by: Jack Bratcher
A young man will make his Mixed Martial Arts professional debut tomorrow night (Friday Jul 27) at the Strikeforce event in San Jose. This MMA extravaganza will air live on HDNet at 7:30 PM PST/10:30 PM EST. As stated, this will be the young man’s first professional Mixed Martial Arts event and he will be facing Jeremiah Metcalf, an opponent with twelve professional MMA fights on his resume; eight wins, four losses. Metcalf has wins over such notable fighters as Ronald “Machine Gun” Jhun. Metcalf has already had three fights this year and has won them all; two by submission, one by knockout.
If one were to look at this match-up on paper, they might think, “Why would they put someone with Metcalf’s experience in professional Mixed Martial Arts against some guy who has never even had a pro MMA fight? Why would they do that?” Well, I will tell you why. It’s because this young man making his pro MMA debut is a man named Raymond Daniels. It’s a name new to the MIXED Martial Arts world but not new to the Martial Arts world and definitely not new to the fighting world. Raymond Daniels has been striking fear into the hearts of his opponents for quite some time in the Chuck Norris’ -owned, World Combat League, which is basically a professional kickboxing organization without the ring. Raymond Daniels amassed a very impressive record of 18-0 in that organization.
While many of today’s Mixed Martial Artists are coming from backgrounds such as wrestling and jiu-jitsu, Raymond Daniels comes from a traditional Martial Arts background much like the popular Cung Le, to whom Daniels is often compared. Personally, from what I’ve seen the unique striking techniques and excitement level that Raymond Daniels brings may even surpass that of Cung Le. Daniels became interested in following in the footsteps of his Father, Frank, at the age of five. Frank Daniels was a seasoned martial artist and Sport Karate competitor. This inspired Raymond to study Kenpo and as he matured, to compete and end up travelling the world facing and defeating all-comers. Currently, Raymond Daniels is recognized as the number one Sport Karate fighter in the world. He holds a 6th degree black belt in Kenpo and Shotokan Karate as well as a 5th degree black belt in Tae Kwon DoNow. Now how all of this will transfer into the world of professional Mixed Martial Arts is yet to be determined. Here’s just a few of the twenty-eight year old, Daniels’ accomplishments in the world of Sport Karate when he was younger:
2000 – Men’s light heavy point sparring world champion
2000 – Men’s light heavy continuous sparring world champion
1999 – Men’s light heavy point sparring world champion
1999 – Men’s light heavy continuous sparring world champion
1998 – Men’s light heavy point sparring world champion
1998 – Men’s light heavy continuous sparring world champion
1998 – Adult traditional self-defense world champion
1997 – Junior boys’ team sparring
The obvious question would be about the ground game of Raymond Daniels and how that could play a part in his match against Metcalf. Half of all of Metcalf’s wins have come by submission so the ground is going to be a definite danger zone for the Karate champion I assume. I’m expecting Daniels’ ground game to be pretty much identical to Cung Le’s. No doubt about it, Raymond Daniels will be looking to end this fight against Jeremiah Metcalf with strikes and if Daniels is taken to the ground, expect his gameplan to be getting back on his feet as soon as possible. Most fighters who rely heavily on their striking skills in professional MMA focus mainly on submission defense when it comes to a ground game. This is something that is understandable why they do it but it is also a trend I hope to see less of as MMA evolves. If you look at all the greatest Mixed Martial Artists in the world, the majority of them are fighters adept in striking and grappling. However, I’m always interested to see how traditional Martial Artists make the transition into MMA and I’m really looking forward to Raymond Daniels debut in Strikeforce: Melendez/Thomson tomorrow night. If you want to see some very exciting striking skills check out Raymond Daniels’ fight videos on youtube. Here’s a good one: Raymond Daniels Fight Video