Tag: ufc

MMA 101: Kickboxing

UFHybrid: a thing made up of two or more different elements; a mixture. 

You can find numerous hybrids in the world. Some plants are hybrids. Most, if not all, of the foods you eat are hybrids. My dog is a hybrid. Apparently there are Hybrid cars (who knew?) but I’m not sure that is the same concept but I digress. MMA is a hybrid. You and I are hybrids… right?

Anywho…

Let’s focus on the MMA. That’s why I am paid the Big Nothing Dollars: BND (I love acronyms) and Kickboxing is, you guessed it, a hybrid. It is a fascinating aspect of MMA, but also one of the more difficult martial arts to explain.

What is kickboxing?

The term kickboxing is a somewhat generic one used to cover the combination of several different stand up fighting styles in martial arts, mainly Karate and Muay Thai boxing. Kickboxing combines the punches and elbows of Thai boxing with the kicks of karate. Due to its overall simplicity and main focus on self-defense, as opposed to other fighting styles that can be competition based, kickboxing translates very well to the sport of MMA.

The term gained popularity in the United States in the late 60’s and early 70’s with the massive popularity of Bruce Lee. American full-contact karate practitioners were frustrated by the scoring limitations of tournaments and decided to branch out. They wanted to find a system within which they could apply kicks and punches to their full advantage.

Kickboxers employ a wide range of techniques that all cannot be described in one post… but I’ll try.

Punches include the jab, cross, uppercut, and hook. The jab is the most important punch in MMA. Reason being is that it sets up the more damaging punches and it’s used to gauge distance and create angles. Simply put, it is a straight punch with the lead hand. The cross literally crosses the body in a straight line prior to contact with the target, hence the name. When you throw the hook, it literally looks like a hook. Typically thrown from the lead hand, the arm should be bent at an angle of 90 degrees, or close to it. If the angle is much more of much less, then maximum power will not be derived from the punch.

Kicks is where the “kick” in kickboxing comes from. Kicking techniques include the front, hook, side, roundhouse and spinning back kicks.

Kickboxing is a pretty common Martial Art in MMA. A UFC gym in San Jose, American Kickboxing Academy, specializes in Kickboxing. Cain Velazques, Daniel Cormier, Cung Le, and more all train here. However, if we want to talk about Kickboxing perfection, look no further than UFC Women’s Strawweight Champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk. It is not a stretch to say that she is the best striker in MMA throughout the world, regardless of gender.

She. Is. The. Best.

She is an extremely accurate striker. Her technique is flawless. She is a 4-time Kickboxing world champion. She is simply the best. Carlos Condit is a close second, but Joanna is as good a fighter as Ronda Rousey. Albeit with different styles, but elite.

In summary: Kickboxing is a hybrid of Karate and boxing, and you should watch any match with Joanna Jedrzejczyk. You will not be disappointed.

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UFC 191 recap: The good, the bad, the ugly

If you weren’t aware of UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson, I am here to tell you he is pound for pound the best MMA fighter on the planet. It is very interesting to say that the best in the world in somehow underappreciated but he has quietly become one of the greatest ever. Everything he does in the octagon, from his accurate boxing to his footwork to his dominant wrestling, is textbook.

“John Dodson said I was garbage, I’m boring, I’m bad for the division,” Johnson said. “Look at my face, I’m prettier than a motherf—–. That’s what technique will get you.”

After a victory like that, enough said.

With the conclusion of UFC 191, there are some questions that could be answered in the coming months as the UFC books upcoming fights for the winners and losers in this PPV main card.

Demetrious Johnson (C) def. John Dodson via Unanimous Decision

As I stated before, Demetrious Johnson is a wizard in the Octagon. He used all of his tools, most notably his warrior cardio, to outclass his opponent. It was pretty evenly matched to start, but John Dodson gassed quickly, and it was academic from there. Johnson is the perfect, albeit another polarizing, champion. On one hand, there are those who treat Johnson like he’s the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the sport while speaking about his technique. On the other hand, he is probably one of the lowest PPV main event draws in the UFC. With Ronda Rousey, it wasn’t hard for me to pinpoint her polarization (check out the article). With “Mighty Mouse” (stupid nickname) Johnson, I honestly do not know. He has beaten everyone in the Division, there are no clear challengers in the weak division, so the best move for him is to move up to Bantamweight and face TJ Dillishaw for his title. That would be “Fight of the Year” candidate.

Andrei Arlovski def. Frank Mir via Unanimous Decision

You know that feeling when you are looking forward to something for a long time? After years, it finally happens and the anticipation for said event is killing you. Then the event happens, and your reaction is….”Really? REALLY?”

That is how I am feeling about this fight. These fighters are two of the greatest heavyweights ever and this highly anticipated matchup largely disappointed. The fight was mostly spent in the clinch. A simple explanation is that the clinch is when fighters are extremely close to each other. It will sometimes look like they’re hugging. The exchanged punches and elbows from the clinch in the first round. In the second round Mir took Arlosvki down and worked his ground and pound from there. The third round was much like the first and thankfully it didn’t go into championship rounds (fourth-rounds and fifth-rounds only reserved for title fights and main events). So dispite this terrible fight, Arlovski-winner of 6 straight-will likely be the next challenger for the Heavyweight title after Cain Velasquez.

Anthony Johnson def. Jimi Manus via KO

If you remember my last piece, I made a baseball analogy regarding Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. Long story short, he hit a home run. (refer to my last post). Not much needs to be said here except “Rumble” has scary knockout power. He will likely sit back and watch the Rashad Evans-Ryan Bader matchup and face the loser, since the winner will get an immediate title shot.

Corey Anderson def. Jan Błachowicz via Unanimous Decision

This could be considered attempted murder in some states. And the referee could be an accomplice for not stopping this beat down sooner. Anderson took Jan down…..and that was it. Vicious ground-and-pound from the beginning. “Beatdown of the Year” Candidate.

Paige VanZant def. Alex Chambers via Submission (armbar)

I was skeptical about VanZant from the start. The UFC has given her opponents that have no business fighting. With that said, she is constantly improving her game. And, she has “Star Power” written all over her. One reporter called her the younger Ronda Rousey.

Timeout! Pause! Whoa!

She still has much to learn and a long way to go before she can ever think of competing with the likes of strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Chambers clearly was no match for VanZant. She was breathing heavily early in the first round and was completely gassed by the early stages of the second. While VanZant has some room for growth, I think it is now time to give her a top 10 opponent. I said it already; if she continues at this rate, I will be time to start talking title shot.

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Ronda Rousey: UFC’s biggest, most polarizing star

On the heels of the UFC Welterweight title fight being rescheduled — champion Robbie Lawler vs. challenger Carlos Condit — the UFC has called on Ronda Rousey to save the day. In a span of two years, the Women’s Bantamweight (135lbs) champion has become the face of the UFC, next to Conor McGregor.

Go around and ask 10 people to name a UFC fighter and I guarantee eight of them will mention Rousey in some fashion, and half of them will say they don’t like her. Just as fast as her star has risen, her popularity has divided most UFC fans. You either love her or you want to see her get destroyed in the octagon. Why Is that you ask? Great question. In order to understand the “Rousey Effect” we will need to understand her fighting style.

Let me preface this by saying that Ronda Rousey’s skill set is not unique. Her fighting style is very basic. However, her competitive attitude is amongst the best in the UFC, and that is what separates her from the rest.

In preparation for this article, I watched all of her fights on UFC Fight Pass. In my semi-expert analysis, I noticed that she fights the same way every time. Early in her MMA career, she would do anything in her power to get close enough to clinch distance and work her dynamic Judo throws and sweeps from there. She would use her striking to set up the tosses or sweeps. Along with that, her conditioning is inhuman. She could beat opponents on her relentless pace alone. Unfortunately for the rest of her division, she is getting drastically better with every fight.

The Armbar

(via foxsports.com)

She is known for the armbar. I have a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the armbar is the most basic and painful technique out there. This arm lock is accomplished by placing your legs across the opponent’s chest, with one of his arms between your thighs and with the elbow joint against your hips. From that position the opponent’s arm is grabbed with your arms and his forearm is placed on your chest. To lock the arm, you will simply lean back and arch your hips at the same time.

As Rousey’s career progressed, she has added a new toy to her arsenal. Her boxing has improved dramatically since her career has started. She has developed serious knockout power in both hands. Ask Alexis Davis how her jaw is feeling after Ronda put her to sleep. It is remarkable to think that in 15 MMA fights, all but two eclipsed one minute, and those two fights were against Miesha Tate, which she called her “toughest” opponent.

Notice the quotations. The two times she defeated Tate were not really competitive. This fight in particular showed the evolution of Rousey’s game — she took a few shots but absolutely dominated in the stand up and on the ground. In terms of pure MMA skill, it would be absurd to deny that among female fighters in the UFC, Rousey is at least five years ahead in terms of in-ring ability. But she is a human, and like all human fighters, she can be beat. More on that later. Which brings me to why there is such a polarization amongst fans.

Why the love/hate relationship?

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(via foxsports.com)

So why is she polarizing? Her gender. It’s that simple.

When you look at it at face value, a lot of MMA fans are old-school. “Fighting is a man’s sport,” they’ll exclaim. “Women don’t hit hard enough. They don’t have the same technical skills. They’re fights aren’t as exciting. They shouldn’t be doing something so violent. Leave the fighting to the men.”

Ask Bethe Correia how hard Rousey hits.

Here is the point. Fighting has long been associated with a man establishing dominance over another man. Where there once was a sign that said “No Girls Allowed” there is now one that reads “Girls Welcome” — and that is a tough pill to swallow for some dudes. It’s unfortunate and it’s shallow and it’s close-minded, but it is what it is.

I have been practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for some time now and every day I was getting tossed around by women and screaming for mercy. In today’s society, women are kicking down gender barriers in the male-dominated sports world.

Jen Welter is coaching NFL linebackers.

Sarah Thomas is the first full-time female official for the NFL and NCAA football.

Mo’ne Davis is dominating the Little League World Series.

But “combat” is an element other sports do not have. Most men are taught at a young age to protect women, to never let them get hurt, so it’s uncomfortable for some.

The flip side? That’s the reason she’s so beloved.

Her ability so sell a Pay Per View match is astonishing. UFC 187 featured title fights in the Light-Heavyweight division and the Middleweight division. It had 375,000 PPV buys. Rousey’s last PPV, which she headlined alone on August 1st, had more than 900,000 buys. As far as I am concerned, the whole game changed August 1.

MMA veteran Chael Sonnen recently stated (and I agree with him) that only three fighters in history have sold PPVs on their own: Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, and Mike Tyson. Everyone else needed a dance partner.

Ronda is quickly becoming the fourth.

Beating Rousey

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(via mmafighting.com)

I stated earlier that there is a blueprint to beat her. I see two ways — with one better than the other.

First, if you saw her last fight, Rousey got into a wild striking exchange with her opponent, and she just happened to put her to sleep. You can hope that she abandons her superior grappling and you can have a chance to catch her. Not the greatest chance, but a chance nonetheless.

The more calculated approach is to keep her away from you. It is very important to know that distance is your friend. Going for the takedown from too far out makes it easy to anticipate and counter and much more difficult to get the leverage and explosion to get the takedown and the opponent will be striking at air. With that, using striking (mainly leg kicks and jabs) can get the distance you need. Rousey’s next opponent, Holly Holm, effectively uses these techniques to beat her opponent; which makes this next fight very intriguing.

All in all, Ronda Rousey could be a victim of her massive success. If she can get past Holly Holm, the UFC may need to look outside the UFC to find an opponent who can really challenge her.

Enter Cris “Cyborg” Justino…

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