Monday, November 19, 2007

MMA and Muay Thai

First, I would like to give credit to Nopstar for his great site My Muay Thai. There is a wealth of information over there from fight videos to gear posts to training information and a lot about the "culture" of MT. Today he put up a post featuring a fight between Malaipet and Kaleo Kwan.

I simply don't understand why Kwan didn't try to bring Malaipet to the mat. Most lifelong MT fighters are like fish out of water when they go to the mat. Malaipet did what he has done for the last fifteen years of his life and kicked Kwan's thigh. Over and over and over. I will give huge props to Kwan though - I lost count how many times Malaipet kicked his thigh - I honestly couldn't believe that Kwan was able to walk out of that ring. I guarantee he limped for a couple of weeks after this one.

And those weren't sissy kicks either. You can tell from the sound that those kicks are bringing the heat - Malaipet knows what he is doing. I suppose 186 Muay Thai bouts will do that for you. Isn't that unbelievable? 186 fights. But that isn't anything unusual for most Lumpini champions, and for most from Thailand who pick up the sport at an early age.

Kwan did block a few of the low kicks, but that didn't hurt Malaipet at all - the nerve endings on his shins died a long time ago.

The best way I can describe how it feels to get nailed with one of those kicks on the thigh would be if you had a friend grab an aluminum baseball bat and strike you with it. It ain't fun. And I don't understand why Kwan after, say, the second kick didn't start to try to shoot Malaipet as soon as humanly possible. Instead he played into the strength of Malaipet and got his lunch handed to him. They did get into the clench a few times, but Malaipet got out of it and threw some nice elbows to boot.

It seems that the best MMA fighters are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu guys who are well rounded in striking, preferably knowledgeable in Muay Thai. This was evident in the UFC fights between Anderson Silva and Rich Franklin. You can't take Silva down because he is a black belt in BJJ. But you don't want to fight him standing up because he is well versed in MT. So what do you do with a guy like that? Get your ass beat, as Franklin did. Knee to the head = broken nose. Too bad Franklin's family was there to see that bloodbath. Then he got back in the ring with Silva again later in the year and got beat down again. Against the standup MT game of Silva. Sigh.

In the upper levels of MMA you have got to have great BJJ, along with great striking ability. Guys coming in that are pure BJJ guys are hating MMA because even if they get guys on the ground, they are getting hit very hard by guys who have trained in striking and a lot of the BJJ guys don't know how to handle it.

I love guys like Anderson Silva - the complete package - ground game and standup, pretty much an unstoppable force. His MMA competitors better recognize - quick, that an all around game is necessary to play with the big boys.

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