Sunday, July 04, 2010
Lesnar Defeats Carwin
Another excellent Mixed Martial Arts event, with Brock Lesnar defeating Shane Carwin in an epic battle of very large and dangerous men. Carwin was the better striker, and deftly landed an upercut that sent Lesnar to the ground (for some reason, applying g-forces directly to the jaw causes one's brain to momentarily reset). Then, Carwin reigned down shots, but couldn't get a clean enough blow to finish him. In the second period, Carwin again landed some good shots, but then Lesnar took Carwin down with a double leg, and went to work. He went for an arm triangle choke, which is a great move for a wrestler because it plays into their strength in knowing how to torque the neck when going for a pin (note that 3 time NCAA champ Jake Rosholt applied the same move to put Chris Leben to sleep last year).
I know many consider MMA to be rather base because it seems so savage, but its strategy space is large, necessitating skills in boxing, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu. This makes it fun to watch. Several champions have undergraduate degrees in real subjects (Shane Carwin, Rich Franklin, Chuck Liddell), unlike boxing. Recently, the seemingly invincible Fedor Emelianenko was submitted by a jiu-jitsu specialist, highlighting that in a sport with such range, everyone can get beat because no one is best at all three (wrestling, striking, jiu-jitsu), and any one of these skills can be decisive if you don't defend it intelligently. It's a relatively cognitively demanding sport.
Someday the mainstream media will catch on. Sports Illustrated and the New York Times still give it pretty short shrift in their coverage. ESPN's coverage is growing, but they still hold on to boxing which is relatively boring (and, any MMA fighter would dispatch quickly by simply taking him off his feet).
I like amateur wrestling, and many college wrestlers now go directly into MMA rather than train for the Olympics (eg, Johnny Hendricks, Ben Askren, Muhammad Lawal, Cole Conrad). Its very popular among the US military, and Russian ex-President Vladmir Putin likes to show up for Fedor's matches. It sure beats a 1-0 game of soccer.