As a Freestyle Kickboxer I have spent a lot of my time recently pointing out how many fighters in the UFC and other MMA events are starting to incorporate our style, techniques and combinations into their game.
Multiple-kicking combinations, fancy feints and gymnastic attacks have all been making the headlines recently, but watching Saturday's UFC: Nogueira vs. Werdum I had to concede that Brazilian Ju-Jitsu was taking centres stage.
Eight of the thirteen fights on the night, including five of the six on the main card, were finished with submissions in either the first or second round.. In fact it was a night of finishes, with only two fights calling upon the judges to declare a winner.
This event was also the finale of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 2, crowning Leo Santos as the second ever TUF Brazil winner and pitting the show's opposing coaches Werdum and Nogueira against each other - a fight which Werdum largely dominated before winning by submission.
Fabricio Werdum defeated Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira by Submission (Armbar, Round 2, 2:41) Leo Santos defeated William Macario by Submission (Arm triangle choke, 2nd Round, 4:43) Thiago Silva defeated Rafael Faijao by KO (Punches, 1st Round, 4:29)
Daniel Sarafian defeated Eddie Mendez by Submission (Arm-triangle choke, 1st Round, 2:20) Erick Silva defeated Jason High by Submission (Armbar, 1st Round, 1:11)
Rony Jason defeated Mike Wilkinson by Submission (Triangle Choke, 1st Round, 1:24)
Raphael Assuncao defeated Vaughan Lee by Submission (Armbar, 2nd Round, 1:51) Felipe Arantes defeated Godofredo Castro by TKO (Elbows, 1st Round, 3:32)
Ildemar Alcantara defeated Leandro Silva by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) Rodrigo Damm defeated Mizuto Hirota by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) Caio Magalhaes defeated Karlos Vemola by Submission (RNC, 2nd Round, 2:49) Antonio Braga Neto defeated Anthony Smith by Submission (Kneebar, 1st Round, 1:52 It is fitting that Brazil, birthplace of BJJ, played host to an event, which demonstrated that submissions can be just as entertaining as knock-outs. What was also so impressive was the overall ground-game on display; the movement and chess game" tactics of BJJ were fantastic to watch.
Any young or aspiring grapplers should definitely watch this one - some of the techniques used were unique, but all of them were performed flawlessly.
Of course, as Thiago Silva showed tonight (and as Anderson Silva regularly demonstrates), not all Brazilian fighters focus on BJJ. They are generally very well-rounded fighters and that's the reason why recently, almost every UFC title belt was held by a Brazilian fighter - something the rest of the MMA world is working hard to rectify.
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