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The Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale: Blow-by-Blow

Phillipe Nover Efrain Escudero TUF 8 UFC MMA
Ryan Bader Vinny Magalhaes UFC TUF 8 MMA
(Photos courtesy of UFC.com)

After a long, arduous, bodily-fluid-filled season of The Ultimate Fighter, we’ve finally made it to the end. It’s time to see who’s worthy of the hype, who’s ready for the big show, who’s taking home the six-figure contracts. If you’re not psyched for this, go watch Bromance you freakin’ fairy. For everyone else, hit that "Read More" link and refresh the page every few minutes for live round-by-round updates and commentary.

SPOILER ALERT: This liveblog kicks off at 9 p.m. ET, but the broadcast is tape-delayed on the West Coast (and possibly other parts of the country). Check your local listings, and keep in mind that we may be writing about things you haven’t seen yet. So if you’re coming in, scroll carefully.

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Ben vs. Ben: TUF 8 Finale Edition


(They’ve come so far, and ingested so much of each other’s bodily fluids.)

With The Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale on Spike TV just one day away, we go head-to-head on some of the most pressing issues surrounding this reality TV-generated fight card.  As usual, we’ll be liveblogging the action right here on the Potato come Saturday night.  Don’t miss it.

Who will emerge as the winners of TUF 8, and of the two, who has a brighter future in the UFC?

BF: Phillipe Nover and Ryan Bader are the two guys who will end up hoisting those weird transparent trophies over their heads on Saturday night.  Nover will win because he’s an animal, a straight-up criminal, dog.  Even though Efrain Escudero has some skills of his own, I don’t think he’s as well-rounded or aggressive as Nover, and I think it will cost him in the form of a late TKO. 

Bader will win because even though Vinny Magalhaes is a hell of a jiu-jitsu fighter, he doesn’t have a whole lot else in the toolbox from what I’ve seen.  Bader has plenty of time to get his submissions defense in order, and if he can sharpen his stand-up and/or ground-and-pound at all, he’ll do just enough to win a decision.

Of those two, Nover has a better chance of really doing something in the UFC.  I’d love to see him jump right in and face one of the many tough lightweights hanging around these days rather than be brought along at a Nate Diaz-type pace, but the opposite will probably happen.  Bader, he’ll probably end up dropping to middleweight and getting schooled by the first guy he comes across with good sprawl-and-brawl.  But that’s life.

BG: I’m going to have to go ahead and sort of disagree with you there, buddy. If Bader has time to expand his toolbox beyond lay-and-snore, then Vinny can learn to do something other than viciously pull guard and tap his opponents in the first round, hot-knife-through-butter style. But why should he? Magalhaes is one of the scariest jiu-jitsu practitioners to ever appear on TUF and I’m not sure if Bader’s top-game will be tight enough to avoid being submitted if he decides to take Vinny to the ground. (Trust me, Magalhaes is not Eliot Marshall.) The Brazilian finishes fights, and I say he takes it via submission in the second frame.

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Efrain Escudero’s TUF 8 Blog: The Grand Finale


(Junie would never accept a "Hertz donut" from Efrain ever again.)

During the entire season of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir, lightweight standout Efrain Escudero blogged his reactions to each new episode, right here on CagePotato.com. And wouldn’t you know it, the son-of-a-bitch is going to the finals (congrats, Efrain)! Check out what he has to say about episodes 11 and 12, and let him know how you feel in the comments section.

***

So the day is finally here, the biggest fight of my life. As I’m preparing in my room I just start to think back on how it all started. Who would have thought wrestling in junior high would have turned into this — whooping ass on national television. Since the semi-final matches were announced, everyone was itching to get back in the ring and get their shot at glory.

First, Bader and Elliot fought. Do you guys remember back in earlier episodes I said it wasn’t a good idea for Elliot to call out Bader? Well that was pretty much it; Bader controlled the fight and pretty much just muscled out a victory by decision — so the scoreboard reads Team Nog: 1, Team Mir: 0.

Everything in the house is pretty chill at this point, as these fights are so important; I was in the zone, blocking out everything around me. I could only focus on one thing and that was finishing Junie. The guy just runs his mouth a little too much and all I wanted to do was put my fist in there to close it up.

Now it’s the semis for the other spot in the LW finals — Roop vs. Nover. Now don’t get me wrong, I like George — hell, we have been friends for quite some time before coming on this show. But George got worked. Phillipe came out dropping bombs, the fight then went to the ground and Phillipe worked a Kimura. Phillipe looked pretty good out there. So now the score board reads Team Nog: 2, Team Mir: 0.

Was it me or did anyone else think there hadn’t been a good Junie tantrum in quite some time?? I’m skipping the Krystof vs. Vinny fight. Vinny landed a sick arm-bar, case closed, Team Nog: 2, Team Mir: 1.

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back the Junie Browning show. It had been gone way to long — I sure as hell didn’t miss it. So watching the show last night I get to see how terrified Junie actually was, which was hilarious especially when he was trying to give his spot to Shane. It finally hit Junie: HE ISN’T ANY GOOD.

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“You Can Dress Up Mother Nature, But You Can’t Fool Father Time”: Stankie and Efrain Go Toe-to-Toe


(You can bet that one of these two men went to bed reeking of Bengay and whiskey after this. Click the image to view the video, courtesy of Spike.com)

At long last, the video has surfaced.  Al “Stankie” Stankiewicz and Efrain Escudero lace up the gloves and step in the Octagon.  It starts with a little good-natured ribbing, followed by a very credible Stankie impression by Kyle Kingsbury, and then Efrain finds out the hard way that Stankie isn’t joking about his strong desire to kick some ass one more time.

Say what you will about Stankie’s skills in the cage, but if I can move and punch like that when I’m sixty-seven, I’ll be happy.  Actually, if I’m still alive by then, and if the world has not deteriorated into a post-apocalyptic wasteland where we do battle over watering holes and run from roving packs of wild dogs, that will be enough for me.  

Way to show these young punks what it means to have an enduring warrior spirit, Stankie.  I’d be proud to call you my crazy grandfather figure, if only my actual crazy grandfather wasn’t always banging around up in the attic, yelling about how the neighborhood has gone to hell ever since the Irish moved in.

Related: Stankie, In His Own Words

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Escudero, Nover, Bader, Magalhaes Advance to TUF 8 Finals


("Okay, my turn next," said Stankie, taking off his pants.)

Efrain‘s guest blog is going to be a little late this week, but we wanted to get up at least a small post about last night’s TUF double-header so you could discuss it, if you wanted to, in the comments section. Basically, here’s what happened:

Ryan Bader def. Eliot Marshall via boring fucking wrestling
Phillipe Nover def. George Roop via storm/kimura
Vinny Magalhaes def. K-Sos via scary, scary, high-level jiu-jitsu
Efrain Escudero def. Junie Browning via submission (punishment)

Of course, Browning actually competing in his semi-final match was a story in itself. Discouraged by his performance in practice, Browning announced to Frank Mir that he was quitting the competition; Mir had no objection. Back at the house, Browning threw a coffee mug at Shane Primm and started swinging at him. When the dust settled, Dana White stopped by to play psychologist, asked the guys if they wanted to kick Junie off or beat him off — we’d assume that Tom Lawlor voted "beat him off" — and convinced Junie to stay. Oh, and the best part? Junie is going to be on the main card of the TUF 8 finale, solely on the basis of being a ridiculous head-case. (Fittingly, he’ll be fighting Dave Kaplan, the runner-up to Junie’s reality-show dumbass crown.)

For the record, Junie places most of the blame for his loss to Efrain on having awful cardio. As he writes in his final blog entry for UFC.com:

I was so dead. Yes, I heard Frank Mir yelling ‘three’ through the fight. But the thing about conditioning is, it doesn’t mean you’re not listening to a person, but sometimes your body won’t allow you to do it. In my mind, I was like ‘okay, I’m gonna throw three punches,’ and then I was like ‘#$%^, I’m too tired, I can’t throw three punches.’ You can’t tell because I tried to put my game face on, but I was so tired during the fight. In the back, when we were warming up, I had to quit warming up because I was getting tired.
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Efrain Escudero’s TUF 8 Blog: Episode 10

John Polakowski George Roop UFC Ultimate Fighter
(John Polakowski has the best bro-clinch in the game.)

In this week of The Ultimate Fighter it was the last fight before the semi-finals. We are getting down to the wire. The two guys who are fighting, John Polakowski and George Roop, are both real good friends of mine. Me and George go way back since the Arizona days; John is just a guy I met in the house but how can you not like him? He just loves life. Him and his hugs, and you gotta love his saying “FIRE THE CANNONS!!!!”

Before the fight everyone is expecting a prank but who would do it to which guy first? They decided to pull the prank on John and his Lucky Charms. That was a mistake!! I thought it was hilarious due to the fact that they took the time to remove every marshmallow from the box. After all, they are the best part. John was pissed. He announced no more hugs for the blue team — he means business. He is like a man possessed. During training I’d been working with John on his wrestling. I know George has some good ground game so I wanted to help out my teammate.

During George’s training with Team Mir, he got his hand caught up in the cage and it was fucked up. It looked like a surgical balloon had been blown up. George is a tough dude so I knew he would be out there anyway. I thought this would give a definite advantage to John. Closer to fight time John started to become his old self again, and decided that he and George would hug before the fight. This was hilarious — I personally wouldnt be able to do that, especially with the guy standing in the way of a six-figure contract to the UFC. But hey, that’s John for you.

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Efrain Escudero’s TUF 8 Blog: Episode 9

TUF 8 Ultimate Fighter UFC Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
(Come on now, Antonio, that simply isn’t true.)

Let the drunken debauchery begin again. After Dave Kaplan’s fight, Tom Lawlor decided to get drunk with Kaplan. They began to drink each other’s piss, which in itself is just disgusting. But these guys were downing them like shots of tequila. The sad thing is they did not even show the grossest part. Kyle Kingsbury took a plate and a towel into the bathroom and came out with nice big hot steamy Lincoln Log on a platter. He told the guys he would give some cash to whoever eats it. Tom held a piece up to his mouth but couldn’t go through with it. The pot kept getting bigger with us all chipping in, but no one went through with it. I hope they put that on the DVD…GOOD TIMES.

To quote Smokey from Friday — Kaplan “got knocked the Fuck out, Man!” That was even funnier watching it than hearing about it. Kaplan is an extremely smart guy but sometimes I question his intelligence by first asking for someone to “try” and knock him out. Second for not admitting that he got knocked out knowing full well it was on camera. There is one issue with Kaplan and that is he will not admit when he is wrong. He’s a bit delusional. He can’t get knocked out, he is the best looking guy in the house, and he gets more chicks than anybody. The list could go on.

The prank on Krzysztof Soszynski was pretty funny and only fitting since he initiated the pranks-before-fights ritual. It didn’t take much time for us to put all the stuff in his room. It was funny to see that his teammates didn’t help. His prank in return actually made his team upset too. It must have taken a lot of time but everybody in the house was affected. Krzysztof had to take all the stuff in himself.

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Efrain Escudero’s TUF 8 Blog: Episode 8

Ultimate Fighter Nogueira Nover Escudero UFC TUF MMA
(Kind of a strange thing to ask someone on the way to the grocery store.)

Last night’s episode of the Ultimate Fighter was one of the more foul shows airing on this week’s television lineup. By this time in the house everyone was getting tired of each other and going a bit insane, so of course since there is nothing better to do, the pranksters in us start to come out. For a few days now Lawlor had been getting these fruit platters delivered to him. So we decided it would be a good idea to eat it all before he got a chance to have any. Everyday we would get back from practice, rush to the fridge, and grab Lawlor’s fruit, and I must say it was delicious. This was no ordinary fruit platter…this was Tom Lawlor’s fruit haha.

This was going on a for a few days and Lawlor wasn’t too happy. So while we were at practice Lawlor decided it was time for a little revenge. We all had come to an understanding while in the house and agreed to not mess with each other’s food. Lawlor was thinking like a lawyer on this kind of revenge, finding a work around. Nowhere did we say you couldn’t mess with your own food, so that’s what he did. The blue team went a few rounds pissing in the fruit tray. So after our practice we got back to the house and opened the fridge and there it was, so Bader got the tray, took it up to the room and a few of the guys went to town on it. They were eating piss fruit.

I would like to set the record straight I DID NOT EAT ANY OF THE FRUIT WITH PISS IN IT!!!! Let me repeat: I DID NOT EAT ANY OF THE FRUIT WITH THE PISS IN IT!! The editors did a hell of a job making it look that way, but if you notice the fruit I was eating was not in the same room. I guess that’s why SPIKE pays those guys well, but one more time I did not eat piss fruit haha. Philippe was pretty disgusted by it. Kingsbury wasn’t bothered by it — he was cracking jokes. It was pretty funny since it didn’t happen to me.

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Efrain Escudero’s TUF 8 Blog: Episode 7

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira TUF 8 UFC MMA Ultimate Fighter

During this week of The Ultimate Fighter, we start off with the Junie fight recap. This guy ran his mouth and couldn’t finish Rolando. In my eyes Rolando could have beat Junie if he would have kept behind his jab. I really wanted to jump the cage and ask him how it feels!!! I had to stop myself because knowing Junie he would have gone absolutely crazy, but oh well, I’ll just have to wait and see what the semi-finals have in store for me.

We started having some fun in practice, even though our practices were always different. We played some games on couple of the days which made me forget about fighting for a while. It reminded me that I was there to enjoy my time there and train hard; there is a time to have fun and a time to work. I really needed it at the time. Meanwhile the other team continued to get upset at us because we were enjoying ourselves and they were miserable.

Then we have Coach Nogueira’s birthday. He could have gone out and had a great time — after all, it is Las Vegas — but he decided to come to the house and hang out with us. We cooked dinner and baked him a cake which was a pretty good time I was glad I could be a part of it, and you see that it really meant a lot to him. Once again the blue team hated on us for this. Let’s face it, that’s all they know how to do at this point. In the house guys talk, that’s a given, but then Vinny started saying that he was better on the ground than Coach Nogueria!!! Word got out to Nogueira, and he didn’t take to it kindly. Coach confronted Vinny, which caused a big scene around the house. Me personally, I would never say that about any of my coaches because I think that my coach is there to help me; not for me to prove anything.

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Efrain Escudero’s TUF 8 Blog: Episode 6

Anderson Silva UFC MMA TUF 8 Ultimate Fighter

Junie finally got to fight this week. He had been talking all this crap about Rolando Delgado not making it out of the first round. At first I thought this was by the far the dumbest thing I had heard all season, but Junie is good at making people get that impression. At the house people started questioning Roli’s black belt. I didn’t need to question the man — he wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t legit. During the fight announcement Junie brought a black belt with him, and decided it would be cool for the cameras to throw it at Rolando’s face and then spit on it. I couldn’t believe this. It was very disrespectful not only to Rolando but to everyone who has worked for that belt. I don’t have a belt but I know people out there who live behind theirs, and to spit on it is ridiculous. Even Anderson Silva was there and when I was talking to him he was telling me that he disliked Junie. I don’t know about you, but if I found out that Anderson didn’t like me I wouldn’t want to make him mad.

Now back at the house, Junie wouldn’t shut his mouth talking about how good he was and that Rolando wouldn’t have a chance. I think he was trying to get into Roli’s head and at some point I was thinking that he was, but Rolando took it very well and just went with it. Junie is the type of guy that wants to be talked about no matter what you’re saying about him; he just wants to be remembered. So weigh-ins arrive and Junie was having a hard time making weight. I started tell Rolando to look at Junie and told him he’s going to be weak tomorrow because he’s really hurting to make weight. Finally he made weight, and I was happy for him because I wanted to see if he could really back all that shit up.

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