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четверг, 27 августа 2009 г.

BJJ Legends Looking to Make it in Mixed Martial Arts

Demian Maia

Demian Maia is perhaps the best brazilian jiu jitsu practitioner in the UFC sitting next to "The Prodigy" B.J Penn. The man is unreal and has so far shown himself with a clean record, looking to fight Anderson Silva for the middleweight title. Unlike B.J. Penn though, Demian relies far more on his jiu jitsu than Penn who has extremely solid boxing.

The question right from the birth of UFC has always been whether you can survive and be successful with just outstanding jiu jitsu. Demian Maia will be out there to try to prove this by attempting to defeat the likes of Anderson Silva, who has a black belt in jiu jitsu himself. Can he do it? Well, Wanderlei Silva certainly thinks so. He tells us that it is hard to defend for long against such an amazing brazilian jiu jitsu player. I believe him.

UFC 102 will certainly be a test for Demian but really it is the title shot (if he gets it) that will determine whether he can make it.

Antonio Rodrigo Minotauro

Although Minotauro is not a world class jiu jitsu player, he is damn good when it comes to submissions in MMA. His Pride days are long gone and now he needs to make it in a very different heavyweight division facing smart wrestlers like Randy Couture and huge wrestlers like Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar.

Minotauro has defeated excellent strikers (Mirko Crocop) and outstanding well rounded fighters with excellent grappling skills (Kazushi Sakuraba, Dan Henderson and Josh Barnett). He did this not due to his striking but due to his superior grappling and ability to withstand strikes, recover quickly and pressure opponents into making mistakes.

Rising Submission Stars

There are several rising submission specialists that are gradually developing their careers. The most successful so far outside the UFC has been Ronaldo Souza known as Jacare. The explosive jiu jitsu fighter has been the runner up in the Dream Middleweight Grand-Prix, losing only to Gegard Mousasi (the new Strikeforce Lightweight Champion). More recently he has signed up with Strikeforce and will surely be one of their top fighters looking to take the belt.

Roger Gracie and Xande Ribeiro have been looking to make their careers in MMA too. Each of them has had two fights so far, both displaying great skill but very different styles. Xande is more focused on developing his striking and displays more of it in his fights each time. Roger Gracie relies primarily on his sick jiu jitsu and particularly unmatched submission abilities. Any guy going to the ground with these jiu jitsu legends will not survive for long.

Lastly it is worth mentioning that two years ago Marcelo Garcia entered the MMA ring to test his skills narrowly losing by doctor stoppage due to a cut above his eye. Probably the most decorated no-gi grappler, Marcelo took the back mount position but was not able to execute the submission. I think he will be back, submitting many once his striking skills improve.

Each of these guys is incredible at what he does and is a great jiu jitsu submission artist. They are not well-rounded fighters but can they make successful careers in MMA? I think it all depends on their styles and strategies they use. They must focus to minimize their weaknesses and focus on their strengths in the same way as Randy Couture does when he fights his smart fights as a wrestler. It is all about control and not getting hit. Whether you use classical jiu jitsu like Roger Gracie or you utilize the Eddie Bravo innovations as Shinya Aoki does, you need to have control and not get into the situation where you don't end up as a punching bag for a good wrestler/striker.

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