GARCIA’S TAKE: Garcia’s review of Bushido Battleground episode 4 on El Rey network

BY JOSHUA GARCIA, MMATorch Contributor

Family Business

This week’s episode is showcasing both the 24 year-old Rodrigo “Pretty Boy” Reyes who has a MMA record of 1-1-0 and fights out of Ensenada Mexico and 23 year-old Hassan “Lebanese Assassin” Fakhreddine who is making his MMA debut and is from Lebanon.

Reyes trains at AVT Blackxicans in Ensenada Mexico with head coach Arafat Torres.  This gym and coach also appeared in Episode 1.  Reyes has been training for 5 years.

Hassan trains out of the Old School Boxing Center in San Diego under coach Ernest Johnson Sr. Hassan has an older brother who also fights.  Hassan has other family members that also train at the Old School Boxing Center and his father was a boxer in Lebanon. Hassan also trains with Jiu Jitsu coach, Manolo Hernandez.

Hassan’s preparation for the fight is consisting of conditioning, technique, and timing.  He works on timing drills with focus mitts and Coach Robinson.  He discusses his diet which consists of 2,000 calories a day with concentration on keeping carbs and proteins high. Hassan wants to be a pro boxer and pro MMA fighter at the same time.

Reyes preparation is concentrating on takedowns, strength and conditioning and takedown defense.  His camp feels his advantage will be kicks due to Hassan being primarily a boxer and not quite used to defending against kicks, especially leg kicks. They also feel wrestling will make a difference in the fight and wrestling favors Reyes. His diet has been consisting of eggs and veggies in the morning, protein shakes, and plenty of chicken and fish and veggies.

Upon weigh-ins we find out that Reyes is 2.2 pounds over the limit for this welterweight fight.  He has 2 hours to make the weight.  Hassan made weight easily and waits for the results of Reyes weight cut.

Torres states that Reyes had a tooth infection the previous week and he couldn’t stay on his correct diet and gained 2 pounds.  They show Reyes trying to lose the weight in the back.  They gave him chewing gum to help create saliva which is to be spit out to help every bit they can to lose the weight.

Hassan is talking to the commission about the time Reyes is given.  Since the official weigh-in was at 11 o’clock, Hassan feels that Reyes should weigh-in by 1 o’clock.  The commissioner states that their weigh-in didn’t occur until 11:30 so Reyes has until 1:30, but Hassan isn’t having it.  He starts complaining that they are getting preferential treatment due to the fight being in Mexico.  Reyes weighs in at 1 o’clock and is still 1.2 pounds over.  The commission was going to give him 30 minutes, but Hassan balked at that decision, so Coach Torres says they will take the 20% penalty from Reyes’s purse. This built up some good tension for the fight.

This fight is happening at the Caliente Bull Ring in Tijuana Mexico. In the interviews Hassan was still upset about the weigh-ins and thinks it will be a good stand-up fight with him having to defend takedowns. Reyes feels that he is a very exciting fighter and looks forward to a good fight with Hassan. Reyes has over 20 amateur MMA fights while Hassan has zero amateur or pro MMA experience.

Round 1 starts with Hassan surprisingly throwing quite a few kicks.  Hassan starts out as the aggressor and keeps Reyes close to the cage.  Hassan catches Reyes with a good right cross which has Reyes going for a takedown.  They are clinched against the cage for a while then they separate.  Hassan is getting more aggressive with his punches and closes the distance.  They have some good exchanges towards the end of the round with Reyes landing a few nice elbows.  Hassan won the first round with better striking and more aggression.

Round 2 starts with Hassan pressing Reyes against the cage and getting into the clinch.  Reyes gets over under and tries to take down Hassan, but Hassan clearly grabs the cage and stops the takedown.  The referee warns Hassan about the fence grab.  They do separate and continue striking.  Hassan accidentally pokes Reyes in his eye and the ref stops the action to check on Reyes.  Hassan also has a good cut on his eyebrow.  They clear Reyes to continue and they start the fight again.  Both fighters are looking very tired.  It looks like Reyes got poked in the eye again and Hassan starts unloading on him against the cage.  The ref then steps in to stop the fight declaring Hassan the winner at 4:58 of the round.

I didn’t see an eye poke, but the announcers were saying that it looked like it happened.  They showed Reyes talking in the back after the fight and he only talked about the first eye poke and said he got cut by an uppercut.  He had a huge cut over his right eye so I think he caught that uppercut and grabbed at his eye due to the cut and this prompted the announcers to think there was an eye poke.

Garcia’s Analysis: This episode was an improvement from the audio problems that plagued the last two episodes.  The narration and cinematic feel of this show is top notch. I really do like the show, but I feel the lack of name recognition for most of the fighters will not attract a large audience.  I like the stories they tell about the fighters but feel there isn’t much for fans to invest in. 

There was more tension in this fight due to the weigh-ins, but overall there isn’t much tension built into these fights.  I know that there doesn’t need to be tension between fighters who are early in their careers, but you have to give an audience a reason to tune in and invest time.  There was not a preview for next week’s episode at the end of this episode.  I am assuming that most of the fights were filmed on a single night of fights at the Caliente Bull Ring and they are concentrating on different fighters on the card.  The exception for this was the Muay Thai episode.  I look forward to seeing the rest of these episodes.

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 episodes 2 &3 on El Rey network


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