I barely finished teaching a private lesson when I got 89 emails in 32 seconds from my thousands of followers telling me about this matchup that I predicted last year, and howling at me to make another prediction. By the time I finished reading 4 emails, the number of emails coming at me had multiplied to over 230. 

Now. How are you guys gonna write so many emails to me in just a few minutes regarding a sporting event, whereas you guys barely wrote me 187 emails total about the farmers taking over the Federal Building in Oregon? Something to think about. Anyway...

... Some people writing me about this Conor vs RDA fight were laughing at me because I chose Jose Aldo to win and that RDA would fight Conor after Conor came back and outpointed Jose Aldo in a rematch and finally fought in his own weight class which is actually 170 pounds. In reality, RDA and Cowboy Cerrone and pretty much everyone else in the 155 lb class should actually fight at 170 or 180lbs, if weight classes are enforced so that fighters have to be on their weight class max or below ON FIGHT NIGHT, instead of allowing themselves to cheat and cut weight then come in to the fight much heavier than their weight class max allows. 

I should be ashamed for being right so much, but I'm not. I hate to toot my own horn, but y'all already know that when Coach Ras says he Hates To Toot His Own Horn? Well...let this meme say it for me...

Recognize and act like you know, ladies and gents. Girls and Boys. Because I am right. Again.



There are those who think that Conor is going to moonwalk all over Rafael Dos Anjos. Including Conor. In fact, Conor referred to the Lightweight Division as"...slow and stiff," he said he'd "break you in half..." he said the whole division is..."...Stuck In The Mud..."

Let's get to comparing Conor and RDA.


Many people who see Conor vs Jose, see the pinpoint heavy weapon left hand [ a Check Hook ] that Conor landed on Jose. What they don't see is that Jose actually landed the HARDER blow, he was just LESS PRECISE with it. He didn't aim to hit what we call MALENGO MUHIMI, which translates from Swahili to "VITAL TARGETS". We all know that the chin area is a Vital Target. 

Conor will not enjoy the prohibitive reach advantage over RDA. He will not be able to use his right hand to check RDA's movement. Conor also cleverly uses his extended right hand to lightly touch his opponent's left forearm. That touch is a range finder, a target opener, a psychological threat to his opponent drawing the attention of his opponent to Conor's right hand. And the extended touch is a range impediment. Conor will not be able to do these things with his right hand as effectively or consistently to RDA as he did with Jose, if RDA uses his reach and keeps his hands feet and body mobile.

 [ I and many other fighters have been doing this to less mobile fighters for decades, so I'm very familiar with what Conor did to Jose; I'm also aware that Conor's hand weapons aren't as good as many people think because the far more reliable and effective fight ender is the lead right Heel Palm Pop Hand Check/Pass, Right Backfist to Heart-Left Thrust or Cross to Body { in Self Defense, this is oftentimes a low line Ridgehand to the Groin, not another body punch } with Left Leg Advancing Back Cross Step, Pivot Right Hook, Homicide Left Straight, Right "Brazilian Kick" to Neck/Skull that I use all the time on people like Jose ]. 

Jose kept letting Conor get his lead right foot outside of Jose's left foot, opening Jose for Conor's straight left. Again, the fluid movement of Conor's is on display against the patient, coiled cobra like sniping of Jose Aldo, but the main thing is that Jose stopped moving his upper torso so much when he came within range of Conor, and he allowed Conor to sneak Conor's right foot outside of Jose's just before Conor leads with a strike. Movement, defense, distance control, timing, while psychologically manipulating your opponent into mental miscues are the keys in these opening moments. 

Jose didn't recognize and contest these elements from Conor, and that set up Jose's demise. 

The ironic thing is that Jose is a fluid mover, and he could and should reintegrate more of his Capoeira training [ Jose was an outstanding Capoeira player in his youth ] back into his fighting repertoire. Jose is better at "Capoeira" than Conor is. The video below is the proof.

 Jose has the advantage against Conor and everyone else in his weight class if he uses his fluid "Capoeira" movement arsenal, his fakes feints and footwork, and remembers to use his jukes combined with head and upper body movement, too. He must express them all into a single fluid, mobile but energy saving and aggressive total expression that mentally confuses his opponent [ undanganyifu/malicia ]. 

This video of mine below is a long video. You should start it from around 4+minutes in. Note the years on the video. I've been doing this for decades, and I have the footwork to match...which is better than Cruz's and Dillashaw's. No arrogance, my footwork IS much better. That's what I do. And they do their MMA stuff better than me. That's what THEY do. Respect all around.

 Like I've told many kids, Cruz and Dillashaw are actually [ kind of badly ] imitating the footwork of Black athletes. Remember how STEP UP 2: THE STREETS was basically a story about White and Asian and basically everybody except for Black kids repping Black breakin...miscalled breakdancing?

Cruz and Dillashaw are using the STEP UP 2 thing by biting the footwork of Black athletes and fighters in MMA.  However, since they're NOT Black, they're NOT being hit with the mud usually slung at BLACK fighters for using the footwork that we use: "Oh, the Black guy is running. He's not fighting." Etc. Nope. Instead they are being hailed as trailblazers, as innovators...when they're actually not trailblazing or innovating but instead dutifully following the established blueprint of Black fighters.

Nope. That's not racist at all.  But that's another blog for another time.

So what does this have to do with Conor and RDA?


Look at this clip of RDA vs Pettis

And this clip of RDA vs Benson Henderson

RDA has the athleticism to compete with Conor's footwork in a straight up standup shootout. But that's not the footwork that's going to make the difference. I think that RDA is going to employ a wrestling-heavy offensive salvo against Conor, in order to set up devastating gnp and Clinch Game combat. He will be looking to kill Conor's movement, and impose a destructive close range unrelenting barrage on Conor. He will be doubly motivated to do so because his fellow Brazilian champion warrior Jose Scarface Aldo Jr. fell to Conor. Jose is a magnificent champion warrior that many people in the know...including myself...wrongly and vociferously claimed would stop Conor in 4.

I made that prediction based upon my belief that Jose would tweak the defensive holes in his offensive game and employ a wrestling-striking hybrid attack against Conor. This attack is what Mendes...frankly unprepared for a full 5 round fight...employed very successfully against Conor. 

If RDA is smart, he will use his striking footwork to set up wrestling footwork-to-takedowns against Conor. If RDA does this? I will say that the FOOTWORK advantage belongs to RDA. If he does not, I have to give the FOOTWORK advantage to Conor. 




In the pure standup striking if this were say a Glory Kickboxing contest...I would say that Conor has the advantage, but not from a MOBILITY standpoint, but from a POSITIONING standpoint. What does that mean?

 RDA is a terrific athlete. Conor is not more MOBILE than RDA is. 

However, Conor's understanding of not just distancing but POSITIONING...where his feet and every part of his body should be relative to his opponent and relative to Conor's body better. It's this subcategory of  DECEPTIVE POSITIONING that makes Conor that much more difficult to corner and corral for less fluid fighters. This skill is FAFA ETAN NI RONU [ "Sophisticated/Skillful Deception in Movement" ]...a subcategory of the skill of FAFA RONU, "Sophisticated/Skillful Movement" in the African language of Yoruba, practiced for millenia in Africa and celebrated in arts like Kipura/"Capoeira" [ the real stuff I teach, not the Cardio Capoeira that's not for self defense which you're thinking of ]  Ngolo, Moreingy, and pretty much every war art in Africa. Brazilians call this skill: "malicia". My family uses the Yoruba term, the Igbo term [ Aghugho Mmegharị, very roughly translated means:"Deception In Movements"] and the Swahili [ Harakati Udanganyifu..."Movement Deception/Deception in Movement" ].

It's not an accident that Conor accelerated and deepened his training in these fluid agile deceptive movement methods after he was exposed to "Capoeira". 

When we compare Rafa's career FightMetric stats with  Conor's career FightMetric stats  we see that Conor is of course striking oriented, and became moreso as his career continued. We also see that the two men are closely contested in Significant Strikes Landed, Striking Accuracy, etc. However, we see that Rafa's firepower is more established. Rafa faces bigger men in the Lightweight category who are actually Welterweights and Middleweights, and Rafa has KO'd and TKO'd bigger, stronger, champion fighters whereas Conor has taken advantage of the smaller guys in the flyweight division.

If not for an understanding of Distance Control, Deceptive Positioning, etc. the Striking stats would make this skill set appear to be a virtual tie. But there are little things that true technicians like me pick up and see can be exploited.

Check this out:

Yall musta forgot. RDA is a true beast, son. 


He floats his elbows away from his ribs because he throws long hooks. Worse, he has a habit of throwing long hooks at longer range than he needs to throw them. He tries to compensate for this with lunging and bull rushing footwork, which could easily run him into a blindside knockout punch, as Jose did. Rafa has a big head, that's why his insufficient head movement is a big worry. His upper body movement isn't significant. He leaves his face unguarded  when he's at the lowest point of the shot, as he transitions for the takedown. He has a stalker's stepping footwork, he doesn't glide step and pivot. He has the squared up fighting stance, making himself a easier to hit target...

...all of which Conor is well trained to take advantage of. 

Even worse? The magnificent Raphael Cordeiro whom I love...Master of Kings MMA, known for being an advanced practitioner of the Chute Boxe Academy unlikely to see these holes in Rafa's game. Master Cordeiro's style is similar to Rafa's, but with more refined kicking.

 But his philosophy is more oriented toward training intensity than training innovation, in my opinion:

Now for Conor McGregor's striking.

Everyone is howling about how good Conor is. How fluid and elusive he is. How powerful his punches are. And he IS good for a MMA striker. His set ups, his kicks, his punches, his timing, his accuracy, are very much on the leading edge...and deservedly so...of MMA striking. 

He is NOT on the edge of Striking, period. In fact, he and most every other MMA striker is way behind in that regard. Like most people in MMA, Conor has some clear gaps in his game, that need to be closed in a hurry.

For instance, Conor isn't a combination kicker. He's a hard kicker who intelligently targets the body with most of his kicks before he fires a kick upstairs to the head. But. He, like many MMA strikers, are generally completely unaware of [ and let pass by them as a result of their ignorance ] far too many low line, low position, transitional kicking, sweep kicking, foot sweeping, stance buckling, and combo kicking opportunities because their kicking arsenal is limited.

Conor's Clinch game is questionable, his use of elbows is essentially nonexistent in the cage. I'm not saying that he doesn't have these skill sets, I'm saying that he doesn't display them with any form of regularity in the cage...probably because he finds the long range striking game to be decisively to his advantage.

Conor doesn't have good head movement. He is getting tagged in the noggin by flyweight men way shorter than he is. That should not happen. Against Rafa? One clean hit and you're out of there. Knocked out cold.

Conor...and every other MMA striker I have seen...misses the value of employing the Heel Palm strike. Yo, I HEARD THAT! Stop the eye rolling, lip smackin, "Coach Ras you're on that bull$h!t"  triflin, hatin activity. You don't know how sweet the Heel Palm is. In fact? The advantages are so freakin humongous, that I wrote a blog about it to illuminate ye ignorant heathens and relieve you of your hate. 

You're welcome. 

Anyway...there are a gazillion things that can be done in MMA but aren't being done because the sport is still very young and still has lots of maturing to do. Conor is among the leading innovators in this wave that will change the sport...but he, too, is lightyears behind more experienced, more comprehensive strikers.

Conor intelligently blends short distance karate power generating methods with boxing's striking power generation methods [ this was first seen in Afrika by warriors following the dictates of the war god Montu ]. Most people miss this fact because they haven't studied and/or self defense opposed to combat sports...properly or with sufficient depth.

However, between RDA and Conor...strictly as an assessment of technical skill in what they do and which of the two have the more pliable training philosophy insofar as striking as concerned? After all of this stuff? 

You just gotta give the at range Distance Striking to:



 I had to make the above comment in lucky Irish green, because the use of this range has given Conor plenty of luck, like the Leprechauns. 

Don't act like you know, because you DON'T. I, however, and many people I have spoken to over the decades, have repeatedly pointed out that there is a Trapping Range in unarmed combat that has gone almost entirely untapped by MMA guys. I recall having a decorated, well respected MMA and UFC striker known for his striking prowess tell me to my face while I was at my friend Antonio McKee's BodyFit Gym:

"Trapping doesn't work. If it worked, don't you think that somebody in MMA would have figured it out by now?"

I instantly saw the explanation as to why this skilled and experienced striker was having the problems he was having with other high end strikers, and wisely kept my mouth shut. He reminded me of the prevalent thinking in most MMA gyms, and that is that most MMA people don't have any idea what genuine Trapping is, no real experience training applying and working with the range other than mostly wrestling, nor do they have the remotest clue as to how to apply the proper movement, angles, stances [especially stances ] crucial to its proper execution. They have NO CLUE about developing the timing and sensitivity to apply true "Trapping" skills correctly.

They think of Trapping as stuff we see in the IP MAN movies...and that's it.  And while I love me some IP MAN movies, especially Donnie Yen killing it as IP MAN

Hell no, it's a lot more than that. You can't judge the efficacy of authentic "trapping" skills off of a movie any more than we can judge the efficacy of authentic world class boxing merely by watching Rocky movies. Or Creed movies, for that matter. smell a blog on REAL WORLD TRAPPING SKILL coming on? You smell right. Keep an eye out for it. I'll tell you when I write it.

The knowledge and use of a moderate knowledge of the Trapping Range is how Conor caught Aldo at exactly the right time with exactly the right punch. Go back and watch the video. Conor was too far for the clinch and just out of reach for the right cross. Aldo steps into range and intelligently feints the lead right, then fires a hard left. Conor, however, changes angles and fades the range even as the left hand of Aldo comes in and crashes into Conor's face...while Conor lands the pinpoint punch to a well known Vital Point [ the "Sweet Spot" on the chin and extending slightly to just under and further than the bicuspids of the lower jaw ] that drops Aldo.

Conor is innovating off of something more blatantly and magnificently shown by Jon Jones when Jones drops elbows.

And far more subtly shown by Micheal Bisping when he fought and lost by epic KO to Dan Henderson. Bisping was actually winning the fight prior to the H-Bomb landing...and Bisping would use a "tap down" and sometimes a "trap" on Dan Henderson's lead left, before Bisping fired a punch over the trapped hand or down the pipe of the lanes that his traps opened [ excuse the weird fx effects used by the person who uploaded this video. They probably did it to avoid UFC violating them and taking the video off YouTube ].


Are you kidding me? Is there any question about this, for real? I mean, Conor has underrated knees, and has really slick and largely overlooked movement within the Clinch while he uses sweet but subtle balance disruptions, but...Conor CANNOT outstrike RDA in the Clinch ,and he can't outwrestle RDA in the clinch, either.



  RDA's  obvious here that even Conor will admit to it in his training camp. I mean, yeah, Conor did that sweet Lateral Drop to Diego Brandao, but please, man. Conor was bigger heavier longer and stronger than Diego. RDA would bully the crap out of Conor in a wrestling match. 


 RDA is a black belt in bjj. He'd roll Conor up in a submission throwdown. I like that Conor is a Guard Passer. If he gets you down and you pull Guard? Many times he will pass and gnp freely. Too many people are content to just chill in the Guard and work GnP from there. You CANNOT do that to someone who has a good active sweep attacking, swift Striking and Striking Defense Guard...without getting hit a lot, KO'd, TKO'd, submitted, or put in a disadvantageous position that leaves you vulnerable on the ground scramble or standup. For years, I was among the few who knew this. Now, more and more people are tumbling to this fact. 

But RDA is better at every phase of MMA bjj than Conor is...insofar as what we've seen thus far. So RDA dominates this category.


 RDA  has destroyed people his own size and larger with his GnP. This alone sets him apart from Conor, who has mostly victimized people whom he enjoys height weight reach and strength advantages over.

So why is this still a good fight? Why not call it right now for RDA and be like:"...There it is!"

Because. The championship winning skill set and mind have yet to be weighed and determined.

Most people scream about how fluid Conor is. Well, Conor IS fluid. Props to where props are due. Conor CAN move, and I love that. 

BUT. His fluidity and mobility DO NOT translate in and of themselves into a valid claim that Conor  possesses formidable defense. He DOES NOT possess formidable defense. To me and to people who have refined fighting skill, Conor is hittable. He is NOTICEABLY hittable. 


Conor does very very well against pressure fighters. He's not Anderson Silva in his prime with it
 [ Anderson was effortlessly completely dismantling fighters who are well regarded champions in their own right; champions who were oftentimes bigger than Anderson was. Conor dominates people whom he has virtually every physical and innovative technical advantage over ] but MAN. This dude Conor IS GOOD at getting people to overextend and be off balance then cracking them in the Trapping Range, cutting those angles, leading and countering with the right strike at the right time to stop people. 

RDA is very very much a pressure fighter. Worse still, RDA is a guy who tends to be deliberate and less mobile footwork. And. The compound the grimness for RDA? RDA is not known for head movement. 

Jose was too immobile of foot and head to cleanly take Conor out. RDA cannot make that mistake against Conor, or else Conor will eat him up and outpoint him pretty easily. RDA must employ more total body mobility, AND RDA CAN DO THIS. He's a terrific athlete, and he has a homicidal focus on Conor. He knows that if he beats Conor, he can give Conor a rematch for more crazy $ than their first fight in UFC 197 makes. So I don't think he will PLAN to NOT move sufficiently. 

But I don't think that the brain trust in RDA's camp will have RDA make the requisite drills to amp his movement skills and conditioning to take a high pressure, high mobility, wrestling-striking assault on Conor [ which will beat Conor ].

This one is pretty close to me, and I can appreciate the perspective of anyone who disagrees with me here. But...after reviewing their videos and looking at FightMetrics...I have to say that this category for me is:


And that takes me to the next consideration...


 Now here is where Conor shines the most. Nobody in MMA is as completely innovative as Conor is during training camps and technical selection of techniques. Cruz and Dillashaw can move really well with their TAKE IT TO THE STREETS footwork, and Conor doesn't do that [ although he should  and probably will as his career matures ]. Demetrious Johnson STILL has THE BEST footwork in MMA. Anderson, Jon Jones and Pettis innovate in technique selection, application, fluidity, and attack sequences

But. Ya boi Conor? That guy knows how to innovate in across the board training methods which supercharge the highly powerful holistically tailored training camps he has. More than that? Conor has been training for RDA for about 2 months in 2015. He already has a 2 month jump in preparation on RDA. 

You guys notice something else? The fight at UFC 197 gives Conor more time to prepare and recuperate than it does for RDA. RDA basically went straight from his camp against Cerrone to his camp against Conor. Which means that RDA will not be at his pinnacle best when he clashes with Conor. 


  So.  With all this said, what is the final prediction? Who is going to win this thing? 

Conor is on a real roll now and he is full of confidence. It's really hard to pick against Conor because of his performances. He has the mental and spiritual powerful boost that fanataic fans of a entire country can provide, and he is riding high off of the victory provided by his speedy destruction of the highly regarded, respected, feared, sterling champion, fearsome wrecking machine and previously undefeated for 10 years Jose Scarface. On top of that, remember... I already picked against Conor when he was going to face Jose. I said Jose is going to stop Conor in 4, and I got proved resoundingly wrong.

But too many people forget that RDA has the same kind of stuff behind him in many ways that Conor has. 

 RDA wants the kind of paycheck that beating Conor can give him. Maybe twice, as he is sure to give Conor a rematch. Like Conor, RDA has an entire country of half rabid fans behind him in the mighty country of Brasil, birthplace of modern sport vale tudo. He has seen the Aldo-McGregor fight, and I think RDA's coaches hasve seen that the high pressure, more mobile wrestling-striking approach is the kyrptonite for Conor. 

Conor doesn't enjoy the prohibitive reach and size advantage over RDA. With all that in mind, and with the only caveat being that RDS must tweak his game along the lines that I mentioned, and do something smart like bring in Olympic TKD guys to work kick defense and kick selection...
...and knowing that  know I'm walking into a minefield from the last time I picked against Conor?

My mind says that RAFA should win this.



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