successful events have shown, it does lead to a lot of exciting action and drama on the mat. I look forward to the next instalment of Polaris Pro!

For more photos of the event, see my Flickr gallery:
To view the live replay online, visit the Polaris Pro website.