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MMA's Best: Offensive BJJ


Carbomb
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This one will probably throw up some very familiar names, but it's well worth a discussion anyway.

Obviously, no discussion of offensive BJJ or submission would have any credibility without talking about Demian Maia. Is there anyone in MMA who could be said to be a better jujutsu-ka, perhaps ever? As I once pointed out, the thing about Maia's ground game is that he doesn't just neutralise his opponents with his grappling, he has them constantly consuming energy through fighting not to be submitted; I've often called him a "human boa constrictor", and I think that's an appropriate description. His abilities are mesmerising; whereas a lot of grapplers get called boring, his capacity and movement means his submission game is very much active, and never just about lay-and-pray, trying to score the points win. 

Of course, he's got a lot of serious holes in his game, and maybe that could be put down to just how stellar his BJJ is. He's never been a great striker (and when he's tried to diversify he's been punished for it), and for a submission fighter of his calibre, I'm truly surprised his wrestling and takedowns are as weak as they are, as you'd think no ground fighter could be without that in the modern game. The lack of wrestling skill in particular was highlighted by the recent match against Woodley; his best takedowns are against the cage, and Woodley was able to stuff them via a combination of defensive wrestling (a part of Woodley's speciality) and cheating by grabbing the cage.

Nevertheless, as he demonstrated against Gunnar Nelson and Jon Fitch, amongst countless others, Maia's BJJ really is extraordinary.

Next up is Rousimar Palhares. I haven't seen too much of his work, but I get the very strong impression that, if he hadn't been such a fucking stupid, self-sabotaging, nasty maniac, he could've had a strong legacy as one of the top submission artists ever. I'm no BJJ expert, but I can recognise skills, and those heel hooks were impressive.

And, of course, we couldn't have any real discussion about offensive BJJ without wand's two favourite guys, Frank Mir and Jake Shields. Hate them or hate them, they are clearly two of the most accomplished BJJ fighters in MMA history. It's just a shame that one's a complete cock-end and the other's a complete bore. I've heard both touted by the commentators as "having the grappler's equivalent of the one-punch KO", i.e. that they could pull a sub out of anywhere. Maybe that's true, but Shields doesn't seem to be bothered to show that, and I've only really caught the Nadir Of Mir's Career(TM), so have never really seen what clubs he's got in the bag.

 

A slightly more controversial addition would be Ronda Rousey, for the obvious reason she's a judo-ka, not a jujutsu-ka, but I wanted to include her to expand a little on the discussion from a very specific angle: a friend of mine and I often discuss MMA, and he, being a bit of a martial arts buff, really hates the whole distinction of BJJ from judo. It's a real peeve for him; as far as he's concerned, in his words, "it's the same fucking thing! Why didn't they call it Brazilian judo, there are no lethal manoeuvres in it".

Your thoughts on that?

Edited by Carbomb
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Definitely would like to discuss catch at some point, as it definitely doesn't seem to be practiced enough in MMA for my liking, and I love Josh Barnett's work. I'll probably put it in a "Best Offensive Wrestling" or "Best Submission Grappling" later on.

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It would appear this particular subject isn't popular for discussion. Was it too specific, or is it an aspect of MMA that's perhaps discussed too much? I'd like to do another thread, but obviously would like to do one that would interest people.

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I think it's mostly to do with, outside of Maia and Jacare, very few fighters rely on their BJJ as their main weapon. A lot of guys have solid ground games, as Rogan likes to point out, but a lot keep it standing. For example, Werdum is one of the best in the company, but he spends a lot of his time on his feet, these days.

Plus, the answer is definitely Maia. It's hard to have such a debate when it's fairly conclusive.

Edited by ColinBollocks
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I see your point. Although I'm kicking myself, because Werdum should've been one of the first that came to mind in my initial post.

On a separate note, just for the purposes of a well-rounded discussion, I'm not limiting the discussion to UFC, hence the Palhares inclusion. 

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I meant to post in here earlier in the week and was going to bring up Werdum and Jacare as ones not mentioned yet. 

I'd throw in Shinya Aoki as well. Although I guess he wouldn't class so much as a BJJ guy being Japanese? Regardless, he was lethal from the dying days of Pride through the DREAM era. 

Big Nog was a beast in his prime. Both Nick and Nate Diaz are worth chucking into the mix. And BJ Penn in his prime. Watching him in the Joe Stevenson fight and the Kenny Florian finish, the way he moves between mount and backmount, he makes it look so effortless. 

And to throw a blast from the past name in that probably won't be so obvious but absolutely warrants a mention...Jeremy Horn had some wicked BJJ back in the day. One of my old favourites. 

For a more current name Gunnar Nelson deserves a shout also. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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I do like me some Nelson grappling. I felt rather bad for him that Maia made him look so out of his depth. Basically a case of someone whose BJJ is amongst the best in the world up against someone whose BJJ is out of this world.

A shame their weights are so far apart, but I'd have loved to see Maia vs. Werdum to see who was superior.

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Not MMA but I guess this thread is the place for this. 

A BJJ match from 2014. Michelle Nicolini breaking Tammi Musumeci's arm with a brutal reverse armbar thingy...

FUCK! 

That reminds me, Jacare's BJJ match with Roger Gracie in 2004. Jacare was well on his way to victory when Gracie got him in an armbar late on. Jacare actually let his arm break and just dealt with it to win on points. 

Oh and @Carbomb Maia vs Werdum never happened but Maia did beat Gabriel Gonzaga (who's even bigger than Werdum) in BJJ. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Those fucking Brazilians, man. Seriously, that whole "rather be broken than tap" thing is a bit of a toxic culture, I think; they're going to end up with a lot of broken fighters retired before their time if they keep it up.

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Must be a holdover of that Latin American machismo thing. It's bloody stupid. You've got a load of guys from not-so-well-off backgrounds risking their potentials to earn money just because they have some cock-eyed idea of what "weak" means.

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It's probably also a bit of a pride thing of protecting 'their' martial art. Either way it's as stupid as it is admirable, when you're caught you're caught. Admit defeat and live to fight another day. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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