Staying True to Change in Atlanta

ufc-201There is always pressure on fighters to not only win fights but to win fights in spectacular fashion.

That pressure comes from everywhere as the UFC brass, aka Dana White, wants to see exciting fights that get the fans’ attention.

The fans want to see knockouts and submissions or wars that go to a decision and have plenty of action.

Fans are also impatient with their expectations as feeling out periods are not very popular no matter where the UFC travels.

For their own careers, fighters want to end the fight quickly as they not only extend their career by taking less damage but they get noticed.

Winning in the UFC is great but winning in spectacular fashion gets you noticed by everyone as fans want to see the fighter more and the brass is more likely to give you fights because they get the buzz.

That is what every fighter is in the middle of when they begin fighting in the UFC as all are trying to make that long climb up to the championship.

Getting those exciting fights and winning them lets a fighter move up the rankings to get bigger fights and eventually a title fight.

That is where things can change though and for many fighters it is the beginning to the fans turning on them.

A fighter has to be exciting to get a title shot but once they have the title they don’t necessarily need to be that finishing fighter anymore.

The old rule in combat sports is to be the champ you have to beat the champ and to do that you have to go out and prove that you are better.

The champion has to prove nothing and they can stay back and avoid taking damage and as long as they don’t get caught they will likely retain the belt.

Many fighters have figured this out and their exciting rise to the championship gave way to a much more conservative style.

The fans quickly turn on these champions because they are no longer the exciting fighters that they followed on their rise.

It is an interesting phenomenon in the UFC and one that has happened regularly throughout the weight classes in the promotion.

Many are hoping that one champion won’t follow that pattern though as Robbie Lawler has been the king of the dogfight in the UFC.

He has been that way since he joined the UFC as every fight he gets into seems to be a slugfest.

He continues to take massive amounts of damage in every fight while delivering his own damage to his opponents.

When he took the title against Johny Hendricks he fought with everything he had and took a split decision win.

His first title defence was voted the best fight of 2015 when he went toe-to-toe with Rory McDonald in one of the most vicious fights in UFC

Fans of Lawler love this side of the champion and are hoping that his time with the belt does not soften his style.

After two title defences it hasn’t slowed him down in any way and he went into his third title defence looking to show the same thing.

For many, it was to be an easy fight and the war that Lawler loves might not have had time to develop.

Tyron Woodley was not the big name that everyone wanted to see but he was a fighting sitting at the top for a long time.

Woodley came into the fight with most people believing he couldn’t do anything with plans for the future of Lawler’s reign already being made.

When the fight started the usually aggressive, Lawler stood back and stayed patient as his fighting style had clearly changed after wars.

For Lawler, it wasn’t a terrible decision as the speed of Woodley was scary and the war would come eventually.

Woodley didn’t want to let that happen and although he wasn’t very aggressive at the start he did land the shot.

Woodley landed a big right hand in the first round and immediately Lawler went down as he was out quickly.

Lawler had slightly changed his style and he was bitten by the bug that had bitten so many before him when they change as a champion.

He got caught and for another weight class changes continued as another upset was the order of the night.

After being overlooked for such a long time Woodley took the title and now looks to avoid that champion change in his fighting style.

If he can he may just rule the division for a long time but if he does change the love from the fans will fade and he might just get caught.

For now, the UFC has another new champion as the era of parity is continuing with almost every title changing hands in the last two years.



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