A Key Lesson from UFC 101

UFC Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva is widely regarded as the #1 pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world today. A Muay Thai specialist, he proved it once again with a 3 minute demolition of former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Forrest Griffin. Silva moved up a weight class to fight Griffin and literally made him look like a beginner.

So what was the magic ingredient?

Simply put, Anderson Silva controlled the fight and made sure that it would be determined by the best part of his overall game. His greatest strength is playing the Muay Thai counter striker. In the first minute, Silva danced away and tried to gauge distance and timing. After figuring out Griffin's rhythm, Silva unleashed a barrage of counter strikes against the charging Griffin. The end came brutally quick with a KO of the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. No one in history has ever made Griffin look like a complete beginner. Welcome to the world of Muay Thai.

Along the same vein, UFC Lightweight Champion, BJ Penn secured a rear naked choke submission to end highly touted #1 contender, Kenny Florian. On a side note, Kenny Florian is a product of Sityodtong USA. Florian is a BJJ Black Belt with excellent Muay Thai skills. Nevertheless, once the fight hit the ground in the 4th round, BJ Penn completely dominated Florian and submitted him.

So what was the magic ingredient?

Simply put, BJ Penn took the fight to where he was strongest. Penn is a BJJ Black Belt World Champion and BJJ is his core expertise. In the early rounds, Penn nullified Florian's Muay Thai by changing ranges rapidly and by feinting crosses and hooks. Of course, Penn has excellent boxing and hurt Florian a few times with his naturally heavy hands. Florian was forced to try to take BJ Penn to attempt a ground and pound win. He was unsuccessful at taking Penn down. Once Florian was tired, Penn chose to take the fight to the ground. The fight ended quickly with a rear naked choke.

Ultimately, one of the biggest lessons of UFC 101 is that a fighter must control the fight so that he/she is able to use his/her greatest strengths. If you are a Muay Thai counter striker, then be patient and wait for your opportunity. Keep the fight standing and play your game. If you are a BJJ submission artist, then be patient and wait for your opportunity. Take the fight to the ground and play your game.

UFC 101 was a perfect display of this critical lesson. Whether you are competing in MMA, Muay Thai, or BJJ, it applies to all arts. Equally important, it also applies to real life self-defense situations. Play your game. Dictate the fight to where you are strongest. Of course, it is easier said than done. Nevertheless, here is to Achieving Greatness Within!

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