Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fight Thoughts

Just got back from watching the fight with a few friends. Needless to say, the martial arts world is abuzz. Ronda Rousey was knocked out by Holly Holm early in the second round. 

It was no fluke, Rousey clearly lost Round 1. Holm executed her plan perfectly. Rousey got frustrated, exhausted, and sloppy. Holm got precise, and more precise, and more precise. Holm weathered several good grappling attacks - avoiding at least two throws and the dreaded arm bar. At one point, Holm even counter-threw Rousey.

In speaking with friends and on social media over the past few weeks, I had indicated that Holm had the correct style to defeat Rousey. For me, the surprising part was that Rousey wasn't better prepared for Holm's style. Among Rousey's trainers are Rener and Ryron Gracie... who also train Lyoto Machida. Holm's stick and move style is extremely similar to Machida's.

So, with that all said, here are a few observations -

Strikers are well advised to keep distance and work angles. Movement is key. Precision is essential. Do not try to knock out your opponent with every blow... try to land a solid blow. All it takes is that one solid "decisive" blow to open up your knockout punch or kick.

Strikers and grapplers who rely on an aggressive style would do well to learn how to cut off the ring. Rousey totally failed to cut off the ring in her advances. It cost her energy and damage. Those things add up.

Grappling is essential for a fight.
Striking is essential for a fight.
Learn both.

Holm evaded one of Rousey's arm bar attempts from a face-down (turtle) position. This is a staple in Rousey's tool box, and because so few others use it, this technique has been very difficult to defend. However, the defense Holm used was shown on a video I own put out by Travis Stevens and Jimmy Pedro. At one point in the past, Pedro was Rousey's judo coach. There are rumors the two parted company on less than peachy terms, though I cannot verify this as I do not know either party personally. It does make me wonder if Pedro put this information out there on purpose.

Holm appeared to evade Rousey's specific judo clinches. Not wrestling clinch defense (as others have tried), and not typical judo clinch defenses (again, which others have tried). Holm had an answer for Rousey's specific attacks. Finally, someone watched some film and adapted.

Holm appeared to be Rousey's first opponent who actually trained a comparable amount as Rousey herself. Up to this point, most of Rousey's opponents have been part-time fighters. Holm is a professional boxer and kickboxer, so it's good to see the women training in earnest.

Hopefully this will put an end to all the silly talk that Rousey could defeat a trained male fighter.

Sloppy sometimes works. Crisp and clean always works. Sharpen your technique. Then sharpen it some more. And when sharp fails, try sharp again.

When you let your style get sloppy, you lose.

There will be a rematch, and I will definitely watch it.

Congrats to Holly Holm. She's a great fighter and a true martial artist.

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