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GorDoom
07-23-2011, 03:09 PM
Wrestlers in MMA: Why Their Dominance Is Temporary
By Andrew Barr/Bleacher Report

People are making a lot of noise these days about how wrestlers are ruining mixed martial arts.

Many of the casual fans don't like watching wrestlers compete because they find the fights boring. Unfortunately for these people, wrestlers are a dominant force in this sport and so watching their fights is a difficult thing to avoid.

Then there are those on the other side of the fence.

Some of the fans do have an appreciation for the subtle art of grappling and those people generally have no qualms with watching a good wrestler do his thing for 15 minutes.

Neither of the aforementioned persuasions is right or wrong, necessarily, as entertainment is a subjective concept.

However, I do come bearing good news for all of you anti-wrestler spectators out there.

While high level grapplers are currently dominating mixed martial arts, this is a temporary flare up of success and will ultimately subside.

What people need to understand about MMA is that the sport is still in it's early stages; compared to most other sports, MMA is an infant.

When you see a football player in the NFL or a hockey player in the NHL, that individual has likely been playing their respective sport for practically their entire life.

Can the same be said for mixed martial artists? No.

The fighters competing in MMA today have not been training the sport of MMA their entire lives. They train in one particular combat discipline, or maybe a couple, and then later in life adapt what they have learned in that discipline to mixed martial arts, while trying to quickly learn the martial arts they are unfamiliar with.

That's why wrestlers have been so dominant.

Guys like Matt Hughes, Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck have been wrestling since childhood. No matter how hard a kick boxer trains his wrestling when he's in his twenties and ready to start MMA, he will likely never be able to stop the takedowns of a guy who's been wrestling since he was a kid.

Luckily, as the sport continues to grow, youths will begin training with ultimate goal of being a mixed martial artist, rather than training a specific discipline and later adapting to the sport.

This new breed will have been training wrestling, boxing, jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai etc. since childhood and that should level the playing field for fighters everywhere.

No more will we see match ups between a kick boxer who knows a bit of wrestling and a wrestler who knows a bit of boxing, but rather real mixed martial artists going at it.

People like to think that we've come a long way from when Royce Gracie was dominating the sport using his Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a style that some of his opponents probably hadn't even heard of.

The truth is, when you look at the bigger picture, we haven't come very far at all. Rather than the sport being made up of fighters representing one style, as it was in Royce's time, we now have fighters who are extremely versed in one or two styles and novices in others.

If you think the sport has changed since the early days, just wait and see how much it changes over the next 15 years. It's going to be a hell of a ride.

Michael Frank
07-23-2011, 04:14 PM
I'd imagine that when someone with other skills can beat wrestlers consistently, then those other skills will rise to the top and even wrestlers will concentrate on learning THOSE.

Thus far, the wrestlers seem to be doing very well, largely because they know how to take a fight to the ground (where fights are generally won), and because they are simply tough, strong, disciplined, athletic SOBs who train to the max on a daily basis. Yet, some wrestlers were beaten by the likes of Royce Gracie, such as Dan Severn. Severn wasn't a top wrestler anymore but neither was Gracie an MMA fighter, he was strictly jiu-jitszu. Wrestlers in the UFC then had a key weakness--not being able to finish opponents, such as with a choke or hold. Because their sport's finish was only to pin the opponent.

I think the whole point of MMA is 1) to be able to defeat another combatant who uses any one particular technique, and then 2) to be able to defeat other MMA guys who are versed in multiple disciplines (i.e., to rise to the top of the MMA crowd).

I agree on at least one thing with the author: the coming advances in MMA techniques will be a helluva ride.

The Welterweight Epitome
07-23-2011, 11:28 PM
It is funny, BJJ was the dominant force.

Then wrestling with submission defence.

Now it appears great wrestlers are offsetting eachother so the best fighters are now great strikers with great TDD (and TDs if need be). Maynard, GSP, BJ Penn, Frankie Edgar, JDS, Cain Velasquez are all similar. Although the Muay Thai guys with good BJJ (Aldo and Silva) are still alive and kicking.

But no doubt as TDD improves, striking is going to become a bigger part of the game than it ever was which is a great thing for MMA.

JaKob
07-24-2011, 02:27 AM
Wrestling is just such a great base. It's not just the skillset but the development top tier wrestlers go through. The strength and conditioning, discipline, dedication, and competitive spirit wrestling forges in a young man.

That solid base and ability to utilise leverage and general technique to control another man translates so well into the combative arena. Even against a guy with a dangerous guard wrestlers are able to posture up and use that base to stay out of trouble and grind guys out. Wrestling is just another discipline guys are going to need atleast a rudimentary grasp of to stay competitive at this level. We have guys that are elite strikers like Thiago Alves who are going to keep falling short until they make this leap.

Off The River
07-24-2011, 05:21 AM
I can think of another reason why Wwrestlers do so well: The sport is relatively unchanged since it's beginnings. Greco-Roman is self explanatory; it's been around since the Greeks and the Romans. It never really lost its practical methods. While the submission element was lost --for a time-- it didn't take long for good quality wrestlers to figure out jujitsu.

Judo, Karate, Boxing, Taekwondo et al. All have become "softened" as they become a sport. Judo relies on the gi, throws and holds, but submissions are not permitted untill practitioners achieve a certain age, or skill. Alos, judo relies on skill over power. But what happens when two guys of equal skill meet? The stronger of the two will win. Wrestling relies on strength and explosive power forst and foremost.

Modern boxing relies on a stance that is easy to shoot and a guard that relies on large gloves for defence.

Karate has lost a lot of effectivness as the submission and grappling part has been eliminated and in Taekwondo, punching has been effectively eliminated, worst of all the bread and butter kick of taekwondo --the front kick-- doesn't even score points in tournaments anymore!

The reason why Muai Thai has been so effective as a striking is because it has remained truer to its original form.

All the other arts in their original form are brutal and effective, but they do not exist in that form anymore. Lost arts waiting to be rediscovered.

Just look at a boxers stance 100 years ago compared to today. They stood in a manner which was prepared for a clinch. Earlier still, boxers did throw each other and used knees. More like MMA rules.

I'd like to see a man like James Figg transported to the present and have him thrown into the Octagon and see how many guys in the 200lb range would last with him.

The Welterweight Epitome
07-25-2011, 04:45 AM
Modern boxing relies on a stance that is easy to shoot and a guard that relies on large gloves for defence.

The reason why Muai Thai has been so effective as a striking is because it has remained truer to its original form.

Just look at a boxers stance 100 years ago compared to today. They stood in a manner which was prepared for a clinch. Earlier still, boxers did throw each other and used knees. More like MMA rules.

I'd like to see a man like James Figg transported to the present and have him thrown into the Octagon and see how many guys in the 200lb range would last with him.

Excellent post OTR.

On your comments, I have also noticed head movement and rolling your shoulders (like Anderson Silva) is a lot more effective in MMA than a traditional hands up boxing style, given no large gloves.

As far as Muay Thai, I wouldn't say it is overly effective. A lot of these guys now are using so called 'Dutch kickboxing' which is just a mixture of Muay Thai for the kicks/clinch and boxing for the hands from what I can make out.

On the 'old timers' in boxing. Very true. Jack Dempsey practiced judo, jiu jitsu and wrestling. It was not uncommon back in the 19th century and even early 20th for a boxer to practice these.

Off The River
07-25-2011, 09:51 AM
The American Catch Wrestler Ad Santel routinely beat high ranked Japanese Judoka's in the early part of the 20th century. He was so dominant that he had a huge influence on the Japanese. It's pretty ironic when you think of it.

A westerner used the Japanese art of Jujitsu to defeat al-lcomers and it took a Japanese versed in the almost forgotton western art of catch as can wrestling to defeat that westerner (Gracie vs Sakuraba)