Tonight had to be one of the biggest nights in modern martial arts history.ﾃつ Royce Gracie who dominated the octagon for years comes back to UFC to answer the charge that the days of Brazillian Ju Jitsu are over.ﾃつ Matt Hughes, the undisputed World Welterweight Champion in the UFC and believed by some to be the greatest Welterweight to ever step in the octagon, represents the modern UFC fighter.
All the hype over the past several weeks led up to tonight at UFC 60.ﾃつ Everyone had their own idea of how the fight was going to go down.ﾃつ Many people thought Gracie would get Hughes by submission as he did with men much larger back in the day.ﾃつ Trouble is, large doesn’t necessarilly equate to strong.ﾃつ Matt Hughes is FREAKISHLY strong both in the lift and the punch.ﾃつ The boy strikes like a freight train.ﾃつ Gracie redefined the ground game with Brazillian Ju Jitsu which is designed to allow the smaller man to take care of business in a fight with a much larger man by working on the joints which, regardless of the size of the person, all share one characteristic.ﾃつ Five pounds of pressure against the natural bend in the joint will break it.ﾃつ I don’t care if the man is 150 pounds or 550 pounds, that elbow or knee is going to snap and Gracie became a legend in the UFC by exploiting this weakness.
The UFC has changed a bit since Gracie last fought.ﾃつ Now there are 5 minute rounds, not an open ended fight until submission.ﾃつ This wasn’t a surprise for Gracie but I’m wondering if he had just looked past it.ﾃつ The fight opened with some kicks from Gracie that had me scratching my head abit.ﾃつ I knew Gracie had some leg in his arsenal but I was surprised to see him drag them out so early in the fight.ﾃつ I have to wonder if Gracie was trying to bait Hughes into grabbing a leg for a take down.ﾃつ The talking heads leading up to the fight were wondering if Hughes could be disciplined enough NOT to go to the ground against the legend.ﾃつ Hughes was an All American wrestler in college which accounts for his wicked bad strength.ﾃつ The ground is exactly where I thought Hughes would win or lose the fight.ﾃつ Gracie wasn’t going to go the whole fight slugging it out with him.ﾃつ That would be a recipe for a knockout.ﾃつ After some dancing, kicking, and a couple nice punches landed by both fighters, the fight went to the ground.ﾃつ Hughes dominated.ﾃつ No other way to put it.ﾃつ I thought Gracie had a couple opportunities for the arm bar but Hughes was quick enough and\or strong enough to avoid it.ﾃつ In fact, Hughes landed his own arm bar that looked for all the world would end the fight.ﾃつ Gracie’s arm was clearly hyperextended but he managed to roll his elbow out enough allowing him to bend his arm out of the lock.ﾃつ That was when Gracie made the fatal mistake of rolling onto his belly.ﾃつ Hughes wasn’t about to let Gracie go so he ended up sitting on the small of Gracie’s back, locking his feet in Gracie’s thighs, and the thunder rolled down.ﾃつ The dreaded Matt Hughes “ground and pound” brought the fight to an end by referee stoppage.ﾃつ Good thing too.ﾃつ Gracie may be a legend but he wasn’t going to take many of the bombs Hughes was landing on his head.ﾃつ I thought Hughes was going to knock him out before the Ref stepped in.
Gracie is still a legend.ﾃつ He definately earned that title and if you placed Hughes in the tournament style, open weight class fights from UFC 1 I’m not sureﾃつ he would last long.ﾃつ Gracie fought 4 fights in UFC 1.ﾃつ Winning each one with submissions against men much larger than himself.ﾃつ He did it again in UFC2.ﾃつ I don’t know of any fighter today that could duplicate that feat.ﾃつ Johnny Unitas was a legendary quarterback for the Colts back in the day.ﾃつ Does anyone really think he could be as good today with the defensive schemes out there? No way.ﾃつ Gracie, like Unitas, certainly deserves the honor we pay him but he should retire from the ring and focus on training up his students to compete in the new UFC.ﾃつ Pure Ju Jitsu simple doesn’t cut it anymore and Matt Hughes proved that tonight.