As martial artists and even mixed martial artists we know what it takes to have a good top and ground game. The question is what is wrong with the state of affairs in MMA today? Well it’s about damn time we laid it out plain and simple.
MMA has gotten sloppy. The technique is fading away into the background, making more room for sensationalism and artificial social controversy designed purely to drive viewership. But do these viewers turn into fans or do they simply watch for a moment and turn away once things just start to look like a street brawl between two poorly trained fighters?
More importantly, is it the training or simply the discipline? Perhaps both. There’s certainly no question that most MMA fighters are in excellent physical condition for each bout. However you can have the most perfect physique and if you have no clue how to properly use the momentum of your mass then you’re only as effective in the ring as the lovely, yet far less than lethal, Arianny Celeste.
Are we saying that MMA fighters are just pretty boys playing in the ring? (Sounds like WWF now doesn’t it?) No. They have spirit, the fights are real and there is a drive to succeed, especially on the undercard.
However something MUST be done about the top game. Brazilian Jiujitsu has gotten a great deal of attention and rightfully so but it seems that more and more fighters in MMA are going to the ground rather than standing up to their opponent. No matter how grueling and how much talent it takes to win a victory with your wrestling skills, people don’t think of two people rolling around on the ground when they think of MMA. They think of a stand up fight. A vicious battle between two determined opponents where only one will be left standing.
Just take a look at the strikes and lack of proper guard on many pro MMA fighters. It’s honestly to a point embarrassing. You compare this to a boxer or a traditional martial artist who has competed in regional, national and global tournaments and you see that there a serious deficiency in the proficiency of the fighters stand up game in MMA. How about we clean up that boxing? Let’s get more flexibility and accuracy in those kicks. And for that matter, where the hell are the kicks? We should be seeing more of this. Legs are devastatingly strong, why waste so much energy on simply punches and grappling when you can take down your opponent with one decisive kick.
Think back to UFC 154 when Carlos Condit changed the pace of the fight against Georges St. Pierre with that nasty round house kick to the head. That was a beautiful move but even then when you look at the footage more closely you can see that Condit was attempting a hail marry (one that bought him much needed time but then again it didn’t result in the win for the venerable fighter). Yet the fact is his eyes were looking away from the target as he launched that kick. Intentional? Accidental? Faithful?
So where to we “stand”? Technique and basics in the stand up game NEED to be improved. Tighter punches, more accuracy with the kicks, don’t JUST attack the legs. Yes it can be effective but it’s also time consuming and leaves you open for a take down.
Over the coming weeks we will be analyzing game changing moments in fights, seriously critiquing the decisions, style, missed opportunities and successes to better highlight the best of the best technique and illuminate what has been ignored for what we feel is far too long!
Let us know your thoughts, what do you think of the stand up game as it stands today versus other combat sports or even compared to fights of the past?