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вторник, 4 мая 2010 г.

Grappling Proves MMA Wrong

While it has been virtually accepted that to win an MMA fight against the best you have to be a well-rounded fighter, today guys with great grappling continue to prove people wrong.

Grappling is a difficult and sophisticated art to master. The ADCC, the Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling World Championships is the biggest event in the sport so far but it is clear that there are few who can deliver an all rounded game in grappling.

Grappling seems to have two crucial elements. The first is takedowns. Takedowns are critical in an MMA fight, but in grappling they can mean the difference between winning and losing against a strong jiu jitsu player. Freestyle wrestlers perhaps have the best takedowns in the sport. UFC fighters like Brock Lesnar, Velasquez, Matt Hughes, GSP and many others have shown that their ability to take down their opponents makes them superior fighters.

Jiu jitsu is the second part of grappling however. If you have great takedowns, you also need to pass the guard and submit your opponent. Most wrestlers who for the first time meet a jiu jitsu fighter struggle here. Jiu jitsu guys are phenomenal fighting from the guard and their amazing guard retention makes it difficult not only to escape every submission attempt but also to get anywhere from there.

Judo is a great takedown martial art but it is mainly a gi-focused art. Judo without the gi can be difficult to do when you have a freestyle wrestler facing you who is looking for a single or double leg.

Don't get me wrong. I am a great fan of the gi game and Judo, but to be successful in grappling you need to have a great takedown defense. You have to defend a single leg and counter yourself and I think Judo does not prepare you in this case.

Jake Shields is a great example of a guy that is not the king of grappling but has mastered it well enough to cause trouble for guys even as good as Dan Henderson. You can't submit Henderson but he has shown that you can consistently take him down, pass his guard and cause trouble. This is something that GSP has managed to do in his division as well.

Other guys like Frank Mir and even Shinya Aoki have shown the opposite. Their wrestling is poor and they try to rely on unorthodox and less effective takedowns . Once they are on the ground, they can do their magic, but without a good takedown they are not going to win the match against a great striker and here is the great flaw.

Jake Shields I think just proves how effective grappling is though. Dan Henderson was so much better at the strand up striking game but by setting up his takedowns and getting the fight to the ground Shields managed to defend his title against a guy that was highly favoured to win and who seemed a lot bigger and more powerful than him.

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