Professional Fighters League
The Professional Fighters League kicked off their playoffs with four mostly uneventful bouts Friday from Hollywood, Florida. Though the PFL's format rewards fighters who finish their opponents in regular season bouts with extra points in the standings, there are no such inducements in the postseason. And with a $1 million prize on the line for winning your division, fighters seemed less inclined to take chances now that they're in the playoffs.

The evening's main event saw defending PFL welterweight champion Ray Cooper III take down and control UFC and Bellator veteran Rory MacDonald for three rounds to win an easy unanimous decision. He'll face 2018 champion Magomed Magomedkerimov, who also won a unanimous decision by taking down and controlling Sadibou Sy for three rounds, in the finals. The lightweights saw Loik Radzhabov and Alex Martinez engage in a lively, fast-paced grappling battle with Radzhabov coming out on top by decision. In the finals he'll meet Raush Manfio who took a controversial decision over Clay Collard. Collard seemed to win the first two rounds only to have all three judges go against him.

That a director of my city's opera company would call me seemed a little odd. There are probably some monkeys who know more about opera than I do. But the director was inviting me to lunch, so of course I went.

It turned out the company was producing a performance of Madame Butterfly, the Puccini opera that tells the story of a doomed love between a French military officer and a geisha in early 19th-century Japan. The opera has come under fire for its stereotyped, utterly fanciful depictions of Japanese culture. The local company was trying to anticipate such criticism, and the director asked me, since I serve on the board of some organizations related to Japanese culture, what I thought.
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Apologies in advance for the title if it gives impressions that this is going to be all that poetic. It's not this presentation that is all that literary, but something else. Haikus and pentameter aside, MMA has moments that are nothing less than poetic on a pretty astral level. Not long ago, irony at the nauseating level (unless you are a psychopath) happened when former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman broke his leg on Uriah Hall's leg in an eerily similar way as the other former champ Anderson Silva did on Chris's in their title rematch. If you know anything at all about MMA and did not know this story, you have to have been living under a rock. Save your energy and do not go look at pictures of either event as it is nightmare material.
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Dr. Craig's Martial Arts Movie Lounge

Have you ever watched a film that was just so amazing that when the sequel came out, your mind started developing great expectations and that it would be a pip, which has nothing to do with a Charles Dicken's novel, yet a movie that could be a real humdinger?

In 2017, one of the most engaging and exciting elements of the Sammo Hung and Vincent Zhao starring God of War is that it was a remake of Jimmy Wang Yu's classic kung fu flick Beach of the War Gods (BWG; 1973). This gave me the perfect opportunity to see how a film on the same subject was handled by two Chinese filmmaking eras 44 years apart and how the fight choreography was used to tell the hero's story.

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