In part I, I discussed how Tyron Woodley lands right-hand bombs. Look up a highlight of him and that’s what you’ll likely find. Against Josh Koscheck, it was literally a night of landing his right hands [gif 1] [gif 2] [gif 3]. In reviewing the Koscheck fight — you’ll find some tendencies:
1. Woodley covers an enormous amount of range at the start of the fight to land his right hand — and he’ll probably land it. Against Koscheck, practically every punch landed by Woodley was a right-hand — right uppercut, right-cross, right-overhand, right-hook.
2. Woodley *appears* to be slowing down and gets backed up to the fence, but he still has energy to be effective. After all, he landed 2 takedowns when Condit struck him near the fence, and against Koscheck, he knocked him down twice [Knockdown 1] [Knockdown 2].
The First Two Right-Hands
Tyron’s ability to explode is second to none. In these sequences he changes levels as to drop his center-of-gravity to load the overhands. Overhands bypass the lead arm (it loops at an arced angle to access Condit’s chin– this is why the overhand is very difficult to block).
Woodley’s fight against Koscheck and Condit tells us that he’s able to consistently land these shots, at least in the first round (where it’s very difficult to get the other fighter’s timing).
Every time Woodley launches an assault going forward, he’d cover a tremendous amount of distance [Gif 1 Gif 3]. These are the type of explosive striking that no man is able to sustain, but can certainly recover from.
It’s not that Woodley has bad cardio — just as Vitor used a bulk of his energy in the first round, Woodley expends it to land his right-hands.
In this sequence, Woodley practically backed Condit up from one end of the octagon to another. These are high energy strikes — practically every strike was thrown with bad intention. This type of aggression isn’t meant to be sustained — it’s generally meant to end the fight (refer to Alistair Overeem’s fights, especially against Travis Browne). As a reference, perhaps think of lifting a weight at 90%+ maximum 6-8 times.
The difference is, Overeem punched himself out and doesn’t do well when not being offensive — Tyron is not the same as Overeem.
If the opponent isn’t intimidated or hurt, you better learn how to fight on a lower gas-tank. Completing those reps doesn’t mean you’ve gassed, it just means you’re unlikely to keep that pace up — and attempting to do so will make you gas out.
Learning how to vary the intensity and change up the rhythm is a fundamental aspect of becoming an elite striker. And in MMA, as Urijah Faber has shown, over-hands with athleticism, timing, and a few setups can get you very far. Just as how Urijah lands overhands going forward, stationary, and backwards [Gif against Michael McDonald], Woodley can consistently land right-hands and takedowns at the fence.
Being Backed Up
When going forward no longer make sense (e.g. punching yourself out and eventually being punched out), you’ve got to learn how to fight while backing up.
This is where Tyron gets tricky — even though he backs up (giving the impression that he’s tired), he’s got enough in his gas tank to be effective. After all, he scored two knockdowns against Koscheck at the fence [Knockdown 1] [Knockdown 2].
Similarly against Condit, after a few explosive right-hands, he chose to back up — but I’m certain he did it strategically.
Condit isn’t as easy to hit as Koscheck, but he’ll recklessly throw strikes at an opponent as he’s not afraid of being taken down.
While Woodley was getting takedowns, it’s important to note that his right-hand was no longer finding a mark. Watch Woodley as he tries to explode off while backed up (twice), attempting to land his right as he did to Koscheck.
But this is where Condit differs from Koscheck — rather than just a right-hand, Condit has varied strikes to try and punish Woodley. As Rogan noted, yes — Woodley appears less explosive, but as the fight with Koscheck has shown, he’s still has more than enough to be effective.
My guess is that Condit would’ve done better as the fight progressed — not because Woodley would gas (here’s some evidence that he gets a second wind) — but because Condit’s felt out the timing of Woodley’s various right-hand and takedown setups. In the second round, Woodley almost landed another overhand right against Condit’s stiff-arm, but failed a 1-1-2, triggering Rogan to say “Condits conditioning is at a very elite level… Oh another right hand!… But look, slid right out of the way of it.”
Moments later, Condit backs Woodley to the fence, starts throwing away and Woodley gets the inevitable fight ending takedown. These are not coincidences, and Woodley ought to be given his due.
It’s strange to see a guy with significantly denser muscle mass backed up, and easy to assume he’s tired. But along with a good track record of 3 rounders, Woodley is still effective when “appearing slow” — landing takedowns and knocking people out.
As much as I like Condit and believe he would have shown more as the fight progressed, Woodley put on a great performance. Consistently landing right-hands, backing up, and scoring takedowns when his right-hands failed meant that he remained tactfully effective — not an near empty gas tank.
As always, thank you for reading and stay tuned for more breakdowns. You can find Lawrence Kenshin on his social media accounts below.