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I just finished watching the latest Strikeforce event and although it was a good MMA event as well as a great step forward for MMA being featured on prime time TV again.
There was one thing that bothered me though.
It was Jake Shields’ match against Jason Mayhem Miller.
Although the match was at times exciting and Shields did demonstrate some great skill and go on to earn his win, the problem was that his approach to applying his skills was “too safe” and shed a lame light on grappling.
I say this in light of Shields’ incredible grappling abilities not despite them.
It’s safe to say that he earned his victory over Miller by controlling him for the majority of the match.
The problematic part comes in that although controlling him and taking a few chances, he rarely did much else and did not display finishing skills. Especially when it comes to ground and pound or setting up submissions, two critical aspects of grappling and Jiujitsu in MMA.
I think this demonstrates an important lesson that needs to be learned from MMA, that is that superior grappling skills are only a part of the equation.
Without the essential set ups for submissions as well as powerful ground and pound, what you’re left with is an incomplete fighter that I find very hard to call a champion in MMA.
Now everyone knows that I am primarily a grappler, but this is also why I find it important to point out the limitations involved in our approach especially when it comes to being a complete fighter.
If Jake Shields hopes to defend his title successfully and keep being a champion for the long haul, then rounding out his game in necessary.
If he doesn’t do this, then I predict that he will lose his title within his next 2-3 fights.
Now although this depends on your goals as a grappler, ask yourself how “complete” your game is especially if your goals include MMA.
This is a critical aspect of any grapplers game in reality, developing finishing skills and not purposely going to the guard to stall.
If your focus is on developing finishing skills then you will need to develop an offensive game and flow smoothly between defense and offense. This kind of strategy will ensure that you are training to win matches and not just survive them, which will translate directly to your abilities to submit your opponents.
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