Thursday, February 16, 2012

State of Submission in MMA

I am going to be reprinting some old classic entries from my previous blog called The Angry Grappler. It will chronicle the evolution in my understanding of martial arts.


03 January 2007 @ 01:05 pm

I first got introduced to submissions through the UFC and MMA and used to try to mimic the moves I saw from there and glean any kind technique I could. I remember Dana White saying MMA would overtake boxing, which is funny coming from a former boxing promoter. Now I know what he meant. MMA would over take boxing, but in overtaking boxing, it would become Ultimate Boxing. More stand ups, shorter rounds, warnings for lack of action, emphasis on striking and KOs. Its boxing with smaller gloves, and you are allowed to chase your opponent down after you drop them with a punch and keep pounding on them. That's why it still looks barbaric, but they defend MMA with the grappling aspect of, submissions, you can tap, choke someone, not shed any blood, etc. But nowadays those kinds of finishes are hard to come by, just cuz it could be more gentle, doesn't mean MMA these days are.

I think of Chuck and Tito's epic ultimate boxing match part 2. Chuck the striker, and Tito always hailed as the submission fighter. At least that's what it says on the UFC games. Nowadays he's a striker with takedowns. He had one chance to win, which was when he took down Chuck and took his back like he promised in the interviews. But in the interviews, he never said what he would do once he got it. What did happen was Tito looked surprised he got it and kind of just laid there and waited for Chuck to move, as Chuck started to get back up Tito got one hook in and locked that one leg down, then let it all go as Chuck stood fully erect. It made me think of Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg and how once Trigg exposed his back, Hughes was all over it.

Is it because light heavies move different than welterweights? Tito did look lethargic in this fight. But then I know Babalu has looked explosive and quick on the ground for a big man and probably would have given his left nut to have Chuck in that position. Just that only Tito has been able to pull it off since Couture and Tito doesn't have the finishing abilities of Babalu, which sets up an interesting feud right there.

The ones who can take people down can't submit people when they do and nowadays use their wrestling just to keep it on their feet. The ones who can submit people can rarely take people down. And the strikers who can sprawl and brawl are winning. There's still people like Koscheck, Fedor, Aoki, Nogueira, etc. But they all seem to have gotten to the top with their submissions but nowadays are focusing on their striking.

What would have been insane is for Tito to get his hooks and flatten Chuck out, or if Chuck would have just kneebarred Tito. What I liked Tito do is when he had him down, he was hooking Chuck's legs from behind to control him, and I believe he had a waist lock. I'm not convinced Chuck has a ground game, i know he got his purple last year, but a purple belt at this point is a little too little, too late. I see a few fantasy scenarios, and I'm not an expert nor do I know what was going through Tito's mind. I would have liked Tito to get one hook in and use that to come around and mount Chuck, or switch to over under grip before getting the hook in to side choke Chuck, or pull Chuck completely over him while Tito is flat on his back to get both hooks in, drop Chuck back down on his ass and work for the choke.

What I did notice about Tito and his fights, he's not a risk taker, and I think practicing something in training is a lot easier than trying it live in front of all the fans, especially in the biggest fight of his life. I remember it took him a long time to show progression in striking, the first time I remember him going for a high kick in a live fight, it flew completely over Ken's head, and against Chuck, his striking always looks choppy. He tried a submission on Couture and it looked like the first time he attempted a rolling kneebar. No commitment, no conviction, Tito didn't convince me he believed he would finish that sub. Same with taking the back.

That's the state of MMA. Americans are supposed to be the best at takedowns and instead they are boxing. It makes me think of Dan Henderson who could have sealed his place as one of the best ever if he used his wrestling more, like Fedor does. Strikes to set up the takedown, maybe he should have done that against Misaki.

About the Author:

Sam Y. is a Master Personal Trainer, Certified Nutritionist, Coach, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Corrective Enhancement Specialist, Yoga and Pilates instructor, and holds multiple certifications. He is also an avid Martial Artist, training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing, and MMA. He is also the author of the popular fitness blog All Out Effort as well as the popular martial arts blog Inner BJJ. You can find him in the Los Angeles area personal training his clients, or at home annoying his wife, or on Facebook at his personal fitness page.

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