The Fight Nerd

July 17, 2014

Art Davie explains UFC history in “Is This Legal?” – Book Review

Filed under: Product Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 3:36 PM

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Old School MMA is kind of our thing here on TheFightNerd.com. I was not a TUF bandwagon fan, but I was also not one of the people who was watching the first event when it aired in 1993. With that said, my fandom began with the debut event of “The Ultimate Fighting Championship” on VHS, and 90 minutes later I was hooked. Many years later and I am doing a video series all about the old SEG UFC events from a historical and comical perspective. There is a ton of info out there, but finding it all in one spot has always been tough, as well as being able to read between the lines and find the truth of hearing the same story told from different people. Today, we are checking out a book about the origins of the biggest MMA promotion in the world from the man that was responsible for making that happen.

Written by Art Davie (with help from Sean Wheelock), “Is This Legal?” tells the inside story of how the first no-holds-barred martial arts fighting show made it to pay-per-view, and all of the struggles along the way. It’s hard to review this book without giving away too many spoilers that make the experience so enjoyable and informative, and that sentence right there should give you an idea of where this review is headed.

Davie holds nothing back, whether it is about himself, the Gracie family, the business side of setting up this event and who he worked with, and the fighters themselves. Some of these are stories we have heard tidbits of before, such as the tumultuous rules meeting at the first event and how the structure of the fighting surface was initially formed, but now we have the deeper stories behind them from the man that witnessed and influenced these things. There is little time spent on autobiographical details preceding the first spark that set Davie on the path to the UFC, but it’s not all a behind the scenes of UFC 1 book, but a real origin story that sets the pace for the future of the sport.

Did you ever wonder why Royce fought in the first UFC and not Rickson? How movie director John Milius first met Davie and became involved in creating what would eventually become the familiar octagon shape that we all know and love? Or how Bob Meyrowitz and SEG came in, and all of the drama between Davie’s company, WOW, and Bob’s SEG? There are so many stories in this book, many of which I never even knew about until after reading it, that even the most hardcore know-it-all fans will learn something new by the time they finish it. Learning about how Davie recruited fighters and advertised the show was extremely interesting, as well as the contract negotiations between WOW and SEG that cut it close to the time of the actual pay-per-view airing live. Seeing all of the rejection letters that Davie received while trying to sell the event was also pretty amazing, when you consider how many of these people passed up on the sport that years later, they would cover or be interested in exploiting in some way or another.

This is a book that I want to discuss with people, but much like reading “Game of Thrones”, you can not talk about it until the other person has read it. There are few books about MMA history that I can say that about, but this is one of them. Much like the old UFC slogan, “Seeing is Believing”, this book is very much the same. I thought I knew a lot about the first UFC event, and this book taught me far more than I ever expected to know about it. Fight fans and history buffs need to pick this up right away!

You can order Is This Legal?: The Inside Story of The First UFC from the Man Who Created It as a hardcover book from Amazon.com for under $20, and is a 100% must buy for knowledge-seeking MMA fans. The worst thing about this book is that it ends, so Art Davie – if you ever see this review – make a sequel! I want to hear more about the good ole’ days of NHB fighting and would definitely buy another book like this one.

July 16, 2014

Fighters Source “Kings of New York” Amateur MMA Returns for National Championship

Filed under: News — The Fight Nerd @ 10:59 AM

Fighters Source, an International Amateur MMA League, announced today that their US National Competition will be the main event of the 5th Annual MMA World Expo at the Javits Center on Saturday, July 26th at 6:00 p.m.

Amateur fighters from New York City and across the country are currently competing for a chance to fight at the Fighters Source Nationals in which the victors will advance to represent Team USA at the Amateur MMA World Challenge in London, England.

“This is an exciting time for all these athletes,” said Anthony Medina, CEO of Fighters Source. “New York City will be the city to determine their fate and whether or not they will have the opportunity to represent the US in the World Challenge.”

These 8 bouts will determine the six men and two women who will earn their chance to represent the USA in the World Challenge. This tournament has brought the best male fighters at 135lbs, 145lbs, 155lbs, 170lbs, 185lbs, 205lbs and females fighters at 125lbs, 135lbs from across the county to lay it all out on the line and show why they are the best in their weight class.

This tournament will be commentated by former UFC fighter Seth “Silverback” Petruzelli, and MC’d by combat sports announcer Chris Geraghty.

Tickets are available at http://mmaworldexpo.com/fighterssource/. Ticket prices start at $45. Additional facility fees and taxes may apply.

These athletes’ journeys as Amateur MMA fighters have been documented for the United Fight Alliance (UFA) Network which airs in 100+ million homes nationally alone, and a combined 130 million homes, nationally and internationally. This is the first time an amateur sports league will be broadcast into homes worldwide.

Fighters Source plans to produce and broadcast amateur Mixed Martial Arts events from around the country, giving fans an opportunity to watch this major step for amateur fighters as they prepare themselves for the pros.

July 15, 2014

Fight Nerd Cinema: “The Tournament” Movie Review

Filed under: Features,Movie Reviews — Tags: , , — The Fight Nerd @ 10:58 AM

Continuing down our reviews of the six films featured in The Angela Mao Ying Collection from Shout Factory, today we look at 1974′s “The Tournament”. Starring Angela Mao Ying, this film from Golden Harvest also features Whang In-Sik, Sammo Hung, Wilson Tong, and Carter Huang, with the action scenes directed by Jackie Chan.

When local mobsters increase their protection fee to unreasonable amounts, a family of Kung Fu fighters (including Angela Mao and Carter Huang, who plays her brother) head to Thailand to fight against Muay Thai fighters for money. After Carter Huang’s character gets defeated badly, her Father’s name is disgraced and the Hong Kong Kung Fu Association kicks him out of the group. With all of his students gone due to the embarrassment and the Association turning their back on him, her father commits suicide. With a fire lit in her belly, Angela announces that she and her brother are leaving the Kung Fu association and will go to Thailand to learn Muay Thai to make herself stronger and avenge her father and restore the honor of her family.

One of the most interesting things about this movie is the discussion of adapting and evolving your martial art. The Kung Fu Association is firmly rooted in their belief that the Chinese must only practice Kung Fu and their style is the best, while Angela disagrees and says that they need to change to new ways to grow and not get stifled. Much of the movie is about learning and accepting change, and not getting stuck in old forms that may not be as relevant. There is also talk of the differences between traditional martial arts that are meant for self-defense versus combat sports like muay thai that are about competition and why both are relevant (an argument that continues to this day in MMA circles). Often times, we get a Kung Fu movie that is about Nationalism, which American fans can relate to but not necessarily to Chinese nationalist pride. With this film, all audiences can agree that nations are not as important as philosophies, and that turns this into a much more timeless story with values that still matter to modern martial artists.

This particular movie is less a mindless fight movie, and more of a drama with fighting, which is something I love about it. It’s a very serious Kung Fu movie, with no slapstick or physical comedy like other Kung Fu movies will often have (which does not translate too well in most cases). While it can get slow at times, the fights are our reward for patience and plot. With that said, the fight scenes are great and show off a lot of style and flair. Seeing Angela adapt her skills to Muay Thai is exciting to watch, and having a ring adds dynamism to the choreography and filming of the bouts, something that you do not get as much in other HK action movies because they typically battle in very wide, open spaces. And yes, Angela does fight men in the Muay Thai ring (something that is not normally allowed, but movie magic lets it be).

A quick sidenote, I watched this movie with the english dub side-by-side with the english subtitles, and if you want to get the closest and most dramatic translation for this film, read the subs. If you want some laughs, enjoy the dub, but frankly, the story is much easier to follow with the subtitles (as it typically is with these movies).

This is a great vehicle to showcase Angela Mao’s talents, and features her at her best. She is as skilled of an actress as she is a martial artist, and “The Tournament” is a great way to see both of those abilities, as well as action that modern fight fans might find more relevant than the average Kung Fu movie. With both traditional Kung Fu sequences and Muay Thai fights, this movie offers a different look and feel than a lot of other action flicks from that era. A smart movie with a good cast and story, as well as a relevant discussion similar to the talks of TMA VS MMA, this is a must-see for all martial arts movie enthusiasts.

You can get this movie, along with five other Angela Mao movies with The Angela Mao Ying Collection from Shout Factory, and I definitely recommend getting this set for some very high-quality martial-arts action classics that beats the old grainy VHS tapes that we are used to seeing these on.

July 5, 2014

Fight Nerd Cinema: “The Himalayan” Movie Review

Filed under: Features,Movie Reviews — Tags: , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 10:53 AM

Golden Harvest put out high quality martial arts movies at a steady rate during the 1970′s, with many classics and a few duds scattered through their timeline. Today, we look at a forgotten classic from 1976 titled “The Himalayan”, which is now available on Shout Factory’s The Angela Mao Ying Collection , a three-disc six-movie set with five other great movies starring Angela Mao. This movie features the tag team of Angela Mao and Delon Tan, taking a typical Kung Fu movie story and throwing it into a different location.

Taking place in Tibet, the story follows the treacherous Kao family, who have an arranged marriage with Lin, the daughter (Angela Mao) of the Tseng family that ends up taking a turn when her father decides he wants his daughter to marry the younger brother ran the elder, Kao Chu. Chu kills his younger brother after he refuses to go through the marriage, and hires a look-a-like to take his place, and thus get a foothold into the Tseng family fortune. Meanwhile, longtime friend Chin-Kang (Delon Tan) wishes that he could marry Lin, but is too poor to ever have that dream become a reality. The Kao family begins their plan to take over, which includes framing Chin-Kang and Lin for having an affair that led to Chin-Kang’s murder at the hands of Lin (in reality, Kao used his “tiger claw” technique to render him unconscious). Chin-Kang and Lin manage to escape together and head to the Buddhist temple run by the Eagle Lamma (played by the director of the film, Huang Feng), who is the only man who can teach them the technique to defeat Kao Chu.

This is a fast-paced movie with some very good fight scenes that come hard and fast. The authentic locations used make the fight scenes extra good, including a Buddhist temple with more steps than a human should ever have to climb, and some nice outdoors spots. It makes me wish that there were more of those sites used than just studios with sets since this movie still has a lot of those, but I will take what I can get. Delon Tan stands out in the action sequences, with some of the crispest kicks you will ever see in one of these older movies, so much that he could give Bruce Lee a run for his money. He has a great fight with Sammo Hung in the finale, and any time he hits the screen and starts kicking people is pretty awesome.

Overall, this movie has your average Kung Fu movie story with some very good fights and a few twists along the way, with action choreographed by Sammo Hung and Han Ying-Chieh. The pair utilized a talented team of stuntmen and performers to put on convincing fights with exciting direction that will keep you watching the well-paced events that unfurl. Plus, if you pay attention, you can also see Jackie Chan as an extra in one of the last fights in the movie! It’s a hidden treasure that is worth unearthing, mainly to see Angela Mao and Delon Tan side-by-side kicking butt, and they kick a lot of that in “The Himalayan”.

You can get this movie, along with five other Angela Mao movies with The Angela Mao Ying Collection from Shout Factory, and I definitely recommend getting this set for some very high-quality martial-arts action classics that beats the old grainy VHS tapes that we are used to seeing these on.

June 29, 2014

Bell’O Digital BDH821 Headphones Review

Filed under: Product Reviews — Tags: , — The Fight Nerd @ 6:22 PM

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As someone who does a lot of video editing, one of the biggest concerns I always have is not necessarily my video quality, but is often my audio. The quality of the sound during videos is almost more important than a video clip, especially if it has voices or other important sounds. Without the right audio, you can have the most well-shot and put together video that is just meaningless. I go through a good amount of headphones, looking for the right pair to work with, and today, I am looking at a pair from Bell’O Digital, their blue BDH821 high-performance headphones to be exact.

Available in white, black, grey, and blue, these headphones were made for all-purposes including music, sound production, and are usable with your cell phones as well. These attractive devices feature a 24 Karat gold-plated 3.5 mm plug to get you the best connectivity to whatever you are using while listening, and feature a system of oxygen-free copper wires wrapped in a reinforced fabric to give you optimal sound. This fabric wrap around the cables keeps them virtually tangle free, and the headphones themselves can be folded flat by rotating the earphones in towards the center for easy storage. They do not collapse entirely, since they have a solid padded headphone that allows you to adjust the length of the earphones.

The earpieces are very comfortable to wear, with very little ear fatigue after extended use (as in once you take them off, you won’t feel like you just lost 10 lbs). Neodymium magnets are used to optimize reaction time of the speaker drivers, which is fancy tech talk for that they sound better than your average headphones. The headphones also come with a microfiber bag to carry them in, which you can also use to clean them off.

In terms of music, these have a crystal clear richness to them with a solid bass that does not overpower your tunes. You don’t lose the integrity of the sound, with one piece of audio taking priority over the other. Instead, you get the full audio experience of each independent instrument, beat, or whatever, all coming together to form a song. The best way I can describe the sound is that they make it feel like you are not wearing headphones, with the sensation that the music is not just coming out of your ears but is all around you (a built-in surround sound system for your head).

The same goes for voices and editing for video, as you get the full range of sounds and the sense of depth and placement for where the sounds are coming from. I like using the phrase “true sound” when I listened to these, because I felt like I was not watching a video but actually there while it was happening in front of me. With that said, the sound is not augmented in any way nor is there any control for you to do so on these headphones, but they are a very good experience that will envelop you in whatever audio you are listening to.

The integrated microphone and one-touch button controller is very easy to use. I tested it on my iPhone 4S, and operates during phone calls and music listening. For phone mode, you simply click the button once to answer a call, and when you are done, click it once more. When music is on, you can press play with one click, double click it to move to the next track, and triple click to go backwards to the beginning of a track, or play the last track. It also works with Siri, by simply holding down the button until she activates. It took some getting used to when it came to the multi-clicks, as it felt a bit stiff at first (it’s not a button that you press, but a clicker), but once you do it enough you will get the hang of the speed and weight you need to activate it. The best part about this feature is that the phone can have the screen locked and I can still cycle through my music without having to open the screen up.

You can order the Bell’O Digital Over-Ear High Performance Headphones from Amazon.com for $35-45, depending on the color you purchase. This is a surprisingly cheap price for such high-quality headphones, and makes the phrase, “You get what you pay for” completely moot. It’s a set of headphones that I would easily pay double for, and the best part is that the company does have higher grades of headphones coming out soon that will cost more. I got to try those out at CE Week, and my initial impressions were very positive, so I can not wait until the new ones come out so I can put them under some longterm use and abuse to see how they hold up.

Overall, they are an extremely well-made set of headphones with amazing quality for the price, and it makes you really wonder what is going on in their engineering as opposed to other companies who do charge more for equal quality. I don’t want to call these budget headphones because of the price tag, but they are the perfect set for someone who wants a good pair of headphones that look nice and do not cost an arm and a leg. For me, the biggest selling point is not how much they are, but how good they sound and how shocked you are once you find out the price. It’s rare to find headphones that sound great and are inexpensive, and Bell’O Digital somehow managed to do both, making these one of the strongest headphones in the consumer market. Definitely give these a try if you are in the market for a new pair and let me know what you think!

Mimoco’s “Mimo Power Tube” Review

Filed under: Product Reviews — Tags: , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 3:38 PM

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I am a collector of the Mimoco USB flash drive devices, with about 10 that I currently use for various things. The company is known for their high-quality licensed flash drives that function as good as they look. Fast transfers, sturdy and reliable, Mimoco has now dipped their toes into another growing market, charging devices for people on the go.

Smart phones often have pretty awful lifespans, especially if you use them for your gaming, social media, and everything else they do. Transportable battery chargers have come to the rescue, and they are without a doubt one of the hottest tech items in the consumer electronics world. Not wanting to be left behind, Mimoco jumped in and has produced their own version of the chargers with their stylish Mimo Power Tube. Taking the design elements that Mimo fans have come to love, along with their great technology, Mimoco has big plans for these chargers, and today we take a look to see if they are any good.

First, a few tech notes to get out of the way – The Mimo Power Tube 2600 uses a single cell Li-ion battery to power your devices, and while you might think the 2600 is a clever nod to Atari, it conveniently is also the mAh in the device. About the same height as a 1980′s GI Joe action figure, this thin tube has almost the same width as a roll of “Life Savers”. The overall charging life of this item should be about 500 charges total, which means it should last a pretty long time.

I got the Pill Power tube, which is in the photo at the top of this post, but you can also get one that looks like the aforementioned Life Savers candy, a zombie finger, crayons, a cheeseburger or hot dog, or a doobie (first time I ever wrote that word on this website, and surprisingly it’s for a tech review), among other designs.

Outside of the box, the Mimo Power Tube comes with a small instruction manual (basically one small piece of paper folded in half) that explains how to use the charger, as well as giving you a one-year warranty on the item. Aside from the manual and the Power Tube itself, it comes with a USB charging cable that includes five tips and a black pouch to carry and protect the power tube.

The five tips represent compatibility for various devices, and include a Micro USB for Blackberry and Samsung Galaxy phones and whatever else uses this (it is also the main cord to charge the tube itself), a mini USB, Nokia mini, Apple 30 pin, and Apple Lightning. All you have to do is attach the easily swappable tips into the USB cable, plug it into your computer, and let it charge. Beyond smartphones, you can also use this charger for digital cameras, other MP3 players (like my little Cowon MP3 player that I use every now and then), and anything else that you need to plug in with USB ports.

A pet peeve of mine has always been when something is charging and I have no idea of it’s progress, or when it even finishes. I have spent big money on products that come with chargers like that, and it boggles the mind how anyone can still sell anything like that these days. Mimoco’s Power Tubes all have an LED indicator which glows red while it is charging, and once it reaches 80% it will turn green. It does not stop glowing once it hits 100%, so it is recommended to let it keep charging for another 30 to 60 minutes once it hits the green zone to make sure it reaches its maximum internal charge. From start to finish, it should take you less than four hours to completely power up the Mimo Tube.

Once it is charged, it’s ready to use on any compatible devices. I tested it on my iPhone 4S as well as my iPod, and it worked very well, offering a steady and consistent charge. The tube claims it can offer 1.5 full charges to devices before it needs to be charged again, and I can confirm that number, although a lot of that depends on how much power you had to begin with on your devices. For example, if your phone is not totally dead, then it will definitely last longer. Otherwise, the charger delivers as promised and was definitely a boon to my dying devices.

Other chargers on the market often mimic the shape of smartphones – flat rectangles that get wider depending on how strong they become. I like the Mimo Power Tube because it is not shaped like that, and is a much more comfortable and stylish cylinder. If I want to put it in my pocket, it fits a lot nicer than a boxy charger, and is lightweight enough to not weigh down my pocket. If you put it in your bag, the shape is unmistakable and instantly recognizable.

Overall, I really love the Mimo Power Tube and highly recommend it. Shaped for people on the go with enough juice to keep your phone alive for a long time, it combines form with function to make a very fun battery charger. Costing only $30, this is a super affordable and very useful battery charger that is too good to pass up. The power tube currently comes in eleven different designs, which you can see on their website, and I can confirm that I got a sneak peek at some future designs that will add another dozen gorgeous illustrations from a line-up of amazing artists, so keep your eyes peeled for that release coming up in the fall (I was sworn to secrecy about this product so that is all I can say)!

The company is also coming out with a Battery Bot later this year, a larger battery charger that offers double the power with 5200 mAh at the tip of your fingers, and currently come in Star Wars and Adventure Time designs, as well as their own in-house designs. You can currently pre-order these on their site before their October release, as well as get $10 off the normal price, so make sure to check those out as well.

June 27, 2014

Awesome Stuff I Saw at CE Week 2014

Filed under: Features,Lead Story — Tags: , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 6:25 PM

You can’t be a nerd and not have some interest in the latest technology. This past week in New York City, CE Week happened (the consumer electronics mid-year convention), showcasing the latest tech across multiple markets. Ranging from big-name companies to small start-ups, 2014 marked my first year attending this show, and it may have become one of my favorite industry conventions of the year.

Located at the Metropolitan Pavilion and Altman Buildings on West 18th street in Manhattan, I set my eyes on electronics related to smartphones, computers, cameras, audiovisual devices, games, toys, accessories, and tons of other things that were both exciting and a grim reminder of the impending robot takeover. Over 180 attendees from around the world showed up, and while I did not get a chance to talk with every single booth there, I talked to more than half of the exhibitors in attendance, so here is quick rundown of some of the favorite stuff that I saw, and a few duds as well. Take a look and embrace your inner geek!

Olloclip – I reviewed the Olloclip for another site about two years ago, and after that I liked it so much that I ended up buying two more to give out to friends. The Olloclip is a highly affordable lens adapter for iPhones and now iPads that gives you four lens in one attachment. Easy to snap onto your smartphone, the classic Olloclip offers you the ability to shoot through a fisheye lens, wide-angle lens, and both a 10x and 15x macro lens.

The only problem I ever had with the Olloclip was how easy it was to lose it, since everyone I know who has one lost in after not too long. The Olloclip currently comes with a small pouch to put the lens in, but it’s so small that it does little to help. The company showed me they are developing a new larger pouch with zippers that looks promising and should definitely solve the issue of misplacing the lenses like I have in the past.

The company also has an amazing telephoto lens that doubles the optical zoom of your iPhone, and still allows you to use the digital zoom as well to give you a high-quality zoom that has not been possible at this price point before. The iPhone and iPad 4-in-1 lens costs $70 while the telephoto lens costs $100, and was one of my favorite smartphone products before this expo, and continues to be one of them today.

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Mimoco – We have reviewed Mimoco products before, and I am personally a big fan and collector of their USB flash drives and other products. At this show, Mimoco unveiled their Mimo Power Bots, a rechargeable backup battery for all tablets and mobile devices. The company has a few different styles including their own original designs and licensed characters like Darth Vader and R2-D2 from “Star Wars” and Finn and BMO from “Adventure Time”. You can currently pre-order these and get a discount of $10 from these already well-priced chargers on their official site (licensed characters cost $60 each, and original characters cost $50).

Also on display was the Mimo Power Tube, a designer rechargeable backup battery “with personality”. These chargers are a little bigger than the average glue stick, making them very portable, as well as stylish with very cool designs. We got one of these so expect a review soon, but my early thoughts are very positive on them. I also got a world exclusive first look at some future designs for the power tubes, and I am not allowed to tell you anything other than that. All I can really say is that they will be a hot item when they come out in the fall (hopefully in time for NY Comic Con).

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Bell’o Digital Headphones – Bell’o Digital has been in business for over 25 years, making high-quality audiovisual gear at economic prices. I had the opportunity to try several of their headphones and was quickly impressed with their audio quality, and then blow away after I heard the absurdly low prices. Ranging from basic earbuds to high-end headphones meant for editing and professional music production, this company stood out from the rest at the show for having excellently designed gear with amazing audio integrity.

I tried a few of their different headphones, and all were very comfortable to wear, featuring a 24K Gold-plated plug that is removable and replaceable (a great feature since that is what always breaks first on my headphones) that features a controller for your music playing device, lightweight, and they just sound great. The company also unveiled their BDH851 line, which is the higher end headphones that include changeable covers for the ear pieces and hi-def sound great for audio mixing as well as jamming out to some tunes. There were a lot of good headphone companies at CE Week, but Bell’o had the best priced models that did not skimp on sound quality. I got a pair of their BDH821 headphones to review, so stay tuned for that as I go more in-depth on just how good this fairly-priced headgear was.

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Rocki – One of the products that got me very excited was the Rocki, which reminded me of a Rupee from the Legend of Zelda. The ROCKI is a portable and rechargeable wireless speaker that fits in the palm of your hand, and lets you stream music wherever you go.

By connecting a Rocki to your average pair of speakers, you then connect on the Rocki app, and can stream music anywhere you want. Very well-designed both internally and externally, this tiny speaker (which lasts four hours on one charge) costs a mere $50, and offers a mountain of versatility and customization to your music. With one Rocki, friends can download the free app to connect to your Rocki at parties and play their music from their devices without physically connecting to your device. A cost-efficient cloud speaker that looks great, the Rocki is going to be a force to be reckoned with for music lovers that they will not want to be left out of.

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Gunnar Computer & Gaming eyewear – Hardcore gamers may notice that after late-night binge gaming, they might have some trouble falling asleep. The same goes for TV watching or computer viewing, due to the light that these screens emit which mess with your sleeping patterns, as well as causing your eyes to feel fatigued and worn out. Along came Gunnars, who have developed eyewear to help solve those issues.

Available in general lens like sunglasses, as well as prescription specific, Gunnars are fashionable eyewear for people that spend a lot of time in front of a screen. Comfortable to wear (indoors and out), these are not some cheap plastic glasses with a tint to them. Durable, scratch-resistant, stylish, anti-reflective, and offering the ability to filter artificial light and improve constrast, Gunnars are very useful glasses across the spectrum. They also come available in sunglass form for viewing digital screens outdoors, as well as glasses made for graphic designers and digital artists who need to see true color rather than one altered on a screen. I got a pair of these and will be reviewing them soon, but my initial reaction from the show was very positive and I look forward to giving them a serious test.

Ztylus Revolver Lens Kit – One of my new favorites from CE Week, was the Ztylus Revolver Lens Kit. This smartphone case/attachment does what the Olloclip does, but offers the additional protection of a case that also keeps your lenses in one easy to find place.

Resembling an actual film camera once you attach it to your phone, the revolver easily snaps on and off and offers you four different lens for your camera. The case, which is made from polycarbonate and aluminum, includes a kickstand for hands free shooting and better stabilization when using it, and gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of using it. Whether you are shooting macro, wide angle, or fish eye, this gorgeous lens & case makes quite a statement and works like a charm.

The company also showed off a new hotshoe attachment for DSLR’s, which is an innovative screen cleaner that is meant for wiping off the dirt and oil on camera LCD monitors, as well as computer screens, smartphones, and televisions. I fell in love with the Ztylus revolver lens kit when I saw it and highly recommend checking this product out.

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Steadicam Smoothee & Curve – Created by trusted camera accessory manufacturer, Tiffen, the company has now released a Steadicam accessory for iPhones and GoPro cameras. This is one item I can not wait to get and try out myself, as I got to try it out at the booth and immediately wanted to bring this to an MMA gym and see how it worked.

Making an affordable steadicam for a GoPro is something I can get behind, and this accessory, which comes in two types (one that is for only GoPro and the other for both iPhone and GoPro cameras), utilize a counterweight system to stabilize and balance the camera while in motion, eliminating shakes from the human hand while you film. It also has a quick release mount to easily remove and put it onto the stabilizer, which also can double as a stand or be mounted to your standard tripod. This is a product I have been waiting for and my limited time with at the booth was very positive, so much that the booth rep had to wrestle it out of my hands as I tried to run away with it. This is a tool that filmmakers should definitely look into if they use GoPro’s, as it adds a big boost to creating great looking footage at a high level without an expensive rig.

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iStick – Finally, a USB flash drive for iPhones and iPads! The iStick was recently funded through kickstarter, with a goal of $100,000 that was met and reached over $1.1 million by the time the fundraising period concluded.

Available in three colors (silver, gray, and gold), the iStick allows you to transfer data seamlessly through computers, smartphones, and tablets without using internet or wifi where hackers could have a chance to nab your info. This tiny storage device works with both PC and Mac, and also comes with a universal music & movie player, photo & document viewer, easy file management, and is generally super easy to use. The iStick will come in sizes starting at 8 gigs, with the largest at 128 gigs, and starts at $129 for the smallest size.

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Margaritaville Audio Headphones from MTX – Combining great audio with the power of Cheeseburgers in Paradise, MTX has partnered with Jimmy Buffett to release a designer line of headphones and ear buds. MTX, who has been a notable sponsor of UFC fighters in the past as well as other extreme sports, is going the more laid-back route this time with these colorful headphones.

Compatible with iPhones 3G and newer, as well as iPads and iPods, the headphones feature a device on the wire to let you play, pause, and cycle through your songs, as well as a bass driver in each ear to pump up the volume when you are rocking out. Extremely plush and comfy to wear, the coolest feature about these is that they come with a plughole in the opposite ear that allows your friend to plug their headphones into yours so you can listen to the same music on the same device at the same time! The large headphones, which come in some crazy tropical colors including the ones above that look like Shinya Aoki’s famous rainbow tights, will cost $200-250, and the buds will run you $100-130.

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iLuv Selfy – Innovating on the trend of “selfie” photos around social media, iLuv has created the Selfy. This smartphone case doubles as an easier way to shoot a selfie wherever you are, which features a bluetooth remote camera shutter (which was cropped out of the photo to the left). This controller slides into the groove you see in the picture easily, and allows you to press the button to take the selfie, eliminating the awkwardness of your hand placement when you shoot the pic.

The Selfy also has a bunch of attachments, including a mini-tripod with flexible legs, a tripod head to sit on full-sized tripods, a strap for bicycle helmets, a suction cup powered car mount, and a few other mounts which all cost $20 each. The Selfy is available for iPhones and Galaxy phones, as well as iPads, with the smartphone versions costing $50, and the iPad mini costing 70 and iPad Air for $80.

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Laundry Puppy – One of the smaller (but rapidly growing) start-ups that was at the show was “Laundry Puppy”, a company with a cute name that offers a valuable service. Laundry Puppy allows you to simply a text the word “Pickup” to them, and they send a local credited cleaner on their way to pick up your dirty laundry to be taken care of for you (which they have all ran background checks on before having them join their group).

This free to use service is currently invite only as they continue to grow and test things, so if you live in the five boroughs of NYC and parts of New Jersey, you can give them a try. They also plan on moving into other areas later this year, so keep your eyes on “Laundry Puppy” and let’s see how they transform a heap of messy clothes into a business.

Miggo – My friends gave me the heads-up on this company since they thought it would be something I was interested. Alas, it was not meant for me, but might be useful to other people. With the tagline of a “Camera’s best amigo”, Miggo makes camera straps that double as a protective wrap for your DSLR. This means you can wrap your camera up to protect it when its in your backpack or bag, and when you take it out to use it, you can unwrap it and it doubles as a comfortable camera strap around your neck.

I definitely like the comfort and protection it offers, but it does not do much for anyone using a higher-end camera. Made for mid-size DSLR’s or smaller point-and-shoot cameras, it does the job for those but would not fit a Canon 5D for example, or cameras in that size, so professionals are left in the dust. It’s a cool product for mid-level shooters, but offers nothing for pros.

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FOREO electric toothbruses – Swedish-based FOREO recently launched a skincare line called LUNA, and are now expanding into the dental world with the ISSA. This electric toothbrush uses a nonabrasive, ultra-hygenic soft silicone bristle area that attaches onto the electric base to offer superior flexibility while cleaning your teeth and massaging your gums.

The design of this product looks a bit… “adult” in nature, especially with the color palette they chose, and the reps at CE even joked about that a bit, but once you actually saw the toothbrush in action, you forgot about any snide remarks you wanted to make about vibrators. The rechargeable battery gets a big enough charge to last you a year without needing to be charged again, and the silicone material is super quick to dry and helps reduce bacteria that would grow on your average toothbrush. It’s a fairly expensive product, costing around $200, but it’s a toothbrush that is meant to last for years instead of the plastic one you replace every six months.

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Whoosh! Screen Cleaners – While walking around CE, I got a live demo of Whoosh! My iPhone and the Otter case I house it in have been through a lot, and the screen is a mess of dust, lint, natural oils, and God knows what else. Whoosh offers an affordable solution to cleaning off your smartphone and it actually works!

Squirt the sprayer, which comes in two sizes, onto your smartphone, tablet, computer screen or TV with their clear and odorless magical potion, and use the anti-microbial, microfiber clean cloth to first wipe the screen, then flip that over to use the other side to polish it. Moments later, all the bacteria and filth on your screen is gone, and you will instantly feel the difference as your smartphone screen suddenly operates smoother and faster than it did before. Starting at $6 for a 0.3 ounce bottle and cloth that holds about 100 sprays, this is a very useful accessory that is priced perfectly, and a great solution to a problem that nearly everyone has.

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“Pencil” by 53 – The aptly named “Pencil” from 53 is exactly what it sounds like, but more. A digital pencil that connects with their app, conveniently called “Paper” to let you channel your inner artist on your tablet devices. The Pencil, which has a removable tip and eraser (for replacements and potentially new tips and other attachments), connects via bluetooth to iPads 3 and newer, costing $75 for a fun and attractive digital drawing tool.

Their app, “Paper”, allows you to draw, ink, or paint using a totally customizable palette of colors and brushes to create art that you can save, share, export, and even print out on paper into a customized book. I use a Wacom as my man digital drawing tool, but the Pencil has an organic feel that I liked using and want to definitely get my hands on to try some more. At the event, Georg Petschnigg, CEO of FiftyThree, announced that the pencil would be gaining pressure sensitivity, making it much more useful to serious creators and putting it closer in line to compete with other products similar to them. I look forward to the company continuing to develop further on the idea, and continuing to expand into a more professional direction with more tools in their clever app.

“MiP” from WowWee – Have you ever wanted the robot from Rocky 4? You know, the one that came at the beginning of the movie to say “Happy birthday, Paulie!”, and was then somehow reprogrammed by the fat slob to have a female voice, and then who knows what happened with those two after that? Yeah, how could you forget. Anyway, here’s a really cool robot toy that reminded me of that, without the awful implications of how Paulie may have defiled his cybernetic counterpart.

MiP is controlled via a free app on your smartphone, and is able to roll around with your commands from the device as well as hand motions, or it can move autonomously on its own. This robot toy can dance, drive, make sounds, stack, fight, hold objects without falling over, and play a variety of games on it – all for around $100. One of the coolest parts about this particular toy is that it can easily be hacked to create new games and functions, giving this a big boost in terms of playability. This little guy costs $100, a very fair price for a robotic electronic toy, and was a lot of fun to play with at the show.

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SLXTREME Solar Cases – Another product I really liked that is taking smartphones to the next level was the SLXtreme Solar Case from Snow Lizard. Designed for iPad 4 and iPhone 4 and 5, this very rugged case is also a portable charger, waterproof and designed to keep your phone safe in hostile environments and use the battery more effectively.

Available in solid colors as well as camouflage, this case has been dropped out of buildings and survived unscathed, while also being able to be dunked into six feet of water and still be able to operate. The best feature of this is the solar panel on the back which lets it stay constantly charged using nature, and also has different accessories to allow you to mount the phone to different objects (including yourself). This easy to use polycarbonate case (which is practically bullet-resistant, but I would not recommend testing that out) costs around $150 for the iPhone 5 case and $200 for an iPad 4 case.

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A-Audio Headphones – Based out of Miami, Florida, A-Audio brings innovation in look and function with their high-end headphones. These bluetooth noise-canceling headphones were made for playing music the right way, using noise-isolating technology that allows you to change how the device operates by flicking a switch on one of the earpieces to modify the amount of bass and sound depending on the music you are listening to. Extremely comfortable to wear with solid construction, the headphones have rich tones that make listening to music an immersive experience.

The designs look like an expensive Italian wristwatch, classy and stylish, and uses gold plating and a control panel located in the right ear for hands-free functionality. With a lifespan of 12 hours on one battery charge, these are priced starting at $200 and go as high as nearly $400, and were made with the serious music lover or DJ in mind.

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Pocket Tripod – Everything you need to know about this item comes from its tagline – “The world’s first 360 degree articulating iPhone stand that fits in your wallet”!. The image shown here demonstrates some of the flexibility of the Pocket Tripod, which conveniently folds up lickety-split to put in your pocket or wallet for safe keeping.

This ultra-thin smartphone holder, which is no thicker than two credit cards sandwiched together, can be used both vertically and horizontally, and can turn angles to move in any direction you want it to be in. With custom-designed hinges and locks to keep the tripod and your phone in place, this nifty accessory costs $25 and was built to last.

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“GameSmart” Mobile Gaming Devices from Mad Catz – Last but definitely not least, Mad Catz was in the house with their “GameSmart” line of gear. I have known Mad Catz for a long time (if you are a serious gamer and are not familiar with the brand, we need to have a talk). The company was at CE Week in full force, displaying a bunch of new tech for PC, Mac, and Smart devices including tablets and phones.

From their super thin and lightweight S.T.R.I.K.E. wireless keyboard, to their F.R.E.Q. headsets with amazing live-sound capabilities, Mad Catz knows what gamers want and how to deliver high-quality products that meet and exceed those needs. I really liked their R.A.T. wireless mouse, which looks like a Transformer and practically is one with how it operates. This tiny mouse has an adjustable palm rest with a dozen action buttons, and their M.O.U.S. version is able to operate on any surface, including glass, making PC gaming that much easier to do.

I was very interested in their C.T.R.L. gamepad, which you see in the picture above for Androids and another version for iPhones, this controller makes it much easier to play games on your smartphone, offering pressure sensitivity with the controller and removing the element of fingers blocking and scuffing the screen. I also liked checking out the M.O.J.O., the company’s version of a micro-console that connects with Androids to bring the mobile experience onto big screens. The M.O.J.O. works with all of the Mad Catz GameSmart products for one complete Android experience, including gaming, writing, surfing the web, streaming videos, and anything else you could want.

So that was CE Week in a nutshell for me! I could not talk with everyone, but this is what I personally saw that caught my attention, and I am genuinely looking forward to coming back again for more next year!

Fight Nerd Cinema: “A Queen’s Ransom” Movie Review

Filed under: Features,Movie Reviews — Tags: , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 10:18 AM

By the mid ’70′s, Golden Harvest was producing high-quality martial arts movies that were garnering worldwide attention. They had already made some greats, including Bruce Lee’s movies, Jimmy Wang Yu’s “One Armed Boxer”, and a bunch of Angela Mao movies that we have been discussing for the past few weeks. As they headed away from old style Kung Fu movies, more of their films were set in modern times, and “A Queen’s Ransom” from 1977 could not have been anymore timely. Starring George Lazenby and Angela Mao, this film from Shout Factory’s The Angela Mao Ying Collection is a unique take on some real current events in Hong Kong history.

Repackaged in the 80′s as “The International Assassin”, the movie takes place during May 1975, as 130,000 refugees were fleeing Vietnam as the Communists took over. When the US closed their doors to the refugees, the remaining ones were sent to other parts of Asia, including Hong Kong. This was some horribly bad timing, as Queen Elizabeth II was planning to visit the nation, the first time the Queen of England had visited them during 133 years of them in power. This required a ton of police and military manpower during a time period that was already short on that manpower thanks to the influx of newcomers to Hong Kong.

As the police look to keep troublemakers out, George Lazenby enters the scene as a North Ireland citizen, along with his team of international hitmen that include Bolo Yeung, Jimmy Wang Yu, and Judy Brown, whose goal is to take out the Queen at any cost. The police are working to set up an undercover sting to ravel this plot, but meanwhile, a Burmese Princess (Angela Mao) arrives in Hong Kong and rents a small farm to hide out herself and her treasures.

Needless to say, the hitmen do not get along too well, with Jimmy Wang Yu’s character not wanting to be a team player. After a failed assassination attempt in public leads to Angela Mao getting involved against the hitmen and haplessly becoming part of the sting to catch them, things really heat up, and to find out what happens next, you need to watch the film!

Unlike the other Golden Harvest movie with Lazenby we reviewed last time, “Stoner”, this one is paced much better with a more engaging plot. Rather than a martial arts movie, this is a thriller with action tossed in. There is no cheesy music (or at least only when it is necessary) and exploitation scenes, but a much classier and smarter movie, written and directed by Shan Si-Tung. Mao does very little for most of the film, and does much of her acting with facial gestures and body language since she plays a foreigner in HK that does not speak their language. She also gets very limited fight time, maybe a minute or so total, but part of that includes her firing a machine gun – a first in her career. As for the gang of hitmen, you can feel their tension and distrust for each other, also through their body language, and the direction of Shan was crucial to these emotions being seen through how he sets up his shots.

Gun fights, crime conspiracies, and Angela Mao shooting a gun – what more can you ask for? While this is not a traditional Kung Fu film in the sense of people leaping around and kicking things with whoosh sound effects, this is a Hong Kong style thriller with a more serious tone to it that is worth checking out, especially treating it as a departure from the typical Golden Harvest films. Despite this being part of “The Angela Mao Ying Collection”, there is not a ton of her as the movie is really about George Lazenby and his team, but it’s still a worthwhile addition to the remastered DVD set from Shout Factory.

You can get this movie, along with five other Angela Mao movies with The Angela Mao Ying Collection from Shout Factory, and I definitely recommend getting this set for some very high-quality martial-arts action classics that beats the old grainy VHS tapes that we are used to seeing these on.

June 24, 2014

Hendricks wants Weidman in UFC Super fight, Dana says no!

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 12:43 PM

Fans were hoping to get Anderson Silva and GSP into the octagon down the line for an epic superfight, but with GSP taking an indefinite leave of absence and Silva still recovering from his horrific leg injury, it looks like we might have a new multi-division super fight on our hands.

UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks appeared on AXS TV’s “Inside MMA” last week, alongside UFC President Dana White, who was there to discuss the recent signing of Scott Coker to take helm over at Bellator MMA, as well as other recent UFC news stories and upcoming events (including UFC Fight Night 43, for which you can view odds here ).

Hendricks asked, “Realistically, if I won three or four fights, and so does Chris Weidman, three or four fights, do you think we could have that [super fight] happen? 185?” White responded in typical fashion, “Well I don’t know about three or four fights. First of all, champ, you are in a very nasty division that is packed with talent from one through thirteen. You got a lot of housework to do before you start talking about Chris Weidman. So hypothetically, if five through thirteen quit in the next two years, yeah, maybe we can do you and Chris Weidman.”

Hendricks seemed to be put on the spot by host Kenny Rice or a producer in the studio, as his response to Dana was just to reiterate it was hypothetical and that he is focused on his division. In the end, all the talk of a super fight will probably not happen, although if it did, it would be a tremendous match to see.

Weidman will be fighting Lyoto Machida at UFC 175, with the champ postponing his last fight due to surgery on his knees. Hendricks is currently recovering from an injury still that he suffered in his last fight, and has just recently begun training again, with no new challenger to his belt named at this time.

June 23, 2014

“World Series of Fighting 10″ Results: Branch, Aguilar, Glenn victorious in title bouts

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David Branch (14-3) is World Series of Fighting’s inaugural middleweight champion after submitting Jesse Taylor (27-10) in the first round of their championship fight.

The bout served as the main event of Saturday’s “World Series of Fighting 10: Branch vs. Taylor” event, which took place at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and aired live on NBCSN.

Branch was overcome with emotion after the fight as the Brooklyn, N.Y., resident and former iron worker openly wept as his hand was raised as WSOF’s newest champion. “I came from nothing,” Branch said afterward. “I know that when I was a kid my mom always struggled. There were three of us and sometimes we only had one meal a day.”

Taylor was the first to go on the attack, clinching up and falling to his back to lock in a guillotine choke. But Branch kept himself safe in the hold, forcing Taylor to let go. When Taylor subsequently scrambled up for a better position, Branch instantly locked in the D’Arce choke and cinched it tight. Taylor tried to resist but was forced to tap at the 1:41 mark of the opening round.

In the night’s co-feature, Rick Glenn (14-3) survived a certain finish by armbar to bounce back and score a TKO win at the end of the second frame and unseat former champion Georgi Karakhanyan (23-4).

A heavy favorite in the matchup, Karakhanyan looked strong in the early going, bringing the fight to the floor and moving to his opponent’s back before locking in an armbar that left Glenn’s limb vulnerable. But the Roufusport fighter battled through the hold and somehow survived until the bell.

“When he took my back I could feel him breathing heavy and I was able to land a couple of punches,” Glenn said. “I just stayed on him. I knew coming in he was the big favorite. It’s nice now that I have this belt that I won’t have to worry about calling anyone out.”

He added: “I want to finish fights and I want to put on exciting fights for the fans. I don’t want to leave it in the judges hands and get screwed.”

Things changed dramatically in the second, as Glenn took his opponent to the floor and unleashed a furious ground-and-pound barrage. Karakhanyan was wounded and tried hard to escape but endured a non-stop wave of strikes. He survived until the bell, but when he went to the stool, he revealed he was suffering from broken ribs, and the bout was called off, earning Glenn the title.

World Series of Fighting women’s strawweight champion Jessica Aguilar (18-4) kept firm hold of her belt with a dominant decision win over a tough Emi Fujino (13-8). Aguilar’s crisp boxing scored points from the start, bloodying Fujino’s nose and setting the tone for the remainder of the five-round affair. To Fujino’s credit, she never showed signs of retreat, even when she was locked deep into an arm-triangle choke

“It didn’t go exactly the way I planned, but we still got the hand raised at the end and that’s the most important thing,” Aguilar said. “She was tough. I knew she would be. But I was prepared to go five rounds; I was prepared to go 10 rounds.”

In a lightweight matchup, Luiz Firmino (18-6) earned a hard-fought decision win over highly respected veteran Tyson Griffin (16-8) in a high-paced slugfest. Both fighters fired haymakers on the feet throughout the 15-minute matchup, but Firmino mixed in sharp grappling, as well, working frequently to dominant positions and forcing Griffin to defend potential submissions. The dynamic attack was enough to score him a decision win, 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.

“I’ve been training so hard for this fight and I was ready. He’s big, as big as me and the same height so I thought it was a good matchup for both of us.”

In the night’s first main-card matchup, Lance Palmer (8-1) rebounded from his failed bid at the World Series of Fighting featherweight title with an impressive first-round win over the previously undefeated Nick LoBosco (7-1). After some early exchanges on the feet, Palmer turned to his wrestling base to bring the fight to the floor. Once there, he offered up non-stop ground-and-pound strikes until he could sink in a rear-naked choke with 45 seconds left in the first round.

“This was a fight I needed coming off the loss to Georgi (Karakhanyan) in my last fight,” Palmer said after the win. “There was a sense of urgency. I wanted to prove I was the dominant fighter in the first round, and I was able to do that and dominate him early.”

In the night’s final preliminary matchup, a heavyweight rivalry fight turned out to be fairly one-sided in nature, as Derrick Mehmen (18-5) cruised to a decision win over Dave Huckaba (21-6). A gritty Huckaba fought hard from start to finish, pumping out a stiff jab throughout the fight. But Mehmen’s speed, coupled with his ability to get the fight to the floor, seemingly at will, allowed him to control the pace and positioning of the contest. Mehmen used short punches and elbows on the floor to batter Huckaba, and at the end of the fight, he was awarded a clearcut decision win with scores of 30-26, 30-25 and 30-27.

Dagestani import Timur Valiev (7-1) made an immediate impact in World Series of Fighting’s bantamweight division, earning a thrilling third-round TKO win over a tough Adam Acquaviva (1-1).

In an early “Fight of the Night” candidate, the two fighters went back and forth in a high-paced affair. But as it wore on, Valiev seemed to settle into a rhythm and unleash a dynamic arsenal of attacks, including punches, kicks and takedowns from all angles. A pinpoint high kick nearly ended the fight in the second before a flying knee did the trick 95 seconds into the third.

Bulgarian middleweight Krasimir Mladenov (11-0) kept his perfect career mark intact, outwrestling Angel DeAnda (11-4) for a decision win. DeAnda showed heart and capable takedown defense throughout the three-round contest, but Mladenov’s second and third efforts routinely brought the fight to the floor, earning him points en route to a decision win, 30-27 on all three cards.

Women’s bantamweight Ashlee Evans-Smith (3-0) earned another win, scoring a third-round finish of a taller Marciea Allen (3-2). Evans-Smith started slow, struggling to navigate the range in the early going. But as the fight wore on, her confidence grew, and Evans-Smith took the fight to the floor. Once there, Allen proved unable to escape, and a non-stop barrage of short punches and elbows forced referee Mark Smith to halt the fight at the 3:01 mark of the final round.

In a lightweight matchup featuring crosstown Las Vegas rivals, Drysdale Jiu-Jitsu’s Jimmy Spicuzza (4-0) earned a unanimous-decision win over Xtreme Couture’ Justin Jaynes (4-2).

In the night’s first fight, Las Vegas’ A.J. Williams (1-0) scored a victory in his professional debut, rocking Utah’s Tanner Cowan (0-1) with an early high kick before finishing him off with punches just 44 seconds into the first round.

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