Lead Jab – Allusive technical strategy or just plain running?

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Posted By Mika Frankl

When it comes to Mixed Martial Arts there are many different kinds of strategies competitors employ to come out victorious in a fight. It goes without saying that some strategies are more exciting then others. The effectiveness of a strategy is usually only determined by outcome, wins and losses are what counts.

A strategy that has come under the microscope and been highly scrutinized in some main event matches is the strategy of allusiveness. I may not be fully correct on the name of this particular strategy many of you may just considered “running”. As many fans know this strategy has made controversial news when implied by Carlos Condit and Clay Guida, two mixed martial artists known for gritty back and forth wars in the UFC. Both men on big main event stages used tons of movement, kept distance and struck when they felt was best. Both men were criticized for a lack of aggression. In both cases each man threw nearly 350 strikes in a five round  MMA fight, that breaks down to 70 strikes thrown per round. with 5 minute rounds that means 14 strikes per minute are being throw. So how does someone say a guy throwing 14 strikes per minute is being non aggressive? In the case of Carlos Condit he threw 70 more strikes then his opponent Nick Diaz in their match up and in the case of Clay Guida he threw 100 more strikes then opponent Gray Maynard in their match up.

In the day and age we live in now of scientific advances we see the long term side effects of continuous trauma to the brain. We as a  fight loving community have seen these effects take there toll on boxing greatest legends. Now trainers and athletes alike realize that avoiding damage can prolong the career of the fighter. As time goes the fight game grows and evolves new ideas, styles, techniques and game plans that will not always be thought of as exciting or entertaining but are effect in winning a fight. For a smaller faster fighter it’s insane to stand in the pocket with a bigger, stronger, fighter exchanging punches waiting to see who drops first. As the bigger fighter looks to use the advantage of strength looking for the knockout. Why then is it such a horrible thing for a smaller fighter to use the advantage of speed.

In cases of UFC Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and former Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar both men who have heavily relied on the same always moving the feet high volume striking strategy but instead of being mullioned for lack aggression they both have been praised upon for foot work and head movement.  This I believe is because we’ve never seen Cruz or Edgar get into a crazy entertaining brawl. Now I know many people will say Edgar bouts with Maynard were very entertaining and showed tons of heart from Edgar. If you were a coach in the corner for Edgar you were saying you need to be in when your inside and out way out if your outside.  I’ll translate that it means hit quick and run away to not get hit again.  If Edgar had  done according to his coaches we would have never seen the exciting moment of the big connection from Maynard. Hence when Edgar got caught it was a miscalculation on his part.

Is the allusive style exciting, not in my opinion.  Does a game plan for a sport have to be exciting, no but it does need to be effective. If a man who in the middle of a exchange is not mullioned for dropping levels and shooting for a take down, then why is the man that circles away with speed is? When a mixed martial artist is hit with a big punch running and whatever else it takes to survive becomes acceptable, but then why is running to avoid that being punch so viewed as a act of being cowardly. The use of movement and avoiding or not engaging could be construed as frustrating and draining to the person chasing.  Much in the same way the person on the bottom of a grappling exchange looks to be frustrated. The more frustrated your opponent is the greater your strategy must be working.

If the strategy of allusiveness is a problem changes could be made within a promotion to make the cage a smaller area to perform in and there forcing the two combatants in close lessening the ability to “run”. Another option is to amend the rules to were “running” is illegal or just accept some guys don’t get into brawls when the promoter hopes they they will. Is the style the problem or is the problem that when a fighter turns too using this allusive strategy when prior that person had enacted a much more exciting style that we are disappointed. When we’re disappointed for the lack for action in a fight we all must take a step back and ask have we seen a MMA contest. MMA is more then a fight it is now a sport where winning on the score cards and safe strategy without incurring injury all mean the same to the mixed martial artist.

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