OK, you gotta see this fight. It is an era where the UFC, and I must say Dana White’s personal style, have deemphasized some of the art of groundfighting in exchange for ‘banging’. I don’t know, to me, I appreciate technique, and sometimes ‘banging’ is just bad boxing and kickboxing. Then along comes a fight like this -
This is groundfighting in MMA, at a very high level. I have not seen a fight like this in the UFC in a long time. There are probably a lot of fans that aren’t entertained by a match like this and prefer the ‘bangers’ but I would say this is one entertaining fight that displays the true depth of what MMA has to give as a sport.
The fight above is Masakauzu Imanari taking on Abel Cullum at this past weekend’s DREAM 17 event in Japan. Imanari wins the match in the third round by arm bar submission. Practically the entire match is contested on the ground and the entire bout is something to behold.
Imanari is on bottom most of the time, but he mounts an offensive assault that has the announcers, and probably the judges, giving him the rounds. Submission attempt after submission attempt, and some of them definitely were very sophisticated. Imanari may be the finest technician in the game today, because he at least applies his techniques in the actual competition.
As for Cullum, he did a very credible job until he got caught. His defense was solid, and he held position and won the striking, since Imanari does virtually none.
I wonder how this fight would be judged under the Athletic Commissions in the United States. After all, Cullum did unleash some strikes from the top, and he was on top seemingly in control. The judges in the States are shaved apes, or perhaps an advanced primate like a gibbon or a monkey. They likely would have gotten this fight wrong.
Imanari dominated with ground game from start to finish. He would have deserved a win if it had gone to the cards. And as an illustration to what the ground game really can be, he never stopped and he finished the fight. He left absolutely no question.
Isn’t it more boring where two guys decide to slug themselves in the face for the three rounds and never attempt a finish in the fight?
This is a subject for a different blog, but it is the reason I don’t count Georges St Pierre in my top 3 or maybe even 5 pound for pound. He went to McDonald’s and ordered a Happy Meal, and left half the fries and a bite of the hamburger. He couldn’t finish that either.