The Fight Nerd

September 16, 2014

Ztylus Camera Kit Review

Filed under: Product Reviews — Tags: , — The Fight Nerd @ 6:16 PM

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During CE Week 2014, we met the creators of the Ztylus, which I heralded as one of my favorite products of the event. The Ztylus is a fancy-looking and inexpensive “lens revolver” kit that attaches to your smartphone via a sturdy case. It did not take long for me to grab my own Ztylus so I could give it a try and see if it was as good in my hands as it was when I hyped it in my head.

Currently available for iPhone 5/5s and 6, as well as the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3, the Ztylus is two parts which you can buy separately. There is the camera case itself, which is made from polycarbonate plastic and aluminum, and features a two-position kickstand, which is removable for the lens revolver. Speaking of, the lens revolver is the second piece, which houses your four interchangeable lenses – macro, wide angle, fish eye, and a CPL filter, a lens that essentially reduces glare from the sun.

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You might notice from the product image on the top of this article that there are only three lenses visible on the revolver. That is because the wide angle lens is housed in the same spot as the macro lens, which is accessible by gently unscrewing the wide angle lens on top to reveal the macro lens underneath it. The macro lens offers a 10x multiplier on whatever your subject is, and requires you to get extremely close to the subject to make it work best (if you were not close, what would the point of macro be?).

The fish eye lens gives you a 160 degree field of view, which adds a very wide distortion intended to create that distinctive panoramic or hemispherical image (so you can finally take photos like you were in a Busta Rhymes music video). The wide angle lens offers a slightly wider view with your lens, although I recommend not using the zoom on your phones and keeping it a fixed distance, or physically moving closer towards your subject. Lastly, the CPL attachment improves saturation while reducing glare, giving your photos a brighter and more colorful appearance, while making the lighting more natural and subdued. This is very good for bright landscapes or waterfront, but is good for general use to give you nice colors without adding digital filters.

Here are a few examples to show you the differences:

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Fish eye lens

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Wide angle lens

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Macro (this was a shot of some Tamarind candy)

I did not include any shots with the CPL attachment since none of them were as interesting as the other lens, and most people who purchase this kit would be more interested in the more dynamic lenses anyway.

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The fish eye lens is a ton of fun and definitely gives you some of the most stylish photos. The downside is that you do have a cropped look to the pics and can see the edges of the lens in your photos, but that is the price you pay for that look.

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The macro lens is my favorite of all the lenses in the revolver. With insane amounts of detail, the macro lens is a powerful little guy that provides gorgeous textures that would be otherwise impossible to achieve with any other iPhone lens, and especially with your phone’s digital zoom. Despite the digital zoom improving on smart phones, nothing can beat a physical lens that is built for a specific purpose, and this lens revolver kit offers you some very distinct photo looks that beat the pants off your average instagram photo.

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Fish eye lens with lunch? Why not.

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How about a side of fries with that? Here they are a la fish eye…

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And here they are at wide angle…

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And here they are, macro style.

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Cherry italian ice shot with fish eye?

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How about cherry italian ice macro? Now that looks delicious!

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The lens revolver kit is just as great as I hoped it would be. As for the case, which we have barely discussed, I really love the look of it. I was reviewing the iPhone 5S version of the kit, which makes it look like an old SLR camera like my grandfather used to use, and I love the vintage look. The Galaxy versions look more futuristic, but both serve the same function. They are very solid cases that are scratch resistant and very hard, while not being brittle. Putting the case on the phone was incredibly simple, but you should be warned that the single screw you have to turn to loosen the case enough to slip your phone onto it will be extremely tight. Some hot water should loosen it up if that is a problem for you, but otherwise it was unbelievably easy to use. Same goes for putting the revolver onto the case – just remove the kickstand and gently screw the revolver kit into the empty spot.

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This lens kit can stand up there with the competitors and not only go toe-to-toe with them, but might be the next big innovation in camera attachments for smartphones (until they can start putting real camera lens onto your phone). The Ztylus did not disappoint in any way and is a lot of fun to use and play with, both for pros and casual smart phone users who want to take some cool pics.

You can order the Ztylus ZGS-4K Camera Case & Revolver Lens Kit for Samsung Galaxy S4 or the Ztylus case & Revolver 4-IN-1 lens kit for Apple iPhone 5S from Amazon at these links here. Separately, the case is around $30-40, while the lens revolver kit is about $60-70, so it makes sense to buy them as a pair, and is a very good price when you factor in getting a case that will last the lifespan of your phone and a lens kit that keeps on giving.

“Fight Church” Documentary Review

Filed under: Features,Movie Reviews — Tags: , , — The Fight Nerd @ 2:13 PM

“Fight Church” is the documentary about the unlikely pairing of the Christian church & combat sports, so it makes perfect sense that the person reviewing it has the last name of “Kaplowitz” and has not been to synagogue since his Bar Mitzvah. I am not a religious person, but that is not to say that I am against it either. With that disclosure out of the way, I was unsure of what to expect when I watched this doc, and I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly invested by the time it was over.

Daniel Junge, the 2012 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary (Short Subject) with the film “Saving Face”, and Bryan Storkel, who directed another Christian-related documentary in 2011, titled “Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians”, teamed up with Eben Kostbar and Joseph McKelheer, the producers of the Matt Hamill movie, “The Hammer”, to make this riveting documentary whose title tells you everything you need to know about it.

“Fight Church” is the story of several (yes, there are many more than just one fight church in the US) preachers and pastors who utilize mixed-martial arts as a tool in their sermons, and as a way to engage more people in their ministries. Paul Burress of Rochester, NY, is a retired pro fighter and minister that wants to get back into the fight game, despite having 10 concussions during his time in the cage. We have Preston Hocker and his wife Lindsey, who describes her husband as a “theater geek” turned minister/fighter, nicknamed “The Pastor of Disaster”. There is John Renken, a former kickboxing and shootboxing champion with an 18-28 record in MMA that dates as far back as 1997, who is a minister that seeks to herd “lost people”, and he believes many of them are watching MMA. Finally, Nahshon Nicks, a Jacksonville, Flordia minister who found his freedom from an imprisoned father through God, and said fighting is “what I do, it’s not who I am”.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is Scott Sullivan, former pro fighter and then-owner of “Bam Bam Martial Arts”, a conflicted Christian that does not understand how he could stay involved in the fight game while heeding the word of God, as well as Father Duffell, a New York City based preacher who is vehemently opposed to the barbarism of cage-fighting who says that other churches that permit it are merely “pick-and-choose” bible readers. The doc also features appearances from TUF season 10 competitor Justin Wren, UFC veteran and soon to be WSOF middleweight Jared Hamman, former UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson and UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, who discusses the stigma of publicly linking Christianity to himself and being warned that it would make him “harder to market”.

The doc is an exploration of the conflicts in ideologies between fighting and believing in God. As Father Duffell states, how can someone say they love God while they are spreading violence by voluntarily stepping into a cage to hit someone? On the other hand, for Paul or Preston, it’s a way to give their religion to people that may otherwise would not be interested in the church. Pastors like Nahshon, who compare training to worshipping god, and believe that the “meekness” referred to in the bible means having the ability to destroy but choosing not to, much like King David, the undefeated warrior of the bible who was ready to deal with war when there was no other choice.

A surprising direction in the movie occurred when the story shifted to the legalization of MMA in NY, as both Paul and Father Duffell made their way over to the NY Assembly to explain their causes, two men of the same religion offering extremely different viewpoints on the sport. We even get to see Paul speak with Bob Reilly, the infamous Assemblyman who claims that “people do not want MMA legalized” and, a few sentences later, managed to connect the sport towards domestic violence. Reilly was not keen on doing too many interviews towards the end of his political career, so it was a huge thing to get him on camera and hear his thoughts, even if most of the people reading this review will disagree with everything he says (myself included).

The human element of this philosophical battle between Christianity and MMA is played out within the many stories told in the doc, including when two of the preachers in this very doc, Nahshon and Preston, agree to fight each other. Meanwhile, John Renken is getting ready to wage a war against a man that trash-talked his wife on Facebook, even though this other guy has not even agreed to fight him. This impromptu challenge match happens a few segments after the most uncomfortable scene in the film, where we see John with his two single-digit aged children shooting handguns on a target range as he explains that today’s culture has turned wimpy and needs more controlled aggression to make it stronger.

Nahshon never prays to win a fight, since the outcome is already pre-determined by his Lord, but prays instead for the strength to do his best. The concept of turning the other cheek, and many other familiar biblical sayings are put to the test in real situations, and let the viewer make their own decision as to who is doing the right thing, if there is one. Fighting is an inherently selfish task, and even that idea is challenged when guys like Nahshon, Paul, and Preston, are using it as their methods to spread the gospel to children, crowds in an arena, and to anyone that will listen.

“Fight Church” is never a preachy movie, even though it has preachers using their words just as much as they use their fists. It’s a provocative and no-holds-barred look at the contradictory nature of fighting and religion that does not try to sell one side as better than the other, but opens your eyes to a conflict that will most likely never have a definitive answer. It’s a great documentary for fight fans and viewers outside of our community and I highly recommend giving it a watch.

I also want to add that I became aware of an alleged sex scandal involving Paul Burress after I had watched the movie and was looking up info on the stars. I do not condone any of the actions that Paul did, if it is proved that he did anything, and I hope the truth comes out sometime soon about all of this. So, I want to make sure that my readers are informed of this as well in case that affects your interest in the film.

You can order “Fight Church” on DVD at this link here, and the movie is also available through iTunes and most other On Demand and Digital HD platforms For more info on the film, head to this link here for their official website.

Randy Couture makes victorious debut on “Dancing with the Stars”

Filed under: News — Tags: , — The Fight Nerd @ 11:32 AM

Former UFC champion and star of “The Expendables” movie series, Randy Couture, made his first steps into the world of dancing Monday night, as he joined the cast of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” with a surprising performance.

Paired up with Karina Smirnoff, Couture impressed not only the judges, but the majority of the shows home viewers who were set up to not expect much from the cage fighter. A pre-taped video package of the rehearsals showed Couture and Smirnoff looking pretty grim on the dance floor, with Couture having a difficult time smoothing out the bumps of his routine. However, once the show began, Couture and Smirnoff shocked the audience enough to earn a standing ovation from the studio audience, and was awarded three 8s and a 7, (for a total score of 31 out of a possible 40) from the judges.

The judges were incredibly impressed, and a few were a bit turned on by Randy and his dancing as you will see in the video above. It definitely worked in his favor as it put him and Karina in fifth place out of the 13 pairs currently on the show. The leaders after the first show were Alfonso Ribeiro and pro Witney Carson with 36 points.

Karina has been paired with pro fighters before, as season five saw her dance with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Randy is also not the first MMA fighter to shake his groove thing, as Chuck Liddell danced on season nine of the show with Anna Trebunskaya. So, MMA fans, start watching the show and vote for Randy each week to make sure he stays on and wins it all!

September 5, 2014

Jim Ross & Chael Sonnen are commentators for upcoming “Battlegrounds MMA” PPV

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 11:12 AM

Two consummate performers in WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross and recently retired UFC superstar Chael Sonnen have teamed up to form what is bound to be one of the most memorable commentary teams in sports entertainment history, and will call the world-class Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) action on the LIVE pay-per-view telecast of BattleGrounds MMA: ‘O.N.E.’ from BOK Center in Tulsa, Oka. on Friday, October 3.

Headlined by the first one-night, eight-man tournament in Tulsa since UFC 4 in 1994, BattleGrounds MMA: ‘O.N.E.’ will award its welterweight (170 pounds) winner a grand prize of $50,000.

BattleGrounds MMA ‘O.N.E.’ will be distributed at a price point of $19.95 in the United States and Canada by Integrated Sports Media for live viewing, beginning at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST on October 3 on both cable and satellite pay-per-view carriers iN DEMAND, DirecTV, DISH and Avail-TVN in the United States and Bell TV in Canada. A pre-show will begin at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST.

“As a longtime fan of MMA, to be asked to call the fights for the BattleGrounds MMA event is amazingly exciting for me,” said Ross, a 2007 WWE Hall of Fame inductee. From commentator to referee to executive and even occasional wrestler, Ross has played a multitude of roles for the world’s leading professional wrestling league.

“I’ve broadcast NFL and XFL games,” continued Ross, “FOX Sports boxing and WWE action, but MMA is a new adventure and one that I’m enormously excited about contributing to. To launch this phase of my broadcasting career in my home state, and with Chael Sonnen at cageside makes it an ideal opportunity and a bucket list experience.

“This is going to be a TV event that any MMA fan won’t want to miss,” said Sonnen, who recently retired from the sport that he competed in as a professional since 1997. A three-time UFC championship challenger, Sonnen fought his last 11 career bouts inside The Octagon and enjoyed a stint as an analyst for FOX Sports Network. “I am thrilled to be working with a legend like Jim Ross and, together, we are going to make the BattleGrounds MMA event one of the most exciting extravaganzas in combat sports history.”

Slated for action in the single-elimination tournament is submission ace Cody “AK Kid” McKenzie (15-4) of Spokane, Wash.; two-time, one-night tournament winner Brock Larson (37-8) of Brainerd, Minn.; hard-hitting brawler Luigi “The Italian Tank” Fioravanti (24-11) of St. Louis, Mo.; Urijah Faber protégé David “Bulletproof” Mitchell (14-4) of Lower Lake, Calif.; Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert Roan “Jucao” Carneiro (16-9) of Atlanta, Ga.; and Trey “That Just Happened?” Houston (11-2) of Bixby, Okla.

Dennis “Superman” Hallman and Chris Honeycutt, originally slated for action in the tournament, will be replaced by two competitors to be announced soon. Additional bouts for the telecast as well as a preliminary bout card will also be announced soon.

August 27, 2014

Stephan Bonnar signs with Bellator MMA, wants fight with Tito Ortiz ASAP

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 12:32 PM

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The Bellator Light Heavyweight division has seen a new arrival as fan favorite Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar (15-8) has agreed to terms on a new Bellator contract.

Fighting in front of millions on Spike TV against the likes of James Irvin, Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans and an iconic showdown with Forrest Griffin, Bonnar has established himself as one of the biggest personalities in the sport during his nearly fifteen year professional career. Last competing in 2012 against Anderson Silva, Bonnar is eager to get back to work, and has a good idea about who his first opponent should be inside the Bellator cage.

“I want everyone to know I’m coming out of retirement because it’s time to free the MMA world of the virus that’s known as Tito Ortiz,” Bonnar said. “We’ve been suffering through his boring fights for too many years, and it’s about time that someone beats it out of him once and for all.”

“Stephan is a guy that has been a huge part of this sport and we are excited have him part of the roster,” Bellator President Scott Coker said. “He was one half of probably the greatest and one of the most important fights in MMA history, and it happened on Spike. When you look at our Light Heavyweight division, with names like Rampage, Tito, King Mo, Emanuel Newton and others, there are a lot of fights Stephan can be involved in. Big fights against big names. After talking to Stephan, I know that’s what he wants, and we want to provide that to our fans.”

Bonnar will also be involved in various components relating to Bellator, including the possibility of on-air commentating and analysis. Bonnar is expected to compete this year live on Spike TV.

August 26, 2014

Judo Gold Medalist Satoshi Ishii heads to first M-1 Global event in China in November

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 11:58 AM

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2008 Olympic gold medal winner in judo, Satoshi Ishii (12-1-1, 1 KO/TKO, 4 SUB), will fight an opponent to be determined November 11 in the ground-breaking M-1 Challenge in China, launching an annual 10-year event agreement for promoter M-1 Global, at Wukesong Arena in Beijing.

Russian heavyweight star Sergei Kharitonov (21-5-0, 11 KO/TKO, 9 SUB) is scheduled to headline the Nov, 11th extravaganza, held in conjunction with the International Economic Forum, against an opponent to be determined.

The 27-year-old Ishii, fighting out of Osaka, Japan, trains in California at Black House and Reign MMA. The 5′ 11″, 240-heavyweight is riding an eight-fight win streak, including victories against Jeff Monson, Pedro Rizzo and Tim Sylvia, among the more notables.

Ishii will not be competing Nov. 11 in his first M-1 Global. In December 2011, he fought legendary Fedor Emelianenko in Fight for Japan: New Year 2011, in which M-1 Global was involved. Emelianenko defeated the Japanese star by way of a first-round knockout by punches. Satoshi defeated Monson (49-19-1) last October in M-1 Challenge 42 in St. Petersburg, Russia.ju

Understanding MMA odds

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Fight Nerd @ 10:48 AM

UFC and MMA betting has become hugely popular over the last few years and online wagering is atan all-time high. Whilst there is plenty of money to be made when accurately predicting what’s going to happen in the cage there are bettors who may not understand the way odds work, so the basics are all explained here.

Money line odds

The majority of bettors will place their money on money line odds as these are the easiest to understand. Money line bets are simply wagers on the fighter that will win, with odds displayed like this:

Thiago Alves +185

Anderson Silva -240

The negative number is indicative of a fighter being a favourite to win, whilst the positive indicates a contender is least likely to be victorious. If a bettor wagers $100 on Alves and wins, they will receive a payout of $285 and anyone wanting to wager on Silva must risk at least $240 to win $100. Thus the + indicates how much a bettor will win by wagering $100 and the – for the favourite shows how much needs to be wagered to win $100.

Fighter’s odds can change as more wagers are placed or the public’s opinion of fighter’s chances change and sports books will keep odds updated to reflect their current status. If you see great odds. it’s always a good idea to bet, especially as MMA is such an explosive sport with its outcome not always being very predictable or if you prefer to stick to a game of luck you can try out the fighting themed games at sites like http://www.mobilecasinoaustralia.com.au/

Total Rounds odds

Apart from picking a winner, another very common wager is to bet on how many rounds the fight will reach before a winner emerges. Generally a sportsbook will provide an over/under for the number of expected rounds and bettors can wager on whether they think the fight will have less or more rounds than given. If a fight runs 3 rounds and a bet on an over/under of 2.5 has been made and the fight lasts more than 2, a bet would be a winning one, but if the fight runs less than 2 an under bet would win.

Prop bets, where a fighter’s method of victory is predicted are also popular and there are numerous sportsbooks that offer a wide selection of options for each fight. Now that you understand a bit more about how odds work, you can start placing wagers and stand a chance of winning.

August 5, 2014

Emanuel Newton to defend LHW belt against Joey Beltran at Bellator 124

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 12:40 PM

Bellator MMA will return to the state of Michigan for Bellator 124 from the Compuware Arena just outside of Detroit on Friday, September 12th live on Spike TV. The event will be headlined by a Light Heavyweight Title fight as reigning Bellator Champion Emanuel Newton will defend his belt against Joey Beltran.

The night will also feature the Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament Final between Liam McGeary and Kelly Anundson, which will be the co-main event of the evening. Tickets for the event will be on sale on Friday, August 8th and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, Bellator.com or by visiting the Compuware Arena Box Office.

After defeating Attila Vegh at Bellator 113 and being named the undisputed Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion, Newton will put his title on the line against Beltran. With a tough opponent in Newton, Beltran doesn’t plan on putting his fate in the judge’s hands and is looking for the finish against Newton. Beltran is coming off of a submission victory against Vladimir Matyushenko and has recorded 13 of his 15 wins by finish with eight coming in the first round.

“I’ve been wanting to get back in the cage as soon as possible so I went to Scott Coker and he made this fight happen for me,” Newton said. “Beltran is a guy that always pushes the pace and looks for the finish, which plays into my style perfectly. I know he is coming off a nice win against Matyushenko, and has been in this game for a while, so I’m excited for the fight and another chance to defend my belt.”

“I’m jacked to get this shot against Newton,” Beltran said. “He’s a tough guy, but I’ve been in this sport for a while now and have fought some of the best. I’ve got some good momentum after my last fight, and were going to put on a show September 12th.”

Both looking to earn their first Bellator title shot, Liam McGeary will face Kelly Anundson in the Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament Final. Ranked first for the most TKO/KO in the light heavyweight division, McGeary has recorded all five of his Bellator victories by first round finish and has only spent five minutes and eight seconds in the Bellator cage. Looking to maintain his perfect 8-0 professional record, McGeary will have to hold off Anundson, who is coming off of a strong TKO victory against Philipe Lins in the semifinal round. Anundson has won his previous six fights, five coming by knockout or submission.

More fights will be announced in the coming weeks.

MAIN CARD:
Light Heavyweight World Title Fight: Emanuel Newton (23-7) vs. Joey Beltran (15-10)
Light Heavyweight Tournament Final: Liam McGeary (8-0) vs. Kelly Anundson (9-2)

August 1, 2014

Michael Chandler talks Scott Coker in Bellator & wrestling

Filed under: Interviews,Lead Story,Videos — Tags: , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 6:47 PM

The Fight Nerd had a chance to interview Bellator MMA lightweight contender, Michael Chandler, at a recent press event in NYC.

In part two of this interview, Chandler talks about the recent change in power when Bjorn Rebney left Bellator MMA and was replaced by former Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, and what he would like to see Coker change and do differently in this role.

Chandler also tells us if he has any plans to ever return to amateur wrestling or if he will stay in MMA for good, and we ask him if the money was as good in wrestling as it was in MMA whether he would have stayed in the wrestling scene. Plus, we ask the age-old question – does Michael Chandler have a nickname?

If you missed part one of this interview, head to this link here to see why Chandler wants a rematch with Will Brooks first and not Eddie Alvarez.

Tito Ortiz: “If guys use TRT, they need to retire!”, + TNA Wrestling & Old School MMA

The Fight Nerd caught up with Bellator MMA light heavyweight Tito Ortiz at a recent press event in New York City, and Tito had plenty to say!

In part two of this interview, Tito gives us his thoughts on the UFC’s idea of giving uniforms to their fighters, if he has any plans to return to TNA Wrestling and whether or not he thinks that TNA will survive if Spike TV does not renew their contract, and how he squares up against Bellator MMA LHW champ Emanuel Newton.

Ortiz also comments on the trend of fighters using TRT and getting TRT exemptions, and how random drug testing should be used more in the sport, and gives us some old school MMA stories about “Tank” Abbott and Tito’s first fight in the UFC.

If you missed part one of this interview, head to this link here to check out what Tito had to say to critics of his Shlemenko fight and why he does not want to fight King Mo.

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