UFC 196 – A Strong Reminder That Ground Game Is Important

Last night, we had two highly anticipated match-ups, Connor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz and Holly Holm vs. Meisha Tate. If anyone was cheering for McGregor or Holm yesterday, they are certainly feeling deflated after the results of the two main events. I’m not a band-wagon jumper so I wasn’t really cheering for one more than the other. In fact, I’m a bit glad that Nate won simply because I find him to be more likeable and the Diaz brothers have had their fair share of hardship as employees of Dana White. You can see they’re constantly being railroaded – perhaps because they don’t ‘play the game’ and say ridiculous things to hype up the crowds, or because they like weed. Either way, I’m glad McGregor was humbled last night.

I feel a bit different about Holly Holm vs. Meisha Tate; however. I was pretty happy that Holly won the belt from bad-attitude Ronda and it represented a change in women’s fighting in the UFC. Holm has hours of fight experience and is truly an expert striker. I also hold a preference towards Holly because I prefer stand-up fighting. One of the things I had to get used to when I started following MMA was the grappling. At first I found it incredibly boring. Even now that I have a basic understanding of judo and bjj, I still find it very uninteresting when fights go to the ground.

Based upon Holly’s performance against Ronda, I had high hopes that she would successfully defend her title. It’s frustrating to see a talented striker like Holly lose the belt so quickly. At the same time, she put up a good fight and lasted a long time against Meisha. A lot of grapplers don’t have enough steam to get past the second round since they’ve expended so much of it rolling with someone who has bad intentions. Likewise, a lot of strikers don’t have enough experience with grappling to know what to do if their take down defense fails (of course individuals will vary based upon their routines). Essentially, if one wants to be the perfect fighter, they need to be absolutely proficient in both grappling and striking. This can also be said about an attack on the street. Your average person probably doesn’t encounter someone who trains and knows how to throw a proper punch or kick, so we automatically have an advantage. However, as a striker, what would you do if you find yourself on the ground? We can see that with the two professional women in the cage. The fight could have been a draw if it went to a decision, but Tate scored the opportunity to take Holly where she is weakest.  This upset is likely because Team Holm didn’t spend enough time focusing on grappling. After the strategy executed on Ronda, any ambitious fighter and their camp would know how to set themselves up to defend against Holly.

I’m hopeful that a great striker like Holly will make a comeback and have another shot at the title; however, she’ll need to spend some time working on the ground. Rumor has it Ronda called Dana White after Holly lost the belt – which pretty much exposes how vulnerable grapplers with little standup skill can be if strikers play their cards correctly. Ronda has beaten Tate many times already, so if she gets a shot at the title it’ll be another snorefest. I’m not buying the acting career nonsense that Ronda used to avoid a fight with Holly – especially if she’s making calls to Dana after last night’s results.

To play our cards correctly, as martial arts practitioners, we all really need to master at least two oppositional styles. Being somewhat proficient in a few things or incredibly skilled in one area but not another is a weakness. It’s like creating a mage in an RPG who doesn’t have the stats to use a knife when his mana runs out. As an average person, would you know what to do if someone tried to choke you out?

About The Author

LizLiz

Elizabeth is an avid reader of manga and enjoys attending conventions in cosplay. Please follow me on social media to keep up with my latest reviews and cosplay progress.