UFC Rotterdam: Struve vs. Volkov – Marion Reneau vs. Talita Bernardo Toe to Toe preview

All you need to know about the UFC Rotterdam showdown between Marion Reneau and Talita Bernardo. Marion Reneau vs. Talita de Oliveira try to remind the prizefighting world that the UFC still exists this September 2, 2017 at the Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
One sentence summary:
Phil: Shortly before the migration down to 125 begins to drain it further, we get an object lesson in how shallow W135 actually is.
David: <Cuts mic>
Stats:
Record: Marion Reneau 7-3-1 Draw Talita Bernardo 5-1
Odds: Marion Reneau -290 Draw Talita Bernardo +260
History / Introduction to Both Fighters
David: Reneau is your standard issued old dog with guts and grit. She’s the kind of fighter who started smoking when she was nine, and likes to clean her handguns blindfolded in case the world ends tomorrow. She’s in great condition for her age, and she’s coming off a draw versus Bethe Correia in a fight I legitimately didn’t know existed despite watching it. Now she’s trying to raise her gatekeeper status against a girl without a wikipedia page.
Phil: Marion Reneau has been a dark horse in the W135 division, never quite getting the right breakout fight. She’s now 40 years old, and while she doesn’t appear to be slowing down, she has a limited amount of time to make her mark. This fight isn’t going to help.
David: Like most fighters with different names depending on where you look because prepositions are more confusing in foreign languages, Talita Bernardo – born Talita de Oliviera Bernardo – is a fighter nobody knows about who is nonetheless helping headline a UFC card many people will not watch. It’s not Talita’s fault. She seems like a decent enough fighter. I’m just not sure this is the kind of fight to help headline a UFC card directly following the circus from last week (oh right, tape delay rewatch).
Phil: There isn’t much out there on Talita Bernardo. You’d expect that the UFC would be looking for European fighters to make the short-notice callup, but Bernardo is making a debut on a few days notice, while travelling all the way from Brazil. Whatever happens, she’s not short on courage.
What’s at stake?
David: As long as nobody has a Billy Cole moment, hopefully just the usual.
Phil: Zip. People will raise an eyebrow if Bernardo wins, I guess, but Reneau just hasn’t managed the impact that would make it into a memorable upset.
Where do they want it?
Phil: The interesting thing (such as it was) about Reneau’s fight against Holly Holm was that the two of them have very similar operating spaces and core competencies. Reneau is a natural counterstriker, fighting at the limit of her range behind a jab and round kicks. When denied that range or when put against an opponent which doesn’t give her easy opportunities, she can slide into arid distance kickboxing matches. However, her natural power and speed, combined with an aggressive opportunistic submission game means that while she doesn’t have the striking experience of Holm, she’s far more capable of turning fights around with a moment of offense.
David: Say what you want about this fight, but after all the McGregor, Mayweather hysteria, this is a convenient but raw place to talk about MMA boxing. You see, Reneau’s game is a good example of “disruptive innovation.” And by disruptive innovation, I mean it’s a good example of an MMA fighter actively learning classic boxing techniques, and then using those boxing techniques to throw punches. Reneau dictates the pace and action of the fight by maintaining good posture and balance, reading her opponent to take advantage of resets. In a way, tried and true regular ass boxing is yet another part of transition fighter, which defines MMA. She has a fantastic understanding of distance, and “angles”. She doesn’t have much raw power (most of her TKO’s were against early career ham and eggers), but she sets up her power punches well.
Phil: Talita Bernardo is an aggressive submission grappler. There really isn’t much else to say. She’s only had 6 fights, and for more than one she remains the only bout on those fighter’s resume. The best thing you can say about her is that she has more experience than CM Punk did, but less than Sage Northcutt. If she was the type of preternatural talent who could win a fight like this, she’d be blowing people out of the water, but she hasn’t.
David: Watching tape, Bernardo isn’t some fancy diamond in the rough. She’s your typical maybe-successful-prospect-given-her-handling-of-foreign-jobbers story. She’s able to execute a specific gameplan – get takedowns and get submissions – with reasonable efficiency. She’s very good at quickly setting up submissions, showing urgency, which is key. And I like that she patiently times her takedowns rather than just spamming double legs. But the rest of her game is raw, and her specific strengths don’t seem like enough to offset the murky general picture.
Insight from past fights?
David: Watching Bernardo in her last bout against Iren Racz, there are clear deficiencies to her game. Her striking is, well, striking. Nothing to be truly embarrassed about. This isn’t Dandois level soccer mom windmilling. But she has zero head movement, like she once tried to have a staring contest with Medusa. And she seems to give zero f**ks about incoming punches. She keeps her hands up, but against Reneau, that could be a recipe for disaster.
Phil: Reneau is a good athlete for the division, but she’s fairly old. However, she’s shown herself to be pretty resilient to being worn down by younger fighters, as her best round in the Correia fight was the third.
X-Factors
Phil: Bernardo IS an X-factor. Inexperienced, short-notice, almost certainly underprepared and probably suffering from jetlag to boot.
David: This was a lot easier last weekend. You think we got a chance to be featured on esteemed websites this time?
Prognostication
David: I don’t know. Bernardo is good enough on the ground to potentially surprise. I doubt it happens. Marion Reneau by TKO, round 2.
Phil: Reneau is probably going to want to flex her kickboxing, but I suspect she can finish this wherever she wants. Marion Reneau by submission, round 2.
Source: bloody

Stefan Struve vs. Lavar Johnson full fight video

At UFC 146 back on May 26, 2012, Stefan Struve picked up his eighth UFC victory. The then 24-year-old fighter submitted Lavar Johnson with an armbar in the first round of their heavyweight contest. The submission win earned Struve a $50,000 bonus for Submission of the Night awards.

Now, over five years later, Struve is getting ready to headline his second UFC event. The 29-year-old will take on Alexander Volkov in the headlining slot of UFC Fight Night 115, which is set to go down on Sept. 2 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Source: mmafighting

Former ringside doctor: Ref stopped Mayweather vs McGregor due to ‘signs of traumatic brain injury’

Former ringside physician Darragh O’Carroll, MD claims that Robert Byrd had every right to stop the fight when he did and that McGregor showed signs of a concussion. When referee Robert Byrd stepped in to stop the bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor in the 10th round on August 26th, McGregor was not terribly pleased with the decision. While clearly on wobbly legs, and eating a number of unanswered blows, McGregor told the assembled crowd after the fight, that he would have preferred to go out on his shield, and that he was merely tired, not injured, when the bout was stopped.
“I thought it was close though, and I thought it was a little early on the stoppage,” McGregor said immediately after the fight. “I get like that when I’m tired. I get a little wobbly and flow-y. But, I go back to my corner and I recover and I come back. And I’d have liked it to hit the floor. I’d like the ref to… you know what I mean? There’s a lot on the line here. He should have let me keep going, I thought.”
And while his stance earned him a lot of respect from fans who had hoped to see him win – and even some who had shown up to watch him lose – the reality would have likely been a much less endearing idea.
McGregor is quick to claim that he was never actually hurt, in the fight, only “bolloxed,” as he termed it. But, in a post for Vice’s “TONIC” column, former ringside physician, Darragh O’Carroll, MD, argues that the UFC lightweight champion was showing several signs that he may have been suffering from a concussion when Robert Byrd stepped in to save him (h/t MMAMania).
Byrd’s calculation to call a stoppage was likely not based on signs of fatigue, but rather signs of traumatic brain injury. Ataxia, or dizziness and loss of balance, is one of the hallmarks of concussion, a type of mild traumatic brain injury. Fatigue may cause sluggish and slow movements, but does not cause the imbalance and poor coordination exhibited by McGregor in the 10th round. Being wobbly, in the setting of pugilistic trauma, will always be treated as the result of head trauma and not as fatigue. To let a fighter continue on would be grossly negligent.
Even if he was in fact ‘only tired,’ as he claims, it’s hard not to think the referee made the right move calling the fight off when he did. McGregor was on the rough end of the bout by the end of the ninth round, and the brief break heading into the tenth did nothing to help regain his stamina. At the rate that Mayweather was pouring on offense late, it seems very likely that McGregor would have taken a lot more punishment on his way to the kind of serious traumatic brain injury that comes with an unnecessary knockout loss.
In the meantime, he still got one heck of a payday, KO or no, and the biggest question remaining stands as: Who does Conor McGregor fight next? In which sport? And how soon?
Source: bloody

Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor projected near or past 4.6 million PPV buyrate record

Showtime has released early projections on the buyrate for Mayweather vs. McGregor. Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor was marketed as a once in a lifetime boxing match with two superstars meeting in the most unforeseen circumstances. The fight has been compared to Mayweather vs. Pacquiao in the amount of buzz that it created.
Showtime has now released early projections that put the PPV event in the ballpark of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao’s record breaking buyrate.
“If we don’t reach the record, we’re going to be very, very close,” Stephen Espinoza told The Los Angeles Times, “we consider it a massive success.”
Espinoza says that it is too early to have an exact number, but that the event sold an estimated mid-to-high 4 million PPV buys domestically. Mayweather vs. Pacquiao sold a record breaking 4.6 million PPVs in May of 2015, smashing the previous record of 2.4 million, held by Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.
Earlier this week, UFC Hall-of-Famer Urijah Faber posted a video online with Dana White, where White claimed the event sold over 6.5 million PPVs. The context of the conversation is unclear, and it’s unknown if White was talking about worldwide buys, rather than US or North American buys.

Source: bloody

Michael Johnson wants Jose Aldo in move to Featherweight

The Top 10 Lightweight wants to test his talents down a division against the former champion. After fighting 6 of the current Top 10 Lightweights, with mixed results, Michael Johnson wants to find a new challenge at Featherweight. While speaking at a recent UFC Q&A in Rotterdam, Johnson expressed interest in moving down to 145lbs. He even picked out a possible opponent.
“Jose Aldo, he’s looking to get out of his contract. He’s a great champion so I would love to go down to 145 and fight him. Anytime, anywhere,” Johnson said [h/t MMAUno.com]

.@Followthemenace is moving down to 145lbs and he wants @josealdojunior pic.twitter.com/ByMTOiL4Ui— Jim Edwards (@MMA_Jim) September 1, 2017

A fight against Aldo at Featherweight would not only be his first career fight at 145lbs, but would be the first time that Johnson fights someone who’s held a UFC championship.
“I’m hoping in December I’ll go down to Brazil and fight him. I just love good, exciting fights and he’s a guy that I would love to get in there with.”
After rattling off four straight wins at Lightweight from 2013-2015, Johnson has gone 1-4 in his past five fights. He’s suffered back to back stoppage losses to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje in his past two fights.
Jose Aldo has been the subject of many fight rumors lately, with matches against Cub Swanson and Ricardo Lamas being clamored. Aldo is coming off of a failed title shot against Max Holloway, who TKO’d the longtime champion back in June.

Source: bloody

Felipe Silva plans to impress those who already forgot his first UFC knockout

Felipe Silva impressed in his Octagon debut, and promises more fireworks when he steps back in the cage at Saturday’s UFC Rotterdam against Mairbek Taisumov.

All it took was 73 seconds for Silva to knock Shane Campbell out at the UFC on FOX 21 card on Aug. 2016, but so much has happened inside and outside the cage since that night in Canada.

Conor McGregor became the UFC lightweight champion and challenged Floyd Mayweather in boxing. Stipe Miocic defended his heavyweight belt twice. Jon Jones was stripped of his title, came back, and was once again flagged by USADA. Ronda Rousey returned, lost, disappeared again, and even got married.

The list goes on and on, and it’s easy to forget what Silva did that night in his debut.

“I believe that they might have forgotten about it,” Silva told MMA Fighting. “It was an impressive debut, a first-minute knockout, but I think that coming back now and putting on another great fight, I think I’ll be all over the media again.”

In a way, Silva explains why this long layoff helped him come back a better fighter.

“I needed this time off, too,” he said. “I finally healed my injuries and was able to put on a good work in the gym.”

The CM System talent entered his UFC debut with a hip injury, but “I decided to sign the contract and take that fight and worry about it later.” He went under the knife three months after the victory, and has been asking for a UFC fight since earlier this year.

It took a long time for him to come back, and he didn’t think twice when his manager finally called with an offer from the UFC.

“I don’t even want to know who’s coming,” Silva told his managers when called about a fight with Taisumov in Europe. “He’s the one. I can’t pick and choose. We’ll care about that later.”

Silva knew who Taisumov was because of his knockout victory over Alan Patrick in 2015, and is glad the UFC offered him a tough challenge after being turned down by other opponents.

“Mairbek is really tough, and I don’t want to choose opponents,” he said. “I’m here to be tested. It’s going to be a great fight regardless. Onto another victory in the UFC. He’s a excellent striker but also has a good ground and pound. If it’s up to me, I will always stand and go for the knockout the whole time, but if we go to the ground, I’m sharp as well for another submission.”

Silva predicts he will score a knockout attacking the body or with a big blow to Taisumov’s head, and plans to turn his focus back to David Teymur, one of the fighters he called out earlier this year.

“Taisumov is a bigger name than David and Sage Northcutt because he has more fights and better results in the UFC,” Silva said, “but after this fight, especially with a knockout, I will call out… We’re always asked after a fight who we want next, and saying it’s up to my manager or to the UFC doesn’t help. Conor McGregor showed us that. So after this fight, I will call out someone.

“I’ll leave Sage alone and call David out. He’s a better match-up — and it’s easier to make this fight happen because Sage is protected by the UFC.”

Source: mmafighting

Mayweather-McGregor trending close to PPV buyrate record

Reports have the superfight coming within the range of the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao record.

The predictions the Floyd Mayweather Jr.Conor McGregor superfight would be the biggest event in pay-per-view television history just might come true after all.

MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani has confirmed an initial report by the Los Angeles Times that the boxing fight, promoted by Mayweather Promotions and televised by Showtime Sports, is projecting to do somewhere in the mid-to-high four millions in domestic pay-per-view purchases.

The current record for domestic purchases is 4.6 million buys for Mayweather’s victory over Manny Pacquiao on May 2, 2015 in Las Vegas.

Earlier in the week, UFC president Dana White said the bout, which was won by Mayweather via 10th-round TKO, was tracking at 6.5 million buys, although he didn’t specify whether the number was for North America or around the world. Mayweather-Pacquiao is believed to have done about 5.5 million buys worldwide.

Source: mmafighting

Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor: Moves to Remember

Combat Course: Lessons from the Cage presents a technical analysis and memorable moves from the boxing match between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather The previous “Floyd Mayweather: Fighting Southpaws” articIe provided a definition of boxing by Kenny Weldon, boxing fundamentalist and coach:
”Boxing is the art of hitting an opponent from the furthest distance away, exposing the least amount of your body while getting in position to punch with maximum leverage and not getting hit.”
There have been a few fighters in boxing history who perform to fit this particular definition of boxing. One of them used to be Floyd Mayweather Jr. However, this was not the version of Floyd who fought against Conor McGregor this past Saturday. This version was a boxer on a mission, fighting like a Diaz brother, bringing the fight to Conor McGregor and getting hit in the process.
In pre-fight interviews, Conor pointed out the Floyd has no KO power, he is smaller, older and that he runs away from opponents. Floyd would eventually prove him wrong.
Mayweather kept insisting: “This isn’t just a fight. This is an event. We both owe the fans and everyone tuning in a lot of excitement. That’s what we’re there to give them. I’ve said it’s not going the distance and you can mark my words. I know he’s going to come out and switch and go back and forth with stances. It’s my job to execute my game plan and adjust if I have to.”
Here is one of the interviews:

Fans need to understand that Mayweather was in a lose-lose situation. Should he utilize his usual hit-and-run game in this fight, the result would be him winning a decision and there would be an enormous backlash from the boxing community. It would be a disgrace for boxing if a boxer with a 0-0 record could go the distance against one of the greatest boxers of all time.
Floyd’s new gameplan became obvious once he started the fight by putting his hands up in a high guard while positioning himself with his back against the ropes, expecting Conor to be aggressive. To his credit, Conor did not fall for the trap, and started boxing from a distance. Floyd, purposely, employed a seemingly passive tactic while coming forward during the first rounds.
This resulted in Conor connecting several times and winning rounds. The narrative that Floyd permitted himself to get hit in the head on purpose, to make Conor tired is, of course, not true. Conor was able to catch Mayweather and should get credit for that. His awkward karate-boxing hybrid style and his reach made it difficult for Floyd to adjust in the first two rounds. As mentioned before, it was to be expected that McGregor would have have some success against Floyd’s lead right hand. Conor is an expert in countering the punch. This would happen even if Floyd fought defensively, like he always does, although to a lesser extent.
Floyd had to create risk in order to knock Conor out. Conor is bigger and had never been KOd before. Mayweather had to fight this way, although he is not very effective when he is aggressive. He would never chose to fight like that against a dangerous top 5 boxer.
There have been several different theories on how McGregor was able to survive 9 rounds until his TKO loss in the 10th round. Here is Floyd explaining why it had to be the tenth round:
“Our game-plan was to take our time, let him shoot all his heavy shots early on and then take him down at the end, down the stretch. We know in the MMA he fights 25 minutes real hard and after that he starts to slow down.
You can see that Floyd was actively pressing for the KO after the 25th minute of fighting.
Part two of the Floyd Mayweather: Fighting Southpaws breakdown points out:
“Floyd’s main strength is his strategy and his ability to observe and examine his opponents. If they are faster than him, he beats them with timing, tactics, counter-punching and body-punching to slow them down. But, to determine the proper strategy, he needs to make them show their hand.
Floyd uses the phrase “I size them up,” meaning he thoroughly examines his opponents to identify strengths and weaknesses, in his words to “make them show their hand.” For example, he needs to determine if they are “front-runners.” This is the term he uses to describe fighters who are strong in the early rounds but fade in the last.”
So, as expected, Floyd Mayweather studied Conor’s game in the first rounds and made adjustments. If you don’t believe it here is Conor himself explaining how Floyd changed his game plan three times during the fight.

CONOR DIDN’T FADE DUE TO LACK OF TRAINING OR CONDITIONING
There is no single reason that can explain why Conor faded in the later rounds of this fight. It was a combination of different factors:
First of all, Conor was hurt to the body from Floyd’s body punches. These punches will take the wind out of fighters, compromise their mobility, speed and explosiveness.
Look at Conor’s reaction when he got hit in the solar plexus:

Here is a highlight of the body punches landed by Floyd on Conor:

Also note that fighting going backwards is exhausting. During mittwork sessions fighters fade quickly whenever they have to hit the pads going backwards. Let’s not also forget that in fighting, whoever leads the pace lasts longer than the one following the pace. Floyd was leading the pace after the third round.
It’s worth noting as well, that Conor was way too muscular for a boxing fight. This prevented him from being loose when throwing punches. Muscle mass makes an athlete more explosive but is often counterproductive when it comes to speed and endurance.
Conor losing his composure could also be the result of him losing his confidence when he noticed his punches did not have the same effect on Floyd that they usually have in MMA. McGregor started pushing his punches too much, thus expending unnecessary energy. He was hitting Floyd with arm punches, without using his hips.
This exposed a lack of proper fundamentals. Hip oriented power, head movement and footwork are the first to go when a fighter who has not trained extensively in fundamentals gets tired.
In the end, the argument that Floyd won because Conor gassed out is not valid. Conor gassed out because Floyd kept pushing him to his limits.

CONOR IS NOT A POWER PUNCHER BY BOXING STANDARDS

Generally, boxers punch harder and Thai Boxers kick harder than MMA fighters. Perhaps not former boxers or kickboxers like Mark Hunt – and of course there are other exceptions – but fighters who have only competed in MMA typically don’t carry the same one-shot power. This is due to specialized training and the result of an evolutionary process where boxers who do not punch hard enough and cannot take punches, do not get to have a great career. The ones who make it to the top (again, with exceptions) generally can punch very hard.
Conor seems so powerful in MMA because he is a better boxer than most UFC fighters and also due to the fact that MMA fighters do not use head movement and cannot take a punch the way boxers do.
On the other hand, it is obvious that Conor was not able to make his power explode through the boxing glove’s padding. He looked like a point fighter in the fight, not to mention that his sense of distance seemed to be off.
The extra padding on the glove and the associated extra weight gives fighters a different feeling when punching. You need penetrating power to be effective with boxing gloves. It is a different type of power.
The purpose of the boxing glove is to protect the hand, not the face. Your hands feel safer with boxing gloves and you can strike a lot harder since you are not afraid that you will hurt your hand if you land on an elbow or a forehead. This allows boxers to punch more and harder than their MMA counterparts. This helps them develop power.
The disadvantage of this is that boxers are not as effective in MMA fights where they have to fight without boxing gloves. Their hands and wrists can get injured. The power is there but the knuckles are not conditioned to land on hard surfaces without the glove’s padding.
But before coming to the conclusion that suddenly Conor lost his power, also note that Floyd has a solid chin and can also take body punches like no other. That’s one of the things boxing selects for. You can’t be an elite boxer if you really take a good punch.
THE LOW BLOW DEBATE
The low blow debate centered around a punch that landed in the beginning of round 9. My first impression was that it was a legal blow but watching the clip in slow motion I now believe it was a low blow. The reality is that Floyd was not really hurt, as he was anxious to continue fighting, and was in fact smiling after the referee intervened.
Judge for yourselves. Here is a screenshot:

and a gif:

TAKING THE BACK
Conor kept going for a wrestling style back take throughout the fight. He kept going towards Floyd’s back and used it to land insignificant punches and mainly forced the referee to (slowly) intervene. The broadcasting crew did a horrible job accusing Floyd of giving his back when as you can see below Conor controlled the hip with his right hand and did not permit Mayweather to get back to position. Conor likely used this tactic as a counter to Floyd’s duck under defensive maneuvers. This move can be effective in MMA, but in a boxing match it mostly made the fight awkward.
In the sequence below, see Conor attack with a left cross, close the distance and then use his right hand to grab Floyd’s right hip (photos 4-6)

Here is the gif:

Conor is not Cain Velasquez, he does not know how to deliver punches from such a short range, and the position does not provide the ability to use proper leverage when punching. McGregor was just spending energy using this tactic.
Here is another example:

Again, no significant punches landed:

RUSSIAN TIES
Another wrestling tactic McGregor kept using was to control Floyd’s hands with Russian 2-on-1 ties. Conor used his left hand to hug Floyd’s right hand under the armpit while controlling Mayweather’s wrist with his right hand. Here is an example:

Again, as shown in the gif above, Conor is just spending energy. Floyd is used to opponents leaning on him and pressuring him. These tactics did nothing to wear him down.
In the sequence below, Conor pushes Floyd’s head down and gets the Russian tie, as if he were going for an arm-in guillotine, and then lets the head go. Not a bad move for MMA but no significant use in a boxing match, especially with gloves on.

BODY PUNCHES ARE CONOR’S CRYPTONITE
Conor has a solid chin but fades when he gets hit to the body. In round 2 of the second Diaz fight Conor was beating Nate to the punch until he was hit with a couple of body shots and he suddenly started getting hit with more punches everywhere.
It was plain that Mayweather would work on the body, and he did so by landing several straight right hands as can be seen in the highlight clip shown in the section on Conor’s cardio above. Let’s examine three such examples of body punches.
Technique #1
Floyd lands mostly right hands, but he also uses jabs to the body, as in the following sequence:

See Floyd taking advantage of Conor’s karate stance, changing levels and landing on his ribs. He immediately pulls back out of range afterward.

Technique #2
In the next sequence Floyd changes levels and lands a lead right hand to the body. As he pulls back, Conor attacks with a hammerfist that misses. McGregor’s commitment to attacking with hammerfists in a boxing match was puzzling to say the least. The padding on the side of the hand does not allow the hammerfist to land firmly in any way.

Notice that Floyd has to actually turn his chin to his left to make Conor’s hammerfist miss. Here is the gif:

Conor was trying to use hammerfists instead of hooks and uppercuts whenever Floyd rolled under punches or used head movement. Here is an example:

Technique #3
Below is an interesting combo. Floyd pushes Conor’s right hand down with his left and lands a straight right to the body. Conor’s southpaw stance makes it difficult to block right hands to the body and the liver is exposed. McGregor keeps connecting his forearms to block the punches, actually trapping Floyd’s hand between them a couple of times. In this sequence Floyd continues with a jab and a right cross.

CONOR’S CHANGE OF STANCES
After the fight, many complimented Conor McGregor’s stance switching. But, truthfully, he did so very ineffectively. He used a Taekwondo-like switch which is great for kicking but insignificant in boxing as your feet land in the same area. And besides, Floyd is more effective with orthodox fighters, so switching gained no advantage.
A karate style change of stances would likely be preferable, to close the distance stepping forward. Conor’s best punch when switching stances was a left jab to the body. This move helped him close the distance and gain leverage as he landed the punch.

As shown above and below, Conor faked a right jab, switched stance, landed his foot forward and connected with a left jab taking advantage of the momentum:

Then, there is this instance below, where Conor switches to a low orthodox stance, steps forward, crossing his legs, and lands in a southpaw stance to Floyd’s right. McGregor has his hand down and Floyd catches him with a right cross before Conor can land his left hook.

Notice how Floyd follows Conor’s movement and his footwork in doing so using a jumping pivot:

RIGHT PIVOT TO RIGHT OVERHAND, LEFT UPPERCUT

In the sequence above, Conor iss able to step his right foot to the outside of Floyd’s left foot, pivot right and move forward closing the distance. While doing so, he attacks with a right overhand and a left uppercut which seem to connect. This is a very technical move by McGregor.

PULL TO RIGHT CROSS VS JAB

The sequence above shows a rare application of Mayweather’s famous pull counter against a southpaw’s left hand. The counter is a pull-back to avoid the left hand, making an opponent miss while Mayweather comes back with a right. This counter is often used by Floyd against orthodox boxers and can be examined here:

Usually (as described here) against southpaws, Floyd slips or ducks under the incoming left hand. But against Conor, Floyd was able to apply the counter successfully. Notice how, against an opponent this long, Mayweather had to pull all the way back to make him miss, and came back landing a beautiful right hand. Here are gifs from two different angles:

CONOR’S SUCCESS WITH UPPERCUTS
Most credible analysts never predicted Conor wouldn’t land a punch (unless they were part of the HBO, De La Hoya or Arum teams).
The article, Game Changer: Conor McGregor’s Left Hand elaborated on this issue:
“Although I believe that Floyd Mayweather Jr. will win in a dominant fashion this Saturday, in a boxing fight many things can happen and Conor – like all of Mayweather’s previous opponents – has a puncher’s chance.”
The key to beating Mayweather this Saturday does not lie in Conor trying to rough him up. In the past, all of Floyd’s opponents have tried to do so, without any significant success. If he chooses to pursue a pressure fighting tactic in the first rounds, Floyd will weather the storm and make him spend all his energy. Don’t forget this is a 12 round fight.
On the other hand, this is an intriguing stylistic match-up because, as previously analyzed here, one of Floyd Mayweather’s main attacks is the lead right hand. And all of Conor’s opponents who dared attack with a lead right paid for it.
Conor’s timing when countering the right is excellent, and means his left hand is almost certainly the main way he can win this fight.”
In fact, Conor was successful in landing on Floyd, but not by using his usual counter left hook. This time he used a counter left uppercut. It was a beautiful technique and one of the most technical punches to ever land on Floyd Mayweather.
Most likely, McGregor and his team decided to employ uppercuts to counter incoming lead right hands, due to the fact that Mayweather preemptively rolls under and pivots after landing lead right hands. Here is an example:

Technique #1
Early in the fight, Conor was successful in landing a left uppercut right hook counter. Here is the first angle:

See Floyd going for the lead right hand. McGregor was able to move his head to his left and land an uppercut. Mayweather was moving in the same direction as the follow-up right hook, thus minimizing its impact. This is a great technique as shown in several angles of the clip below:

Here is another similar exchange (rd 2, 2:28)

Technique #2
McGregor also uses a similar counter to slip the right hand and land left body shots instead of left uppercuts:

Conor landed a significant number of body-shots on Mayweather throughout the fight, but did not seem to do any damage.
Technique #3
Below is a more complicated exchange. Floyd goes for a jab, right cross combo. Conor slips the right cross and comes back by landing a left hook/uppercut punch. Floyd also lands a glancing left hook at the same time.

Here is the gif:

Conor was not always able to use his hips to generate power in this fight. The punch in the gif above lands, but it’s mostly an arm punch.
FINAL THOUGHTS
Due to the complexity of the sport, MMA is more of a technique based art while boxing is more based on taking advantage and developing sport specific attributes. In boxing, the ability to take a punch or last for 12 rounds is as important as the application of techniques. Deficiencies when it comes to a boxer’s athletic attributes play a major part in boxing gameplans and opponents work to exploit them. More details on sport specific attributes can be found here. Although written for BJJ this information is applicable to all forms of fighting.
The narrative that Conor only lost due to him gassing and not due to Floyd being a better fighter is wrong. To quote a Lennox Lewis tweet : “Floyd has beaten 49 other pro boxers that didn’t gass out… don’t hang ur hat on this… it didn’t matter”
It was obvious that the 40 year old, smaller, retired boxer hits harder than Conor, can take a punch better than him and also has better boxing specific conditioning. All of Conor’s mistakes were the results of the pressure which was applied on him by a better fighter.
Here is another tweet:

Boxers are conditioned to go 12 rounds. All FM had to do was take him to deep water & drown him… any good boxer would have done the same! https://t.co/4sEBNnLBVs— Lennox Lewis (@LennoxLewis) August 27, 2017

Conor very probably made a serious mistake by not hiring a specialized boxing coach with experience in championship fights to help him prepare. Instead, his MMA team came up with an amateurish gameplan of using rabbit punches, hammer-fists, stance switches and wrestling moves. Experience is important, and an MMA striking coach is not as effective as a coach specialized in boxing.
On the flip side, McGregor’s boxing venture is a part of boxing history and he is way richer. Even getting this fight is a great honor, no MMA fighter was ever able to do that.
As far as the stoppage debate is concerned, the referee saved McGregor from getting knocked down. As a fan of MMA, it would be a shame to see Conor knocked out on the canvas like Manny Pacquiao against Juan Manuel Márquez

Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Images like these are very powerful and it’s for the better that Conor was able to avoid this conclusion.
The referee stopped the fight after at least 16 punches landing on Conor. Here is the gif:

As a final, final thought, Conor performed just as expected, had his moments, the fight was exciting, and there is no shame in losing against one of the greatest boxers of all time. Hopefully this will help MMA fighters appreciate the sweet science, work more on footwork and head movement and learn to apply boxing mechanics in the cage.

About the Author: Kostas Fantaousakis is a researcher of fighting concepts, tactics, and techniques, and a state-certified MMA, grappling, and wrestling coach in Greece. He teaches his unique Speedforce MMA mittwork system © which combines strikes, takedowns, knees, and elbows applied in the Continuous Feedback © mittwork system of the Mayweather family. Kostas is a brown belt in BJJ under MMA veteran and BJJ world champion Wander Braga (the teacher of Gabriel Napao Gonzaga).
Follow Kostas on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kostasfant and search #fantmoves for more techniques.
Website: www.embracingthegrind.com

Source: bloody

UFC Fight Night: Struve vs. Volkov staff picks and predictions

Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night: Struve vs. Volkov card in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The Bloody Elbow staff has submitted its predictions for UFC Fight Night: Struve vs. Volkov, and only newcomer Ryan Davies is picking Stefan Struve to win in front of the home crowd. Everyone else is siding with Alexander Volkov to come away with the victory in Rotterdam, Netherlands. This is uh… not an event filled with familiar names.
Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all of his predictions on Wednesday without adding in any explanations, he has no idea if he’s going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.
Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov
Mookie Alexander: Volkov knows how to fight tall and Struve still kinda doesn’t. If Stefan can force the issue and try and get Volkov down, I truly believe he can submit the Russian. Otherwise it just feels like Volkov is going to bloody Struve up, pick him apart, and then finish him by the midway point of the fight. Alexander Volkov by TKO, round 3.
Dayne Fox: Anyone who listens to Eugene S. Robinson on Knuckle Up knows what a GICTA is, but I know I’ve got to explain what it is for those of you who don’t. Guy I Can’t Trust Anymore. I don’t know if I could ever trust Struve in the first place, but I know I sure as hell can’t trust him now. Yes, he has won three of his last four and looked progressively better since his heart scare. But look at the names he has beaten. A far-past his prime Big Nog. A completely shot Bigfoot Silva. And Daniel Omielanczuk who happened to be at a reach disadvantage of over 10-inches. Volkov isn’t a world-beater himself, but he’s proven to be far more durable and consistent. Good enough for me to pick the Russian. Volkov via TKO of RD2
Zane Simon: This fight comes down to two primary factors. The first is that Alexander Volkov’s takedown defense has been largely terrible throughout his career. Especially a problem given his love of clinch knees. The second is that Stefan Struve’s chin has also been pretty terrible, and has only really gotten worse over time. Eventually, I think Volkov’s solid defensive grappling should be enough to keep him safe and give him enough time to out-last Struve’s cardio to start dropping some real offense. Alexander Volkov via TKO, Round 3.
Eddie Mercado: The tall-man lag is less for Volkov than it is for Struve. Alexander Volkov by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Struve: RyanStaff picking Volkov: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Ram, Zane, Fraser, Mookie, Eddie, Stephie
Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Rob Wilkinson
Mookie Alexander: Even by Fight Pass standards, they totally phoned it in for this card. Bahadurzada felt like a different fighter in his win over Brandon Thatch, but how much can you really gather for someone who fights as infrequently as him? Wilkinson isn’t a bad fighter and in fact should be good enough to nick a couple of UFC victories, but I see him being outmatched on the feet here. Siyar Bahadurzada by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: Bahadurzada has had a weird and sporadic career of late. He was last seen putting an end to what was left of the Brandon Thatch hype train, and before that got ground out by John Howard in a fight which was largely memorable because of a very loud fart. Wilkinson is a reasonably skilled outside boxer, but I suspect Bahadurzada uses his newfound love for wrestling to push Wilkinson to the cage and hit takedowns. Siyar Bahadurzada by unanimous decision
Zane Simon: Wilkinson joins the long list of Aussie fighters whose primary defining characteristic regionally was that they could actually wrestle a little. He’s a take-one-to-give-one striker which I doubt serves him against Bahadurzada, who still has blazing hand speed. Siyar Bahadruzada via TKO, Round 2.
Staff picking Bahadurzada: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Ram, Zane, Fraser, Mookie, Ryan, Eddie, StephieStaff picking Wilkinson:
Talita de Oliveira vs. Marion Reneau
Mookie Alexander: Reneau will be too strong for the newcomer. I know Reneau has had issues letting her strikes go in previous fights, but she’s definitely going to have the advantage on the ground against Oliveira if it goes there, which I suspect it will at some point. Marion Reneau by submission, round 2.
Zane Simon: Talita is a brawling striker who prefers to go for clinch takedowns and work a GnP/grappling game. Nothing I’ve seen of her says she can out-grapple Reneau, although this could be a very slow striking contest if she also can’t get Reneau down. Marion Reneau via submission, Round 1.
Staff picking Oliveira:Staff picking Reneau: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Ram, Zane, Fraser, Mookie, Ryan, Eddie, Stephie
Leon Edwards vs. Bryan Barberena
Mookie Alexander: This honestly is more deserving of five rounds than Struve vs. Volkov. As much as I’d love for Barberena to spring another upset, I’m taking Edwards here. He’s made serious strides with his wrestling and his move to American Top Team has worked wonders for him. I do have some concern that he’ll cost himself rounds by not being offensively active enough, and against a guy like Barberena, who loves to set a pace and pressure fight, it’ll be interesting to see if Edwards goes with the tempo Barberena sets, or if Leon will dictate the terms of the action. Barberena isn’t a great striker, but he looked more than formidable (and quite powerful!) vs. Joe Proctor. Edwards is definitely not Proctor, so I’m looking for the Brit to continue his winning streak. Leon Edwards by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: The best and most relevant fight of the card. Edwards has shown impressive and surprising developments, building out from a single-shot counterpuncher into an effective top position wrestler. The question now is simply how well he can continue to blend the two. Millennial Matt Brown keeps a fantastic pace, hits surprisingly hard, and throws out a ton of interstitial clinch offense, but his takedown defense remains… not good. If Edwards is the same fighter, he should be able to win with wrestling, but I expect more improvements from him. Leon Edwards by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Barberena’s takedown defense has never been great, but his ability to get back up and make people work really hard is very good. And, even in really difficult fights, he tends to be just as capable in round 3 as round 1 (if not moreso). The other thing working for him here is that Edwards isn’t all that comfortable with strikers willing to come forward and pressure him. He hits with one-shot power from range, but largely sticks to throwing one shot at a time, and Barberena’s chin is almost uncrackable. I think this will be a close fight, but I’m picking Barberena to make Edwards work really hard on wrestler, and to pick up momentum as the fight goes on with a constant barrage of pressure. Bryan Barberena by decision.
Staff picking Edwards: Nick, Dayne, Phil, Ram, Mookie, RyanStaff picking Barberena: Bissell, Zane, Fraser, Eddie, Stephie
Darren Till vs. Bojan Velickovic
Phil Mackenzie: Hmmm. Till is an aggressive counterpuncher, who tries to bait opponents into striking at his head, then pulls back and lands a cross or hook. That being said, he’s also had an issue leading when the opponent won’t give him those opportunities. Velickovic is a well-rounded and athletic kickboxer, but he’s not high pace or prone to leading, either. Till probably holds a few technical and physical edges, but I suspect this may be a fight that optimistic folk like to call a “chess match”. Darren Till by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Velickovic doesn’t do anything that poorly, but he doesn’t do anything that well either. If he were a better wrestler I’d say he could take rounds due to Till’s overconfidence grappling off his back, but he’s just not. He can probably depend on his awesome durability to see him to the end, but I expect most of this fight will be Till pot shotting and posturing as Velickovic fights for ineffective takedowns and circles at range a lot. Darren Till by decision.
Staff picking Till: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Zane, Fraser, Mookie, StephieStaff picking Velickovic: Ram, Ryan, Eddie
Mairbek Taisumov vs. Felipe Silva
Phil Mackenzie: This card really is a grab-bag of “we haven’t quite fired these guys” and “we don’t know what to do with these guys”. Taisumov, like Khabilov, falls squarely into the latter category (so did Nick Hein, before he got injured). He’s on a four-fight KO streak, yet visa and injury issues clearly have the UFC unconvinced about where he’s going. As with Santiago against Magomedsharipov, Silva is perfectly capable of authoring the upset, as he’s powerful and fearless, but Taisumov simply has more spaces that he can operate in, with a nasty kicking and clinch game to complement his counter punching. I’m always a little concerned by that mental fragility he showed against Trator, but Maibek Taisumov by TKO, round 2
Zane Simon: Felipe Silva is big and powerful and aggressive, and a shockingly technical clinch striker. But until he gets to the clinch he has a habit of just biting down on his mouth piece and winging hooks until his opponent cracks. I think that leaves him far too open to getting sniped coming in by Taisumov’s counter game. Taisumov isn’t a defensive master, but he’s hard to hit more than once at a time and takes a shot really well. After round 1, I wouldn’t be surprised if Silva is a lot slower and somewhat out of ideas. Mairbek Taisumov by TKO, round 3.
Eddie Mercado: Taisumov is the more polished fighter here. When push comes to shove, and it most certainly will, I believe Taisumov will be the one responding better to getting hit, and ultimately go on to pick up the knockout. Mairbek Taisumov by KO in 1.5 rounds.
Staff picking Taisumov: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Ram, Zane, Fraser, Mookie, Ryan, Eddie, StephieStaff picking Silva:
Rustam Khabilov vs. Desmond Green
Mookie Alexander: High chance this fight is miserable to watch. These are two skilled athletes whose best offensive showings are eye-opening, and then everything else is kind of a slog. I think Khabilov will be active enough on the feet to win rounds, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Desmond frustrates him by preventing the takedown, and that may lead to some mistakes being made by Rustam. Green is also likely to find it difficult to put Khabilov on his back and keep him there. This is going to be a slow-paced contest and I lean slightly towards Khabilov as the more complete fighter. Rustam Khabilov by split decision.
Phil Mackenzie: There will be the combination of talent, athleticism, skill and frustrating inertia in the cage that you only normally encounter during a Tyron Woodley bout. Khabilov is explosive in small doses, as he throws hard, accurate casting hooks, and is a monstrously powerful wrestler. Green has slightly different activity issues, in that he can sometimes get tunnel visioned into long periods of waiting for countershots, or meaningless grinding in the clinch. He looked infinitely better in his last fight, where he kept a good pace and wore out Josh Emmett with a steady diet of jabs, but it’s worth remembering that Emmett gave him a lot more opportunities than Khabilov will. Still, if Green can at least mostly replicate that pace I think he can exploit Khabilov’s tendency to hang back as Green is simply the more technical kickboxer. Desmond Green by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: The thing about Green’s pace in the Emmett fight is, I think it was largely dictated by Emmett’s willingness (or feeling of necessity) to come forward and engage Green constantly. And as he did so Green conceded a lot of space in order to find spots to pick Emmett off, at least until Emmett got tired enough that Green could more confidently come forward. If he’s willing to concede space in the same way and wait on Khabilov, I think he ends up playing far too much of Khabilov’s rangy, somewhat unpredictable pot-shotting game. And, in a fight where I suspect Green won’t be able to fall back on a wrestling advantage to take over rounds when he needs to, I think that means he idles his way to a slow paced loss. Rustam Khabilov by decision.
Staff picking Khabilov: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Ram, Zane, Mookie, StephieStaff picking Green: Phil, Fraser, Ryan, Eddie
Bojan Mihajlovic vs. Abdul-Kerim Edilov
Mookie Alexander: This is not a UFC-quality event. Mihajlovic getting a third fight is puzzling. Abdul-Kerim Edilov by TKO, round 1.
Phil Mackenzie: Mihajlovic is one of several fighters who is looking at a pink slip. He got knocked out by Joachim Christensen, a deeply average 205er. He’s here to presumably get merked by Edilov, a talented, morally questionable prospect who babysits for a psychopath and is probably going to wreck Mihajolovic in the clinch and on the mat. Abdul-Kerim Edilov by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: There was never any reason the UFC should have signed Mihajlovic in the first place and he’s mostly been a punch bag in the cage since then. No different here. Abdul-Kerim Edilov by TKO, Round 1.
Staff picking Mihajlovic:Staff picking Edilov: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Ram, Zane, Fraser, Mookie, Ryan, Eddie, Stephie
Francimar Barroso vs. Aleksandar Rakic
Mookie Alexander: We’re blessed with Barroso. Not even UFC Fight Pass pacing can make Barroso fights feel anything other than painstakingly slow. Francimar Barroso by unanimous decision.
Phil Mackenzie: It’s Francimar Barroso time. Like his last fight (and the one before that, sorta) he’s fighting a European who might be a can crusher, or might be a legit talent, and it’s pretty hard to tell because European LHW competition is dire. Pray that Rakic knocks him out, because if he doesn’t… well, it’s Francimar Barroso time. Francimar Barroso by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Rakic looks like a great athlete with real power. But he also doesn’t look like an MMA fighter with a complete or trustworthy MMA game. If he were all about blitzing people with supreme confidence and pressure (Nikki Thrillz style) then I’d give him a good shot at winning here. But his interest in a slow sniping power range game likely give Barroso way too much opportunity to turn this into the slow-paced cage grind where he thrives. Francimar Barroso via decision.
Staff picking Barroso: Bissell, Phil, Zane, Fraser, Mookie, EddieStaff picking Rakic: Nick, Dayne, Ram, Ryan, Stephie
Mike Santiago vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov
Phil Mackenzie: Magomedsharipov is another exciting addition to the UFC’s white-hot featherweight division, who impressed in the ACB shark tank. Despite being a gangly 6’1, he’s relatively defensively responsible, and his rawboned jab, hook and occasional spinning kick pack shocking power. Santiago is an aggressive puncher with a deceptive record, who turned a corner in his development a few years back and has consistently fought good competition. What struggles Magomedsharipov has had have been from those that attack him at all levels, as he simply can’t cover 6’1” of real estate. If Santiago head hunts, I expect him to get figured out and cracked. If he can mix up his pressure, he could pull off the upset. Still, gotta go with the more proven commodity and Zabit Magomedsharipov by TKO, round 3
Zane Simon: Santiago has a real chance for the upset here. Magomedsharipov is a thrilling prospect, but I think there are real concerns to be had about his physicality. He was kind of a lightweight fighting bantamweights regionally, and even then not an overwhelming physical force, so much as a fantastically technical sniper. As he moves to the UFC and a featherweight division that’s largely stocked with good sized, powerfully built fighters, it remains to be seen how well he can stop himself from being bullied. Santiago is a guy that will absolutely work to bully him. Santiago is a very comfortable pocket puncher who mixes his shots well, due to his boxing background, and he’s also a very capable, athletic scrambler on the mat. I’m still picking Magomedsharipov, since I think Santiago’s preferred range of squaring up in the pocket and letting his hands go leaves him open to be sniped (a lot like the Taisumov/Silva fight above), but I’ll be very interested to see what Santiago can do if he can get Magomedsharipov’s back against the fence. Zabit Magomed Sharipov via KO, Round 2.
Staff picking Santiago:Staff picking Magomedsharipov: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Ram, Fraser, Zane, Mookie, Ryan, Eddie, Stephie
Michel Prazeres vs. Mads Burnell
Phil Mackenzie: Trator The Tertiary Tibau’s developments into a Kings-style pressure kickboxer and legit offensive threat in recent bouts have been very impressive. Is Burnel really a better shot wrestler and grappler than Gilbert Burns? Jab, leg kick, combinations, and time in top position. Michel Prazeres by TKO, round 2.
Zane Simon: I like the raw pieces of Burnell’s game. He’s a willing combination puncher, a decent wrestler, a very solid looking top position grappler with a nice front headlock game. But his level of competition is low, and his technical depth is shallow. Prazeres is at the doorstep of being a top ranked lightweight and should bulldoze Burnell. Michel Prazeres by decision.
Staff picking Prazeres: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Phil, Ram, Fraser, Zane, Mookie, Ryan, Eddie, StephieStaff picking Burnell:
Andrew Holbrook vs. Thibault Gouti
Phil Mackenzie: While he’s on an 0-3 skid, all by finish, I still weirdly find myself thinking that Thibault “La Barbe” Goatee is somehow better than he looks. He’s clunky, and not massively durable, but he’s physically powerful and aggressive. Holbrook has durability issues himself, and is a little more consistent if he avoids getting blown out of the water. I think Gouti might have a pure physicality edge. Bit of a gut pick here, but Thibault Gouti by unanimous decision.
Zane Simon: Gouti is a guy that seems to get some random hope from technical analysts (yeah I mean you Phil & Connor), but the long and short of it is that whatever the matchup in front of him in the UFC, he’s found a way to lose it cleanly. Holbrook is on whatever defensive system Patrick Cummins is on, but we’ve seen him pick up wins over reasonable UFC talent. He’s a powerful, hard punching, athletic grappler. Gouti may crack his chin and put him out, or Holbrook may gas out and lose, but I haven’t seen enough from Gouti beyond occasionally technical boxing to make me think he wins in the UFC. Andrew Holbrook by submission, round 2.
Staff picking Holbrook: Bissell, Nick, Dayne, Fraser, Zane, Mookie, Ryan, Eddie, StephieStaff picking Gouti: Phil, Ram

Source: bloody