Friday Fight Breakdown, Russians in Cali

So a few weeks back some Russians came to an event hosted by Ursus fight club and Arianwen Ferch Morgan captured a bunch of it on video. I’ve gotten permission to share and comment so I intend to do that. I’ve not looked much at the Russian fighters in ACL style combat as they don’t really get along with the IMCF so it wasn’t ever really likely I’d fight them. However I’ll probably see a bunch of the American Fighters they fight across the field sometime so I definitely wanted to view it and try and analyze what happened.

Initial impression before we get to details. Russians are fucking FAST. I’m a quick dude but they seem to fly across the field, hitting checks with much more force then I’m used to seeing and accelerating fast. I know there are laxer rules about materials in HMB so perhaps it’s just lighter armor. Or maybe I’m just not used to seeing people at my speed as Jaye says I’m moving just as fast. Regardless one of my huge take aways from this was getting my legs to the next level. I’ve repointed everything and will probably be readjusting the straps after tomorrows fight. I’m going to add a sprinting/juking training session in leg harness to my weekly training in addition to the agility work we already do at the hall

Being fast is great and all but if you can’t use it well, who cares? So lets looks at some specific fights see if we can’t learn anything. Apologies to the fighters on Ursus, Iron Phoenix, Vanguard, and Bern for not knowing your names and giving you the shine you probably deserve. Hopefully someone can correct that.

This is an interesting video in that everything worth watching happens in the background.

Watch across the field as the Russians line up 3 v 3 against the Vanguard team. At around second 5 the Russian in the foreground takes a guy down but touches and is sat by a martial and there’s another 1 on 1 off to the right. The inner-most Russian backs away from engagement and goes to help his team mate, which should make it a 2v1 and a 3 v 2. But the guy the Russia was lined up against just keeps his place. It takes him 2 seconds to decide to go help out and it’s 4 more before he gets over to the 2v1 to even it out.

To make matters worse his entrance is timid and straight on. He’s jogging that the Russian who stiff kicks him, disengages and goes to fuck up his boy on the rail. Which in turn frees another Russian to go do damage on the two Vangaurd fighters who appear to have gotten stuck trying to chop a guy down, with single handed weapons. The Russians win this fight not just by being better individual fighters, which they are, but by utilizing a strategy of switching opponents. When I played soccer we called it trading marks, two forwards would deliberately cross paths running in an X pattern. If the D was smart they would stop marking the forward they had started with and pick up the new guy running into their zone. If not, they’d be pulled out of position trying to keep up opening gaps.

A similar principle is in effect here. By switching opponents the Russians get a free first shot throwing their opponent off balance. They also break up team unity and create massive confusion. When fighting against a more individual skilled, you need to rely on team tactics. The Russians make it almost impossible for the Vanguard to get anything like that going and are able to pick them apart one by one. Really well played.

Oh side note, who ever that martial is yelling go america in the middle of the fight, not a good look. I know that it’s a for fun tourney but maybe don’t have the guys who are supposed to be impartial visibly or audibly supporting one side. At least during the fight. That’s the MC is for. Let him do his job, you do yours.

Sorry, pet peeve, moving on. This fight is great. Lots of action, some beautiful violence, and a few moments of brilliance to learn from.  

First moment of brilliance comes at right about 8 seconds, but watch the whole lead up. You have two semi flanks from on the rails, with a 3 on 2 on each side. The Russians third man saunters across the field, well out of threat range, and just barely manages to stretch the two man Ursus line apart. The Ursus pole steps a hair outside support range and the big Russian of the pair across from takes off. Note how fast he goes from walking to sprint. A stride and a half and he’s full speed, well past the range the axeman can help. His opponent is basically fucked at this point without help.

Now I’m conflicted on the next few seconds. The little Russian with the fancy pinkish Jupon manages to hold off the much bigger Ursus fighter, even though the Ursus guy has range and a more powerful weapon. My initial thought is he should be charging in and either chopping the big Russian or trying to pull him off his soon to be dead friend. But I’m wondering if perhaps there’s something I don’t know.  Perhaps that little dude is a much better wrestler than the Ursus guy despite giving up size and he’s worried about getting taken out making it a 5 v 3. Evidence towards this is that later in the video the little dude comes running in from off screen to blindside another Urus guy. However just before that another Russian left to that side grab a weapon  so it’s also possible that he had help. So I won’t say it’s definitely the wrong play but I think there need to be more decisiveness in helping out.

The video moves to a scrum on the rails and Ursus gets slightly screwed when a downed Russian take up part of the fight for 15 seconds. That’s pretty shitty. Eventually it gets settled and the fight breaks into two 1v1’s. Pretty sure that’s Jeff Gali on the rail there but not 100% on it. Anywway, the big Russian looses his weapon and goes to get another. The Ursus guy lets him go. If his friend is still up and in the middle of the field over there, I think this is a bad play. It opens him up to a 2v1 without support while Jeff has the rail to keep him up. However if his buddy off screen is down or on the rail, it’s the smart play, because it’s far faster to drop this guy with Jeff’s help then run over there. Or well it should be.

He hits him 7 times without dropping him.  Now the first one was to the head, which is usually a waste if not for disorientation and the last one was as well. He did get down to the the hamstrings for a few which is my preferred target and it got the Russian to turn to him. It looks like that lost him the thigh angle and the Ursus guy attacks the calf instead. I like this. However I think a strike to the calf followed by yanking the feet would be better than just hitting it. He’s probably not gonna quit from that and with his arm wrapped on the rail Jeff can’t really pull him down if he gets weak. Jeff does a decent job trying to pull that arm off the rail, smart play but it takes him too long. Basically this Russians skill and toughness outweighed some decent teamwork. It needed to be perfect here to make it work and it just wasn’t good enough. Maybe had that guy hit harder, not wasted two shots to the head, or gone for a trip instead. Maybe had Jeff scooped the leg, or taken a step out the chop the arm wrapped around the rail making it a detriment instead of an advantage, they could have turned it.

But instead the Russians charge in and Jeff is force to abandon his grapple from some one handed sword shots to the back. Guess those Russians hit hard, cause it’s rare to see pain compliance from a one handed weapon. Jeff makes a decent attempt to sac throw the guy when he’s forced off balance but doesn’t get the pull down. I don’t know how the Russian got out of it, but I guess he did as they call the fight, 3 on 1.

This is the last one I’m gonna do today cause it’s getting long. I may come back and do some of the American on American action or the singles but it depend what other videos I find to watch over the next few months. Anyway this video continues the trend of individual Russian dominance. Dudes are just more skilled. There’s another bit I’ll talk about as well, but we’ll get to that.

So, whoever that is wight buckler in the beginning fucking kudos.  Way to show no fear. Some baller shit, just striding the fuck in, giving absolutely zero fucks. Backed the Russian up and you can tell he’s not ready for that, and backs out just before he gets pulled into their line. If that’s you Santos, big ups. I heard your name yelled.

So Dude with the axe gets to chopping and the buckler baller rushes the big man. Again, like the balls, but this time, more caution was needed. He gets pulled back beyond his pole’s ability to support him and is no wrestling a bigger, probably strong, and certainly more skilled opponent. Watch the Russian work him into position. Bends him over with his weight. They are both way off balance here, but the Russian can support himself with the Rail and our Iron Phoenix friend has to support himself on the Russian. The Russian throws a huge back kick, breaking the guys base and wraps his leg around him to both tie up his support and give him something trip him on.  In the background you can see another Russian just using good technique to brace himself on his opponent, then when his opponent pushes to hard back, turns and yanks him off balance, steps back and drags him down using the fighters own momentum against himself.

So the rest of the video is three guys beating another down, nothing to really learn there. However there is something to see. The Russian on the rail walks up and throws a shot right into what looks like his team mates back. I’ve seen a number of shots like that in the videos and I couldn’t figure out what was happening at first. Then I notice that the guy tied up with the Russia moves his hands right after that. Now I’ve slowed the video down and the quality is just not there to say if he hits the hand. And even if he did it’s hard to say he definitely meant too. However I picked 3 videos to show what happened at the even pretty much at random. And in each video, there was a Russian doing something that might not be cheating per se, but definitely is suspicious. Two fighters try to keep fighting after being downed and another chops his friends back, right near an American’s hand. I promise I did pick these videos to show that, it just happened. I didn’t even realize the hand chop happened until my third viewing today.

So, if you ever wonder why I don’t fight HMB…Well now you know. I can’t prove there is cheating. I can’t prove they don’t take safety seriously. But I can point out that I don’t see this shit in the ACL. I can point out there were no serious head trauma’s at IMCF and there were at BOTN. Is it just coincidence? Perhaps…but I don’t want to take that chance.

Anyway that’s a really shitty note to end on, so instead, big ups to my brothers who showed up to fight one of the best teams in the world. Ya’ll showed courage, strength prowess, and honor. I hope to share the list with ya’ll some day. Again, thank you to Ursus for the event and Arianwen Ferch Morgan for giving me permission to use your video. I made a playlist here. There are some repeats and the names are shitty. I’ll update them with better ones and descriptions if someone can give me some info on them.


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