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A Look At Grappling In LHW

sandywh2010-05-13 13:48:39 +0000 #1
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A Look At Grappling In The Light Heavyweight Division



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Ask almost any MMA fan what the most stacked weight class is in MMA and you will certainly hear that the 205 pound light heavyweight division is king. Particularly in recent years, the UFC light heavyweight title has been one of the most highly contested, with champions defending the title for only a single fight, if at all. Nevertheless, fans may have noticed a significant omission to the division that really challenges the “mixed” aspect of mixed martial arts. Light heavyweight fighters have largely ignored the ground game, and instead have focused primarily on the striking and clinch elements of MMA.

At first glance, it may not seem like there is any significant difference between 205 pound fighters and those in other divisions; however, a deeper look at recent results exposes the stand-up bias. So far in 2009, there have been 29 contests in the UFC's light heavyweight division. Of those, only two (7%) have ended in submission*, while 11 have ended in KO/TKO (38%).

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Not only are 205 pound fighters not finishing fights with submissions, but they're infrequently taking fights to the ground at all. According to CompuStrike, in UFC light heavyweight title fights dating back to Griffin vs. Jackson at UFC 86, only one successful takedown has been executed.

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Taking a look at the skill sets of the fighters, there is no reason to believe that lack of skill causes fighters to avoid the ground. The light heavyweight division is home to world-renowned wrestlers including Dan Henderson, Matt Hamill, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, Ryan Bader, Mark Coleman and Rashad Evans. Additionally, many fighters that have fought in the division hold Black Belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, including Lyoto Machida, Wanderlei Silva, Renato "Babalu" Sobral, Anderson Silva, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Thiago Silva. With such credentials one could speculate that fighters have such strong takedown defense that they neutralize each other, or possibly that they respect each others reputations enough to avoid challenging them where they excel.

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No matter the cause, MMA is a constantly evolving sport and this trend may signal its next evolutionary step. Just as jiu-jitsu revolutionized a sport dominated by wrestlers, light heavyweight strikers have begun to introduce new elements in order to stay competitive and rise above the increasingly homogeneous competition. Lyoto Machida's stand-up, with it's unorthodox style and heavy reliance on Karate, has proven to be an enigma for his competition with fighters only recently finding an answer to his elusiveness. Anderson Silva, with two fights in the division, has thus far proven almost impossible to hit and has introduced angles that have devastated his competition.

Link To Full Article: "http://www.mmaspot....to_grappling_at_205/

Very interesting read


Surfrock662010-05-13 14:01:49 +0000 #2
Man, 7% of light heavyweight UFC fights the year ended in sub, I'd have thought it was more than that. interesting way to look at it.

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