This week El Rey aired both episodes 2 and 3 for Bushido Battleground. I will try to keep this short in reviewing both episodes. I don’t know why they aired 2 episodes this week, but I checked the guide for next week and they are only airing episode 4. I don’t know if it was just my DirecTV guide or if El Rey had these labeled wrong, but episode 2 was titled “A Tale of Two Thailands” and Episode 3 was titled “Bad Blood”. When I started watching episode 2 it clearly was not what the title implied. I will start with what I watched first which was “Bad Blood” then finish with “A Tale of Two Thailands”.
This show introduces us to Alejandro Martinez “Pato” out of Puerta Vallarta, Mexico with a record of 13-1-0 and Fabian Quintanar “Aniquilador” out of Tijuana, Mexico with a record of 13-2-1. These fighters are familiar with each other as they fought before with Martinez winning by split decision.
Martinez trains at Entram Gym in Tijuana, Mexico with coach John Vargas. He has trained for about 4 years. Martinez is primarily a striker. In his training sequences they mostly show him hitting mitts and working on elbows on the inside. They show him sparring and talk with his sparring partner.
Quintanar trains at Alliance MMA in Tijuana with coach Miguel Reyes. He has been training for 12 years. He has taken some time off and this is his first fight in quite a while. They show him training and working on distance. His team feels he has an advantage due to his reach advantage. He discusses the advantages of being able to train locally versus travelling to fight camps.
The show continues its normal track of showing training clips of both fighters. This episode was mostly all subtitled since both fighters spoke Spanish. There were some issues I had with this episode that dealt with the production, but I’ll get to that in my final thoughts.
They both make weight with them saying that Quintanar was 9 pounds over the day before the fight. He still made weight with no problems. This fight was at 155 pounds. The prefight interviews were performed by Tony Parrish and Nate Quarry.
The fight was to take place at the Caliente Bull Ring which is the same place as episode 1. Tony Parrish once again was very excited that there were animals in cages surrounding the arena. It was almost the exact same intro as episode 1.
The fight gets started and we get Martinez coming out as the aggressor and Quintanar tried to keep distance. Martinez accidentally kicks Quintanar in the groin and they let him recover. During the recovery time they show a clock running which is supposed to be stopped during this time. This must have been a production mistake. They also show Tony Parrish and Nate Quarry talking with this not matching with the audio. Tony Parrish does not even call the fight, as it is TJ DeSantis calling the action with Nate Quarry. The round continues and nothing significant happens. I had Martinez winning that round, but it was very close.
Round 2 starts with Quintanar pressing and pushing Martinez against the cage to go for a takedown. They separate and Martinez then goes for a takedown and gets Quintanar down. Quintanar grabs the cage to help him get back to his feet but the referee doesn’t say anything about it. Martinez then goes for another takedown and succeeds. Quintanar gives up his back in trying to get up and Martinez goes for a Rear Naked Choke. He slowly squeezes in the choke and gets Quintanar to tap.
They show a dejected Quintanar in the locker room. Martinez says that he hopes to open doors for more Mexican MMA fighters to make it and looks forward to more fights.
A Tale of Two Thailands
This episode will take us on a journey for a Muay Thai fight in Thailand between Warren Stavone “Tu” and Janerob Pumpanmuang. Stavone has a record of 28-18-3 and is from Chicago, Illinois. Janerob is from Samutprakan, Thailand and has a record of 82-44-1.
Tu has been training for 10 years and trained at Top Notch in Chicago and then moved to Thailand to train. He feels that Muay Thai should actually be a bigger sport in the U.S. than MMA due to the action and the potential for more knockouts.
Janerob has been training since he was 11 years old. They really show the traditions of Muay Thai and show kids training in his gym.
Tu talks about the differences between fighting in America versus fighting in Thailand. He states that American Muay Thai is “watered down” and that there are huge differences in the clinch games. He says that the clinch game in Thailand is much stronger and they can overpower people with the clinch.
Tu seems to have the most personality of all the fighters that have been featured on Bushido Battleground so far. He talks about getting into the mindset before the fight.
They both make weight and in the pre-fight interviews Janerob talks about being an example for all the kids in the gym. Tu talks about coming to Thailand to fight because he wants to fight the best and the best are in Thailand.
The fight takes place at Max Muay Thai Stadium. The fight starts with Janerob as the aggressor. They both don’t really do much which leads to the referee imploring both fighters to bring it. The round continues with Janerob pushing forward and landing knees in the clinch. Janerob won the first round just by out landing Tu.
Round 2 starts and Tu lands a nice combo to the face of Janerob. Janerob continues to close the distance and clinch. The referee is having to constantly break them up as they keep getting clinched up. Tu eventually cuts Janerob with an elbow. The round ends but Janerob most likely won this round as well.
Round 3 is basically a repeat of the previous rounds with Janerob pushing forward and clinching. Tu does land quite a bit, but he is mostly smothered throughout the entire fight by a clinching, aggressive, Janerob. Janerob wins round 3 and wins the fight by decision.
Garcia’s Analysis: Both episodes were a bit better than the first episode, but that is mostly due to the fights. As far as production goes, these two episodes had quite a few flaws. In “Bad Blood” there were problems with the subtitles. At one point, the narrator was speaking and they were showing subtitles on the bottom as if a fighter was talking. The subtitles did not match what the narrator was saying so it was clearly a mistake. They had another sequence where Martinez was talking in Spanish for a while and they utilized no subtitles whatsoever.
The problem in the next episode was that there were several times that the audio coming from a fighter talking was very low and the music was very loud. I could barely make out what the fighter was saying. There were a couple of other audio issues in this episode.
Overall these were good episodes mainly because the fights were both better than what we got in episode 1. It’s kind of tough watching the buildup for the fights because as a fan I am not really invested in either fighter. The concept is good, but there are flaws. This is a 10-episode season and we will see where they go from here.
Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions on twitter @JZGarciaMMA.
NOW CHECK OUT GARCIA’S PREVIOUS TAKE: Garcia’s review of Bushido Battleground on El Rey network