Wednesday, October 22, 2008

where's the wrestling?

Saturday night I stayed in for what has become a common occurrence in the last couple of years. It was a combo PPV championship boxing and free, televised MMA courtesy of SpikeTV and the UFC. The boxing match was a 170lb catchweight fight between legendary veteran Bernard Hopkins and undefeated middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik. If you like boxing make sure you find your way to HBO this Saturday night for the replay. Against most pundit's opinions the snaggle-toothed vet put on a clinic you have to see to believe, solidifying himself as one of the all-time great middleweights.

Whenever one of these nights occur you can't help but notice the difference between boxing and MMA striking. It's a difference of range & style, and at the moment also a difference of quality. Joe Rogan even dropped some commentary about the room for improvement in MMA striking. Personally I'm pretty proud for the MMA athletes I follow because most are advancing the game steadily and surely on the boxing front. It showed Saturday night as the leather was flying all over the cage. But nonetheless I'm posting to bitch about that show. My complaint is actually the lack of grappling we saw Saturday night! See if I want to see hellacious power shots and masterful combinations I know where to go; between the ropes. I like the heavy punches and big kicks in MMA, but what makes it unique are the explosive takedowns, scrambles & reversals, clever escapes, and of course the submissions. There was almost nil grappling Saturday (exception and props to Davis for the choke). To me that makes for a disappointing card.

So here's my personal suggestion to UFC matchmakers: on those nights when you are going up against elite caliber boxing telecasts, please make sure to schedule and televise some matches featuring accomplished wrestlers and BJJers. Against each other. Guarantee you'll deliver one ground war on these nights, Dana. This way your commentator doesn't have to apologize that your fighters aren't Hopkins, and more importantly I can feel satisfied.

For boxing champs it's a matter of inches:

For the UFC main-eventers it's improving with a ways to go: