Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Brock Lesnar: A New Breed

When MMA or Vale Tudo fighting took off in the early 1990's, Brazilian Ju Jitsu was the name of the game. Take the fight to the ground and force your opponent into submission by any means regardless of the physical toll on your own body. It was a very effective style at that time because most of the competitors were over aggressive tough man types who had no clue about the submission game. Naturally, the sport evolved as more collegiate wrestlers entered the sport as a means to make a living and became very successful at defeating the Ju Jitsu style because they could effectively use their wrestling to defend takedowns and punish their opponents enough within the guard to force TKO stoppages. A result of this transformation was the dominating ground and pound, Mark Kerr and Mark Coleman owned this sport in the late 1990's and early 2000's using this punishing style. Over the past few years the competitors in MMA have evolved yet again, as a wider variety of athletes with a greater amount of physical skill have entered the sport. Now merely dominating in once style or place in the Octagon is not enough to be consistently successful in the sport. Today's best fighters are not experts at anyone martial art, but rather B+ students of all disciplines. George St. Pierre is most often used as the symbol for today's fighter, because he is strong at striking, but effective enough on the ground to stop Matt Hughes from picking him up and tossing him on his head. Okay so where does Brock Lesnar fit in? On the surface he fits the mold of Kerr and Coleman to a T. He's a former collegiate champion wrestler, loves to ground and pound and uses his massive size to overpower his opponents. All those things are true, but the difference between himself and the stereotypical wrestler turned MMA fighter is that the guy is a true athlete. Now that is not saying that wrestlers aren't athletes, but not many collegiate wrestlers go from being All-Americans to Professional Wrestlers to Professional Football players to MMA fighters. In fact, I can think of only one person who has done that and that person is Brock Lesnar. If you watch Kerr or Coleman strike on their feet they look uncomfortable and robotic, as if they are saying okay well I have to do this so I will, but I am not going to do much with it and get this to the ground as quickly as possible. When I watch Lesnar move in his fights and in his training he doesn't look that way. He is much more fluid and relaxed, the movements are natural for him. If you look at smaller ground and pound guys like Hughes or Sherk, you see the same problem and you would expect they would be better at striking because they are quicker than a huge heavyweight, but they aren't. Look at how bad BJ made Sherk look on his feet in the title fight and BJ isn't really known as a stand up fighter. I don't see that with Lesnar and the guy walks around at 290 pounds! So what does this mean for Saturday's fight? There are plenty of guys in the heavyweight division from Affliciton, Elite XC and the UFC that are that large, but none are as cut, quick or powerful that is for sure. Yes, Heath has fought some very big and talented guys like Kerr, Dan McGee, Brad Imes, and Giant Silva, but none of those guys have what Brock brings to the table. In fact, Kerr is probably the only legit fighter of that list and when Heath fought him, Kerr was coming off numerous injuries, a stint in rehab and was mentally beaten down, so I don't really see the significance of beating him. I am not promising Brock will win, because Heath has stepped up his game tremendously in the past year, but I would bet the pressure on Brock is going to bring out an awesome performance and a earn him his first W in the UFC

Here are some more thoughts on Brock from other Bloggers/Writers

Lesnar thoughts from

Yahoo! Sports Expert Blog has some interesting info

The fight Professor gives his two cents on Brock and his chances


Mr.Twister said...

Interesting question -- would Brock be facing Klitschko, now? Why did UFC/MMA community hail an unexperienced fighter to such glory, so fast. It appears this takes a lot away from those who claim that MMA is this tough sport. Note: Brock did not make it in the NFL, he did not have the skills to do such. Is the MMA world so unskilled or so talentless that a brute can come in and dominate on nothing more than gentics and winstrol?

Luke said...

First, Herring is a good figher, but he isn't the Heavyweight Champ or even the number one contender. Second, Lesnar was a NCAA Champion wrestler and top wrestlers do two things compete in MMA or got into Pro Wrestling so the transition is really natural. Third, Brock lasted more than one season on the Vikings practice squad so it's not like he showed up for a few practices and then was cut. From what I understand, he performed well in camp, but was not willing to go to NFL Europe where he could get reps. Lastly, I am not saying the guy is dominating right now. What I am saying is that he will eventually be the next progression of the sport. He needs to master a lot of the details before he can get to the championship level, but because of his size and ability he will go a long way before he is faced with mastering those details to be the champ. Could he beat Fedor, Couture, or any of the MMA Top Ten heavyweights right now? No way, but he will in a shorter time than people think.