By In Mixed Martial Arts

What Fighting is All About

Depending on who you ask, you’ll get very different answers for “what fighting is all about.” For some, it’s all about a smaller or otherwise athletically disadvantaged fighter using superior technique to defeat a larger, more intimidating opponent. For others, it’s all about the street fighter narrative: finding out which person from which country with which fight style is best. For many, fighting is best represented in an all-out rock ’em-sock ’em donnybrook where the fighters leave everything in the cage and end the bout gasping for air and hugging out of respect.

Each of those examples — and plenty others — are perfectly reasonable conclusions of what professional fighting is supposed to be. Yet the main event from UFC 234 on Saturday in Melbourne, Australia, between Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva showcased some alternative explanations of what fighting is all about.

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Don’t Call It A Comeback

UFC Fight Night 144 on Saturday in Fortaleza, Brazil, was just the seventh event in Ultimate Fighting Championship history to be headlined by two Brazilian fighters. “Generally, they don’t like to do that, Brazil versus Brazil,” commentator Michael Bisping said during the main event, “but the problem is they produce such good fighters that at some point it’s going to happen.” Indeed, it happened in three of the six main event fights.

Brazil is vital to the history of the sport, and it has always produced a significant stream of talent, but in a way, this event was a much-needed boost for Brazilian MMA. At a time when there is only one Brazilian champion, albeit in two divisions, it showcased a strong present and bright future for Brazilian fighters…

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By In Social Media

What Fast Finishes Really Mean

Bellator MMA’s first event of 2019 went off with a bang. While I usually cringe at cliched sentiments like that, it perfectly describes the main card of Bellator 214: short and sudden. Four of the five fights on Saturday ended in the first round, combining for a total of five minutes and seven seconds of fight time. Our natural instinct is to cheer for such expediency. Finishes tend to be exciting, and fast finishes are almost always surprising. There are few ways for finishes to suck, whereas there are new genres of sucky decisions birthed every year.

Yet not all quick finishes are the same. They can mean vastly different things for different fighters, depending on the career context of the fighters themselves and how the fight was finished. For starters, there is a substantial difference between quick submissions and quick knockouts. Quick subs usually mean one of two things: Someone has a particularly sneaky and tricky one up their sleeve — think the journeyman Cody McKenzie’s strangely lethal guillotine — or one person in the cage is simply that much better than their opponent.

For both Adel Altamimi and Jake Hager, it was clearly the latter… 

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By In Social Media

A Little Bit of Everything

The first Ultimate Fighting Championship event of the year gave viewers a lot to digest. It was a good card on paper, and in general, it delivered. Nine of the 13 fights obviated the judges’ scorecards; up-and-coming prospects and grizzled veterans put on showcase performances; and it was all anchored by an intriguing superfight that, while short, provided plenty of fodder with which to banter. For the senile fans among us, there were also abundant reminders from the broadcast team that this was the first event on ESPN, just in case you didn’t know what channel you were watching. Those are the four most validating letters in the world of sports, and nothing says “we belong here” quite like the constant, obsequious affirmation that, in fact, we do belong here.

Yet for all the goings-on, a few storylines stood out at UFC Fight Night 143 on Saturday in Brooklyn, New York. Whether they were inspirational, controversial or somewhere in between, each merits further examination…

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By In Social Media

Talking the Talk

It came as a surprise to many when commentator Jimmy Smith announced on Twitter that he would no longer be calling fights cageside for the UFC. By most accounts, Smith was somewhere between good and exemplary in his role. He is experienced in combat sports, possesses a clear and professional voice and also conveys genuine, intelligent enthusiasm for the sport. So why was he let go?

“[The UFC told me] you’re great, fantastic, we love everything you did,” he said in an interview with MMAFighting.com, “[but] we’re going with UFC fighters for 2019.”

This is a perfectly reasonable decision on behalf of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. This isn’t exactly a change so much as it’s a pivot into something it has already been doing — and doing successfully. However, if the UFC plans on only putting fighters in the booth, it begs the question of whether or not fighting experience makes someone better for commentating…

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