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2008-The Evolution Of Striking In MMA

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The year of 2008 has set many precedents in the world of MMA. We've seen a blockbuster year in terms of PPV for the UFC, major upsets, and the fall of legends. There are a lot of things that stick out in my mind in which I could speak upon. However, nothing seems more apparent to me than the evolution of the striking game in MMA. Just a couple of years ago most of the striking exchanges in MMA resembled a toughman contest. A prime example is Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar I, as both fighters swung wildy with little to no technical aspects to their striking games. Most of the exchanges consisted of big looping punches in which both fighters were just swinging for the fences. Check it:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaE6GsqJKVE[/youtube]

However, now all of that is changing as fighters are sharpening their stand up techniques. In the .gifs below you'll see that nowadays punches are much straighter, and hooks are much tighter than the looping punches of back then.

Wison Gouveia Drops Jason MacDonald TUF 8 Finale

George St. Pierre Knocks Down Jon Fitch UFC 87 Seek and Destroy

Frank Mir Drops Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira UFC 92

Quinton Rampage Jackson KTFO Wanderlei Silva UFC 92

These are just a couple of examples that I was able to find really quickly. Sure, there are fighters out there that have not refined their striking techniques, and they are beginning to pay for it as well. Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva are prime examples of fighters that rely heavily on big looping punches. Just a couple of years ago these guys were murdering everyone. I understand that some of it had to do with match making as well(Liddell vs. Wrestlers and Wanderlei vs. Grapplers). However, nowadays both fighters are getting beat to the punch with short/straight strikes as evident in their last fights respectively. Sure both of these fighters remain dangerous and can KO most people with one shot, but now those days of winning consistently with that method of striking are over. As the evolution continues you'll begin to model their stand up games along the likes of Anderson Silva, BJ Penn, and Rampage Jackson. It's a fun time to be a MMA fan. Just think, it's only going to get better as the fighters continue to evolve.

HT: MMA-Corefor the gifs