Precision beats power

... and timing beats speed as Conor "The Notorious" MacGregor would say.

Here is the proof:


Indeed, the Notorious One himself features in that compilation, showing everyone else how timing is done. Hell, the compilation ideally should have contained his 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo, in which Conor timed his opponent's move forward perfectly and clocked him with a massive left hook that left Aldo crumpled and unconscious on the mat.

I quite enjoy looking at fight breakdowns like this because there is always something to be learned from them. In my own case, I have a number of known bad habits when sparring that I know I have to break. (I just wish I could break them; here in the old country the opportunities to put gloves to faces are few and far between, if any.)

There is one particularly good clip in that compilation concerning the way that Josh Koscheck kept leaning his head over to his right whenever he threw his left straight or jab. I make this mistake frequently when boxing as well. It is quite a dangerous one to make because it leaves the entire left side of one's face completely exposed and unprotected by the shoulder.

All anyone has to do to capitalise on such an error is to throw a big uppercut - which, of course, my teachers keep telling my opponents to do whenever they spot the error - and anyone who makes that mistake is going to find himself regretting it in a very big hurry.

One question that often comes up when discussing various fighters and their different strategies, skills, and strengths, is: can size and mass overcome advantages in skills?

The answer to this, generally speaking, is: yes - but only up to a point.

If you were to put Dominick Cruz - for my money the best 135lb bantamweight fighter the UFC has ever seen - up against, say, Stipe Miocic, the current UFC heavyweight champion, who wades into fights tipping the scales at 245lbs or thereabouts, it really does not matter how skilled a wrestler or striker Dominick is. And he is phenomenally skilled.

Against someone of Stipe's size, power, and skill level, he would be destroyed. The bigger you are, the more punishment you can take. It is just simple physics. Dominick Cruz has some of the best footwork, timing, and striking skills that I have ever seen - but almost every single one of his strikes would simply be laughed off by someone as big and powerful as Stipe Miocic or most other heavyweights, unless it landed exactly on the "button", i.e. the chin, or hit the exact right spot over the liver.

And that is where timing and precision become vitally important. That is where true skill separates the true fighters from the mere brawlers.

Size absolutely matters in a fight. But the highest levels of skill can in fact overcome that advantage. My own teacher proved this many times when sparring against much larger and taller men - myself included. Though I outweigh my teacher by a good fifteen kilograms, at minimum, I have felt firsthand the sheer weight that he puts behind every single one of his strikes. He knows how to put every last ounce of his body mass into his strikes - which comes from a combination of world-class skill and decades of experience.

Between two opponents of more or less equal size - give or take, say, 30lbs or so - the more skilled fighter with better timing, better precision, and better delivery of power through striking, is generally going to win.

Timing and precision are especially important in nullifying size differences between a skilled fighter and an unskilled but bigger opponent.

A well-timed precise strike to a vulnerable target is enough to render even the largest and bulkiest fighter unconscious in a very big hurry if he is not skilled at defending himself. Gerard Gourdeau proved this in the very first UFC event when he knocked down sumo wrestler Teila Tuli, and then kicked him so hard in the face that a tooth flew straight out of the big man's mouth and through the links of the cage. He faced down a grunt-rush by a truly massive opponent, timed a set of punches to the head perfectly, watched Tuli crumple to the mat, and then slammed a foot straight into his jaw so viciously that it hurts your own just to look at it.

The key to being successful at fighting - and in life in general - is to pinpoint one's weaknesses and either fix them or work around them. Otherwise, one's weaknesses will always be picked apart and exploited by those with superior talent, skill, wisdom, or experience - and those who do not learn from their mistakes and harness their own innate talents, will always continue to lose.

Comments

Popular Posts