Evolution of MMA Continues in Denver

ufc-fox23The evolution of mixed martial arts continues as the sport continues to grow and continues to show that singular training won’t do anything.

Everyone knows that the sport is right on the edge of being a major sport in North America but whether or not it can grow beyond that remains a question.

Growing in terms of followers and views and pay-per-view buys is one way to measure things but it is not the only way.

Participation in the sport is also an indicator of the popularity of a sport and as the participation grows the talent level increases.

In Mixed Martial Arts it is something slightly different than most sports though and that is beginning to come to light more and more.

Unlike most sports MMA is a melding of multiple disciplines to create one sport and that makes everything slightly more difficult especially as the sport evolves.

When MMA first came around being great at one of the many disciplines was good enough as nobody was good at everything.

A great wrestler could take a striker down and eliminate any danger of being knocked out while a striker could pressure early and avoid the takedown by earning the knockout.

It was simply a sport where one discipline faced another to see who would come out on top.

When jiu-jitsu began to take over that is when the evolution of the sport began to take off as everyone needed to solve the riddle that the discipline brought.

Now everyone needed to know some type of jiu-jitsu if only to defend the moves and get the fight to the feet.

If they could do that they could control the fight better and not allow someone with a jiu-jitsu black belt completely control the fight.

From there the evolution took off as more fighters began to add more aspects to their game in the hopes of making sure they were as multi-dimensional as possible.

Being able to fight in multiple ways made them a new version of fighters but they all still came from one discipline.

That leads to this new age of fighters which started to come into the UFC a few years ago with Jon Jones.

These fighters are those who trained for MMA from the start rather than coming from wrestling or jiu-jitsu alone.

These fighters saw the FUC and grew up to be an all-around fighter and that has moved the game to a new level.

These athletes are beginning to take over the UFC as they need a bit of everything to compete and more and more they are rising to become champions.

Even some fighters that make their way through their divisions using one aspect can surprise some with their ability in other aspects of the sport.

That is what was seen at UFC on FOX 23 when two fighters seen as more one-dimensional looked to show they are a lot more as they fought for a title shot.

There was Juliana Pena who has been one of the more promising prospects in the women’s game with her great jiu-jitsu.

She would take on Valentina Shevchenko who push the current bantamweight champion further than anyone with her great stand-up.mma-sidebar.fw

Both believed that they were better than just their one great dimension and both believed they could win wherever the fight went.

For the most part, that fight stayed on the feet although both women clinched along the fence attempting to get the advantage.

While on the fence, Shevchenko continued to look to take the fight to the ground earning multiple takedowns throughout the fight.

It was a bit surprising for most as everyone expected her to keep the fight on the feet and out-strike Pena rather than trying to match her jiu-jitsu.

It turned out to be a smart strategy though as the second round saw Shevchenko prove that she was much more than just a great striker.

With Pena in top position, Shevchenko grabbed her arm and locked in an armbar that forced the jiu-jitsu practitioner to tap.

The loss for Pena was another setback in her career but she is still young and still learning as she is likely to still make some noise as she continues to evolve.

For Shevchenko, it was a wake-up call for everyone in the division as she had already been known as a great striker but showed she has a ground game as well.

It will be important for her next fight as she will take on Amanda Nunes for the title in a rematch that saw Nunes take the win despite a great final two rounds from Shevchenko.

Her well-rounded nature could help her out in the second fight between the two although Nunes is far from one-dimensional herself.

The evolution of fighting continues as well-rounded fighters are no longer a bonus but rather the constant if a fighter wants to rise to the top.

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