Monday, September 8, 2008

Has Chuck Liddell Lost His Touch?

"It let everyone out there who didn’t already know that in mixed martial arts today, you have to be a damn near perfect sort of animal with little to no weakness if you are to stay at the top of the MMA food chain."

- Eric Shapiro from on Chuck Liddell. article here

In reviewing the fight it is pretty hard not to agree with what Eric has to say, but I think we disagree in what it means to be "at the top of the MMA food chain." To me, it is virtually impossible for fighters to have zero weaknesses, because success is as often dictated by style as it is by technique. You can be an excellent fighter technically and lose to a lesser opponent because your opponent's style presents significant issues from a game planning perspective. What does that mean exactly? Rashad is a extremely talented athletic fighter and when you combine talent with athleticism you get a lot of unpredictability. Now you can reduce the affect of unpredictability with experience, technique and training, all of which Chuck has done, but you can never totally zero it out. Despite what you thinking, I am not contending what Evans did was luck, because he used his unpredictability to his advantage and found a way to drop on of the top stand up fighters in the world. Perhaps this is really the story of the rise of Rashad Evans and not the fall of Chuck Liddell? Everyone thought Keith Jardine was ready to become a star after he beat Chuck, but last I checked Wanderlei Silva dropped him like a bad habit. The moral of the story is that unpredictability makes this sport great because almost anyone can win at anytime and even the best of the best can't totally zero out that possibility no matter how experienced or how hard they train. It ensured that both the young(Evans) and old(Couture) can find glory at anytime.

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