Recently Tito Ortiz came back from the dead to dominate Ryan Bader, a fighter who a lot of people called the future of the sport. Bader is sort of a modern version of Tito Ortiz. He's a big wrestler who liked to utilize his strength to dominate fighters. Tightening up the technical aspects of the game arent that important when you're that strong. Fighters like Ortiz and Bader dont need to bother learning the intricacies of the striking game, they can simply put you on your back and beat your face into pulp. The problem with this style of fighting is that as you age you lose strength and other fighters get better. MMA isnt kind to old men. The only way to beat this is to treat it like a game of chess. Long term success takes some brains. When you cant out muscle your opponent, you have to out maneuver them. For the first time ever Tito showed signs of maturing, rather than constantly attempting to put Bader on his back he mixed it up a bit and stood with him, eventually catching him with a right hand. And instead of pouncing on him for some vintage ground and pound he utilized his underrated BJJ game and put Bader in a pretty crushing Guillotine choke where Bader eventually tapped. What he lacks in strength and athleticism he can make up in experience and game planning.
The best example of this type of fighter is Randy Couture. Lets be honest, his wrestling was never that good, his striking never advanced and his grappling game was average at best. What he did have was a brain. Randy studied his opponents, if you had a flaw in your game he'd find it. He realized long ago that his best weapon was his experience and willingness to use that against his opponents. There's no shame in knowing what your weaknesses are and realizing that your most athletic days are behind you. Randy entered the game as an old man, he was already more mature and more willing to learn other aspects of the game than his younger and more physically gifted counterparts. Tito is notoriously hard headed, he's spent the last few years injured and trying to stay relevant by attempting to outmuscle his way back to the top. I know its to early to tell if Titos last win was a fluke, but as a fight fan Im hoping to see a more composed, patient and smart Tito Ortiz in the future.
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